Category Politics/Culture

Brewpubs, Coffeehouses, and the Conundrums of Income Inequality

How much is income inequality baked into human existence as a hard-wired legacy of the Darwinian struggle for survival and its associated desires for security, comfort and joy? Even in modern democratic societies with supposedly flourishing economies and a stated intent to seek justice and the common good, is there any true escape from the radical wealth disparities that persist right in front of us whenever we open our laptops or take a walk beyond our front door?

One of the many conundrums facing those of us in the 1-, 10-, 25-  or even 50% of the population that lives in relative comfort is that however motivated we may feel to be generous and compassionate toward our fellow suffering humans, the plain truth is that all of us have to make hard and often discomfiting decisions in how much of our own comforts—in housing, food, drink, entertainment, future security and other aspects of the good life—we are...

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Stormy May Bring Him Down, But Ruinous Policy Is Much Worse

With President Trump spending Sunday morning tweeting about the omnibus budget bill he signed Friday rather than Stormy Daniels, we can assume two things:1) 60 Minutes, Daniels and her lawyer have a convincing and verifiable story to tell, and, 2) his attorneys have been virtually sitting on him with dire warnings to refrain from digging his legal hole any deeper than it already is by attacking her in the usual slashing, hot-headed way he goes after other targets he is seeking to discredit.

I don’t know what the ultimate outcome of the Daniels affair will be, though there is no particular reason to think his voters in Trumplandia and enablers among Republican legislators will see it as anything more than a meaningless kerfuffle.

A dalliance with a porn star while your wife is pregnant doesn’t even rise to the level of shooting a gun down New York’s Fifth Avenue, after all.

And we all know, from the...

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Will a Kids Crusade Finally Lead to Sane Gun Laws?

“At this point, we’ve seen the adults are not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, which is to keep us safe. So we’re done with going to them and asking for permission. At this point we’re just going to do what we have to.”

Can there be a more calmly damning, withering critique of the failure of American political institutions and the adults who run them to come to terms with the appalling gun violence in this country than that statement last week by 16-year-old Vikiana Petit-Homme, a junior at Boston Latin Academy in Massachusetts?

And the real goal of those advocating for stronger gun laws is to destroy ‘all individual freedoms’ in a stealthy legislative coup. One wonders whether LaPierre, shrewd as he is, actually believes this nonsense, or he is just tossing red meat out to the distinct minority of NRA fanatics who do.

Petit-Homme is one of many student leaders organizing a National School...

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Civilization and Predation: Notes on the #MeToo Movement

So it’s a tough time to be a guy in this world, yes? Our “brand,” as it were, has become rather tarnished of late, not that it was ever all that lofty to begin with. After all, the other half of the population—the distaff portion, the XXs, our “better” halves—have been hip for quite a few millennia now to the mess we keep making of things, the brutal competition for food and land and the upper hand in every argument. Our romance with war.

They’ve worked around us as best they could, even with the stark disadvantage of their smaller stature that has proved decisive when the distribution of power has been determined by purely physical means. But this uneven distribution has consigned them to live in a sort of hell of our making, shunted off to the sidelines as men went about shaping the world in their own image.

This includes men’s notions of the God above who thunders and blusters and roars i...

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Touring Through the Minds of Trump Voters With Van Jones

What could possibly be in the minds of Trump voters? Not only those who cast a ballot for him in 2016, but also those who have stayed by him since then, given that everything Democrats and many-if-not-most establishment Republicans knew would happen under such an obviously unqualified, tempestuous and malformed character has come to pass.

Broken promises, unrelenting self-aggrandizement, frayed international relations, bellicose nationalism, schoolyard taunting, tax cuts for the ruling class, disdain for the environment, chaos, vindictiveness and bullying as policy—all of this has indeed happened, and even been doubled down on through the president’s first 10 months in office.

Wondering how Trump voters continue to countenance all this has been the billion dollar question as our world careens and liberals try their best not to wake up every morning with yet another Trump hangover and visions of a fut...

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