Yes, I'm going to tell you all about Edinburgh, but first I have to say something about Amurrica.
One thing that was fascinating about being in Scotland for a week was perceiving the horrifying politics of my native land through a foreign lens. Over there, disbelief and hilarity met reports of the brownshirt-like antics of Republican and industry plants at health care "town halls," not to mention the claim that if the great Stephen Hawking had lived under the British national health care system, he would be dead by now (of course he's alive and well). In short, the British think we're insane about healthcare (and we are). Meanwhile the possible release of the dying Lockerbie bomber was being considered carefully (and with understandable debate) in the land where the notorious crash occurred - while Americans continued to scream, as has become our habit, for eternal and merciless vengeance.
Of course as some commentators have pointed out, the right-wing "crazy tree" is forever in bloom. But now comes this. For the second time, weapons - this time an assault rifle - have been seen outside a presidential event. I worried a few weeks ago that it was only a matter of time before we would experience a major outbreak of conservative, Republican-fomented terrorism on the scale of the Oklahoma City bombing. And every day it seems we take a few more steps toward that terrible moment.