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Island Error

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune to WSB Radio in Atlanta, on news websites from New Zealand to Greenfield, Indiana, people are talking about the Hawaii company that paid employees a bonus, then told them to return it. The story, which the Honolulu Star Advertiser published on Saturday morning, was that…

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Music Post: When rockers take an interest in classical music

Peter Schickele popularized in classical circles the Duke Ellington quote, “If it sounds good, it is good,” and I’ve never met a musician who wasn’t openminded and adventurous about exploring musics other than the kind she or he plays. So it’s really no surprise that one can easily put together…

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Music Post: The father of all formats

The living composer Jennifer Higdon has remarked that since she had little classical exposure before her teens, core repertory doesn’t mean to her what it means to others, and she tends to prefer more modern works over the old masters. I can relate, being myself self-taught, attracted to contemporary classical music,…

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The truth about China’s new emissions vow

There is much misunderstanding, but easily corrected, about this week’s historic agreement by the United States and China to reduce their emissions over the next 15 years. Both liberals and conservatives are getting it wrong, so if you’re the sort of person who simply believes what he wishes, prepare to…

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What net neutrality is, and why you should be for it

You probably pay daily or at least regular visits to Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Google, Yahoo!, AOL, Slate, YouTube, FoxNews and/or MSNBC, all large sites backed by large corporations that can afford to pay whatever it takes to have fast page load-ups whenever you want to see some information. But perhaps…

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Rise of the minimum wage

A little noticed trend in this month’s elections was a tendency of voters across the political spectrum to want a higher minimum wage. When it’s up to politicians, only liberal ones seem interested in a minimum wage hike. But when it’s up to voters, even conservative ones think it’s time….

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Music Post: Attractive modern classical music

In my thirties I had a very good friend who was a violinist in a symphony orchestra in a city that was a two-hour drive from where I lived. He got me into rehearsals, and we went to lunch with other musicians, allowing me to learn new things about classical…

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The new reality in Washington – and the new fantasy

There is much hope that the new situation in Washington, with Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, will make it easier for them to get things done. It’s not clear to me that this will be the case, but it is certainly true that the mechanics of negotiation will be…

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How to vote, by Voter No. 0975949

Someone who hasn’t voted in awhile, but intends to, asked me for a detailed description of what it’s like to vote. As I was supplying it, it occurred to me that there may be others, on the cusp of ending a period of non-participation, who might derive encouragement from an…

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Ebola, self-quarantine, and the nurse in Maine

Kaci Hickox can ride her bike when she likes, a Maine judge having rejected the state’s attempt to enforce a “house arrest” sort of quarantine. Social media are making jokes about how she must not have Netflix or Nutella, but of course what she’s really doing is making a medical…