Seven global warming predictions that have come true

September 5, 2017 at 10:11 pm

The strategy of oil industry lobbyists when it comes to climate change is to undermine trust in scientific predictions. We tend to call them “deniers,” but this doesn’t really describe the strategy accurately. The strategy is to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

They do this by:

  1. Creating their own “research” at corporate think tanks
  2. A false equivalence of research on both “sides” (best illustrated by John Oliver)
  3. Hyping fears that this will hurt jobs
  4. Turning it into a tribal Republican vs. Democrat issue
  5. Labeling predictions as “alarmism
  6. And pointing out instances where predictions didn’t come true

All of this succeeds in creating fear, uncertainty, and doubt. When talking to anyone who questions climate change, we should keep in mind that the issue we’re dealing with isn’t a scientific one. It’s overcoming those aforementioned emotions.

Toward this end, let’s talk about a great New York Times article titled “Should You Trust Climate Science? Maybe the Eclipse Is a Clue” that approaches the topic from the perspective of overcoming the fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

Seven questions for Michelle Dillingham, Cincinnati’s neighborhood candidate for city council

May 10, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Michelle Dillingham and Noreen Loftus-Spilman at the Women’s March in Cincinnati.

We spend a lot of time talking about what we want our elected representatives to do for us. In order for our representatives to have a shot at doing anything, however, they first have to get elected. This doesn’t just happen. It either takes a lot of money or it takes a lot of supporters or most often, some combination of both. It takes a community to get people elected.

In Cincinnati, no one better represents this idea to me than Michelle Dillingham, our neighborhood candidate for city council. Michelle graciously agreed to talk about her community and what it means to her.

Republicans now own health care

March 15, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Ross Douthat had an opinion piece in the New York Times this week titled “Why Republicans Can’t Do Health Care” in which he argues that the recent Ryancare proposal is disliked by everyone on the right because the right “as an organism does not know what it believes in anymore.”

It’s likely something different going on. Republicans know what they believe. They believe in power and rule by the wealthy. They’ve thrown every other past belief they’ve pretended to have overboard and there’s not much left beneath the surface (from “personal responsibility” to “family values” to “free trade” etc, etc). In order to rig the game for their powerful and wealthy donors though, they have to get elected. They have to pretend to believe in something.

Healthcare presents a dilemma: If they repeal it, they kick 20 million people off insurance. If they make changes to it, they own it. If they do nothing, as the party in control of all three branches of government, they own it. The real problem they’re facing right now is that none of the options the wealthy and corporate special interests want look very good—and they’re going to own them.

Why a terrorist attack is more likely with a weak president

February 27, 2017 at 8:41 am

Islamic terrorists want an Islamic holy war. They believe in a clash of civilizations and want to unite all Muslims in a war against the West.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant who founded al-Qaeda in Iraq, said before he was killed:

The spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify … until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq.

Their propaganda recalls an old prophecy that Islamic armies will rise up to meet the forces of “Rome” (or the West) on the fields of Dabiq in Syria. Victory in Dabiq will signal the caliphate’s conquest of the West.

This all seems scary until you realize that the number of Islamic state terrorists is estimated at between 80,000 and 100,000. Recent estimates have put it at closer to between 15,000 and 20,000. If we take the highest estimate, that’s still at least 16,000 less than the current population of Peoria, Illinois.

In other words, they have a problem: there are not many of them. The final battle they want isn’t going to look very good if they can be defeated by the population of Peoria.

How are they trying to deal with this recruiting problem?

Pay more and get less: The Ryan plan to privatize Medicare

November 29, 2016 at 11:41 am
[caption id="attachment_2147" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Paul Ryan speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011 (Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia) Paul Ryan speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011 (Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia)[/caption]

One of the fights likely to come up early during the next administration is privatizing Medicare.

Tom Price, chairman of the House Budget Committee, has indicated Republicans will try to privatize Medicare in a budget reconciliation bill (a sneaky filibuster proof attack).

You’re going to hear a lot about “choice” and “efficiency” and the amazingness of markets, but Ryan’s plan basically comes down to two things: 1) you will pay more, and 2) you will get less.

7 questions for Derek Bauman, 20-year law enforcement veteran, about police shootings

July 11, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Derek Bauman, a law enforcement veteran of over 20 years, is currently serving a suburban Cincinnati police department. He is the president of his department’s patrol officer union and in 2011 was awarded the Medal of Valor for injuries sustained during a felony arrest. He’s a friend of mine who’s very active on social media and advocates for police being more involved in the community. In light of the past week’s tragic shootings, I thought I’d ask him some questions.

7 questions for John Schaffer, autism advocacy film director

June 28, 2016 at 6:05 pm
[caption id="attachment_2106" align="aligncenter" width="650"]John Schaffer filming Laura Nadine for The Shadow Listener. John Schaffer filming Laura Nadine for The Shadow Listener.[/caption]

John Schaffer is a filmmaker who specializes in movies about people with autism. He is also one of my oldest friends. I’ve admired his work with the autistic for years and have had many late night conversations with him over a few beers. Movies he’s directed include Vectors of Autism: a documentary about Laura Nagle, My Hiccups are Gone,and premiering online on July 1st, The Shadow Listener: A Voice for Autism.

I thought his work in film making and autism advocacy might be interesting to folks here so I thought I’d ask him a few questions.

Seven things you can do to do fund change

May 27, 2016 at 8:29 am

This election season has been a great time to talk about change and how change happens. Most progressives will agree that we need professionals fighting for change. This means activists have to be able to make a living. When having conversations with people about spending money to influence change, the […]

6,000 interfaith congregations come together to help homeless families regain their independence

April 10, 2016 at 8:47 pm

One of the things that drives me is working together to solve problems that affect us all. In the wealthiest country in the world, we shouldn’t have homelessness. Yet this year 2.5 million children will experience homelessness.

Recently, a group I’m involved with, The Tri-State Freethinkers(TSF) connected with the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) of Cincinnati (known nationally as Family Promise) to help host homeless families. Family Promise is a national organization that works to help people gain “sustainable independence” including permanent housing. Various congregations in Cincinnati host families overnight with help from local volunteers who help prepare food and entertain. TSF hosted a group overnight at Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church.

[caption id="attachment_2037" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Family Promise volunteers strive to make parents and children feel at home. Family Promise volunteers strive to make parents and children feel at home.[/caption]

The importance of fighting with someone on something

February 8, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Students from Texas Tech University build a house for Habitat for Humanity in 2010. Students from Texas Tech University build a house for Habitat for Humanity in 2010. (

In 1954, social psychologist Muzafer Sherif ran an experiment that could not be repeated today. Sherif was investigating prejudice and contesting Freud’s model of prejudice as an acting out of unresolved childhood conflicts.

At the Robbers Cave Boy Scout camp, Sherif wanted to test whether he could take a group of people, without any inherently hostile attitudes towards each other, and create conflict by introducing competition.

What Sherif found was not only that he could, but that he could also resolve the conflict if he introduced a shared goal. As I talk to people about politics and work for change, I always try to remember the importance of fighting with someone on something.