Richard Preston, whose 1994 book “The Hot Zone” brought the Ebola virus terrifyingly alive for readers, once described how, during his research, his biohazard suit had ripped open, exposing him to a potentially fatal toxin. “I started to feel giddy,” Preston wrote in “Panic in Level 4,” a 2008 collection of essays. “It was an […]

‘Agent orange’ danger seen in new proposals While watching TV a few days ago I became aware that DOW Chemical was in the process of introducing an additional additive into their herbicide dusting crop mixture branded as 2,4d in order to eradicate a new type of super-weed which the farmers have indicated has invaded the […]

As I move toward retirement early in the new year, one of my goals has been to purge a lot of my “stuff.” When I moved back to Mississippi more than 20 years ago, I brought with me an accumulation of things gathered in more than 25 years away. My sister passed away, and when […]

Before this past week, which one of the following did you think was more likely to happen first? 1. Pigs fly. 2. Bigfoot is captured. 3. Elvis records comeback album. 4. Hell freezes over. 5. Mississippi State is ranked No. 1 in football. Well? Why are you pausing? My cousin, who is a huge Ole […]

One of the wonders of this political moment is feminist contentment about the infantilization of women in the name of progressive politics. Government, encouraging academic administrations to micromanage campus sexual interactions, now assumes that, absent a script, women cannot cope. And the Democrats’ trope about the Republicans’ “war on women” clearly assumes that women are […]

Political orthodoxy often masquerades as religious orthodoxy, creating a cynical mix of certainty wrapped in narrow goals for or against topical, often important issues. One of the great gifts of the American republic is free speech allowing people who profess basically the same broad philosophies to starkly differ in public on details of issues. Recently, […]

Leon Panetta has taken a lot of heat for publicly dumping on Barack Obama’s foreign policy while the president is still in the White House. Where’s his loyalty? the critics ask, as Panetta makes the publicity rounds for his new memoir, “Worthy Fights,” which says tough things about Obama’s past policies on Syria and Iraq. […]

I’ve been saying “Sorry” to Bix the Mississippi mudhound a lot lately. “Stop apologizing, Boss,” he said. “Just throw food.” “That would be easier,” I said. “Happy to help.” But it hasn’t helped. I still feel guilty for what I’ve done and what I’ll continue to do. A while back, I wrote about how Bix […]

The niece Chelsey grew up in this column, a recurring character from the time she was born until she graduated college. Then she disappeared, at least from this block of newspaper real estate. “She’s not funny anymore,” I’d joke when readers asked – as they inevitably did – why I no longer wrote much about […]