Thursday, December 3, 2015

                                                         Guns Guns Guns

These horrible shootings in America are becoming so common place that gun deaths in America are starting to match the violence in the Middle East. We don't need to worry about immigrants entering our Country with murder on their minds. We've already got enough of home grown local terrorists to worry about. Clearly the easy access to assault type weapons has to come to an end. Target shooting and hunting do not require assault type weapons. We require training and a license to drive a car so why would anyone object to requiring a license to own a gun? Even in the "Old West" movies the sheriff always made people take off their guns before they came into town. It's time for the politicians to have the guts to stand up to the NRA. The second amendment speaks to armed militias not personal assault type weapons for recreational use.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

                                                   GLOBAL WARMING

Two degrees - that's all if will take to submerge most of Indonesia but the Republican Party is still in denial even though every other industrial nation on the planet, including China and Russia now accepts the fact that human activity is a contributing factor to global warming.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


As horrible as the ISIS attacks in Paris were, the school shootings here in America are just as bad.- if  not worse. Those who want to ban all immigrants from Syria forget that every country, religion, and race has it's share of disaffected people driven by anger and bent on killing innocent civilians. Closing our borders to immigrants won't reduce or eliminate the number of insane zealots of any racial, national, or religious persuasion in our Country. We've already got plenty of home grown terrorists of our own. Don't forget that terrorism takes many forms, not all physical. In the run up to the next presidential election we're going to see every form of political terrorism imaginable as the candidates attack each other with deadly vengeance. Let's not fall into the same fear driven policy that occurred when we rounded up Japanese American citizens during world war two. It's hard for us to imagine what the daily lives of the citizens of Syria must be like. Say the wrong word, know the wrong person and your head is cut off. Bombs drop daily from the sky killing innocents and evil doers in the same blast. Fleeing Syria on over loaded rafts, or on foot across mountains and deserts- not knowing what the future holds for them, or what country will accept them. This is a large scale exodus of biblical proportions. These are deprivations that few of us will ever know- surely we can open our doors to those less fortunate than ourselves- even as our politician bicker like children. The attention that the religious based hatred and terrorism which is eruption like a plague in the Middle East is getting provides us with the opportunity to finally address the problem from a global perspective. This is a rare opportunity to address the problem as Global community of Nations bent on finally bringing an end to the argument about whose God is superior. Enough is enough!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Terrorism comes in many forms and flavors- all of them cruel. From cowardly school yard and social media bullying to the use of bombs and guns to kill and maim innocent men, women,and children- no matter what its form- people and groups who commits acts of hatred and intolerance violate every value that we hold dear as a species. We call ourselves "humans" and we define compassionate behavior by members of our species and being "humane". Terrorists actions are not "humane" and the people who commit acts of terrorism, in any form, forfeit their right to live among us. Military action,
retribution, and confinement, while necessary and justifiable, are only temporary fixes and will never put an end to terrorism because they don't address the root causes of the problem. Clearly we need a planet wide public conversation about the types of environments - be they poverty, religious oppression, political oppression, intolerance, lack of opportunity, or prejudice, which provide an atmosphere that promotes and encourages people to hate and mistreat one another. We humans pride ourselves on being above all other animals in terms of intelligence, social empathy, and conscience -yet we continue to commit acts as brutal as any other species on the planet. If our incredible intelligence and creativity only lead to more deadly brutality, violence, and intolerance how can we claim to be superior to species with lesser intelligence?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

It's hard to know which is more toxic these days -  Religion or Politics. Every single day people all around the planet are killing and beheading each other in the name of their Gods and if that's not bad enough -religion has crept into politics making politics even more toxic that it already was. When are we going to stop judging one another and trying to impose our views on each other? What ever happened to "live and let live'? Where is the compassion and respect? Where is the "do unto others.....?"  We don't need to search scripture to know how to act. We don't need pass laws to know how to be honest and act properly. We teach our children to be nice to each other and to be polite and then we do just the opposite What kind of examples are setting for our children if we attack and insult one another? Religion and Politics are not contact sports. If you want to argue join a debate team. If you can't get along then move along. If you want to believe in a God - do so- but don't insist that everyone else believe in your God and don't pre-judge people who don't believe any God. Judge people by their actions not their beliefs.  Every living human soul who has resided on this continent was a migrant or descendent of a migrant from another continent. You and I don't have any more right to live on this continent than anyone else does. We're merely the most recent in a long line of previous members of our species who have occupied this drifting ice and water covered continent for the past 10,000 years or more. We're all short term tenants without ownership and the terms of our lease require that when our lease expires we leave the land in better condition than we found it. This amazing lush bountiful continent is home to thousands of species with whom we share its natural resources. Waste not want not. The choice is ours. We can leave this garden of Eden better than we found it or we can leave it worse than we found it. The choice is ours and it is ours alone. No other species has that privilege or responsibility.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


The presidential debates on both sides of the aisle seem more like High School personality contests rather than policy discussions. Other than random broad statements from a few of the candidates, we've heard hardly any details about economic issues, health care, jobs, foreign policy, trade, defense, etc. When we do hear  details it's primarily in the area of social issues. It's fascinating to see how much the candidates are starting to rely on "social media" to connect with potential voters instead of expensive traditional Television advertising.  Whether that's good or bad is hard to know. At least we know what lies they are spreading when they advertise on TV. When they spread lies on the social media it's harder for the public and the press to hold them accountable.

The emphasis on "family values" and the frantic courting of "evangelicals" while mentioning the Constitution in the same breath is somewhat disturbing  - given the fact that the Constitution expressly provides for freedom "of "religion and thus implies freedom "from" religion as well.

Candidates on both sides of the aisle are still using the tried and true method of appealing to our worst fears and anger as they try to get our votes. We're not hearing the voices of "healers" - even from the evangelicals who seem to have forgotten the words of their original spiritual "healer". 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Friday, August 14, 2015

The recent Fox debate exposed the flaws with our two party system and our approach to problem solving. Candidates from both parties, urged on by the Press in an attempt to improve ratings, spend the majority of their time either attacking the other party or attacking each other. These kind of debates only serve to paralyze and harden opinions. Opinions, once formed, are very difficult to change.

We've allowed politics to become a sporting contest, pitting two sides against each other with the goal of "winning" instead of the goal being to actually solve the problems. Some problems are real and others are  merely philosophical. When we try to solve a real problem with a philosophical solution it never ends well. The debate about Global warming is an excellent example of philosophy trying to solve a scientific problem. Deficits and income inequality are examples of philosophical attempts to solve the practicality of poverty while preserving a free enterprise economy. The clash between those who object to abortions and object to birth control at the same time is an example of common sense conflicting with philosophy and religion. Clearly one of the best ways to avoid abortions is to provide ways for women to avoid becoming pregnant. Arguing for abstinence is idealistic from a religious standpoint but unrealistic from a practical standpoint. Its a waste of breath. The high level of dissatisfaction with the performance of Congress, and the resulting low approval ratings, largely result from the fact that many of our problems and challenges can not be solved with these types of debates and arguments. We can take steps to change the approach we require our leaders to use when solving our  practical problems  if we stop requiring them to solve the problems within the narrow parameters of any particular religion or belief system. Religion, philosophy, money, laws and social contracts are extremely useful human inventions- as long as they don't stifle our incredible ability to find creative solutions to all of our challenges.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Trump This!

The Donald may be as smart as he claims he is. Consider the fact that he's been a registered Democrat most of his life. Running as a Republican gives him a chance to trash the other Republican candidates in ways that no Democrat would dare do. The Democrats should start funding a Political Action Committee for "The Donald". By the time the Republican Primary season starts there won't be a single viable Republican candidate that he hasn't shot down. He's a one man political drone systematically destroying one Republican candidate after another. Well done Donald! Well Done!

Friday, July 17, 2015


When we think about all the religious based hatred that's tearing nations and people apart around the world today it's hard not to notice how frequently we use religion as an excuse to murder, maim, torture, jail or judge one another. Ironically some of the most violent hatred and intolerance often occurs within the various sects of any given religion.

The history of "Religion"  is a long and brutal story-  marked by a trail of blood, torture, sacrifices, and intolerance. Territorial wars are common among many of life's species but we humans appear to be the only species which justifies territorial expansion in the name of a God. Most species have inborn norms for social behavior and cooperation which we sometimes find repulsive. Many of our modern religions were initially designed to mute and moderate those raw brutal basic instincts. The name we have given to the ideal behavior preached by our "sacred texts" and religious leaders is called "Humane Behavior". The term derives obviously from the name we call ourselves.We arrogantly think and speak of ourselves as being "humane" and compassionate in spite of considerable evidence to the contrary.

It's time for our religious leaders and followers to remember the real purpose of religion and end the global religious based deadly brutality that's quickly spreading around the globe like a virus.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

When are we going to finally stop identifying and classifying people by the color of their skin? We're all Homo Sapiens no matter what color our skin is. Our species originated in Africa thus technically we're all African Americans. The color of our skin was determined by how close our ancestors lived to the equator. People exposed to a lot of sunlight have brown skin for protection from solar radiation. People in Northern climates where there is limited sunlight have lighter skin which allows them to absorb more solar radiation thus preventing vitamin "D" deficiencies. It's a simple as that. A person's skin color has no bearing on their intelligence, ability, or compassion. America's history of slavery has never been fully acknowledged nor atoned for. It's long past time for America to publicly apologize for the way we've treated people of various colors and physical features over the years and even still do so today. There are no African- Americans, Asian- Americans, Hispanic -Americans. It's time to remove the hyphens. There are only Americans. End of story!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Police Brutality

You'd think  that the police would know by now that they're going to be on National TV  every time they use force but it doesn't seem to have sunk in yet. To be fair the police have an extremely dangerous job. Every time they pull someone over for a broken tail light or expired tags they run the risk of being shot or assaulted . The constant stress of dealing with people who are angry, drunk, pugnacious, and carrying weapons builds up over time making it difficult for them to maintain their composer in situations where they have to make split second life or death decisions. It's not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination.

The recent surge of videos showing police violence indicates that some of our law enforcement officers are losing control of their emotions during periods of stress.There are lessons to be learned.
It's clear that more time needs to be spent training the police on how to defuse situations that are getting out of control. Issuing threats, ordering people to obey, raising voices, pushing or shoving, all serve to make the situation worse. In many cases it is probably better to allow a petty criminal to escape rather than use a taser of gun. Additionally, the members of a police force should be rotated every three to six months to less stressful work in order to gain some emotional balance and perspective.  Officers should be required to get emotional and stress counseling at least twice a year.

I think many of us would agree that our most of our own experiences with law enforcement officers have been fair and reasonably pleasant. However every once in awhile we encounter a police officer who appears to be tightly wound and a bit scary. It's the job of the supervisors to identify these rouge officers as quickly as possible and take them off the streets before they kill or injure someone.  There definitely are some bad cops on the streets but we shouldn't allow the actions of the minority to paint all of the men and women we hire to protect us.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

                                               DAVIS- MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE

At a time when our National defense spending is eating up a major portion of our budget, it seems a shame to try to prevent the  Department of Defense from saving millions of dollars of tax payer money by closing Davis-Monthan. If the primary mission of the base is to support the A-10 "Wart Hog" surely that mission could be moved to another base. It's probable that the major contribution the base makes to our local economy is the hiring of local contractors for maintenance work on the base. It's doubtful that the limited number of Air Force personnel on the base with their relatively low salaries contribute that much to the local economy. Surely the land could be put to a higher and more profitable use.  How about converting the land to a solar farm for the generation of clean electricity? More work for local contractors and improve the air we breath at the same time. There are lots of innovative things we could do with that land which would provide high paying  jobs and contribute to the improvement of our crowded city and culture at the same time. Environmentally friendly jobs - and no more noise or exhaust fumes  from the A-10s.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

                                           WHAT WE KNEW THEN

Even before the tragic attack of 9/11 on the World Trade Center in New York we knew that Bin Ladin's primary goal was to bleed our economy dry by provoking us into an expensive long drawn out war in the Middle East. We eventually found and killed Bin Ladin but not before he "accomplished" his mission. Immediately after 9/11 we had the entire civilized world on our side. For that brief moment in history it was within our power to set an enduring example of how to defeat terrorism -because the only weapon that will ever truly defeat terrorism  is public opinion. Had we simply turned the other cheek, buried our dead, and gone about the business of rebuilding -Osama Bin Ladin's strategy would have backfired and he would have become an International outcast.

Prior to our invasion of Iraq in the "Second" Gulf War we already knew from our prior experience in Afghanistan the utter futility of attempting to convert an ancient Middle Eastern style tribal society into a modern Western style democracy.

Terrorism shares certain characteristics with Ebola and other viruses. It erupts in conditions of poverty and lack of opportunity . It only ends when it burns itself out and there are no more bodies or minds to infect, or when public opinion finally turns against it. 

We can not force our values and ways of governing on other Nations but we can provide an example of a better way to deal with the complexities of governing. Ways that treat every citizen fairly while providing opportunities to all. Now is the time to end these wars which we can not win and start setting an example for all the world to see. We must first look inward and re-discover  some of the democratic values which we've lost sight of recently. A good way to start would be to clean up our own elective process which has become far too ugly and too contaminated by big money.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

May God Strike Me Dead?

I'll deny I ever said this in the unlikely event that it ever goes viral but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that religion and the concept of Gods are nothing more than the relics of human superstitions. Unlike most of our fellow species on this planet we humans are an extremely curious species - always looking for explanations and seeking understanding of our surroundings. Long before we even knew what the Sun and the Moon and the planets were -let alone the nature of the galaxies and the Universe , we attributed the daily "rising" of the Sun and the changing seasons to imaginary Gods in the Heavens. After all what else could possibly be the cause of all of these amazing events other than some all powerful deity?  As we became more and more dependent on accurate weather forecasting for planting crops and seasonal migration, and as we sought explanations for the strange events and objects we were witnessing in the skies it seemed like a excellent idea to try to keep those Gods in a really good mood. Even today with all the progress we have made learning about the nature of the Universe there are few among us who are free from superstitions.

Our ancestors  quickly learned that seeds wouldn't grow when the Sun retreated below the horizon. It couldn't have been easy in those days having to worry whether the Sun would return overhead every year and allow crops to grow again. Someone must be in charge of all of these events. Someone behind the scenes who can't be seen. Best to get on his good side and not upset the big guy up there in the sky.

Gradually the Gods became so abundant that it was hard to keep track of them all. It became difficult to know who to worship in any particular situation. Worship finally became so complex that the Gods even began to fight among themselves.  Fortunately several efficiency experts finally stepped forward and did us all a big a favor by consolidating all of the Gods into one all seeing all knowing single entity. Thus was born monotheism. This greatly simplified the acts of  worshiping and playing the "blame game" when things went against us. But no amount of simplification and efficiency changed the fact that Gods were  and still are nothing more than human superstitions that we use to explain what we do not understand and attempts to rig the outcomes in our favor. No matter how we dress it up we're basically still relying on ignorance and superstition to guide us through our daily lives.   There's nothing wrong with that as long as we don't allow these superstitions to set us against one another in such a deadly and hateful manner as we have been doing ever since the time that we first  invented the concept Gods to conceal our ignorance about the true nature of the Universe and ourselves. When we finally understand something it become science -until then it remains ignorance cloaked in superstition. Either condition can be deadly for ourselves and our fellow species. As I said at the top of the page-please don't tell anyone I said this. I have no desire to spend eternity in Hell! Step on a crack and break your mother's back! Break a Leg when going on Stage!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Strange Bed Fellows;

It's fascinating to hear Germany condemning the Armenian blood shed during World War One when we consider that it wasn't long ago when Germany committed their own war crimes during World War Two. How quickly we forget. Our deadly enemies (Japan and Germany) during the Second World War are now our strongest allies -while our former allies (Russia and China) are now are now our opponents. We change lovers faster than High School teenagers.

Hillary Gate

Are we really ready for 18 months of concentrated attacks on Hillary as the Conservatives fire salvo after salvo in an attempt to shoot her down. It will be interesting to see how she holds up and whether the strategy will work for the R's, or back fire. Unfortunately pre-election propaganda is more about personal attacks on individuals than ration policy policy positions these days. The only people who are going to profit from all of the negative ads are the members of the media who condemn the ads on the one hand  while gleefully collecting money from both parties. The media are like "enablers" who encourage bad behavior for their own financial benefit.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

                                                       Enough Already!

Enough already with all of these murderous religious and political wars! Sunnis fighting Shiites. Muslims fighting Christians and Jews. Conservatives fighting Liberals. It's hard to find a place on the globe where there is not some kind of deadly conflict. For a species as intelligent as we are we're acting extremely stupid. We can invent incredibly complex technology- wireless communication devices, cars that drive themselves, rockets that explore the heavens-  but we can't even learn how to get along with each other. Go Figure!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Martin Luther King Day!

Every year we have this reminder of slavery and our National shame- and every year Doctor King seems more relevant. . Despite our denials white Americans have never honestly faced our history of racism and prejudice. Even today many white Americans tend to think of dark skinned people as an inferior sub human species For all of our progress in many fields of endeavor we've made far too little progress in "racial" attitudes. Scientifically, we now know that skin color is related to the amount of sunlight people are exposed to. People near the Equator have dark skin to protect themselves from Solar radiation. People nearer to the  North and South Poles have light skin which allows their bodies to benefit from exposure to Solar radiation. "Black" or "White" skin is determined by the Latitude of our ancestors - nothing more. Yet we cling to the concept of "racism" as if we are of different species instead of all of the same species. There is no point in fooling ourselves and pretending otherwise. Racism still exists. Whites still feel that they are different than Blacks and vice-versa. Whites and Blacks still feel suspicious of one another. We've made progress but we've a long ways to go.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

                                                               Je suis -je suis

Millions turn out in Paris to protest religious barbarism. Finally, one Nation said in one voice enough is enough. It's a good beginning. The only thing that will ever bring an end to this senseless form of religious extremism is when the world's populations join voices in condemning the violence. Military retaliation only adds fuel to the flames of hatred. Public opinion is the only effective weapon. After every attack we must get back up and dust ourselves off and let the terrorists know that nothing they can do will cause us to give up our ideals or change the ways that we live. When the twin towers at the Trade Center in New York came down we missed an opportunity to lead world opinion against terrorism but we counter-attacked instead. It's important to understand that this Continental Islamic terrorism is bred in poverty, ignorance, and anger. Osama Bin Laden attacked the twin towers hoping to provoke a reaction that would eventually drain our economy. We played right into his hands when we went to war and we're still paying the deadly price. Once the terrorists realize that world opinion is turning against them, and that the violence is not productive they will have to change their tactics if they want a place at the table of civilization. It's time for the true leaders of one of the worlds major religion to speak with one voice- condemning the actions of the terrorists. Failing to do so the Islamic religion will lose the respect of world opinion.

Monday, January 12, 2015

                                              Too fracking much oil

The sudden abundance of cheap oil seems too good to be true and in fact it may be the worse thing that could happen if it causes us to move away from alternative sources of energy and makes conservation of fossil fuels seem unnecessary. Already we're hearing reports that there is enough oil locked up in shales to keep the world supplied for several more decades. The sooner we move away from fossil fuels and hydroelectric power and move toward solar and wind power the sooner we'll be able to get a handle of global warming and preserve our fossil fuels. As plentiful as these newly tapped fossil fuel  resources may suddenly seem they still represent a very limited resource which we're capable of depleting within the next century. Cheap gas may seem like a good thing but in the long run we can't allow it to make us become wasteful again. Fossil fuels arenot a realistic source of energy over the long term. Now is the time to move in another direction instead of sticking our heads in the (tar) sand and pretending that we have unlimited sources of fossil fuels.