As I journey through life, I find I’m spending more and more time digging into the big “Why” of humanity. This post is a smattering of the best of the best ideas, thought leaders and communicators that may help answer the big questions;
- Why do we continue to wage wars?
- Why do some societies rise while others fall?
- What are the impacts of government action or inaction on monetary policy? On poverty? On crony capitalism?
- Why is our current society so unhealthy? Why does the Pima Indians have the highest rate of diabetes in the world?
- Why is our politics so divided and is this something NEW to our world?
- What causes society to move to and from religion?
- What’s the role of abundance or scarcity in a country?
- What can we learn from history, does it repeat?
- Which economic theories win out over time?
- Why are so many people today broken and medicating to deal with life?
- What separates a great President from a failed Presidency? What’s the magic formula for great leadership?
- When was the last time you visited a KMart? What causes one company to grow and another die?
All these answers are out there and it takes time and understanding to piece it all together. With 7 years on the air, my role was to devour every minutia of information locally, nationally and internationally. To successfully master the craft of live radio, I had to be able to speak of the issues of the day. Over time all these data points turned into a pattern. About 5 years into the radio program I started connecting these patterns into 12 arguments that show that America is in Decline. I’ve started to organize these arguments into chapters of a book. Here’s the intro.
Next, while building out a educational network that focused on history and classics, I spent years digging into the historic origins of man. The rise and fall of nations. The influence on religions and economic theories on society. I dug into philosophers, kings and civilizations that at one point were at the pinnacle of the entire globe, and that are now laying in archaeological rubble. From great literature, art, music, architecture to technological advancements and great migrations a story emerges.
Finally, after years growing up in Catholic education and being of service on a number of Catholic agencies, and spending quality time with men I respect in the Protestant faith I’ve started to look at what faith means to me and how it shows up in my life. From a weekend back in 2001 in Oracle and staffing a weekend in a southern Arizona hot springs, I learned about my shadows and motivations. By working with a group of men for over a decade I started to learn how wounds of the past show up in my life. With advice and counsel of strong men and mentor-ship from men in the faith, business and community leadership fields I have learned more about who I am and how I show up in my family, my career and in my faith.
To fully understand where we are today I’ve dug into the thought leaders from politics, sociology, psychology and economics. I put forth the following lectures, discussions and documentaries to paint a picture of how I see the human condition.
This is a long collection of my beliefs and analysis on SOCIETY, ECONOMICS, POLITICS, EDUCATION, HEALTH, BUSINESS, The FUTURE, SPIRITUALITY and much more.
How Society is Evolving
Abundance leads to apathy. This documentary breaks down the philosophy that Strauss and Howe coined and studied a theory known as the 4th Turning. In a nutshell the 4th Turning is a study of how generations rise and fall in an 80 year cycle. The pair studied history and put forth a fairly important argument. Below is a documentary by Steve Bannon, yep that Steve Bannon that holds a very important seat in the Trump White House. Al Gore, while Vice President bought copies and sent the books to all the members of congress in the late 1990’s. So the idea is bipartisan! Below is Neil Howe explaining the theory of the 4th Turning and generational archetypes.
“Worldwide, people are losing trust in institutions,” he said. “Trust in the military, small business, and police is still there. But trust in democracies, media, and politicians is dropping.”
“When was the last time we saw these changes and the rise of right-wing populism?” he asked. “The 1930s.”
Howe’s statement is borne out of a June 2016 Gallup poll. When poll takers were asked how much confidence they had in institutions in American society, the results were troubling.
Just 15% said they had a “great deal” of confidence in the US Supreme Court. Banks trailed behind at 11%, followed by the criminal justice system (9%), newspapers (8%), and big business (6%).
Meanwhile, just 16% expressed a “great deal” of confidence in the presidency, with that number plummeting to 3% for Congress.
In his keynote, Howe shared his forecasting logic:
“My method is to step back and realize one thing: There is something we know about the world in 20 years’ time. The people who live there will be all of us, 20 years older and playing a different role. I call this ‘looking along the generational diagonal.’”
The critical thing to remember about the current crisis period is that what comes next will be an era in which there is a new order.
According to the Strauss-Howe generational theory, as this new order takes root, individualism declines and institutions are strengthened.
“History is seasonal, and winter is coming,” Howe has said. But after winter, comes spring.
As the American Revolution was followed by calm, as the Civil War was followed by reconstruction and a gilded age, and as the Great Depression and World War II were followed by an age of peace and prosperity, so too will this crisis period be followed by a calm, stable era.
It’s simply a matter of time.
Jonathan Haidt is looking closely at society and how things evolve. Jonathan David Haidt is an American social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. His academic specialization is the psychology of morality and the moral emotions. Jonathan’s book, The Righteous Mind, is a fascinating read on the why’s, how’s and what’s of human morality. Morality you ask? How boring! Well at the root of all things on earth, at the intersection of all events in history, at the rise and fall of all civilizations, in your daily interactions with your family or at work, morality, and how we as people process our world is the root of everything.
Haidt weaves a theory that is well argued that there are 6 pillars which create the human moral compass. He looks anthropologically to prove the point that humans, are social beings, we use our moral tools to get along and thrive in groups.
1. The Care/Harm Foundation
This foundation makes us sensitive to signs of suffering and need. In order to maximize care and minimize harm, we enact laws that protect the vulnerable. We punish people who are cruel and we care for those in suffering.
2. The Fairness/Cheating Foundation
This foundation leads us to seek out people who will be good collaborators in whatever project we are pursuing. It also leads us to punish people who cheat the system. People on both the right and the left believe in fairness, but they apply this foundation in different ways. Haidt explains:
“On the left, fairness often implies equality, but on the right it means proportionality – people should be rewarded in proportion to what they contribute, even if that guarantees unequal outcomes” (161).
3. The Loyalty/Betrayal Foundation
All of us, whether on the right or left, are “tribal” in some sense. We love the people on our team, and loyalty makes our team more powerful and less susceptible to our failure. Likewise, we have a corresponding hatred for traitors. Those who betray our “team” for the other side are worse than those who were already on the other side.
Though Haidt sees both left and right as being tribal, he recognizes “the left tends toward universalism and away from nationalism, so it often has trouble connecting to voters who rely on the Loyalty foundation” (164).
4. The Authority/Subversion Foundation
Authority plays a role in our moral considerations because it protects order and fends off chaos. Haidt explains:
“Everyone has a stake in supporting the existing order and in holding people accountable for fulfilling the obligations of their station” (168).
5. The Sanctity/Degradation Foundation
No matter the era, humans have always considered certain things “untouchable” for being dirty and polluted. The flipside is that we want to protect whatever is hallowed and sacred, whether objects, ideals, or institutions.
People on the right talk about the sanctity of life and marriage. People on the left may mock purity rings.
6. The Liberty/Oppression Foundation
This foundation builds on Authority/Subversion because we all recognize there is such a thing as legitimate authority, but we don’t want authoritarians crossing the line into tyranny. Both the left and the right hate oppression and desire liberty, but for different reasons.
The left wants liberty for the underdogs and victims (coinciding with their emphasis on Fairness/Cheating). The right wants liberty from government intrusion.
He digs into great thinkers like Plato and Hume who intuitively put forth arguments as to who’s in control in our minds, the urge driven ego or the rational moral compass. Haidt, like Gladwell and Duckworth (below), uses research studies and cross discipline analysis to prove, probably the most important point of all, which is ‘what makes people tick?’ His use of analogies like the real motivations in people are the large elephant and the part that controls our impulses and urges is the nimble rider help illustrate that to changes someone’s mind and belief system, you can’t appeal to the rider, you must get the elephant to WANT to change. Haidt references my favorite book of all time, How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The Righteous Mind is a great read if you want to get to the root of the ‘why’ of human nature.
Dr. Joseph Henrich on Society and how we evolved. Henrich comes from an anthropological view point. His examples are fascinating. Henrich focuses anthropologically and sets up many of the arguments Haidt takes on using both how we evolved and where we are today.
Some thought leaders that I really have been intrigued by are Malcolm Gladwell, Angela Duckworth and Tim Ferriss. They’ve made observations and studies of people and society on a micro and macro level. Each of these authors and thinkers have a body of work on how to destruct what makes some people succeed while other people, who seem to have it all, fail. Here’s a few of my favorite lectures by these people:
HERE with Pastor Rick Warren.
Angela Duckworth- GRIT and Perseverance! Ever wonder why friends or family members that have it all, money, looks, smarts and opportunity yet struggle at life? The missing ingredient needed is GRIT. Duckworth does a deep analysis of the science and psychology behind success. Get the book and devour it. Freakonomics covered a super bold project that Duckworth is proposing, check out the interview….Could Solving This One Problem Solve All Others?
Tim Ferriss and his first book, 4 Hour Work Week, started out his journey on figuring out the hacks that make great people great. From sports to money to cooking to military figures, Tim interviews and dissects the best of the best. Start with Tools For Titans and subscribe to his podcast.
THIS article from Inside Business is a great starting point to learn all things Tim. Here’s what jumped out at me:
1. There are two parts to self-improvement
Oftentimes we see self-improvement merely as goal achievement. However, Tim realized that achievement is only 50% of it. He says, “The other 50% is gratitude and appreciating what you already have, not focusing solely on future accomplishments.” There are so many highly successful people who are never satisfied with what they’ve accomplished and it’s unfortunate.
As Tim mentioned, “They’ve conquered every mountain, slayed every dragon and they’re still not happy”. Don’t be one of those people! If you want to have any sense of well-being, you have to show appreciation for what you already have.
2. Improve two areas of your life at a time
For those of us who are Type A personalities, we tend to be super ambitious and self-critical as we’re always trying to improve our lives. Over the last 10 years Tim realized that “too much optimizing can be self-destructive.” Like with many things in life, things in excess tend to take on the characteristics of their opposites. So in this case, the sole focus on self-improvement can be misguided and can lead to depression and anxiety.
6. Focus on developing skills and relationships
When making important decisions and capping the downside, potential risks or mistakes, Tim focuses on two things: skills and relationships. The question he asks himself is, “Even if this fails, are there skills and relationships that I can develop that will carry over into other things?” Tim’s philosophy is that, “Failure isn’t failure if you can gain new skills and develop relationships for future advancement.”
7. It’s important to diversify your identify
When you’re passionate about your work, it’s easy to have everything vested in your business which can serve you well in most cases. However, Tim says that “100% dedication can lead to a disaster in the sense that you have all of your psychological eggs in one basket.”
10. Fame, power, money and alcohol just make you more of who you already are
Tim knows a lot of successful people who are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. One thing he’s learned is that fame, power, money, and alcohol just make you more of who you already are.
He explained, “So if you’re neurotic, add 100 million to that, you’ll be super neurotic!” If you’re generous, add 100 million to that, you’ll be even more generous. Essentially your characteristic just get exaggerated when you add those things in life. So it’s important that you work on who you want to be before you get those things.
Here’s a long form interview with Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss. I remember listening to Tony Robbins cassette tapes in college and graduated to his CD’s. To hear the two together is pretty cool.
Victor Davis Hanson is a professor with a strong Classical Education background. His grasp of ancient history and how it relates to today is very enlightening. This lecture series was recorded back in 2008 so there is a lot of references to the Gulf Wars. The ideas and topics are timeless.
Part 2 – HERE
Part 3 – HERE
Part 4 – HERE
Guns, Germs and Steel by Jerrod Diamond – HERE
Diamond’s deep dive into why one society rises and another doesn’t during the same time period is well thought out and argued. The book won a Pulitzer for a reason.
Here’s The Thing – Alec Baldwin – WNYC
I spent a whole day listening to Baldwin interview leaders in the entertainment industry. First, I know about Alec’s life from a distance and his battles with addictions, anger and how he’s grown as a man. He proves my theory that most men are broken and their journey to be fixed makes them a deeper spirit and someone I am drawn to. Second, his knowledge of his industry, his credentials and his interview style makes these long form interviews really interesting to watch. He reads his guest, he’s patient, his ability to build rapport and get guests to open up is truly world class. If you can imagine, celebrities get interviewed for a living. I’ve never really enjoyed listening to a typical mega star interview. I find them superficial. Not on this show. Alec is a respected peer and he’s honed his interview skills to a point where he gets big stars to open up, share stories, get to the root of who they are and what makes them tick. I recommend you dig in to HERE’s THE THING. I particularly liked the Jimmy Fallon interview, it’s a great start.
The Jerry Seinfeld interview is pretty special. Funny men through history have typically been some of the highest paid celebrities of their generations. Think Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope, Bill Cosby. Jerry breaks down his past, dissects the art of stand-up comedy and why he’s found his sweet spot. His conversations about the entertainment industry and his philosophy of doing what you love is pretty inspiring. Jerry exhibits the Grit Philosophy and obviously has the talent. He very clearly explains that the secret of success is tenacity.
Victor Davis Hanson on Great Literature
Victor Davis Hanson explains how the great works of literature, found in Classical Education, is more relevant today than ever. Of course I happen to be building out an educational network that focuses on the Classics. The deeper I dig the more I like it. Give it a listen – HERE
Victor Davis Hanson – Book Discussion on Wars from the past and today: HERE
Black Mirror Looks At Society
For a little flashback to the old Twighlight Zone days, the Black Mirror series on Netflix is great. My favorite episode speaks to the world we now live if with likes and selfies and a constant obsession with social media. All the episodes have a deep meaning but this one is so chilling.
The role of the Liberal Arts in Education.
Epstein and Ferguson explain how a well-rounded education. In this day and age of transition, I believe our education system needs to adapt to focusing on generalist, critical thinkers.
Thomas Sowell – Vulgar Pride of Intellectuals
The Value of Work – Blue Collar America
In America, there’s an assumption that the most meaningful careers are found in office buildings, among those taking part in the information economy rather than in the nitty gritty of blue collar trades. To be eligible for these desirable white collar jobs, you need to take out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans so you can go to college for 4 years to get a degree. The sacrifice is always worth it though, or so we’re told.
Dismantling America – Thomas Sowell
For the person who lives a virtuous life, of steadfastness and good judgment, happiness is always within reach
Seneca wrote a number of tragedies that directly inspired William Shakespeare, but was also one of the main exponents of the Stoic school of philosophy, which has made a surprising comeback in recent years. Stoicism teaches us that the highest good in life is the pursuit of the four cardinal virtues of practical wisdom, temperance, justice and courage – because they are the only things that always do us good and can never be used for ill. It also tells us that the key to a serene life is the realization that some things are under our control and others are not: under our control are our values, our judgments, and the actions we choose to perform. Everything else lies outside of our control, and we should focus our attention and efforts only on the first category.
Yep. Teach, study and learn the above and good things will happen.
Mark Steyn is probably one of the best communicators I’ve ever watched. His ability to pull together topics and deliver them in a fun and impactful way is second to none. I find Peggy Noonan’s ability to communicate in writing similar to Steyn’s ability to communicate verbally. They paint a picture with their words. It’s an amazing skill.
William S Buckely – Firing Line
Dig into Firing Line with William S. Buckley, the use of language and the art of DEBATE is absolutely beautiful to watch. To think that Buckley had this platform for so many years tells me how deep society was and how much of a hunger there still is good and civilized debate. In an arena where Bill Moyers and Charlie Rose had similar formats, Buckley was in a class of his own. His ability to go deep and give an opponent a biting backhand with a smile. This particular exchange between Christopher Hitchings and Buckley is legendary. Jump in about 15 minutes to really geek out.
More classic Buckley – HERE –
Buckley v Alinsky – HERE.
His show Firing Line was un-produced and simple. Not cuts, a door bell meant it was time for a commercial. The show was just Buckley asking pointed questions with thought leaders of the day. Buckley’s interview with Billy Graham in 1969 about the role of Christianity in society and it’s decline is fascinating….especially since these same discussions are happening almost 50 years later.
Two giants dance.
One of my favorite series to learn from is the PBS Frontline. Here’s a great one on the DEBT BOMB (the first chapter in my book), and crony capitalism THE WARNING (the 5th chapter in my book), and LOSING IRAQ and RUMSFELD’s WAR (the 8th chapter in my book on our role as police force for the world) and TOP SECRET AMERICA (the 4th chapter in my book on bureaucracy gone wild). Perhaps the most important Frontline episodes was the inside connection between Wall Street and Washington DC. The players are in and out of Goldman Sachs and the highest levels of government. The episode, INSIDE THE MELTDOWN is probably the scariest and most troubling episode of them all. It’s troubling because it lays bare how government policy (everyone needs to own a home) and human greed collided and almost took the entire world back to the Great Depression era. Pay close attention to the role of Moral Hazard. Suffice to say, Moral Hazard is still an issue and the inflated markets are much much bigger than they were in 2008/2009.
Nixon, My Second LEAST Favorite President
Blind ambition, narcissism, a man grabbed and consumed by power, you name it, Nixon suffered from it. From early in 1968 where he was behind extending the Vietnam war to make Johnson look bad;
There was no doubt, said Johnson, that Nixon’s campaign team was trying to scupper peace talks aimed at ending the Vietnam War. They were afraid that peace in Vietnam would help Nixon’s Democratic rival, Hubert Humphrey, to clinch the election.
Johnson threatened to go public with his information. The election was just days away.
But Johnson never did go public. He received an emphatic denial from Nixon in person the next day. And perhaps more importantly, Johnson never had the definitive evidence he needed tying Nixon himself to the efforts being made by his campaign team.
A new discovery by historian John Farrell might well be the smoking gun that Johnson needed. It’s published in The New York Times.
The peace process in 1968 was real. The Soviet Union had persuaded North Vietnam to come to the table, the US just needed to deliver South Vietnam. At the beginning of November, both sides made goodwill gestures to prepare for the talks. The Communists stopped shelling cities and halted attacks across the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Vietnam. Johnson ordered a halt to the massive US aerial bombing campaign. “We’ve had 24 hours of relative peace,” he said in that Nov. 2 call to Nixon’s friend, Sen. Everett Dirksen (R-Ill.). “If Nixon keeps the South Vietnamese away from the conference, well, that’s going to be his responsibility. Up to this point, that’s why they’re not there.”
To starting of the EPA, OSHA, enacted price and wage controls and probably the most devastating short term move any President could make was that he took the US off the gold standard and cut a deal to make sure the Petro-Dollar was adopted by all oil producing nations. Frustrated by a slow economy going into the 1972 elections (the Watergate election), Nixon removed America from the gold standard and forever put the central bankers and the federal reserve in charge of running up the largest deficits in history. With Kissinger at his side, securing the Dollars place as the primary currency for trade of oil gave America a 40 year run of prosperity. Prosperity at a cost. The constant battles and interventions in the middle east are always in the name of protecting American interests….the petrodollar.
“Can you imagine what this man would have been like if somebody would have loved him?” —Henry Kissinger
I’m really enjoying the large discussions and topics covered in The Art of Manliness
AoM is a blog about growing up well, aimed at men and their unique challenges and interests. We explore all things manly — from the serious and philosophical to the practical and fun. We seek to uncover how to live with grandpa’s swagger, virtue, and know-how in the present age by wedding the best of the past to the best of the present. The end goal is to create a synergy of tradition and modernity that offers men a way forward and signposts on how to live an excellent, flourishing life.
Ultimately, the Art of Manliness aims to encourage our readers to be better husbands, fathers, brothers, citizens — a new generation of great men..
Here’s a few of my favorite episodes:
Tyler Cowen, one of my favorite economists. The Complacent Class
Honor, Courage and Themos, Plato’s Ideas of Manliness – Angela Hobbs
Ancient Honor – Dr. Barton
What Ancient Greeks and Romans Thought About Manliness – Ted Landen
The Road to Character – David Brooks – I bought the book after this interview.
The Untold Story of Jimmy Stewart in WWII – Robert Matzen – A man at the top of the world …… turns to service. Great story!
Justice: Free To Choose
Highly recommend, Harvard’s hugely popular series by Professor Michael Sandel. His lectures are sold out, his ideas behind morality, markets and choice really make you think. Here’s a sample, I highly recommend if you like what you hear you keep listening to his larger body of work. Here’s a few other interesting lectures from Sandel -Lecture on Adam Smith (jump in about 15 min for the free form and Q&A) – HERE – A great sampling of Prof Sandel – HERE and the lost art of political debate – HERE
Meet Senator Ben Sasse
Thank goodness we have Senators like this elected. Stumbled on him and want to read his book :
He’s sitting is Daniel Patrick Monyihan’s desk. He is a history guy, turn around pro and former President of a University. Born in 1972, a new US Senator from Nebraska and he’s talking about Tocqueville, the meaning of work, and the inability to for leaders to solve the big problems. He calls out parents for not transmitting work ethic to the kids. He calls American’s in a perpetual adolescents because of our tremendous affluence. We’ve forgotten how to grow up. Look at the college experience, student loans and you can see his ideas in reality.
Here’s another deep dive from Sen. Sasse….the topics on work, raising kids and the future are exceptional:
Freakonomics Radio – Dig In And Think
Freakonomics Radio is one of the more fun and informative franchises (podcast, book, video) that I enjoy listening to. They dig deep into topics that are odd and quirky but put together paint an important picture of the big ideas. They start with a big question and then visit thought leaders and answer that question. I am particularly intrigued by their new Earth 2.0. The hypothetical question is; ‘What would you do differently if you could reboot society?’
If we could reboot the planet and create new systems and institutions from scratch, would they be any better than what we’ve blundered our way into through trial and error? This is the first of a series of episodes that we’ll release over several months. Today we start with — what else? — economics. You’ll hear from Nobel laureate Angus Deaton, the poverty-fighting superhero Jeff Sachs; and many others.
In pursuit of a more perfect economy, we discuss the future of work; the toxic remnants of colonization; and whether giving everyone a basic income would be genius — or maybe the worst idea ever. Tyler Cowen makes an appearance.
HERE‘s how I think ex-Presidents should act when out of office. Want to know why our politics is so divided. It culminated with a eight years of THIS sort of rhetoric. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Since the confirmation hearings of Judge Bork, the tit for tat battles have been ratcheting up in America. Sprinkle in redistricting that makes Congressional seats lifetime jobs, huge money from Unions and Corporations flooding politics, decay of States Rights, fractured and biased news bubbles and an electorate that will un-elect anyone who tells them ‘no’ and is it any wonder we are at this point in American politics?
Weighing in on the Trump Phenomenon. +
Seven years on the air, covering the play by play of American politics I consider myself more up on current events than most. I predicted a Romney win in 2012 and predicted a Trump loss in 2016. So much for a career as a political prognosticator. In the end, after changing horses twice in the GOP primary, I voted for Trump. I reconciled the vote for one reason…HERE. What we’ve seen over the past 20 years is an abdication of power by the Congress and a concentration of power in the White House. We’ve witnessed an erosion of States rights and a run away entitlement system fueling huge deficit spending. Voters ping pong back and forth looking for the new Hope and Change. We are looking for the next emperor to Make America Great Again. Sadly the power grabs by the Presidency has gone way beyond the visions of the Founders of America. The one remaining check to an imperial Presidency is the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the ultimate referee and the Constitution is the playing field. Is the foundation of what our government a living breathing document or should it be taken literally as written over 240 years ago. That decision happens at the Supreme Court. Look no further than the Affordable Care Act decision that compels every American to buy a product. Talk about commerce clause over reach. Roberts had to bend and contort the intent of the Congress and reclassify the bill as a Tax just to keep the law in tact. There will be other Presidents that push for a Patriot Act or attempt to spy on their citizens. There will be more Obama’s and Trumps that get elected by angry mobs. The Supreme Court is our last best hope to call a strike a strike and a ball a ball.
Now America is reaping what the elites have sown.
Months and months before the presidential election, I began thinking of Trump not as a cause of American disruption but a symptom of it. And as much as I don’t like quoting myself, here is something from March 2016:
“It’s obvious the American political system is breaking down. It’s been crumbling for some time now, and the establishment elite know it and they’re properly frightened. Donald Trump, the vulgarian at their gates, is a symptom, not a cause. Hillary Clinton and husband Bill are both cause and effect.”
The establishment pushed the wars and free trade and their partners in the corporate-government matrix agreed to the sending off of capital (and jobs) to foreign lands.
For all the talk of partisanship, Democrats and Republicans were the two horns on the head of the goat.
And Trump voters? They were forgotten, left behind, mocked as deplorable.
Would Trump the barbarian have been elected president of the United States even 10 or 20 years ago?
No. He seems determined to prove he is socially unfit for the office. His rude personal style ruffles the feathers of many who see him as a pretender or a huckster. But he’s not dumb.
And neither are the almost 63 million people who voted for him. They’ve long been dismissed as stupid or unlettered or unsophisticated. They’d been written off as pathologically angry by the media that cleave to the establishment and see distrust in government as some kind of mental disorder.
I grew up with these people. They don’t deserve the shaming that comes their way.
They were betrayed. And all they want, really, is meaningful work and to not be told they’re idiotic or hateful simply because they dare support traditional values, and that a nation should shape its culture by controlling its own borders.
They knew Trump was loud, they knew he was vulgar, they knew he was trouble. And they voted for him because they wanted him to make trouble.
They wanted him to punch the Washington elites in the mouth, to kick them and stomp on them as they had been kicked and stomped on. They detest the ruling elites in the modern Versailles so much that they installed a character like Trump.
Fixating on Trump doesn’t really address this.
And you might want to ask yourselves, what happens 10 years from now, with the next Trump, from the right or from the left?
Because things aren’t going back to normal, are they?
Listen to “The Chicago Way” podcast, previewing the 2017 Printer’s Row Lit Fest with Elizabeth Taylor, the Chicago Tribune’s literary editor: http://wgnradio.com/category/wgn-plus/thechicagoway/
Faith and Spirituality
First, an amazing podcast series from Krista Tippett, On Being:
Men of all ages say Richard Rohr has given them a new way into spiritual depth and religious thought — through his writing and retreats. This conversation with the Franciscan spiritual teacher delves into the expansive scope of his ideas: male formation and what he calls “father hunger”; why contemplation is as magnetic to people now, including millennials, as it’s ever been; and how to set about taking the first half of life — the drive to “successful survival” — all the way to meaning.
White Evangelical Christians helped secure the election of President Trump. Many said that his views on abortion were decisive, overriding concerns they had on other matters. But to be Evangelical is not one thing, even on abortion. This conversation about Christianity and politics with three generations of Evangelical leaders — Shane Claiborne, Greg Boyd, and the late Chuck Colson — feels more relevant in the wake of the 2016 election than it did when we first recorded it. We offer this searching dialogue, which is alive anew, to a changed political landscape.
Paul Harvey – If I Where The Devil 1965
We’ve played this on air and it sparked a great discussion. The radio legend, Paul Harvey broadcast this commentary in 1965. It’s titled, if If I Were The Devil. Sort of spooky.
Bishop Fulton.J.Sheen was an early adaptor of preaching on TV. He started in the 1950’s and with a chalk board and a dry wit. Bishop Sheen informed Americans about how faith should work in your life. Almost 60 years later, his message is still fun and informative. You can bet he was Classically educated.
Salpointe Graduation homily from Fr. Bill Harry – HERE
That is what the last four years have been about: learning how you can participate in building the Kingdom of God! You have changed an awful lot in the last four years—perhaps more than you will change in any other four-year period of your life. And all of the energy of Salpointe—its staff, its teachers, its administration— has been focused on making sure that you are prepared and passionate about getting out there and doing your part in building the Kingdom.
You might be saying: “That is what I was preparing for these last 4 years? Are you kidding me? I was focused on getting into a good college. I was focused on making the team.” True. You were. Those are important as well. But behind that we were focused on getting you prepared to go out into the world and to make a genuine difference. Not to take your place in that world. But to create your place in our world using your God given talents.
We need more people in our world who are willing to listen to other peoples’ stories, to get to know the life experiences of others and then respond with their whole hearts. Don’t just give lip service to your faith in God. Allow your faith to transform you. Grow to love the people you inhabit this planet with— they might think differently than you do, they might look different than you, they might speak a language you cannot understand, they might even wish you harm— but each human being on this planet is created in the image and likeness of God and each one is a child of God. And when you come to realize that and believe it and live your life in accordance with what you believe, everything will be different. Although society may be saying you need to conform, you will know exactly what you need to do to stay true to who you are!
I think your teachers would agree that if you walk out of here today conscious of who you are and what you stand for, with a passion for living justly and peacefully, then you and we have done our jobs. But if you can only recite mathematical formulas or the dates of major world events, or only know how to play a sport, but have no empathy for those around you, then someone has not done their job successfully.
The Class of 2017. Sitting in front of me this morning are not only future doctors but, I hope and I pray, doctors who are going to help care for all, especially those who can least afford it. In front of me are not only future economist but, I hope and I pray, economists who will work to build a economic structure that is fair to all. In front of me are not only future creators of new tools for communication but creators who will renew our ability to communicate the Truth. In front of me are not only future teachers but teachers who will teach to enable young people to reach their dreams. In front of me are some who will live their faith commitment radically— so that our world really does have a chance of transforming back into the loving and just world that God first created. Whatever your career you choose, choose that career because it will allow you to live intentionally, witnessing to God’s presence within yourself.
This is what it means to be a truly loving human being. And that knowledge of how and that commitment to do good is the enduring gift that I hope you take away from Salpointe Catholic! As _______ proclaimed to us from the beautiful reading from Ecclesiastes— there is a time for everything. Now is your time!
Congratulations to each of you and to your families. May God continue to bless you each day of your life—as you seek to do God’s will in our world. Amen.
Conversations with Tyler – Learn about Judaism – HERE
Conversations with Tyler is another one of my favorite thinkers. His long form podcast takes eclectic thinkers at the top of their particular field and shoots all sorts of questions on their familiar topic and many others. This is one that made me understand the Jewish faith a lot better.
This interview on Econotalk is Tyler explaining how the creative aspects that once fuel America is not as dynamic – HERE
Bishop Fulton Sheen was one of the first TV evangelists. From the 1950’s to the 1970’s he brought the Catholic message to families in the Tri-State area. He’s pretty funny in a Bishop sort of way.
Interesting lecture. Not verified but there are some interesting historic components. Fall of Western Civilization.
Does God exist?
The debate between Dennis Prager (Author & Radio Host) and Michael Shermer (Publisher, Skeptic Magazine) is well worth a listen. Host, Dave Rubin discusses why the guests believe or don’t believe, atheism vs agnosticism, morality and God, the individual vs the collective, the founding fathers and their view on religion and God, and much more. Great discussion that probably won’t change your mind, but it helped me see both sides.
A Historic Analysis of Jesus.
Dr Bart Ehrman is a professor of religious studies that have written many books on the interpretation of the New Testament. Some of his arguments are a bit out there but his theory about Jesus as a grounded in Jewish tradition and referencing the Old Testament over and over. His analysis of what Jesus’ motives that ultimately lead ot his crucifixion is worth a listen. After this lecture, the proof of Jesus as a man, as a spiritual leader and Son of God is a clearer picture for me.
I love economics and how economic theories have advanced and declined over the generations. Perhaps one of my favorite communicators on an economic theory I subscribe to is Milton Friedman. Friedman’s 10 part series that that played a few decades ago. In the series, he weaves stories and is faced by a panel of peers that agree and disagree with his beliefs. He’s famous for many analogies but the pencil manufacturer is probably one of his most famous.
Friedman’s appearances on Phil Donahue, the Oprah of his time brought economics to the masses. His debates with Phil are very telling in Donahue’s leanings and how amazing Milton was as the art of debate:
Friedman’s 10 part series on PBS featured great stories, Milton’s philosophy and a debate panel of economic experts that are for and against his theories.
Where Friedman was at his best was during a college campus Q&A session. Here’s one of my favorites:
And Milton on what is America:
The debate of the last 100 years has been John Maynard Keynes and F.A. Hyack regarding their boom and bust cycles and the roll of government intervention in markets through interest rate manipulations. These two economic rap videos make it fun to learn the philosophies. Sadly, Keynes has dominated and $20 trillion later what do we have to show for it?
and part 2
I’m pretty contrarian on where we are as a county. The role of central banking in the last 45 years will be looked on as having major manipulations of markets. Between debt loads, crony capitalism, and easy money policies, we are so far removed from reality it scares me. This will not end well, the markets always correct itself.
Want to know how bad the problem really is? You can point to Detroit (probably one of my top 5 interviews), or Illinois, or New Jersey but nothing compares to what’s going on in Puerto Rico. This AEI panel discussion is long, about 2 hours, but the math surrounding the obligations of the tiny island will shock you. Whomever green light lending these kinds of dollars to this Country should get the haircut they deserve. Sadly, over promised public pensions and crippling debt may leave Puerto Rico with the only option of going hat and hand to Congress.
Speaking of government warping markets. I’m not talking about health care or affordable housing, let’s take a look at higher education:
Spent the weekend up in Phoenix and all over the radio, on billboards and in print magazines I saw ads for the UofA MBA program……why? Hint, it’s where people can afford and can benefit from a Masters in Business.
In the past few years, tuition has increased, we’ve built a new stadium, a student gym/pool, hired two deans for diversity and inclusion, a social justice advocate (story picked up nationally as a snitch position).
Then from today’s Tucson paper:
The UA also opened a site in Cambodia last year and plans to launch 11 more as follows:
UA Amman at Princess Sumaya University of Technology, Jordan
UA Bandung at Telkom University, Indonesia
UA Beirut at Lebanese International University, Lebanon
UA Hanoi at Vietnam National University
UA Hualien City at Tzu Chi University of Science and Technology, Taiwan
UA Manila at De La Salle University, Philippines
UA Puebla at Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla, Mexico
UA Shanghai at Shanghai University of Politics and Law, China
UA Sharjah at the University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
UA Shenzhen at the Harbin Institute of Technology, China
UA Taipei at Soochow University, Taiwan
Tucson students with the means to travel would be able to take UA classes at any of the international sites.
It is the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, which led to the establishment of public land-grant institutions including the UA.
I wonder if the UofA is sort of losing their mission to the scholars of Arizona. It’s an interesting debate but as ITT Tech and Univ of Phoenix get their hands slapped for being for profit, how is the UofA’s use of public/private funds to do all of the above a good thing?
Cant Escape The Market Forces
Some of the thought leaders that I seem to be agreeing with more and more include Richard Duncan. Here’s an interview he did with Gordon T Long:
Another contrarian that has actually been a major player in the Reagan administration that I follow is David Stockman.
Jeromy Grantham is the co-founder of GMO capital. His quarterly newsletter is a must read. Here he is with Charlie Rose:
Speaking of Contrarian –
Give a listen to Econo Talk’s interview with CATO’s David Boaz, and columnist/authors P.J. O’Rourke and George Will. Will makea an interesting point about since the Great Depression there have been very small moments in time where liberals actually had control and a ‘mandate’ to govern. Those times started with FDR and a two year period where he attempted to pack the Supreme Court. LBJ and a two year period where the War on Poverty, Social Security, and Medicare came into existence and the 2008-2010 period under Barack Obama. During these brief two-year periods, major shifts to the left occur, the voters shift back to a center-right government and the laws enacted during those periods are extremely difficult to undo. Think Obamacare. Jump to 46:00 where Will takes down Academia. The panel talks about ‘Dictator for the Day Legislation’ and they weigh in on how to fix America. The ideas and suggestions include;
1. Get government totally out of K12.
2. End tax withholding. Make people write out their payroll withholding payment. By the way who is FICA?
3. Term limits or incumbents can’t stand for re-election if the government is in a deficit of more than 1% of GDP.
4. On all government deficits – all the taxpayers would be assessed on their tax form.
5. End of 1040 has tax payers fill in where they want their money to go…and have a line for ‘send my money back to me’.
6. I particularly like the idea of a balanced budget amendment passed by the States. I also like electing Senators from State Legislatures instead of by popular vote. Both of these ideas bring power back to the States.
Why are Libertarian ideas not taking root in the world? The answer is at the end of the podcast. Basically, it’s hard for people to accept that work, thrift and delayed gratification is good for you. That’s a tough political platform in this day of instant gratification.
This episode of EconTalk is being recorded in front of a live audience in Washington, D.C. in honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Cato Institute. Our topic is the past, present, and future of liberty. And to talk about it we have three special guests, David Boaz…, P. J. O’Rourke…, and George Will…. So, I want to start with the state of liberty in America. Is the glass half full or half empty? David, why don’t you lead us off?
Russ Roberts: I’m going to pile on. And I’ll let David and P.J. react accordingly if they wish. So, David, you pointed out marginal tax rates have come down, but government hasn’t gotten any smaller. Government continues to get larger. The nanny state continues to be more intrusive. Economics gets, as you say, the welfare state and various regulations–some have gone away. The cost of this is that everything that is bad about the current system is blamed on markets, even though it’s not a market process. So, the fact that United once dragged a passenger off a plane with Federal agents is an indictment of deregulation now. I’ve actually read things like that. Or that airline travel is so horrible because it’s just cheap. Or, the health care system proves that markets don’t work–when of course we’ve managed to remove almost every bit of market process that could be there to start with. So, on the facts I think it’s a tough argument that the glass is half full. Do you want to push back against that?
Talk Radio Guy Reflects – Sounds Familiar
I got to say that when the latest Krista Tippett podcast interview featuring Glenn Beck came on I immediately thought ….nope, can’t do it. After listening I have to say his journey and his summation of where we are as a country is a spot on. Like Beck, I spent years on the air in conservative talk radio. Day in and day out for 7 years I devoured every bit of news, followed the story of the day, spun, entertained and started to see patterns. Like Glenn, the intense journey of a daily radio show can really change a person. The very nature of talk radio is focusing on the negative. I started my media career at the election of Barack Obama. During his entire presidency, I had a ringside seat. About 6 years in, I started to see these major patterns that really started to paint a dark picture on the future of our society. I compiled the patterns and am in the process of putting the concepts into a book. The book intro is open to view on this blog – HERE. In this interview, Beck opens up, sees his role as fear mongering entertainer and the damage he’d done to the country. Like Beck, after the craft of interviewing is perfected, once you a covered the outrage of the day for the 1000th time after the ego has been built up and the adorations have been logged you start to look at your role as a thought leader. You start to realize that you are now part of the problem and ultimately part of the solution. I tuned out from Beck because to me he was entertainment and I’m hungry for knowledge and explanations. After this interview, his vulnerability and his realization of his mistakes came across loud and clear. Today I bought one of his recent books and I’m going to start listening again. His journey is my journey and I really really get where he’s coming from. Glenn Beck and Samantha Bee – HERE
If I’m going to reference economic theories that I subscribe to, I would be remiss if I didn’t dig into the ideas of Adam Smith.
Does history repeat itself? Kitty Werthmann has an amazing story about her early life in Nazi Germany.
I’ve been really keying in on the Revolutionary War in America. The characters, the stories and the events that lead up to the Declaration of Independence are fascinating to study. The balance of power, the upper and lower chambers, the role of States rights in a federalist system are all derived from the study of civilizations of the past. The Roman and Greek influences on the Founders of the USA are evident throughout the founding of America. Some of the books I’d recommend on the revolution and the founding of America include A Leap into the Dark by John Ferling, Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis, and any number of the David McCullough stories. Here’s a great video that encapsulates how amazing the idea of America really is historical;
Speaking of Founding Fathers, one of my go to podcasts, Mises Weekend covered the genius of Thomas Jefferson with historian Kevin Gutzman:
To go way back, Victor Davis Hanson put events of today into perspective by understanding the events of the past. This Book TV is long but really important to watch and tie back to events of today.
And a lecture on the Greeks that lead to the American Founders and 3000 years of Western Thought:
Health and Family
Forks over Knives: HERE
Here’s why I don’t invest in or believe in the Stock Market, guys like Cliff Asness are hyper focused on taking rookies like me for a ride.. Guys like these are way way better than I’ll ever pretend to be. I took a course in options trading of the SPX and learned a fun system. I played with fake money and did great. A bunch of friends played with REAL money and did absolutely amazing…for a while. That’s why my philosophy in business is to go slow in and get out quick if things aren’t working.
Every business I go into happens after hundreds of hours of research and on the ground discussions of people already in the business. What I do is the epitome of high risk. Business start-ups are the hardest of the hard. Many people may have a good idea but I’ve been able to build a business from an idea, over and over again. To then scale up an idea is even harder. To be in business longer than 5 years where 90% fail is even harder. I’ve hit the 5-year mark six times. God has been blessing me for a long time. He has opened and closed doors to me all with the goal of making me stronger and making my impact on society through my skill set ever bigger.
One of my favorite documentaries on a business visionary is Slingshot the story of Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway. The story chronicles his quest to cure the biggest problem facing the third world…clean water. Please watch this documentary and realize that it takes Dean Kamen’s to take the road less traveled. The entrepreneur, inventor and business pioneers from the past and from today will make society a better place to live.
If you haven’t subscribed to Harvard Business Ideas podcast you are missing out. The interviews are short and always covering the cutting edge issues happening in American business.
HERE’s the Interview from Elena Botelho, partner at leadership advisory firm ghSmart, talks about the disconnect between the stereotype of the CEO and what research shows actually leads to high performance at that level. She says the image of the charismatic, tall male with a top university degree who’s a strategic visionary and makes great decisions under pressure is a pervasive one. However, research shows that four behaviors more consistently lead to high performance in the corner office: 1) deciding with speed and conviction 2) engaging for impact 3) adapting proactively 4) delivering reliably. Botelho is the co-author of the article “What Sets Successful CEOs Apart” in the May-June 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review.
I’ve been drawn to Seth Godin and his philosophy around education, the future and what society needs in the future. Are you an artist? Give this a listen and start growing your inner artist!
One of my favorite podcast is Entreleadership. It’s part of the Dave Ramsay network. This interview with the CEO of Ace Hardware nails what it means to run a successful business. Listen closely, this interview:
As a CEO and having done turnarounds, the key to fixing and growing a company is building out a great team and focusing on building a great culture. I stumbled upon 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni and loved the way he uses the story to teach a lesson. His new book points out how to be humble and hungry.
I’m not a real sports fan. The only sport I’ve really ever gotten into is college football. I’m a big Notre Dame fan and have been to South Bend on a number of occasions and actually stayed in one of Knute Rockne’s homes. Notre Dame football is something special I share with my Dad and brother in law. I enjoy college football because it is fraught with errors and mistakes. I enjoy the drama built around recovering from those mistakes. I find the NFL too produced and frankly too perfect. Sports, in general, is the one place in society that where you get ahead on pure talent. Your education, your family upbringing or what neighborhood you grew up in means nothing. Talent is everything. That’s why I like it.
I enjoy and understand the ranking system found in College football. The ranking allows a novice to pick up a game and immediately understand the drama between the teams. I love the age long rivalries and in state matches. Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, USC all have dominant systems but each has stumbled and had to rebuild. Those long dynastic dramas playing out are amazing to watch.
So with all of the above explanations, there is no one bigger to me in football than Lou Holtz. Here’s one his better interviews:
Want to know what the future of the world is going to look like? Check out the analysis by Elmor of Generation Z. They are still in elementary school but they will eventually rule the world.
I grew up in the 1980’s. Grandson of a Butcher, the son of a Butcher, a transplant to Arizona via Wisconsin. Our entire family and community where JFK Democrats. From an early age, I identified with the Republican philosophies and with a huge streak to chart my own course as an entrepreneur. I grew up on Reagan and American exceptionalism. Check out the CNN 80’s series to get a sense of the time that formed who I am.
Watch it HERE
I listen to and learn a lot from Entreleadership podcast. I have researched a number of personality assessment systems and have implemented 16 Personalities . This is a powerful tool for any family or business. Ian Morgan Cron did a large study of CEO’s and found that the highest predictor success is knowing your own strengths and weaknesses. Give a listen HERE.
Major breakthroughs in battery technology will change the world as we know it. From electric cars to your cell phone, the limits of lithium-ion batteries have stalled out the ability to truly move away from the combustible engine. I’m watching closely for a major breakthrough in battery technology. This may be the first step:
It will still be a while before we see “holey” graphene batteries in real-world devices, said Duan, who calls this paper “a critical step, but just a starting point toward commercialization.” Looking ahead, he could easily see niobia-based batteries that charge up to five or 10 times faster than today’s lithium-ion cells. And batteries made with energy-dense materials like silicon could power laptops for 20 or 30 hours on a single charge, and triple the driving range of an electric vehicle.
“I think this really gives us a pathway toward using these high-performance materials in real-world devices,” Duan said.
The next technology has a lot of history and was once a movement that looked like it could change the way we power the earth…nuclear. America is way behind the nuclear power curve. With tech advancements and reuse of much of the waste we used to have to store, nuclear has real potential to change the globe. If you haven’t seen Pandora’s Promise you need to.
Inc Magazine 2025 advancements I think we’ll see come to fruition:
1. Dementia DeclinesOverall, this particular report places great faith in science’s ability to prevent disease by better understanding the human genome. One of the biggest boons from that improved understanding will be a reduction in degenerative disease such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. So far, researchers have been able to identify specific chromosomes that cause different forms of the dementia. The most oft-cited research since 2011 has been about a chromosome known as 9P, which has been linked to two forms of dementia.6. The internet of (every)thingsWe think we live in a connected world. A decade from now, we’ll wonder how we were ever so isolated. “Wireless communications will dominate everything, everywhere,” says the report. “Imagine the day when the entire continent of Africa is completely, digitally connected,” which it predicts will occur in 2025. All this will happen thanks to improved semiconductors, changes in 5G technology, and supercapacitors that will be able to store much more energy for later release than the current generation of capacitors.
8. The cure is no longer worse than the diseaseBy 2025, says the report, cancer patients will no longer have to choose between living with a fatal disease and enduring treatments that can quickly become intolerable. The pharmaceutical industry has been working toward a goal of personalized medicine, developing drugs that target specific molecules. As medical tools become more targeted, they’ll engage only the molecules necessary to combat the disease, sparing healthy ones and leading to treatments with far fewer negative side effects.
Cobalt is a metal that few investors know much about – it is critical to the electric vehicle (EV) revolution because it makes up some 35% of the lithium-ion battery mix.
That’s 30% of batteries that are the backbone of EVs, EVs that are now mainstream. To meet the demand for EVs, billion-dollar battery Giga factories have been built and continue to be built. Consumer electronics are contributing to the demand and resulting shortage of supply.
And, unlike lithium, which is a fairly common commodity… we can’t source enough of cobalt as things stand today – and demand is increasing quickly.
I had a good friend try to explain to me what Bitcoin was and how it worked. I didn’t get it…..I get it now. Central banks are printing money like it’s going out of style. Since we left the gold standard, under Nixon (see above, why he’s my second least favorite President), there has been no intrinsic value behind the American Dollar. Basically, printed money gets its value based on confidence in the underlying government. Once the confidence that the government can and will do the right things erodes, so does the value of its currency. Assets like gold, land, raw materials will be wear value is stored as paper money become worthless. Crypto Currencies like Bitcoin are another form of wealth storage. In the hyper-debt environment, we find ourselves in globally a lot of wealth has been created. If you watch Bitcoin, you’ll see that it’s steadily been climbing as central banks keep printing. The latest run-up has been caused by Chinese investors desperately looking to get capital out of their economy. The Chinese government has clamped down on outflows to foreign real estate (London, Toronto, New York, Hawaii have all seen a massive run-up from foreign investors), so Bitcoin is the new store of wealth.
Nuclear Power and Nuclear Alternatives
As energy becomes more and more expensive look for technological advances to leap the supply of energy forward. I’ve done a lot of research on Thorium Power and I can’t believe it hasn’t become part of our societal discussion. I can’t help but think that the disruptive nature to the economy has kept the technology sidelined.
Nuclear power has long been a contentious topic. It generates huge amounts of electricity with zero carbon emissions, and thus is held up as a solution to global energy woes. But it also entails several risks, including weapons development, meltdown, and the hazards of disposing of its waste products.
But those risks and benefits all pertain to a very specific kind of nuclear energy: nuclear fission of uranium or plutonium isotopes. There’s another kind of nuclear energy that’s been waiting in the wings for decades – and it may just demand a re-calibration of our thoughts on nuclear power.
Speaking of alternative energy – still a big fan of nuclear – check out Pandora’s Promise. This documentary covers an environmental activist and writers mind shift from anti-nuke to pro-nuclear energy. If we want clean power at a low cost, nuclear is the answer.
Combustible Engine Technology and Self-Driving Cars
The invention from Israeli-based Aquarius Engines is currently being discussed by France’s Peugeot, the firm said. Aquarius says the cost of the engine will be as low as $100 (92 euros). According to the firm, the engine can allow cars to travel more than 1,600 kilometres (990 miles) on a single tank of fuel, more than double current distances.
Such efficiency is vital as countries seek to reduce carbon dioxide emissions—a main cause of climate change. Car engines are a major source of CO2 emissions.
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2016-10-israel-firm-super-efficient-power-car.html#jCp
Imagine a form of nuclear energy with greater output and virtually no safety issues.
Such is the promise of liquid fluoride thorium reactors (LFTRs), and we’ve had several past interviews with thorium expert Kirk Sorensen to discuss their potential:
- Much safer – No risk of environmental radiation contamination or plant explosion (e.g., Chernobyl, Fukushima, Three Mile Island)
- Much more efficient at producing energy – Over 90% of the input fuel would be tapped for energy, vs. <1% in today’s reactors
- Less waste-generating – Most of the radioactive by-products would take days/weeks to degrade to safe levels, vs. decades/centuries
- Much cheaper – Reactor footprints and infrastructure would be much smaller and could be constructed in modular fashion
- More plentiful – LFTR reactors do not need to be located next to large water supplies, as current plants do
- Less controversial – The byproducts of the thorium reaction are pretty useless for weaponization
- Longer-lived – Thorium
is much more plentiful than uranium and is treated as valueless today.
There is virtually no danger of running out of it given LFTR plant
Work Life Balance
I grew up on a farm and in a small town in Wisconsin. The life was simple, creative and the work was hard. There is something about working with my back instead of my brain that I miss and that I enjoy. Lately, I’ve been called back to that life. I’m working hard to bring that experience back to my family…whether they like it or not! For those of you that haven’t experienced a life on a farm, HERE‘s a great blog that explains the hard work and amazing rewards of farm life.
Slowly but surely I hope to build a barn, small home and raise cattle in Patagonia, Arizona. The region is called the Sky Islands and it’s rich with birds, wildlife, and ranching. Our property is full of 100+ year oak trees and it’s nestled in a valley surrounded by red rocks.
On being an authentic man…..
I love what I do and who I work with. Balancing work life, family life and fun is a constant challenge. I’ve had a transformation journey that opened my eyes to motivates me and began the journey of discovery as to who I am. During my soul searching, I learned that I’m responsible for how I show up, ultimate accountability, life-long learning, and faith is my path to peace. In order for me to be effective as a father, husband and business leader I have to constantly be working on me. Sadly, many men in society are broken. I believe that is broken and the ability to learn about what makes people tick is a unique part of the human condition. The scars of life are typically imprinted in our family of origin. As ideal as my family was there was still shadows that I had to wrestle with. Once the shadows become visible, the work can begin.
I believe that there are many ways that we can come to terms with our shadow. I also believe men, more so than women, are more in need to learn who their true self really is. Broken men focus on status, money, sex, cars, and power. Many men, I included, spent the first 30 years of my life thinking that these artificial motives meant that I was successful.
Throughout ancient times there are numerous rights of passage from childhood to manhood. These journeys are ceremonial and a part of society evolving leaders. In our day and age, I find broken men that have spent the energy to learn about their motivations fascinating. The men that I respect and am drawn to have gotten in touch with their shadows through, faith (typically born again more so than Catholic), addiction recovery, career military and in particular Marines, divorces where a man loses everything, business loss or any other event that forced the man to shake their beliefs to their very core. Through my work in Mankind Project I did the hard work, continue to dig into who I am and I’ve learned that many men are struggling to know who they are. I’ve invited 8 men to the MKP weekend. All experienced profound awareness. Here’s what I learned from my journey (thanks to Nigel Stapelton for summarizing it so well). I am never done learning these lessons.
- Emotional Authenticity – As a man I need to share how I feel, in a healthy and clean way. Not bottle things up and shove things down deeper.
- Leadership Mastery– I am a leader, a role model and I am enough. I just didn’t realize it, or could not access those parts of me due to the masks, shields, and barriers that I had put up.
- Personal Responsibility– I learned the real value of integrity and accountability and that I am 100% responsible for my feelings and I own the impacts – both positive and negative – of my choices and actions.
1 Intelligence is more than a person’s IQ. Emotional Intelligence has gained momentum recently. I subscribe to the 8 Intelligence described by Harvard’s Howard Gardner. Working on all 8 is a life-long journey. Henry Rollins Letter to Youth.
2. Father Richard Rohr, interviewed by Krista Tippet talks about rowing to and from the shore. A friend of mine gave me a book that explains the concept very well. The Anatomy of Peace by The Arbinger Institute is worth a read.
3. Surviving the Holocaust and losing your fortune to a Ponzi scheme would be devastating to anyone. Listen to how the author of Night, Elie Wiesel responds to losing his life’s fortune to the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. Now, this is a man that knows what is important.
What I enjoy
Listening to: My favorite bands tend to be from the decade of the 1970’s. I grew up in the 1980’s but never really connected with that time period musically. Of the favorites of favorite, if I had to listen to one playlist for the rest of my life, stranded on a deserted island, it would have to be Pink Floyd. I got a chance to see them and spend time in their hotel room during the Division Bell tour in Phoenix in the early 1990’s. Check out a cool new website, Sutori and their anthology of Pink Floyd. Follow me on Spotify for an eclectic mix of musical playlists, especially ‘Joe Can’t Get Enough‘.
Watching: I despise reality TV and I think it damaging our society. I enjoy the new medium of the long form, binge-worthy, series that have been prevalent on various cable outlets. Homeland and House of Cards continue to weave real-world political story lines into a very intriguing plot line. If I’m not into a series, I’m always looking for a great documentary. Many of the best I’ve shared in this post.
Podcasts: If you haven’t stumbled into the world of podcasts yet, I highly recommend you do. Get the free app, Stitcher, set up themed playlists and sample as many different shows as you can. I go in waves of shows that I follow and devour. After 7 years on live radio, every morning, I start to appreciate and understand what makes a good show. I’m particularly drawn to great interviewers. The art and talent of a great interviewer is something to admire.