Can We Talk About Guns? Can We Talk About Anything?

It’s not time to talk about gun regulation when people use guns to kill for fun, politics or revenge. It’s not time to talk about human contributions to climate change when hurricanes sustain category five winds for 36 hours or dump five feet of rain in a few days. It’s not time to talk about health care when GOP politicians are rushing a vote on damaging legislation through secret meetings. It’s not time to talk about the antiquated electoral college despite two of the last five popular vote count winners losing the election. Continue reading

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Four Ways the World is Changing

To paraphrase the Greek philosopher Heraclitus and the vocal artist Otis Redding: “Change is the only constant (and yet) everything still remains the same.” Continue reading

Everybody Is a Winner

George Costanza once sold his “show about NOTHING” to a bunch of cold NBC execs, including his doomed fiancée Susan, by answering why the couch potatoes of America would watch a show without a purpose; “Because it’s on TV.” It’s on TV used to be a plausible reason to watch TV. When the show aired in 1992, before the limitless possibilities of DVR, DVD’s, podcasts, Kindle, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, HBOnow, and the endless variety of entertainment available via streaming internet channels, what was “on TV” was a good enough reason to watch it as any. Continue reading

The Radical Changes of Our Smartphone Culture

Is technology a help or hindrance? Does it facilitate our friendships or control our choices? I once heard a comedian say, “I dare you to take a dump without your iPhone.” The convenience of the world is constantly at our fingertips, and it’s hard to put it down. The information of our collective history, photos of Earth’s natural wonders, images from space, cute cat videos, babies dancing, or girls falling off tire swings are all available to us for free. We can communicate with colleagues in foreign lands or Skype with family across town. We can create, configure and imagine our lives to appear any way we choose on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and chat apps. The question remains, is it a good or bad thing? Continue reading

Chilean Miners

The headlines called them heroes and the president of Chile promised to use all available resources to get them out of the dark, hot mine shaft.  The world’s news was fascinated and focused on the small mining village outside Santiago.  American technology drilled down to save them, then we learned South American geography and churches prayed throughout the world for their safe return to sea level.  They were just some guys who got trapped in a mine.  They are only heroes because they didn’t go Lord of the Flies all over each other.  American news media flocked to Copiapo and fell over each other to document the feel good story of the month.  I’m not envious of their situation, it must have been horrible defecating and eating in the same cramped living space underground for 70 days, but, they knew their job was perilous.  They will all extend their fifteen minutes to be part of a big Hollywood production documenting their trials and tribulations.  It reminds me of another Andes area triumph of human spirit…the Uruguayan rugby team who resorted to cannibalism to stay ALIVE!  I understand the human interest storylines inherent in these disasters, but what about the slow burn of starvation and poverty throughout America and the world.  We focus energy on places like Chile, Haiti, Indonesia and Pakistan only when it has become so destroyed by nature that no human effort can really change the outcome.  If we have the money to send in relief when the tornado hits, why not use the money pre-emptively and build a storm cellar?  We feel so good that those miners got out, that some children in Haiti got a bowl of rice after the earthquake, that the Indonesian and Pakistanis found temporary dry earth to sleep on, but we don’t follow up on their sorrows.  We as Americans are a giving, caring people led by a government of “appearances”.  When the public cry out to help a troubled people, we send the money.  Granted, we do help most countries all year long and have for decades, but we need to invest in their own sustainability.  Farming in Africa, construction in Haiti, employment in the Mid-East are answers to solutions instead of Band-Aids when the scab rips.  I don’t know how to make the world function for all to be successful, I do know that someone with a job is much less likely to be a suicide bomber.  People with farms to care for won’t take to pirating merchant ships on the open sea.  The world’s recession has impacted most everyone and created an opportunity for a realignment of money, supplies and jobs.  Computers can build cars and make clothes.  Humans have reached the point where technology has made many jobs redundant.  Our new focus needs to be on expanding high-tech or social service jobs.  Immigrant manual labor will probably always be around and they need to be, but education is, as it always has been, the future of America.  Many of our 9.6% unemployed workers could be retrained in new sectors and find 21st century careers to lead us into this century of prosperity through our comfortable technology and enable us to feed starving Americans through their own hard work.