A Different Approach for Aid Money

Just Give the Damn Stuff Away – Turns Out, That Works


Ethical and Practical Reasons Governments Help People

Just to set the stage for this discussion, let’s remind ourselves why governments assist those who are less fortunate at some point in their lives. There are, of course, many reasons, but two tend to be the most prevalent:

It’s the Right and Moral Thing to Do: Most cultures and religions have a core belief that we should help others who are in various states of need. This is especially true for children,

The Passing of Colin Powell Merits Reflection by All of Us

He would be the first to say Life is Complicated- And Its All Connected

An Extraordinary American Has Left Us

Colin Powell’s passing has led to a steady flow of 1:1 stories and reflections on his life that remind us all of some important things. You could have zero background or interest in military or diplomatic affairs, and yet learn much from Powell’s life. I certainly have done so.

The Many Roles of Colin Powell

 Powell saw himself first and foremost as an American. To him, that title carried with it special advantages and specific obligations.

A Few Things in our “System” That Make Zero Sense

Hmmm – Half of These are Rooted in the US Senate


It’s a Good Time to Take Stock of Some of Our Old Standbys

The news over the last year or so has given us some vivid reminders of some elements of our national governance system really seem out of whack. Some have always been so; others have risen to the top of this list  recently.

Although we look at such things through partisan lenses, at least to some degree, a case can be made that no matter your political persuasion,

Revisiting An Old American Curse/Blessing

Getting Individual vs Community Balance Has Always Been Tough – Now We Seem Lost


Schools of American Thought

America has an interesting, to put it mildly, mix of philosophies about how we relate to each other, the country, and to ourselves as individuals. As we cruise deeply into the 21st Century the two main approaches to such relationships seem in sharp contrast, contributing to much of the current social and political tension.

Terms like Rugged Individualism, Natural Law, and Community Responsibility are wielded like shields – or as swords. Let’s take a relook at our approach to each other as a nation.

Novel Approaches For Use of Federal Dollars

Federal Dollars are Investments in the Country. How are Our Returns on Those Investments? Looking at Two Cases

Money is Money – But There are Differences

Most of us intuitively understand the big themes around money, whether it is about ours, business, or government funds. But there are important differences among those categories.

I spent much of my career in the government, as an Army officer. For much of that time, what I concentrated on in using resources was maximum effectiveness in known situations, maximum insurancein unknown situations.  When I first joined the corporate sector,

The Mystery and Power of Language

We Sometimes Forget What a Powerful Thing Language Can Be

What Do We Mean by Language?

For a long time, when we thought of language we thought of word-based communications between human beings. One of those things that separated us from the rest of the animal kingdom. Now, of course, we are learning that this was our ignorance showing itself. It seems almost daily that we learn of communication between critters of all kinds that go beyond just particular sounds.

The basic definition holds – a system of communication that may be verbal,

Is There Anything in Transportation Better Than a Train Ride?

No. There is Not Anything Even Close.

A Life-Long Love Affair Continues

I suppose I tipped my hand a bit in the opening lines for this post. I do indeed love just about everything related to trains. There have been times when AMTRAK tested that love mightily (more on that later, with  good news).

Much of my life has been spent in one form of transit or another. A lot of it in airplanes (sometimes landing with them, sometimes jumping out before they landed). More miles than I can count on roads and highways,

California Dreaming

The Badly Failed Gubernatorial Recall Brings Wider – But Not Too Wide-Lessons


Ah, California

Like my earlier post on Texas, California is not unknown to me. I have lived there twice, have relatives that have lived there and have done business there. It really is a place apart in so many ways. It often is a trendsetter; what happens there eventually spreads around the country. It is big enough, in population, culture, and economics, to carry real weight. So, we pay attention to California as something of a harbinger of our future.

Not to mention that all sourdough bread I have had since leaving California is a pale imitation of the good stuff.

Texas- Something in the Drinking Water?

The Lone Star State Has Driven Off the Edge of Rationality


Texas is Not Unfamiliar Territory to Me

I wanted to note at the outset of this post that Texas is not unfamiliar territory to me. I lived there for about a year some time ago, in a pretty rural area in the central part of the state. In the years since, I have had business dealings and travel through the state on several occasions. I have had friends who live there, including some more recent transplants and long time, native residents. So,

Here’s a Phrase You Don’t Often Hear

“I Have Some TV Programs to Recommend” – You Really Will Want to Watch These

Wasteland or Golden Age?

People often lament that there is “nothing good on TV.” References are often made to the remark made decades ago that TV was a vast wasteland. I have friends today who take great pride in the fact that they don’t even own a TV.

I often say to such folks that they really are missing some good programming. This is when they sometimes reply that they watch programming via streaming on a computer. Why that is a more pure act than watching TV seems a strained interpretation to me,