Donald Trump, Loser.

Donald Trump likes to characterize people and institutions using simple repeatable epithets that end up sticking like glue – Crooked Hillary, Little Marco, Lyin’ Ted, Failing New York Times, Weak Jeb, Fake CNN, and now Leaker Comey.  These simple insults resonate.

In search of a simple tag to put on Donald Trump, I Iooked at the ones already in play – bully, misogynist, blowhard, ignorant,  incompetent, etc.  None really captures The Donald fully and completely.  He can be any and/or all of the above at any given time.  I came to realize that there is, however, one term that does describe the 45th President simply and accurately – one that he himself has used when he wants to completely dismiss an adversary.  The word is “loser”.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Donald Trump is a Loser.  With a capital “L”. Continue reading “Donald Trump, Loser.”

The IKEA Effect: Why Going Digital May Not Be All It’s Cracked Up To Be

A few years ago police in Sweden were called to what they were told was a domestic disturbance.  Neighbours had heard all sorts of banging, yelling, screaming, swearing and crying coming from a house where a couple lived with their young son, and feared the worst. 

The police did not walk into a domestic disturbance; rather, what they found was that the couple had merely been trying to assemble a piece of IKEA furniture, and had run into some difficulty.  Hence the banging, the yelling and the swearing.  The young child was frightened by all the commotion, and started crying and screaming. 

That is the Ikea Effect. 

Well, actually it isn’t.  Continue reading “The IKEA Effect: Why Going Digital May Not Be All It’s Cracked Up To Be”

Responding to Climate Science Skeptics: A Letter to Scott Adams

Dear Scott:

While you’ve made your reputation as an internationally-renowned cartoonist, whose Dilbert characters have entertained millions (including me) over more than 25 years, you’ve now thrown your voice into the discussion about anthropogenic (i.e. man-made) climate change.  It’s not going well.  Your positions seem to be ever-changing, eager to latch onto red herrings, politically-driven arguments, and “alternative facts.”  Scott Adams’ Blog now appears to reflect skepticism of the science and the scientists’ ability to form conclusions based on the science – so much so that the blogs are now being quoted by true climate science deniers to support their arguments.   I’m writing this to try and get you back on track, out of the clutches of a very powerful, very manipulative climate science denial industry. And, to have you focus more on Dilbert and Wally.

Let’s recap.  Continue reading “Responding to Climate Science Skeptics: A Letter to Scott Adams”

Social Wellness and e-commerce – Lament for a Local Hero

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“We can do all of this by phone and telex”

 In the 1983 film Local Hero, Mac (Macintyre) was sent to Scotland to buy a village, so that his employer, a global oil and gas company, could build an oil refinery on the ridiculously picturesque Scottish coastline.  Instead, Mac fell in love with the village, the scenery, the people, the northern night skies and the lifestyle of the place.  He couldn’t complete the deal as originally planned, and returned to Houston.  But, the final scene suggests that he hadn’t really left the town of Ferness.

The movie didn’t make much of an impact at the box office, but its warmth, charm, and subtle messages of empathy and understanding make it a continuing favourite of many.  Al Gore apparently named Local Hero as his favourite movie, perhaps because of its fit within a narrative of environmental stewardship (the oil refinery gave way to a marine institute).    The real charm of Local Hero, however, is in its gentle presentation of a narrative whereby Mac realizes that there is much more to life than his Porsche 930, his watch alerting him to conference calls, and an apartment full of high-end quadrophonic audio equipment (the 80s, remember?).  The movie presents a storyline whereby Mac starts mixing directly with the locals, and emerges far better for the experience.  In a time when we seem to be using technology to reduce and even eliminate human contact from our daily lives, it’s a theme worth revisiting.     Continue reading “Social Wellness and e-commerce – Lament for a Local Hero”

Intolerance and Free Speech — Trump, Breitbart, and Milo

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“We will not allow a beachhead of intolerance to spread in our nation.”

So said Donald Trump on February 2, 2017 to a public audience at the National Prayer Breakfast.

Mr. Trump, cut the crap. There is already a well-established, well-fortified beachhead of intolerance in your nation — it has been supported, encouraged, and rewarded by you and the people you have hired to develop and implement your agenda. Intolerance? It starts at the White House. Continue reading “Intolerance and Free Speech — Trump, Breitbart, and Milo”

Do business leaders make better political leaders? A look at Kevin O’Leary

Kevin O’Leary has just announced that he is running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.  His qualifications?  He has built a business, understands business, has negotiated deals, and knows his way around financial statements.   This background, O’Leary argues, makes him uniquely qualified to stabilize the Canadian economy, deal with a newly nationalistic U.S. on trade matters, and address such varied and complex issues as tax policy, international relations, and climate change.  Mr. O’Leary believes that his business acumen, as well as his lack of political experience, would make him the right man at the right time to lead the country.

Since Donald Trump improbably parlayed his business background and his position as a political outsider to occupancy of the White House, many critics have focused on Trump’s temperament, his questionable policies, and his continuing lack of familiarity with facts.  Some have questioned the actual success of the Trump business empire.  Very few, however, have questioned his basic premise – that a business background produces good, effective political leaders.   Now that O’Leary wants to travel the same route as Trump, let’s look at that premise. Continue reading “Do business leaders make better political leaders? A look at Kevin O’Leary”

Media Matters: The Relevance of Walter Cronkite

You know the mainstream media is on the defensive when The Globe and Mail, with a host of issues to comment on, devotes a year-end editorial to defending and praising the media.  Maybe it’s not surprising, when we’ve come through a year full of fake news, outrageously biased opinions masquerading as news, and widespread criticism of reputable news providers for even reporting the news accurately.   When anyone with a laptop can now broadcast “news” to a potential audience of millions without any regard for journalistic integrity or even truthfulness, maybe it’s appropriate to throw a bit of praise to those who do maintain some standards. Continue reading “Media Matters: The Relevance of Walter Cronkite”