Author Archives: blraatikka

Suburban Studies, Part I

A. Bartlett Giamatti, former president of Yale University who served for a short time as commissioner of Major League Baseball, was fond of noting that the word “paradise” comes from the Persian that means “enclosed green space”– a baseball field, in Giamatti’s context.   I’ve always been taken by the juxtaposition of human architecture and the natural world, whether it’s the manicured quads of Oxford or the grounds of Fenway Park.  Continue reading

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Gay Marriage: New Definition or Contradiction in Terms?

Grant’s thought-provoking post and accompanying discursion inspired me to write a mini-manifesto on gay marriage and related issues.  I’d like my friends who disagree with me to better understand that there is plenty of logic to go around in this debate, as much as I have had that same realization while listening to their arguments. Continue reading

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How is this justice?

The other week, as I peddled a stationary bike at my favorite health club, I caught a portion of a (close captioned) town hall meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on CNBC.  He addressed the administration/treasury’s efforts in easing the recession and unfreezing the credit markets.   Continue reading

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The Best Songs of the Decade

Well, I suppose the decade is nearly 97% over, and in honor of Pitchfork staff’s recent publication of its top 500 songs of the 2000s (which is relatively piss poor as far as Pitchfork lists go, but it was pretty ambitious), I thought I’d create a list of the best 20 songs I encountered over the past 10 years.  These are not necessarily what I would think the best songs of the decade are, if I could hear everything; just the best songs I did hear (and you’ll no doubt notice glaring blind spots in my listening), and not necessarily my favorites either (although some of them certainly are). Continue reading

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Health Care and Rights of Action

As the current health care reform debate takes increasingly religious and moral overtones, it’s likely we will hear asserted more and more that health care is a basic human right, which the government has an obligation to provide to its people.  However, whatever the utility of the kind of health care reform considered in Washington and discussed across town hall meetings across the country –and I think reasonable minds could differ on that– I hope we can dispose of what strikes me as a silly notion that health care is a right. Continue reading

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In the Matter of a Birth Certificate

A couple of weeks ago, Army reservist Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook challenged his deployment order to Afghanistan on the grounds that it he is not required to serve under a commander-in-chief that has not proven his eligibility for that position.  Namely, Cook alleged that President Obama was not born in the United States, but rather in Kenya, where Obama’s father is from. Continue reading

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How Green is a Nudist Vacation?

With the House’s passage last week of cap and trade legislation, which likely would be the largest indirect tax increase in American history— in the middle of a national recession– after its sponsors inserted a 300 page amendment in the small hours of the night before the vote (that no one had the chance to read), the culture of environmentalism has been on my mind.  The other day, my co-worker sent me a link detailing how scientists planned to breed cows that burp less methane Continue reading

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