December 16, 2017

Of Beatles, Boomers, and Black History

It was 50 years ago today that the Beatles taught us how to play. In case you missed it—as if that were possible with the wall-to-wall media hoopla—four mop-top lads from Liverpool made their audacious U.S. debut in February 1964.   Just as Cassius Clay, soon to be Muhammad Ali, would do two weeks later in Miami, the Beatles “shook ... Read More »

US Begins Tackling 2015 Budget Cuts

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has a daunting task ahead of him as he looks for ways to cut the defense budget, and while he says that he must tackle the task with balance, some say that any further cuts could cause more harm than good. And if pundits predictions come true, a shift in power in the Senate might cause some ... Read More »

How the U.S. is Losing Latin America

Recently, American foreign policy priorities have been highly focused on the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions. Between winding down the U.S. military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan and navigating the tumult caused by the Arab Spring, President Obama has spent much of his diplomatic capital in the Middle East.   In the Asia-Pacific region, the president has further increased American ... Read More »

Big Oil Wants Tax Breaks to Stay Despite Profits

The 2013 profit totals are in for the big five oil companies — BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Shell. Their financial reports indicate that they earned a combined total of $93 billion last year, or $177,000 per minute. (see Table 1) After years of oil production declines, the big five oil companies actually increased their total production* in 2013, ... Read More »

Utah’s Progressive Innovation

Utah hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since LBJ’s landslide 50 years ago, but the Beehive State now stands at the cutting edge of one progressive policy. It’s on course to wipe out chronic homelessness, those without shelter for more than a year, usually with a disability, by next year.   How? By giving away free apartments.   The initiative began ... Read More »

Talking Cars: Privacy Implications

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Feb 3 that it is proceeding with an effort to reduce traffic accidents by creating a “Vehicle to Vehicle” wireless infrastructure (known as V2V) through which cars can communicate with each other while on the roads and automatically avert certain accidents. Details can be found in this story by the Associated Press, and in this in-depth ... Read More »

How to Close Guantanamo Bay This Year

President Barack Obama surprised many by calling for the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be closed this year in his State of the Union address. While a renewed emphasis on closing Guantanamo came from the White House a year ago, growing awareness of its absurd operating cost and Americans’ shifting attitudes have created new momentum behind the effort, which had stalled ... Read More »

Five More States May Legalize Marijuana

Far away from the mainland United States, Alaska is a conservative, red state, but with a libertarian, live-and-let-live hue and a history of openness toward marijuana.   In order to get marijuana legalization on the ballot in Alaska this year, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana in Alaska submitted more than 45,000 signatures to election officials on January 8. With only 30,000 verified signatures necessary to put ... Read More »

Three Boos for NFL Cheerleader Abuse

Let’s turn now to the wide, wide and cruel world of sports.   The big story at this time of year, of course, is the Super Bowl — that multi-multi-million-dollar showcase of super-paid superstars, billionaire owners, taxpayer-financed sports palaces, extravagant corporate skyboxes serving deep-fried caviar, and TV ads running $4 million for a 30-second spot.   Behind the scenes of ... Read More »

The Information Counter-Revolution

Many people in Kiev awoke Tuesday morning (January 20) to a frightening text message on their phones. “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance,” it read.   Using widely available technology, Ukraine’s dominant carriers have reportedly helped the government pinpoint the locations of their customers. Anyone with a cellphone in the vicinity of recent protests was added ... Read More »