The Naturalist's Corner: Could the environment be, once again, a game changer?

I ran into a fellow at Ingles just the other day. Regrettably, I don’t remember his name, but I run into him occasionally around town and have for years. And I definitely should remember his name because he is a loyal follower of the “Naturalist’s Corner” and he is crazy bout his birds. Every time I see him he has some encouraging words regarding a recent column and/or a recent bird-related anecdote to share.

Trump’s personality issues deserve diagnosis

By Norman Hoffman • Guest Columnist

Most psychiatric conditions require the clinician to interact directly with the individual to determine a diagnosis. For example, most of us have experienced some level of depression, but few of us have reached the threshold for a diagnosis of major depressive episode, which requires additional criteria, such as loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, slowed concentration, feelings of guilt, and/or thoughts of death.

However, there are a few conditions that can be determined from observable behavior. One of these is narcissistic personality disorder. Of the nine criteria, five are required to indicate a diagnosis, and most can be determined from observing behaviors. Here are the nine criteria:

Believing just does not make it true

I recently saw people interviewed at the CPAC meeting stating how pleased they were with Trump’s accomplishments. That got me to thinking that maybe Trump’s most impressive accomplishment is gaslighting people into thinking that his pronouncements of achievements are real. Let’s take a look at the actual accomplishments.

Constituents of color: Meadows defense of Trump angers many

Michael Cohen’s recent testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee took an unexpected dive deep into America’s racial divide, and Western North Carolina’s Congressman Mark Meadows jumped right in to it. 

That led to relentless lampooning of the four-term Republican, culminating in his buffoonish portrayal on a recent episode of Saturday Night Live, but Meadows’ constituents of color aren’t laughing. 

Hysteria yes; a national emergency, no

Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-eight dead. Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Virginia. Thirty-three dead. Stoneman Douglass High School, Parkland, Florida. Seventeen dead. Harvest Music Festival, Las Vegas, Nevada. Fifty-nine dead.

Halfway home: pink hat marchers soldier on

A little over two years ago, I woke up in Alexandria, Virginia, less than 24 hours after the inauguration of the nation’s 45th president. 

The inherent flaw of a rush to judgment

His is the face that provoked untold millions of posts on social media, the teenage boy from Kentucky face-to-face with an aging Native American man playing a drum, the two of them surrounded by a group of shouting boys, many of them in those red “Make America Great Again” hats.

We see the boy smiling. Is that a smug smirk, or the smile of a boy who has no idea how to react to what is happening in this moment? What does it “mean,” what does it “say?” The imagery itself is so fraught that it is all but impossible to view the photograph without experiencing waves of emotion, immediate and visceral, but also deeply embedded in a painful and resonant history.

Let’s think rationally about the government shutdown

By Isaac Herrin • Guest Columnist

OK, let’s get the opposing comments out of the way: “Rationally, Trump should open the government and stop being petty,” “The last thing a Trump supporter is allowed to say is we need to be rational,” “If you think this is on the Democrats, you’re just blind.”

The lowdown on the shutdown

There are plenty of misconceptions about the federal government shutdown — what it is, who it affects, how it happens, and why — but what is clear is that both parties have engaged in the tactic for almost 45 years, and as time goes on, shutdowns are becoming longer, and becoming more commonly used as a policy tool. 

Government shutdown is not really about a wall

By Norm Hoffman • Guest Columnist

Now we have yet another federal government shutdown. We have to ask if there ever was a government shutdown that Rep. Mark Meadows did not like or have a possible hand in making happen.

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