June 26, 2021
It is self-evident that smoking cigarettes is far more hazardous to your health than drinking alcohol. But America’s ill-fated attempt to prohibit drinking means it will never attempt to prohibit smoking.
Yet, smoking has become variously illegal and taboo in so many places, smokers must be experiencing what life was like for drinkers during Prohibition. But you need only look at the way cigarette litter competes with plastic debris – everywhere from sidewalks to coral reefs – to know that the absence of smoke does not mean the absence of smokers. And too often their hazards manifest in the wildfires their cigarette butts ignite.
This is why the planting-trees initiatives Nobel Laureate Wangarai Maathai pioneered remains necessary to help us breathe in so many respects.
Length: 15 min 07 sec
June 19, 2021
Revelations in the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War gave Americans just cause to distrust their government like never before. But then came, among other things, Watergate, Iran Contra, WMDs, and, coming full circle, the “Afghanistan Papers.”
Nevertheless, no amount of cynicism could have prepared any American for the distrust former President Trump caused every time he opened his mouth. But then came, among other things, revelations in Bob Woodward’s book about Covid-19. Because they gave Americans just cause to believe the man was a genocidal megalomaniac and government officials little more than his kakistocratic flunkies.
Yet, remarkably, instead of being treated like a pariah from sea to shining sea, millions of Americans treat him variously like a cult leader and a de-facto president of the United States.
Length: 27 min 49 sec
June 12, 2021
Nothing reflects the fracturing of democracy and erosion of civil society quite like political debate on Cable TV; nothing that is, except the comments section on most news and social-media sites.
It is truly a remarkable thing to witness people – who speak the same language – become utterly incomprehensible to each other. And the funny, sad, and ominous thing is that the key to understanding in each case is being in a Republican or Democratic echo chamber – that now defines and reinforces partisan views on everything from abortion to sports.
I’d say Americans would be well-advised to learn from the Babylonians – who got too big for their britches with their Tower of Babel, or from the Romans – who bit off more than they could chew with their hegemonic empire. But the forces conspiring to test the fate of democracy are so unique that nothing compares. So, with a Civil War II looming, I can only say God help America.
Length: 27 min 10 sec
June 5, 2021
It seemed the whole wide world of sports was cheering for Phil Mickelson to win the recent PGA Championship. But I don’t mind admitting that I was also thinking about Tiger Woods. Remember him…?
Length: 12 min 18 sec