By Heather

Crowd of people at an airport gate

Dear United: It Didn’t Have To Be This Way

Last summer I had a Delta flight out of La Guardia bound for Detroit. It was a Saturday morning and the airport was swarming with passengers, the gate area for my flight was like a mosh pit. As we approached the time to board, a gate agent announced that the flight was oversold by seven passengers. An audible groan rippled through the waiting area as we all clutched our boarding passes and jockeyed further for position in the boarding process. This was not going to be easy.

The Delta / traveler negotiation process began when the agent offered the usual $400 travel voucher for anyone willing to take a later flight. In a delightful New York accent, a lady standing beside me smirked, “They’ll pay more.” Sure enough, moments later they announced that a $500 voucher was now available to any travelers with flexible travel plans. I smiled as I acknowledged the prophetic power of my fellow traveler. As my plans did not feel flexible, I gratefully made my way onto the plane.

After the plane was fully loaded, with the last few passengers jamming bags into the overhead bins, a voice rang out over the airplane announcement system that Delta still needed one more passenger to give up their seat. This time, however, they had upped the ante.

Logo for The Intercepted podcast

Celebrate art and culture. It defines who we are.

When you live in times of authoritarian rule one of the first things that end up in the cross hairs is culture. We believe firmly that artists and writers and dramatists and actors and musicians play a vital role in defending the integrity of who we are as human beings.

— Jeremy Scahill, on the Trump’s Cabinet of Killers and Why Orange is the New Anti-Black episode of The Intercepted.

I have never been more grateful for organizations like the ACLU and the plethora of lawyers we have in this country. Likewise, I am inspired by the power of our marches and protests as we stand up for our values. But, in addition to the direct tangible actions we can take, we also need a 100 million voices writing and singing and laughing and, in general, sounding our barbaric yawps over the roofs of the world.

Science is a way of thinking

“Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.”

— Carl Sagan, astronomer and author (1934-1996)

What is the purpose of an economy anyway?

I heard a reporter on a recent Economist podcast say that, in light of the growing UK economy, creating jobs is a good thing.

It seems to me that creating jobs is not only a good thing, creating jobs is the thing. What other purpose is there for an economy?

Here’s what I mean. An ‘economy’ is kind of a meta-thing that emerges whenever two or more people get together and decide that working together to meet everybody’s needs is more efficient than everyone trying to each meet 100% of their own needs (like, say, some kind of off-the-grid survivalist). Economies emerge in all kinds of places: prison economies, school-yard economies, national economies, global economies.

The Warmth of Other Suns

I just finished The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. Wow. It’s easy to see why it won the Pulitzer Prize.

I was born in Canada, and have lived in Arizona, the Midwest, Colorado, New Mexico, Northern California, the UK, the Northeast, and now the South. It is the South that has been the most perplexing. This book has helped me understand not only the South, but the rest of the country as well. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s 3 (+1) rules for happiness

Someone once asked me what I regarded as the three most important requirements for happiness. My answer was: A feeling that you have been honest with yourself and those around you; a feeling that you have done the best you could both in your personal life and in your work; and the ability to love others.

But there is another basic requirement, and I can’t understand now how I forgot it at the time…

A Stolen iPad — Not: A Cascade of Judgment Errors

I have an active mind — sometimes too active. On a recent trip to the local Apple Store I got caught up in the elevated buzz that surrounds the release of new iPhones. When I discovered that my iPad was missing from my purse I compounded a cascade of errors in judgement to end up looking and feeling like a fool. Upon reflection, I learned a lot, not the least of which was to not jump to conclusions. Doh!

D•R•Horton

We went to our first HOA meeting this week for our new home in Carillon Forest. It was great to meet some of our new neighbors and we learned a lot. Mostly we learned that there are still lots of requests pending with the original developer who built all the houses in the neighborhood a few years back. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be responding to our requests.

It occurred to me that buying a house from DR Horton is like buying a band instrument from Professor Harold Hill. The Music Man comes to town, sells you a shiny new band instrument, and then moves on. Once he’s gone, he’s gone!

Heather’s Law of Efficient Markets

Economists continue to debate the extent to which free markets are truly efficient.

It seems to me that two things are certain:
free markets are remarkably efficient at …
1. accumulating wealth, and
2. consolidating power.

Beyond that, it seems to me that free markets are not that efficient at all.

You Know I’ve Always Been A Dreamer

You know I’ve always been a dreamer
(spent my life running ’round)
And it’s so hard to change
(Can’t seem to settle down)
But the dreams I’ve seen lately
Keep on turning out and burning out
And turning out the same

So put me on a highway
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time

From Take It To The Limit

I had the good fortune of seeing The Eagles in concert on Friday night on their History of the Eagles tour. Nostalgia ruled the night. Everyone from the original band was was there, and everyone was a few years older than their prime days in the late ’70s. But the music was a s good as it ever was (which is to say, ‘good but not great’). Joe Walsh, however, brought the house down with great stage energy and fantastics renditions of Rocky Mountain High, and Life’s Been Good.