WOKE! The original definition identified a woke person as “conscious to racial discrimination.” Today it has a more expansive meaning as someone being “with it.” At considerable risk, let me suggest a third meaning as in awakened — aware of what is going...

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Jim Lehrer, Life as a Standard

“I am not in the entertainment business.” Jim Lehrer, formerly of the Lehr NewsHour.  Jim Lehrer died a week ago. The obligatory obituaries have been published. The next obituary was written seconds after the one about Jim Lehrer. Life is like that. His death...

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Tall Cotton

Is there a top? There has to be if there is an “over the top.” If there is an “over”, what is its definition? The dictionary says “excessive.” At the risk of abstraction, let me push this inquiry a bit further. My Dad used the phrase “tall cotton”. He meant better...

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Harm and Probability

Rising sea levels—resulting inundations. Extinctions—a serious blow to bio-diversity. Artic ice melting releasing more carbon dioxide. And on and on.  It is important to keep in mind that these are not ideological theories but scientific ones supported by the...

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What Do We Comprehend?

One of my obligatory visits after becoming Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission was to Alaskan villages that were being transformed by communications technology. I can remember going into a very remote village store and seeing videocassette movies...

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Too Often, Blinded By Inertia

Human re-shaping of our natural infrastructure has confronted us with existential issues. This column is one in a series that began with, The Issue of Our Time. September 11, 2001, remains a searing event in my memory. My wife and I were living in Manhattan on that...

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The Controversy Thickens

Human re-shaping of our natural infrastructure has confronted us with existential issues. This column is one in a series that began with, The Issue of Our Time. Climate change! What am I to think? What should I do? How can a non-scientist navigate the claims and...

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The Issue of Our Time

In the life of both our place and our family there is no issue more important than climate change and how it is affected by our relationship to the natural infrastructure. Yet it is damnably hard to understand, as a forecast. Complexity is expressed in parts per...

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Quick Take on an Important Moment

In 1993 I had an insightful meeting with Michael Bloomberg. I had gone to work for the Hearst Corporation to build a digital business and one day was interviewed at Bloomberg News on the digital future. At the beginning of the back and forth the reporter said that...

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We are Being Played

We are being played. Politicians and interest groups are scripting our views and rhetoric. And, in the middle of this self-serving cacophony, the media plays along. Sex, violence and anger sell. The scripts are written by people who trade in emotion. They are in the...

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A Modest But Radical Proposal

This column is going to go radical in what seems to me to be a rather modest way. The United States is drowning in debt. And, the Congress and White House are adding to the debt at the rate of around $1 trillion dollars a year. Let me begin with the year-to-year...

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Scary Stuff

Thought is fragile—authority even more so.  If you defy thought’s first principle, thoughtfulness, the value of what one thinks decays quickly. Thoughts, ideas, plans are highly perishable. The wise test thought before asserting it and especially when the risks...

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