I suppose the conceded belief that someone somewhere might be interested in my opinions was what initially drew me to writing. Even after fifteen years of doing it, I still enjoy – and genuinely appreciate – having a forum to express my views. From my beginnings as a columnist at the Northern Iowan (I hope to get around to digitizing those some day), to my time as a contributor to the Des Moines Register and through to the monthly column I wrote for the Copenhagen Post, I have enjoyed the discussions spurred on by my columns, even the ones in which I had my convictions seriously tested.
About that headline...
After a newspaper’s decision to use the word 'never' in a headline became a story of its own, apologists of all sorts came out of the woodwork to defend it. Most of the arguments followed one of two lines of reasoning: either that the word is merely descriptive and not offensive at all, or that the word was acceptable in the past and therefore should continue to be so. But, can a country that is overwhelmingly white really be in a position to determine whether the word is racist or not? And given its long and brutal decade-plus campaign of demonising foreigners, particularly those who don’t look ‘Danish’, can Danes really be surprised that so many are unwilling to give them the benefit of the doubt? READ MORE
An open letter to the Copenhagen Police
You have determined that you can stop and frisk anyone you like if you think they look like someone who might enjoy smoking a joint to relax. You would likely argue that your Task Force Pusher Street is combatting the same gangs as your raids. Both, you’d say, go to disrupt the gangs’ lucrative drug trade.
And while you may have a point, your actions target the wrong end of the equation. Stopping small-time cannabis buyers does not punish the gangsters behind the cannabis trade. Rather, it slaps hefty fines and a criminal record on many everyday citizens. READ MORE
You can go home again (but it won't be the same)
The Pew Research Center found that 57 percent of Americans never move out of their home state and 37 percent never leave their hometowns. That last number increases to nearly 50 percent when you look only in the Midwest, the region of the country I'm from. Many of those who do move away end up returning, as roughly half of all Americans currently live within a 80-kilometre radius of where they were born.
This isn't meant to pick on my fellow Americans. I think Americans are unjustly seen – particularly by many Europeans who appreciate any opportunity to snootily look down their noses at us – as oblivious and uninterested in anything that happens outside the country's borders. READ MORE
Service sorely lacking from national health system
Despite the steady flow of tax money funding the healthcare system, it has seen massive firings and cutbacks, leaving those left in the nation’s hospitals and doctor’s offices stretched too thin.
Residents throughout the country are forced to travel longer distances as hospitals close their doors or shut down units. Horror stories of long waiting lists and patients forced to receive care in the hallways are rampant, and there is the grim reality that survival rates for serious diseases like cancer are among the worst in the Western world. READ MORE
Imprisoned in a free country
We Americans like to think of ourselves as the biggest and best in everything, but in some cases bigger is not better.
New reports show that America incarcerates its people at a rate seven to 10 times higher than all other democracies, easily giving the United States the world’s largest penal system. READ MORE
All eyes on the skies
The ‘legality’ of drone strikes is down to President Barack Obama claiming for himself the power to order killings if he feels that the individual’s death will keep Americans safer. There is no due process and no independent oversight.
And these ‘targeted killings’ often hit much more than just their target. It is estimated that the drone strikes have claimed the lives of 800 innocent civilians. The whole stink famously recalls the logic of Richard Nixon, who declared: “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” READ MORE
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