This has been a rough final semester of teaching for me.  Our marvelous students are a challenge and deserve our very best in the way of teaching — I had nearly a hundred in three filled classes doing 20 page critical research papers.  And virtually every topic in either the philosophy of law or ethics and society classes is currently loaded with horrors, thanks to the Republican, right wing religious, greedy libertarian intrusions into American life.

One has to deal constantly in the classroom with media distortions or ‘left-right opinion’ trashing of serious topics.  Students are understandably skeptics these days, given the misinformation that they sense is being thrust at them from all directions.  Persuading them that there is reality buried under the trash if one digs deep enough has become an even more challenging job in the classroom.  Still one gets there with most of the students by the end of a semester.  Mine profit greatly by their in depth research papers which frequently begin with ‘Before I did research in this topic I assumed . . . . but now I know that X.’  Why must the U.S. at this point in its history be the land of deceptions — particularly when we are so needed to bring peace and prosperity to the wider world?!

It looks as though Jesus has told Bush to send more Americans to Iraq to provide targets for disenchanted Iraqis.  I gather that is also the pattern in Afghanistan which is largely out of the news — probably because it is both depressing and also dangerous for reporters there.

The Bush presentation will hopefully be met by a bit more skepticism — undoubtedly it will be coated with the usual spins of various kinds designed to distract fellow Americans from the fact that Bush has brought us nothing but disasters — at home as well as abroad.  Will it get through to him in his lifetime that he has most likely been the worst president in the history of the U.S. — has cost more pointless loss of life here and abroad than any other while failing to give the leadership that would have been so significant for so many from an American president at this particular time in history.  A fellow Yalie commenting at the American Historical Assn this month on the dark days at Yale (Jesse Lemisch, “History at Yale in the Dark Ages, 1953-1976”) when he was a student and teacher there in the late sixties sent along a copy of Bush’s college transcript.  It is all C’s with an occasional F and one 80 (B-) in a second semester Spanish class.  How could we have got ourselves stuck with such a dummy!?

Well, I am glad to be freer now to comment and act politically while this tired body continues moving along.  Time to take a deep breath and get going!  Ed Kent

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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