Strengthening DEMOCRACY through the CENTER as THOUGHTFUL CITIZENS who are INFORMED, EMPOWERED, & ENGAGED!
What is OOTBI? Courses and Programs Beth's Blog Members Become A Member Now Login

The Intrigue of Kepler-22b

Why do we care about a new planet? NASA's Kepler mission has discovered more than 1,000 new planets that fall within the range of a "habitable zone", but 22b looks most promising. This planet is 2.4 times the radius of Earth and the enduring question is, "Could there be life out there?" Certainly a worthy question, but a sobering reality about 22b is that at 600 light-years away, it will take 22 million years to reach it. (Under current methods of space travel.) So what is the intrigue? It could be that in addition to the human desire to explore, to stretch one's limits, there might also be a motivating consideration based on the conditions of our own planet. Think about it:

  • The global community is wrestling with issues of climate change as well as unusual weather patterns that are altering food commodities around the world.
  • The economic integration of the EU is threatening the recovery that was begun in the U.S. in the fall of 2008.
  • Hotspots in problematic regions may spark into...
Continue Reading...

It's not like fast food, folks!

The noise in the media about the Egyptian unrest this week provides a moment for historical context. In France free elections led to Napoleon's rise for nearly two decades, a disastrous war and consequential bloody massacres. France underwent the organic process toward democracy with missteps and deadly repercussions. France did finally become a functioning democratic republic but it took almost a quarter-century. Democracies are not a packaged product that one retrieves from the freezer, only to pop the package in to the microwave for a ready-made meal. The world is witnessing the neophyte steps toward democratic governance after years of repression and autocratic rule. The challenges and protests that were unfolding prior to the elections on Monday, November 28, 2011 were to be expected. A fractured society lies underneath the Muhbarak apparatus and it will require long-term support and patience as the Egyptians navigate this new era. In the west there is an unrealistic tendency...

Continue Reading...

Barbershop democracy

Haircut any one?   Step in to the Washington D. C. barbershop and get a buzz cut that will leave you wanting to wear a hat on your head for the foreseeable future.  (Sorry, but that is a really bad haircut!) There is no deal from the so-called "Super Committee" and the dead zone in the U.S. economy continues.   This haircut is going to be bad because who else is going to be asked to pay the real price?  Turns out the public feels nearly bald already and has been getting a sunburn to boot. Mr. and Ms. Public, it is time to pay attention.   Here in America we currently have a legislative process that is subsidized by the public trust and tax.  And what are we paying for?  Dysfunction, petty back-biting, and entrenched ideology.  Many will say that has always been the climate in Washington.  But today there is not even the good faith effort to conduct business so as to protect the interests of the nation.  The interests today...

Continue Reading...

Let the Veterans lead

This November 11, 2011 our nation honored veterans from wars past and present. Throughout the week, radio and television programs highlighted the realities of the servicemen and women whose lives are forever changed by the experience of war. Focus was also placed on the families of veterans who are deeply impacted and scarred as a result of the deaths, injuries, long deployments, and challenges to integrate into a largely civilian population. One of the contributing factors of veteran depression and even suicide is the inability to secure a job. Here is what I think. The travesty of the unemployed is damaging our country in myriad spheres. The effects of long-term unemployment will have consequences for years. But we must consider how our nation arrived at this current recession. In part, it was due to the monetizing of the human experience. The role of a citizen was to consume. Health care costs were tied to corporate profits. The hallmark of the American experience was in large...

Continue Reading...

Could it be US? (U.S.)

The politicking and intrigue within the EU as the Greek debt crisis continues, bears more resemble to a roller coaster ride than a effort at problem-solving serves as a good object lesson for those of us in the U.S.  As the presidential gamesmanship continues in the U.S. it remains the responsibility of the public to carefully evaluate its choice for president in the 2012 election.  The lessons from the EU can teach more than fear; they can be instructive to the voting public.   Here are a few of the lessons:

  1. Don't vote for someone who tells you that they can fix thisThey can't.  It is going to require years of reworking the financial system.
  2. Don't back the person who promises that we can get back to the financial exuberance of the latter part of the 20th c.  That is a false promise.  The globalized world dictates changes that make the U.S. economy interdependent with emerging markets.
  3. Don't listen to the person who asserts that only if the ...
Continue Reading...

Suicide bombing in Afghanistan

The suicide bombing on 30 October was a deadly attack against a convoy traveling along the American University campus.   The attack was directed at ISAF forces and resulted in the death of 17 persons; at least 12 of whom were American.  ISAF stands for International Security Assistance Force and has included as many as 28 nations in the effort to secure and stabilize the Afghan government.  As a multinational force, the leadership includes officers from numerous countries.  Granted, the presence of U.S. military leadership is heavy- weighted throughout the command structure, but the forces in Afghanistan represent a multinational presence from nations determined to contribute to the push back of the Taliban insurgency.  Reports of the weekends attack include the death of a Canadian soldier as well as two British nationals.  Their deaths represent the global will to see Afghanistan move forward and beyond its decades' long conflict. A primary...

Continue Reading...

The Answer is "D"

I was talking with a gentleman from Iran the other day. His perspective was necessarily informed by his experiences in Iran. His take on the Arab Spring was that it was a coup for Al Qaeda. He said, "Al Qaeda will become the power in the Arab states now." I disagreed with him and we entered in to a lively conversation. During our conversation he asked if I saw the election results from Tunisia where the moderate Islamist group, the Ennahada party, won. It is true that at this juncture the more radicalized party won. But this is because democratic organizing has not been permitted in the region prior to this year. At this time, the more radicalized groups are organized and able to step in to the opening after the overthrow of the Ben Ali regime. Much is the same for Egypt where the Muslim Brotherhood is more organized at this time. It will take time and will require on-going support for the differing groups, many who were at the core of these historic revolutions, to gain cohesion...

Continue Reading...

Global Spring indeed!

global spring Oct 17, 2011

Last week I predicted that the protest movement "Occupy Wall Street" could grow in to what I referred to as a Global Spring.  Indeed it did.  The protest movement spread to major cities around the world: Rome, Barcelona, London, Chicago, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Zurich, and many more locations.  The newly created website: "United for Global Change" included a claim of 1,039 protest events in 87 countries.  This is a movement that is indicative of the growing network of tech-savy people, typically young adults, who are unified in their despair at capitalist' overreach.  And while these protests are being led by the young people, the world is witnessing the inclusion of all people irrespective of age, education, financial status, creed, race, or political party. Capitalism is not a substitute for good governance.  Capitalism does not substitute for good public policy.  Capitalism without proper regulation leads to imbalances within the global economic...

Continue Reading...

Exit here for "Global Spring"

Uncategorized Oct 10, 2011

In my class at the university we are examining the Arab Spring. At a time when a growing movement is spreading through the United States, our leaders and representatives would do well to read the signs.  More than one protester attributes a healthy dose of inspiration to the young people in the Arab world. This cross-pollination may indicate a global mood for change. And the movement in the U.S. is also gaining momentum via social media tools.  Social media tools made fools of those in power in more than one Arab state. Just as on the Arab street, we see people on the U.S. street who rely on an alternative means of solidarity and identity.  We might be seeing the early winds of a Global Spring as young people around the world are responding to systems long-held in imbalanced and unfair practices.  The young people have found their own means of communication and democracy and it does not adhere to the traditional structures that are the bulls eye of their...

Continue Reading...

Mastering the wrong job!

Uncategorized Sep 28, 2011

Gentleman and Ladies, elected officials of the United States, You have gotten so good at mastering the wrong job.  You have learned the importance of the sound bite.  You know how to capture the lens of the camera at just the right moment.  You have the skill set-DOWN with regard to creating hyperbole in the conversation.  But you have mastered the wrong job. You are elected officials of a nation-state.  You are not charged with saving your party.  When students learn geography there is not a D or R anywhere on the globe. And when students study world history, there is not a category for the world of Democrat or Republican.  However, students do take a class to learn the history of the United States.  See you have forgotten but D and R are subsets of the United States. Your job, the job you are taking a pay check for every day, every week, every month, every year is to advance the interests of the United States and to work together so as to...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.