Archive for Books

Why Should You Care About This Man?

This is Garry Kasparov, the former World Chess Champion. Not only is he a Grand Master chess tactician, as a critic of Russian politics he is also a student of Vladimir Putin’s tactics. He knows Putin is a cagey, calculating, politically savvy, cold-blooded killer. He’s seen Putin’s enemies murdered – Alexander Litvinenko poisoned in London and opposition leader Boris Nemtsov shot four times in central Moscow days before the Russian election.

Kasparov’s is only one voice, but it raises the question of whose voices are worth listening to in the divisive acrimonious debate surrounding Russian interference in the American election. We need to know the truth on both sides, the Russian and the American. How do we go about identifying, sorting, and selecting from all the voices vying for attention in order to get closer to the truth?

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Venus is Retrograde and Other Chaos Theories…

It’s often easier to see the flaws in others than to see our own, so I shouldn’t have been surprised to find I had given myself a pass on one of my own. I realize, despite the lip service I had paid it, that I had never really given gender equality the consideration it deserved. I didn’t have to. As an older white male, I had a regular seat at the table.

So, last week when President Trump was shown in the rose garden of the White House with a group of grinning, back-slapping, white men and a case of Bud Light to celebrate passage of the House of Representative’s newest Obamacare replacement it was a gut check and stunning throwback to an earlier time. That picture was worth a thousand words.

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Let’s Update Civics 101…

As a college student I thought of political science as an adjunct of philosophy. I didn’t appreciate its practical value. Later, in law school, I recognized its value in creating the infrastructure for our American institutions but only insofar as its organizing principles provided for the efficient operation of government. Today, with more experience in the world and having lived on three continents, I have a full appreciation for the complexity and genius of American democratic institutions, but lately I’ve wondered if America hasn’t become too complacent with a system that’s been durable and adaptable for more than 200 years?

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Presidential Advisor is a Dangerous Fraud…

Take a good look at this face. Remember it. Tell me if you think his history and bio would withstand the extreme vetting called for by the Trump White House and Department of Justice. Today, April 24, 2017, two Democratic lawmakers from New York sent a letter to President Trump asking that he be fired from his position as Deputy Advisor to the President for his anti-Semitic associations and views. I’ve written about him before but think his position as a presidential advisor and new information about his past activities warrants his immediate dismissal.

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Zipless in Nevada

In  Erica Jong’s 1973 novel, Fear of Flying, we were introduced to the “zipless fuck,” a sexual encounter involving two previously unacquainted persons with no emotional commitment.

In Grounded, a play by George Brant, a young woman in an Air Force flight suit tracks a terrorist on the ground 8000 miles away. She’s “flying” a missile-armed drone from her air-conditioned trailer in the Nevada desert. She is prosecuting America’s zipless war.

As an ex-Marine fighter pilot, I resist the conflation of jet pilot and drone operator. Real fighter pilots strap in, light the fire, pull G’s, land on aircraft carriers, and swap sea stories in the Ready Room. In Grounded, the unnamed pilot feels the same way. She’s a hard charging, adrenaline-fueled F-16 driver, but following maternity leave she finds herself assigned as a UAV (unmanned air vehicle) “pilot” in a windowless trailer in the Nevada desert. She is not happy with the assignment. She misses the excitement. She misses “the blue,” but war is changing and she has to deal with it.

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