Archive for June 30th, 2010
I’m looking for a single word to capture this attitude, perhaps an entirely new word:
I really appreciate that you’re doing important task for me without any compensation. I don’t know anyone else capable of doing it at all, and it’s miraculous that you are doing it at all, and doing it this quickly, but could you please do even faster? And could you do it more often? But thank you so very much!
Bald Machiavellian compliments, just enough compliments and pleasantries to keep the volunteer going . . .
A friend recently asked me about the ideas that moved me over the past few years. I’ve written about many of those ideas at Dangerous Intersection. Today, I’m offering links to some of my favorite posts. I decided to gather these posts into one place as a reminder of some of the “Best Of” ideas, those that have especially challenged and moved me. It’s not my own writing that interests me here, but the content–most of these ideas are not my own. I was working mostly as a reporter. I should also note that thought I’ve gathered the ideas about which I have written, there are quite a few other authors who write at this site. To view the posts of any of the authors, simply go to the bottom right corner of the home page and click on one of the author names.
I’ve divided the posts into some broad categories. The titles appear in the link, so I haven’t bothered to link them all properly.
Cognitive science and linguistics
[More . . . ]
Barack Obama is doing the bidding of Osama bin Laden. It’s utterly clear that this is true. Obama is doing what bin Laden desires by buying into the Neocon approach to warmongering in the Middle East. Obama has fully bought into the world view of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Consider this excerpt from an article by Alan Grayson:
Today, the war in Afghanistan becomes America’s longest war. Longer than the war in Vietnam. Longer than the Korean War.It took America two years to end World War I, and bring peace to the world. World War II was a little harder; that took us 3½ years to finish off.
The war in Afghanistan is over eight years old. And we’re sending in more troops. We’re not getting out. We getting deeper in. Would you like to know why? It’s not hard to find the answers. Just read the transcript of Osama Bin Laden’s 2004 speech.
Bin Laden’s plan was to bankrupt America, and he’s well on his way. All he had to do was press America’s SELF-DESTRUCT button with a dozen men with box-cutters, and we’re helpless to turn off the fearful war-mongering. Here’s Grayson’s solution:
And at all times, Bin Laden’s essential strategy has remained the same. Not, as so many think, to launch more attacks on American soil, but rather to make us destroy ourselves: “we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy . . . .”
Listen to Bin Laden summing up his strategy: “the real loser is … you. It is the American people and their economy . . . .”
How strange. It turns out that America’s chief military strategist for the past decade is Osama Bin Laden himself. We’ve been doing exactly what he has wanted us to do: spend staggering sums on the military, until the American economy is bled dry.
But it doesn’t have to be that we. We are a democracy. We can choose peace. I have voted against Bin Laden’s strategy to destroy America, and I will continue to do so. But I’ve done more than that. I have introduced a bill called The War is Making You Poor Act, HR 5353.
Take a guess . . . what percentage of young adults from Philadelphia would be qualified to serve in the military? 92%? 45%? Now check this out:
A nonprofit group says that up to 90 percent of young Philadelphians are ineligible for military service because of criminal records, obesity or lack of education.
So you’re probably thinking that the problem is with young adults in big cities, but you’re an optimist:
Nationally, the Defense Department estimates that 75 percent of young adults are disqualified from military service.
Ouch. We need boot camp for everyone. We need to put a moratorium on French fries, television and the “war on drugs.”
Most of the big problems we face today are created by human beings, and they have human solutions. If only we could and would change our ways. If only we could switch to a non-fossil fuel economy, we could solve dozens of well-known environmental and political problems. If only we would “just say no” to drugs, reckless conduct, sloth, and rampant consumerism. If only we would just buckle down and be more informed and more active citizens, we could keep a better eye on our government. It goes on and on. Well designed solutions already exist for so many of our problems. If only we would change, but we can’t seem to change. We tend to be trapped in our own destructive and ignorant ways.
How can we break out of this stagnant cycle? Back in 2002 at Psychology Today, in an article titled “The 10 Rules of Change,” Stan Goldberg wrote that change isn’t easy, but it is possible, and there’s more to it than just saying yes (or no). He offers ten observations and strategies for implementing change. They include the following (these are Goldberg’s ideas, as I interpret them):
1. All behaviors are complex. Therefore, break down the behavior into smaller parts and take baby steps. If you want to be a better musician, practice your scales, study your theory, practice new pieces, listen carefully to others performing, and a dozen other things.
[More . . . ]