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Political

Take the Stairs

A CEO carrying a leather briefcase and dressed in a cashmere overcoat hurries through the glass doors and into the marble-floored lobby of his office building. He pushes the elevator button as he’s done every week day for the past thirty years. He waits, but the elevator doors fail to open. He pushes the “up” button again. Nothing. Perplexed, he gives it another try, but still, nothing happens. He impatiently checks his watch and then pushes the button three more times. Still, the elevator doors refuse to budge. A scowl crosses his cleanly shaven face as he leans forward to

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Political

Taking a Ride in the Wayback Machine

For those Wisconsinites who’ve waited far too long to collect unemployment benefits and can’t understand what in the damn hell took so long, perhaps a trip in the Wayback Machine will bring some clarity. Please stay seated during the trip. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. Our first stop is 2001. Wisconsin’s jobless fund, which pays out unemployment benefits, has been severely weakened by the recession. If you look out your windows, a quick stop in 2009 reveals that the jobless reserve is now borrowing money from the federal government in order to keep paying benefits.   I ask

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Political

Shock and Awe? Not So Much

I feel embarrassed. Demoralized. Angry. Afraid, even. But what I don’t feel is surprised. And that, more than anything, makes me heartsick. Anyone else feeling similarly? We’ve heard so many lies during the past four years, thousands of them, told over and over again. Yesterday’s lie (shouted from a podium to thousands gathered in Washington, DC) was that the vice president could somehow break his oath to the Constitution by overturning the results of a free and fair election. And when it failed to come true, the mob attacked. Why would that surprise anyone? After four years of near-constant vilification

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Political

Silver Linings: Our opportunity to rethink everything

The American economy is like a schizoid yo-yo: On the way up, when times are good and getting better, some say “Government regulation of industry slows down growth–it’s anti-capitalist.” But when times are tough and on the way down, it’s all “Government to the rescue—where’s my bail out?” And it isn’t just industry or businesses sharing this seemingly bi-polar economic belief system. Take this quote from a recent poll regarding whether the federal government is doing too little to deal with the health and economic repercussions of COVID-19: “Gary Tidball, 52, a Republican from Overland Park, Kansas, has been relying

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Political

A Love Letter

Dear citizens: Some of you, mostly my enemies, wonder how I’ve become such a great and adored leader. The ones who hate me puzzle over how I am able to do and say outrageous things, and still maintain the love and support of an adoring public. My approach is really quite simple and based upon the following: The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. Therefore, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of

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Political

The Myth of Rugged Individualism

We Americans are known for our “rugged individualism,” a term coined in a 1928 campaign speech by Herbert Hoover, who fancied himself a “self-made” millionaire. What’s interesting is that during the early days of the Great Depression, Hoover launched the largest public works projects up until his time. So I guess getting help from the government is sometimes okay—like during the middle of a pandemic, maybe? Speaking of pandemics, how has this idea of rugged individualism, of “going it alone” served us here in America, where absent a national strategy or coordinated federal effort, each state (and often, cities/counties within

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Political

What Are We So Afraid Of?

As a kid growing up in the 1960s, I remember watching the nightly news and seeing Black people marching for civil rights, only to be attacked by dogs and police welding batons and guns. But still, they heroically marched on. I recall watching war movies about brave, young American soldiers risking their lives for us back home, marveling at their bravery. In school, we read inspiring stories about American heroes from the world of sports, medicine, science, academia, art—tales of ordinary people facing their fears, taking huge risks because, most often, they wanted to make the world a better place,

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