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The class of ‘69 had its dreams, too

I received a special honor this weekend. I was asked back to give the keynote speech at the El Dorado High School Class of ‘69’s 45th reunion. I taught English IV that year. I was a bit apprehensive at first. Yet, at the end of the speech, I enjoyed a standing ovation and was “over the moon” because of the “Thank-you-for what-you-did-for-me” remarks and the student who asked, “You goin’ with anyone right now?” before slapping Freemon on the shoulder. The following includes portions of that speech …

“School days/school days”– again

So many things have changed since I began elementary school back in 1949. First, we did not go to kindergarten. It didn’t exist. We never used 20-pound backpacks slung over our shoulders to carry everything from books to cell phones to clothing. We carried our sparse needs in book satchels. They were plastic, light-weight, some decorated with pictures of heroes of the day. There was a little pocket in the front for items such as colors and lunch tickets.

The benefits of attack ads

Negative campaign ads appear to be on the rise with the approach of this fall’s congressional elections and the 2016 presidential campaign. Hardly anyone has a good word to say about them. The standard critique — that they demean our democracy, deceive voters and cause disgusted voters to stay home on Election Day — has the ring of truth. But this exaggerates the negative about negative ads while obscuring their benefits.

College cost isn’t big problem for poor students

To judge by this summer’s banner policy proposals, the most important question for higher-education reform right now is giving students easier access to loans. But evidence from Canada suggests those changes won’t address the greater need: Getting more kids from poor families into college, the key to moving up in an increasingly unequal society.

Make the right choice

Joshua, God’s servant, the leader of God’s chosen people Israel who succeeded Moses, his mentor, was growing old and knowing the character and the attitudes of his people was compelled to call them together. (Joshua 24: 14-14)

The case for climate action

What is perhaps the greatest challenge to humanity in our lifetime? Climate change. It threatens our security, our health, our families and our economy. Over 97 percent of the world’s climate scientists agree that humans are causing it primarily by burning fossil fuels and deforestation. Most say that we have little time left to reverse the trend. Because the full effects of climate change appear incrementally and affect different parts of the world in different ways, it’s easy to deny that it is happening. Ignoring the signs and trends is a very serious mistake. The recently published U.S. National Climate Assessment, released on May 6, 2014, reminds us how serious the consequences of climate change will be.

Let the Republican infighting begin

WASHINGTON — The stunning defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by a tea party primary challenger will roil the House for the rest of this session and the next Congress, probably ending the slim hopes for any bipartisan accords on issues such as immigration.

A pure miracle

NORMANDY BEACHHEAD, June 12, 1944 – Due to a last-minute alteration in the arrangements, I didn’t arrive on the beachhead until the morning after D-day, after our first wave of assault troops had hit the shore.