Opinion: The Travesty of the Debt Limit Farce
The debt limit was raised three times under Trump with nary a whimper, but now with Dems in charge it's a big deal once again. Republicans never had a problem lifting the debt limit under Trump. It seems only the policies of Democrats bring forth Republicans' mock fiscal responsibility. Why do we reelect people who threaten to shut down our government over partisan politics? If running the government is their job, isn't causing the government to shut down the ultimate admission of failure?Read full story
Elections — Maybe There's a Better Way
IowaPolitics.com, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commo. Every two years, the political circus comes to town — does it produce the best candidates?. There has to be a better way to democratically select good leaders for our nation. The current beauty pageant is not working. It’s all posturing and no substance. We are supposed to be a representative democracy — a republic. Who does our leadership represent? Certainly not the average US citizen.Read full story
Opinion: Would You Let Your Armed Teenager go to a Protest?
I suppose it’s good to know if your underage son or daughter procures a weapon, seeks out trouble in a nearby town, kills two people, and wounds a paramedic, all will be forgiven — self-defense.Read full story
Opinion: When Did We Start to Hate One Another?
If this is progress, maybe we need to rethink progress. I wish it were simply a nightmare. At least you can wake up and shake it off. But there is no waking up from the hate that smolders in America. Somewhere in our past, we took a wrong turn, ending up in a dark alley with no way out. How else did we end up with a nation so divided that a significant number of citizens want to break the US up into new countries?Read full story
Will Congress Enforce the Bannon Subpoena?
Congress has not exercised its authority to “arrest and detain” in 100 years. Why not? Do they like being ignored?. It’s well known that there is one system of justice for the average citizen and quite another system if you’ve got the money to afford suitable legal representation. But there is yet another level of justice when it comes to constraining the behavior of our government officials.Read full story
Opinion: Fox News Instills Fear, Rather Than Imparting The Simple Truth
DonkeyHotey, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons. Gullible conservatives will believe anything that comes out of Tucker Carlson’s mouth. Carlson’s recent bellyache is about Critical Race Theory. A theory he clearly does not understand or pretends otherwise. Carlson contends schools are teaching race hate based on Critical Race Theory. He’s predicting that CRT will lead to an all-out race war in the US. I suppose a race war would be good for Fox ratings, their sole motivation. Michael Savage stated on Newsmax that “Now they’re beating up white children in schoolrooms.”Read full story
Great Tech Always Serves our Dark Side First
The internet, social media, gaming are all eager to serve our base instincts. When you look at the 100 most visited websites, you get an idea of how people spend their time on the internet. Wikipedia tops the list, which is an indication of people seeking reliable information. Wikipedia is followed by YouTube, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter, which only tells part of the story.Read full story
The American Dream is Dead
Or maybe it was just a fairytale to pacify the workforce and keep them on the job—soon an entire family will have to work to earn a living. I once believed that through education and hard work, each generation of Americans could rise to a higher living standard than the previous generation. Now I think that is just an illusion that has provided a robust workforce for our elite corporate masters — the American Dream is no more.Read full story
The Metaverse, a Brave New World or Sinkhole of Waste
The metaverse is the next evolution of the internet. The creator of Facebook wants to build an all-encompassing virtual world where you can hang out with your friends, game, shop — maybe move right in and live?Read full story
The UN Has a List of Terrific Humanitarian Goals. How Do They Stack Up to Political Goals?
As you might expect, the UN goals are hardly on the radar of any politician. In September 2019, the UN Secretary-General called on all sectors of society to mobilize for a decade of action. He urges a decade of action to meet the seventeen sustainable development goals to make the world a better place. The UN developed the goals after holding years of meetings and getting input from people around the globe.Read full story
How Much Would You Pay Into a Defunct Retirement Program?
If you were born before 1966, you've been paying into one your entire life. If you were born in 1966, you hit the sweet spot because you will reach your full retirement age of sixty-seven in 2033, the year the Social Security Trust Fund is supposed to run out of funds.Read full story
Simple Math-Magic for Preschoolers
"Candyland" by John-Morgan is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Easy things to do with young children to prepare them for the world of math. A strong foundation in math is critical to your child’s success in school and an essential gateway into many careers. Students in the US are struggling to build that foundation, and far too many reach middle school without vital number concepts.Read full story
When Will We Take Climate Change Seriously and Do Something?
Where is the tipping point that demands serious action?. The most urgent issue in this time and place is climate change. If we do not fix it, there is an excellent chance that our entire species will go extinct. While people are coming around to acknowledge that climate change is real, most people deny the dire consequences.Read full story
Is College the Best Option?
A college degree has gotten super expensive. Since you pay the bill, college should be the express path to a successful career. Boomers have watched college tuition fees double or triple, yet little has changed in the course work since we went to college. Look at the course offerings for your kids or grandkids. The classes will look familiar. What's changed is the cost of higher education. Boomers could go to college, work part-time and finish with a degree without being burdened by student loan debt. That's not possible today. Students are graduating with a heavy load of debt. In 1970 the average student loan debt per graduate was $1,070, and by 2020 it rose to $30,000 per student. That's a real burden when you are beginning your career.Read full story
Robbery of the Middle Class
Lopsided income distribution shifted $50 trillion from the middle class to the wealthy elite since the 1980s. Hopefully, you have heard about the Rand Study on Income Inequality and are shouting the message from the rooftops — our elite masters are committing grand theft to the tune of $2.5 trillion annually right out of our pockets.Read full story
Should We Abandon the Earth and Move to Mars?
Surface of MarsNASA / JPL, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. The ultimate consumer society—use up one planet and move on to the next. It’s not space exploration that troubles me. It’s the belief that we have irrevocably fouled our own planet, so the best move is to look for another planetary home. Rather than make the sacrifices necessary to heal planet Earth, we have to audacity to look for another planet to destroy.Read full story
When We Finally Own Up to Climate Change, Capitalism Won’t Be the Answer
Capitalism is all about growth. It’s about the next new thing. How can the pursuit of private profit possibly address a global catastrophe?. Capitalists have never concerned themselves with issues of public interest. The capitalist directs industry with the power of capital to produce whatever is of excellent value. Adam Smith called it the “invisible hand.” The butcher does not ply his trade out of civic duty but for personal profit. He will not give up his business to pluck plastic out of the ocean for the good of humanity — besides, there is no market for soggy plastic. There is no profit from investing his capital in such an endeavor.Read full story
You Can Pay Off Your Mortgage Early
Shortening the life of your debt will save you money. The cost of housing, either renting or buying, is continually rising. Outside of the occasional burst bubble, housing costs increase over time. When I was attending college in the seventies, you could rent a two-bedroom apartment for $160 a month. Now in the same town, a two-bedroom goes for around $1,350.Read full story
Crypto Mining vs. the Environment
The Bitcoin Energy DrainDenis Hess, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons. When faced with the realities of climate change, bitcoin mining is a waste of energy. In Dresden, New York, crypto-miners have fired up a moth-balled fossil fuel power plant to power their bitcoin mining operation. It takes 44 megawatts of electricity to power their 15,300 computer servers. That’s enough energy to power 35,000 homes. Climate activists are concerned that more bitcoin mining operations will follow suit, and more decommissioned fossil fuel plants with be brought back online. Although bitcoin is the name of a currency, I will use it as the generic term for all cryptocurrencies for this article.Read full story
Can We Downsize to Save our Environment?
Overconsumption Must EndPhoto by Andrew Haimerl on Unsplash. What might that look like? Maybe it will feel like coming home, stepping off the rat race. I read quite a lot about the individual efforts to combat climate change. It feels good to make constructive changes, do more with less, forego the mansion for a smaller footprint, resisting the world wrapped in plastic — but individual action is like pissing on a forest fire. It relieves your bladder, but it does little to alter the big picture.Read full story