The National Debt and the Deficit – Feb 7th

A lot of people are confused about the difference between debt and deficit. I think the easiest way to understand this is to look at your own finances. If during the year you make $80,000 but you spend $100,000, you have a deficit for the year of $20,000. If you take out a loan to cover the difference your debt is $20,000 plus the interest on that loan. If you overspend each year (have a deficit of $20,000 each year and take out another loan each year) your total debt would be $100,000 plus the accumulated interest on those loans. Continue reading

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Why can’t we all just get along? – Jan. 28th

The government shutdown is finally over but the hyperpartisan political gridlock is still crippling the country. How is the Senate ever going to agree to what the House wants? And then there is the question of whether The President will agree to anything.

Part of the problem is that with only two viable political parties it becomes a zero sum game in which negative advertising and demonization of the opponents works, even if it is based on lies. When that happens people become entrenched in their tribalism and at worse it becomes moral dualism. At this stage it is no longer sufficient that the opponents are considered wrong, they are considered evil. Then everything is either black or white, good or bad. Compromise becomes a dirty word and cooperation becomes impossible. When that happens winning is more important than anything else. Continue reading

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Overfishing and Trawling – Jan. 17th

Maggie Summer gave an excellent presentation that covered overfishing and trawling. Her expertise is deepest in US West Coast groundfish (rockfish, flatfish, etc.) fisheries, including trawl and other gear types used in those fisheries. She also touched on some of the other West Coast fisheries (for example, tuna and highly migratory species) and their bycatch and conservation issues as well.  She used some videos to show fishing gear, bycatch excluders, etc., and some slides to illustrate the other key points, and plan on lots of great discussion and questions.  Continue reading

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Sufficiency & Sustainability – How much is enough? – Jan.14th


There are about 815 million people who go to bed hungry each night. 45% of child deaths are due to undernutrition.

Yet there is plenty of food in the world. Indeed, about a third of the food produced in the world is wasted. The problem is the poorest don’t have enough money to buy the food they need. At the same time the eight richest people in the world have more wealth than the poorest 50% of the people in the world. Those eight people could easily eliminate world poverty. Continue reading

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Prison Reform and Restorative Justice – Jan. 3rd

I reached out to the Community Mediation Services also know as the Center for Dialogue and Resolution. The Director Chip Coker has spoken at OLLI at least twice. I asked for a speaker but I suspect I was too late and they haven’t responded. The following comes from their web site:

Restorative Justice Program

“Restorative justice requires, at minimum, that we address victims’ harms and needs, hold offenders accountable to put right those harms, and involve victims, offenders, and communities in this process.”
Howard Zehr Continue reading

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Robots AI and Automation – Dec. 20th

Robots are already changing jobs as an endless array of robots enter our everyday lives. From trucking to service work to high-end jobs like doctors and lawyers, this documentary explores how robotics and artificial intelligence are changing the workplace. Robots And AI: The Future Is Automated And Every Job Is At Risk [Automation, Pt. 1] 15 min

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The Changing Nature of War – from Battleships to Cyberwarfare Dec. 10th

The first thing we should consider is whether war is inevitable and hard wired in our genes? War and Human Nature

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