Opinion

Illegal people... or actions?

04/24/2014
In a civilized country such as ours, with a long democratic tradition of obeying many laws or paying the consequences, the word “illegal” can arouse strong reactions, especially when assigned to a person or group. For practical reasons, however, much that violates the law is overlooked, although when violators are...

¿Son ilegales las personas... o las acciones?

04/17/2014
En un país civilizado como éste, con larga tradición democrática y leyes diversas que deben respetarse, so riesgo de pagar las consecuencias, la palabra “ilegal” puede concitar reacciones airadas, más cuando se asigna a una persona o grupo. Pero cuando por razones prácticas algo queda fuera de la ley y...

T.V., radio, entertainment, bread and circuses

04/10/2014
After work, food and rest, the human race needs distraction and leisure for a more complete and balanced life. From ancient times to the present, civilizations have always found fun and recreation in a variety of forms, many of which would be inappropriate or illegal today. In modern life there...

Technology, wealth, inequality and housing

03/27/2014
In San Rafael there are homeless people pushing shopping carts while using headsets and electronic devices, Latino kids texting and watching videos while their fathers wait for work on the corner, themselves distracted by cell phones. In India there are people who have no electricity but communicate by cell phone;...

Tecnología, riqueza, desigualdad y vivienda

03/20/2014
En San Rafael, hay indigentes empujando carritos de supermercado, usando audífonos y aparatos electrónicos, o chicos latinos “texteando” incansablemente o viendo videos, mientras sus padres esperan trabajo en una esquina distrayéndose con sus teléfonos móviles. Hay personas en la India sin electricidad, comunicándose por celular; niños desnutridos en Bolivia o...

The culture in words II

03/13/2014
It is difficult for even an advanced student of language to understand that although language is a universal human expression, individual ones can vary a great deal, depending on the culture of the group or person that speaks it. It is a mistake to believe that all the words, expressions...

The culture in words

02/27/2014
Upon seeing the boy entering her office, the doctor smiled at his mother and said, “How adorable!” The mother didn’t know how to respond; the young, blonde American doctor’s Spanish, while friendly, sounded unnatural and took her by surprise. The word “adorable” seemed strange when directed toward her son. She...

The future and integration of immigrants

02/13/2014
In my last column I dealt with the constant uncertainty with which many Latino immigrants live in this country as a result of their precarious immigration status that prevents them from traveling freely and could at any time divide families by deportation. This uncertainty is exacerbated by the difficulty they...

Sixty-two copies and nothing on the shelf: Library policy reduces choice

02/13/2014
I’m a regular and extremely grateful patron of the Marin Free Library’s branches in Bolinas, Stinson Beach and Point Reyes. The staffs of all three are stellar, and I feel lucky to live in a community with such a vibrant library system and such committed local librarians. Yet I’d like...

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