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White House Attacks Higher Learning and Threatens Defunding

July 11th, 2020 No comments
Categories: Opinion, Writing Tags:

Random killer stalks Los Angeles

July 11th, 2020 No comments

55 people died from #COVID19 in LA County yesterday.

If a killer was randomly killing 50+ people a day, every day, would not we be devoting every resource to stopping them?

Why aren’t we treating this pandemic the same?

In both cases we are #SaferAtHome

Categories: Opinion, Writing Tags:

Home School: Film Adaptations of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol via Gresham College on YouTube

June 9th, 2020 Comments off

Home School: Film Adaptations of Dickens' A Christmas Carol via Gresham College on YouTube

How do the different film versions of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol reflect the politics and culture of their own particular times?

A lecture by Dr Christine L. Corton, Wolfson College Cambridge
10 December 2019 6PM GMT

A Christmas Carol (1843) is the most filmed and televised of Dickens’ works. Many will warmly remember the 1951 Alastair Sim version, but how many are aware of A Carol for Another Christmas (1964), a propaganda film produced in support of the UN, or The Passions of Carol (1975), which attempted to highlight the evil of the pornographic industry? How do the different versions reflect the politics and culture of their own particular times? What makes a good Carol movie? Is it truth to the original or is it something else?

Visit Gresham College on YouTube


A Christmas Carol: With Original Illustrations In Full Color
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Moby-Dick Marathon: The Story Hour Series via New Bedford Whaling Museum

May 17th, 2020 Comments off
Moby-Dick Marathon: The Story Hour Series
 
Relive one of New Bedford Whaling Museum’s most beloved events with a twist! The annual Moby-Dick Marathon takes place each winter and runs for 25 consecutive hours. Melville aficionados, scholars, and others enter a lottery months in advance for their chance to be a part of the reading. In this re-imagined, virtual event, a past marathon will be released in nightly, hour-long segments. Get cozy as you listen or follow along from the comfort of your home.

After COVID-19 – 5 in a series – A single reason why

April 24th, 2020 Comments off

As a rather pessimistic person myself, it has helped me recognize pessimism — and fear — in others. This pessimism can lead us to become stalled in life and frozen by fear. Like a deer in the headlights, we can’t decide what to do and are ultimately run over by the approaching car.

In the real world, it functions more like this. When faced with a challenge, we can find a million reasons why we can’t or shouldn’t take some action. I see this whether I am talking to friends informally or consulting with a client. Whenever we are faced with a difficult situation or looking for a new area of business, the negatives flow like water. We can’t do this because…They won’t allow that because… We don’t have the money to do that because.., This can go on for hours and leads us exactly…nowhere.

After COVID-19 - 5 in a series - A single reason why

Photo: Alev Takil

Partially this happens because we are approaching the situation from the wrong direction. We focus on the status quo. We focus on the problems. We focus on the can’t, shouldn’t, won’t of the situation. We can easily find a million reasons NOT to do something when, instead, we should be looking for the ONE reason we CAN do something. By turning the conversation on its head we can find the useful and productive things we CAN do and leave the problems behind. We have to break free of the pessimism that holds us in place. I am not asking, nor dreaming, that you will suddenly become a great optimist. I know this hasn’t happened for me. Rather, you and I need to work to change pessimistic inaction into realistic action.

Whenever I am faced with my own million reasons why not, I think of this quote…

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

No matter how dark the world becomes — no matter the adversity — no matter the roadblock — we can persevere. It is rare for us to find ourselves completely out of options, although sometimes it can feel that way. We find ourselves and our minds buried beneath the million reasons why not and can’t see the one reason why.

Part of what I do in my work is helping people find that one reason why. Sometimes, outside eyes can see things more clearly. I know that is true for myself. I often need the fresh vision of a friend or family member to help me clear the fog of my own thinking. It is simply a fact of human nature. We get locked into a single way of thinking. We also underestimate our own skills and intelligence just when we need it most.

So, take some time today and think about one of your most pressing issues. There are certainly more than enough issues these days, so picking one shouldn’t be a problem. Then, put aside the million reasons why NOT and start looking for the one reason, the one idea, the one change, the one single reason WHY you CAN and SHOULD do something different.

Once you find that reason, start working on making it happen. Take action. Then, as shampoo bottles everywhere advise — Rinse, and Repeat. Make this part of your everyday thinking and action. Take the next issue and find the next WHY and HOW, over and over. 

It matters little whether you are “running, walking, or crawling.” All that matters is the forward movement towards the next great step in your life and career.

 

Christmas Past – 21 in a series – The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum (1902)

December 21st, 2019 Comments off

Christmas Past – 21 in a series – The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum (1902)

Christmas Past - 21 in a series - The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum (1902)



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My Word on “Why I Am Writing and Sharing So Much About Politics And Why Now?”

October 3rd, 2019 Comments off

Why I Am Writing/Sharing So Much About Politics? Why now?

For those of you who have known me for even a short time, you know I usually don’t take a great interest in politics. It can be fair to say that I worry least about the government that governs best. I have my political opinions and I might occasionally show my support for some program or another, but usually, I am content to let other fret and strut their hour upon the political stage and take care of more immediate concerns.

My Word on

That said, lately, my Twitter and Facebook streams have been awash with political news, comments, rants and more. Over the last 2 years I have been growing more and more angry, upset, disenchanted, vocal (insert your favorite emotion here) with my government. This has caused me to re-think my usual laissez-faire (a policy or attitude of letting things take their course, without interfering) attitudes towards politics, government and governing.

I often say that if I start talking politics then you know things have gotten really bad and that is certainly the case now. I take issue with many policies and actions of the current administration and could no longer hold off voicing some of my opinions. Lest people were mistaking my silence for support, I had to share that I did not agree and exactly why.

Taking these actions has been far more about me and my emotions than any effort to affect the outside world. I had to make it clear that I did NOT agree, I did NOT support, I did NOT assent, to the actions being taken, ostensibly, in my name and certainly with my tax dollars. IF my son ever asked me what I did during these times, I need to be able to show him where I stood on the issues and why. I guess this is my generations version of “What did you do in the war, Dad?”

I won’t reiterate my opinions on issues here. If you wish to see them, visit any of my social media feeds and it will be clear. Rather I wanted to explain a little bit about why my political side has popped up, unbidden, like a large groundhog surveying his plot. When the noise grows too loud, we must all stick our head out and take stock of what is going on.

Here are a few quotes that have led me to speak out…

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” – Desmond Tutu

“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented” – Elie Wiesel

“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral” – Paulo Freire

“The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict…[an individual] who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it” – Martin Luther King Jr.

After reading these I found that I was no longer able to remain neutral, ignorant, dismissive or amoral about what is happening in our country and our world today. The time has come to take sides and I, in my own small, small, small, way, have done just that.

No one knows what the future will bring, but at least I know that I said what I believed and I stood up for those opinions whatever happens.

Categories: My Word, Opinion, Writing Tags:

My Word on “Being Cassandra”

September 28th, 2019 Comments off

In the Greek myth, Cassandra is granted the gift of foresight by Apollo, but when she resists his advances, Apollo adds a curse — although she sees the truth, no one will believe her.

Throughout this entire presidency, I can imagine there have been many — perhaps hundreds or thousands — who have felt like Cassandra from one day to the next. Thye tried to warn us about this man in the 80s and 90s. They tried to warn us before the election. They tried to warn us after the election and nearly daily since that time. Still, so many people did not believe it. 

“Cassandra and Ajax”, Greek Krater, 350-340 BC

Despite Cassandra’s warnings, they ignored each question, each failure, each exposure of wrong-doing, each hateful outburst, each attack on portions of the citizenry they were supposed to serve, until, finally, the curtain was dropped and we saw the machinations that hid behind it all.

Now, despite our disbelief, we must look back with clear hindsight and reevaluate how we failed to listen and how we victimized all those Cassandras who tried to warn us. We called them liars. We called them mad. We called them political hacks. We questioned their loyalty, their citizenship, and their very existence. We threatened them with jail, destruction of their reputations and, in some cases, barely veiled threats of death.

While it is impossible to make amends for how these people were treated, we can offer them some recompense by finally opening our minds and believing them. Even though they may have stated truths we did not want to hear, we must believe. We must see the truth that lies in front of us. We can deny it no longer.

The Me, Too movement has shown us how so many people have been assaulted, attacked and killed while those around them did nothing — because they did not, or could not, believe that these assaults happened. In each case, Me Too activists have shouted, “Believe Them!” It should be clear that this mantra needs to be applied to all such events. Start with belief, investigate and punish as necessary regardless of income, political power, race, creed or sexual orientation. Too often we tout the age-old exclamation “The Rule of Law”, but much too often the law is different for rich and poor, brown and beige, Christian and Muslim, male and female.

No one (should be) above the law, but often that is exactly the case. We see it in everyday dealings and the actions in the halls of national and international power. The Cassandras of our time speak out to warn us and just like their mythical namesake we refuse to believe. We must learn from the past — both mythical and historical — or we are doomed to repeat our mistakes or perhaps, simply doomed.

My Word on Impeachment

September 25th, 2019 Comments off

The impeachment of a President is a horrible thing. Impeachment is disruptive, contentious and one fo the most violent political acts that can be taken by one branch of government against another. Impeachment is a necessary evil, though, to prevent the co-option of our government by those who put self before country, profit before the gain of all citizens and lies in the place of truth.

Read How IMpeachment Works, Washington Post

Impeachment is to government as chemotherapy is to the human body. It is horrible in itself, but it just might suppress a cancer. It withers the body but restores a lifetime if it works. One person suffers most, but all around them suffer too with grief, the unknown future, and the day-to-day punishment of it all. It will be the same with the coming weeks as we march through seemingly endless interrogations, testimonies, and news reports.

Still, Impeachment is necessary. Impeachment is important. Impeachment is political chemotherapy for the ills that have infected our government. I absolutely hate that we must take these steps. It would have been better for everyone had we not had to take these steps, but when faced with no other choice we must steel ourselves and impeach.

Today, like many other trying times in my life, I think back to one of my favorite book series, The Lord of The Rings. In the first volume, The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo and Gandalf have this short exchange.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R Tolkien

We are often faced with terrible situations not of our own creation. Just earlier this year, I had to watch my son barely escape death from a car crash and face the long, painful, road through stabilization, multiple operations, crashingly painful recovery and finally return home with us. Would I have rather avoided this? Of course, but often we are faced with situations that can only be faced day by day. There is no way to avoid them. The only thing you can do is do your best with the time you are given. This is how I envision the slow march of the impeachment process over the next several months. One day at a time.

Despite what might be said by some in government, there is a process to be followed here. The President has not been impeached. There is no immediate impeachment trial in progress. There is no rush to judgment. There is no “judgment” to be had. Rather, Yesterday’s announcement was only for the beginning of an impeachment investigation. 

This investigation is of the greatest importance. While there may be significant anecdotal evidence of wrongdoing, we are a country that believes in the rule of law. Law is carried out in specific, through specific actions and policies and no one is above the law. This investigation turns away from anecdotal and circumstantial evidence and burrows deep into the actions that may have taken place and the evidence that directly and clearly proves any malfeasance.

We need this desperately. The last few years have been filled with actions that have caused such accusations and rancor that we all need to be reassured that our government can work to the benefit of all its citizens. It is only by the application of this “terrible medicine” of law that we can all begin to clearly assess what has occurred and move forward with a mended heart and clear conscience.

Let us all move forward into this battle to determine the truth — no matter how that truth may stand — and preserve our democracy for ourselves, our future and future generations.

My Word on “America may lose its “measles elimination” status” from The New York Times

September 23rd, 2019 Comments off

This is what happens when we deny science and the power it has to change our world forever.

Denying science is a sure way to move civilization backward by leaps and bounds and in this case, killing thousands if not millions through our ignorance.

I never would’ve thought to see our modern-day Galileoes stood up in front of ignorant firing squads of anti-science know-nothings while these people infect (and in some cases kill) those around them.

I am old enough to have suffered from these diseases before there were vaccines to prevent them and I would have gladly rather been vaccinated then suffered from weeks of pain and suffering from measles, chickenpox, mumps and more.

Once again we see how, in today’s world, the actions of a small minority can deeply and profoundly affect the lives of those around them. Even worse, they don’t even care about the pain they visit on their children and certainly don’t care about the pain of others.

This is selfishness masquerading as parental care. They don’t refuse vaccines for their children but rather for their own, anti-scientific hostilities. I believe it is far worse to suffer the almost assured risk of a preventable disease than the small risks carried by vaccination.

Comments on

I walk the talk, too. My son has had all his vaccinations and been Spared much the suffering of our generation. And for myself, both my wife and I recently took a measles booster due to all the anti-vaccination talk and measles infection in the Los Angeles area.

She works at public colleges and I am on campus and around large groups quite a bit myself. After the UCLA quarantine of several months ago, it became clear that we both needed to protect ourselves again since we received our measles vaccines so long ago.

I beg you to protect yourself and those around you and vaccinate your children and yourself to prevent pandemics of diseases like measles, polio, chickenpox, smallpox from ever occurring again. We deserve it ourselves and we owe it to the future.

Categories: Health, Opinion, Writing Tags: