Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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The Wages of Peace

There is no longer any doubt that the Iraq War is a moral and strategic disaster for the United States. But what has not yet been fully recognized is that it has also been an economic disaster. To date, the government has spent more than $522 billion on the war, with another $70 billion already allocated for 2008.

With just the amount of the Iraq budget of 2007, $138 billion, the government could instead have provided Medicaid-level health insurance for all 45 million Americans who are uninsured. What’s more, we could have added 30,000 elementary and secondary schoolteachers and built 400 schools in which they could teach. And we could have provided basic home weatherization for about 1.6 million existing homes, reducing energy consumption in these homes by 30 percent.

But the economic consequences of Iraq run even deeper than the squandered opportunities for vital public investments. Spending on Iraq is also a job killer. Every $1 billion spent on a combination of education, healthcare, energy conservation and infrastructure investments creates between 50 and 100 percent more jobs than the same money going to Iraq. Taking the 2007 Iraq budget of $138 billion, this means that upward of 1 million jobs were lost because the Bush Administration chose the Iraq sinkhole over public investment. … The Wages of Peace


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A rural Minnesota football team excels on – and off – the field

Argyle, Minn. – Farming is life here in Marshall County, where sugar beets and wheat grow thick across the flat landscape and small towns simply grow smaller. But in the midst of the troubles that plague much of rural America, two neighboring villages here take great pride in something that is forever etched in the ethics of work, play, and praise.

Football. More specifically, nine-man football. Kids from the towns of Stephen (population 708) and Argyle (656) attend Stephen-Argyle High School, which has become synonymous in Minnesota and the upper Midwest with championship small-town football.

A rural Minnesota football team excels on – and off – the field | csmonitor.com


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Pseudo-Science Debunked

Under the Bush administration, citizens have been told that climate change isn’t such a big deal, evolution doesn’t belong in the classroom, and there’s no use crying over extinct species.

It’s Francesca Grifo’s job to expose the manipulation of information that gives politicians cover for such claims. As the head of the scientific integrity program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Grifo documents the government’s meddling in science and advocates for a return to public policy based on sound evidence. Grifo, a senior scientist at the nonprofit and an expert in biodiversity and environmental education, explains how citizens can distinguish scientific fact from political fiction for themselves. … Pseudo-Science Debunked


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America’s addiction to sports

New York – Last week, when a federal grand jury indicted baseball star Barry Bonds for perjury, it confirmed an ugly truth: America’s got a big drug problem.

I’m not talking about steroids, Mr. Bonds’ alleged performance-enhancer of choice. Instead, I’m talking about athletics themselves. Americans are addicted to competitive sports in ways that are profoundly unhealthy to our schools, our bodies, and ourselves. And until we confront that problem, head-on, steroids will continue to plague us.

America’s addiction to sports | csmonitor.com

The DolFan in me wants to pooh-pooh this whole thing, but the 63-year-old who’s been watching the movement toward extremes for six decades knows better.  The philosopher wants to say it’s controlled violence, and that the energy could be put to better use for the good of mankind, but the anthropologist knows that it’s another example of the black/white, us or them, tribal need to watch the warriors perform that has bedeviled the human race for millennia, and that it discharges tensions that might come out in other ways.

What do you think?


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Bottom-ranked school shoots to top after introducing Harry Potter-themed curriculum

A primary school has been praised as “outstanding” in an official
government report after introducing Harry Potter-themed lessons, it has
been revealed.

The fictional young wizard created by J K Rowling has helped
standards at Robert Mellors Primary and Nursery in Arnold,
Nottinghamshire, rise dramatically after pupils picked him to be the
inspiration for all their classes.

This term has seen the seven to 11 year olds learning
subtraction with the help of a Potter-esque “spell”, writing their own
plays based on the best-selling books and even keeping fit by
pretending to get on and off imaginary broomsticks.

Bottom-ranked school shoots to top after introducing Harry Potter-themed curriculum | the Daily Mail

No doubt they’ll all go to hell, but at least they’ll be educated enough not to think it’s real.


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Odd One Out

My friend Valerie has written something wonderful.

I was responding to a friend I made online yesterday, a few minutes ago. When I got done, I looked back over the email and thought to myself,

“I ought to stick this in a column.” Thus, here we are.

She was telling me about her family; how all of her brothers are on varying levels of the autistic spectrum, and how she’s the odd one because she’s not.

So, being that I’m the Odd One Out and all, I thought I’d respond. Oh, and the reason for the interest in the autistic spectrum is because I recently got diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome. It sure makes things click a lot better than they did before.

Some of you may know some of what I’m going to write, but I don’t think I’ve ever written it completely out at one time.

Here’s my response:  Odd One Out