Shortly after the U.S. Senate defeated a bill to repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, I stood, snapped to attention and saluted John McCain.McCain photos

This senator called for a return to “regular order” in the legislative process through an impassioned speech Tuesday and three days later cast a vote that helped defeat his party’s effort to undo the nation’s health program.

McCain’s leadership has been so refreshing after listening to and watching a bully president in action during the past seven months. For the first time in weeks, I went to bed Thursday night with a smile on my face.

The Arizona Senator’s action became even more courageous after he returned to Congress two weeks after undergoing brain surgery.

Of course, facing terrible odds is nothing new for this maverick of the Senate who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

On Tuesday, McCain, who is 81, said his service in the Senate represents his most important job.

He critiqued his role in what he noted was a partisan, quarrelsome era of American governing and urged fellow senators on both sides of the aisle to find common ground on which to serve the best interests of the country.

In his vote early this morning, the one-time unsuccessful candidate for president followed his own advice in casting the key vote that defeated the “skinny” health care repeal. Now, the way is cleared to “fix the health care system.”

Meanwhile, it’s time to say:

“Thanks, John McCain, for your service.”



OuthouseI learned to run in the third grade to prevent being pounded by the class bully, who apparently was jealous because I made better grades and often visited with the prettiest girl in class.

Recently, I decided to find out what type of personality disorder the third-grade bully may have suffered. Why, I asked, would he be threatened by a farm boy attired in patched overalls and clunky boots, a Hillbilly who milked cows every morning before catching a bus to school?

This week I discovered the answer by reading something published by the Mayo Clinic staff:

“Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, limiting their ability to function in relationships and other areas of their life, such as work or school. Continue reading DEALING WITH BULLIES COMPLICATES LIFESTYLE


The guests dined on candelabra in a wedding story I wrote shortly after my weekly newspaper career began in 1953.candelabra art

I was reminded of this factual error again this week when I read that four errors had appeared in a front-page Sunday story in the local newspaper.

A single fact error was an automatic flunk for a story written in the journalism classes I taught at three universities during a 30-year career. Four fact errors in a single story may have flunked you out of journalism.

Yet, the error in the wedding story will haunt me to my grave. Obviously, I knew little about wedding paraphernalia when I wrote that story as the only staff member of a weekly newspaper. I should have checked a dictionary about the meaning of candelabra. I should have asked for help. I should have, could have, didn’t. Continue reading WEDDING STORY MISTAKE GNAWS AWAY YEARS LATER


The art of interviewing seldom has been more effectively practiced in journalistic circles or taught in university classrooms than by a guy I have seen in action for more than a half-century.

After 43 years as a part-time instructor, Mike Thoele has retired from theThoele_Mike-263x263 University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication faculty.

His contributions of helping students learn how to craft questions and to conduct interviews as well as how to write news and feature stories merit mention as he and his wife Sandy concentrate on retirement.

I knew Mike first when he joined “The Register-Guard” as the bureau chief covering news in the Junction City area. Meanwhile, he, Sandy and their three children built a large log house in the woods in the Cheshire area and became an integral part of the community.

Mike worked more than 20 years at “The Register-Guard,” including a stint as city editor and eight years as the paper’s roving reporter, writing stories based on interviews with people throughout Oregon and the Northwest. Continue reading MIKE THOELE MASTERED ART OF THE INTERVIEW