Monday, February 18, 2019

What we need in 2020

Ever since that horrible night on November 8, 2016, we have been yearning for the day when the misanthrope who “won” the election would be out of office. Now that we’re halfway through the Trump administration, the battle to challenge him is heating up.

We can’t just settle on someone better than Trump. After all, any person who can construct a grammatically correct sentence would be better. Whoever replaces him has the dual challenge of running the country and repairing the damage that was caused by his kakistocracy.

Yet, while it’s necessary to make Trump a one-term president, we also need to fix the root cause of the dismal 2016 results. This means returning the U.S. Senate to Democratic control, reforming voting laws to make them more inclusive, and drowning out Trump TV (Fox News) with a positive progressive message aimed at all demographics.

It means supporting Senator Booker’s re-election (assuming he’s not on the national ticket) even if you disagree with certain aspects of his voting record, as I do. Voting for a third-party contender is a vote for a Republican, and voting for a Republican is tacit approval of Trump’s draconian agenda.

It means supporting good Democrats running for state and local office because they are the farm team for future high office holders, even if your favorite candidate fails in the primaries.

It means supporting progressive out-of-state candidates for the House and Senate because whether we like it or not, money talks.

It means getting involved in the political process, whether through the party or through advocacy groups.

It means setting a better example than the GOP does by purging the Democratic Party of those who engage in sexual misconduct and racist actions, even if these occurred years ago.

What Ousting Trump will require a presidential candidate who not only appeals to a broad base and who not only has impeccable unblemished credentials, but also who can inspire and motivate. Someone like JFK or Barack Obama. We shouldn’t settle for anything less.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A Bridge Too Far

I'm an ardent proponent of the separation of church and state. But even further than that, I support the premise that a person's religious beliefs (or non-beliefs) are a personal matter and should not be tainted by pressure from the government or from proselytizers. If you come knocking at my door carrying a Bible and literature, you'll be promptly and courteously turned away. But this works both ways. If you're a non-believer, I respect your position. But don't try to convince people of faith to abandon their beliefs.

There was a full-page ad in the New York Times today from an outfit called the Freedom From Religion Foundation (below). It urges Catholics to leave their church because of the pedophile scandal. I find that ad distasteful at best.

Yes, the Church has a serious problem and it's not being adequately addressed by their bureaucracy. And I support the government's prosecution of religious leaders who break secular law.

But the problem infecting the Catholic church will not be resolved by urging people to leave it. It will be resolved by a combination of internal pressure and prosecution of offenders.

I'm a card-carrying member of Delaware Valley Americans United for Separation of Church and State. AU is supportive of religious beliefs (or non-beliefs) but does not urge people to adopt either option. And while I support FFRF's aim to keep government and church separate, proselytizing AGAINST religion goes beyond the pale. I can't support FFRF on this.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Baby Steps

In a state where it’s legal to carry concealed weapons and it’s legal to shoot someone based on your personal assessment that they pose a threat to you, the Florida legislature has taken some welcome baby steps to promote gun safety. Their bill would impose a short three-day waiting period for the purchase of weapons similar to those used in the Parkland Massacre and raises the age for purchase of these killing machines to 21.

Granted, these are small, incremental improvements toward the safety of Florida citizens and I welcome that. But more so, I welcome the fact that the citizens of Florida now have their public servants engaged in a debate about gun safety, something that the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate refuses to do.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Gun Safety Rally Videos - February 2018

On February 21, several hundred people converged on the grounds of Congressman Tom MacArthur's Marlton office to advocate for gun safety. MacArthur's staff hid inside the building while parents, students, teachers, and advocates spoke outside. Here are their videos.

Opening Remarks

Suzy Zander - NJ 3rd Congressional District Action Group


Leah Lentz

Galen Ekimov

Summer Maher

Amna Ahmed


Adam Sheridan

Sharon Stokes


Al Finkelstein

Advocacy Leaders 

 Carole Stiller 

Jeannine Coyne

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Scourge of Nuclear Power

I recently attended a lecture about "Project Drawdown." This is an initiative not to just cap carbon emissions, but to actually reduce the amount of carbon trapped in the atmosphere in order to reverse the scourge of global climate change.
They promote 100 solutions - some of them obvious like various types of renewable energy - to some that might not seem directly related to climate change like family planning.
I purchased their book on Amazon, and am in the process of reading it.
Interestingly, one of the 100 solutions they enumerate is nuclear power. No doubt, nuclear power does not contribute to atmospheric carbon. But it does come with other environmental and societal risks. As the book states:
"One hundred solutions are featured in Drawdown. Of those, almost all are no-regrets solutions society would want to pursue regardless of their carbon impact because they have many beneficial social, environmental, and economic effects. Nuclear is a regrets solution, and regrets have already occurred at Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Rocky Flats, Kyshtym, Browns Ferry, Idaho Falls, Mihama, Lucens, Fukushima Daiichi, Tokaimura, Marcoule, Windscale, Bohunice, and Church Rock. Regrets include tritium releases, abandoned uranium mines, mine-tailings pollution, spent nuclear waste disposal, illicit plutonium trafficking, thefts of fissile material, destruction of aquatic organisms sucked into cooling systems, and the need to heavily guard nuclear waste for hundreds of thousands of years"
I bring this up now because the New Jersey legislature is considering propping up the economically unviable nuclear industry in the state (The bill is S877). This will be a major mistake if it passes and is signed by the governor. These subsidies would be better used in the long run to promote renewable energy, a more robust grid, and yes, conservation. I'm sure that pursuing many of the 99 other initiatives in the book would be a better use of our limited resources. Please contact your legislator and tell them "no subsidies for an uneconomical and dangerous industry."
More on Project Drawdown can be found here.