After #MeToo


Image from BBC News

I read an article arguing that we should have a zero-tolerance attitude toward sexual predators and felt compelled to write an argument for a more realistic approach. I realize now that part of my feeling was a visceral reaction to the zero-tolerance concept which has frequently resulted in outrageously unreasonable consequences over things less serious than sexual predators in places such as elementary schools.

Like all pushes for zero-tolerance – regardless of the subject – the basic idea was rooted in good intentions and certainly deserves thoughtful consideration (as opposed to a visceral reaction). I loved the open callout against partisanship – demanding that Democrats go no softer on Sen. Franken or Rep. Conyers than they do on Roy Moore just as Republicans should go not one ounce softer on Roy Moore than they do on Sen. Franken or Rep. Conyers. (Hint, hint, Mr. President) That part I wholeheartedly agree on. Continue reading

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Nobody wants more health insurance

Inevitably when lawmakers start talking about health care reform they end up dealing with health insurance reform. The funny thing is that if we think about it we realize that health insurance reform isn’t (or shouldn’t be) the real goal.
Go talk to people and see if you can find anyone who wants health insurance that will challenge their every medical decision and deny a significant chunk of their claims plus almost inevitably delay payment on the claims they don’t deny.
People are interested in some assurance that health care won’t bankrupt them. Insurance is the most common vehicle for that today, but that’s not because they inherently want insurance – just see those young and healthy people who would rather not get insurance because their brain assures them they don’t need it. Continue reading

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Choosing a Third Party Candidate

With news that Donald Trump has fallen into a tie with Hillary Clinton in Utah, and considering how historically unpopular both major party candidates are, it is suddenly a very real possibility that a third candidate could win our state. There have been discussions about which third party candidate(s) deserve any support at the ballot box. Let me explore the only two who have any traction here and how I make my choice. Those two candidates are Gary Johnson with the Libertarian Party and Evan McMullin who is running as an independent.

First off, neither of them has any chance of capturing 270 electoral votes (although both are on enough ballots to make getting 270 technically possible) so they both have the same path to the presidency (have no candidate reach that number). Therefore, functionally there isn’t an inherent advantage for one of the two over the other.

When choosing which candidate to give your protest vote to I would argue that you should pick the candidate who most represents what kind of person should lead or nation. On that score, I look at Gary Johnson and he has shown over the last few months that, while he isn’t completely morally bankrupt like Trump, he is like Trump in that he is clearly unprepared to be taken seriously as a president and comport himself in a presidential way.

When Evan McMullin announced his candidacy I wondered how prepared this unknown latecomer could possibly be. As I have reviewed his history and his positions I have been impressed with his solid background and his considered policy ideas.
I find it easy to choose Evan because he seems capable of handling the challenges of the office without looking like a juvenile pretender.

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A Time for Contrition

{Billy} Bush apologized for his language and behavior in the tape on Friday, saying he was “embarrassed and ashamed.” “It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago — I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry,” he added. (via USA Today)

“Embarrassed and ashamed” – that’s exactly what Billy Bush should be and saying so suggests the possibility that he has matured in the 11 years since this recording took place. It’s exactly what Mr. Trump should both feel and say. At (then) 59 he should have matured past that point long before the video happened but I can allow someone to be a late bloomer morally. Unfortunately for the nation, Mr. Trump seems incapable of maturing or feeling remorse. The best he can manage is to be “not proud of it.” (via Washington Post) In offering a perfunctory apology he simply dismisses it as “locker room talk.”

Of course it’s locker room talk – in all too many locker rooms* (and apparently buses) – but that doesn’t mean it should be accepted even in those venues. If an adult finds that the hormonal teenagers in their locker room are engaging in any talk like that the response should be to teach those youth to elevate themselves and become better – not to tell them it’s okay to say such things as long as they keep it within the locker room.

While he assures us (in response to the repeated inquiries by Anderson Cooper) that he has never engaged in the kinds of actions that he talked about, he failed to offer even a hint of recognition that such talk is degrading to the person speaking and to any person being spoken of, and that acceptance of such talk – even under the guise that it is limited to locker room situations – is degrading to our society as a whole.

This man who claims that he has never asked God for forgiveness has just given the nation further evidence that he was telling the truth on that score. Anyone who has ever engaged in such talk, not matter how young or hormonal they were, should be embarrassed, ashamed, and contrite whenever the subject is brought up and should, in unequivocal terms denounce their past behavior. Doing any less than that is to become guilty again – no matter if more than a decade has passed. To knowingly elevate such a man to the nations highest office is hardly better than trying to repeal the Nineteenth Amendment and openly relegate women to a second class status.

* In fairness to all those who regularly frequent locker rooms – especially professional and collegiate athletes – “too many locker rooms” should not be taken to mean “most locker rooms” and there have been many athletes stepping forward to point out that none of the locker rooms in their experience have included such vile talk.

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Gardening from the Ground Up

The concept of gardening from the ground up is that I start by creating pure compost in a worm bin which I then use to make compost tea which is circulated through an bioponic system. The system should require no fertilizers or chemical additives to grow vegetables in a dirt-free, weed-free environment.

I have decided to document the process of building the system, cataloging what works and what corrections I have to make to keep the system working.

This week I received the works I ordered (500 red wigglers) and placed them in the worm bin I had prepared. I expected that they would settle in comfortably but after the first day I found that roughly ten of them had escaped to seek better accommodations (and died on the ground in the attempt). I realized that I had too much course material in the worm bin and added about a gallon of peat moss. Twenty four hours later I checked on the worm bin and found that none of the worms had left so we may have a good bin situation now. I will keep monitoring over the next week to be sure.

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