We were sitting on our deck recently. It was around dusk and we were watching a passing storm. From the deck, we look out first at lawn and then out onto a restored prairie. At first I thought it was our neighbors' dog, Rocky. But wait — this was way too big to be Rocky. I stood up, looked more closely and then said something like "Holy buckets. There's a bear out there!" She squinted toward the prairie at first, trying to see what I had seen. It was indeed a black bear — the first we've seen here.
Prior to the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade (1973), abortion was criminalized in all but a few states. Still, women who sought an abortion often obtained one. If she couldn't bring herself to end a pregnancy on her own (think coat hangers and knitting needles), or couldn't find a facility nearby willing to perform the illegal procedure, a woman could travel to one of the handful of states that did not criminalize abortion — IF she could afford the travel. But by the 60's and early 70's, change was in the wind for our society.
John Bolton's office is just down the hall from the President's office in the White House. You may have heard of Mr. Bolton — he's the National Security Advisor. The National Security Advisor holds a powerful position: the President's go-to person on national security matters. John Bolton has an interesting, if fearful, worldview: "Homo sapiens are hardwired for violent conflict. We're not going to eliminate violent conflict until Homo sapiens cease to exist as a separate species."
Now that the Mueller report is in, maybe we can all — and I mean ALL — sigh in relief: Donald Trump is apparently NOT a Russian spy. I know of no one who was hoping he was. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, despite finding numerous links between Russia and the Trump campaign, concluded there was insufficient available evidence to establish that the campaign conspired with Russia. (Unavailable evidence: some people under investigation had deleted relevant communications and others used applications featuring encryption, resulting in investigative gaps.)
While visiting family in New Orleans recently, a spray-painted manhole cover caught my attention. "FIGHT SOCIAL NORMS!" read the stenciled message. Social norms are basically informal rules about acceptable group behavior. My guess is that the spray-painted message was a statement by someone who feels screwed-over by society. I am pretty much a glass-is-half-full guy. But that's what might be expected for a white, straight male who has never tasted discrimination or injustice. So I like social norms.
Capitalism 101: the bottom-line goal of a business is to make a profit. But the dance between supply and demand has to be considered in the pursuit of that profit. This is true whether a business is legitimate or illegal: without the right balance of supply and demand, the business will fold. Take human trafficking, an illegal form of business. Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery: whether by coercion, force or fraud, a person (all too often, a child) is involuntarily used for another person's profit.
"Prick." 1. An instance of pricking or sensation of being pricked; 2. Slang, vulgar: a spiteful man often having some authority. -Merriam-Webster Dictionary I was hiking with friends in the southern California desert recently when we came across an area covered with flowering Prickly Pear cactus plants. My initial focus was the exquisite flowers. But in short order my attention gravitated toward the pricks that awaited any creature daring to get too close to the plant.
When I am not living in awareness, I gravitate toward mindless habit. For instance, if I'm not fully awake, there's a good chance that I won't actually think about a news event as it comes to my attention. It's more likely to be knee-jerk, as in "Who does this help?"/ "Who does it hurt?" and then my opinion will follow. If I'm not sure of my take in this robotic mode, I can easily check in with my favored news sources — those I have already chosen because they pretty much agree with me in the first place. Maybe you know someone like that.
I love road-trips — the longer the better. My wife is like that too, although she's afflicted by a strange passion for winter — the colder and "wintrier," the better. I do not share that passion, and so we were gifted a Differentiation Opportunity: she would stay home in Wisconsin and I would road-trip it to the California Coast. For me, one of the advantages of a solo road-trip is that I get to call the shots, such as my preference for using the navigation system in my car. My wife? Give her a map made of paper, which I've heard they still make.
Breaking news about a broken government was getting me down. Time for a "news fast." Dr. Andrew Weil, a well known physician/author, suggests there are health benefits from taking periodic breaks when it comes to following the news. A news fast — maybe for a day, several days or even a week. According to Dr. Weil, we may experience an unhealthy level of anxiety, anger, worry, fear and frustration when we get hooked on keeping up with "breaking news." He suggests that prolonged tightness of the jaws, so to speak, can harm a person's health.