Building Versus Buying

I’ve finished reading a fantastic three part series about the history of ARM written by Jeremy Reimer for Ars Technica. Here is a quote from the end of the series:

But the key to Saxby’s management approach was simple yet uncommon in the business world: ARM grew because it helped others grow. It treated its employees more like people and less like human resources, giving them chances to learn and succeed along with the company. “I’m a great believer that in any team,” he told me, “any member is better at something than somebody else, so to get the team to perform you want everyone to perform on their best axis. Teams that work well together work better.” He emphasized the importance of being honest with employees and not overpromising what the company had to offer.

The above resonates with me because the company I hired in to out of college, Electronic Data Systems, had the same business model, treat employees in a similar manner, and had success. Unlike ARM, EDS went through several different owners (GM, HP, HPE, CSC/DXC) and CEOs and each change moved further from the founding vision to the point at which it no-longer really exists.

The story also calls to mind The Infinite Game by Steve Sinek. Using Reimer’s comparison of ARM and Commodore, ARM was playing the infinite game, Commodore the finite game. In the book Sinek describes the reletively few businesses playing the “infinite game” versus the vast majority playing the “finite” game. He writes:

Infinite games have infinite time horizons. And because there is no finish line, no practical end to the game, there is no such thing as “winning” an infinite game. In an infinite game, the primary objective is to keep playing, to perpetuate the game.

Having been hired by EDS and surviving through the multitude of transitions that has occurred, I have seen first hand the differences a building a company, which usually has a founder, and buying a company, which usually has a manager. In most cases bought companies are separated from their founding, has no leadership and thus no culture.

It amazes me that given all the evidence of how to achieve long term success, such as ARM’s, that so few U.S. companies are interested in the infinite game. The finite game rules business, thus it rules capitalism, and given relationship of capitalism to the United States, the finite game rules the U.S. I don’t think prospects will change in the United States until we find leaders who are builders, right now our political, economic, and religions cultures appear to all be playing the finite game.

Profits Above All

Nobody should be surprised that big oil has long known the impact of carbon on the the climate, just as big tobacco long knew about the relationship of nicotine on cancer. Likewise, I am certain Facebook, Twitter, and Google all know the impact of social networks on mental health.

In my opinion the root cause to this behavior is the acceptance in the United States that it’s ok for one to profit from the misery of another. Any means toward the ends of more and more profits to the oligarchs is accepted by everyone, even for whom are the most affected.

If you truly read the history of the United States you will learn that from the discovery of the content through to present time the United States has existed to make one class of people rich at the expense of anyone and anything that would be in the way of that class becoming more rich. This fact has made the United States, and many other countries in the Western Hempisphere very different from other countries in the world.

The history of the United States is very much a fight, back and forth, between the oligarchs and everyone else. Everyone else won over the oligarchs in the U.S. Civil War, but the oligarchs clawed their way back up until FDR and the New Deal. Ever since the end of WW II the oligarchs have been fighting back and gained great ground during the Reagan years, and their accendancy has continued ever since no matter which poliitcal party has been in power.

Today it appears that everything is in place for the oligarchs to completely assume control over nearly everything in the United States. Trump pretty much sealed the deal by placing the oligarch’s choice of justices to the Supreme Court, under the disguise of overturning Roe v. Wade. More consequential rulings are coming to remove the New Deal, Civil Rights, and election laws that were put in place as guardrails against the oligarchs.

On the eve of the Civl War everyone else rose up against the oligarchs by forming a new political party (Republicans), and electing Abraham Lincoln, which lead to the Civl War and the oligarch’s defeat. Unfortunately, the oligarchs appear to have closed that risk to them by changing election laws and the amont of money it takes to be elected President to insure no party that they don’t control can possibly be a threat. At the moment it seems to me the only real possible equally dramatic act would be for enough states to open a Constitutional Convention that would fundamentally re-form the United States for good or ill.

Will The 2023 Chicago Cubs Be Trade Deadline Buyers?

BleedCubbieBlue.com puts the Dansby Swanson contract in context:

“This is the largest deal that Jed Hoyer’s front office has inked during his time in charge, and it’s just really not that big of a contract relative to the rest of the league or the Cubs monetary might. It doesn’t crack the top ten in MLB in years or AAV. It is the second largest deal in the history of the Cubs franchise, and it is nowhere near the top 20 contracts as of 2021, let alone ever.”

What I see in Hoyer is a baseball executive afraid to make a mistake. Under the rubric of sustaining success one may never have the chance to win championships. What we appear to have here is a plan of waiting to see how the season goes, and if half way through they have a real chance, then make trades to sign players you need, which is what happened in 2016.

The question then is whether the Cubs have enough talent going in to the season to have a good first half and be buyers at the trade deadline. With the players they have signed and the young talent they have, the 2023 Chicago Cubs on paper are better than the 2022 Chicago Cubs, the problem though is that the Cardinals have also gotten better, and they added Wilson Contreras to a team with the reigning MVP.

Chicago Cubs Already Five Games Behind in NL Central

No matter how frustrated and angry I am with the Chicago Cubs front office for not signing any free agents of consequence, it doesn’t matter. The only real thing that matters is how Ricketts (the owner) feels about the result. If I am the owner of a team and I give the people running the team the greenlight to spend money to improve the team and they don’t do it, I am not happy with their results and I will come to the conclusion that changes are needed.

Hoyer has been a big part of the decision making since after the Cubs won the World Series. Since 2017 the Cubs have regressed in their effort to return to the World Series. Looking for changes from the same people making decisions is insane, you need to change the decision makers to get a different result.

The bottom line is that the Chicago Cub’s division competitors have become much better this off season than the Cubs, and so they are losing the offseason. It might be that the Cubs surprise with their own talent, but I think that Ricketts has to start losing patience with Hoyer. If the Cubs are at the bottom of the division and out of the running by June, I think Hoyer must go. If Hoyer continues to stay then I can only conclude that he is performing to the level Ricketts expects and therefore all the talent decisions are on him.

Using IFTTT To Send Blog Posts To Day One

I am testing sending what I write in my blogs to Day One via an IFTTT applet that is monitoring their RSS feeds. There are two problems. First, the IFTTT applet doesn’t do a good job of handling titleless posts, second, hyperlinks in the posts are stripped, seemingly even if I create the links using markdown.

The applet simply creates new entries to Day One in an order and it appears that if the title is blank then the next entry in the item content is used for the title, which by default that is the item link. I moved the item link to below the item content, but my temporary work around is to configure the applet to create a “default” title for every post, with the actual title, it it exists, on the following line. but this is not optimal.

It looks like I could add some Javascript logic to the applet so I am wondering if I could simply write some code to inspect the feed title and skip it, but that may take some time to figure it out. I wonder whether anyone else has already done this?

User Hostile Apps

I play in two fantasy football leagues, one that uses the ESPN app and the other that uses Yahoo. I find it interesting how opinionated both apps are in terms of how they are used on tablets and phones. On iPads the apps only work in landscape orientation no matter which way one is holding the iPad, which I find frustrating because they are literally the only apps on my iPad that does this. On my smartphones the apps only work in portrait, again no matter how you actually hold the phone.

The smartphone behavior is even more interesting on the Microsoft Surface Duo. I have the two apps in a group so they both launched, one on each screen, and they look fine when I am holding the Duo in “book” or landscape orientation, but when I rotate the Duo into portrait orientation the apps rotate to maintain portrait while the individual screens are landscape.

Regardless of the platform, I find it very hostile to me as a user that the app only works in one way as this is completely unlike any other app. It’s as if the developers don’t actually use the platforms for which they are developing.

How I Use RSS

We tend to think about RSS in terms of web sites and web applications and what gets over looked is how you can use it personally. For example, I send items from FeedLand to Radio3 to add to my linkblog. I have an IFTTT applet monitoring the linkblog RSS file that takes new items and adds them to Pocket, which retrieves and stores the full article content that I read later.

As I read articles in Pocket I might highlight parts that I want to remember. The highlights in Pocket are grabbed by Readwise, where I can read through them and have them presented to me daily. Finally, Readwise exports the article highlights to Roam and Evernote.

In this example RSS is the backbone to my personal knowledge collection and refinement. It glues together for me hundreds of web sites and six applications.

RSS To OPML

Daytona is effectively a personal search engine that indexes the OPML files stored with my Drummer account. I am able to use it to search through a good chunk of my writing that I have published to the web over the last decade.

What I would like is to get what I add to my linkblog feed, which is RSS/XML, in to Daytona. What I need is a way to copy new entries of an RSS file to an OPML file that could be stored in Drummer and indexed by Daytona. I don’t need this to happen in real time, I could live with producing the file once a month. Note that you can see my linkblog feed in the Links tab of my daynotes site.

I imagine a nodejs script that takes as input a RSS xml file, reads each item and creates a new OPML node with the content and link to the article. The output would be a corresponding OPML file written in the same directory that I could import in to Drummer. The OPML structure could be based on the date. For example, the top level node is the month, and the child nodes would be date. Pretty much the Drummer blog structure. The RSS items on a date would be children of the date nodes.

If I had such a RSS to OPML script I would use it to make OPML versions of my Radio3 linkblog feed, my FeedLand Feed, and maybe even my micro.blog RSS file. The result would index all the content I publish to the web in Daytona that I could then search for when desired.

Rebooting RSS

It’s clear to me how FeedLand is a reboot of RSS because it makes building and managing a list RSS feeds real easy. Ever since he released Radio Userland I have been using Dave Winer’s blog and RSS products, and I have been using River5 for many years. Radio Userland was unlike any other RSS product I have used because it fused reading (RSS) and writing (blogging) in one product, River5 and Radio3 is the split of those two functions, and I still use Radio3 for my linkblogging and adding items to read later to Pocket.

River5 is a Nodejs application that you can clone to your own server, which I have running in Google Cloud. The main difficulty with River5 is in maintaining one’s RSS subscription list because it ultimately has to be accessed via a file that is stored locally on the server running River5. My solution has been to add an include node in the local subscription file, and store the file that is included in AWS where I can edit using Little Outliner via nodeStorage. FeedLand removes the hassle of figuring out where to put and how to edit my RSS subscriptions at the price of the app being hosted by Dave rather than on one of my own servers.

If your remember Google Reader and wish it still exists, I strongly encourge you to check out FeedLand because in my opinion it does what Google Reader provided, but more!

Education Is More Important Now Than Ever

Part of the backlash against Biden’s plan to forgive federal student loans is really a backlash against education. College education has become stereotyped into identities that some dislike. The fact that American society has pushed the necessity of a college degree for one to get a good job and have a good life is also problematic and wrong.

Scary thing is, true education in which one practices critical thinking and decision making is more critical now than ever. The United States is not and was not ever intended to be a pure democracy. Our government is a representative democracy, which by definition means there are gatekeepers, some voted in to positions (Congress, the President), some appointed by those we voted for (Supreme Court, Attorney General, Secretary of State), and some defacto (political parties, the Press).

Technology is eroding away the whole idea of gatekeepers upon whom our country was built, which slides us towards pure democracy. At first this might seem like a good thing, but what it really means is that more responsibility is with citizens. From within democracy tyranny can easily emerge, all it takes is to convince enough people that the tyrant’s cause is virtuous.

The guardrails against tyranny is education and free speech, and liberty to practice both. Critical thinking and systemic decision making. If we are left to not trust politicians, journalists, or anybody else for that matter, then we need to be able to trust ourselves. Education does not necessarily mean a college degree, but it does mean an openness to idea that one might be wrong, the desire to understand why, and the willingness to change one’s mind.

Drowning In The Sea Of Religion

“Our religion can “hell-ify” us by inspiring in us an impenetrable sense of rightness or even superiority. That sense of rightness can inoculate us against humility, infusing in us an excessive confidence or addiction to certainty that keeps us from seeing our mistakes until after the harm has been done—to others (including our children) and to ourselves. Our religion is right, we believe, which makes us right. As a result, the more devoted we are, the more stubborn and unteachable we become. And everyone can see it but us, because we’re blinded by our sincerity and zeal.”

Do I Stay Christian?: A Guide for the Doubters, the Disappointed, and the Disillusioned by Brian D. McLaren

A big problem in American society, perhaps the problem, is too much religion. The reason why is because most people do not know what religion is, that it is more than agreeing to a set of beliefs or attending a church. Re-ligio means to re-bind, but “re” anything infers we do it already. What we bind ourselves to is how we see ourselves, it becomes our very identity, our idolatry. Everything we bind ourselves to is a layer of our false self, put in place from the outside.

As an exercise, complete this question. I am….

What Is Liberty?

The Kansas State Supreme Court, in their decision that the Kansas state constitution provided the right to abortion by borrowing from the language of the Declaration of Independence: “All men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” They wrote:

Included in that limited category is the right of personal autonomy, which includes the ability to control one’s own body, to assert bodily integrity, and to exercise self-determination. This right allows a woman to make her own decisions regarding her body, health, family formation, and family life—decisions that can include whether to continue a pregnancy.

I am glad to see someone other than me define liberty as including the ability to have control over one’s own body. Unfortunately, SCOTUS does not agree with the Kansas State Supreme Court about that same language. The fact that the U.S. Supreme Court is attacking liberty for all for the sake of a perceived infringement on religious liberty is very dangerous, although sadly no unprecedented, SCOTUS has been attacking liberty practically since its beginning.

When Greed Prevails Liberty Is Lost

Greed drives most of the capitalism in the United States with little thought about the consequences. We are currently living through the consequences of a war a world away between Russia and Ukraine, imagine what happens if war breaks out in the Far East where everything we buy and use in the United States is manufactured. Have you tried to buy a car lately? Greed has put us in this bad place where China has a vice grip on our economy.

In the 1920s greed drove the United States and the world over a financial cliff toward a Depression. It took a World War and the New Deal laws to get the country back on its feet, but the wealthy minority, which has a lot of power because everything including votes and court decisions can be bought in the U.S., has been waging war against the majority, what we once knew as the middle class, ever since. Everything going on in the U.S. is a consequence if this war.

At the root of the issue is the claims on the definition of liberty. On one side, that includes the wealthy, is the claim liberty means one can do whatever one wants. On the other side is the claim that one’s claim to their personal liberty ends when it infringes on the liberties of others. The extreme libertarian side pushes toward anarchy, the extreme other side pushes toward over regulation, and in the middle is supposed to be the idea of the rule of law.

If Only One Actually Followed Jesus

Serendipity….first I read,

When you love people, you see all the good in them, all the Christ in them. God sees Christ, His Son, in us and loves us. And so we should see Christ in others, and nothing else, and love them. There can never be enough of it. There can never be enough thinking about it. St. John of the Cross said that where there was no love, put love and you would take out love. The principle certainly works.

Love and ever more love is the only solution to every problem that comes up. If we love each other enough, we will bear with each other’s faults and burdens. If we love enough, we are going to light that fire in the hearts of others. And it is love that will burn out the sins and hatreds that sadden us. It is love that will make us want to do great things for each other. No sacrifice and no suffering will then seem too much. – Dorothy Day

And then I read…

Basically the lesson is this – we all suck. Judge us on what we’ve done, our actions. Inside we all have ugly thoughts, the question is how much do you act on them. If you think I’ve created something interesting, consider that perhaps I could do it again. If I’ve been generous maybe I am generous. Maybe you have prejudices. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been dismissed as too old to do what I actually did. Like the time, at a conference, a young person asked if I knew what a podcast was, with a doubtful look on her face as if oh god I can’t believe I’m actually talking to someone this ignorant. – Dave Winer

After I read about how a Walgreens employee refused to sell condoms and felt the need to embarass the people trying to buy them.

I continue to be shocked by how people who claim to be Christians make no effort to live out what Jesus taught and thus actually follow him. Richard Rohr says that a Christian is someone who sees Christ in everyone and everything. It is how we love God, by loving what God loves. We all sin, we all have imperfections, and never once did Jesus teach us to refuse to serve or cast out someone who we think might be sinning. Jesus didn’t teach to do whatever we want to prevent sin to happen, because frankly, that is not possible. Jesus taught us to do one thing, follow him, mirror him by loving God through loving what God loves, which is everything!

Honestly, we in the United States must stop using the claim of “religious liberty” in the name of not doing things one does not want to do. Freedom of religion does not make one superior over another, and the first amendment is more about preventing government (power) from using religion to take freedom away for citizens, as was common practice in the 17th and 18th centuries leading up to the founding of the United States. It is thinking that that the U.S. Constitution is all just about us as individuals that will lead to all of us losing freedom because forget the Constitution’s true purpose of restraining government.

Stop With the Opinion Polls

Dear world, or at least anyone who cares, particularly the media. In the United States based on how the Constitution is structured, and how the political parties take advantage of its deficiencies through gerrymandering, lobbying, and campaign financing, majority opinions do not matter.

The United States is effectively under authoritarian Republican rule overseen by six Supreme Court justices, and it is obviouse the Republicans don’t care about any polls that report anything about majority opinion. It only matters what those in power in the Republican party want because they only need Republican votes to stay in power.

Right now what you need to pay attention to is, how are state legislatures structured and are voting districts gerrymandered to favor on particular party over another. If gerrymandering exists, what is being done about it, either through the courts or the existing legistlatures? Citizens need to know their state constitutions and what power they have for referendums, etc.. to overcome the games being played by the parties, particularly Republicans.

In short everyone, in particular the media, need to pay attention to and put bright light on what is going on within the state legistlatures and courts. Every since the last Presidential election Republicans have gamed the systems to gain even more power to basically nullify the will of the people. In many cases, gerrymandering means it won’t matter how much this pisses off Democrats and Independents.

Where we are heading toward, as will likely be supported by the current Supeme Court, are state legistlatures having near absolute power to override the citizens of the state to select Presidents. We will need an equivalent to the 17th amendment to prevent this from happening because this Supreme Court is going to say it is powerless to do anything about it.

Still Enduring For Now

Heather Cox Richardson:

“For all the fact that the congressmen got around the sticky little problem of Black and Indigenous slavery by defining “men” as “white men,” and for all that it never crossed their minds that women might also have rights, the Declaration of Independence was an astonishingly radical document. In a world that had been dominated by a small class of rich men for so long that most people simply accepted that they should be forever tied to their status at birth, a group of upstart legislators on the edges of a continent declared that no man was born better than any other.

Except that far too many in the United States, some who even call themselves Christian, do not believe this. For them there is a natural, divine order that places particular white men above other white men, women, people of color, and everything else on this planet. You find these men in Russia, in the Vatican, and in the United States.

“Four score and seven years ago,” Abraham Lincoln reminded Americans, “our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” In 1863, Lincoln explained, the Civil War was “testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

Truth is, the test Lincoln describes began the moment it started on July 4, 1776 and has never ended since, particularly after the Civil War. During the 20th century the test expanded beyond the shores of the United States to the entire world. Those who think World War II decisively ended the test are sadly mistaken. The U.S. has been lucky the two world wars were not started or fought within the continent, but I fear the next one will start right here and by our own who cannot abide the disorder that freedom demands.

How Evil Persists

The way of Jesus is not a direct confrontation with evil. Why? It is because when you directly confront evil one becomes evil. We have seen this in modern times with the bombing of abortion clinics, and we will likely see it now in attacks on churches and other “pro-life” institutions. Instead, the way of Jesus, which he called the kingdom of God, is an alternative to evil. In reaction to the bad, it is a practice of the better. One resists evil by loving everyone and seeing them as a part of themselves they do not yet know.

Making abortion illegal will not stop abortion. Why? Because laws are reactive. Laws are not an alternative path rather they are a way for society to hold one accountable. Laws do not stop evil. Nearly all of Paul’s teaching is about this shortcoming of laws. Christianity would know this best if it truly had the mind of Christ and followed Jesus as a movement rather than be a reflection of the human empire that assimilated it into an institution.

Jesus would not be impressed by the overturning of Roe for he would recognize it for what it is, putting new wine in to old wine skins. Jesus would have the church focus on the kingdom, the alternative to evil, a reality on earth as it is in heaven. Today Christian churches may feel victorious, not realizing that while they may have won the battle, they are losing the war as more and more people see it for what is, no different than all the other institutions of man.

What is liberty?

What is liberty? It seems to me that at this time the fundamental ideas that birthed the United States is not known or being outright ignored. For me, at it’s core liberty is the right to control what happens to me. The Bill of Rights enumerates certain rights that allow me to speak and practice religion without personal consequences like being put in jail.

The Bill of Rights protects me from the government, but it does not give me the right to harm others or take away the rights of others because I disagree, even if the practice of those rights conflicts with my beliefs. The first amendment does NOT give a Christian the right to enforce their beliefs on a Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist. (I do not see how one can make the argument of life beginning at conception without using religious belief.)

The ninth amendment of the Bill of Rights clearly states that it is not the intent of the Constitution to enumerate all rights of citizens, in fact it says if the right is not enumerated it is retained by the citizens.

I thought that the ninth amendment and the inalienable, natural, rights declared in the Declaration of Independence were core beliefs of conservatives, but I guess that is not true for that which they do not like.

The Dobbs decision puts men and women at risk. Not only by what Clarence Thomas wrote but also because of the fact that it seems to go out of its way to say there is no right to control what happens to your body. Don’t like vaccines? To bad, that don’t matter that vaccine is for the greater good. Yes you have to wear that mask. Need welfare? Not going to give it to you until you get that vasectomy because we can’t afford paying for more kids.

If we truly held to what liberty means and fully agreed to equal protection under the law, we shouldn’t need to have an amendment that gives all citizens the right to choose what happens to and inside their body. It is the amendment we now need it seems and something that everyone should be able to support.

Does liberty truly exist in the United States? Is it really the land of the free? Unfortunately it appears that until this is enumerated in the Constitution certain Supreme Court justices and politicians will not abide nor defend that for which we stand.

Setting Up A New iPad

I’ve received my new iPad Mini 6 and I am working through setting it up. I opted to transfer apps, settings and data directly from the iPad Mini 5. First hoop I had to jump is getting through the update to iPadOS 15.4.1, which took several minutes to download and update.

Next thing I notice is that all of widgets on the home screen are all blank white boxes with no obvious fix. First I restarted the iPad, but that didn’t fix the problem. I then realized that while I see all the app icons, the apps are not installed so I need to start up each of the apps associated with the widgets.

I basically have to reinstall every app I use which is a really painful process that I cannot believe Apple foists upon users. And the process is made worse by the spotty nature of the App Store that right now is refusing to install apps.

So, it is going to probably take several days for me to get this Mini fully up to speed.

Profiting From Addiction

I’ve read Jonathan Haidt’s essay, Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid. I can summarize Haidt by saying the algorithms in social media are destroying our democratic society. We have devolved in to the very things that James Madison feared when writing the Constitution.

While Haidt makes many good points I don’t think he gets to the root cause, which I think is our acceptance that it is ok for corporations to make money from addiction.

In the United States we want to put all the blame of one’s problem on themselves. Thus, the only problem with addiction is the addict and the consequences they bring upon themselves. Too many industries like technology, food, service/fast food, alcohol, health, and pharamceutical all profit from addiction. You should note the fundamental nature of these industries.

Even after lawsuits and public trials against the tobacco industry that exposed it knew nicotine is addictive and knew it causes cancer and yet still made money off of selling cigarettes, we give every industry with a business model that uses addiction to maximize profit and wealth a free pass. In the United States it is ok for someone to make a buck off the death of another, and somehow there are even “leaders” in this country who consider themselves pro-life.

In the beginning Facebook and Twitter did not make money, it wasn’t until they introduced algorithms to force content in front of users that they began making money. Research is showing the algorithms are optimized for addiction. And still I think you will find many people in the United States point the finger at people who use these networks as solely to blame and unwilling to restrict Facebook or Twitter from making money because we believe nobody should be restricted from making money.

The United States was founded upon the basic concept of freedom, and frankly that concept is no longer the prime directive of the United States. Today the United States is entirely driven by capitalism and the prime directive is to make a few people very rich, and a few rich people don’t need nor really want democracy, they just want the citiizens to be free to spend more and more money on their products.

Everybody knows money is the problem, but like an addict that just can’t do what is in their best interests, nobody is going to do anything about it. Sadly, like most addicts we know, I don’t think our country will seriously address our problems until we hit rock bottom, and I fear for what such a bottom will look like for a country that has accepted children being killed in schools and people in power acting to overthrow the government.

Javy Being Javy

I am enjoying watching Detroit sports learn how great a player Javier Baez is, as a Cubs fan I appreciate his unique talent and was disappointed the Cubs didn’t sign him.

I remember a time when shortstops were considered the worst batter in the lineup and that didn’t matter because shortstops were considered the best athlete and most important defensive player on the team. Ozzie Smith didn’t make is his mark at the plate, he was known as the Wizard because of his defense. I always felt too much attention is paid to Baez’s inconsistency at the plate and not enough value placed on his defense, which I think is worth enough to absorb his bat.

Baez was not the problem in the Cubs lineup, the problem was that everyone else in the lineup was not much better. Put Baez in a lineup with other players who make contact and get on base and you can live with his strikeouts, and revel in his ability in the big moments. I think in some ways Baez is like Brett Farve, high risk and high reward. The defense, and in particular Reggie White, made Farve who he was for the Packers because it could overcome his interceptions. Put Farve on the Detroit Lions and he is not a hall of fame player.

I am happy that even though Javier is no longer playing for the Cubs, he is playing for a team in my area that is on TV every day. Baez is the type of player you tune in just to watch, regardless of your interest in the team, much like Cabrera was in his prime. Tiger fans need to remember the incredible plays that he has already made in four games when he strikes out in that crticial moment in July because it will happen and he will still be worth every bit of money he is paid.

On War

War should not be watched or consumed as entertainment. One ought to consider how it is that one or a few people can make the decision to start a war with seemingly little to no regard for loss of human life and the suffering it causes. I think at the heart of it is the sin of supremacy that convinces that the other’s life is not valuable nor legitimate.

Even in democracies, as we know all too well in the United States, one man or woman has the power to wage war. We have decided that expediency is so important we must empower one human to such power, a power that frankly we should never allow to just one human.

The power to wage war and it’s consequences is why character matters so much when deciding which human should be elected President of the United States. Anyone who treats the power to wage war as a political tool should never be allowed to hold the office.

Forming A More Perfect Union

In the United States, democracy is less about the form of government and more about an aspiration. The idea of true equality of all people, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation was simply not comprehensible to the U.S. founders or their contemporaries. Interestingly, I think James Madison recognized the imperfections of the United States when he wrote these words in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

To me a “more perfect union” is not a declaration of an end state but rather a recognition that we can continue to become better. In other words, Madison expected the United States in 2022 to be more perfect than the United States in 1780 because the Constitution provides the framework for that improvement. It does this by providing for amendments that improve upon the original work.

Liberty Needs Equality

In my opinion too many U.S. citizens do not have an understanding of the country’s foundational documents, particularly the Declaration of Independence. For most the Declaration and Constitution boil down to one word, liberty. Indeed, the Declaration layed out the case for why the colonies were declaring their freedom (independence) from England. However, to me the most important part of the Declaration is the statement of why we had the right to declare our freedom and create our own government: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”

We can do this, we said, because we are created the same as you, King George. Citizens of the United States consider liberty precious, but true liberty is built upon our equality, and true equality is something not yet fully attained in the United States. The extent of which we fight equality, we put the liberty of one group of citizens over the liberty of other citizens. Liberty does not co-exist within supremacy.

On The Death Of Desmond Tutu

I am only aware of one country in the world that took conscious steps to address the cancer of supremacy, that country is South Africa. It’s path toward the task of overcoming supremacy was long and likely incomplete but would probably not have been taken up at all if not for Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

News of Tutu’s death makes me wonder how he saw the United States. Tutu had the wisdom to know that the antidote to supremacy is oneness, ubuntu. Supremacy cannot be shunned as it will simply continue lurking in the shadows. The only way to eliminate contempt is to see everyone as a part of me I do not yet know.

I feel as though the entire United States needs to be in a 12 step program. We cannot begin to overcome that which we don’t even acknowledge. We hide our addiction with our liberties. The amount of death that we have grown to accept, the amount of senseless loss of life we tolerate are not signs of a great nation or society.

The United States is leading the world into a third year of a pandemic that will continue to take more lives unnecessarily, and United States continues to lead the world in gun violence. All we are doing is managing to get by for just one more day. Apparently we have not yet hit bottom even after children are gun down in schools.

South Africa did not start to overcome the addiction of supremacy known as apartheid until it consciously did something about it. Any expert on addiction will tell you that no person can be made to overcome their addiction, the addict must decide for themselves they want to live. We, the citizens of the United States of America need to decide whether this republic handed down to us is something we want to keep, and that takes all of us to take a long look at ourselves and see us as we are rather than as how we keep telling ourselves.