How Sgt. Pepper Arrived in Yugoslavia

On June 1, 1967—49-years-ago—the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Band, their masterpiece and arguably the most important rock album ever. Released simultaneously in Europe and America, it was an instant sensation. A pioneering concept album—with a beginning and end instead of random cuts—Sgt. Pepper flew off the shelves.  It was the first album that contained printed lyrics and a gatefold.  Its stunning cover with … Continue reading How Sgt. Pepper Arrived in Yugoslavia

South Africa’s Pravin Gordhan: Grace Under Pressure

WASHINGTON: South Africa’s finance minister Pravin Gordhan is at the center of a political storm.  Four months ago he was brought back to head the finance ministry when his successor was abruptly fired by president Jacob Zuma and replaced with a little known lawmaker. That move shook investor confidence and sent the currency tumbling.  Four days later business leaders and senior ruling party leaders forced … Continue reading South Africa’s Pravin Gordhan: Grace Under Pressure

Getting a Superb Education in Kalamazoo

 When I arrived at Kalamazoo in 1964 I had no idea just how much seven years in that comfortable Midwestern city would shape my life. An indifferent high school student, upon completing community college in Grand Rapids I went west and worked as a deck hand on a Swedish freighter bound for Australia. After five months of week after week, $100 per month physical toil, … Continue reading Getting a Superb Education in Kalamazoo

Kent State, 1970, When the Country Was Even More Divided

KENT, OH: Visiting the campus where four students were killed by National Guardsmen during an anti-war protest, you can’t help but recall how divided America was 45 years ago. Strolling the grounds where America’s Asian war came tragically home, the rhetoric of Donald Trump and the gulf between political parties appear manageable when contrasted to 1970. The issues then were civil rights and stopping a … Continue reading Kent State, 1970, When the Country Was Even More Divided

Congress Set to Finally Approve IMF Reforms

WASHINGTON: The massive $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill presented to lawmakers Tuesday night contains provisions for new funding and governance reforms at the International Monetary Fund. The House could vote as early as Thursday on the package, which is expected to pass. Approval is also likely in the Senate and President Obama’s signature is assured. The president pushed hard for the IMF deal, calling it vital … Continue reading Congress Set to Finally Approve IMF Reforms

Antalya Is a Moveable Feast

ANTALYA, Turkey.  The skies over the Middle East and South Asia were crowded Monday night as no fewer than seven VIP aircraft carried heads of state and government from one summit to another.  It began stage two of a moveable feast. The special planes, most of them 747s, brought President Obama and the leaders of China, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Australia and Canada from the … Continue reading Antalya Is a Moveable Feast

In Weimar 25-Years of German Unification Have Worked Wonders

Weimar train station, 1990 and 2015 House at 37 Albrecht Durer Street The Hotel International … is now the Hotel Kaiserin Augusta (all photos: Barry D. Wood) WEIMAR, GERMANY:  While there was still a German Democratic Republic in March 1990, I traveled to Weimar, the town of Goethe and Schiller and of the Buchenwald concentration camp where 56,000 Jews and others perished.  The article I wrote … Continue reading In Weimar 25-Years of German Unification Have Worked Wonders