Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Southern Reformation

Remember when Ani DiFranco met protest over plans to do something where slaves were once used for profit? In truth, if we were to avoid doing anything where slaves were once used for profit, we must avoid the whole South. That would be ridiculous.

It would, however, be sensible to object to sites where monuments to the Confederates still stand. That doesn't have to be the whole South.

Our focus in these times shouldn't end with pulling down the Confederate flags (whether national or battle flags). Or even pulling these symbols out of state flags that contain them. It would be a shame to stop there.

Along with the flags, all those monuments to slavers, to segregation, and those who fought for such things should be pulled out of public places and transferred to museums.

And in every one of the museums that host such things, it should be made clear that these are relics of a time when we permitted treating people in ways that should not be permitted. These are relics we keep not for any reasons of proud heritage -- because it is most definitely not proud -- but to remind us to be vigilant lest we allow ourselves to slip into such despicable errors again.

If the South would still harbor dreams of a truly proud heritage, the South must face and put away that dark past to make way for the better parts of Southern life. To allow that which actually is good in Southern culture to shine and no longer be brought down by trying to pretend there'd been no mistakes, or that those mistakes had not been wrongs.

It'd make that sweet tea even more refreshing.

Friday, May 1, 2015

ABC News Exploring Firearms Self Defense Under Stress

From ABC News working with a police department on an experiment "to test the ability of average people without crisis training to react and protect themselves with a gun under stress".

Monday, March 30, 2015

STEMing the Tide

"Critical thinking is, in the end, the only way to protect American jobs. " -- Fareed Zakaria in "Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous"

STEM simply isn't enough. STEM's nice; but if we focus on STEM alone, we're not really doing ourselves any favors. We need more anthropologists, and philosophers, and historians, and the rest of liberal arts. The reason one finds lots of liberal arts degrees among CEOs isn't for lack of having anything better to do. It's because they have the well-rounded critical thinking necessary to make good decisions and to lead.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Education And The Cost Of Doing Business

The cost of doing business goes up if those who would become skilled labor shoulder the cost of education. Public education invests in lowering the cost of doing business.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What Does Progressive Versus Conservative Matter? How About Survival Of The Species?

When it gets down to brass tacks, our species lives or dies on enlightenment or the lack thereof. Progressiveness matters. Culture matters. Science matters. Understanding matters.
When it gets down to brass tacks, our species lives or dies on enlightenment or the lack thereof.

We're not the fastest. Nor the strongest. Nor the toughest. We lack sharp, pointy teeth and claws. But we learn. We figure out and understand. We develop new and better means to deal with our world and ourselves for our mutual benefit. We progress. It's our shtick.

It's what we do to survive ... or fail to do and decay.

Every time we fail to challenge science denialism, our species slips closer to oblivion. ...whether at our own hands or by failing to foresee and adapt to nature.

Every time racism or sexism goes un-chastised and is allowed to fester, our collective chances of making it through the next billion years drop a little bit.

Every time destructive notions that hurt our prosperity -- like Trickle Down -- get brought up without being smacked right back down, we slide a bit closer to the dustbin of species by squandering our potential.

Cuts to education funding don't just make it harder for our businesses to find a pool of qualified labor at reasonable cost. Cuts to education funding reduce our chances of survival versus what they could be.

Cuts to research funding don't just make it harder for our researchers to move their fields forward; they make it that much more likely that we'll lack sufficient findings to adapt to each new event.

Cuts to infrastructure funding don't just make the roads harder on our cars; they decrease the efficiency of our species ... an efficiency that will at times be sorely needed.

Our art, our culture, our science, our philosophy, our history, our understanding ... these aren't just niceties to enjoy as surplus, as if they were mere fringe benefits. These are necessities. Our survival builds from enlightenment. From progress. It lives on progressiveness.

Conservatives would tear down all that progressives have built and stand in the way of further progress. Robbing us of our species' strong suits. Leaving us more vulnerable to cataclysm.

So go ahead and stand up to that conservative loudmouth. It matters.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Inflation, Deflation, and Redistribution

As Paul Krugman points out in a couple of recent articles, it's worth considering whose interests are served by high interest rates and low inflation, or as Krugman calls it, hard-money ideology.
"Basically, inflation redistributes wealth down the scale of both wealth and age, while deflation does the reverse."

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hobbled Lobby and the Supremes

One of the things this case highlights is that we shouldn't go along thinking we can expect employers to be the agents of benevolence. They're about profit. They're not philanthropies. Some employers seem politically neutral, which makes them relatively decent. But corporations are about production of goods and services. We shouldn't be mucking about with profit engines when it comes to providing for the public good (e.g., healthcare). That's what government is for.