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John Graham Speaks at the Naval Academy

At Annapolis all 4,500 midshipmen roared to their feet in response to Graham's speech, challenging them to think deeply about "War, Leadership and a Moral Life." For more on John Graham's speeches and workshops, go here.

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Sit Down Young Stranger -- a memoir

To the young Graham, adventure was everything, and each brush with death only pushed him to up the ante—and to bury ever deeper the emotional life needed to make him whole. Then it changed, sometimes dramatically, including a desperate fight to survive in a lifeboat in a typhoon in the North Pacific. More of the story here. You can get the book here


(from the Blog) Vietnam Revisited

In 1972, I was US Advisor to the City of Hué, South Vietnam. Some evenings, especially if the day had been difficult and dangerous, I would drive a few miles outside the City to an ancient pagoda called Linh Mu. There I would sit at this very spot on a wall overlooking the Perfume River where I would try to absorb some of the calmness of the river, the temple bells, and the monks sweeping the courtyard with straw brooms. But the war was never very far away. more

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Last week, Robert Aaron Long, a 21-year-old white man, killed eight people, seven of them women, in three Atlanta-area spas. His motives seem to have been a toxic mix of misogyny, racism and bizarre ideas about himself and sex.

A patron of two of the spas, the Long grew up in a ultra-conservative Baptist church and appeared fixated on lust and guilt. He told police that he was a “sex addict” and that the women working there were...

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Is Joe Biden Our FDR? You may think, Well by God he is! Or you may see him as a socialist demon. Well fine, it’s a free country and I really want to spark respectful, fact-based discussions by these weekly talks.

Let’s start with the basics. We are in the worst peacetime crisis in a century. Lots of people are scared, depressed, frustrated, pissed off, or all of the above.

And last Thursday night this new American president...

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I’m betting that much of your attention this last week was on quarantines and masks, and on scrambling to get a vaccine appointment.

If you’ve had time for politics, there’s the chess matches in Congress over President Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill and a few of his more controversial nominations for top jobs.

With all that going on, did you also see the reports on the landing of the Perseverance rover on Mars? It was...

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“America’s Back.” On February 19, with those two words, the new US president repudiated the go-it-alone policies of his predecessor that had led to bitter disagreements, escalating trade wars, and rejection of the alliances that have benefited America and its allies since the end of the Second World War

But a slogan is not a policy. Let’s look at what’s back and what isn’t.

Acknowledging the strains and shit storms have...


Smart Speakers

A year or so ago, a smart speaker came into the house as a gift when my wife Ann subscribed to the New York Times. I was agin it but Ann and her son David got it set up to say “Good Morning” and report the day’s news and weather, play podcasts, and radio stations anywhere in the world and—with the addition of a bunch of special plugs—to turn the lights on and off here in the living room.

I had to admit that...

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Talking to the enemy—and in these incredibly polarized times, who doesn’t have some?

I’ve got some useful suggestions for how to turn battlegrounds into conversations.

Know first that I’m no idle theorist. My ideas on conflict communications come from a lifetime of dealing with serious conflicts, from planning nuclear war for NATO, to environmental battles in the Pacific Northwest, to trying to cope with an out-of-control...

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As we all cope with the current challenge of the pandemic, I keep thinking about the post-pandemic world we’ll have to deal with when we emerge from this. I don’t want to miss the lessons we’re being hit with now because they’ll be crucial for surviving the next crisis—the climate crisis—which will be a greater threat than COVID-19. And it’s already bearing down on us.

Stripped down to the rivets by this pandemic, what did we get...

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Keep your eye on the ball. President Trump's performances with Kim Jong Un are not the biggest game in town. The foreign policy pot most likely to explode in the near future is not North Korea. It’s Iran.

As a former US Foreign Service Officer who has traveled in that country—and who was once even jailed there as a spy a half-century ago—I'm mindful that Iran aka Persia has always been, continues to be, and has every right to be a...

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Take a step behind the discussions on guns, misogyny, and the anger and loneliness that are driving men’s addictions and suicides. Time after time, in that dark place, I see men struggling to communicate or even acknowledge their emotions, men wanting but failing to form positive relationships with other men, men whose fathers were emotionally AWOL, men who grew up without good role models for what it means to be a brave, caring and...


New privacy rules. I invite you to sign up for my blog on the form below. Roughly once per month I'll put up some hopefully competent, provocative words on a hot button issue go which I invite you to respond. I'm now compliant with the new privacy rules established by the European Union. You can check out my Privacy Policy here. I protect your data and I don’t sell or lend my subscribers’ addresses to anyone. Ever.

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