The Power and Peril of People in the Streets

Recent Events Remind Us of History’s Lessons

 

There is a line in a Mel Brooks movie wherein someone comes in to alert the king, “The peasants are revolting.” To which the king, completely misunderstanding the warning, says “They certainly are.”

Well, the peasants are revolting around the world of late, and “kings” must take note. This is how the Arab Spring started. That movement did not end well, but leaders were toppled.

You may have noticed of late that people are protesting. They often times do so in staggering numbers,

Three Strikes and We Are Out

History Called This Supreme Court Three Times: Three Times It Failed to Answer. The words at the front of this building are not ringing true.

 

A Unique Institution

The Supreme Court is a fascinating institution. Filled by people with lifetime appointments (more on that later), it represents the best and the worst of the American experiment. It has challenged us to be our best (Brown vs. Board of Education, for example). It has also reinforced the worst in us (Plessy vs. Ferguson, for example).

It has,

Two Tax Proposals Lead to Very Different Visions of America- Pay Attention

 

Two Very Different Models are in Play. The Differences in Effects are Overwhelming

 

A Tale of Two Taxes

No one especially likes to talk about taxes. Politicians really, really don’t like to talk about them. Only if it is to say they think they can reduce them or make them fairer are they willing to talk. But taxes are a necessary reality, and how they are devised is important. We have two models under national discussion that could not be more different. We should take note.

Tariffs are Taxes

First,

Consolidation? Diversity? How Shall We Tilt at Our Windmills?

There Are A Lot of Good Causes Out There. How Best to Support Them?

 

The Good News

I have the good fortune to live in a community that places a premium on charity and on paying it forward.

The expectation is that anyone who owns a business will sponsor fund raising events. They will also likely donate a percentage of sales to a good cause. Individuals are also called upon to donate time, talent, and treasure on a regular basis. This is closer to a universal norm here than anywhere I have known.

Why We Should Care – A Lot – About the “Minimum Wage”

 

Look at the Math and The History, Not the Politics and Doctrine

For as long as I can remember, we have had national and local battles about the minimum wage. What should it be? Should it be at all? What is the point? What are the pros and cons?

What is the History?

I have my own biases. Coming from a working-class family, I saw the issues up close. I have followed the issue ever since those early days. That we are still no further along in settling this as national policy is remarkable.

Let’s Talk About People Touching People

 

What could possibly go wrong with THAT conversation starter?

Much media in recent days has been covering Joe Biden being too much of a touchy sort of guy. My initial reaction to all this was to not devote any blog space to the subject. Goodness knows, there are enough other sites talking about it. But the way the story has developed over the last few days causes me to rethink my position.

We Live in Complex Times

When the story first broke, I had two thoughts.

First, that this should not surprise anyone.

That First Grade Teacher – An Homage to Teachers

 

Reflecting Back Reminds Us of the Powerful Role Teachers Play in Our Lives

Unless you have children in school, you may forget about teachers for long stretches of time. You don’t see them, don’t have the opportunity to talk with many of them. But over the last year or so, teachers have reminded us they are here. Teachers have been on strike from coast to coast, in a desperate effort to get justice on many fronts. For the most part, the tactic has worked. It is forcing governors and legislators to recognize the vital role these people serve.

Dunn vs Ray is a Low Mark, Even for This Supreme Court

Common Compassion and a Modicum of Decency Would Have Gone a Long Way

The Background

There have been a lot of high visibility news stories in recent weeks. Perhaps lost in the din of events, a legal case was settled in a result that is unworthy of us as Americans.

In February of this year, the US Supreme Court ruled on a freedom of religion case, Dunn vs Ray. The issues were narrow as these things go, yet this case should go down as one the court will carry with shame.

To be clear,

Tipping Points: Science, Surprise, and Power

There is a phenomenon in both the physical sciences and in human interaction known as the tipping point. In common language, such a thing may be referred to as “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” a “point of no return,” or “the last straw.”

That such things exist, in nature and in human society, is widely recognized. It is often easy to see exactly where that point was in post event analysis. Ah, but seeing it as it comes over the horizon – that is much harder. Discerning the tipping point is a fascinating process.

I Visited a Food Bank. I Loved it. I Hated It.

 

Hunger in America is rampant. Why the Hell Do We Allow This?

 

This past weekend, I invested some time with our local foodbank. It is in every sense a model operation, rightly cited as one of the best in America. The talented people who work there are dedicated beyond measure. The operation is a model of efficiency and effectiveness. They are both efficient and humane. (Manna Food Bank, https://www.mannafoodbank.org)

They have over 200 partner organizations. Manna serves thousands of meals a day in over a dozen counties,