RSSCategory: Quality of Life

The greatest country in the world

February 6, 2013 | By | 5 Replies More

This impressive speech suggests that the United States is not the “greatest country in the world.” But what would Jeff Daniels know? He’s only relying on facts.

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400 films advocating social change

January 31, 2013 | By | 1 Reply More

Here are 400 films advocating social change. Just click on them and enjoy. The list includes some that are quite popular.

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On Guns, Mental Hygiene, and Resilience

December 17, 2012 | By | 15 Replies More
On Guns, Mental Hygiene, and Resilience

It may surprise people who know me that I am not completely anti-gun. It seems like something I might be.  I don’t like loud noises and I don’t like violence, and killing hurts me. I have to avert my eyes form a lot of TV and movies. But the gun thing is no longer simple for me.  The last time I was stridently anti-gun was while lecturing my father about the dangers of guns. He happened to be holding off a midnight intruder with a hammer and wanted me to go get his gun.  I was a senior in high school and I knew everything and I refused . . .

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Annie Leonard: Stay home on Black Friday

November 14, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

Annie Leonard (“The Story of Stuff”) urges us to stay home on Black Friday, offering us some stunning images in this one-minute video:

What else is there to do? Fifty years ago, people would have thought you were an idiot to even ask this question.

Although I have NEVER shopped on Black Friday, I signed Annie Leonard’s Pledge.

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William Black explains Mitt Romney’s 47% comment

September 18, 2012 | By | Reply More

William K. Black is spot on in his analysis of Mitt Romney, the candidate of America’s Social Darwinist Party (aka the Republican Party):

Romney’s initial non-apology for his dismissal of the 47 percent claimed that he was not “elegant” in his statements, but that is a deliberate effort to divert our attention from the real point. His consignment of nearly half of all Americans to the trash heap was deliberately crude because his fellow plutocrats love the crudeness of his dismissal of those they see as immoral moochers. His speech demonstrated perfect pitch for his audience because his plutocratic peers are the only Americans who Romney knows and understands.

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How Ayn Rand destroyed a home

August 16, 2012 | By | 13 Replies More
How Ayn Rand destroyed a home

Salon presents a young adult’s description of how Ayn Rand destroyed her family. This vivid and intensely personal article by Alyssa Bereznak exposes the ugly underbelly of objectivism, summed up by the following words by Ayn Rand:

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

I disagree with those who believe that Rand offers a path to a meaningful life. I see life as a yin-yang dynamic, a struggle we all have trying to balance our own needs and wants with the needs of the group. [More . . . ]

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Why rich kids hate their parents

June 28, 2012 | By | Reply More
Why rich kids hate their parents

I’m not convinced that most rich kids hate their parents, but there are presumably some who do. I also know many non-rich kids who don’t get along with their parents. Franco Lombardo says many rich kids hate their parents in his new book, “The Great White Elephant: Why Rich Kids Hate Their Parents.” Lombardo bases his claim on the failure of 70% of rich families to pass their wealth-making ability onto the next generation intact. This reminds me of a proverb:

The first generation in a family makes money (goes from rags to riches); the second generation holds or keeps the money; and the third generation squanders or loses the money (and so goes back to rags).

In this report by CNBC, he gives three reasons:

First, wealthy parents don’t say “no” enough. “A child grows up with a sense that they get whatever they want,” Lombardo says. “When they go out into the world and the world tells them ‘no,” they’re angry. And they resent their parents.” The second cause is time. Wealthy parents are often absent parents, and the kids feel abandoned. . . . The third reason is society , , , makes fun of rich kids. So parents tell their kids at an early age to hide their wealth. When the kids grow up, they feel that a big part of their identity has to remain hidden – and they blame their parents.

These reasons make some sense to me, but I like to see some numbers quantifying this supposed hate. I’d like to know who we “know” that rich kids hate the parents any more than non-rich kids hate their parents.

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How to make an island

June 19, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More
How to make an island

Do you need to get away from it all? Do you crave an island of your own? Richie Sowa was in that position. Rather than find an island or buy one, he decided to make his own. The foundation of his island is consists of empty plastic water bottles.

Sowa is now growing his own bananas, coconuts, spinach, almonds and tomatoes. In the video below, he says that he has everything he wants. Although his island is currently in Mexico, he plans to keep increasing the size of the island, until he sets out to sea.

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Growing income disparity and its consequences

June 7, 2012 | By | 7 Replies More
Growing income disparity and its consequences

Joseph Stiglitz has some shocking numbers:

Nowadays, these numbers show that the American dream is a myth. There is less equality of opportunity in the United States today than there is in Europe – or, indeed, in any advanced industrial country for which there are data. This is one of the reasons that America has the highest level of inequality of any of the advanced countries – and its gap with the rest has been widening. In the “recovery” of 2009-2010, the top 1% of US income earners captured 93% of the income growth. Other inequality indicators – like wealth, health, and life expectancy – are as bad or even worse. The clear trend is one of concentration of income and wealth at the top, the hollowing out of the middle, and increasing poverty at the bottom.

This is troubling, but not merely for a sense of mathematical equality or even gut level justice. This is bad news because income disparity hurts people in predictable and demonstrable ways.

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