Waist Deep in the Big Muddy

The title of this blog comes from a Pete Seeger song:

The lyrics contain a number of metaphors that apply to the current political situation in the States: First, times and circumstances change. What was once safe doesn’t necessarily remain that way. Second, having a “big fool” set direction may not turn out well. Third (and one of my favorite quotations), “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” which was doubtless based on George Santayana’s original: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Remembering history by itself isn’t sufficient. . . . → Read More: Waist Deep in the Big Muddy

True Colors

One of the TV shows I watch with regularity is Austin City Limits, a PBS show featuring live music. A couple of weeks ago, the featured performer was Cindi Lauper. Although many years have passed since I first heard her sing, she still puts on a good show. One song in particular caught my attention for what it has to say today as we face a future less certain than we have typically known in the past. The song was . . . → Read More: True Colors

Not with a Bang But a Whimper

T.S. Eliot ends his poem, . . . → Read More: Not with a Bang But a Whimper

Politics as Usual?

Will Rogers famously said, “I’m not a member of any organized political party. I’m a Democrat.” The sense that Republicans are “lock-step” in pursuit of their objectives, while Democrats are no better organized than a herd of cats, has been around since the days of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the frantic search for Communists thought to have infiltrated the US government. Republicans learned how to stick together during the “Cold War,” and it was not long until they had developed what came to be known as the Southern Strategy, which was essentially race-based politics, designed to take advantage of White . . . → Read More: Politics as Usual?

What A Week, Part 2

My last post with the title, “What a Week,” was about racial violence. Although it would be easy to write a new post on all the racial violence that has happened since, I will focus instead on the political mess we (those of us in the States) have created for ourselves. I’ve seen a lot of elections over the years, and I can’t recall any previous election when so many people disliked both candidates. Hold Your Nose and Choose provides a strategy for deciding between the lesser of two evils. One of the jokes making the rounds about the upcoming . . . → Read More: What A Week, Part 2

Paying Attention

My last blog post was about the so-called ancient Chinese curse of “living in interesting times.” All the problems I cited in that post are not only still with us, but also have been amplified. Donald Trump is now the presumptive Republican nominee for President of the US. Although the nominee for the Democrats has not been finally decided yet, Hilary Clinton is the likely candidate. Although I am still paying attention to US politics, I am doing so with an increasingly heavy heart. Even so, some other things have caught my attention, including website advertising, LGBT concerns and legislation, . . . → Read More: Paying Attention

The Vaccine Wars

I am old enough that I had most of the childhood illnesses for which vaccines are now available. I had both kinds of measles, chicken pox, mumps, and (I believe) whooping cough. I did have a number of vaccinations as a child, including small pox, tetanus, and probably some others. In my early 20s, I was among those who took the first version of the vaccine for polio developed by Dr. Jonas Salk. When I was in the Army, all new recruits were vaccinated against everything for which vaccines were available, including plague, probably in anticipation of our being sent . . . → Read More: The Vaccine Wars

Actions Speak Louder than Words

We’ve known for a long time that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, but we tend to forget the wide variety of ways the saying applies. When we recognize that everything is “information,” we can begin to notice what is “high-quality” information and what information is of lower quality. The higher the quality, the greater the likelihood that the information will prove true over time. A pudding that looks really good, for example, may not taste as good as it looks. The food you see advertised on TV, is typically not edible. It’s made to look good . . . → Read More: Actions Speak Louder than Words

Political Realities

I started political life as an Eisenhower Republican. I was in the 5th grade, and one of our assignments was to study the presidential election of 1952 and choose a candidate to vote for. Eisenhower was the Republican. Stevenson was the Democrat. My parents liked Ike, so I liked Ike, too. Others in my class also aligned with their parents—understandable given our age. It is only in retrospect I can see and understand how those early influences began shaping my political philosophy. Eisenhower is remembered primarily for initiating the Interstate Highway System and for warning us against the Military-Industrial Complex. . . . → Read More: Political Realities

New Directions

Those of you who have been regular readers of this blog know that we’ve recently been through a winter of discontent and spent some time south of the border. Now that spring has arrived in Michigan I thought it was time to give my blog a facelift with new header images, a new title, and new overarching theme: Embracing Reality. The theme is a result of my having been influenced by a saying from Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is, in which she says that When you argue with reality, you lose—but only 100 percent of the time. If you’ve . . . → Read More: New Directions