A recent study measured academic achievement, behavior and emotional well-being and found “no relationship between the amount of parents’ time and children’s outcomes.” This will be breaking news for those parents who feel compelled to be with their kids every spare minute. When I was growing up, we had to fit ourselves into our parents' lives not the other way around. Family time was mainly meals and visits to relatives. Otherwise, we were on our own, learning life’s lessons as we went along. There is no one way to parent, but there may only be one way to grow up.
March 29, 2015
All things living have memories. All brain cells reach out to embrace each other ... some dancing to remember, others to forget. Scientists struggle to understand the tangled web of neurons we weave into the sightlines to our past. Some think memories are stored in these connections between the cells. New evidence suggests that alterations in the brain cell’s chemistry or DNA may yield a more persistent reservoir of memories. A million years from now when beasts unimaginable roam the earth and we are ghosts in their machinery, what memories of us will rise from the depths to haunt or inspire?
March 28, 2015
An Arizona state senator thinks that a law mandating weekly church attendance would spur a much needed “moral rebirth.” Her remark reflects a conviction shared by many politicians that religion is essential to personal and public morality. Does that mean that only people who go to church can be moral? (Guess that leaves me out.) Is public policy not founded on religious principles inherently immoral? (Guess that leaves the Framers out.) When challenged, they’ll say that’s not what they mean, but I don’t think they are being entirely honest with us or themselves. In their hearts, they know they’re right.
March 27, 2015
Flying has always been an act of faith. You’re at 30,000 feet in turbulent air or landing or taking off in bad weather … sure, you get a little nervous but you take comfort in believing that the pilots are as eager to land safely as you are. I still believe that’s true. But I’d be lying if I said my faith hasn’t been shaken just a bit. The next time I board a flight and walk past the pilots going through their pre-flight routine, I’ll be wondering what kind of a life they’ve been having. That’s a sorrowful thing.
Ted Cruz for President! Be still my heart. I can see Lewis Black now, index fingers twitching, all bug-eyed and yelling “Son of a bitch! Two hundred and twenty-five years of democracy and THIS is what we get?” Cruz is matched only by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his willingness to talk out of both sides of his mouth. When he spoke at Liberty University on March 23, Cruz asked us to “imagine … a new president signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare.” One day later, Candidate Cruz admitted he was signing up for Obamacare. Gee, imagine that.
March 23, 2015
You wake up one day and know that you’ve gotten old. It’s a feeling from deep in the bones, the certainty that the years have taken their toll, that you can’t outrun Father Time. The face in the mirror is now explored in minute detail each morning as you search the corpus not quite delecti for clues. Some would have us rage against the dying of the light. For me, it’s a relief to accept the verdict of time. I am free to be who I am, not who I think I used to be. Everything old is new again.
March 21, 2015
Looking around, you have to wonder if mankind isn’t heading towards a very bad place. Try and name a problem that is getting better. Now think about the things that are getting worse. Yeah … thought so. This being the season for March Madness, it got me to thinking what would happen if all the living things on the planet were assigned brackets and we started an elimination tournament to see which would survive. Some say it’s already happening … the Sixth Extinction. You have to wonder, will mankind make the Final Four? Maybe, but my money’s on the ants.
March 18, 2015
So you’re bored. Maybe a new video game would be nice. Being a bit of a designer yourself, you think hey, I could do this. You’re lazy, so you use a program that builds itself from a few basic code blocks. You’ve seen and done it all, so you build into the design the ability to randomly create new characters and situations to keep it interesting. Finally, you want a program that can handle change without crashing. Once it starts running, you can sit back and watch forever. The best part is you won’t know how it ends. Simply divine!
March 17, 2015
Half of all Americans were born after 1981, the year Ronald Reagan took office. Their vision of the American presidency was defined by Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama: three highly polarized presidencies … back to back to back! The only giant since Reagan was … well, no one. The first three presidents I remember were Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson. So yeah, if the under-35 generation’s political worldview was as influenced by their first three presidents as much as mine was, then I guess that explains a lot. Makes you wonder what they’ll remember 35 years from now.
March 15, 2015
We’ve been in a decade-long global warming lull. The deniers have declared victory in the war against climate change, but scientists believe the oceans are set to resume pumping heat into the atmosphere. It constantly bears repeating: the role of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas was firmly established in 1859. Since then, billions of tons of coal have been burned. The linkage between fossil fuel emissions and rising average global temperatures and climate change is as solid as science gets. Anyone who says differently is either fooling themselves or trying to fool you. Unfortunately, you can’t fool Mother Nature.
March 12, 2015
Heather Cox Richardson, author of a history of the Republican Party, said recently that every politician today, including Barack Obama, would be to the right of President Eisenhower. That’s a bold assertion, but certainly no one would claim that this is your father’s Republican Party. Conservative comes from the Latin for keep, as in maintaining existing institutions. Radical derives from the Latin for root, as in digging things up root and branch. Today’s Republican Party is an aging band of conservatives surrounded by a sea-change of younger radicals bent on getting rid of government. Where does it go from here?
March 10, 2015
Politicians love to talk about how Social Security is going broke. It's all because of those darn baby boomers, who will be collecting more and more benefits even as there are fewer and fewer workers to pay into the fund. Lucky for us, America has a way out of the demographic crunch zone: millions of immigrants who work and pay into Social Security, often without claiming any benefits. So naturally, many of the same politicians fretting over Social Security are working hard to send those immigrants back to where they came from. Hey, nobody said it had to make sense.
March 3, 2015
I came prepared to dislike Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech before Congress. I thought it inappropriate on many levels. What I saw was a well-crafted speech that raises questions that deserve an answer. Yes, Israel’s hands are dirty. The Palestinian situation deeply stains Israel’s reputation. Still, Netanyahu’s two objections will have to be addressed by the Administration, given Congressional support for Israel. This negotiation is justified by the fear that a bad deal is worse than no deal and gambles on Iran’s potential for moderation in what is the most unstable neighborhood in the world. So, deal or no deal?