Diagnosed with dementia, choosing when to die

For someone with Alzheimer’s disease, wrote college professor Sandy Bem, it is “extraordinarily difficult for one’s body to die in tandem with the death of one’s self.” How she carried out her plan to take her own life before the disease took it from her was chronicled in The New York Times Magazine on Sunday.The article left me staring into space for two reasons....more

Understanding the complex Nelson Mandela

In many ways, the South Africa leader's life makes sense as a natural progression, but in other ways his behavior is such a surprise.  And that's the part that's so inspiring....more

Crying For Our Children Over Climate Change

As my husband and I read aloud to each other at dinner last Friday the news that a big symbolic global warming milestone had been passed, his eyes filled with tears and I cried outright. It was 25 years ago that he and I, working together at an environment-energy information office in the Congress, first learned about how we humans — doing such basic things as heating our homes and driving our cars — might change our little planet in ways unknown....more
Climate news--especially of this magnitude--is invariably depressing, but it can't freeze us in ...more

Thank you, Steve Jobs

The Apple CEO's resignation makes me sad for several reasons....more

Why does it matter if we teach our children to be 'good citizens?'

Did you see former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor talking about this last night on the PBS NewsHour?She said the No Child Left Behind law provided no federal money for history or government classes, so “many schools have opted not to teach them anymore.” ...more

I agree both ways. I feel that we definitely should be more educated on how government really ...more

'Little hope for progress' at next month's U.N. climate negotiations

As someone who has worked on environmental issues for most of my career, I can't help but think about the warning of most experts for years now that we have about ten years to make the changes necessary to avoid irreversible changes in the globe's climate. Here is a U.N. Human Development report from 2007 calling climate change "the defining human development challenge of the 21st century" and saying "the world has less than a decade to change course."...more

The 'decline' of the Senate

Have you seen the story in the Aug. 9 New Yorker asking "just how broken is the Senate?"...more

Liberals and conservatives live in different moral universes

At least, that's the view of psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who says he wants to "help both sides understand the other, so that policies can be made based on something more than misguided fear of what the other side is up to.”...more

How protected from terrorism are we?

The security/intelligence system is "so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work," The Washington Post says after a two-year investigation of the national security buildup following 9/11. What does that mean for us citizens?...more

The threat of deadly infections

We've been hearing more and more about people who go into the hospital for even minor elective surgery and end up losing their lives to infections they get there.Now a new study says an estimated 48,000 people die each year of blood poisoning or pneumonia they come down with in the hospital, at a cost of more than $8 billion....more