The Game is Rigged Against Small Business

The Game is Rigged Against Small Business

Small business looms large in American political rhetoric. From the campaign trail to the floor of the U.S. House and Senate, members of Congress love to evoke the diner and dry cleaner, the neighborhood grocer and local hardware store. Ensuring the well-being of Main Street, we might easily assume, is one of their central policy aims.

The legislative track record tells another story. It is one in which the interests of big corporations are dominant, and many laws and regulations seem designed to bend the marketplace in their favor and put small, independent businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

Birth Control is a Social Justice and Environmental Issue

Birth Control is a Social Justice and Environmental Issue

More than 1600 years ago, in the waning days of the Roman Empire, Augustine Aurelius, Bishop of Hippo declared himself a sex addict. His classical 13 book treatise Confessions of St. Augustine, one of the foundational texts of Catholicism was written “to remind myself of my past foulnesses and carnal corruptions.” Augustine was the first theologian to equate sex with sin.

An Anarchist Perspective on Disarmament

Addressing an adoring crowd in Prague not long after he entered office in 2009, President Barack Obama promised to aggressively pursue US ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), a major step in disarming and stopping the continued development of nuclear weapons. Later that year, when Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel committee “attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”

Six year later, Obama’s “aggressive” approach still hasn’t persuaded the Senate to ratify the CTBT. Instead, the US is engaged in a major push to modernize and expand its so-called nuclear “deterrent,” including building new submarines carrying ballistic missiles and new facilities for manufacturing nuclear warhead components.

How the Right Wing Won the Language Wars

“Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me.” A fine sentiment, but any child subjected to cyber bullying knows that words do indeed matter.

Language evolves. Sometimes a word that once was negative becomes positive, like “terrific” which originally meant terrifying. Sometimes a word that was once positive becomes negative, as when “awful” changes from awe inspiring to very bad.

The Missouri River Dinosaur

The Missouri River Dinosaur

The pallid sturgeon is, perhaps, the least sexy fish in existence. Prehistoric, armored, and occupying the muddy recesses of slow flowing rivers, it is one of nature’s leftovers from the dinosaur era. Large at maturity, the pallid sturgeon grows between 30 and 60 inches, and can weigh upwards of 85 pounds. Consistency is the modus operandi of the this fish, which has remained relatively unchanged over the last 70 million years. The pallid sturgeon is muted, having a gray coloration—like hair later in life. The sturgeon, which can live to be 100 years old, grows white. The tail is heterocercal, resembling a shark’s tail, and its body is wrapped in thick cartilage plates. In my youth, while fishing the muddy Missouri River, if we hauled a sturgeon to the surface, we cut the line immediately to release it back to the bottom world, where it would resume sucking and slurping minnows. I often named these armored tanks General Patton or General Sherman.

The Alchemy of Collaboration

The Alchemy of Collaboration

The commons describes a social practice that unleashes people’s capacity to create things together and take their lives and livelihood into their own hands. It is a social form that has long lived in the shadows of our market culture, but which is now on the rise.

Viva la Acequia! New Mexico’s Centuries-old Water Sharing System

Viva la Acequia! New Mexico’s Centuries-old Water Sharing System

Driving down any rural highway in northern New Mexico, you are sure to come across a valley with acequias—irrigation ditches that in some cases have existed for several centuries. You might not even notice them, but someone with a sensitized eye would immediately spot the green ribbons of farmland, pasture, cottonwood and willow trees. Simple in their design, acequias move water from a common source of water—a spring or a stream—through a network of ditches to replenish fields that have been carefully tended for generations.   These community-based irrigation systems are central to traditions of life on the land that have sustained families in New Mexico for generations and inspired many newcomers to embrace the acequia culture.

A Close Look at the Impact of Pope Francis’s Views on Climate Change

A Close Look at the Impact of Pope Francis’s Views on Climate Change

The subtitle of Pope Francis’ stunning new encyclical, “‘Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home,” belies the preference of some that a pontiff not venture into economic matters—Jeb Bush, for instance. Etymologically, after all, economics is the discipline of managing a home; the encyclical’s heading therefore presents it as an economics for the world we hold in common. But what kind of economics it?