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Posted by on Dec 17, 2014 in Blog, Essays, Politics, Travel, What's Left | 0 comments

Cuba Libre

 

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Today’s breaking news that the United States of America might finally normalize diplomatic relations with the island nation of Cuba comes as a long-overdue surprise and welcome stunner.

The arguments in favor of such a bold new foreign policy adjustment — based on a 21st Century vision of the world we now live in, rather than outdated Cold War sentiment drummed up back when President Eisenhower was in the White House — do seem so overwhelming, that space in this article won’t be wasted away justifying what should clearly be obvious.  Normalizing U.S.-Cuba relations is not only politically wise for the vast majority of citizens of both countries, but morally it is the right thing to do.

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Posted by on Dec 15, 2014 in Blog, Essays, What's Left | 0 comments

Remembering Christopher Hitchens, Who Died Three Years Ago Today

 

17/11/05-CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS-Christopher Hitchens, a controversial British-born, U.S.-based journal

 

Christopher Hitchens died three years ago today.

His life spanned 62 immensely productive years.  One presumes his words and ideas shall endure for a considerably longer time.

Even after his death, Hitchens remains a giant force of intellect worth re-acquainting ourselves with regularly, and not just by those who share(d) his views.

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Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Blog, Politics, Rants and Raves, Uncategorized, What's Left | 8 comments

Things We Should (Probably) Do That Might Sound Ridiculous

 

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Today’s essay should piss off of lots of people.

Eureka!  At least I’ve found one thing I’m good at.

Let’s talk about things that are practical, but seemingly ridiculous.  In other words, let’s discuss some crazy ideas that actually make perfect sense, but which are unlikely ever to be taken seriously let alone adopted by mainstream society.

Here are five things (probably) worth considering:

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Posted by on Nov 23, 2014 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 3 comments

For Many, These Are The Worst of Times

 

pig-farm

 

Yesterday’s essay contended these are “the best of times” for most of the world’s population.  [Are These the Best of Times or the Worst of Times?]

Not quite so fast.  Today’s essay will provide what I believe is an equally persuasive counterargument.

My contention was centered entirely around humankind.  Regrettably, much of our collective and individual betterment has come at a severe cost to the other living creatures who share our planet and the environment which in some cases is stressed way beyond its capacity to sustain us much further.  This pernicious bartering not only raises serious moral questions about what we’re doing to the rest of the world, but also spawns an entirely new series of potentially catastrophic problems that we must face right now, and in the years to come.  Otherwise, it’s simple.  We’ll become extinct.

Indeed, humanity is considerably safer, healthier, better-fed, and more enlightened than at any time in history.  That claim does seem irrefutable.  But what about those sharing our world — such as plants and animals?  What about non-living things which are absolutely essential for human sustenance — like clean air and water, and reasonably stable climates and temperatures?  In these areas, we appear to be failing miserably.  Such failures are certain to produce dire consequences if they’re not addressed and corrected soon, before we cross the point of no return.

Given this threat, are these really the best of times?  Perhaps not.

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Posted by on Nov 22, 2014 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 0 comments

Are These the Best of Times or the Worst of Times?

 

charles-dickens

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,

it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,

it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,

it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness,

it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair….

 

 

If he were alive today, Charles Dickens would have plenty of things to write about.

Dickens’ most acclaimed novel, A Tale of Two Cities, depicted common life in London and Paris during the late 18th century.  As troublesome as his stark portrayal was to readers during his day, the desperate plight of those earlier times now seems downright gentile compared to the lurking dangers and anxieties of living in a seemingly dystopian modern world now filled with nuclear weapons, global terrorism, and the outbreak of killer epidemics.

In so many ways, it seems we are living in the worst of times.  If there’s any doubt, take a look around.  Generations before never had to worry about crazed fanatics crashing airplanes into skyscrapers, or releasing biological or chemical weapons into our major cities.  Our ancestors lived mostly quiet lives on farms or in urban centers and kept to themselves.  They had much simpler lives.  Sundays were for church.  No one needed a Xanax.  Sure, daily life wasn’t always a picnic for ordinary people.  Life could certainly be hard.  Then again, the average medieval villager never had to endure a TSA search or suffer an IRS audit.

So then, it would seem these are — the worst of times.

But are they really?  Let’s think about that for a moment.

Actually, the answer is — no.

In fact, these are the best of times — and by a very wide margin.  Living conditions are constantly improving by leaps and bounds each and every year.  People are much healthier and safer now than in yesteryear.  As hard as this might be to fathom given all we read and hear about all the horrible things going on in the world, compare the status of people living today with any other time in history.

In today’s essay, I shall do precisely that:

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