“Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
John 20:29 (NRSV)
We live in a time of great turmoil and change. Economically, socially, spiritually, and even biologically our nation is different every day. Our growing diversity should be a strength, not a weakness, if we can find ways to hold ourselves together by emphasizing the principles forged into traditions that made this nation great. But somehow, even simple decency and respect for each other often eludes us.
Why is this? I have come to believe that we have made our great principles far too intellectual, that the beliefs that should hold us together are exercises for the brain when they should be felt with every beat of our hearts. To change this we need more solid physical reminders in our every day life of who we are, as one people – because in the end we are all made as much in the image of the doubting Thomas as much as anyone.
This is a time to be thankful for what we have. We gather with family or friends and celebrate the bounty of a great and prosperous Promised Land. The material wealth of North America has always been obvious, as it was demonstrated to the first Europeans by the natives.
But this is not a Promised Land for many people who live here. The systems that we have set up, often credited with our wealth, do not always work. When we are thankful on these days, it is rightly for the great gifts of our Democratic Republic – Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Hapiness. But as we have seen in the last few days, none of these are guaranteed to all by our system.
It is impossible to be truly thankful for our great gifts when we know that they are jealously kept from others.
As oil prices remain low, the benefit for US consumers is obvious. But for oil companies? In the short run, prices running at about the cost of production mean no profits for the year, but in the longer run there is a terrible problem ahead.
That’s because the start-up of so many fracking operations across the US came at a cost, and that cost was financed primarily through junk bonds – high yield securities that demand a hefty interest payment to keep the operation going.
Zero profit means more than hard times – it means default and, in all likelihood, a shut down of many wells. That might not only spike up the price of oil, it is big enough to trigger a huge financial problem.
I am horrifically bizzy, and Friday should be fun. Enjoy this classic piece.
You find yourself in a dark room, dazzled by charts and graphs and pictures that go by just fast enough to lose you. The speaker at the front is well intentioned and trying desperately to make you as enthusiastic as they are, but it’s no use. Your mind wanders, desperately trying to find something to daydream about that will keep you from nodding off, drooling on yourself, or both.
Here’s something to think about before you drift off into an embarrassing situation: Franz von Uchatius, General in the Austrian Artillery – and Grandfather of PowerPoint.
“Above all else, we must strive to keep the highways of commerce open to all on equal terms.”
President Theodore Roosevelt, 1905
When President Obama came out in favor of Net Neutrality, the debate suddenly flared up. Ted Cruz and the Tea Party wing reflexively started campaigning hard against it, signaling a big battle ahead. Perhaps Obama should issue a statement claiming that “The sky is blue” just to see what fun ensues.
For all the noise, this is an important debate that is now settling in to become another political battle. The nuances are almost certainly going to be lost, especially with very mixed messages coming from the voting public. It is, however, one of the most important issues of our time – who controls the media, or for that matter, what exactly is “the media” today?