Sunday, December 26, 2021

With the decline in literacy will The American Scholar still be publishing in its 100th year?

In the editor's note in the Winter 2022 issue of the American Scholar, it is written that The American Scholar is 90 years old. Will there be a centennial anniversary for the journal? At the 75th anniversary in 2007 Ted Widmer stated that there might not be a 100th anniversary because “Sound bites are shrinking, attention spans narrowing, and pubic language is degraded 24/7, from the vapid ad slogan to the lying speech to the vowelless text message” p.2

Sunday, December 19, 2021

How do West Virginians think when they choose Joe Manchin?

How is it that the people of West Virginia would elect someone like Joe Manchin to represent them in the U.S. Senate when he performs so poorly?

One reason might be that the people in West Virginia aren't that well educated. They are 45th in the nation in the quality of their education.

West Virginia ranks 41 in Pre-K through 12 and 47th in higher education.

People who make poor choices in their governmental representatives will receive poor service when it comes to their state resources for creating a quality life.

Our founding fathers knew that democracy took well educated votes if democracy is to work as a form of government of the people, for the people, and by the people. There could be no better example of the poor consequences in election decision making than in West Virginia.

The sad thing about West Virginians making such a poor choice for a Senator is that his performance not only affects the residents of West Virginia but the whole country.

How could citizens in better educated states help the voters in lower educated states choose better representatives to national office?

Robert E. Lee and Me by Ty Seidule is MarkhamsSlowNews nonfiction book of 2021.

Robert E. Lee and Me by Ty Seidule is the book of the year in 2021 which most influenced me. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in systemic racism in America.


Political polarization has significant consequences for human well being.

And while the claim might sound extreme, we may in fact be putting our human survival at risk. We confront multiple dangers today that could well be the end of us. The top five on my list (in no particular order): the risk of nuclear annihilation, climate change and its consequences, how the growing gap between the world’s haves and have-nots risks global economic destabilization, misuse of emerging technologies, and the growing potential for widespread disease. It is clear that effectively confronting any of the first four will require that we get beyond seeing the world in polarized, us-versus-them terms. I had not previously framed addressing the risks of worldwide disease in this way, but the 2020 pandemic has made it obvious that there, too, failing to bring more encompassing perspective to bear could be our undoing.

Johnston, Charles . Perspective and Guidance for a Time of Deep Discord: Why We See Such Extreme Social and Political Polarization—and What We Can Do About It (p. xii). ICD Press. 

While Johnston lists his top five risks of survival for homo sapiens, Michael Lewis does a similar thing and lists a couple of items not on Johnston’s list such as  the shut down of the electrical grid and the fifth risk being the failure of competent management which we have seen manifested in the Trump Administration.

Beyond the values polarization we are experiencing right now in our society, it is managerial incompetence which can be most threatening as we have seen with the Trump Administration’s mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic contributing to millions of unnecessary infections and hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

Differences of values, opinions, and beliefs are one thing, but when they contribute to unnecessary harm, the people in our society are at risk for extinction. The polarization of values, opinions, and beliefs has significant consequences if they are not handled in a competent manner to minimize the risk they pose for the population subjected to and engaged with them.

The first step in problem solving is collecting accurate information about the factors contributing to the problem. The second step is naming the problem in a valid and reliable way so that all the stakeholders can agree on what to call it. The third step is working together across systems on collaborative strategies to mitigate if not eliminate the problem. The fourth step is identifying and adopting prosocial values that contribute to positive evolutionary development for our species and the planet.

Say after me, "I don't do auto renew."

I clicked the link and NYT won't let me access the article without subscribing.

The firewall says I can subscribe digitally for $1.00 per week for one year and cancel at any time. At the end of the year the subscription automatically jumps from $4.00 per month to $17.00 per month. My meme has been for 2021 and I will carry it over into 2022 "I don't do auto renew." It has a nice cadence. Say it three times to get the feel for it. You might even do a little dance to it.

Now, the firewall ad says I can cancel at any time. This is bull shit. You can't. You have to call a telephone number and talk to a salesperson who will badger and harass you. I have been through this before so I know, trust me.

My credit card got hacked when I used it to sign up for subscriptions and with all this auto renew nonsense who knows who has this information stored where? So in my grumpy old age, "I don't do auto renew."

Friday, December 17, 2021

Congressional oversight committee reports Former President Trump lied to the American people about the dangerousness of Covid leading to unnecessay deaths.


States with highest and lowest minimum wages


The States With the Highest and Lowest Minimum Wages

Washington tops the list of states with the highest minimum wage while 15 states tie for last in terms of the lowest -- $7.25, which is the federal minimum wage, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The 10 states with the highest minimum wage are:

  • Washington—$13.69
  • Massachusetts—$13.50
  • Connecticut—$13.00
  • California—$13.00
  • Oregon—$12.75
  • New York—$12.50
  • Colorado—$12.32
  • Maine—$12.15
  • Arizona—$12.15
  • New Jersey—$12.00

The top five U.S. cities with the highest minimum wage according to Investopedia are:

  • Emeryville, California—$17.30
  • Seattle—$16.69
  • Sunnyvale, California—$16.30
  • Mountain View, California—$16.30
  • San Francisco—$16.07

The 15 states with the lowest  minimum wage equalling the federal level of $7.25 are: 

  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • New Hampshire
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin 
  • Wyoming

On April 27, President Biden signed a document that proposed regulations to increase the minimum wage for federal contractors. The order seeks to raise the hourly minimum wage paid by those contracts to $15 an hour, beginning Jan. 30, 2022, according to the Federal Register.  

States where the minimum wage is going up in 2022 click here.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Us vs. them and conservatism

"The experience of slavery and its racist aftermath has defined the history of American social movements, and I can't name a time when the reaction against those movements wasn't at the center of American conservatism." The Elephant in The Room: Rick Perlstein on the evolution of the American conservative movement, The Sun, December, 2021, p.11

Editor's Note;

Using a cultural evolutionary model, the conservative movement is stuck at the ethnocentric stage of development which is immature relative to what humanity is capable of and destined for.