Archive for the ‘opinion’ category

Navigating the News

April 25, 2022

Breaking-NewsOne of the books I read a page from (almost) every morning is 365 Prescriptions for the Soul by Dr. Bernie S. Siegel.  Dr. Siegel is a writer and retired pediatric and general surgeon who writes and teaches about mind-body medicine and the relationship between the patient and the healing process.  I find his one page essays on living a good way to start the day, even on days when I don’t agree with his suggestions.  A few weeks ago, in an essay titled The News, he suggested that I should Never watch the news before you go to bed, after you wake up or during the day and you’ll live a longer happier life.   I’ve been thinking about his advice on and off since I read it. (more…)

Words

January 7, 2021

When I first decided to post about what went on in our nation’s capitol yesterday, I thought my opening sentence would be, I have no words for the events at the capitol.   But as much a lying seems to be in vogue these days, can’t start out a post with a lie.    Because of course, I have Words.  I always have Words.

How about disgraceful (adj – shameful; dishonorable; disreputable)?   As in: It is disgraceful that the president would stir up a crowd of extremists and send them off to attack the capitol?  (Yeah, he did).   Let’s try embarrassing (adj –  feeling shamed, humiliated, mortified).  As in: How embarrassing it was for the country that was once the beacon of democracy to have the world watch us behaving like a banana republic?   We can talk hypocrisy ( noun – the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform).  As in Can you believe Trump’s hypocrisy sending his supporters to storm the Capitol after attacking the BLM protesters for a photo op?  Here’s a good one: deplorables (noun – those worthy of severe condemnation or reproach).  As in: I disagreed with Hillary when she called all Trump supporters deplorables, but clearly those who attacked the Capitol today were just that.  They were not patriots (noun – one who loves and supports his or her country), as the witless Ivanka claimed, they were rioters (noun – participants in a noisy, violent public disorder) and in some cases, terrorists (noun – persons who use unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims).   Let’s do a two-for-one: delusions (noun – false beliefs that are resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact) and cowardly (adj. – lacking courage).   As in: This happened partly due to cowardly senators and congressman who continued to enable Trump’s delusions about winning the election.  Here’s a vocabulary multiple choice question with sedition (noun – conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the a state or country) or treason (noun – the crime of betraying one’s country).   Is President Trump is guilty of (a) sedition; (b) treason; or (c) both?

The news is mixed this morning.   Congress reconvened last night to confirm Joe Biden as our next president, but a number of Republicans still enabled Trump by objecting to the electoral count in swing states.   Criticism of Trump is rising … there have even been some calls for his removal via Article 25 … but his enablers, particularly in places like Fox News, continue to support him.   According to a YouGov poll, 45% of Republican voters backed the attack on the Capitol building to some degree.   More than half of them believe Trump won the election, and I suspect most Republicans wish he had.   I have Words for that, too, but none I choose to post online.  Except for this:

God Bless America and Keep Her Safe

Two Stories

November 16, 2020

I rarely watch the evening local news.  I prefer to read my news online where I can search other sources to be sure of the integrity of what I’m reading.   But tonight, after the Ravens-Patriots game, I was busy so I left the Salt Lake City news station on.  Two stories, one right after the other, caught my attention.   The first was about protesters at the governor’s house, demonstrating against the new statewide COVID mandate here in Utah, which includes a mandate to wear masks.   The protesters, which included families with young children, held signs with messages like Mandates are tyranny, End the Mask Myth, and Just say no 2 masks.  You can read about it here.   The second piece was about a four year old  boy in San Antonio who lost both parents to COVID, here.   His Dad and Mom were 33 and 29, respectively.  His grandmother has arrange a big drive-by birthday celebration but, of course, that won’t make up for the loss of his parents.  Unfortunately, if you do some internet searching, you’ll find this is all to common.

Two news stories, which when told side-by-side tell a larger story about us as a nation.  Very depressing.   How many of us have to die before people take this seriously?

Divided

November 8, 2020

When Donald Trump won the election in 2016, I knew of several friends who celebrated with a glass of champagne.   In the last few days, I’ve heard of several doing the same to celebrate the victory of Joe Biden.   I will be skipping the champagne toast even though I voted for Joe Biden. As a moderate, I disagreed with some of President Trumps policies, just as I did those of his predecessor but my vote was predicated largely on the character (or lack thereof) of President Trump and his penchant for verbal or physical violence against what he saw as the other side.   But how can I celebrate when we are still a nation badly divided? (more…)

Alternate Realities

September 26, 2020

Alternate Reality 1:  February 13, 2014.   At Cibolo Creek Ranch in Shafter, Texas John B. Poindexter, owner of the ranch, discovers Antonin Scalia unconscious in his room. He calls paramedics and they arrive quickly to transport him to Tripler Army Medical Center where it is determined that he has had a heart attack.  He undergoes a triple bypass and recovers completely, returning to the Supreme Court bench in April.   Meanwhile, in November, the election turnout  is unusually high for an off year election, allowing the Democrats to retain control of the Senate by defeating incumbent Republicans in close races in Alaska, Virginia, Louisiana and Georgia. (more…)

Registering to Vote

August 26, 2020

Yesterday, I went on the State of Utah website and downloaded the form to register my wife and I to vote in Utah. For the last fifty years, I have lived in Orange County, CA, a Republican stronghold in the middle of a reliably Democratic state. During my time there I felt my vote in the presidential and national elections were wasted, since it was known beforehand which way the state would go, Ironically, now I find myself in a reliably Republican state. Oh, to be a swing voter in a swing state. Still, I like to vote so we filled out the forms and mailed them. On line 6 of the voter registration form was the question of questions: Party Affiliation? Now, I have been a registered Democrat ever since I voted for George McGovern in 1972. However, my politics have changed a lot since then and as often as not in the past 20 years, I have voted for the Republican candidate for president. You see, I am a now a moderate, liberal on social issues and conservative on financial and national defense.

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Heroic, Historic, Flawed

July 24, 2020

You have probably heard of John Muir.   According to Wikipedia, His letters, essays, and books describing his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada, have been read by millions. His activism helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley and Sequoia National Park, and his example has served as an inspiration for the preservation of many other wilderness areas. The Sierra Club, which he co-founded, is a prominent American conservation organization. In his later life, Muir devoted most of his time to the preservation of the Western forests. As part of the campaign to make Yosemite a national park, Muir published two landmark articles on wilderness preservation in The Century Magazine, “The Treasures of the Yosemite” and “Features of the Proposed Yosemite National Park”; this helped support the push for U.S. Congress to pass a bill in 1890 establishing Yosemite National Park.[6] The spiritual quality and enthusiasm toward nature expressed in his writings has inspired readers, including presidents and congressmen, to take action to help preserve large nature areas. (more…)

Civics Lesson

July 22, 2020

Who remembers Civics? It is the study of the rights and duties of citizenship.

On the news site, The Hill, today I found an article by John Bowden titled Activists say California city removed ‘Black Lives Matter’ street painting after request for ‘MAGA 2020’ mural.   The BLM sign was painted with the approval of the Redwood City officials who last week decided to quietly remove the yellow-painted words “Black Lives Matter” from Redwood City’s Broadway, a stretch of boulevard leading through the city’s downtown area.  The activists responsible for the painting of the BLM sign complained that it was removed because someone else had filed a request to post a pro-Trump sign. (more…)

Springtime

April 26, 2020

It is seventy degrees outside here in South Jordan, Utah. The sky is blue, all the more so because the shelter-in-place (such as it is) has reduced traffic giving us smog free days. (Did you know that Salt Lake City has a smog problem ? It is nestled in a valley between mountains, just as Los Angeles is and is therefore subject to smog being trapped under inversion layers. I find it ironic that we moved to a new city and a new state, only to still have smog and earthquakes. Yes, we have had several of those since we’ve been here. This has been what they call an aside. Now, back to our regular programming,) It has been over 45 years since I’ve lived where there is a real winter, hence a real spring. I am enjoying watching the trees sprout spring-green leaves and the daffodils spring from the earth in profusion. The dead looking plans our association planted around are house are actually showing signs of life. Inspired, I decided I should begin putting out some flower pots and bowls to join in the fun, so off I went to Home Depot. Yikes!! No parking places and a line to get in a block long. And nary a mask in sight, except for mine.

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What to Believe

March 19, 2020

You’ve probably noticed by now that (1) the news and social media are dominated by the COVID-19 crisis right now and (2) that you can find virtually any prediction on it’s significance, from conspiracy to world-wide disaster. With our media more partisan than ever and driven by readership numbers and internet clicks, it is hard to find the truth about any issue. It is made harder by the fact that as a species we are all prone to some degree of confirmation bias, that nearly unconscious tendency to pay attention to items that support what we believe. With COVID-19, we are deluged with information. Unable to read it all, we are forced to pick and choose making confirmation bias even easier. If have no preformed opinions about the crisis, confirmation bias will lead you to articles that support your world view … optimists will find more hopeful information, pessimists will find worst case scenarios. If you started reading this piece to see what you I think should believe, I’m going to disappoint you, I’m going to make some suggestions as to how to arrive at an informed opinion, with a minimum of confirmation bias. I think if you do that you’ll arrive at an opinion that not only will bear scrutiny but doesn’t scare the crap out of you or make you blow the whole thing off. Here are my suggestions:

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