America the Beautiful

Ed Carter, August 19, 2021

Ed Carter is a retired financial planner who uses his expertise to help people with disabilities plan ahead, as physical and mental disabilities often cause stress and confusion when it comes to financial planning. As we emerge from COVID, with millions still looking for ways to support themselves and their families, Ed’s ideas are more important than ever.You can email him atedcarter@ablefutures.org.

Finding the right career opportunity is tough when you have a disability. Even with the protections offered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, disabled jobseekers face barriers including lower educational attainment, higher levels of poverty, and misconceptions about what it means to have a disability.

For mothers with disabilities, the job market is even bl.eaker: Mothers experience significantly lower callback rates than childless applicants across industries due to assumptions about a mother’s commitment to her career.

With so…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, August 5, 2021

Science fiction is a broad genre that examines countless visions of our possible futures. Some are complete nonsense – vampires, zombies, monsters devouring cities, dinosaurs coming back to life – they make for good action films but have little meaning otherwise. Alien invasions and extinction event-causing asteroids are possible, but unlikely, not the sort of things we worry about every day. But the good stuff, based on sound science or scientific theory, offers us windows into future social trends, explorations, discoveries, and human evolution.

As the effects of climate change intensify and we are wracked by pandemics, as automation produces chronic unemployment on a massive scale, and critical resources become scarce and prohibitively expensive, life on Earth will be under increasing pressure. Are those things combined likely to exterminate human life? Probably not, but they could have catastrophic effects on the sustainability of our societies…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, June 23, 2021

Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who was elected to represent Arizona in 2018, has been in an unusual position for the past month. The media has characterized her as “the other” Democratic voice opposed to killing the filibuster. That’s because West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has gotten all the attention as the fulcrum on which the slim Democratic majority in the Senate rests. He has steadfastly held out for bipartisan negotiations with Republicans and for keeping the filibuster, donning the mantle of a one-Senator blockade standing in the way of progressive legislation.

Most observers view Manchin as the key to everything this Congress wants to accomplish, and the fact that Sinema quietly stated the same views as Manchin did nothing to discourage the notion that she would simply go along with everything Manchin agreed to. But Senator Sinema has a clear voice of her own, as…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, April 14, 2021

Amid the seemingly endless shootings of men of color by police, it would be easy to dismiss last December’s traffic stop by two Windsor, Virginia police officers as a minor incident – after all, no black people were shot or killed. But it stands out for different reasons. The motorist brutalized by one of the police officers wasn’t a kid, a drug addict, or a person of interest to the police for any reason. Caron Nazario is a second lieutenant in the U. S. Army Medical Corps who was returning from work in uniform with his dog on the back seat. He was stopped for driving his new SUV without a license plate, because the car dealer had taped his temporary plate to the back window and neither of the cops noticed it.

A simple misunderstanding, right? And it would have been if, for example…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, April 10 2021

When I was a kid everyone took the post office for granted. Everyone in my building knew our mailman’s name, and our parents left $$-filled envelopes for him at Christmas. In the years after WW2, when everyone yearned for a return to normalcy, the reliability of mail delivery was an anchor to cling to in a chaotic world.

I remember the 1946 Fourth of July parade in Brooklyn, holding my father’s hand – he’d only been discharged from the army for a month. He stood passively as companies of soldiers and sailors marched by, lost in the cacophony of overlapping marching bands, experiencing (I learned, years later) what we now call PTSD. I was oblivious, cheering wildly as each cohort of men and a few women in uniform marched by. I cheered just as loud when a few hundred mail carriers passed in full uniform…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, March 27, 2021

I’m not an expert in either government or politics, but if there’s anything in our history that has a worse record of hypocrisy than the Senate filibuster, I’m not aware of it. As we learned in seventh grade civics, the filibuster is a procedural mechanism unique to the Senate that prevents a majority party from steamrollering the opposition and effectively governing by one-party rule. There are many arguments for or against, and many claims about what its true purpose is, most of which are hypocritical in the extreme.

For example, in the latest incarnation of the filibuster debate, Democrats are calling the filibuster a racist tool. That’s like calling a knife a tool designed primarily for murder. The filibuster is a parliamentary procedure that is an essential element of the way the Senate does business. Inherently neither good nor evil, how it is used depends…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, March 13, 2021

In her morning newsletter, today, historian Heather Cox Richardson wrote “the American Rescue Plan launched the country in the direction it has avoided since 1981, using the national government not to cut taxes, which favors those with wealth, but rather to support working families and children.” Quietly, needing no ego gratification, and without slinging insults at anyone, President Biden changed the direction of our country for the better. He needed neither hyperbole nor fabrication to push through a law that has the approval of 76% of Americans including 59% of Republicans, both virtually unprecedented numbers.

The Rescue Plan will prevent more than thirty million Americans from falling into permanent poverty because of the pandemic and will enable millions more to pay rent and stop draining their remaining savings to feed their families. Despite congressional Republicans’ anger over its $1.9 trillion price tag, unlike the 2017…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, March 5, 2021

Many people in Congress have been tiptoeing around the elephant in the room, but last month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who at eighty, isn’t intimidated by speaking the truth, said, “The enemy is within.” When asked for a clarification by CBS News, she replied, “It means that we have members of Congress who want to bring guns on the floor and have threatened violence on other members of Congress.” Some, like Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, refuse to pass through metal detectors at the Capitol. They just walk around them unchallenged, because the Capitol Police have not been ordered to confront them.

A 2,000 page report issued last week by California Representative Zoe Lofgren documented publicly reported contacts between members of Congress and individuals involved in the January 6th demonstration and the insurrection at the Capitol. Representatives Paul Gosar (AZ), Mo Brooks (AL), and Andy Biggs…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, February 26, 2021

The 2020 election and its aftermath demonstrated that the majority of Americans wanted an end to the lies and hateful rhetoric of the Trump years. They proved that nationally by electing Joe Biden, and in Georgia, under the intense scrutiny of the entire world, by defeating two incumbent Republicans Senators in a cherry-red state, turning it a lovely shade of purple. No amount of extremist media reporting can change what we saw and heard. On the other hand, fifty years after the fact, there are still people who claim the Apollo moon landings were faked.

Back in the day, I worked on the lunar landing craft, (LEM,) so I have no doubt that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin really stepped onto the lunar surface and planted the flag. Even so, having observed the lunar simulator used to train Armstrong and his colleagues first hand, and…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, February 22, 2021

Did you ever wonder why beavers spend so much time and energy building dams? When I asked Google, it said because those that do survive and those that don’t, don’t. Beavers are rodents, and not terribly smart ones; they don’t think too hard about what they do. They’re instinct-driven, and their most basic instinct is survival. Their dams create ponds where they can live safely, relatively free of predators most of the time. But every so often, their creek floods, and there’s too much water for their dam to hold back. Their security is breached.

Substitute Donald Trump for the beaver, an army of high-priced lawyers and henchman for the twigs and detritus that form the dam, and the safe harbor Trump retreats to whenever courts and law enforcement start looking into his affairs for the pond. Now you understand why the Supreme Court decision…

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