Saturday, March 31, 2012

Roger Molander (1940-2012)

Roger Molander helped me become an activist. The mid-to-late 70's were a relatively quiet time after the Nixon's resignation in 1974 and the fall of Saigon in the following year. By 1981, though, Ronald Reagan was president and speaking glibly about nuclear war. In response many others began speaking far more responsibly about nuclear war. Roger Molander was one of them.

My participation in Ground Zero in 1982 started a chain of activism that has continued to this day. I had just moved to Phoenix, Arizona and was already very concerned about how blithely the Reagan Administration talked of nuclear war as "winnable". Ground Zero was just becoming active in Phoenix and I joined in. We helped present the very real downside of Reagan's nuclear war fighting talk. Meeting kindred spirits in conservative Phoenix was a bonus and initiated some lasting friendships.

Ground Zero is long past but the need to eliminate nuclear weapons and find cooperative ways for managing relations among nations remains.

The world still needs Roger Molanders.

Godspeed, Roger.

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Whenever I am anxious about my personal finances, I need only remind myself that I am among the richest people in the world.

The BBC confirms that today with a feature on global wages. You can plot your monthly wage on a chart of national averages. My very good American salary is nearly off the scale. Even a half-decent American wage tops most national averages.

The chart actually understates the difference since it omits the poorest nations. That means I am better off than even more people whose economic activity is either not measurable or not worth measuring.

I haven't won on any of the big bucks lottery tickets I've purchased over the years but I certainly won the economic history lottery by being born a mid-20th century white American.

Everyone should be so lucky.

Good fortune is best shared.

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Education of a President

From Fred Kaplan at Slate,
Obama entered the White House a skeptic on missile defense, but after his first few months in office, for better or worse, he came around.

For better, I guess, that it's not the supreme waste of Reagan's implausible strategic missile defense. For worse, in that missile defense is unproven and certainly complicates US-Russian relations.

More skepticism was warranted.

More skepticism is always warranted.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Long March

Dahlia Lithwick at Slate not only sums up the Supreme Court's vision of the Affordable Care Act, her analysis pretty much sums up the Republican/right-wing vision of America:
This morning in America’s highest court, freedom seems to be less about the absence of constraint than about the absence of shared responsibility, community, or real concern for those who don’t want anything so much as healthy children, or to be cared for when they are old. Until today, I couldn’t really understand why this case was framed as a discussion of “liberty.” This case isn’t so much about freedom from government-mandated broccoli or gyms. It’s about freedom from our obligations to one another, freedom from the modern world in which we live. It’s about the freedom to ignore the injured, walk away from those in peril, to never pick up the phone or eat food that’s been inspected. It’s about the freedom to be left alone. And now we know the court is worried about freedom: the freedom to live like it’s 1804.

The far right has been pushing in this direction since the New Deal. They may well succeed.