A black gay man running for mayor in a Mississippi town is murdered, leaving residents with lots of questions, but few answers:
"When McMillian decided to run for mayor, Owens and his friends saw it as a chance for a fresh start. His death has given Owens a sort of helpless feeling, like shadowy forces are conspiring against him and his town.
"'It could have been a political hit, you never know,' he says. 'He knew. That’s the funny thing. He knew he was going to die. He said they was gonna kill him…. He knows how this town is. If you want to be on top, something that comes with money and power, you can pay a big price.'"
PUBLISHED: March 14, 2013
LENGTH: 19 minutes (4804 words)
A journalist takes his son, who has Asperger's, to meet Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and learns to be a better father after the meetings:
"Bush had connected. With an impish smile, he told Tyler about the time that rocker/humanitarian Bono was scheduled to visit the White House. The president’s aides, knowing that their boss was unimpressed by celebrities, worried that Bush would blow it. '[Chief of Staff] Josh Bolten comes in and said, "Now, you know who Bono is, don’t you?" Just as he’s leaving the Oval Office, I said, "Yeah, he’s married to Cher." ' Bush raised an eyebrow. 'Get it?' he asked Tyler. 'Bone-oh. Bahn-oh.'
"Afterward, I asked Tyler about the Bono joke. He said, 'Sounds like something goofy you would say.' But for me, the exchange was an eye-opener. Tyler was terse, even rude, but Bush was solicitous. Rather than being thrown by Tyler’s idiosyncrasies, he rolled with them, exactly as he had in the Oval Office nine years earlier. He responded to every clipped answer with another probing question. Bush, a man who famously doesn’t suffer fools or breaches of propriety, gave my son the benefit of the doubt. I was beginning to think that people are more perceptive and less judgmental toward Tyler than his own father is. Bush certainly was."
PUBLISHED: Nov. 29, 2012
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4644 words)
A writer debates his dad about the legacy of Baby Boomers: Do they deserve blame for our current economic situation?
"You could call this anecdote Exhibit A in my father’s defense of the boomers, which he offered over coffee on the first day of our weeklong dispute. It boils down to a claim that he didn’t exactly inherit a great deal, either. Tom Tankersley’s argument breaks into two categories. First, he deflects blame for all of the bad stuff of the past several decades to previous generations and myopic politicians. Second, he builds a case that the boomers did far more good than harm.
"The Greatest Generation, his parents’ cohort, paid a lot less into Social Security and Medicare than it took out of it, he says. (This is true.) It did nothing to reduce pollution, conserve natural resources, or halt the nation’s growing and dangerous addiction to fossil fuels. 'Previous generations did not have a Clean Air Act or a Clean Water Act,' he says. His enacted both. (Also true.)
PUBLISHED: Oct. 7, 2012
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4230 words)