What's Tony Thinking

Lots of (Republican) Advice for Democrats

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August 21, 2019 — One of the more curious, even paradoxical, features of this election cycle is the number of Republicans offering urgent advice to the Democratic Party and its Presidential candidates. After the first round of Democratic Presidential debates in June, David Brooks and Bret Stephens, both Republicans who write for the New York Times, pled with the... Read More

The Guns and Race Connection

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August 17, 2019 — I’ve often thought of the guns right issue as something linked to the hunting culture of a place like Wallowa County. At least one of my grandfathers was a hunter. Like many men (and some women) here he hunted deer and elk in the fall. The meat was part of the family diet, along with... Read More

From the Wallowas

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August 15, 2019 — Mid-way through August and signs of seasonal change hint autumn. The days are shorter now, and the sun’s migration south well underway. The berries on the Western Ash tree have turned from green to yellow to bright orange. The robins and cedar waxwings are gorging on the berries to the point of reeling drunken in... Read More

Melania’s Esther Moment?

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August 8, 2019 — In the biblical book of Esther, Esther became the Queen of Persia during the reign of King Ahasuerus. The queen job was open because  the King had given the boot to Vashti, the former queen, when she disobeyed him. But there’s a little problem and a little secret, Esther is a Jew. A member of... Read More

How Many Deaths Will It Take, ‘Til . . .

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August 6, 2019 — There’s a disturbing story in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 13: 1 -9). Jesus, on his way to Jerusalem, meets crowds who having witnessed violence and tragedy, are intent on on assigning blame and laying hold of an explanation for this evil. As if to say, “Once blame is assigned, we can rest easy.” “There... Read More

Seven Reasons Why the Story of Joseph and the Nez Perce Has Proven Enduring

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August 1, 2019 — I recently finished Daniel Sharfstein’s magisterial work, Thunder in the Mountains: Chief Joseph, Oliver Otis Howard and the Nez Perce War. With this 600 plus page volume, Sharfstein, a professor of both history and law at Vanderbilt, joins a host of historians, novelists, biographers and poets who have inspired to write about the Nez Perce.... Read More

Group Dynamics

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July 30, 2019 — I don’t know who came up with it, but there’s a useful rule of thumb about groups. Groups will go through three stages as they develop: forming, storming, norming. Forming is coming together, getting acquainted, initial enthusiasm. Everyone on good behavior. As the pre-school ditty put it, “The more we get together . . .... Read More

Seattle City Council Races: What’s At Stake?

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July 24, 2019 — The August 6 primary election in Seattle is fast approaching. They will reduce the present field of 55 candidates to dozen, so they matter big time. My colleagues at PostAlley.com have been doing a bang-up job of analysis of the overall election and what’s at stake as well, as handicapping the races in each district.... Read More

Untroubled Demons and Feckless Faith

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July 22, 2019 — In a recent post (“Trump’s Evil Genius”) I wrote, more than half-seriously, that we may not only need an election, but an exorcism — the casting out of an evil spirit. For several weeks now I have working through the work of the African theologian Esther E. Acolatse titled Powers, Principalities, and the Spirit: Biblical... Read More