Welcome Aboard


Facts and Opinions warmly welcomes two new journalists aboard our adventure: Tom Regan, on the eastern seaboard of the United States, and Michael Sasges, on Canada’s West Coast.


Michael Sasges and grandson
Michael Sasges and grandson

Michael Sasges is F&O’s new copy editor. He also contributes occasional Verbatim and other reports, and essays. A retired Canadian newspaperman, Mike Sasges reads and writes in Vancouver and in one of its high-country hinterlands, the Nicola Valley in British Columbia. He holds a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and is a director of Nicola Valley Museum, an affiliation that has motivated him to research and write about the men from the valley who died during the First World War. Here are some of his latest works:

‘JACK’ and ELEANOR NASH: Hastily wed, quickly separated in 1914: the tale of middle-aged bachelor who got married on his way to the Great War.

When going to work is a remarkable event: a photo-collage of the day One World Trade Center opened, rising out of the ashes of 9/11.

Verbatim: Bombing to lose; air attacks bolster insurgents: An American academic reviewed almost 23,000 United States Air Force sorties over Afghanistan, and concludes that aerial attacks and shows of force are a poor counter-insurgency tool.


Tom Regan is the author of  Summoning Orenda, a new F&O column named for the Huron word orenda, representing the power of human will to change the world around us, and an opposing force to fate or destiny. Tom Regan, who is based in the eastern U.S., has worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the National Film Board in Canada, and for the Christian Science MonitorNational Public Radio, and Boston Globe in the United States. He is the former executive director of the Online News Association, and was a Nieman fellow at Harvard in 1991-92. Here are his latest columns:

On being a feminist

Tom Regan
Tom Regan

What’s in a word? A movement? A state of being? A political statement? A controversy? All the above? Feminism would seem to be one of those words that fits all of the above categories, for a variety of reasons. Try to define who or what a feminist is and you invite instant debate. Is Camille Paglia a feminist? Not like Gloria Steinem is, that’s for sure. Is someone like Laura Bush a feminist? She might not necessarily describe herself as one but many of her words and actions would certainly move her into that category.  Can a man call himself a feminist? Or is it a word that is gender specific?

Tide turning against climate change deniers

In his book The Believing Brain author Michael Shermer, the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, makes the following proposal: belief comes first, then the reasons for belief comes second. So to use an example, an individual might believe in ghosts, so she will then find the reasons to support that belief. That cold spot in the attic is not caused by a deficiency of heat from the furnace, but by the presence of a supernatural being.  This is also the way the world of climate change deniers work. First comes the belief that climate change does not exist, second comes the search for reasons to support that belief.

Welcome, Mike and Tom. It’s terrific to have you join us.


Elsewhere on Facts and Opinions this week, don’t miss new columns by International Affairs specialist Jonathan Manthorpe, writing on The Rise of “Gucci Grace,” Zimbabwe’s “First Shopper”and the second instalment of Jim McNiven’s series on the Global Implications of Oil Price Renormalization, The nasties and pleasantries of the decline in oil prices. Arts columnist Brian Brennan‘s latest “Time Capsule” is The Media-shy Satirist: Tom Lehrer. Also in Arts, read the transcript and watch a video of American author Ursula K. Le Guin’s cri de coeur in her acceptance speech for the U.S. National Book Foundation Distinguished Award winner : “hard times are coming,” she warns, and writers will be needed who offer hope and freedom.”



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