I’m ashamed of my profession

Britney Spears slaving away. Wikipedia.

Last night, my wife and I sat down to watch the Britney Spears documentary produced by The New York Times called “Framing Britney Spears.” I must admit that I expected to see some light entertainment, enjoying the escapism that our celebrity culture often provides us.

What I did not expect was my actual reaction: embarrassment and outrage. After all, in this era of economic inequality and democracy in jeopardy, can the plight of a rich, beautiful, young star be all that salient?

In fact, it is. I was so upset after watching the documentary that I had trouble falling asleep.

Biden is in danger of making the same mistake as his former boss

President Joe Biden taking the oath of office. By Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Wikipedia.

Ah compromise.

Somehow, this procedural approach to negotiation has been elevated to a policy goal by some who lack conviction. Democrats, of course, always quick to try to make people happy, jump when offered a “compromise” which is often nothing more than a watered-down version of what is really needed.

The latest gambit by a few “moderate” Republican Senators, only one of whom voted to remove Trump from office, is nothing more than “less.” Rather than Biden’s $1.9 trillion proposal, they suggest a coronavirus relief bill of only $650 million. Why $650 million? Why not $1.9 trillion? …

The Republican arguments are specious

Photo by Ian Hutchinson on Unsplash

With ten Republican votes in favor of impeachment in the House, Trump’s second impeachment became the most bipartisan impeachment in the history of the country. The Senate’s recent vote to allow an impeachment trial to go forward even though Trump is no longer in office was similarly bipartisan, with Senators Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Patrick J. Toomey (Pa.) joining all 50 Democrats.

Of course, the response of the media and many activists has been one of disappointment. After all, the fact that 45 Republican senators voted to dismiss the impeachment case…

The smallest and most powerless have been the biggest victims of COVID-19 in America

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

In 1985, Sting released a song in which he hoped “the Russians love their children too.” At the time, we were at the height of the Cold War. Glasnost had yet to take hold, and with the aggressive posturing on both sides of the Atlantic, we legitimately feared for the survival of the human species. Sting, however, didn’t buy the demonization of the Soviets. How could they want to destroy the world, he reasoned, because they must love their children as we do.

Nowadays though, it is not the Russians whose love for their children I wonder about. Instead, it…

He seems like a nice guy, but is that what we need today?

President Barack Obama nominating Judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. By The White House. Wikipedia.

Like most progressives, I nurture an enduring resentment over the theft of Barack Obama’s appointment to the Supreme Court in 2016. I must admit that news of Antonin Scalia’s death took my breath away, and I briefly fantasized about a progressive Supreme Court majority.

Even though Obama nominated DC Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland to Scalia’s Supreme Court vacancy in February 2016, a full 269 days prior to the 2016 election, Mitch McConnell and his Republican henchmen refused to grant Garland even a hearing, claiming falsely that a tradition existed of not confirming Supreme Court Justice nominations in an election…

How you can reward innovation, energize our economy, and protect our environment all with one simple act

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

There’s an old joke I once heard. A helicopter was flying through the fog, completely lost. In an act of desperation, the pilot called down to someone on the ground asking where they were.

“You’re in a helicopter,” the passerby responded.

“Ah, we’re over Microsoft,” the pilot exclaimed.

Puzzled, the passenger asked “how do you know that?” The pilot explained that whenever you ask anything of Microsoft, technically they’re correct, but they’re never of any help.

That joke probably suffered in the retelling, but it joins my physician jokes (what do you call the physician who graduated last in his…

Is America doomed to also-ran status?

Shanghai at night. Photo by Li Yang on Unsplash

Back in the early 1990s, when I was a much younger man, while working as a Congressional staffer in Washington, I witnessed a hearing that has vividly stayed with me since then. In an early morning meeting, the committee my boss served on heard from experts on American competitiveness. After hearing from one witness after another that America was doomed to fall behind Japan, one of the members verbalized what many of us were feeling at the time: “when I woke up this morning, I was in a pretty good mood.”

That morning, we left the hearing room feeling down…

Hint: It ain’t pretty

By Phil Roeder, Wikipedia.

Sometimes, an article says as much about the author as it does about its subject-matter. A case in point is the column published in the Wall Street Journal written by Joseph Epstein. And what it says about him, and the editorial board of the Journal, isn’t pretty.

To be fair, I had never heard of Epstein until I saw critical tweets on Twitter. I couldn’t believe what people were saying, so I had to follow the link and read the column myself. If anything, the tweets were tame.

For those of you who missed it, Epstein argued in the Journal

And what they tell us about what should be Biden’s priorities

Photo by Stephen Mayes on Unsplash

It appears that the Supreme Court has finally put to bed the absurd claims of Trump and his supporters that Joe Biden did not win the election. Thank Goodness for that. Settling the legal questions does not unfortunately reduce the anger of Trump’s most die-hard supporters, who engaged in violent confrontations over the weekend. So much for Antifa being the problem.

Certainly, the people who continue to openly fight Biden’s inevitable ascension to the presidency are the nuttiest of MAGAers. It is shocking to realize how much of the Republican establishment was afraid of this small but vocal group, backed…

Our system needs reform, but some things work surprisingly well

Election day in Iowa, 2020. By Phil Roeder, Wikipedia.

In his classic text, Democracy in America, Alexis de Toqueville wrote about American individualism, describing it as “self-interest, properly understood.” It’s amazing to think that a 19th century aristocratic French diplomat in the 1830s could have understood us so well.

De Toqueville was not a fan of individualism per se, but he marveled at how Americans as individualists could work together in a way that perpetuated a civil society. He admired our civic organizations, our local governments, our lack of central authority, a seemingly disorganized mess somehow working together.

Much of our system is set up to harness individual self…

Michael Greiner

Mike is an Assistant Professor of Management for Legal and Ethical Studies at Oakland U. Mike combines his scholarship with practical experience in politics.

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