Attack of the Duck District: Gerrymandering America

Congressional redistricting is one of those seemingly boring, deeply political processes that happens infrequently enough that we can be forgiven for ignoring it. It’s easy to see that how a congressional district is defined geographically will influence who wins elections in it, and that the manipulation of district boundaries is potentially anti-democratic. But when we … Continue reading Attack of the Duck District: Gerrymandering America

How to Reform the Supreme Court

President Biden last week announced the formation of a bipartisan commission to study various reforms to the Supreme Court. Chief among the possibilities, and seized upon by conservatives as the entire reason for the exercise, is the idea of increasing the number of justices to twelve or even fifteen, pejoratively referred to as “packing” the … Continue reading How to Reform the Supreme Court

The Longest Home

When I was growing up, my family and I were American Bedouins, briefly rooted, then moving on. We were children and I suspect our parents were too, though to us they were gods who determined our fate. In their first fourteen years of marriage they would have ten different homes. My father was a salesman … Continue reading The Longest Home

McConnell’s “Parallel Government”

Hypocrisy is commonplace in our politics, but usually politicians attempt to maintain at least the appearance of logical consistency between their public pronouncements and their cherished ideological positions. Not so Mitch McConnell, who issued a statement yesterday decrying the fact that several corporations, along with Major League Baseball, have taken action or commented negatively on Georgia’s new, … Continue reading McConnell’s “Parallel Government”

Post-Pandemic Derangement Syndrome

We’re beginning to see glimmerings of that elusive light at the end of the tunnel. Biden’s rescue package got passed, the vaccines are trickling down to more and more age groups and risk categories, and we can just barely foresee the day when we’ll be able to get together over dinner indoors, or see the … Continue reading Post-Pandemic Derangement Syndrome

A Modest Proposal to Save Higher Ed

It’s rare that two problems add up to a solution. But that could be the case with two problems that have been thrown into high relief by the Covid pandemic. One is the crisis in higher education brought on by changing demographics and widespread questioning of the value proposition of higher ed as defined by … Continue reading A Modest Proposal to Save Higher Ed

Now Available on Amazon

A compendium of the best essays from Mortal Coil from 2018 to 2021, this new volume includes ruminations on the fiftieth anniversary of the first moon landing, the realities of aging in America, the enduring genius of mid-century disaster fiction, and the misadventures of a hapless time traveler who finds himself in the era of … Continue reading Now Available on Amazon

Vaccination Etiquette 101

Could we talk about your Covid vaccination etiquette? Mine too, of course, but mostly yours. First, if you’ve been lucky enough, obsessive enough, or sneaky enough to have already gotten your first or second Covid shot, don’t brag about it. Don’t repeat five times in every conversation that you’ve been vaccinated. Especially don’t do this … Continue reading Vaccination Etiquette 101

The Real Grounds for Trump’s Impeachment

The chances of two-thirds of the Senate backing the impeachment of Donald Trump are slim to none, so what’s going on in the Senate must have other purposes: to consolidate the record of what happened on January 6, to publicize it in a way that can make an impact on the voting populace, and in … Continue reading The Real Grounds for Trump’s Impeachment

Re-Imagining America, Part II

National elections like the one we've just suffered through are, among other things, quadrennial CAT scans of the body politic. This last exam turned up cancers and lesions of all sorts, some in peripheral limbs that can be safely ignored, but others in critical organs where, left untreated, they could be fatal. In our post-election … Continue reading Re-Imagining America, Part II