Monthly Archives: October 2012

hedge fund manager whitney tilson sums up his choice for this election

one of the best summations i’ve seen of obama’s  presidency

be well friends,


“I DON’T CARE!”: The conservative mantra and the demise of U.S.

Emotions are running high this election.  Facebook is burning up with heated conversations of family members and friends.  I’ve noticed a dangerous pattern within my conservative circle of friends and family – that is the utter tenacity to cling to untruths.  I have struggled  immensely trying to understand this mindset.

One of the things I observed is that many come back with the statement, “You can have your opinions, I’ll have mine.”  This is true.  The problem is that I am not disagreeing with their opinion.  Neither am I offering my own (most of the time).  I am merely setting the record straight with the truth.

I offer to read any books, links, or resources they would recommend so that I can research on my own, “You know, in all my readings I hadn’t read anything that says…so I’d love to read what you have.”  After all, I am forever posting links to Mother Jones, CSM, and The Guardian.  I do so hoping that they are read and I am willing to return the gesture. I almost never get anything back. (As a side note, this tactic has been a goldmine of information.  When those who take me up on the challenge do send me something, I find some amazing….ly insane information out there).

No matter what tactic I took it didn’t matter.  They cling to their misinformation adamantly. Recently, one person sent a very enlightening remark.  “I don’t care!”

There it was.  The light bulb went on for me.  There are people out there who just don’t care.  It doesn’t matter what the truth is, it doesn’t matter where the benefit lies, they just don’t care.

“Okay,”  I thought, “I suppose that’s one way of choosing to handle the truth.”  But then I considered it further and I came to realize that choosing not to care poses a serious threat to the greatness our country has achieved and it highly reduces any ability for us to be greater still.

Not caring about the truth strips us of the ability to reason and robs us of our capacity to grow again.  How can we plan for a better future for our children if we deny the reality of that future?  There can be no compromise on vital issues such as balancing our need for oil versus the need to keep our planet healthy if many of our citizens just “don’t care!”  How can we keep our government accountable if a great deal of its voters just “don’t care!”

The bottom line is this: when one side of the table doesn’t care about the truth, there can be no discussion.  No discussion means no moving forward, no progress, no growth.  Zip, zero, nothing.  The conservative mantra of “I DON”T CARE” about the truth is one of the most detrimental ideas to happen to our nation.  It is blatantly robbing us of our ability to be great.  In all sincerity and passion, I hope they come to care about that.

Be Well,



newest youtube video: the real choice: republic or plutocracy

truth matters….

CNN Belief Blog

Editor’s Note: Joanna Brooks is a senior correspondent for and author of “The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith.”

By Joanna Brooks, Special to CNN

(CNN)–There are two moments and two moments only that made my soul sit upright during Tuesday night’s presidential debate:

President Obama, speaking about the loss of manufacturing jobs to low-wage economies like China: “There are some jobs that are not coming back.”

Obama, speaking about four lives lost in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya: “I am the one who has to meet those coffins when they come home.”

Morbid? Not at all. I’m just a believer in the gospel of hard truths.

View original post 627 more words

so billy graham….

all of the sudden has a change of heart about what cults really are.  all of the sudden god is not so concerned with ‘worshiping false idols’ just so that christians have the justification to vote for a mormon.

and just because we already have a perfectly good christian president  that  has come out in favor of marriage equality.

i mean, it seems god could just as easily change his mind about homosexuality being a sin so we can keep our current christian president.

way more efficient, and even perhaps a bit less hypocritical.

The Best Part of Gardening: The Things it Teaches Me

For the first time in a few years I’ve grown a garden this summer.  It’s not much, an old table set  with some herbs, lettuces, and cosmos,  and two half barrels on either side of it, one containing summer squash and one with tomatoes, all tucked in one corner of the backyard.  I also planted some new flowers to add to the few plants and lone miniature rose bush on the patio. Add an eclectic group of chairs and I have a quite nice sitting area for all my efforts. It’s autumn and I’m sitting amongst my plants and flowers now, reflecting on the lessons my little garden has gently brought back to my conscious, and I am grateful for them.

The first lesson I was reminded of is that timing is everything.  My grandma and mom religiously planted their garden by the moon signs (the Farmer’s Almanac was a staple in my home as a child) and judging by the jars of tomatoes and green beans I had to help ‘put up’, they were very successful.  There is a time to plant and we must be ready when it comes.  We must have our beds all made and soil prepared, after all, you can’t just throw seeds into some dirt and expect a bountiful harvest. If I want my business to grow, I must make sure I am prepared with knowledge and watch for opportunities to use it. If I want my children to succeed, I must prepare them for the ups and downs of life and I must know when to allow them more freedom.  Timing and preparation are imperative if I want my garden to succeed, and equally imperative if I want my life to succeed.

Gardening requires diligent watering.   I live in a very hot climate so missing one day of watering could be the end of a seedling.  Even if I missed a day with full grown plants, I could see the stress it caused them.  They could not produce fruit at their best with haphazard watering.  I learned to love the discipline of it.  One of the benefits of gardening is that we get immediate gratification.  Almost daily we can see our little sprouts reaching out with new growth.  I was reminded that some areas of our lives require daily “watering” as well.  Exercise for one thing.  Our muscles lose strength if we miss even a day of a workout.  Our mental health requires some sort of meditation on a daily basis so that the new seeds of thought or creativity can break free of the soil and grow to bear fruit.  But we learn to love the discipline of it.  I like the strength my body has, I like the way my clothes fit as a result of keeping myself physically healthy.  I enjoy the new ideas that come to me as a result of meditating – watering my soul.  I definitely cherish the enlightenment and personal growth that comes with it.  And if I don’t, if I miss a day or week or so, then I find I am stressed, not receiving any new enlightenment.  I am not growing, and any fruit I bear is puny.

As our seedlings grow and plants mature, one of the crucial elements of gardening comes into play: thinning and pruning.  Those little sprouts, so perky and promising must be thinned.  I know it is logistically impossible for my half barrel to sustain twelve squash plants, three or four at the most.  So I must pluck from them the weakest, the smallest, and the ones less promising.  Ideas are like this I’ve noticed.  I do not possibly have room in my life for every idea that comes across the wire. I must choose which one will benefit me most, which one is most promising, which one will grow to bear the most fruit.  But it is not just in the thinning of the sprouts that pruning takes place, we must also prune as the plant grows.   My tomato plants remind me of “Little Shop of Horrors,” they know no bounds and would take over half the yard I swear if I didn’t cut them back.  By doing so, the plant is allowed to focus its energy on the developing fruit it has.  Otherwise, it would become overtaxed by trying to feed all the tomatoes and they would end up puny.  It is good to bear fruit.  It is not so good to overtax ourselves trying to feed too many projects; they will suffer in their success.  I was reminded that we must be careful to understand that we cannot do it all. We must remember to scale back those areas of our lives that would inhibit the best harvest, even if they are healthy, even if they have the potential to bear fruit.  The simple reason is that we only have so many resources available in this life, we must be sure to channel them carefully for maximum yield.

We must enjoy our harvest!  There is no better feeling than being able to go out, grab a couple of summer squash and a handful of basil and cook it immediately, food straight from my back yard and into the mouths of my family; or picking a few tomatoes to dice and throw into a salad, bright red, sweet and juicy – best taste in the world.  Neither is there a better feeling than when an idea has come to fruition:  an article was published, a contract gone through, a child earning an award. It is important to savor success; much work, effort and discipline goes into its creation.  Besides what happens if we do not eat the fruit?  It spoils.  We might as well enjoy it.  I was also reminded by my proliferous squash plants that it is important to harvest consistently or else there’s no room for the new squash to grow.  As a writer, this particular reminder hit home.  If I have two or three ideas for articles to write, then I must get them out, I must harvest them in order for new material to come to bear.  What happens to squash (ideas) that are not picked?  They grow to be absurdly big and too tough for consumption.  They spoil – and they rob the plant of the ability to focus its energy on new squash since it has to feed this old dying useless thing.  Likewise, consistent harvesting of our ideas means more creativity.

Finally, gardening gently reminds me of the cycle of things.  As I said, the growing season is coming to an end.  Already I’ve pulled up my squash plants. I’ve got another month left of tomatoes, basil, and oregano before the first frost.  It seems that we have a similar cycle of creativity.  A project begins as a seed and before you know it it’s run its course.  Game over.  While we feel pressure to move on right away to the very next thing, gardening reminds us of a different path.  We need a moment to rest, just as the soil needs a moment to rest, just as an apple tree needs a moment to rest.  We need a rest to recuperate after a harvest and build up the energy for another growth and bearing cycle.

So happy hibernating!  Enjoy the fruits of your labor this winter if you’ve ‘put up’ some of your harvest – I will be enjoying some homegrown, homemade sundried tomatoes.  And as I do, I will be thankful of the lessons I’ve been reminded of this summer, keeping them in mind for when I’ll need them later, like tomorrow.

Be Well,


here’s to you malala…..a true hero

malala yousufzai

Mitt Romney’s Business Experience: Asset or Liability?

I hear a bit of a positive consensus surrounding the idea that one of Gov. Romney’s assets  is his business experience and it’s a good idea to finally have a businessman in the White House to handle the economy. I understand this line of thinking, I subscribed to it myself for a while.  The truth demonstrates the opposite however:  Gov. Romney’s business experience is really a huge liability for the United States.

Electing a man with more business experience, especially the kind of experience Mitt Romney has, will finalize once and for all the financialization revolution.  Many of you may not have heard of this term (many economists will argue that the revolution is already over), but basically it’s the reason why our economic system is way different now than it was a few decades ago.

A few decades ago (fifties and sixties) the private sector was booming, wages increased as production increased and combined with a decent social services structure, America was the model country. Then something happened in the seventies at the beginnings of the revolution, producing all those goods meant a surplus of money.  As fate would have it, and as the invisible hand of human greed would direct, a new way of making money was devised as a means of putting the surplus to work.  By inventing funky, shaky endeavors such as derivatives, futures, options, hedge funds, and credit default swaps (hell, i’m not even sure what all those are), the financial sector managed to create a way to bilk billions out of the economy and into its own coffers and personal bank accounts.  This new direction also meant a change in who had greater control over policy making. If you look back over the last three decades, it’s easy to see that increasingly our financial institutions, markets, and elite have gained a greater influence over larger aspects of our lives, including policy making and politics.  The effects of this revolution are obvious:  stagnate wages, greater disparity between the wealthy and the poor, and the real sector diminishing to financial sector control.

That control by the financial sector is exactly what the revolution is all about.  Sure it has some control now. Logic tells me  that there would be a very rough road ahead of us if we complete the revolution by electing a business man to the oval office and  giving the financial sector political control for the first time ever in our history.

The United States of America is a Nation, first and foremost – not a business.  It is made up of citizens – not board members.  We are voters – not anonymous workers.  The President is accountable for the welfare of an entire nation – not for shareholder revenue. We are a republic, not a plutocracy.  International relationships must be handled with a delicate balance of carefully chosen words, and on occasion silence – not with the narrow view of which bottom line is most profitable.

Do we really want a man in office whose entire career has trained him to have only ONE focus?

So yeah, Mitt’s business experience turns out to be a very real liability for him, and for U.S..

Be Well,



Working Paper 525, Levy Institute

Greed and Debt: the True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital

found on reddit….happy friday kids

Demagoguery in the U.S.? Probably not.

The recent and enjoyable spat between Ann Coulter and the rest of The View crew again reminded me that many of us still cling to the ideology of ‘The White Man’s Burden.’  It is an ideology born of bygone days from the time when ‘guns, germs, and steel’ were overwhelming less industrialized societies and annihilating them at a god awful pace in the name of Colonization and Imperialist snobbery.  If Ann had her way, this thought process is a dead issue (somehow its death blow came with the OJ Simpson verdict ??????).  The reality is that the imperialist idea (and its inherent racist tenants) is still alive and well today in the Republican party, it’s so blatant in fact that yeah, any normal attempt the democrats make to ensure equality could be interpreted as demagoguery, being interpreted of course, from the perception that only rich white men matter.

It doesn’t take a genius, for instance, to look at all the pictures and videos from both recent party conventions to realize that one party is way whiter than the other.  And way more male.  Translation:  obviously one party embraces a true representation of our nation.  It doesn’t take a genius to see the implications of white republican convention women throwing peanuts at their African-American sister saying “This is what we feed the animals.”  It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Republican efforts to curtail ‘voting fraud’ are blatant attempts to disenfranchise millions of black, Mexicans, and other minorities.  Why?  Because those minorities typically vote Democrat.  Why?  Because Democrats typically take care of them, along with the rest of the nation, much better than Republicans.  It doesn’t take a genius to understand that the efforts to re-build New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina were wholly geared toward the rich and the white. Current demographics support this trend clearly. New Orleans’ rebuilding was financially underwritten by private contractors and approved by republicans who stood to profit hugely from those private contracts.   It doesn’t take a genius to see that our prisons and judicial system are highly geared toward criminalizing young African-Americans.   It certainly doesn’t take a genius to understand that republicans dislike our current president simply because he is black.

See, when there is obvious effort to disenfranchise our minorities, democrats don’t NEED to patronize anyone, simply exhibiting basic human compassion is enough to balance the scales.  As long as the “White Man’s Burden” ideology is lurking around, such a simple act could look like demagoguery from the narrow view of the republicans.

Be Well!