A Christmas story: Christians and atheists talk about values

December 23, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Over the summer, I had a great conversation with an evangelical pastor about values that led to an experiment in trust.

A couple weeks ago, a group of us that have been kicking around some interfaith ideas decided to try this experiment. One of the things we talked about as a group was getting past some of the stereotypes that are thrown around so often about atheists and Christians.

From the Christian side, an example often heard is that Christians are “stupid” for believing in a God. From the atheist side, an example is that atheists are “immoral” because they don’t believe in God. There’s others, but you get the idea.

Our goal with this experiment was simply to see if we could use this exercise to help break down and get past these stereotypes and walls.

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7 things it’s no longer possible to believe after Donald Trump

December 18, 2015 at 11:35 am

With the rise of Donald Trump, there’s certain things that have become almost laughable to believe. Here’s seven.

Donald Trump at CPAC. Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore. Donald Trump at CPAC. Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore.

How the Ohio legislature blocked marijuana decriminalization for the next 20 years

November 4, 2015 at 5:53 pm

All of the attention in yesterday’s Ohio election was on Issue 3, the proposal to legalize marijuana. However, Issue 2, a proposal to protect “the initiative process from being used for personal economic benefit,” a poison pill inserted by the Ohio legislature, also passed. The vote was much closer on Issue 2 than 3. I was advising people that if they wanted to vote against Issue 3, just vote against Issue 3. Here’s how Issue 2 is likely to prevent future decriminalization efforts and a few lessons learned for those of us interested in decriminalizing marijuana in other states.

How I’m voting on 2015 Cincinnati and Ohio Issues

November 2, 2015 at 6:56 pm

A couple people have asked me about the Cincinnati and Ohio issues on tomorrow’s ballot. Because it’s a bit confusing, I thought I’d post about each issue including how I’m voting and why.

If it helps you, great. If not, great. Either way kudos to you for voting and taking the time to learn about the issues.

Buddy, Responsible Ohio's marijuana mascot. Buddy, Responsible Ohio’s marijuana mascot.

No on 22: The proposal opens a giant Cranhole in our city charter

October 28, 2015 at 12:22 pm

I love parks and recognize we have one of the best urban parks systems in America. Just a couple months ago, CNN Money ranked Cincinnati as having the 7th best park system in the country.

The Parks Board has some great ideas for the future too. In particular, I’m a big fan of Wasson Way. This trail would make it easier to bike across town and then out to the Greater Miami Bike Trail. The city already reached a deal with Norfolk-Southern to buy the old train tracks and I want this to happen.

This said, I’m voting against Issue 22.

Why?

Issue 22 creates a permanent tax written into our charter that is essentially under the control of one person, the mayor.

Ohio Supreme Court rules White Hat Management owns property paid for with public funds

September 18, 2015 at 8:35 am

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled yesterday that charter school operator White Hat Management can take possession of publicly paid for assets of charter schools and charge the public to buy them back. This case arose when school boards in the Akron and Cleveland area fired White Hat Management, a company […]

Commercials I’d like to see on TV: Democracy

July 8, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Corporate special interest groups blanket the airwaves with a conceptual model of our economy as a machine that should be left alone and not tampered with. This model, or frame, encourages inaction and the view that government somehow “tampers” with the machine when it acts in any way, shape or form.

This is, of course, ridiculous. We’ve always created rules for economies. Without them, we’d have black markets, a slave trade, child labor, company stores, and endless exploitation.

How do we know this? History. These things happened until we fought against them and made markets better. They will happen again if we don’t fight.

Yet many people who buy into this model of the economy as a machine are convinced that all we need to do is leave the machine alone and it will work better. Over and over the media repeats this to the point where many recite it as common sense.

The best way to address the faulty model people are being taught in the media is to illustrate a better model. I’d like to see a commercial that says “here’s the problem, money in politics, and this is how things should work.” Without further ado, here’s commercial #02: Democracy.

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Ask most people in America how our country really works and it doesn’t take too long to get to the following picture.

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Government works for certain large, multinational corporate special interests and we, the people, are at the bottom.

Large multinationals pour billions into organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and these groups, in turn, help elect “friendly” politicians and pass legislation that benefits those at the top.

The problem is, quite simply, money in politics.

How do we fix this? Smaller government?

A question for Peter Schweizer: If you’re against money in politics, what should we do to stop it?

April 30, 2015 at 11:21 am

George Stephanopoulos interviewed Peter Schweizer yesterday in advance of his book “Clinton Cash”.

He asked some decent questions focused on whether Schweizer has any evidence of criminal behavior to which Schweizer basically said “no”.

Of course Schweizer has no evidence of criminal behavior. If he did, Clinton would be under arrest. This is a political attack.

The interesting thing about the attack is that Stephanopoulos mimics what we’re supposed to do. He gets outraged about a lack of evidence. Or as outraged as George Stephanopoulos can get anyways. Meanwhile the attack gets repeated ad nauseum in the media.

Stephanopoulos feigns the role of protagonist, allows Schweizer to repeat all his claims, and ABC shows some scary graphics.

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Rich people paying rich people to tell middle class people to blame poor people

April 14, 2015 at 2:14 pm

This is perhaps the best description I’ve seen of Fox News (and AM talk radio for that matter).

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I saw this in a tweet today, but it appears it’s been around for a bit. Apologies if you’ve seen before but thought worth sharing.

The Big Ideas Project and how to get everything on our Christmas policy list

December 16, 2014 at 11:04 am

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee recently launched The Big Ideas project.

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At this site, people like you and me can submit ideas we have for a better country. It’s a great idea.

Some ideas from the current front page include:

  • Debt-free college
  • A law to regulate out-of-district money in elections
  • Full employment
  • A basic income guarantee
  • Reversing Citizens’ United
  • Expanding social security
  • Etc.

The trouble I have is that I want all of these things. I don’t just want to focus on one or two.

I want major change. So I asked myself the question: What’s holding us back from major change?

I believe the biggest thing that’s holding us back from doing these things is a corporate special interest group idea. It’s the idea that government should serve the interests of corporations and this will, in turn, be good for everyone.

I know, crazy right? But a lot of people have bought into this notion because it has been sold to us as “freedom” in the form of smaller government.

The corporate special interest marketing and educational campaign has been so successful, in fact, that it dominates public discussion and opinion to the point where I don’t think we’re going to get anything on the PCCC’s wonderful big ideas list until we can convince more people that there’s a better way.

That is, the proposals on the big idea list make sense to us because we believe in a different definition of our country. We believe our country is a democracy that should start with people and we believe freedom is about opportunity and shared prosperity.

All the policies at the big ideas site make sense to us because of these beliefs. The problem is they don’t and won’t make sense to many, many people unless we first revive ideas about democracy.

This is why my big idea is about how to revive democracy and make possible more of the policy ideas on the big ideas list.