Can Conservatism/Liberalism be cured? Oct.19

Conservatives no doubt think that liberalism is a serious malady and liberals probably think the same of conservatism. We now know that there are physiological and psychological differences between Liberals and Conservatives. That does not mean however that either classification can be considered an illness.

For one thing we all have some of the characteristics of both. It is not black and white. There is a broad philosophical spectrum with most of us fitting somewhere in the middle. Another fact is that neither classification is defined in clear and unchanging terms. We may be social liberals and fiscal conservatives or visa-versa. What is considered liberal here in America is probably considered conservative in Europe. 

When we discuss the differences between Liberals and Conservatives we have to speak in general terms that probably only apply to the outliers of a bell curve. Continue reading

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Restorative Justice, Retribution, and Rehabilitation Oct. 9

Our current criminal justice system is counterproductive, expensive and damaging to the country. Minimum sentencing laws, and three strike laws, are designed to come down hard on criminals. As a result we have more prisoners than any other country in the world. We incarcerate people at 5 times the rate of other civilized countries.

Only 7 percent of inmates are women, according to the budget office report. They are also more likely to be minorities: 57 percent are black, 33 percent Hispanic, 7 percent white and 1 percent Asian. The cost per prisoner averages $ 47,000 a year with costs going up to $60,000 in New York. Although Marijuana use is now legal in 29 states and the majority of people support legalization, arrests for marijuana have actually gone up. About half of all prisoners are there for drug busts and more than forty percent of those are marijuana busts. Continue reading

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Magical Thinking Oct. 5

“Magical thinking is a clinical term used to describe a wide variety of nonscientific and sometimes irrational beliefs.” Sometimes magical thinking is socially acceptable. “There are instances where magical thinking is socially acceptable such as is the case in many religious and cultural traditions such as those that believe in the existence of spirits, demons, and other entities…it is important to distinguish between scientific hypothesis, which is normal, and abject belief in a situation, which may demonstrate magical thinking….Magical thinking is sometimes symptomatic of a mental disorder. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, schizotypal personality disorder, and psychosis are just a few diagnoses that include magical thinking as a possible symptom. If the magical thinking suggests homicidal or suicidal associations, you should seek help.” Continue reading

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Self Driving Cars Sept. 25

As we get older we all fear losing our ability and right to drive. For most people cars mean mobility and the freedom to do what you want when you want to do it. Older people have slower reflexes and are sometimes less aware of what is happening around them.

Fortunately, car makers are installing more and more safety devices in new cars which will warn you if other cars or objects are in your blind spot or behind you when backing up. New cars will even brake for you if it looks like you won’t brake in time to avoid a collision. There are even cars that will parallel park and back up trailers for you. There are many similar safety features that will allow older people to drive safely until later in their life. Continue reading

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Do We Need a New Constitution? Sept. 21

“No society can make a perpetual constitution or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation…Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19 years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force and not of right.” —Thomas Jefferson (in a letter to James Madison from Paris, September 6, 1789)

The world was much different when our founders created our Constitution. At that time only the landed gentry were allowed to govern. Since then the Constitution has been amended to allow the common people to vote, then slaves were outlawed and allowed to vote, and finally in 1920 women were given the right to vote. But the Equal Rights Amendment was never passed, and women, children, various minorities, and LGBT people, still do not have all of the rights of men. Continue reading

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Election Reform Sept. 11th

There are many things wrong with our electoral system. In my opinion the thing that needs to be changed the most is the influence of special interest money. Our government is no longer responsive to the needs of the people. Lawmakers only listen to those who give them money. Continue reading

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Saving Endangered Species Sept. 7th

We are in the midst of the Sixth Great Extinction. The World Wildlife Federation has determined that we have lost half of the world’s species in the last forty years. Continue reading

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