Are Free Elections All We Need for Democracy? What Is Illiberal Democracy?
On April 16, Turkish voters gave Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, greatly increased powers. Observers believe Erdogan, already attacking dissent and the free press, will act to further erode civil rights in his country, even becoming something of a modern day sultan. Turkey is a democracy, a Muslim majority nation located where the Middle… Read More »
What if girls and young women at risk of unwanted pregnancies found safe places to gather and grow? What if such places offered guidance often missing in dysfunctional families? What if they provided an alternative to all that advertising suggesting that a woman’s only concern is attracting a male? If those at risk could gather… Read More »
Not Waiting on Washington (D.C., That Is)
According to our utility company, more of our local electricity is derived from solar energy. Some of it will be produced from a converted former Navy housing site that will sell this newer form of energy. Still another solar farm is replacing coal-fired plants. It is reported to cover over 600 acres and is among… Read More »
Death is Still Certain; Taxes—Who Knows?
The famous quote: “Nothing is certain except death and taxes” is attributed to Benjamin Franklin. Today taxes are still certain. It’s the kind of taxes and who pays them that appear up for grabs. Few would disagree with the complaint in The Economist (April 1, 2017) that “the most striking thing about tax in America… Read More »
You’re Not From Here, Are You?
As I shopped in a supermarket in my northwest U.S. community, a woman asked me where she might find a certain item. I gave her the information. “You’re not from here, are you?” she responded. I admitted my birth and rearing in Nashville, Tennessee. It doesn’t matter that I’ve lived all over the United States… Read More »
Third Horseman of the Apocalypse
In the Christian Old Testament, seeking food for self and animals is often a part of the stories. Herdsmen like Abraham moved to find better pastures for their flocks. A famine in Israel sent Jacob and his large family fleeing into Egypt. Lack of rain in the time of the prophets led Elijah to a… Read More »
Syria: No One Wants to Own It
A previous post “The Graveyard of Empires” pointed to the number of empires throughout history that bogged down after entry into the Middle East. But the Middle East continues to thrust itself onto the world’s stage, like some black pestilence. Today, it’s the horrendous deaths in Syria apparently caused by a gas attack on civilians.… Read More »
Laughing at Ourselves
One of the great strengths of a democracy is the freedom of its citizens to laugh at themselves. Humor helps us cope in tough times. American comedians have recently noted the boost given to their profession by the current political upheavals. Dictators may feel threatened by humor directed at them, but satire and political cartoons… Read More »
They Don’t Want to Visit Us Anymore
The Week magazine, March 17, 2017, quoted The Guardian, a British newspaper, about the drop in British visitors to the United States: “Interest in travel to the U.S. has plummeted since President Trump’s inauguration. . . .” According to the same article, the Global Business Travel Association “estimates the U.S. travel industry has lost $186… Read More »
Data Scrubbing Fears
Some librarians, civic groups, historians, and others have begun downloading federal websites for safekeeping, just in case the data on these sites disappears (The Seattle Times, March 12, 2017.) They are alarmed by certain actions of the Trump administration regarding federal data. They include: removal of animal cruelty data from the website of the U.S.… Read More »
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Where Are You When We Need You?
Remember Mister Rogers? Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on public television? Sometimes we laughed a bit at this gentle character who so quietly entered our homes and talked about feelings and helped children deal with fear and anger. “Look for the helpers. Look for the people who are helping” is a quote of his repeated often in… Read More »
Short Term Thinking Can Be Deadly
No doubt the new administration’s announcement of a hiring freeze for government employees is popular with many. It is to remain in effect, apparently, until the government workforce declines “sufficiently.” I was recruited to be a Foreign Service Officer by the U.S. Department of State in 1990 after an earlier hiring freeze was lifted. Part… Read More »