Dear my amazing friends of color …

By on Jul 12, 2016 in Life, Politics

Dear my amazing friends of color, I’m sorry for my social media silence. I have been pretty vocal in person but that is not enough. I am horrified. I want to apologize to every person of color, especially black man, I see. I close my eyes and all I can see is Philando Castile bleeding to death in his car with a gun pointed at him and hear his stepdaughter crying and sirens – but apparently not fucking ambulance sirens – in the background. I am so sorry. What else can I say? Everything feels empty. I vote. I notice and get angry when 90% of the people I see pulled over are not white. I wrestle with the small parts I can imagine of living in fear that your partner, son, father will be killed for fucking being alive. But it isn’t enough. It will never be enough. Especially when I feel myself pulling away from a black man asking me for money on the street. I am...

Evolution — the ultimate anti-depressant

By on Dec 12, 2011 in Politics

Greg Graffin, lead singer of seminal punk band, Bad Religion, also has a Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology. As a young wannabe-punk and young science-nerd, I found a lot of solace in the likes of Graffin, Milo Auckerman, and Dexter Holland. Graffin’s recent book, Anarchy Evolution has some great quotes on evolution. Enjoy! “… reading about evolution has helped me through many difficult times. Evolution is full of dead ends, as is the experience of every human life — relationships ended, time wasted, songs unfinished, goals not achieved. All organisms and species die, just as all of us must die. Yet tragedy also entails creativity and opportunity. Over the course of deep evolutionary time, species go extinct and the earth is repopulated with new ones. As Michael Crichton’s chief scientist in Jurassic Park says, ‘Life finds a way.'” “The...

“Voltaire, I’m so high right now.” and other quotes from Unfamiliar Fishes

By on Dec 5, 2011 in Politics

I love me some Sarah Vowell and her most recent book (i.e. from Spring 2011), Unfamiliar Fishes was no dissapointment. “The Spanish-American war had the soliders stopping off in this suddenly American city en route to the Phillippines to persuade the Fillipino people at gunpoint that self-government really isn’t for everyone.” – p.2 “… Americans and their children spent the seventy-eight years between … 1820 and … 1898 Americanizing Hawaii, importing our favorite religion, capitalism, and our second favorite religion, Christianity.” p.6 “… Loco Moco (a hamburger patty topped with gravy and a fried egg), a dish presumably invented to remedy what has always been the hamburger’s most obvious defect – not enough egg.” p.8 “Yale was founded by finnicky protestants who worried that the Puritans at...

Nature vs. Nurture, LBJ style

By on Nov 28, 2011 in Politics

…it is almost impossible to discuss the inheritance of acquired skills, including such skills as language abilities or intelligence, as purely genetic issues. Nature determines the limits of what nurture can accomplish. That is an absolute. But at the same time nurture determines not only what nature can do, but the way in which nature develops in order to do it. In so doing, nurture determines what we measure as nature. It is not because it was good politics that the Head Start program was the most successful aspect of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. It was because it was good science. – Harold L. Klawans, from Why Michael Couldn’t Hit

Positive vs. negative human rights

By on Oct 6, 2011 in Politics

… the United States [has a] constitutional tradition that sees human rights as “negative” rights–rights against government–not “positive” rights that can be used to oblige government to take action to secure people’s livelihoods. I was stopped by this quote in the article, “Who says food is a human right?”, in The Nation’s recent Food Issue. While I am a huge advocate of Medicare-for-all and other progressive, social safety net programs, I have always felt uncomfortable at the mention that “Healthcare is a human right” or “Food is a human right.” For some reason the idea that healthcare or food or shelter are human rights on par with freedom of speech or religion feels wrong to me. I could say that historically food or shelter haven’t been rights, but then neither has freedom or speech or...

Europe’s real terrorist threat: Region not religion

By on Sep 8, 2011 in Politics

“According to Europol, between 2006 and 2008 only 0.4 percent of terrorist plots (including attempts and fully executed attacks) in Europe were from Islamists. The lion’s share (85 percent) were related to seperatism. Put bluntly, if you have to assume anything when a bomb goes off in Europe, think region, not religion.” Europe’s New Fascists, The Nation, by Gary Young