A Little Bit of Everything

All Sorts of Interesting and Varied Stories Catch Our Attention This Week

Noticed of Late

 As is so often the case, all sorts of things rose to the top our consciousness this week. Let’s poke around a bit, shall we?

Macron Wins. So, Too, Does Democracy

 It would be hard to overstate the importance of the just concluded French elections. That Macron won reelection – a first for a French president in 20 years – and by a very wide margin at that, is a relief for all of us. Much has been made of the narrowing of the victory margin from the last time out,

Four Great Reasons to Quit Carbon Energy

No Matter Your Politics or Economics, Now is the Time

Energy Remains a Defining Element of Human Life

The ability to harness energy has been a defining qualify of human existence for a very long time. So much of what we know, do, and assume is based on harnessing energy. That is not going to change any time soon. More likely is that it will never change.

While I admire, and to at least some degree support, calls to minimize energy usage, it is most unlikely that we will economize our way out of the problems this posting highlights.  

See, Here is the Funny Thing About History….

It’s Never Over. We Should Do Better at Teaching It

Do We Learn from History?

Apparently, not much. Or not many of us. We all know that famous old line “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” Less well known but equally true is the one that says: “Those who learn history are doomed to watch those who do not, repeat it.” Yes, indeed.

The whole point of recording and passing on history, one assumes, is to pass along the lessons contained therein. Yet, we continue to make the same mistakes,

Two Completely Unrelated Thoughts

OK, Not Completely Unrelated. JUSTICE is the Common Thread

Two Topics

Two subjects have taken up much of my consciousness in recent days. At first they are world’s apart. One is domestic, one is international. But as I began thinking about this blog, I recognized that the simple, foundational matter of justice connected these two issues in important ways.

Justice is a powerful, powerful concept. We should devote a blog or two to talking about that as a central human issue sometime. The longer I look around, the more I cherish justice over peace or any other desirable outcome.

People are Worried About Four Big Issues. Should They Be?

The Economy, Crime, Immigration, and National Divisions Loom Large

Is That All?

Well, no. The list of what people worry about runs long, but these four seem to top most polls. There is, as is always the case, a mix of reality and perception going on here. We will look at each one momentarily, but first something unique should be noted.

As I look around the country, talk to people, read a lot of inputs, it seems to me that a couple of things not historically common are shaping public opinions in powerful ways.

Short Observations on a Busy, Weird Week

The Last Few Days Have Been Long on the Sublime and the Ridiculous

 

Starting with the Easy Stuff

The Academy Awards

I have long found it increasingly harder to care at all about the Academy Awards. It seems a party of self-congratulation among people whose lives have zero relevance or connection to the rest of the world. But, hey, I have my favorite movies, too and and sometimes the outcomes are interesting. The Big News this time, of course was Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. Four VERY short observations:

  • Way too much has been written and discussed on this little dustup already.

At What Levels Do We Connect and Decide?

What Properly Belongs as Global, National, or State Level Decisions – The Balance is Not Easy

The Traditional Answers

The standard answer for years, to the question of at what level of government should laws be passed, and rules made, has been at the lowest level possible. The underwriting principle is that such government is more likely to be close to the people and more subject to their desires.

Sounds right, and a case could be made that this a good starting point for any such discussion. But the reality demonstrates this is often not the best solution.

Two International Notes, Two Domestic Notes & Two Combined Notes

Looking Beyond Just Events, We See Important Trends Shaping Up

Two International Notes

Fascism, Autocracy, and Stalin on the Rise in Russia

This is serious level ugly that, along with the economic sanctions, will set Russia back at least 30 years. Putin started out talking about “purifying and deNazifying Ukraine. Now he talks of doing the same in Russia. Those whose families bore the brunt of such vendettas in the early Soviet years under Stalin (Cossacks, White Russians, others) must feel a chill in their bones. This is the kind of talk that Stalin used on his way to killing 20 million of his own citizens.

Big & Little Things Noted Lately

Funny How Things Catch Your Attention. Here are a Few That Caught My Eye Today

 TV Interviews at Home

 One thing the pandemic made routine was people on tv being interviewed in their homes. We have been doing this for two years now, and some people are on tv regularly being seen from their homes.

For these repeaters, I am really surprised that we see that we are in their bedrooms, or kitchen, or some other space that looks unprofessional. By now, one would think they would put up a background screen or use one of the electronic backgrounds readily available,

A Unique Thought About How History Plays Out

History is Full of Unforeseen and Unintended Consequences. How to See Then Coming?

You Are Living in History Right Now

There may have been a time when such a statement as the one above might have sounded a bit too pompous or heavy handed to many of us. I bet not so much now. After two years of a global pandemic, a war in Europe that reeks of the dark past and threatens a new world war, and foundational challenges to our own democracy, we get it – history is alive and all around us. We make it,