“Gran Torino” by Clint Eastwood

by Steve Young • I saw Clint Eastwood’s latest movie – Gran Torino – on its opening day just before I left Saint Paul for Thailand. There is a sizable minority population of Hmong in Thailand and Gran Torino is, superficially, about Hmong Americans. I know the Hmong, visited a Hmong village in Thailand in 1963 and help them find sanctuary in the United States as refugees.

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Stopping by woods on a sunny afternoon

by Steve Young, 8/16/08 • It was a beautiful, really beautiful, August afternoon as my wife Hoa and I were driving home from some days at Elbow Lake east of Cook, Minnesota. As we passed Eveleth with its slightly forlorn Ice Hockey Hall of Fame, I remembered the shock of nearly six years ago when I heard of Paul and Sheila Wellstone dying in a plane crash as they were attempting a landing at the Eveleth air strip. Oh that was a moment when I sensed the very real presence of injustice in the cosmos. A bitter feeling indeed. Continue Reading

Ubuntu

by Stephen B. Young, 7/20/08 • It is Friday July 19, 2008, and Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday. I am in Cape Town, South Africa, and can see from my hotel Robben Island where Mandela spent 27 years in prison.

His crime: opposing a regime using the powers of a police state to impose an ideology. Ideology is conformist; it is communal righteousness that can brook no challenge from independent thought or mere personal whim. Certain truths apparently so brittle that they can’t survive a rough passage through the storms of human needs, passions and perceptions.

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Thoughts from Geneva

by Steve Young, 7/12/08 • I have just been in a marvelous setting for getting your heart and mind around what is important – an old hotel in the Swiss Alps overlooking Lake Laman or as some call it, Lake Geneva.

Before either John McCain or Barack Obama sets to work as our next President in early November, he should go to this place in Caux, Switzerland, or some place very like it.

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Wes Clark and John McCain

by Stephen Young, 7/4/08 • Thank you Wesley Clark.

You have done the nation a great service by pointing out that which is not easily spoken of – just what are we to make of a soldier’s suffering as a prisoner of war when he seeks the Presidency of the Republic.

John McCain was not the only one to suffer at the hands of the Vietnamese Communists during the Vietnam War. Many others still carry scars and wounds from their service in war.

Bob Dole was traumatically wounded in World War II, with an arm crippled for life, and he ran for president without making a big deal of it.

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The Fourth of July

by Stephen Young, 7/5/08 • I read the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July and, to my surprise, the words came up with a new meaning. Or maybe my current distemper about our politics put new meaning into the old words.

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