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The Sentence That Knocked Down the Berlin Wall (But Almost Didn’t)

Words that defined Ronald Reagan’s presidency, as remembered by the White House speechwriter. As a speechwriter you spent your working life watching Reagan, talking about Reagan, reading about Reagan, attempting to inhabit the very mind of Reagan. When you joined him in the Oval Office, you didn’t want to hear him say simply that he liked your work. You wanted to get him talking, revealing himself. So you’d go into…

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I gave my class a Poem to read. The author’s Name — I hid.

I gave my class a Poem to read. The author’s Name — I hid. I said, “What if my sole Intent Were to really flip your lid? “What if I removed Dashes — And lowercased some Words?” The students said, “Well, Dr. Jerz, Then you would be a jerk.”   P.S. It wasn’t actually an Emily Dickinson poem, and I hadn’t actually changed it at all, but some students guessed she…

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Things that have made me start singing “Tradition!” in my head so far today

After last night’s first rehearsal for “Fiddler on the Roof,” things that have made me start singing “Tradition!” in my head so far today: 1) Reading the name “Alyssa.” (Alyssa!) 2) Thinking about textbooks for next semester. (Edition!) 3) Thinking about hell. (Perdition!) 4) Turning on my car engine. (Ignition!) 5) Thinking about my upcoming state vehicle inspection (Emissions!) 6) Thinking about sending my kids to college. (Tuition!) 7) Hearing…

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Homeownership in America Has Collapsed—Dont Blame Millennials

Yes, the article is interesting, but I’m blogging it for the Jane Austen reference. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a journalist in possession of a negative statistic must find a way to blame Millennials for it. In 2012, Jordan Weissmann and I observed that young people were turning away from homes and cars, the twin engines of the economy. Two years later, the homeownership rate is still declining…

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Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are right and God isn’t ‘a magician with a magic wand’

The theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real and God is not “a magician with a magic wand”, Pope Francis has declared. Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope made comments which experts said put an end to the “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI. Francis explained that both scientific theories were not incompatible with…

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Seattle Times ‘Outraged’ FBI Created Fake Web Page, News Story To Catch Suspect

The FBI fabricated a story to look like a news piece with an Associated Press byline about bomb threats against Lacey’s Timberline High School in 2007, according to documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and revealed by the ACLU on Monday. The FBI also created a fake email link “in the style of the Seattle Times” including details about subscriber and advertiser information. This link was then sent…