Recent Articles

Why Leviticus does not impress me regarding LGBT

| August 15, 2015 | 2 Replies

How many times have you heard someone dust off a copy of the Bible and quote from Leviticus as an argument against homosexuality or any form of sexuality other than heterosexuals engaging in missionary-position-half-dressed-in-the-dark sex? Well, James M. Kaufman wrote an impressive letter to radio host, “Doctor” Laura Schlesinger. I found a copy of the […]

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The power of listening

| August 10, 2015 | Reply

A good friend of mine named Tom was an excellent parent – his son was a really cool kid. When I was about to adopt my first child I asked him what advice he had for raising children. He said, “Listen to them. Listen actively. Everything else will follow from that.”

After having raised two children, I find that to be excellent advice. Eric Barker has published a post on the power of listening. He calls it, “How To Be Loved By Everyone: 6 Powerful Secrets,” which is not a good title, because I consider it self destructive to try to be loved by everyone. But I agree with the content of the post, which centers on improving relationships by active listening. Here are Barker’s take-aways:

Be a detective. You need to be interested. The best way to do that is to play detective and be curious.

How little can you say? Ask questions. Paraphrase to make sure you understand. Past that, just shut up.

Can you summarize to their approval? If you paraphrase what they said and they reply, “Exactly” — you win.
Don’t try to fix them.

Be Socrates. Help them find their own solution. People remember their own ideas best.

Monitor body language. Eye contact and open postures are good. Touch their elbow to help create a bond.

Review the common mistakes we all make. And then don’t do them.

Listen and people will listen back. In fact, they’ll do more than that. They will come to trust and love you.

He ends with this quote by David Augsburger:

“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”

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About legality

| August 4, 2015 | Reply

legalityFound this graphic on Facebook.

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Public opinion has “near-zero” impact on U.S. law.

| August 4, 2015 | Reply

Here’s the bottom line of a Princeton study, “Does the Government Represent the People?”:

Gilens & Page found that the number of Americans for or against any idea has no impact on the likelihood that Congress will make it law.

“The preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

One thing that does have an influence? Money. While the opinions of the bottom 90% of income earners in America have a “statistically non-significant impact,” Economic elites, business interests, and people who can afford lobbyists still carry major influence.

The study found that nearly every issue we face as a nation is caught in the grip of corruption. Industries given special attention are those who provide the most funding to politicians: Energy, Telecommunications, Pharmaceuticals, Defense, Agribusiness and Finance.

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Bernie Sanders’ House Parties

Bernie Sanders’ House Parties

| August 2, 2015 | Reply

Earlier this week, I attended an organizational meeting for those seeking to do volunteer work for the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. The meeting was held at the office of the Communications Workers of America in west St. Louis County (there were 8 other simultaneous meetings in St. Louis along, and thousands of these meetings nationwide. As you can see, more than 100 people showed up to volunteer at my location. Sanders spoke via video to all of those gathered together tonight.  There are reports that 100,000 people attended Sanders’ House Parties across the U.S. this week.

Anyone else interested in working for Sanders’ campaign can do so by visiting his website.

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Why many American men are circumcised

| July 28, 2015 | Reply

This short comedy video explains the history of circumcision in the United States.

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How to stay classy after a breakup

| July 26, 2015 | Reply

Good article by Seth Borkowski. Points to the frailty of all relationships.

However, watching “Annie Hall” after my relationship ended was unexpectedly different because I felt as if I had grown with Alvy. I felt comfortable with my understanding of the madness and the irresistibly addictive nature of relationships. With that understanding, I discovered the closure I had been searching for. Of course, it wasn’t entirely satisfying.

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About your surgeon. Propublica offers a database to compare excellence

| July 19, 2015 | Reply

This article, “Making the Cut,” could affect your life or the life of someone you know. The article offers its database so you can compare the complication rates of surgeons regarding common elective surgeries.

“About 63,000 Medicare patients suffered serious harm, and 3,405 died after going in for procedures widely seen as straightforward and low risk. Taxpayers paid hospitals $645 million for the readmissions alone.”

“A small share of doctors, 11 percent, accounted for about 25 percent of the complications. Hundreds of surgeons across the country had rates double and triple the national average. Every day, surgeons with the highest complication rates in our analysis are performing operations in hospitals nationwide.

Subpar performers work even at academic medical centers considered among the nation’s best. A surgeon with one of the nation’s highest complication rates for prostate removals in our analysis operates at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital, a national powerhouse known for its research on patient safety. He alone had more complications than all 10 of his colleagues combined — though they performed nine times as many of the same procedures.”

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The relevance of military service in preparation for political service.

| July 19, 2015 | 3 Replies

I’m sitting back, rather indifferent to the Trump/McCain feud. What relevance does soldier experience have to being a politician? Truly, does experience firing a weapon, flying a plane or following orders in a bureaucratic hierarchy make one a better visionary or leader? I wondered these same things when presidential candidates John Kerry, George W. Bush and McCain all trotted out their actual and alleged military backgrounds as though that type of work would make for a better politician, rather than possibly a worse politician. For that matter, what does being rich, being a real estate developer, or being an entertainer have to do with being a good politician? If only the pushback against Trump were really about honoring military service rather than the GOP’s attempt to soften some of its embarrassing official and unofficial positions.

In our current highly corrupt elections system, I would think that better foundations for being a politician would include 1) an indifference to acquiring money above and beyond an amount necessary to support a truly modest lifestyle, comparable to that of those earning the median American household income, 2) a long-documented history of refusing to be bought off by big money, and 3) a humble reluctance to assume a position of great power. My suggested qualifications would disqualify almost every member of Congress, many of whom are borderline psychopathic.

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