Author of "This Is Rage" and "Endless Encores"

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Why We Should Give More

By on Mar 16, 2021 in Blog | 0 comments

It’s that time of year for me, another trip around the sun complete. This one is not quite a milestone count, but as good a time as any to reflect on purpose. Age will do that to you. We don’t get to reflect indefinitely. That which goes into our permanent record is anything but limitless. Covid-19 will soon pass into history, but not its devastation. The time it has given us to think about our uses of time may be one of its few constructive legacies Do we look externally for validation or is it intrinsic? What is a job well done? Are we meant to behave as survivalists with a primary worry of self or something different? Giving is a curious notion. Perhaps it presents a choice that is inescapable. We do or we don’t. We make a choice even if we don’t make a choice. I do wonder at length why we give. It’s easy to be conned and give wrong. The charlatans and traps outnumber our investigative hours. The risk of being fooled is an occupational hazard. I’ve made peace with that. Here’s one good reason to take the risk and give: When we believe in others, we reinforce their courage to believe in themselves. When we share compassion with others, we demonstrate that compassion is possible and can be a virtuous circle. We are directed to welcome the stranger. Soon after that our bond becomes our gift. I find myself increasingly thinking about the notion of fairness. I do believe the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice, but I find the pace of alteration lethargic and unsatisfying. Are things better than they were 50 years ago? My father says yes and he has a 40% premium on years of observation to mine so I’ll go with his affirmation, but better is not the same as good. Relative unfairness is still unfairness. Black Lives Matter shows us conclusively that the application of law is unfair. Two and a half million dead globally of coronavirus shows us that the availability of healthcare is unfair. The wealth of stock market gains for the few against the lost jobs and bankrupt businesses of many is almost violently unfair....

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Getting Better

By on Feb 16, 2021 in Blog | 0 comments

The Beatles sang it. Now I feel it. I’m not saying things are great. For many they are not. I’m not even saying good. I’m saying better. It’s qualitative. It’s relative. It’s palpable. It’s real. I don’t care if Trump wasn’t convicted. If 43 U.S. senators want to live with the shame of turning a blind eye to a lying, seditious, self-serving megalomaniac, that’s their lifelong curse. It’s not survival politics as much as it is inescapable shame. The badge of cowardice doesn’t wash off. No bleach will eradicate it. That cynical, boisterous voice is gone from the White House bully pulpit. That alone makes me feel better. His Twitter account has been silenced. That’s even better. That’s a real punishment, where we are protected from harm. Not quite a penitentiary, but a fitting alternative sentence, particularly in his mind. If he tours again on hyperbolic rhetoric or creates his own “alternate facts” media network, he’s sectioned off. We can ignore him. If his followers want to adore him they can have that space in obscurity. Our new president is sane. Joe Biden is thoughtful. He reads, listens, and takes advice from subject matter experts. He reconsiders his positions. He is immersed in dialogue, not monologue. He’s reversing the damage. Climate change. Environmental justice. Immigration and border normalization. Broader access to healthcare. Global wellness as a shared concern. Economic compassion. Sustainable job creation. Sensible credit and finance policies. Respect for our allies. Clear, coherent, calm lines with our adversaries. Cabinet secretaries are taking shape with gravitas, conviction, relevant experience, and an emphasis on character. They will likely serve without unnecessary drama and ridiculous turnover. Mostly the voice of government is quieter. The tone is softer. It is moving into the background so we can focus again on our lives, our businesses, our daily routines, short-term and long-term planning. Science is science again. Facts are facts again. Fake news is fake news again. Journalism is not the enemy of the people. Hard questions are the safeguard of our democracy. The notion of any potential sympathy for white supremacy or xenophobia has been erased from the office of the president. To the extent there was any ambiguity around tolerance for racist...

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My Take On 230

By on Jan 21, 2021 in Blog | 0 comments

A good friend on social media asked for my opinion on why Donald Trump would be so adamantly opposed to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. For years it is precisely Section 230 that has allowed him to expand his unedited voice and create his vast following. Now he’s banned on most of these platforms including Twitter and Facebook, which some would argue are at long last exerting a form of editorial oversight. Rather than hide behind their legal ability to allow him to rant, they have essentially silenced him. Ironic, huh? Not exactly what he wanted in limiting this broad permission. Has something good or bad happened? I think the answer is neither, but something evolutionary is unfolding, and depending on where that takes us, we can decide later like most history if it was good or bad. Confusing stuff, no question. Let me try to unpack some of it as someone who has been working in this space almost since day one of the commercial internet. While personally I would say my life has improved without the constant noise of Trump tweets, I’m afraid the world is not that simple. The resolution of this exercise may have frightening connotations in the abstract. Many are worried about free speech and arbitrary limits on the power of a single individual to curtail the public expression of another, which is something that matters dearly to all of us. I’m not a legal professional by any stretch, but I don’t think a specific defense of ex-President Trump is what matters here. Trump no more understands Section 230 than he understands global trade and tariffs. He wants his speech free and speech against him controlled, like any dangerous autocrat. Let’s set him aside (doesn’t that feel great?) and think about the real risks and privileges waltzing into the arena of public discourse. For reference, the historic 26 words that constitute Section 230 read: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” As simply stated as possible, that means the technology platforms are not liable for what they publish. They don’t want...

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Managing Through Absurdity

By on Dec 22, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

I began 2020 by asking the question: Can Business Be Philosophical? Little did I know it was going to be a test. As this very difficult year comes to an end, I’ve been mulling over any learning I can carry forward. I’ve been pondering the fundamental notion of quarantine, a strategy I’ve never before considered as a defense against an invisible assailant. I’ve even taken to religious texts for clues on interpreting the darkness. I’m not finding many answers to my perhaps impossible questions, but I do find myself zeroing in on a direction in thought that has guided me as a coping strategy in traversing shaky ground. What are we supposed to learn from the year of pandemic? If there is no learning in crisis, then a repeat of the same crisis is inevitable. I don’t believe that because it ends the contest between fatalism and free will. We can’t throw in the towel that easily. Understand the Malady Might I suggest we have been living through a period of absurdity? Covid-19 thus far taking the lives of more than a million and a half people globally and 300,000 Americans is absurdity. The failure of our government to be in a state of readiness for this crisis is absurdity. Conflicting policies between federal, state, and municipal restrictions is absurdity. Misaligned interstate regulations in a nation where we travel freely is absurdity. Hospitals with ICU wards beyond capacity is absurdity. Categorical rejection by millions of a protective vaccine is absurdity. Systemic racism is absurdity. Failure to acknowledge and address systemic racism is absurdity. Police brutality directed at people of color is absurdity. Suffering wildfires and hurricanes while rejecting climate science is absurdity. A president who lies endlessly for convenience as an alternative matter of style is absurdity. A soundly defeated political candidate and his followers denying the legitimacy of validated democratic process is absurdity. That’s a lot of absurdity. It can’t be tucked away in a vault. It can’t be explained away by any retroactive framework. Our ability to move on confidently hangs in the balance. Maintain Integrity I wonder, have we arrived exhausted at a place and time where all opinions are due equal consideration? If I say...

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Life After Trump

By on Nov 20, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

I am hopeful this is the last time I write about Donald Trump. To the extent that he obeys the law and vacates his position on January 20, 2021, and doesn’t run again for the presidency, I do have more interesting subjects to pursue. I’ve tried ignoring him the best I could these past several years, but it would have been irresponsible not to call him out on his malfeasance. I attempted to look for interesting angles where I could in attempts not to repeat the obvious, but as a writer I had to be on the record as part of the resistance. I don’t care if he starts TrumpTV or his loyal followers continue to listen to his divisive lies to the last day he broadcasts. I want him out of legal power. As the nation heals, so will I, although I suspect I will heal more slowly than most. His representation of an America so diametrically opposed to my ideal has taken a toll on my immune system. More than half the nation didn’t sign up for this American carnage. A monster dumped it on us. Now we’ve dumped him. Am I relieved? Only inasmuch as a cataclysmic disease goes into remission. You know it’s still there. The cancer is his belief set. Too many Americans still subscribe to that indefensible set of lies. I’ve been thinking about the arc of our generation, the arc of the moral universe, as Dr. King reminds us: “no lie can live forever.” Our struggle for civil rights wasn’t expected to be without setbacks, but it also wasn’t meant to be bluntly derailed. Trump tried to hijack fifty years of progress in four years of devolution. I’m going to take a flier and say he failed, but now with broad restraints removed from the dialogue that would have us surrender too many of the hard-won social norms that edged us closer to justice, how will we choose to revive our spirits? I think the ultimate legacy of this cynical presidency will be the accelerated deterioration in the public’s ability to discern fact from fiction. This president didn’t create the notion of fake news; he simply used his unyielding platform to make...

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More Than a Diversion

More Than a Diversion

By on Oct 28, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

Psst, pass it on: After a 32-year intermission, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series! After winning the National League West the previous seven years—this year will be the team’s eighth consecutive division title—and exiting the playoffs without the Commissioner’s Trophy, the 2020 postseason finally brought a championship banner back to Chavez Ravine. The Tampa Bay Rays played with heart through the entire postseason. It takes untold athletic ability, strategy, and grit for any team to make it to the World Series, and while this year’s final prize went to the Dodgers, there is little question we will see the Rays again soon in October baseball. Both teams filled Globe Life Field with players of unquestionable excellence, and the six-game series came with all the unpredictability that makes baseball relentlessly nail-biting no matter your expectations. The Dodgers simply had to get this done. After so many failed attempts to full triumph over more than three decades, losing becomes an all-too-familiar feeling. It’s astonishing how quickly that feeling can be replaced by sheer glee. At this moment, I am experiencing glee. Devoted Dodger fans everywhere are experiencing glee. I’m finding it a different form of glee than it might have been any other year. This particular form of glee is a much-needed gulp of surely lasting but highly compartmentalized glee. Let me try to share that qualified celebration, limited in practical application, boundless in idealistic resurgence. So much that matters is going on in our world. We are approaching the end of one of the most difficult and painful years in our nation’s history. The year ahead of us is filled with anxiety and uncertainty no matter who is elected to lead the nation. It is only reasonable to ask ourselves why something as inconsequential as professional sports matters. If you’re not on the team, employed by the team, or an owner of the team, does it really matter who wins the MLB World Series? Does being a fan of any team matter? I think it does, but only in a well-rounded, emotional context where we hold our priorities in balance. Is the drama and endurance of a championship delivered by your home team a matter of life and...

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