Category Archives: Articles

Articles, essays, and posts which may or may not evolve into topics for discussion meetings.

Should liberals and progressives vote for Obama again?

I recently expressed to Jeremy the unlikelihood of my voting for Obama again, and listed a few reasons. He responded that he understood my disappointment in Obama and “share[d] it in some ways,” but that I was “blinded by idealism.” In the interest of bringing discussions like this out of email and into the public, […]

Tax-shelters, off-shore companies and other dodges

Just got finished reading a story in the NY Times about Ronald Lauder, heir to the Estee Lauder fortune. It might be easy to read the story and find a lot to dislike about Lauder, his great (inherited) wealth and the use of byzantine schemes to reduce his tax burden make him an easy target. […]

Honest Graft

Anyone catch 60 Minutes last night? The segment on how people in Congress can engage in insider trading and it is totally legal was shocking to me. Steve Kroft’s questions to Nancy Pelosi during a news conference (she refused, as did all those in Congress that have been alleged to have profited from inside information, […]

China and double-standards

The Dalai Lama typically tries to steer clear of caustic remarks towards the Chinese government. His official position is to advocate for meaningful autonomy within the state of China rather than pushing for a sovereign state. And he generally adheres to this and tries not inflame the Chinese, who are very quick to freak out […]

One crazy month

Almost exactly a month ago I got two calls almost simultaneously. One was a job offer, the other a diagnosis. There is a lot to say about the job situation, but alas that is not for this dispatch. But I’ll say that everything that has happened over the last month has been colored by the […]

“Spiritual but not religious”

It’s pretty sad to think that the world could soon be without Christopher Hitchens. One of the great intellectuals of our time, he is gravely ill with cancer. I once heard him speak at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Shanghai, he spent the evening blasting holes in the idea of God and religion while sipping […]

Beyond This Life

What happens after we die? The ultimate question, unanswerable by anyone – and yet billions of us follow ideologies which lay out, step by step, exactly what happens when we cross that last river. Isn’t the fear of death the first basis of all religion? Sometimes I see a movie scene in a hospital, where […]