Monthly Archives: September 2013

Cut Taxes So Our Corporations Can Be More Competitive?

Republicans insist that we need tax cuts so that American businesses can be more competitive in world markets.  That seems like a reasonable idea until you really think about it.  Let’s say we want a local business making widgets to compete with a business in some other country that also produces widgets.  So we reduce our taxes, and our widget producers drop their export prices.  The other country is not blind.  They see what is happening, so they drop THEIR prices too! Assuming that other Read more [...]

Political Reform for Dummies

This was written during the administration of George W. Bush, a frustrating and depressing time for most progressives/liberals.  But even after the economic disaster at the end of the Bush reign, the discrediting of triumphal neoconservatism and laissez-faire economic philosophy, much of this piece still applies to our current national predicament. After listening to two friends argue about the current mess our country is in, it hit me that as long as these arguments continue, nothing will Read more [...]

Revolutionary Ideas

Copernicus, Galileo, Darwin, Carson and Hansen. Most readers will recognize the first three names. A little head scratching might drag up Rachel Carson. But not many people will know that last name. Read on to find out the identity of the last individual, and what these five people have in common. Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543) When Copernicus was in his early forties, around 1514, he had a revolutionary idea. From his astronomical observations, he deduced that the sun, not the earth, was stationary, Read more [...]

Are We The Last of the Classical Mohicans?

Foreword In James Fenimore Cooper's novel, "The Last of the Mohicans," the last members of an Indian tribe are killed in a  battle during the French and Indian wars of the late 1700's.  Since then, the title of Cooper's book has been used to describe any vanishing cultural or social group.  Here, I apply it to the diminishing group of classical music lovers in the world. I was talking today with an old friend, someone I have known for many years.  He's a very intelligent guy, college educated, Read more [...]

Musical Conversations

Music is often like conversation.  Sometimes the soloist is a “speaker” telling a story.  Other times, it is a dialogue between members of an ensemble.  I am speaking mainly about classical chamber music here.  Orchestral music occasionally has “speeches”…more on that later…but chamber music is full of conversations.  In fact, most chamber music seems to me to consist mainly of conversations among the players.  It is that interaction and communication during performances that has Read more [...]

Anarcho-Libertarianism and Common Sense

A couple years ago I wrote an article titled Capitalism, Unions and the Social Contract in which I discussed the idea of an implicit “social contract” between citizens and government.  When I posted that article on a different web site, an individual whom I know quite well left the following comment. “The only hint of any sort of elaboration upon social contract theory you give here is "The citizens agree to comply with the laws established by their government to maintain social order." Read more [...]

Abortions, Contraception and Welfare

Note to readers:  If you are a hard-line anti-abortionist, this article is not for you.  I am looking for comments and constructive criticism from people who understand the need to explore alternative actions to limit population growth and help people trapped in the vicious circle of poverty, welfare and unsupportable children.  If you are coming here just to dump your religious dogma, I will probably ignore you…and I hope everyone else participating in the comment thread will do likewise. I Read more [...]

Abortions, Contraceptions and Driving

Unlike other animals, humans have sex for pleasure, and to show affection.  I would wager that at least 99% of the human sexual encounters in the world happen without the specific goal of making a baby.  Recognizing that lovemaking and baby making are rarely simultaneous reasons for having sexual relations is the first essential step on the road to sensible family planning and control of the exploding world population.  Contraception is the vehicle that takes us down that road.  Abortion is the Read more [...]

A Response to Climate Deniers

In a recent issue of Skeptic magazine, an article by David Brin[1] takes on the deniers of global warming.  Brin, a scientist, speaker, technical consultant and widely published author has a PhD in physics.[2]  He gets right to the point in the second paragraph: “Trained as a scientist, and knowing many who research planetary atmospheres, I lean toward listening to expert advice on this complicated issue, especially since most [of the] recommended policy endeavors are things we should Read more [...]

Capitalism, Unions and the Social Contract

 The recent popular uprisings in the Middle East and in Wisconsin share a common theme.  In every case, a significant portion of the populace became fed up with their government and its policies, so they took to the streets in (mostly) peaceful demonstrations. For a government to remain in power, most of the people must perceive that it operates fairly and in their best interests most of the time.  Dictatorships, like those in the Middle East, may be able to oppress their citizens for awhile, Read more [...]

A GRADUATION ADDRESS

 I will never be invited to address a class of graduating college Seniors, much less a class of minority students who grew up below the poverty line.  Nevertheless, in Walter Mittyeske fashion, I recently imagined myself in that role, and composed an address for such an occasion. Of course, even if I were qualified, I am not the person to give this address.  The right person is...well, there he is, sitting over there on the speaker’s dais, waiting patiently through the preliminary speeches.  Read more [...]

Gender Selection Abortions – Take 3

 This is the third and last article in a series on this subject.  The previous two are: Gender Selection Abortions Gender Selection Abortions - Take 2 Ask any adamant pro-choicer what they think of a woman who seeks an abortion solely because she has a female fetus, and you will most likely get a look of horror and revulsion.  Queried why, they would point out the obvious chauvinistic and discriminatory aspects, and might even claim that the resulting shortage of females in the population Read more [...]

Gender Selection Abortions – Take 2

This is a continuation of an earlier article on this subject titled Gender Selection Abortions.  There is also  a follow on article titled Gender Selection Abortions - Take 3. Some countries have laws prohibiting gender-based abortion, but they are largely ignored in Asia, where the practice is common.  The US has no law specifically prohibiting abortions based on gender, although some anti-abortionists have tried to use it to promote support for a law prohibiting it, or restricting women’s Read more [...]

Gender Selection Abortions

There was a political uproar in England a few years ago about women seeking abortions on the basis of the gender of the fetus. This is apparently against the law in England. It is also illegal in Australia, but Canada has no prohibition against it. As far as I can determine, it is not illegal in the US, but abortion statistics show no gender preference in this country. But…a law that limits the reason a woman can have an abortion? How does anyone know what her reasons are? She may have Read more [...]

The Leopard and the Hyenas

We had been following the leopard for some time, at a discreet distance.  .  He was a magnificent young male, fully grown.          Finally, he stopped under the tree, sniffed around and sprawled out   It looked like he was settling in for a midday nap. As we watched, a group of three hyenas came into view, across an open field, maybe a hundred meters distant.  Two females in the lead with a lone male following behind.   The leopard saw them immediately and crouched, Read more [...]