Dear Virtual Editor,

The video clip below is my Christmas gift to the friends I know and the subscribers I do not know. As you can see from the Welcome message, I began DVE for my own benefit to help me avoid bugging newspapers. Being very tech challenged, I had no idea anyone would […]

NYC: “Let’s Go to the Video Tape!”

Dear Virtual Editor,

I heart NY. That was not always true. Like many southerners, I have sometimes been offended by arrogant northern bias, expressed by people who appeared surprised to find that we had indoor plumbing. I especially did not heart people from New York City. But now I do. At least I heart every […]


Dear Virtual Editor,

Three recent and related events are of general interest, but especially to my fellow Canadians. In late October, shortly before Remembrance Day, Martin Couture-Rouleau rammed a car into two uniformed soldiers in a Quebec parking lot, killing WO Patrice Vincent. A few days later, Michael Zehaf Bibeau shot and killed Cpl. Nathan […]

Corruption, and Your Part in the Democracy Charade

Dear Virtual Editor,

Let me begin with an enthusiastic recommendation for a remarkable book by a remarkable author: Corruption in America From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United by Zephyr Teachout. The author, a law professor at Fordham University, is not a gentle breeze. With very little money, she put a real scare into […]

ISIS, the UN, and
The Responsibility to Protect

Dear Virtual Editor,

The latest human rights outrages in the Middle East have brought me to reflect once again on the fate of civilians. This time both of my countries are involved and both are once again in danger of heading down a futile path.

I find that I have no less than three posts […]

Officer Darren Wilson Trial Practice Basics; a Plea to Prosecutors and Media

Dear Virtual Editor,

I and one of my former students have defended in murder trials. Along with another law professor with extensive trial experience, we were responding on Facebook to someone who took the position that it was too early for formal charges against Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown. In the […]

Missouri: The Show Me Force State

Dear Virtual Editor,

CNN is running a series on the Sixties. I was watching the 1968 segment on the Democratic National Convention for about five minutes, when I realized it was actually a live feed from Ferguson, Missouri. My bad. I remember the 1968 police riot and I should have noticed immediately that the Chicago […]

Can the International Community Save Palestinian Civilians?

Dear Virtual Editor,

I have waited to respond to Israel’s latest outrage because I saw little point in doing nothing more than venting my anger. Somehow, there had to be something constructive to say. You will recall that my 29 January 2014 post (See Archives) was a call for a civil debate about possible […]

A Little Good News?

Dear Virtual Editor,

A look at the news this week made me recall the line from a song by that great Canadian, Anne Murray—“Sure could use a little good news today”. People in Chicago and all over the Middle East murdering each other. Girls in Africa kidnapped. “Militias” in the U.S. playing soldier—with real guns. […]

Poor Children, Wimpy Democrats, Amnesiac Republicans, A Virginia Town, and Jonathan Swift

Dear Virtual Editor,

Maria Eva Casco, left, and her son Christian Casco of El Salvador, sit at the Greyhound bus terminal in Phoenix. credit: AP

Do not be outraged at the wimpy Democratic administration that apologized profusely for leasing a defunct black college with perfectly good dorm rooms in Lawrenceville, Virginia for use as […]

What U.S. and West Should Do About Iraq: Absolutely Nothing

Dear Virtual Editor,

For the Western nations who gave birth to Iraq and have been performing surgery on it for 94 years, the time for “first do no harm” in Iraq has already passed. The new oath should be “do no further harm”. There is a civil war underway there and its origins go back […]

Distractions and Disruptions: Misguided Parents, School Officials Campaign Against Women and Free Speech

Distractions and Dress: Hitting the Wrong Target

The deadly denials of autonomy for women that played out recently in California and India provide the shocking headlines. They reflect a mind set that, unfortunately, underpins another campaign to which young women are increasingly subjected in the U.S. and Canada. Its result is also denial of autonomy. […]

Learning From a Neighbor (or Neighbour)…U.S. Voter Suppression, Canada Style

Dear Virtual Editor,

I have been meaning to write more often, but I am working hard to finish a book about Canada in other people’s wars. Two developments have prompted me to make time for a post. The first is the gratifying number of new people who have signed up for the blog. Thank you, […]

A Well Regulated Militia…..

Dear Virtual Editor:

Gangs of heavily armed people roaming the streets, frightening the citizens. Members of the gangs claim they do not recognize the authority of their government. They say they are not gangs but militias, prepared to fight and die for freedom from government tyranny. Ukraine, right? Not even close. Nevada.

It seems that […]

Cry Wolf

Welcome, you’re in the Saturation Room. Long before the plane went down, the Flight 370 Channel (formerly known as CNN) had learned the ratings value of fear mongering, especially about terrorism. Barbara Starr’s pre-Sochi hand wringing about it was just a warm up. The Flight 370 tragedy has been a much greater godsend.

For more […]

Pete Seeger and
…the Definition of “HERO”

The world lost the physical Pete Seeger last week. He well deserved the personal tributes that have poured in from around the world. I cannot match the eloquence of many of them. Rather, I offer the suggestion that we all use the occasion of his passing to re-think the definition of Hero.

Israel, Chilled Speech, and…
A Tail Wagging Two Dogs

A peace movement poster: Israeli and Palestinian flags and the words peace in Arabic and Hebrew.

My hope is that this post will encourage a frank but civil debate about the future of Israel/Palestine. Such a debate cannot occur, however, absent robust criticism of the government of Israel. You have no doubt been aware […]

King, Mandela, and Talking to Iran

The Martin Luther King Jr. birthday holiday is of course observed on Monday, to provide for a long weekend. The observance this year is the first since the death of Nelson Mandela in December. The theme of the first MLK holiday was opposition to apartheid in South Africa. These occasions have given world leaders an […]

Shooting Kids and Theater Patrons…
Ho Hum

In a Roswell, New Mexico school, a 12 year old took a shotgun from a band instrument case and opened fire, wounding two of his classmates. In the next ten seconds, an unarmed faculty member, who apparently had not gotten the memo from the NRA, talked him into dropping the weapon.

In a Wesley Chapel, […]

And the Canadian Courtesy and Politeness Award Goes To….

Canadians are known for being courteous and polite. That may or may not be a true national characteristic, but there are worse things to be known for.

Were there an award for courtesy and politeness, it would have to go to airport security officers in Edmonton, Alberta. We are only now learning that last September […]