Yes on My Ride/My Roads; or Play-it-Again is no Publix

My kid plays a lot of sports. I like to play sports. And I also do a lot of coaching. Consequently, I often need to buy sporting goods — shoes, cups, $200 bats, gloves, basketballs, football, tennis balls, etc. etc. In the last year, I’ve spent probably $500 on gear at Play-it-Again-Sports, a national new/used […]

End Wadegate now: Let’s talk mercy, despair, honesty, and the future

Steve Wade is not the repository of all our sins. One need look exactly no further than the racial, class, and “achievement” segregation that we happily tolerate amongst our choice-driven school system to see that the core of his message to the Lakeland City Commission is widely held. He just made the mistake of saying […]

Defend the honor of your constituents and their children, city commissioners

I can be a tiresome person. I tend to repeat things that matter to me. Quite often. It’s a brute force effort to make them matter to you. One of these is the plunging American and Polk County teen pregnancy rate. Yes, you read that right. Across the country, including our very own teeming pit […]

All policy is personal: Why Obamacare is here to stay and Common Core is imploding

Some of you may remember Pierre Tristam and his career with The Ledger. He covered the Polk County Commission in the late 1990s — a couple of years before I came to town in 1999 to take the same job. By that time, Pierre had moved to the editorial page, where he wrote beautifully idiosyncratic […]

#Ferguson, Lakeland, and the Johnson Avenue shootout you didn’t hear about

[Update: Just had a very productive and welcome discussion with an LPD detective.] I was sitting in my interior living room Saturday evening, sipping a gin and tonic, absently watching “Angels and Demons”, and trying to avoid compulsively thumbing through Twitter for #Ferguson tweets. It’s always more soothing to watch fictional ritual torture and murder […]

The decency and moral courage of Charlie Ward

So, I wrote this giant essay a few weeks ago called “The Grace of Shame.” I wanted to work out for myself how to better reckon with the eternal questions of rape and abuse of sexual power that plague our species. About a third of it focused on the Jameis Winston case. And I ended […]

Of “bad” parents and “bad” schools, Part 2: When “choice” really means “blackmail”

Occasionally, a small story cuts through our national haze of abstract moral bullshit to reveal clearly the reality of life on the ground for much of America. So meet Debra Harrell, the South Carolina McDonalds-within-a-Walmart worker the state arrested at work for allowing her 9-year-old to play alone in a nearby park for two consecutive […]

Of “bad” parents and “bad” schools, Part 1: You have no idea what your school grade means

Quick. Can you explain to me how the state calculated your school’s grade? I didn’t think so. There’s a metaphor in that I’ll be exploring in the next couple/few posts. But I want to start with the grades themselves, which came out not long ago with mercifully little ado. I do think we’ve reached peak […]

Thanks for Nothing, Glenn: Behold the Conservative Values of Your Community Newspaper

Throughout the Lakeland police and government scandal, Ledger Editorial Page Editor Glenn Marston consistently synthesized and distilled for easy consumption the key moral points contained in the massive volume of official reports and news gathering. In a world of derpy, tired, fake ideological punditry, Glenn’s analytical strength and elegant writing stood out. The Ledger proudly […]