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EMU graduate Joseph Sobran's thoughts on agnosticism

(11/23/14 5:19pm)

Ypsilanti-born journalist Joseph Sobran, who received his B.A. in English from Eastern Michigan University, went on to become a specialist in Shakespearean studies. In 1997, Sobran wrote his best-known work “Alias Shakespeare” in which he argued that the man known as Shakespeare was not the actual Shakespeare. Of the just-passed Sir John Gielgud, Shakespearian actor extraordinaire, Sobran wrote: “In their later years, Gielgud and Laurence Olivier reached the conclusion that the real author of Shakespeare's plays was Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford - a view shared by Sir Derek Jacobi, now the finest surviving Shakespearean actor.”

Examining agnosticism

(11/23/14 5:14pm)

If one was unsure whether fall or winter was the more beautiful season or whether Chopin or Mozart was the more masterful composer, the disagreement which would ensue would be purely academic. From it, no practical reverberation would echo. But if one was unsure of whether God existed, the debate would have very real consequences, as the matter at hand would not be music or aesthetics but the foundation on which the lives of billions rest. But in my own thoroughly secular civilization, it is the other way around; religious agnosticism is one of the last acceptable forms of agnosticism.

What do we have to be thankful for?

(11/19/14 7:36pm)

Growing up, my parents were very instrumental in making sure that Thanksgiving was a day on which we made time to pause and think about the past year and all the things we were thankful for. We were each given a large sheet of poster paper and the crayon box because instead of writing everything down, we had to draw it. These annual pieces of art turned into one of my most cherished family traditions, but they only covered the here-and-now aspect of the holiday. The history was an afterthought.

Smell the roses

(11/16/14 9:13pm)

When I first joined the workforce in the late sixties, a popular expression was “don’t work so hard -- take time to smell the roses.” The implication was that we’re in this life to enjoy ourselves and the world around us, not just to work and “get ahead.” Balance was a watchword.

Democrats lack a defining message

(11/12/14 6:52pm)

Elections were last week and many predictions over their outcome came true. The Democrats lost seven contested Senate races against Republican challengers and incumbents, which cost the Democrats control of the Senate. Republicans were able to win back seats the Democrats had won in 2008 when the Democrats were swept into office. The Republican victory can be explained by a number of things, ranging from low voter turnout, to low presidential approval ratings, to fear over Ebola and ISIS.

What did the midterm elections mean for Michigan this year?

(11/12/14 6:48pm)

Setting aside all of the Democrat and Republican shuffling around, Michigan’s 2014 election this year centered on wolves. Now, if you’re like me, you probably weren’t even aware of this unless you happened to look up a version of the ballot a week or two before the first Tuesday of November. You most likely skimmed through both proposals too quickly the first time to really digest them and then just asked your roommate for his or her opinion. Unless you’re a fantastic citizen, you know this is true.

Aquaman deserves more respect

(11/05/14 7:22pm)

When you mention Aquaman most people will probably snicker and laugh. People will probably tell okes about him only being able to talk to fish. Someone will say he has all the powers of Spongebob Squarepants, and everyone will laugh about how worthless Aquaman is compared to Superman and Batman. This is mostly because of his comical appearance on the 1973 cartoon “Super Friends” and the Cartoon Network shorts we probably grew up watching.

Why Detroit cut pensions, and Stockton didn't

(11/02/14 6:54pm)

On June 28, 2012, the city of Stockton, California filed for bankruptcy, $1.1 billion in debt, and on July 18, 2013, the city of Detroit, Michigan filed for bankruptcy, $18 billion in debt. The difference between the two cities’ fiscal crises amounts to more than $16.9 billion difference in debt burden. In Detroit’s plan of adjustment, the pathway out of debt, it cuts pension benefits for retirees, but in Stockton’s plan of adjustment they didn’t.