Why We Won’t Stop Mass Killings

Sandy Hook

The Article: Why We Won’t Stop Mass Killings: We Like Them Too Much by Daniel Altman in BigThink.

The Text: Forgive me if I’ve already offended you with the title of this piece, but I’m an economist. As such, I tend to weigh up the costs and benefits of just about anything when trying to figure out what it means for society. And when it comes to mass killings, my analysis suggests we have some reason for introspection.

Because of the inescapable reach of media, mass killings affect virtually everyone. While the victims and the ones who loved them suffer terribly, the rest of us may feel a combination of many emotions: grief (through empathy), fear, disbelief, curiosity, fascination, and even a thrill at seeing the commotion caused by what happened. Each horrific event puts us on a new emotional binge.

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How The War On Drugs Is A War On Human Nature

War On Drugs

The Article: The War on Drugs is a war on human nature by Lewis Lapham in Salon.

The Text: The question that tempts mankind to the use of substances controlled and uncontrolled is next of kin to Hamlet’s: to be, or not to be, someone or somewhere else. Escape from a grievous circumstance or the shambles of an unwanted self, the hope of finding at a higher altitude a new beginning or a better deal. Fly me to the moon, and let me play among the stars; give me leave to drown my sorrow in a quart of gin; wine, dear boy, and truth.

That the consummations of the wish to shuffle off the mortal coil are as old as the world itself was the message brought by Abraham Lincoln to an Illinois temperance society in 1842. “I have not inquired at what period of time the use of intoxicating liquors commenced,” he said, “nor is it important to know.” It is sufficient to know that on first opening our eyes “upon the stage of existence,” we found “intoxicating liquor recognized by everybody, used by everybody, repudiated by nobody.”

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The Five Most Terrifying Things About John Brennan, The New Director Of The CIA

John Brennan

The Article: The Five Most Terrifying Things About the Likely New CIA Head John Brennan by Alex Kane in AlterNet.

The Text: Lost amidst the manufactured controversy over President Barack Obama’s pick of Chuck Hagel [3] as Secretary of Defense is the equally consequential pick for new director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Yesterday, President Obama tapped a man for the top CIA post who has supported the hallmarks of the permanent war on terror: wiretapping, drone strikes and torture. Pending confirmation, John Brennan, currently a top counterterrorism adviser to Obama, will be the new head of the powerful CIA. Brennan will take over from David Petraeus, who was felled by an extramarital affair.

President Obama praised Brennan in a press conference January 7, where the announcement of Brennan as CIA head was made. “For the last four years, as my Advisor for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, John developed and has overseen our comprehensive counterterrorism strategy — a collaborative effort across the government, including intelligence and defense and homeland security, and law enforcement agencies,” said Obama [4]. “And so think about the results. More al Qaeda leaders and commanders have been removed from the battlefield than at any time since 9/11.”

Obama’s praise for Brennan ignores the man’s dubious record. So instead, we’ll give Brennan’s history a closer look–and point out five disturbing facts you should know about Brennan’s past.

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The Best Theories On Everything: Volume Two

Best Theories Volume Two

Please see The Best Theories On Everything: Volume One here.

The “Liking Your Own Facebook” Theory: Liking your own Facebook status is the digital version of high-fiving yourself in public.

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The “#321 Drinking” Theory: “Never trust a man who doesn’t drink, he’s got something to hide.” Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca.

(Working in Utah has been difficult.)

Best Theories Humphrey Bogart

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Employee Ownership The Only Antidote To Union Busting And Outsourcing

Employee Ownership

The Article: Employee Ownership: The Antidote to Corporate Greed, Union Busting, Outsourcing by Martin Michaels in Mint Press.

The Text: Four hundred employees of Leuken’s grocery, a small family-run grocery chain in Minnesota, are poised to become the new collective owners of the successful grocery chain. Rather than accepting offers of $30 million from private supermarket chains, longtime owner Joe Leuken has decided to retire and sell his grocery stores to his employees in a move that will keep jobs and store profits in the local community.

There are already 11,000 stores owned by employees through stock ownership programs, demonstrating that workers can run profitable businesses through democratic, collective ownership of resources. With union membership on a steady decline across the U.S., collective employee ownership may offer a new vision for the future of American businesses run by workers for the benefits of families and communities.

Leuken’s a model for other companies

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