Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Conversation with Carl Sagan, Part III: Disarmament

(Note: Forty years ago I exchanged letters with Carl Sagan. In his letter, he asked me two questions. The first focused on how we might move people to think more in terms of the interests of the “human species as … Continue reading

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Alice Paul and the Silent Sentinels Spearheaded Suffrage Campaign

(This essay is the first in a series on Famous Women. It was originally published by the Newport Daily News on August 29, 2020. ) I am always stunned by the fact that, until one hundred years ago and only … Continue reading

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World War Two Ends with Great Impacts on US

(This essay was originally published by the Newport Daily News on August 14, 2020.) Seventy-five years ago today, Japan surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, ending World War II. In 1984, historian, actor, and broadcaster Studs Terkel published an oral history … Continue reading

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A Conversation with Carl Sagan, Part II: Nationalism over Liberalism

(Note: Forty years ago this month, I finished reading Carl Sagan’s book, “The Dragons of Eden.” I wrote him a long letter. He wrote back and asked me two questions. The first: “What would be necessary to make the reader … Continue reading

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A Conversation with Carl Sagan, Part I: Wonder and Theory

(Note: This essay was originally published by the Newport Daily News on July 25, 2020.) Forty years ago this month, I had just finished reading Carl Sagan’s book, “The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence,” a … Continue reading

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Slavery Today

(Note: This essay was originally published on June 27, 2020, by the Newport Daily News. It is the 10th and final essay in the series: Slavery in Rhode Island. For the complete series, go to http://www.zilianblog.com) To many Americans the … Continue reading

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A Reflection on Marriage and the Family

(Note: An abridged version of this essay was published by the Newport Daily News on June 13, 2020.) Fifty years ago this weekend, my wife, Geri, and I were married on a sun-drenched day at the Catholic church at West … Continue reading

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Little Richard Helped to Birth Rock ’n’ Roll

(Note: This essay was originally published by the Newport Daily News on May 25, 2020.) The passing of Little Richard earlier this month was a good occasion for me to take an easy stroll down the memory lane of music … Continue reading

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Coronavirus May Generate New Civic Spirit

April 13, 2020 (Note: This essay was originally published at thehill.com on April 23, 2020, as “Could the coronavirus create a new civic spirit in America?”) While the coronavirus does unutterable harm to Americans, it also presents us with a … Continue reading

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50th of Earth Day, Occasion for Hope and Action

(Note: This essay originally appeared on the History News Network (https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/175118, on April 22, 2020. An abridged version of this appeared in the Newport Daily News on the same day.) In his No. 1 hit, “Eve of Destruction,” Barry McGuire … Continue reading

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