• Non-profits’ role in journalism

    As newsrooms throughout the country continue to shrink and the power of cable and Internet pundits expands, fact-based, investigative reporting is fast becoming an endangered species. At large metro newspapers, the number of reporters specifically designated for investigative beats has declined, in some cases disappearing all together. Moreover, the reporters who are left rarely have the ability to dedicate the time and energy necessary to do such reporting in addition to handling their regular beats.

  • The love between a man and his horse

    At boarding school our riding master was an Olympic gold medal winner in an equestrian event held prior to World War II. We rode half of every lesson bareback, the remainder spent in classic equestrian training. Our riding master was all military in his bearing, all horse cavalry by profession and by proclivity.  Lord, he could teach a young boy to ride. He taught us how to have a meaningful relationship with a horse. My horse was Cinnamon and for four years we raced around the Blue Ridge Mountains, exploring the forested tracks around our school.

  • The tree that was ‘loved to death’

    When I was younger, my arms couldn’t wrap all the way around the old tree as hard as I tried. Sometimes a group of us would gather together and, using our collective arms, we could form a circle around the tree — hugging it, if you will.

  • What are we doing to ourselves?

    Our 110th Congress is in its final days. There will be new members and new dynamics in the 111th one starting in early January.

    I know I am terribly concerned about what is going on among us. On what are we basing our decisions now? What kind of information? From whom? From whose perspective? Can we easily be taken in by inaccuracies — which if acted upon could take us exactly where we say we don’t want to go?

  • The tale of the tax that wasn’t

    Prior to the passage of the health-care law, President Barack Obama was at his most emphatic and condescending in insisting the penalty for defying the mandate to buy health insurance is not a tax.

  • In Afghanistan, on track to nowhere

    The good news is that President Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan is “on track.” The bad news is that the track runs in a circle.

  • Use caution with kerosene heaters

    As the winter storm approached Wednesday evening, and with it the potential for downed power lines, I had flashbacks to the 2009 ice disaster. I particularly remember freezing and not having any water. In lieu of a shower, washing your face and brushing your teeth can make you feel relatively clean, but that’s difficult to do without water.

  • United effort needed to combat bullying

    It’s exciting to see a fundraiser for an organization like The Trevor Project taking place locally. Wes Coulter, who organized the fundraiser to take place Dec. 20, said the organization, which was founded in 1998, plans to expand its mission to aid all young people who are bullied as a form of discrimination — students who are teased for wearing older clothes because their family can’t afford new clothes, or young people experiencing racial discrimination.

  • Learning to get along with babies

    I’ll be honest, little kids — babies especially — scare me. Not in a Freddie Kruger kind of way or like how I feel if I’m standing at the edge of some tall precipice but because I find them, by and large, inscrutable.

    If they are old enough to talk, then I’m unsure about how to communicate. If they are younger than that, they seem so fragile I am afraid to hold them. On the whole, I basically just don’t know how to proceed when confronted by someone who has yet to enter elementary school.

  • For God’s sake and yours — slow down