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Friday, November 16, 2018

When Partisanship Takes on Science on Global Warming: The Part before the Whole

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams concurred on the following preference—namely, a natural aristocracy of virtue and talent over the artificial sort of birth and wealth. Talent here is not merely skill, but also knowledge. Hence the two former U.S. presidents agreed that citizens ought to be given a broad basic education in free schools. The corollary is that as a citizenry lapses in virtue and knowledge, decadence will show up in public discourse and consequently public policy. If kept unchecked, the tendency is for the republic to fall.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Gettysburg Address: Shaped by Small Pox?

By the time Lincoln was back on the train returning to Washington, he was down with a high fever from Small Pox. I’m thinking the illness did not grip the president the second he stepped on the train. Already distraught over Mary falling off a horse-carriage, his son Tad taken grievously ill, and the old, tired war, the president was almost certainly already stricken when he delivered the address and perhaps even when he wrote it the day and evening before. I suspect that the Gettysburg Address would not have been only 272 words long had Lincoln been well.

The full essay is at "The Gettysburg Address."

Thanksgiving Elipsed by Christmas: Will the Offending Businesses Go Extinct?

Even as the business-sourced encroachment of Christmas had all but eclipsed the American holiday of Thanksgiving in 2013 on account of the day falling so late in November (as if four weeks were somehow not a long enough time for gift-buying), the on-going trend (or stampede) of stores opening earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving puts the holiday itself in the cross-hairs of the retail rifles. Thanksgiving may one day be essentially extinct, and, ironically, so too might be the usual suspects--the enterprises themselves.

The full essay is at "Thanksgiving Eclipsed."

On the History of Thanksgiving: Challenging Assumptions

We humans are so used to living in our subjectivity that we hardly notice it or the effect it has on us. In particular, we are hardly able to detect or observe the delimiting consequences of the assumptions we hold on an ongoing basis. That is to say, we have no idea (keine Anung) of the extent to which we take as unalterable matters that are actually quite subject to our whims individually or as a society (i.e., shared assumptions). In this essay, I use the American holiday of Thanksgiving, specifically its set date on the last Thursday of November, to illustrate the following points.

The full essay is at "On the History of Thanksgiving."

Target’s Senior Managers in Damage Control Mode: A Forensic Appraisal

The number of transactions at Target, a major American retailer, during the weekend before Christmas in 2013 came in at between 3 to 4 percent lower than for the same weekend in 2012.[1] That the number of shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2013 are five less than in the previous year and number of transactions at other retailers during the weekend in 2013 is slightly higher than for the previous year suggests that Target did indeed take a financial hit due to the massive breach in electronic security. The debit and credit-card numbers of up to 40 million customers (between November 27th and December 15th) could have been compromised by hackers who immediately began selling the “secured” information from abroad.[2] Lest this lesson in the downsides of electronic commerce and globalization be enough bitter medicine to swallow, Target’s damage control gives us a rare opportunity to glimpse the mentality of the company’s corporate-level managers by inference.

The full essay is in Cases of Unethical Business: A Malignant Mentality of Mendacity, available at Amazon.

The Arrest of a Senator in Georgia’s Capitol: A Sign of a Growing Authoritarian Police-State in America?

Sen. Nikema Williams (D-Atlanta) of the Georgia Senate “was arrested along with more than a dozen other protesters” at the Georgia Capitol on November 14, 2018.[1] The demonstration asked Georgia’s government to count every vote in the gubernatorial election. As a civil rights advocate, Williams had organized domestic workers for Stacy Abrams when she was running for Governor. Protesters shouted, “Let her go!” as the Capitol police handcuffed Sen. Williams and led her from the rotunda. No sitting legislatures in Wisconsin had been arrested (as far as I know) when huge constituent protests erupted in the Wisconsin rotunda against Gov. Scott Walker’s successful effort to remove collective-bargaining from powers of public sector unions there. As odd it may be for the police of a Capitol building to arrest a sitting senator, the observations of another senator, who witnessed the arrest, are even more chilling concerning an ominous trend then well underway in American cities.

The full essay is at "Arrest of a Senator Protesting."