We have, for decades, been dealing with global warming as if it were some kind of theory.  As we did with tobacco and asbestos and various chemical carcinogens, we delayed action on the grounds that there was some doubt about the link between human activity and the earth’s warming.  It was not until many thousands of people had died from exposure that we took steps against these other items.

That time has now arrived for global warming.  Millions of people have been put at risk, and many, many thousands of people have been driven from their homes in Houston.  We now know for sure that it happened because of the carbon dioxide and other chemicals that we have pumped into the atmosphere.  Why are we sure?  Because the water in the Gulf of Mexico is warmer than it has ever been, and it was because of that warm water that Hurricane Harvey kept pumping itself up with water that it then rained in unheard of amounts on Southeast Texas.

There is only one reason that I can think of for people to continue to deny the relation between human activity and global warming.  It is because the people who deny it are trying to avoid paying for the damage we have all done.  They have been willing, up to this point, to deny the obvious in order to save themselves a few bucks.  That is harsh, but I can’t find any other reason to deny the almost universal scientific opinion that we are warming the planet.

Now, however, six million of our fellow citizens are being put in jeopardy.  The altitude of Houston, Texas, fourth largest city in our country, is fifty feet.  Given the predictions on the rise of sea levels, we are going to lose a major part, if not all, of this great city, and along with it the refineries that produce fully one third of the refined products of oil.  If you don’t really care about the sufferings of millions of fellow humans, you will care about the enormous amount of money it will cost to recover from the effects of the damage we are doing.

Global warming is not a theory anymore.  It is a reality, and it has started to rip our world apart.  We will lose a third of Florida.  We will lose most of Manhattan.  We will suffer storms and droughts and devastating temperatures and forest fires.  Very, very soon, substantial portions of our country will be uninhabitable.

The real, profoundly disturbing thing here is that we are not owners of this globe.  We are its stewards.  We owe it to our children and to the generations that will come after us to at the very least leave them a world that is livable.  We are deliberately failing that duty, for no greater reason than that we don’t want to pay for it.  If we continue to refuse to take steps to repair the damage we have done, this generation will go down as a moral disaster.  Frankly, I’m not sure we don’t deserve that title already.













The Republican party is in shambles, due in large part to the fact that Trump is nominally their party leader, but due also, and in significant part, to the adoption by both parties of the politics of opposition and caricature.  The Democratic party, offered the opportunity to fill the void, have done nothing of the sort.  They have, instead, spent their time denouncing a man whom no one is defending and resisting policies that no one, not even Republicans, really want.

What they should be doing, and what I now do, is to state, clearly and without condition, exactly what they do want for this country.  So that is what I am going to do here.  I am a Democrat.  Since the terms “liberal” and “conservative” have no real meaning anymore, the things for which I here declare myself are not to be categorized as either.

First, I am for universal health care.  It is, first of all, the only way that this country can get control of the outrageous cost of medical care in America.  It is also, in my opinion, a part of the unalienable rights upon which this country is founded.

Second, I am for a reduction in the corporate tax.  First of all, we are likely not collecting anywhere near what we thought we would get in tax revenue by placing it at such a high level.  Secondly, it forces businesses to adopt financial and accounting practices that, while legal, are uncomfortably dishonest and of no real value to the growth of those businesses.

Third, I am for raising taxes, on everybody, on a truly progressive basis.  I am for restoring the top rate to fifty percent or more, applicable to all income above five hundred thousand dollars.  As part of that, I am for eliminating all but the most basic tax deductions.  I am for reducing or eliminating altogether those taxes that are not progressive, particularly those taxes usually referred to as use taxes.  The only exception would be taxes on such things as liquor, cigarettes and other recreational drugs, which are meant primarily to discourage their use and to offset the cost of the damage done by such things.

Fourth, I am for overruling the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, and for substantial curbs on lobbying.  I am for a reasoned program of mandatory public funding for political candidates and the outlawing of private contributions to campaigns.

Fifth, I am for strict regulation of for-profit educational companies, and for a significant increase in the funding of public education, including a generous program of financial assistance for students.

Sixth, I am for a policy of immigration that would allow people living here without appropriate documentation to continue to live here by demonstrating that they have been gainfully employed and engaged in their communities.

Seventh, I am for a major contribution to the efforts of law enforcement personnel on federal, state and local levels to punish the illegal activities of gangs and to help those communities in which gangs operate to eliminate the conditions that give rise to gangs.

Eighth, I am for the creation of an independent body to install rational voting districts and to eliminate all gerrymandering.

Finally, I am for absolutely anything that will help Republicans and Democrats to work together in accomplishing the work of the people.

















would be

















     Our founding fathers are praised, and justifiably so, for creating a form of government based on an ideal that truly defines what is best in humanity, and for surrounding that ideal with a structure that would best preserve and promote that ideal.  At the same time, however, they made one disastrous misstep:  they allowed a cancer to remain at the heart of this new government.  While declaring the unalienable rights of all human beings, they also allowed, and in fact incorporated, the continued practice of slavery.  That horrendous contradiction of the founding ideal could, in the end, only be removed at a terrible cost, brother (and sister) fighting against each other, the blood and lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans spilled by their fellow citizens, land ravaged, homes burned to the ground, the countryside laid waste.

     No one suffered this carnage and ruin more than the people of the South.  The percentage of Southerners owning slaves was actually quite small, yet virtually the entire population of the South was devastated.  Sons were sent to slaughter, and homes and fields, and a whole way of life, were destroyed.  Then, instead of a program of rebuilding, such as was done by the Marshall Plan after World War II, the South was humiliated by the imposition of a so-called Reconstruction, which, in large part, allowed opportunistic Northern con men to profit from the South’s defeat.

We feel the ill effects of the wrongs committed both by slavery and by that awful war to this day.  The very fact that we use a term like “the South” to caricature a huge segment of our American brothers and sisters is a painful illustration of the fact that we have yet to truly join hands in endorsing the ideal that defines us all.  Every day, all across our Southern states, men and women and children recommit themselves “to the flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

It is the height of hypocrisy to think that racial bigotry is a Southern disease.  I live in the most segregated city in this nation, and it is nowhere near the South.  I have heard racial epithets and racist jokes out of the mouths of some of the most prominent so-called pillars of our community.  Donald Trump, the poster boy of racial bigotry, is from New York, not Mississippi.  The insanity of condemning a person based on skin pigment is a disease, not of the South, but of all of America.

The fact is that, wherever you go in America, folks are just folks.  They are trying to have a good life, to raise their families and live in peace with their neighbors.  Because they live in a specific place, they take on the characteristics of that place, and that is what gives life and color to our country.  There is a character to each of the various areas of our Southern states, and each character adds another facet to the gigantic gem that is America.

I was once invited to the beautiful home of a wonderfully gracious Southern lady in Charleston, South Carolina, in an area known, with great pride, as “south of Broad.”  She served me tea, and we talked about our families.  At one point, I thanked her for her hospitality, and I told her that it was my first visit to the South, and that I had always been told that Southerners hated Yankees.  She frowned, and, putting on her most lyrical Carolina accent, said, “Po’ baby.  They lied to you.”

I think of her words often, and I can hear them even now.  She was, she remains in my mind, a glowing illustration of the beauty of the South.  The people of the South struggle with the sins of which we are all guilty, but they richly deserve our honor and our praise and our embrace as our brothers and sisters and fellow pursuers of the American ideal.



















In all of the ugliness of the recent Charlottesville events, two statements jumped out and shook me.  One was the chant of the Neo-Nazi and KKK group, “You will not replace us,” and a comment made by the White Nationalist, Steve Bannon, shortly after he was dismissed from the white house staff, “We have a nation and a culture, and that is what unites us.”

These two horrendous statements have a common basis, and it mostly involves the word “us”.  Who is this “us”, and what do they mean by “replace”?  Since I am intrinsically opposed to the stated values of both the Nazis and the KKK, the “us” clearly does not include me.  So the “us” must refer to this group of people united by a common belief in the supremacy of people with white skin and a thorough-going hostility to anyone, white black or otherwise, who does not share that belief.

By “replace”, then, this group must be suggesting that they are, in some sense, a ruling class in America.  They must, in other words, be stating that the culture of America is, or at least should be, that of domination by people with white skin, and servitude, or perhaps even expulsion, of those whose skin is any other color.  That, I suggest, is where they join Bannon’s white nationalism.  When Bannon said that we have a “culture,” he must have meant, essentially, to be an American means first of all to have white skin, and, secondly, to have some sort of dominance over anyone whose skin is other than white.

We cannot oppose this view lightly.  We cannot simply point out the idiocy of making judgments about people simply based on the color of their skin.  The real danger of these views is that it has a definite, well-defined starting point.  Denying the value of that starting point is worthless unless we are able to state our own starting point, and unless that starting point establishes clearly and immediately the reason why a standard of racial superiority, or of any doctrine that divides humans into opposing groups, is false from its very inception.

So what is it precisely that unites us as Americans?  It is, and can only be, our unshakable commitment to the principle that all human beings are born equal and that all human beings have been endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights, such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Not all white people.  Not all men.  Not even all Americans.  All human beings.

It is this principle that makes America the polestar of the world, and it is also this principle that leads to some of our thorniest political problems.  For one, what do we do with the starving and oppressed people of the world who see coming to America as their only hope?  And what is our obligation to those people of other lands who would starve or be oppressed and even murdered unless we aid them?  It was this great principle that led us to Europe for two world wars, and our liberation of Europe and Asia was perhaps the most shining example of our willingness to protect the rights of all human beings.  It was, equally, a cancer at our birth as a nation that our founders practiced slavery and refused rights to women.  We were not, and we are not now, in perfect accord with our ideal, but it is our striving toward that ideal that defines us as a nation.

So there lies the real horror of the Neo-Nazis and the KKK and all of white nationalism.  They are the ones proposing a replacement, and that replacement strikes at our very core.  They mean to replace the ideal of the rights of all humans with a defining principle of exclusion and oppression.  This is not just a conflict between opposing views.  This is a struggle for our very existence.  This is truly a battle of good against evil.  If, in any way, you think you see any kind of merit in that which white nationalism is asserting, you need to look very closely at how thorough your commitment is to the American ideal.






































I have prejudices.  We all do.  If we didn’t, we would have a very hard time carrying out our daily lives.  When I say this, I am using the word “prejudice” in its etymological sense of a decision made without a prior reasoning.  “Judicare” means to decide, and “pre” means before.  So I choose all kinds of actions in my life without going through a reasoning process each time.  I have food prejudices, architectural prejudices, weather prejudices.  I have religious prejudices, political prejudices, literary and philosophical prejudices (can’t for the life of me bring myself to read Nietzsche).

I have people prejudices too.  I am older, and so I was raised in a time of overt prejudices against African-Americans and Asians and Hispanics and women.  Still, after all these years, and having lived with, befriended, been instructed by and been amazed by people from all these various groups, I still find in myself the vestiges of those prejudices.

It is a part of achieving wisdom to examine our prejudices, and to rid ourselves of those we find to be bad, improper, contrary to right reason, whatever, and to foster those prejudices that are good, rational, that foster community, etc.  It’s probably a good idea to have a prejudice against snakes and spiders, to foster a prejudice for vegetables and non-fatty foods, to develop a prejudice against indolence, etc.  It is clearly a good idea to examine our prejudices against people based on irrational things like the color of their skin or the shape of their face or their sex or, for that matter, their height or weight or any other physical feature.

When, however, we look to review prejudices, particularly those which have done so much damage in the history of the nation and the world, I suggest that we will find a main root or cause of that prejudice.  That root is self-interest.  There must, after all, be a reason of some sort for a prejudice, and there is absolutely no sense to the judgment that one person is better than another because of the color of his or her skin or the bare fact that one has a penis and the other a vagina.  So why do we have such prejudices?

Somewhere along the line some wise man (see?  I told you I had prejudices) taught me that there are two ways to see yourself as valuable.  One is to improve yourself, and the other is to hold other people as somehow less or lower than you.  I once hear a comedian tell a story on himself about his history as an alcoholic.  He was in the emergency room in the throes of alcohol withdrawal.  The attendants had put straps on his arms and legs, something that is called “four-point restraint.”  While he was there, another alcoholic was brought in, with five-point restraints, the additional strap being around his neck.  The comedian said he looked over, and said to the guy, “Loser.  I only have four.”

That is, I suggest, the basis of all prejudice.  A bigot says, “Whatever I may be, at least I am not a (fill in the blank: nigger, chink, kike, bitch, polack, kraut, wop, spic, faggot, dike, etc.).”   At its heart, every prejudice is a kind of escape valve, allowing me to grant myself worth by downgrading those around me.  From world-class bigots like Trump to the lowest of white trash, the source of prejudice is the same:  I am better because these others are worse.

For the life of me, though, I cannot figure out my prejudice against rutabaga.























As previously promised, this is the first in a series of blogs dedicated to understanding the evidence and arguments on both sides of the issues most critical to our present world.  I here set forth the main arguments on each side of the issue of global warming.  The question is:  Is human activity a substantial factor in global warming?  If it is, then we owe the world our best effort to reduce our contribution to global warming.  If it is not, then we should not impose any restrictions or introduce any changes to our present activities.

I first want to refer you to a brilliant and incisive website —  This site presents extensive analyses of the arguments on both sides of a long list of issues important to contemporary society.  Its contributions to these issues go far beyond what I can contribute here.  For a carefully detailed analysis of this and other important issues, I urge you to visit the site.

Secondly, I will follow, here and hereafter, a very basic structure.  I will, without comment, present the basic arguments for, and the basic arguments against, the issue in question.  I will end the blog with a short statement of my own conclusions from the arguments.

So, question:  Does human activity contribute significantly to global warming?

Both those saying yes and those saying no agree on two things.  First, global temperatures have increased by 1.4 degrees in the twentieth century.  Second, greenhouse gases (CO2 and CH4) have increased substantially in the twentieth century.


  1. Greenhouse gases are the direct result of human behavior.
  2. These gases are causing significant global warming.
  3. If not arrested, they will cause severe damage, in the form of loss of sea ice, a rise in the sea level, greater storms and more droughts.
  4. 97.1% of all peer-reviewed scientific papers agree that humans are contributing to global warming.


  1. Human contribution to greenhouse gases is too small to change earth’s climate.
  2. The increase in greenhouse gases is due to natural processes over which we have no control.
  3. The science regarding human contribution is debatable.
  4. Taking the recommended action will hurt the economy.

My opinion:

I am not a scientist, and I must therefore rely on the research and conclusions of others.  97% of those scientists tell us that we are, by the consumption of fossil fuels, contributing to global warming and that we can, by immediate action, reduce that contribution and greatly diminish the effects that greenhouse gases are now having.

So ask yourself this.  Suppose that 100 people came to you and informed you that your house was on fire and suppose that 97 of them informed you that,, if you took immediate action, you could salvage the house, but that if you did nothing it would burn to the ground.  Suppose that the other 3 said that there was nothing you could do about it so you should just let it burn down.

What would you do?


This is my last blog about Donald Trump.  He is, by overwhelming and global acclaim, the worst president in the history of the United States.  He will likely be impeached and convicted, most likely for illegal financial dealings such as money laundering and likely much more.  He is ignorant.  He is almost psychotically self-absorbed.  He is allowing and even encouraging the dismantling of those protections of the American ideal and American form of democracy that was once the envy and ideal of much of the world.

But note well:  We are to blame for having put him in that position, and we are to blame for the colossal amount of damage that democracy faces because we did so.  In Walt Kelly’s immortal words, we have met the enemy and it is us.  It will take decades to repair that damage, and the effort to make those repairs needs to start now.  So, from now on, this space will be devoted to pointing out what we need to do to restore American government to its ideal of promoting the inalienable rights of all human beings.

To begin, we need to first recognize those areas that need repair.  First and foremost, we need to restore governance to what has traditionally been entitled “regular order.”  This government can only succeed by discourse and compromise.  The voices of both conservative and liberal must be heard and respected.  The representatives of each side must work together to arrive at compromise on the issues that most concern us.

Let’s start with the federal issue of health care.  The job before is not defined by repealing or retaining the Affordable Care Act.  The job is providing basic health care for all Americans.  The present system was only a start in accomplishing that, and it contained several significant flaws that are just now becoming obvious.  While it is likely true that basic health care is a part of the inalienable rights that define our way of governing, it is at the same time true that we can only do what we can afford.  Conservatives have made clear that, left as is, the ACA will impose huge costs on a government already deeply in debt.  Somewhere, somehow, there is a solution to this.  One thing sure, however:  we will never arrive at that solution by refusing to listen to each other.

There are many such issues:  environment, taxation, infrastructure, financial and industrial and commercial regulation, drug and alcohol abuse, and many more.  Our legislatures — federal, state and local — need to face these issues now, and they need to face them with reason and compromise.  And we — we — need to elect people who will engage in that reason and compromise.  The people of this country have to give up their addiction to unreasoned opinion.  If they do not, if politics remains at the level of shouting and ridiculing and condemning, then we will soon enough wake up to a country, and a world, without hope.

Here is my little bit.  I am going to review the opinions of those whose views are contrary to mine.  My next series of blogs will present those opinions and display what is reasonable in them.  I hope you will be doing the same.