June 27, 2015

100 Words -- America the Beautiful

America has just passed through a defining moment in its history … at least I hope that’s what it was. The terrible challenge of a senseless hate crime in Charleston was met by a congregation and a city determined to reaffirm the values of love and forgiveness. Two Supreme Court decisions reaffirmed our instincts as a compassionate and caring people and reminded us that America was created to be the tip of history’s spear, not its blunt instrument. We showed we are still a nation that can confront its own worst moments, its own worst instincts and rise above them.

June 19, 2015

100 Words -- Ignorance

Today’s topic is things that have gotten harder to ignore. First is climate change. Pope Francis called out everyone who is turning our planet into an “immense pile of filth.” Next up is weapons in the hands of crazy people. The events in Charleston are, as one concerned white-supremacist wrote, “another nail in the coffin of the Second Amendment.” And finally there’s hate in America, the dark side of the American dream. Yes, it’s harder to ignore these things … but not impossible. We’ve proved that repeatedly. So we’ll keep killing the planet and ourselves. Sometimes ignorance ain’t so blissful.

June 14, 2015

100 Words -- Basic Instinct

I’ve been researching neuroscience, and I came across an article in Salon which quotes a neurosurgeon named Itzhak Fried. He studies the neurological processes that turn ordinary folks into genocidal monsters. Like most of us, he started out thinking that this sort of thing happens when our baser “animal” instincts take over. His research led him to the opposite conclusion, that our higher, more civilized frontal lobe overrides the older, reptilian brain stem. Animals aren’t mass murderers. Our most basic instinct is to live and let live. Somewhere along the evolutionary line, our brains got rewired, with tragic results.

June 4, 2015

100 Words -- The Best and the Brightest?

Here’s who is running for president. For the Republicans: Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz are definitely in. Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich and Chris Christie are expected to run. For the Democrats: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chaffee have announced. James Webb is a maybe. Like it or not, one of these candidates will be our next president. If this is the best we can do … well, as Elrond might say, our list of leaders grows thin.