Facts, and Opinions: Weekend Reads

A full moon rises behind U.S. Border Patrol agent Josh Gehrich as he sits atop a hill while on patrol near Jacumba, California, U.S., November 14, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Inmates and the Mustang Border Patrol. Above, an agent near Jacumba, California, U.S.REUTERS/Mike Blake

Inmates and the Mustang Border Patrol, by Reuters Photo-essay

American prisoners participating in the Wild Horse Inmate Program train mustangs that will eventually be adopted by the U.S. Border Patrol, providing the agency with inexpensive but agile horses, and inmates with skills and insights they hope to one day carry with them from prison.

Tolkien’s imaginary languages Beat Esperanto for Impact, by  Philip Seargeant

JRR Tolkien began writing The Fall of Gondolin while on medical leave from the first world war, 100 years ago. It is the first story in what would become his legendarium – the mythology that underpins The Lord of the Rings. But behind the fiction was his interest in another epic act of creation: the construction of imaginary languages.

Chronic pain fuels opioid epidemic, by Penney Kome  Column

Of all the stories I’ve seen about the prescription opioid epidemic, only a few touch briefly and lightly on the major factor driving all the prescriptions — chronic pain — before they skip on to recommend better patient and physician education. In the U.S., having 40 per cent of the population in chronic pain is not a given, it’s a catastrophe.

Thailand’s Game of Thrones enters new era, by Jonathan Manthorpe   Column

While people in the United States grapple with having done exactly what the Founding Fathers railed against and have elected a cartoon version of George III, the entrenchment of authoritarian democracy is going much more smoothly in Thailand.

 

Canada doesn’t need Trump-lite, by Tom Regan   Column

Donald Trump-lite. It’s a scary idea. Anything that looks like a version of The Donald is bad news for any country. Yet this is what Canada faces with the upcoming candidacy of Kevin O’Leary for the leadership of the Conservative party in Canada. For, make no mistake, Kevin O’Leary is Donald Trump-lite.

Oceans Apart, UK and US United in Hate Crime Worry, by Patrick G. Lee, ProPublica  Report

A divisive vote, with jobs and immigrants the most combustible issues. An outcome that surprised the experts. A nation left on edge, with many anxious about intolerance and the violence that can stem from it. No, not just America today, but also the United Kingdom seven months ago.

The Russian government is not America’s friend, by Tom Regan  Column

Let’s be perfectly clear about this: Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government are not America’s friends. They are not friends of democracy, nor are they really interested in promoting any sense of peace in the world – at least a balanced peace. Russia is primarily interested in undermining Western democracy as much as it can without firing a shot … at the west. (Countries like the Ukraine and maybe the Baltic states, that’s a different matter.)

By Julian Vannerson - Library of Congress, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44993463

Andrew Johnson

America: Andrew Johnson Rides Again, by Jim McNiven  Column

Mark Twain liked to say that ‘History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often does rhyme’. Every hundred and fifty years, I suppose, history has to start to rhyme in the United States. In 1865, a popular President was succeeded by a President who had no clear mandate, who was blustery and not a part of the then Establishment.

Human Rights: There’s an App for that, by Jonathan Manthorpe   Column

An air quality monitor atop the United States Embassy in China  confirmed for the Chinese people what they instinctively knew:  their government lies to them. It has instigated a middle class protest that has the ruling Communist Party scurrying to respond on air pollution.

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