Next Infrastructure Week, Let’s Pave The Road To Hell.

They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  I am not sure who “they” are but they make an excellent point.

Acting on one’s good intentions, such as giving advice in the form of proverbs, can have unintended negative consequences.

President George W. Bush wanted to improve America’s public schools. As a well-heeled, conservative businessman, he believed that if students could just move to Connecticut and go to expensive prep schools, we’d get a double benefit: better education and deeper bench strength for the U.S. yachting team. Continue reading

Democracy: If You Ain’t Rigging It, You Ain’t Trying.

Voting is the essential element of democracy. We all vote, and whoever gets the most votes wins the election. Right?

Well, let me be more specific. Whoever gets the most votes of every vote cast wins the election. You don’t need a majority of people to like you in a democracy. You just need a majority of people who voice their opinion on you to like you.

Okay, let me be even more specific, because not everyone gets to vote, at least not in our sort of democracy. Whoever gets the most votes (1) of every vote cast (2) by non-felons (3) over the age of 18 (4) who can prove residency within the precinct wins the election. Continue reading

Personal Foul, Unstatesmanlike Conduct, Number 45.

Let’s say you’re a supporter of a professional football team. We’ll call them the Orangemen. Not the Syracuse Orangemen, since they’re just the “Orange” now. Same state though, just for consistency’s sake. The New York Orangemen.

A flamboyant, rich businessman sees an opportunity, swoops in and buys the team. His name is Ronald. Ronald Chump. Continue reading

Gun Junkies & The People Who Love Them

Addicts give excuses. Constantly.

They rationalize and let themselves off the hook as a means of coping with objectively harmful behavior. They split hairs and insist that no broader conclusion can be drawn from their most recent specific episode. Some throw up their hands and declare that the status quo is the best possible outcome. Some blame anyone and anything they can to avoid taking actual, personal responsibility for the problem. Continue reading

The Buddha In The White House

We hear a lot about the idea of mindfulness. The most developed people are mindful. Oprah is mindful. That has to count for something, because she’s Oprah. Quod erat demonstrandum.

“Mindfulness” is the state of being totally present in the moment. A mindful man is not worried about what transpired yesterday. A mindful woman is not thinking about what she has to do tomorrow. A mindful person is living in the now, fully experiencing now with 100% of their consciousness. Some people utilize meditation to great effect in returning their scattered thoughts to center. The act of sitting attentively, but attending to nothing, is more powerful than its inherent inaction would indicate. Continue reading

Shut Up & Play, Unless I Like What You’re Saying.

If you’re a conservative, you likely believe that success comes from work ethic, skill, and maybe a tiny bit of luck. People get successful by plugging away, working their way up, and taking risks. Some “conservatives” also mix in several bankruptcies and being an orange-faced douche canoe, but that’s clearly not necessary to achieve success.

Now, I’ve written before about the idea that we’ve each got about a 1 in 100 shot at jumping more than one class level from where we’re born. And I’ve blogged about capitalism’s bent toward helping the rich get richer at the expense of the poor. I’ve ranted about the misguided glorification of entrepreneurship by the right. And yeah, I’ve written about plenty of other things that should give you a good indication that I’m a sissy pinko commie well-educated, intelligent, and compassionate liberal. I even know what the Oxford comma is AND I’m not afraid to use it. #nerd Continue reading

Hey Bubba, If The Icecaps Melt, There’ll Be Less Animals For You To Shoot.

Scientists tend to agree that climate change is happening, and humans are at least partially to blame.

Ask a liberal what they think, and you’ll likely hear something like this:

“Hang on, let me put down my non-GMO soy half-caff, fair trade, locally-sourced macchiato so I can gesticulate properly. Look, if 97% of scientists agree that we’re impacting our environment negatively, and there’s something we can do to reverse the damage, what’s the problem? We’ve only got one earth, and I want to leave a beautiful planet to my exceptional and gifted children, Namaste and Flax.” Continue reading

3 Lessons From My Constant News Consumption

If you’re like me, you’ve been watching a lot of news lately. No one can really blame us. The proverbial shit has been hitting the proverbial fan.1

In the last few weeks, we’ve had a racially motivated riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, and a presidential mishandling of the same. And then poor Robert Lee got pulled off of broadcasting the Virginia Cavaliers home opener for fear we’d confuse him for a Civil War general.

To quote the late general, “What, I say, what in taahnation?!” I assume he said that at some point. He’d also likely point the stunning absence of Asian Civil War leaders’ statues in Charlottesville as a good indication that ESPN could have taken a gamble on this one. Continue reading

Does This Swastika Clash With My Yarmulke?

Money and power don’t matter as much to me as they matter to others. They still matter, don’t get me wrong. But I’m pretty unlikely to make a major life decision based primarily on money or power. I am not going to take a job I don’t want to do just because it pays really well or gives me influence.

I am less rash than I was when I was young. When I was a younger man, I would not hesitate to invoke the sacred words of the Most Reverend Doctor Johnny Paycheck, “Take This Job And Shove It.” To be fair, I’ve worked for numerous line bosses who got themselves a brand new flat top haircut who really thought they were cool.1 But as I’ve aged, I’ve realized that silly habits like “eating” and “not being homeless” are worth a little bit of sticking through a bad situation at work. Continue reading

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Join The Alt-Right.

White supremacists believe that white people are culturally and genetically superior to all other races.

For such a superior bunch, they seem to have ZERO cognitive dissonance in blaming others for their struggles.

Think about it:  If Usain Bolt was running against some painfully slow dude, e.g., the author of this article, it wouldn’t matter what “obstacles” I put in his way. I could give myself a 50-meter head start on the 100-meter dash, and he’d still beat me. I could put hurdles throughout, and he’d still whip me. He could have actual swine flu and outrun my porcine frame. Continue reading