August 14, 2014

"Fear of the black body"

First word today goes to New York Times columnist Charles Blow for his op-ed titled "Michael Brown and Black Men." The recent police killing in Missouri is just one example of something that happens all too frequently.

CAN YOU SAY "DIVERSIFICATION? At least one WV politician used the D word.

HIGH HOPES, LOW MEANS. Here's economist Dean Baker on some of the whacky ways opponents of the Affordable Care Act want to kill it.

August 13, 2014

People deserve better

Another round of coal mine layoffs has just been announced. Unfortunately, WV's political leaders from both major parties are not dealing with the real issues, as Ken Ward notes in Coal Tattoo. On the brighter side, this editorial from the generally conservative Charleston Daily Mail talks sense.

OFF TOPIC. Although El Cabrero works for a Quaker organization which tolerates the publication of this blog, not to mention my other heterodoxies, I happen to be a cradle Episcopalian. Which is why I have decided here to include the late comedian Robin Williams list of the top 10 reason to be Episcopal. I totally agree.

August 12, 2014

Cultivating serendipity

I spent about five hours on the road today with a friend of mine. Our conversation ranged from the elevated and philosophical to the somewhat canine, us being guys and all. But a phrase my friend shared, which I may or may not capture exactly here, sums up what I think to be the most effective way of working for social justice:

The intentional cultivation of serendipity.
Serendipity means something like a pleasant surprise. Basically, it means that good things we cannot anticipate perfectly now are likely to emerge and we should help those along.

Conversely, bad things we can't anticipate now are likely to emerge that we have to fight.

As Hamlet said, "The readiness is all."

And that, Gentle Reader, is worth more than all the energy squandered in so-called "strategic plans."

The best plan in a radically uncertain world is to have a strategy, preferably a robust one that gives you options for best-, worst-, and medium- case scenarios. Anything else is garbage.

August 10, 2014

Farmers gotta eat too

In case you missed it, here's a great piece from the NY Times about how real, i.e. non-corporate, farmers are faring in the food revolution. The short version is: not so good. But the writer puts forward some good ideas about a progressive agenda for farmers who are trying to produce food the best way.

SPEAKING OF PROGRESSIVE AGENDAS, in the wake of WV's chemical spill and the ensuing water crisis of last winter, a new business group has formed. The WV Sustainable Business Council promises to be a positive addition and a fresh voice with a long term vision.

A SHOUTOUT TO CAMUS. The French writer and philosopher Albert Camus has been a big influence on me, although I'm not a huge fan of his most popular novel, The Stranger, which has the distinction of being a book read by George W. Bush. (Talk about making the short list....) Still, I found this piece on how that novel influenced this writer to be worth a look. As for myself, I'm a Plague kind of guy.