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How the NFL Protects Wife-Beaters: Ray Rice’s Laughable Suspension

| July 25, 2014

Baltimore Ravens’s Ray Rice got a mere two-game suspension for beating his fiancee (now wife) unconscious in an elevator a few months ago. The mockery of punishment shows why goons can always depend on a perverted degree of hero-worship in this country.

USA 1, Belgium 2: Back to Flanders Fields (or Houligan’s)

| July 1, 2014

A US win over Belgium is a spot in the quarterfinals of the World Cup for the first time since 2002, but Belgium is fielding the strongest team in its history, stronger than both Ghana and Portugal. There will be goals.

Brazil 1, Chile 1 (Brazil on PKs): Sudden Death

| June 28, 2014

Brazil have not been performing as a World Cup-winning team. They’ve been playing like the scattered parts of a Swiss watch, and some of them have yet to be wound up. Now they face a Chilean team that could give them nightmares.

USA 0, Germany 1: Small Loss for a Big Win

| June 26, 2014

There are numerous ways for the Americans to advance to the next round, but only two ways to guarantee it: a win or a tie against Germany, which happen to be the hardest and second-hardest results to achieve. That may leave the American fate yet again in Ghana’s hands.

USA 2, Portugal 2:
Triumph and Agony

| June 22, 2014

Beating Ghana was thrilling, but only beating Portugal will prove that the Americans are serious about their World Cup campaign. Against whiny, brilliant Cristiano Ronaldo, and without Jozy Altidore, the Americans may have a crucifying 90 minutes in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.

This Is It: Ghana 1, USA 2: Revenge Complete

| June 16, 2014

Both Team USA and Ghana return to the World Cup with revenge on their mind–the US for losing to Ghana in a terrifically fought round-of-16 match four years ago, and Ghana for being unjustly eliminated by the cheating hand of Uruguay’s Luis Suarez in the quarterfinal. It should be a high-energy, dazzling match as long as both teams display the verve they have, but don;t always produce.

France 3, Honduras 0: Slogging back to Honor

| June 15, 2014

French national football has been a comedy of errors and disgrace since the team got clobbered in South Africa four years ago, and self-imploded with acrimony and racist issues. A much calmer, gentler team heads to Brazil, with higher hopes.

England 1, Italy 2: Balotelli Time

| June 14, 2014

The undisciplined, unpredictable, mercurial, fascinating, intimidating, captivating Mario Balotelli is the kind of player who can turn football games into electrifying experiences. He leads Italy in a classic match-up between European powers.

Costa Rica 3, Uruguay 1: Magnificent Upset

| June 14, 2014

The despicable Luis Suarez, the Liverpool striker, one of the greatest players and most repulsive human beings in world football, will lead Uruguay to what may be yet another impressive run in international competition, again on Brazilian ground.

Chile 3, Australia 1: The Mapuche Gods Have It

| June 13, 2014

So, while Iraq falls apart and the United States considers a summer air campaign there, it’s time for the day’s third match, a free-wheeling affair between lowly but beer-swilling Australia and tightly disciplined Chile, whose spoiler capabilities should not be underestimated.

Spain 1, Netherlands 5: Rematch, Beauty and Dethroning

| June 13, 2014

This is the treat of the day: a rematch between the 2010 World Cup finalists, a game Spain won 1-0 at the end of a violent and too often ugly game. Spain these days feels like Rodney Dangerfield in Brazil: it’s getting no respect despite its crushing record in the past eight years.

Brazil 3, Croatia 1: An Undeserved Gift To the Host Nation | World Cup 2014

| June 12, 2014

As an opening match Brazil-Croatia didn’t lack entertainment or tension, two of the absolute requisites of any football game, but it lacked skill and spontaneity, it absolutely lacked poetry and justice.

In Memory of D-Day:
Walking Omaha Beach

| June 6, 2014

Let me tell you about a very lucky trip I had a chance to take with my wife and child about a year ago, to Omaha Beach in Normandy. I’d been wanting to go there for 30 years. I consider it part of my transformation, as an immigrant, into an American, like traveling the 50 states and being a Yankee fan.

Maya Angelou, On the Pulse of Mourning

| May 28, 2014

Starting with ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,’ Maya Angelou’s seven-part autobiography redefined the art of memoir writing while giving voice to a form of literary jazz and blues that trace the liberation and triumphs of a black woman in a culture that, as a result, bears her mark.

Europe’s Tea Party Moment

| May 27, 2014

Voting for the European Parliament in 24 European countries this weekend resulted in near-shocking gains for far-right, neo-Nazi and nativist parties that seek the disbanding of the European Union. The populist surge is part of the same wave of fear and resentment that gave rise to America’s tea parties a few years ago.

Double-Killing in Ormond Beach:
Not Murder-Suicide, But Mercy and Heroism

| May 23, 2014

Shortly after midnight today John Poucher, 89, shot his wife Barbara, 86, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s, then shot himself. The killings will be logged inaccurately as a murder-suicide. The crime is that we live in a society still too barbaric to give assisted suicide and mercy killing its due.

A Heartfelt Thank You To Brian McMillan and Flagler County

| February 14, 2014

Palm Coast Observer Editor Brian McMillan surprised FlaglerLive Editor Pierre Tristam with a moving, supportive column this week, illustrating the contrast between the two competitors, and the true meaning of community.

A Flagler Farewell to 2013: The Local Year in Review

| January 1, 2014

A tornado, plane crashes and mishaps, Flagler County going bonkers for clunkers, a spate of murders in Palm Coast, Flagler Beach’s firehouse follies, Bunnell’s reality show: 2013 is ending not a moment too soon. But first, a review.

Holding a Candle to a Citizenship Oath

| December 16, 2013

Twenty-seven ago today I was one among a few hundred Technicolor-skinned and Babel-tongued immigrants who jammed into an enormous hall in Federal District Court in Brooklyn and recited the oath of citizenship. A candle-lighting has marked the occasion every year since.

Of Thanksgiving Day Parades and Friends in Exile

| November 28, 2013

Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS was a bit like being waterboarded, but matters improved very quickly when the channel changed and the aromas of the day began invading the house, along with just the right spirits: Praise be to Beaujolais Nouveau.

The Zimmerman Trial and Kathleen Parker’s Courtroom Camera Ban

| July 10, 2013

After watching the Zimmerman murder trial, Kathleen Parker concludes that it’s time to ban television cameras from courtrooms again, though not any other type of media. She’s wrong: the distortions of cameras on justice are not nearly as dangerous as the distortions of masked justice.

The Cruel and Unusual Justice Thomas

| June 19, 2013

The cruelties of the self-loathing, self-pitying Clarence Thomas were on display again this week when he provided the deciding vote that had the Supreme Court managing to turn the right to remain silent against the accused, and using that silence as evidence of incrimination.

Death in the Afternoon

| April 13, 2013

It was that the death rattle. You’ve heard it. We’ve all heard it if we live south of the Mason-Dixon Line. This one broke the silence of a perfect Palm Coast afternoon. But an investigation proved to be a succession of decapitated assumptions.

Invitation to an Execution

| April 10, 2013

Larry Eugene Mann was executed at Starke state prison Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. by lethal injection. I traveled to Starke with a Catholic Church group to witness the vigils–pro and con–outside the prison grounds.

Should Teachers Be Able to Spy on Students’ Study Habits?

| April 9, 2013

An electronic-textbook company called CourseSmart lets teachers track whether and how their students are reading assigned textbooks, allowing them to tack on “engagement index” scores to the students’ performance. It’s the latest form of intrusion in private habits driven more by marketing and gimmickry than good intentions.

Argentina’s Jorge Mario Bergoglio is Francis I, Church’s First Non-European Pope, Post-Columbus

| March 13, 2013

76-year-old Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires is the first-ever South American pope, the first non-European pope in a millennium, and the first-ever pope to name himself Francis (Francis I), after St. Francis, patron saint of the poor.

Israel’s Apartheid Bus Lines

| March 7, 2013

Israel’s transportation ministry gave in to Israeli colonists’ demands that they not have to ride buses with Palestinians, and started two segregated bus lines for Palestinians only.

This Is London: Of Returning to England After 34 Years of Happy Exile

| February 16, 2013

Making a return trip to England to celebrate a brother’s 50th birthday, after a 34-year absence, is occasion for reflection about the meaning of time, an unlikely vacation and the most seductive sounds of a train announcer anywhere in the world.

Ben Webster’s Danny Boy

| January 23, 2013

Ben Webster played with Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Cab Calloway, Benny Carter, and was overshadowed by the likes of Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young, but only in his lifetime.

Obama II

| January 21, 2013

Far from a dud, as these second inaugurals tend to be, Obama’s today was bracing in its realism, and hopeful, ironically, for having finally shed the imagery of hope for hope’s sake, replacing it with an agenda for equality, little heard of since the days of the New Deal and the Great Society.

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