I’d Rather Pass Away Than Die

The danger of using euphemisms for hard truths in the public arena is that you’ll eventually lose credibility and the trust of the people you’re trying to persuade. The audience rightfully feels that you think they are stupid.

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Sick Words

After his treatment for prostate cancer, the journalist Dana Jennings cringed when he was described as being “brave” in his “fight” and “battle” against the disease. He says, “It pays to have a positive outlook, I think, but that in no way translates to ‘fighting’ cancer. Cancer simply is.” Later he says, “bravery entails choice, […]

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A New Normal?

No matter how you feel about the military policy “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen laid out his personal position with great clarity and calm last week – an approach all too unusual when public figures talk about hot issues like gays in the military.

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Obama’s Avatar

Barack Obama is a great writer and orator. But since becoming president, he’s had to focus his attention on a slew of mind-boggling problems. So, except for foreign travel and the occasional campaign-like drive-by into the “heartland” – where he riles up “real people” at fake rallies about healthcare or “fat cat” bankers – he’s […]

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The clocks were striking thirteen

When I’m browsing for a book to read, I always check out the first couple of lines. If they grab me, I’m more than half way there. I want to know what happens next.

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The Problem with “You Lie”

No doubt about it, the political climate of 2009 is hot. When policymakers on both sides of the aisle think nothing of accusing their opponents of lying, you know that discourse in the public sphere has reached an all-time low.

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