October 20, 2021

Conventional wisdom says a president’s party loses seats in midterm elections. Republicans, needing few gains to control Congress, will benefit from the census shifting seats to red states, gerrymandering, voter suppression, and other cheating. But modern American politics confounds conventional wisdom. No longer conforming to a rational…


October 16, 2021

[I can hardly believe this piece got published in today’s Albany Times-Union. On the “Faith and Values” page! Especially my final paragraph!]*

Most human societies have believed not just in gods but also devils and demons. A way to explain much evil. Such beliefs were commonplace and…


October 12, 2021

Katherine Stewart is an investigative reporter and author of the book, The Power Worshippers. I attended her talk titled “The dangerous rise of the religious right.”

“Christian nationalism” she said, would be a better descriptor. Central to the ideology is the (historically false) idea of America founded…


October 7, 2021

Discrimination is a hot topic — race, gender, age, sexual orientation. But there’s one sort widely unrecognized: what columnist David Brooks calls “lookism.” Discrimination against unattractive people.

He cites studies about how they’re treated worse than the good looking. Shocking! And whereas many varied classes of people…


October 4, 2021 (from www.rationaloptimist.wordpress.com)

Craig Whitlock’s book, The Afghan Papers: A Secret History of the War, is a depressing litany of what went wrong — reading as if everything did. Is this a balanced picture? In any giant enterprise, involving human beings, horror stories will abound. Afghanistan had more…


October 1, 2021 (from www.rationaloptimist.wordpress.com)

Republicans have repeatedly cynically harmed America by playing the government shutdown card. Democrats, with narrow Congressional majorities, managed to head off the latest.

But still looming is the debt ceiling. If not raised by mid-October, we’ll default on our financial obligations, an unthinkable economic apocalypse…


September 27, 2021 (from www.rationaloptimist.wordpress.com)

I enjoy reading “Dear Abby.” Though her answers are often insipid, the letters are a window into human psychology. Not that they’re necessarily representative; but certain themes recur so regularly, they do tell us something.

Marriage and love problems loom large. Inevitable when two people…


September 24, 2021

The 2020 election was not stolen. The 2024 election may be.

We’re learning more about January 6 and what led up to it. One aspect was Trump’s mental illness. Narcissism so deranged he couldn’t psychologically accept defeat. Needing to somehow convince himself it didn’t happen. …


September 21, 2021 (from www.rationaloptimist.wordpress.com)

His first day in office, Trump handed China a giant victory by nixing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal we’d expressly created to blunt China’s clout. Yet Republicans call President Biden “soft on China.” The truth is the opposite.

We have two main global antagonists…


September 18, 2021 (from www.rationaloptimist.wordpress.com)

Brimfield MA’s antiques flea market, several times yearly, is gigantic. My wife and I hadn’t gone in years, but decided to visit on September 10. About two hours from Albany.

Every kind of collectable imaginable is on offer, and many you wouldn’t imagine. Like one…

Frank S. Robinson

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