Posts by: Denis Smith

Some folks might think it’s a bit crazy to drive 11 hours and travel 700 miles to Missouri just to visit a library. As someone who no doubt spent too much time in libraries during graduate school pursuing three different degree programs, I can certainly understand that sentiment. But what I found within the space of a few hours in that library’s research area could provide some people with a mini-course in American history.

Libraries are all about learning and discovery, to be sure. But when you visit a place like the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, as Full Story...

We already knew he was a vandal. Now he’s given us even more proof of the full dimension of his destructive behavior.

After spending years vandalizing the legacy of President Barack Obama, first through birtherism (the movement that aimed to show President Obama was not a U.S. citizen) and continuing with the destruction of the Affordable Care Act, the Paris Agreement and the Iran nuclear deal, Donald Trump has provided even more evidence of his banefulness. He’s tearing up documents which by law are to be protected and preserved.

If tearing up healthcare and international agreements weren’t enough, […]

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The tiny radio alarm clock came alive in my dark bedroom at 5 a.m., signaling it was time to get up and go to my internship site for another routine day at the close of the school year.

But the little box that aroused me that day in June 1968 sounded quite different from the usual wake-up-music. Instead of The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Beach Boys, a cacophony of both excited and mournful voices replaced the playlist of familiar songs I was expecting. Instead of the typical morning fare, the radio was replete with non-stop reports on yet another American […]

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Dear Andrew:

I’ve always wanted to write one of those open letters that we see so much of these days. By their nature, open letters usually are crafted as vehicles of concern, rebuke, disgust, rage, or some other emotion that motivates a person to pick up a pen or sit down at the keyboard. But this open letter, Andrew, is different. Though I’m a senior citizen now and six years into retirement, it’s the first one I’ve ever written, and you’re the lucky guy I’ve chosen to address on my maiden voyage to that emotion-filled place called […]

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Remember all the stories about “pink slime” in ground beef several years ago? Though the topic of pink slime lurking in that cellophane container in your shopping cart might have disappeared for the moment, slime of a non-pink variety hasn’t. In fact, today’s Republican Party has perfected the art of soiling or, more accurately, sliming many things in our country, including some of our revered national institutions.

Like the FBI. And its parent, the U.S. Department of Justice.

Let’s examine two prominent Republicans at work today who are masters of the art of sliming.

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If Ohio citizens thought that state media were having a field day reporting about the demise of ECOT, the notorious and very dead online school, the former behemoth’s former spokesman was quick to add his own perspective about the decaying charter carcass. And then some.

“I think most of this is made-up, ridiculous attempts to abuse a corpse,” Neil Clark said.

It was a deft choice of words for Clark, who a few years back famously referred to school districts as “government schools” while he championed an ECOT monster that ravenously consumed government funds as it tried to masquerade […]

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Chen Xiangmei died last week at the ripe age of 94. If you were trying to fathom all of the hell breaking loose in Washington and the rest of the country, you probably were distracted and missed news of her passing. In fact, if it weren’t for an email sent by a friend in Rhode Island that contained a link to her obituary, I might have missed this news as well.

Chen, known in this country as Anna Chennault, died in her penthouse apartment at the Watergate complex in Washington.

That’s right. The Watergate. As I read her obituary in […]

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“We are living in very strange times, and they are likely to get a lot stranger before things bottom out,” Dr. Hunter S. Thompson warned his readers more than forty years ago. But if the “Gonzo journalist” was accurate in his observations then, what would he say about the present?

For the last week, headlines in the US have started to tell the story about a once-obscure company called Cambridge Anayltica and its use of data mining techniques in the 2016 election. The full details of how a company, funded by the mega-rich right-wing Mercer family, snared the profiles […]

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Help! Please Help! No, I haven’t fallen down or lost my keys. However, I am confused and do need some help in clearing up a few things.

The conventional wisdom tells us that senior citizens tend to get confused and even disoriented as they age. Sure, although I’m a senior, I think that I still have it mostly together.

But I’m still confused.

The fact is that every day, regardless of age, we Americans are getting more confused. And the truth is, we owe a great part of that state of confusion to one former reality show TV host who […]

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“The Ohio Department of Education should have taken steps to avoid a mid-year closing of the school. The department created an environment that caused the school to close mid-year.”

If Ronald Reagan could have heard Rep. Andrew Brenner’s comments about ECOT’s closing, he might have offered up his classic line one more time.

“There you go again,” the Gipper might have admonished the Chair of the House Education Committee as he attempted to lay blame anywhere for the online school’s colossal slow-motion train wreck –  except where the responsibility really lies in this disaster.

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It looks like the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow is in fact yesterday’s school.

A long nightmare lasting nearly two decades appears to be over. ECOT, the notorious online charter school, has been suspended by its sponsor and is shutting down, although the appointment of a special master will delay the liquidation of its assets in the short term.

When the official last rites for ECOT are concluded, the online school’s remnants will be piled on top of the rest of the other charter school rubble, a junkyard contained in a swamp filled with the […]

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