July 03, 2014

Putting the "endurance" in endurance runner

A while back, whilst scouring library shelves for books to listen to on my peregrinations, I came across Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival , Resilience, and Redemption by Lauren Hillenbrand. It recounted the remarkable life of Louis Zamperini, runner, Olympian, veteran, Japanese POW, man of faith, and much more.

I was truly inspired not only by his sheer toughness and ability to endure but also his ability to overcome bitterness and to forgive. I kind of doubt I would be capable of that if I underwent all he did--in the extremely unlikely event I would have survived at all. Zamperini passed recently at age 97 after a bout with pneumonia. It's fitting to ponder his memorable life as the July 4 holiday approaches.

July 02, 2014

Chew on this

SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps, play a huge role in helping families keep food on the table. Nationally, 1 in 7 people rely on them. In WV, it's 1 in 5. Here's a fact sheet that lays it out.


SHOCKING. Here's a look at how natural selection helped the electric eel power up.



July 01, 2014

Another plus or two

This could be an accident, or I could be getting things totally wrong, but it looks like my beloved state of West Virginia may actually be on the verge of protecting its drinking water. If I'm wrong, which may well be the case, please don't wake me up.

Another small plus is the possibility of bus transportation between Charleston and Morgantown.  It may not be much, but I'll take what I can get.

June 30, 2014

More good from WV

Off and on these days, I've been blogging about some positive things happening in West Virginia (yes, there actually are some). Here's a look at several very positive things going on right in my neck of the woods having to do with child nutrition, healthy lifestyles and physical activity. And here's a special shout out to my friend Rick Goff, the rock star director of the WV Office of Child Nutrition.

I wish I could say something nice about the misogynistic and anti-labor majority on the US Supreme Court today, but that ain't gonna happen.

June 29, 2014

So like when will they get here?

There was an interesting item in Politico a day or so ago by Nick Hanauer, an "unapologetic capitialist." It was basically a warning to "my fellow zillionaires" that there is a limit to the amount of inequality and exploitation the American people are willing to put up with.

Here's a sample:

..the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.
And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.\
If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.
Hanauer predicts something on the order of 21st century peasants with pitchforks, metaphorically speaking. So far, I haven't seen a whole lot of signs of that.

WHILE WE'RE AT IT, here's Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz arguing that the level of inequality we have today aren't inevitable but are the result of political decisions.