Index by Date

Contents - by Name

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P -- R - S - T - U -- W
A - Titles
Abstinence of Malice 3/5/2013 House Republicans are seeking $550 million dollars in funding for Abstinence Education for Teenagers. We live in a time when all kinds of necessary programs that actually work are being cut. Why are House Republicans only happy when they're seeking to spend enormous amounts of money for programs like Abstinence Only Education ($550 million) or the F-35 Raptor ($1.4 trillion)?
Age of Indifference
Indifference may be the single biggest danger to the continued survival of the human race on planet Earth.
Agenda 10/17/12 Every  year I am consistently surprised to see some other wing-nut wacko  dusting off an antediluvian theory, as fact, in some organ of the  mainstream media. Where do these antiquated ideas come from, and how can  people believe in them?
We have arrived at a place in human history where we are faced with an adversary that threatens the lives of hundreds of millions of people, and we're unwilling or unable to defend our fellow man from this threat, not because we cannot successfully defeat the scourge, but because we cannot do so with a high enough profit margin.
Another Injustice
How is it that the same old hatreds pass from generation to generation? Feuds, disagreements, and prejudices seem to be some of the most enduring parts of the human landscape.
Thinking about how we welcome our troops home -- what we say to them and what we mean by it... The message returning military personnel receive has changed quite a bit since the Vietnam war.
Archaeology of Spam
Archaeologists tell us that you can tell quite a lot about a civilization by looking at its garbage. The same may be true of its spam.
Aristocratic Justice 4/20/2012 We have now in this country a ruling class composed primarily of millionaires: 87% of top government positions are millionaires - 7 out of 11 Supreme Court judges are millionaires. What does this mean?
Armitice vs. Veterans Day
Armistice Day has been replaced by Veteran's Day -- why this makes me mad. What is Armistice Day? What does Veteran's Day celebrate and how is that different from Armistice Day?
Around and Around 9/10/2013 The saber rattlers are at it again. This time it is about Syria. We are told that our armed forces must intervene, again. We get told this so often, why do we believe it?
Assault on Social Security
The Bush Administration has begun its assault on Social Security -- The War on Terror, The War with Iraq, and now, The War on Old People... I'll give them this: they're predictable.
Among the most discreditable of practices is "Astroturfing" - a process where a special interest group pays people to create a fake grass-roots movement for or against something. The good folks at Wal-Mart are currently trying to reinvent blogging, transforming it from a free method of information exchange into mere advertising.
B - Titles
Banking Bandits
The thrift industry has concluded a major bailout deal with the Federal government that will have us paying for their mistakes for decades to come. How and why did this debacle come about?
Berning Question 5/21/16 Democracy is a hard won victory that very few people appreciate, until it’s gone. Democracy is something many people take entirely for granted, while others maintain that we haven’t had any real democracy in a long time.
Biblical State 1/30/2012 On January 23, 2012, the Pennsylvania State Legislature passed H.R. 535, which declared 2012 to be "The Year of the Bible."  What ever happened to the First Amendment to the Constitution?
Big Lies
How distortion affects the character of the nation, its real aims, goals, and direction.
Bring 'Em Home
Many people want to bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan all at once and right now. Many opponents of this proposed action point to the possible horrible consequences to Iraq and Afghanistan - suddenly without external support, slipping into chaos and violence. But no one seems to recognize the effect on our troops and our nation of bringing these men and women home.
Bush Wins
Hail the victor and God Almighty ain't we all glad it's OVER for another 3 years or so.
Buying Green
There's lots of talk these days about "Green" products and how people can be supportive of environmental issues by purchasing certain kinds of goods or by patronizing certain retailers. Most of this is penny wise wisdom that doesn't really have any demonstrable effect on planetary ecology.
C - Titles
Character Question
Time and time again, the administration -- especially Mr. Cheney -- has made snide comments about Mr. Kerry's anti-war activities during the Vietnam war. It's time we looked at Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry through the same lens.
Choices 2/9/2012 There is a controversy brewing at the state and federal level about church-owned enterprise employees and health insurance. What is it all about?
Choice Chance 5/16/2013 OK, is it nature or nurture? That's a lot of the controversy about being gay... were you born gay or did you become gay? Was it an inherent and inevitable conclusion of your developing sexuality or was it a choice?
Ward Churchill is a Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, or at least he is for now. Two talk radio hosts, and now Bill O'Reilly, have taken exception to some of his stated opinions on US foreign policy. The statements, when taken out of context, are made for the kind of polarized audience these pundits perform for. But now the public furor has gotten the Governor of Colorado in on the act, and he's calling on the Board of Regents of the University to fire the professor.
Church Republicans 2/27/2012 Does anyone else find it awfully convenient that the Catholic Church has become an active partner in Conservative Republican causes just after the pedophile priest scandals?
Civil Union Rights

Washington State's Initiative 71 is seeking to extend many of the civil rights protections of marriage to civil unions. This has gotten the religious right up in arms about alleged dangers to marriage, family and religion. So, they are mounting a huge, well-funded campaign to defeat initiative 71. How sad and pointless.

Clouded Crystal 11/28/12 Ever notice how people who are anti-gay never admit to prejudice but make dire predictions about the consequence of not persecuting LGBTQ  people?
Command Consent
When was it exactly that we authorized our government to spend billions of our tax dollars on PR to persuade us into agreeing with them?
Conservative Evolution 1/1/2014 Why, in the 21st century, do we have so many ideologues and so few experts? At a time when our nation and our world has so many problems, why are so many people abandoning rationality?
Consumer Conscience
Controlling the marketplace is something that is in the interest of consumers. The market can be a very democratic place, where you vote with your money.
Conventional Thinking
Given that we have so much more access to information that was unavailable to our ancestors, one might conclude that we ought to be vastly better informed and thus enabled to make much better decisions. Why isn't this so?

It is so depressing to discuss labor issues or labor unions with the typical American worker. One after another come the same inane cliches that everyone has been taught, which they've never examined, but which they spout as if they'd thought them up.

Creeping Conservatism 6/23/2009 Why do so many people become more and more conservative of view as they get older? Quite often, people adopt views as seniors that they would have made fun of as teenagers.
Crimes of the King
People are killed every day by their state. Some are killed in war. Some are executed as criminals. Some are innocent. Some are not. But there is a another kind of killing accomplished by the powerful in a society: assassination of the dangerous. When a charismatic leader even looks as if they might actually begin to make real progress against the aims of the status quo, they have the sad habit of winding up dead.
Cult of the Leader
Examining the un-democratic deification of dead former presidents.
D - Titles
Damage Done
In the New American Century, America is at war. We usually judge a policy by whether its means come at a cost justified by its ends. It is a simple equation, the return on investment. War is a means to an end. But nobody seems prepared to do the math.
We used to be a nation of laws. People all over the world might criticize us for this or that, but they always had to admit that we were a nation committed to law and order. This is regrettably no longer true. We are all affected - tarred with unspeakable crimes and unpardonable offenses - for which we and our children will be held responsible.
Degrees of Separation
All the chatter about same-sex marriages usually proceeds from the assumption that what civil law says is legal is what churches are bound to uphold. This is just not true.
The current administration is at war with its own stated ideals: while espousing democracy in glowing terms as a mission from God, their failure to support and defend the democratic institutions in their own country flatly contradicts democratic aims.
Democract at Work
How to achieve more democratic control over the workplace through membership in a union.
I am consistently shocked at the level of denial that otherwise intelligent people can operate under, especially our neo-con brethren.
Devastated Dreams
Listening to all the reports from the Gulf Coast this week, I am profoundly saddened, but I am also hopeful. I am saddened that so many people had to suffer and die needlessly, but I am hopeful that this will pull the curtain aside for a lot of people and allow them to understand that things are as they are, and not as they wished them to be, in this country.
Diffusing Menace
If we're all part of the same human race, how do some people become terrorists? Why do we expect people who are terrorists to be so unlike ourselves?
Disability 12/13/12 Every time I think that we have hit bottom morally as a nation, some new horror unfolds and makes me reassess our position in the world. The Republican leadership has succeeded in defeating the U.N. Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, which would have recommended international regulations similar to those in the US Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Supreme Court this week handed down a series of decisions about property cases, that consistently extend the rights of big business at the expense of the rest of us.
Disinclusion 12/13/12 Civil rights is a difficult legal concept for many people. I am not sure why this is true, but it must be true because there’s a considerable amount of contention around civil rights.
Divide and Conquer 8/15/2012 With all the divisions in the world today, and with all the problems in the world today, why is it more and more difficult to come together to find equitable, workable solutions? The Story of Change offers a way to originate meaningful change.
Documentary Injustice 6/15/15 It seems like every time I see a historical documentary about the 20th century, the narrator tells me that this or that major world event marked the first time women entered the workforce. This is one of the most demonstrably self evident falsehoods that is generally accepted to be true.
Do the Math
Why do we fail to examine the claims made by political candidates? When we do not critically examine what candidates say and compare them with our own version of the facts, we are inviting them to lie to us.
Dogs and Cats
There are dog people and there are cat people. I can understand that. What I fail to understand are people who treat pets better than people.
Dogs of War
The Geneva Conventions have, for more than a hundred years, been the litmus test of war. Governments that upheld the conventions, and required that other nations respect them, were the good guys. Nations that violated them were incontestably evil. The United States has formerly been in the forefront of those "good guys" who supported these international conventions. However, in Afghanistan and Iraq we break them shamelessly.
Double Jeopardy
This country has a proud history of dissent by honest Americans of high moral belief. We also have a history of shame caused by the criminal acts committed by our government to suppress dissent. Today one of those chapters of shame is playing itself out in a Federal Court in New York.
Dubya Principle
Some of you may remember the Peter Principle whereby one is promoted until one reaches the level of one's incompetence. Well, today we have the Dubya Principle in which government is enabled to fail so that privatization can be shown to be preferable.
E - Titles
Economics of Denial
Every political or economic theory is composed of core principles. Some of these may be expressed openly, while others are seldom spoken of. The least spoken of are those foundation principles that are obviously wrong, but are essential to the validity of the whole shebang. The core fallacy of capitalism, simply stated, is: there is always more.
Education in America
I believe in government as more than a vehicle for comic relief, but sometimes you have to wonder about the collective intelligence of people drawn to government service as a profession. The "No Child Left Behind" legislation and debate is an excellent case in point.
2014 Election 11/5/14 Well another election has come and gone and the conservatives are slapping one another on the back while the lefties are tearing out their hair and forecasting doom. Nothing new here. What is with the Democratic party and why are they so bad at politics?
Election Checklist
This election poses a lot of questions for the voters. It also presents a choice between two different ways of viewing the world. Read this checklist and see where your sympathies lie.
Empire Days
The chief architects of our national policy are now all proponents of empire. Who really benefits from having an empire?
Endangered Species
What kind of person believes that the preservation of species on this planet is less important than the extension of personal property rights to include everything on the planet? Someone who has personal property and does not really believe that we humans are a species on this planet.

It is amazing how the media defines things for people. When the press labels something, right or wrong, the label acquires a permanence it does not deserve. If you watch how these labels change over time, and how they change everywhere at once, you can learn a great deal about how media is used to shape public perception.

Enterprise Equality 4/4/2013

The Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) is currently being considered by the US Congress, again. Proponents say its only fair and opponents say it is grossly unfair. What does it really mean?

Essential Differences 3/24/2014 What is gender? What is it composed of, what does it come from and what is the meaning of it in our lives? These are questions that many people are asking these days and they are coming up with all kinds of different answers.
Evolution of Common Sense
Discussion of the strange evolution of common sense in society, and what conclusions can be drawn about a society from the storehouse of common sense.
Exceptional Politics 11/1/12 Does anyone vote for things anymore, or do most folks vote against things? In an increasingly polarized world, it is perhaps not surprising that many people vote according to what they fear rather than what they want.
Exporting the American Dream
A discussion of the direction of benefit of trans-national corporations operating within the United States. Formerly nationalistic, these new, international concentrations of power often act to influence our government to serve their interests at the expense of the people of the United States.
Extremes 11/14/2013 People who take things to extremes tend to mess up a lot of things for the rest of us. They demand that their viewpoints be “represented”, and, that we give them special breaks based on the fact that their viewpoint is valid. It must be valid, it has representation. Once they get some special considerations, they deserve more representation, and so on in an insane spiral. It’s a depressingly normal human method of getting things to go your own way.
F - Titles
Fair Exposure 5/15/2013 The Right-wing pundits are all up in arms about the Internal Revenue Service targeting right-wing groups, but they never cry foul when the IRS or FBI target left-wing groups. Why should the IRS target the right wing groups? For the same reason bank robbers rob banks: that's where the money is.
What does Democracy mean to you? It seems to mean quite a bit less than it used to. At least many more people seem to have lower and lower expectations about it.
Every age keeps secrets. Sometimes those secrets are rediscovered. Sometimes they are gone for good. History is a lottery and what gets remembered changes over time.
Everywhere I went, in each hotel, Fox News was the channel selected by default when the TV was turned on.
Futureism 10/12/12 One of the most interesting aspects of science fiction, particularly old science fiction, is the things that the predictions about the future say about the periods of the recent past.
G - Titles
Garbage Attitudes
You can tell an awful lto about a society from its garbage.
Gary Webb
Investigative reporter Gary Webb, who Linked the CIA to Crack Sales, found dead of apparent suicide.
The Patriot Act is an insult and an affront to every American who believes in America as the cradle of freedom, liberty, and equal rights for all under the law. This becomes more and more clear every week as the Department of Homeland Security wages war on the human rights and dignity of the American citizen.
Getting Old 5/1/17 Getting old must be one of the most misunderstood, least explained and purposefully ignored aspect of universal human experience.
Gigabytes of Touble 8/15/2013 Computers are an easy commodity to learn to hate. The more that you know about them, the easier it is to loathe the computer age.
Global Testing
Most Americans neither care what the world thinks of us, nor why, and that is a shame. There are a lot of really smart people around the world and it is a pity we're so short sighted as to ignore them.
GMO Probblems 1/1/15 Many people are vehemently against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) while others firmly believe that nothing else can offer us a secure food future. Those who are for GMOs believe that we will not be able to feed everyone without GMOs. Those who are against GMOs believe that we can feed everyone using other methods. When passions run high, a lot of stuff gets said with very little truth in it - on both sides.
Good Government

There are basically two competing theories of government and they are at the heart of any discussion of what government is, what government should do and why it should do it.

Good Old Days
A discussion of the impending changes to overtime pay and the consequences for American workers.
Good Service 2/24/2013 What ever happened to good service? Merchants, businessmen, and even government offices used to devote a great deal of time and effort to servicing their customers better. Not anymore.
Gret Leap Backward 1/30/2014 When we are evaluating governments, political parties, or organizations, just listening to what they say and how they portray themselves isn't very useful. You have to look at what happens, what actually occurs as a result of what these groups do.
Greener Grass
Using up the world to have more now means there is less later. I wonder why it is so easy to ignore that obvious fact?
The United States imprisons more of its citizens than any other country on earth. What ever happened to the notion of the land of liberty and justice?
Gulag of Intellectual Property 6/23/2009 Intellectual property rights are supposed to ensure that the people who create content get credit for their work and that they get paid for their work. However, as this is now being applied, copyright and patent law gets in the way of learning and research, making both more difficult. Institutions spend more and more on security and less and less on real research.
Gulf Politics
How the Bush administration's protests against establishing a timetable for the withdrawl of US forces from Iraq put into question the administration's committment to a political settlement in Iraq.
Gunned Down 8/15/2012 We live in a culture of violence. And then we are surprised when events like those in the movie theater in Colorado erupt onto the TV screen.
H - Titles
Hating NPR
Life's disappointments come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the most disappointing are in the form of things we hoped would be better, but which remain sadly mediocre. In that category, I put National Public Radio (NPR).
Highway Robbery 6/12/14 Does everybody remember that good old Information Superhighway, you know, the Internet? Do we all remember how that was developed and implemented as a public initiative, with public money? Well, there are some people who want to make some big changes in our Internet - they want to make a shitload of money from us. Again.
Honorable Dead
Every day, in every newspaper, on every radio station and television station, we hear accounts of our gallant fallen heroes. Dead men's tales from Iraq and Afghanistan. We see them there because we pay PR people in the Defense Department to place these daily stories into the press. It is a form of advertising that we taxpayers pay for. And it makes me sick -- not because the stories are untrue, but because the deaths of these brave young people are being used for a purpose unconnected to their sacrifice.
We Americans have so much to be afraid of these days. We have become a nation driven by fear. Our children, our spouses, our brothers and sisters, and especially our parents are all at risk. Any misstep can be fatal.
Hot Water
Everybody has some kind of weather that they hate. I hate hot weather. I do not like it and I do not understand people who do.
How Liars Lie 7/15/2013 As Dr. House says, “Everybody lies.” But have you ever wondered why otherwise good people lie all the time and still consider themselves honest and upright?
I - Titles
The "Imperial Presidency" is not new with Bush, but this administration has taken it to new heights. Considering how anti-American and anti-democratic this is, I wonder why more Conservatives don't object.
In Our Name
There must be a special level of hell reserved for moralists who admit that something is wrong, except when we are the ones who want to do it. Torture and the inhumane treatment of incarcerated people is an excellent example of this double moral standard.
In Thier Court
The US Federal Appeals Court overturned a ruling by a lower court to shut down the NSA warrentless wiretap program implemented by the Bush administration. Now the case will go to the US Supreme Court. How they rule may set the tone for this nation for the next century.
Innocence and Morality
Thoughts on the nature of morality and innocence in the modern world.
Intentional Ignorance
Unquestioning belief is a close cousin to ignorance. It is dangerous and it is a sad, sad shame.
Internet Perspective
The United States used to be leader of the world in so many ways, but now we're just ranked number one in military spending and our per capita prison population. That these are the only ways we seem able to excel anymore is more than a shame, it is a crime.
J - Titles
Judicial Morality
Choosing between obedience to the law or obedience to one's private conscience is seldom easy. How do we want people in government to choose?
K - Titles
Katrina Logic
Two years later and the disaster of Katrina is still an awful mess. Money's been squandered, in some cases stolen, people are still homeless, why can't the government deal with these problems? Because they don't want to.
King Geogre vs. Religion
The Internal Revenue Service has started a number of investigations recently into churches that voice opinions contrary to Bush's policies. The threat is that if you speak your mind and your conscience, you will lose your tax exempt status.
L - Titles
Labor Day
Another Labor Day has come and gone. Every year it seems like the labor struggles of the past two hundred years fall further and further from public knowledge or consciousness.
Laboring Under Education
In this week's Labor Week, the writer discusses how education limits our choices by limiting what we see as a viable solution to our problems.
Last Hurrah
In the final days of the campaign, the American people are faced with a difficult decision that will have lasting effects on this nation's future, far beyond the next four years. It is very important that the American people understand what is at stake in this election so that they can make an informed and prudent choice.
Lasting Values
Thoughts on the Christmas season, what and why we give to others and how we can become a part of Christmas for others.
License to Kill 6/12/14 Religious rights - a thorny issue and one that often conflicts with our notions of justice and fair jurisprudence. When the law and religion lock horns, watch out.
The terms bandied about in political debate in the US have become useless because they have been so misused. Liberal is a good case in point. It is most typically used to slander someone, which is a use completely foreign to its meaning.
Liberty and Justice
Our founding fathers didn't trust the people to be good and to do the right thing. They set up our republic as a competition between powerful equals, trusting that competition and jealousy would preserve liberty.
Long Road of Discrimination 9/5/2013 Again, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) crawls through the national legislature. We hear the same old supporters who argue in favor of less discrimination, and the same old opponents who argue against additional federal legislation.
Losing It
Once having had a clear advantage in science and technology, the US is starting to lose ground. Apart from denying this fact, there is little being done to address this problem.
Lowst Common Moron
Why are we always treating people like idiots, when we know how much people live down to others' expectations for them?
M - Titles
Making Sense of Beliefs
People will believe in the darnedest things. It only makes sense when you figure out that what you believe in is an irrational choice.
Malefactor Medicine
How the changing patterns of ownership of the different segments of the healthcare delivery system have operated to the disservice of the patient recipients. A discussion of the zero sum approach to regulating health care costs.
Marathon of Hate 4/17/2013 To all those affected by the bombings in Boston, my sincerest sympathy, and hope for a better future. Once again, we have the spectre of a horrible act of hate. This time it is in Boston. We are seeing this tragedy playeda out the same as always: victims, rationalization, and retribution masquerading as justice. How can we end this travesty?
March of Democracy
The Bush Administration tried to justify the Iraq war by claiming WMDs, and when that didn't work they justified it by saying we were bringing democracy to Iraq. Just how are we doing this?
Market Dominance
We live in a consumer society. We are part of a market paradigm. Like ordinary people everywhere, we assume that what is currently so for us is the apex of all human development. What is the result?
What is marketing? Marketing has two faces: passive and active. Passive marketing is about selling. Active marketing is about control.
Military Rooster
The majority leadership in the Senate has removed the Defense Appropriations Bill from floor debate, citing that it is inappropriate to debate a defense bill in war time. Anybody got a problem with not examining a $500 billion dollar expenditure by the government?
Million Worker March
As preparations are finalized for the largest independent demonstration of worker solidarity, and progressive opposition to the anti-labor movement policies of the Bush Administration, in our nation's capital on October 17th, the Million Worker March receives no mention in major commercial news media. Learn about this important and historic event.
Millions More
This past Saturday (October 15th) marked the 10th Anniversary of the Million Man March, and the first mass demonstration in Washington D.C. of the Millions More Movement. It is quite a feat to get more than a million people into the nation's capital to agitate for political action, almost without a single mention in the national press.
Misinformation Society
Union representation is the best and sometimes the only defense we have against workplace injustices. Finding out about unions and what they can do for you just makes sense.
Ethics and Morality - what is the difference between these two things, or are they essentially the same, but treated differently by reason of some person's own internal prejudices?
N - Titles
Nation in Danger
The Patriot Act is making its way through the legislature again. A nd now, more than ever before in our nation's history, it is important for the people to declare that no risk puts a citizen in fear of greater harm than the loss of liberty, equality, and due process under the law.
National Identity
For years government officials and civil rights groups have been fighting over the issue of having, or not having, a national ID card for everyone in the United States. An appropriations bill that includes a provision for a national ID card will probably be signed this Summer. What does this mean to you and me?
How people misunderstand what has happened in Iraq and how this mess affects how we are seen in the rest of the world, which has a major effect on our national security that is being ignored.
New Apathy
People who believe that they have lost (or never had) any influence on the political process constitute the new apathy. After all, if you can't win, why play?
New Directions
It is amazing how hegemony works -- how our world views shape our perception of what is real and what is possible. The most amazing part is that so very much of the way we filter existence is contrived by others for their own benefit.
News Squint
All the news coverage about Senator Craig of Idaho and his alleged bathroom habits demonstrated very well how news coverage can be slanted to prove things that aren't so.
Newslessness 11/1/12 What is lacking from our mass media news is diversity of opinion. There are many reasons for this. We need to try to correct this problem, before it gets even worse.
Not Just Marriage 3/29/2012 There has recently been a media firestorm surrounding the publication of startling internal documents from the National Organization for Marriage.
Not So Smart
When you apply the same principles to societal norms that we apply to individuals, you can come up with some pretty peculiar conclusions about how well-adjusted our society is.
O - Titles
Objection 12/10/2015 When is it OK to object to something and how should we generally respond to the objections of people? It is a balancing act we are taught how to do from a very early age.
Obsolete People 2/9/2012 In the past two centuries, humankind has seen an unprecedented acceleration in technological, social and economic change. At the same time, people have not really changed very much at all.
On the Take
The Supreme Court this week handed down a series of decisions on property cases that consistently extend the rights of big business at the expense of the rest of us.
Orthodoxy 3/13/2013 As the Roman Catholic Church convened its cardinals to select a new Pope, some Catholics wanted a younger more progressive Pope, while others wished for an old wise man who will stick to the ways of their fathers. Which is better for the Church and its worldwide congregation?
Out of Step
Sometimes I feel like a traveler in time. When I speak with many of my fellow citizens, I feel as if I am trying to debate women's rights to a person from 15th century Egypt.
When did we, as a society, get so obsessed with the ownership of everything? How do we reconcile the concept of ownership with that of stewardship?
P - Titles
Papal Arogance 8/6/2012 The Pope appointed Salvatore Cordileone -- one of the nation's most outspoken opponents of same-sex marriage -- as Archbishop of San Francisco. Is this a challenge? Or an insult to the people of San Francisco?
Paris Again 11/16/15 I sit here thinking of the situation in Paris and hearing all the same wrong answers thundering across the popular press.
Thoughts about celebrity, death and what we want to be remembered for.
Pay and Pray
Proponents of abstinence recommend a faith-based approach to public health. There are only a few teeny flaws in this kind of a program, like the fact that it does not work.
Pay as You Go #1
A discussion of what government is for, and how many people are seeking to turn over many of the government's responsibilities into private hands.
Pay as You Go #2
How privatization affects us all, but most especially those of us with less. The motivation behind the desire to strip government of its funding and prestige is simple greed.
PC Liberty 1/20/13 Recently, two prominent British journalists, Julie Burchill and Suzanne Moore, became embroiled in a PC firestorm because of a comment Suzanne made about transsexual people, and the comments her friend, Julie, subsequently made in her defense. Several transgender activists have called for both women and their respective editors to be sacked. This is the kind of behavior I would normally associate with ultra-conservative clerics, not progressive advocates for peoples’ rights, and opponents of privilege.
Some people view history as something that happens to humans. They speak about the pendulum swinging this way and that. They speak of the inevitability of this or that. I wonder why this deterministic, almost psycho-historical, viewpoint should be so prevalent.
Personal Space
Every day, I see dozens of people on the street, or on the bus, plugged into their iPods. It occurred to me to wonder about all the stuff they're listening to... How sure are you that the music you used to listen to from a record or from a CD is the same music as on your iPod?
How uneven coverage and presentation in the media makes one group of distressed people into distaster victims and refugees, and another group who face equivalent personal disasters into insurgents.
Perversion of Justice
In a plea bargain, worthy of George Orwell, the Australian prisoner David Hicks is transferred from US custody to Australian custody. This whole case has been a travesty from beginning to end.
Pipeline 2/21/2013 Ask a random selection of people on the street: What is the Keystone (XL) Pipeline? Most people wont know, which is a shame, because it is a very important issue.
Playing to Prejudice 4/12/2012 Are there any circumstances that justify turning a national debate into an international boycott? I suppose I can think of a couple, but gay marriage isn’t one of them.
Points of Contact 7/30.2013 It is a shame, but nobody really debates anymore. It seems that people only like to get together with other people who agree with their decisions and prejudices so that they can slap one another on the back.
What are the police for? What is their function in society? How is that function changing?
Political Religion 5/10/2012 The Roman Catholic Cardinal of Maryland has issued an order requiring the reading of a political position statement he authored, in every Roman Catholic Church in that state.
Politics of Entertainment
Thoughts and reflections on entertainers as leaders. Is Arnold in politics because of Jesse Ventura?
Poor Justice 11/27/2007

The Supreme Court of the United States has just refused to hear a case involving the government requiring warantless searches of people's homes as a prerequisite to receiving benefits from public assistance. Evidently, poor people don't have any right to an expectation of privacy, that is reserved for people of means.

Presto Cogitation 10/15/12 What do you think is real and why do you believe it? Because you were told it by someone you trust? Because it is consistent with other things you believe?
What is the nature and objective of prayer? It is a difficult and divisive subject, largely because so many people take prayer so personally.
The Bush administration has done it again: issuing subpoenas to electronic search engine vendors, like Google, Yahoo, and MSN, to turn over random records of what people have been searching for on the Internet. Is Orwell's 1984 such a cliche that people forget that it was a warning?
Price of Ignorance
Our responsibility to ourselves and to our children is to see the current state of affairs with clarity and precision and to work for the goals we share with other working people.
Priorities 5./1/13

We have got some pretty weird priorities in this country. Sometimes I think that this is because of historical coincidence and sometimes I am not so sure.

It is amazing how protective we have become, in some ways, and how oblivious to obvious harm we remain in others. Much of our protectionist tendencies can be explained by litigation, but not all.Ten years ago, there was nothing bad one could say about President Clinton that was not easily believed.
Public Belief
Ten years before that, there was nothing bad one could say about President Reagan that would be believed. Today we stand in the middle case with President Bush: half of the people believe him capable of any crime, while the other half still find him blameless and virtuous.
R - Titles
Reagan-izing History

Rewriting History is not a random event. It happens as much by PR as by revelation.

Regarding Prejudice
Simplistic views of major problems do not always help understanding. They can obscure the meaning and make finding solutions more difficult. We will never get rid of oppression and prejudice by secretly yearning for the material advantages these confer.


Remember Vatican II? There was just a celebration of its 50th anniversary. In keeping with current Roman Catholic Church teachings and doctrine, this celebration included quite a bit of “clarification” which sounded an awful lot like recanting and rescinding many of the changes that epitomized Vatican II.
America has meant many things to many people around the world. Sometimes what America means to a person comes down to one person, and the good, or bad thing that person does. It is an awesome part of the human condition that so much can rest on so little.
Responsible Journalism
We live in a time of "responsible journalism" where it is evidently more important for the press to be "responsible" than it is for the press to publish the truth.
Re-writing History 8/15/2013 History has always been an inexact science. There are always historians that are devoted to the truth, but they are very rare. Historians have mostly written for a specific audience that paid them to say what they wanted to be true.
Ruckus 11/25/2013 What's all this palaver about public restrooms? Why do so many people get upset about restrooms and who uses them? For as long as we've had public restrooms for both sexes, we didn't need a bevy of new laws about who can use what restroom. What has changed?
Rule of Law
The Federal Government has just completed some legislation that grants legal immunity to telecommunications companies that have assisted the administration's illegal domestic surveillance program. This is tantamount to a passive admission of guilt. Why aren't more people mad about this?
Running Scared
The proposed defense budget is more than half a trillion dollars -- a figure ominously reminiscent of the US trade deficit. The politics of fear have proven very effective, but will never be prudent.
S - Titles
Same Old Same 9/23/2013 Many critics complain about the world being made into a homogenized sameness of mediocrity - making the world into a vast wasteland of Holiday Inns and McDonalds, at the expense of the curious and unique. This is often true, but in some ways, making stuff the same is a good thing.
Saved from Communism
How FDR saved us from communism by giving us limited socialism, and how the current fashion of ultra-conservatism imperils us with the same fate we escaped through FDR's vision.
Saving Grace
The perception of threats and the perception of safety in the modern American landscape.


Most people take dictionaries for granted. On the odd occasion when they want to look up a word, they accept whatever they find -- it's a process like looking out of the window: you assume that what you see is what is actually outside. But all dictionaries are not made equal. Almost everybody uses some kind of web search engine. You go there, you look, and a result happens. What's there is there and what's not is not. And that is the problem.
Season of Love
Thoughts on Valentine's Day, sex and forgiveness.
Season of Taking
In this holiday season, some people think more about their own rewards than of their obligation to their fellow men. Interestingly, many of these are the same people who make the biggest hoopla about Christian charity.

More and more secrets are being kept in this country. Less and less is what we used to call "open and above board." Is this a good thing?

Sensless Tragedy
Senseless Tragedy in Virginia unwinds on television. More hype and hysteria at 11:00.
Shame of the Poor
Just when you think they can't do anything worse, those compassionate conservatives slam the poor with yet another cut to social programs.
Silent Press
Critical analysts of the fourth estate have often noted that it is more interesting to note what is missing from mainstream media press coverage than what is reported. The two biggest tells of bias are the ubiquitous question and the unanimous silence.
Single Issues
Are you a single issue voter? Is there one issue you think is so important that you are prepared to vote for a candidate who promises to support that one issue, even if you can't support that candidate on other issues? If so, please read this article.
Slave Trade 10/25/2013 Go to almost any business school associated with a state university in the United States, and you will be taught methods of analyzing businesses that allow to you maximize profitability for the enterprise.
Smart Lending
Our government just made it more difficult to declare bankruptcy. They did this, they said, because there was too much bankruptcy. Does anybody else think this is like improving medicine by making it harder to sue doctors?
Snowflakes 4/12/17 There was a very interesting article in the Advocate this month about the special privileges that LGBTQ people are viewed as asking for, when all they are asking for is equivalent rights other people have and that they are denied. There’s a good reason for this happening.
Split Personality
Americans have always been conflicted about cooperative efforts. On the one hand we have our tradition of rugged individualism, and on the other an equally strong tradition of team spirit. These two opposing forces have done much to shape our nation and our national character.
Split Union
Two major unions left the AFLCIO recently, amid all manner of conflicting stories about what this would mean for unions in the United States. It is difficult to predict the future, especially when you have no idea about what happened in the past.
Spoken Word
Why do we believe politicians? They always tell us what we want to hear and then we're disappointed when they do differently. We could do a better job ourselves -- so why don't we?
Stalked by the Future
Technology happens, whether we want it to or not. Sometimes it is more important to understand what the question is than to know what the answer will be.
Stolen Honor
A discussion of the film "Stolen Honor" and the use of propaganda to achieve political objectives. Having nothing to say about issues, the Republicans resort to other tactics.
We're all story tellers. Some people tell the truth and some lie. We should apply the same critical eye to history and journalism that we apply to other tall tales. Governments lie when it benefits certain special interests. Understanding the nature of those lies is important.
How we look affects how we feel about how we deal with others. People are social animals, and however much you feel yourself to be an individual, we're all connected.
My grandfather used to say that there were only two things that an ordinary person could aspire to own that were really first-class examples of human ingenuity and craftsmanship: guns and watches.
T - Titles
Taking Sides
Discussion about different viewpoints on what it means to be human in the modern world.
Taking the Initiative
At this time of year, when we're preoccupied with the holidays, we're apt to concentrate on our own friends and families, with just a nod to other people and places. We resist the unpleasant thoughts of people we'd rather not trade places with. However, our fortunes affect others, whether we recognize it or not.
Teaching the future
I always love when Capitalist pundits start spouting off about the inevitability of Capitalism - they sound just as fooling as the Socialist pundits of 100 years ago spouting off about the inevitability of Socilaism.
Textbook History 2/27/2012 Remember a couple of years ago, when some people raised a big stink because some textbook publishers planned to cut Jefferson and Labor Unions from American History curriculum and replace them with Phyllis Schlafly and Prosperity Theology? It’s faded from the front pages, but what is happening on this issue?
Time and Tide 2/25/2014 Do you feel old, or do you feel young? What makes you feel that way?
Titanic Plague
With all the sensational press around the impending avian flu pandemic, people keep crying over the lack of anti-viral drugs. If there is a pandemic and millions of people die, the fault will lie squarely on one factor: intellectual property.
Torpedo Central
American politics reached a new low point with the "Swift Boat Veterans" babble of misinformation in the last Presidential campaign. Now the same conservative lobbying group (USA Next) is about to start another campaign of disinformation against Social Security.
Transportation Meltdown 12/11/08

It is now the automakers' turn to come, hat in hand, to the Federal government. On the heels of their lobbyists, the CEO's have made the pilgrimage twice, like wealthy muslims for the Hajj. And it looks like we're going to give them about the same amount of money we gave to Britain through Lend-Lease in World War II.

Trust Hope and Charity
This week's Ramblings discusses the power of words -- the way words are used to change the meanings of things -- and how this is especially the case for the word "war".
What is Objective Reality? Common or garden variety reality is just the current set of things we've chosen to believe in at the moment. How does one differentiate between the possibly true, probably true, and the incontrovertibly true?
Truth or Consequences
One point that is agreed upon by those on the far right and far left of the political spectrum (and most everybody in between) is that government leaders ought to be held accountable for what they do. And yet, we are failing to do this today, which is the worst crime against democracy.
U - Titles
Undaunted or Imperilled

Anyone who cries "liberal Media" should take a gander at how that media routinely addresses labor issues.

Under Arrest
We used to teach people how to get arrested for their convictions and we were proud to know people who had been arrested. Aspiring to courageous acts of ethical bravery is sadly out of fashion today.
Undue Influence
Tis the season to be political. This season is much more divisive and political than any year since 1964. For those of you who don't remember, that was the year that Barry Goldwater ran against Lyndon Johnson, and lost.
W - Titles
The costs of war are not measured in dollars alone. When we spend money for one thing, we don't have it to spend on another. The human costs of war are staggering.
World Leardship
America was once number one in so many ways that the American public could have been forgiven for thinking that America represented the best nation on the planet. The opinion has lasted a lot longer than the foundation for it.

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