April 29, 2015

100 Words -- Baltimore

Social injustice does not justify looting and burning. Looting and burning do not justify ignoring social injustice. Too many young people have no hope for meaningful work. Too many young people have been let down by an educational system that fails to educate. Too many young people are stereotyped as potential perps instead of as individuals with potential. Too many young people can’t get jobs because their youthful indiscretions are etched in digital stone. And way too many young people are raised by parents whose lives are controlled by their addictions. This is the life they must face every day.

April 23, 2015

100 Words -- ZIRP'd

There was a day when if you wanted to buy a house or build a retirement nest egg, you saved for it. Hardly anyone in the middle class invested in the stock market. That was for the Wall Street sharpies. Our money was safe in the banks, earning interest. Somewhere in the 80s it started changing. Fixed annuities became a thing of the past. So have interest rates on savings. The Fed’s Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) has made saving a joke. Nothing hurts the average American more, but it never gets discussed. Why aren’t we raising hell about this?

April 14, 2015

100 Words -- Dharma Bummer

Ropes are multiple strands of hemp coiled around each other. DNA consists of two nucleotide strands coiled around each other. To prevent fraying in a rope, the ends are wrapped around with cording. To prevent fraying in DNA, the strands are capped with long sequences of non-functioning DNA called telomeres. Eventually any rope frays, and so does DNA. Each replication shortens the telomeres until the cell can no longer replicate itself, eventually resulting in cell death. Telomere shortening keeps cells from turning cancerous. It’s also what keeps us from living forever. You could call it the ultimate twist of fate.

April 8, 2015

100 Words -- On the Beach

Walking along a beach, watching the waves roll in as they have done for millions of years, our time here does indeed seem short. But if you think of each generation as a single wave washing up against the shoreline, then you can begin to sense our cumulative impact. Unfortunately, in geologic terms we are not waves gently lapping up against the shoreline. We are a sudden and powerful tsunami, a cataclysmic tidal wave washing away everything in its path, forcing every living thing to either flee to higher ground or perish. And our human wave has yet to peak.

April 5, 2015

100 Words -- Easter Memories

Waking up and knowing it was Easter Sunday … my mother’s heels clicking on the sidewalk as we quick-marched to St. Anthony’s Church … incense curling up my nostrils … the lamb cake with its mysterious Mona Lisa smile made from an apricot slice … coconut … peering intently through the glass porthole at the tiny scene inside the candy Easter egg … sweet-smelling Easter bread my mother conjured out of flour and eggs like a magician … Jordan almonds … ham scored and dotted with little clove spikes … the crinkly fake grass lining the Easter basket … Paas

April 3, 2015

100 Words -- Dealt a Bad Hand

The world is filled with mysteries so common-place that we don’t always see them as mysteries. One that hits close to home is being left-handed. Science still can’t explain why most folks are born right-handed. It could be tied to that right-brain, left-brain thing. There’s a theory that mankind started out pretty even-handed, but as tool-making ramped up during the Bronze Age, right-handedness became dominant. If early man had decided that making cave paintings was more important than making spears, who knows … maybe we’d be mostly left-handers. Could be we all got dealt a bad hand on that one.

April 1, 2015

100 Words -- Indiana Finds Religion

We sometimes forget that the First Amendment is as much about freedom FROM religion as it is freedom OF religion. The mess in Indiana began with a 1990 Supreme Court case involving two Oregon men seeking to be exempt from laws against smoking peyote, claiming it was part of their religion. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that society would be "courting anarchy" to create exceptions every time a religious group claimed that a law infringed on its practices. Politicians couldn’t wait to jump on the “preservation of religion” bandwagon. For once, Scalia seems to have gotten it right the first time.