Helen Neswald

How about an oath of poverty for the U.S. Supreme Court?

Following is an open letter to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vermont):

While the debate rages over whether the U.S. legislature has the right and responsibility to impose the code of ethics that binds other government institutions on Supreme Court appointees, I have come up with a simple solution that has the privilege of being uniquely designed for the highest-court-in-the-land officers, so venerated that we appoint them for life with no legally structured accountability other than the embarrassing and energy-intensive process of impeachment.

Why not impose an oath of poverty at the time of their appointment? Such would state that in addition to their salaries (about which I am ignorant - and, I assume, the general public is as well) they shall not accept any gifts of significant monetary value, although when not in session they may feel free to supplement that amount by temporary employment, say at McDonalds or another enterprise that may hire seasonally available employees.

Such an oath would reinforce the venerable posture they have long represented in the judiciary and remove any possibility of their being distracted by debatable ethical arguments, thereby fostering the proper work environment appropriate to their exalted role in our government.

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Coming to peace with Rooster

‘I became sufficiently uncomfortable in his presence to begin slinking around the outskirts of the yard, behavior that took its toll on my well-being’

Early in my egg-laying-chicken venture, I was told that roosters were tetchy creatures, often incorrigibly aggressive and valuable to humans only for their reproductive roles - unless you were a fan of cockfights. Hens, on the other hand, were docile food producers, and their egg-laying activity did not require...

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Our world needs to foster the means to plan pregnancies

Elayne Clift's recent revelations about women charged with homicide for fetal deaths, whether intentional or unavoidable, spiked my longstanding outrage at efforts to block women's sovereignty over their pregnancies. I share her interpretation that such punitive measures are acts of political dominance over women by men, as well as...

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Home stretch

Worrying about dying has something in common with worrying about the sun burning out in five billion years: there's no way we can influence either event, so worrying is an an obvious waste of time. Worrying about growing old, on the other hand, seems to support our doing a good job in coping with the unique challenges of end of life. We owe it to ourselves - or so most of us think - to take special pains to conserve...

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October song

When my mother had become so shrouded in the mists of Alzheimer's disease that she could no longer leave her assisted-living residence, Dad began to visit us without her. Their D.C. residence, near to my sisters' homes, had been chosen to serve Mom's advancing needs, but over the years it had become obvious that Dad, too, was declining. In order to be part of his life while he was still capable of sharing it, I brought him to our home...

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Birds of a feather

Although raising layer hens was not in my family tradition, nor even remotely related to my life experience, when I, at age 50, along with members of my family still living at home, moved to rural Vermont, it was a role I slipped into almost by chance and adopted with both trepidation and eagerness. I later heard through the grapevine that mature women were known to have a penchant for raising hens - a somewhat demeaning characterization - but that...

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The real deal

In the middle of my village's quarter-mile-long Main Street stands an imitation Catholic church - imitation, in my eyes, because its street-facing colored windows are plastic, and, to me, a secular Jew with a passion for architecture, the word “Catholic” has always meant buildings of impressive stability reaching upward toward a heaven whose light shines through their tributary windows. Narrow-minded and irreverent, perhaps, but I have known many Catholics in the course of my 75 years, and most of them...

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Does Donald Trump really embrace Christian values?

While I have no doubts about Richard Morton's sincerity, I would like to ask him to look more closely at the Trump administration's aims, not one of which is conducive to promoting a better life for ordinary Americans. As a woman in her eighth decade, I particularly take issue with the administration's blindness to - or maybe acceptance of - the political implications and motives for denying women reproductive choice. Mr. Morton's touching empathy for unborn life, is, like the...

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