Living with an Invisible Disability

Published: The Good Men Project (December 31, 2015)

This is an article about invisible disabilities… metaphorical as well as literal.

As many of my readers already know, I was born with a hand-eye coordination disability that mystifies my neurologists to this day. Thanks to my parents’ diligence and the help of wonderful childhood physical therapists, I have sufficiently overcome it so that most people who meet me never even guess I have this problem. This was and remains a blessing – one that many others in my situation may not have been lucky enough to receive – and I am enormously grateful for it.

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5 reasons why 2015 was the year of the social justice warrior

Published: Salon (December 31, 2015), The Daily Dot (December 26, 2015)

Although the term “social justice warrior” was constructed as an insult against progressive activists, the year 2015 has amply demonstrated why liberals should embrace the term. Social justice issues dominated the year, from race to sexual identity and beyond. Here are five ways the United States grappled with with social issues in 2015:

1. Same-sex marriage was legalized throughout America

Sixty-one years ago, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Educationdeclared that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. As a result of that decision, the year 1954 is often regarded as a milestone in the history of the civil rights movement for African-Americans.

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Anyone else worried about snowless December?

Published: The Good Men Project (December 26, 2015)

I’ve lived in Pennsylvania for 18 years and, despite the state’s frosty winter reputation, this is the first time I’ve ever witnessed a snowless December.

My personal observations aside, this has been a big month for global warming. On December 12, nearly two hundred countries signed an agreement in Paris that will help bring global warming under control. Less than two weeks later, a controversial article in an academic journal called Nature Climate Change warned that unless global warming is curbed, 72 percent of needleleaf evergreens in the Southwest will be wiped out. On a less contentious (but more apocalyptic) note, the head of the World Meteorological Society pointed out that our warming climate will thrust 1.2 billion people into ‘water scarce’ areas by 2025, mainly in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. In an ominous foreshadowing of what may come, Arctic temperatures were the highest on record in 2015.

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Why do Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas?

Published: The Good Men Project (December 24, 2015)

Much to my horror, I discovered earlier today that my favorite local Chinese restaurant isn’t open on Christmas Eve.

This may not seem like a big deal – heck, you could even say that I’m a bit of a scrooge for faulting the establishment – but it’s important to remember that, as an American Jew, being denied Chinese food on this holiday is a bit like a Christian hearing their family church has decided to close. Indeed, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Tribe of Abraham has been enjoying Chinese food on this day for as long as human memory can record.

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Donald Trump is an epic con man… and is the joke on us?

Published: Salon (December 24, 2015), The Good Men Project (December 22, 2015)

A brief but telling statement about Donald Trump’s early years, courtesy of a former high school classmate:

“He didn’t mingle with the rest of the corps who were not as high ranked. He lived in a different set of barracks.”

I’m drawing attention to this quote because it highlights my main observation about Trump’s candidacy. He is not, despite the protestations of his most zealous supporters, a truth-teller of any kind. If he has meaningful convictions, he has yet to share them with the public. All that we know for certain about Trump is that he likes attention, wealth, and power… and, like most individuals who insatiably possess those cravings, he is willing to resort to sordid means in the hope of attaining them.

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How America’s fears are letting the terrorists win

Published: The Daily Dot (December 22, 2015)

Forget about the terrorists. At his rate it seems like we’re determined through our own fear to allow the terrorists to win.

Allow me to explain.

Let’s start with the rash of school closings that have occurred over terrorist threats. The first (and without question most patently absurd) was the “clock boy” incident from earlier this year, when a 14-year-old Muslim boy in Texas was suspended and held by police for building an elaborate clock that one teacher believed was a bomb. Then, in the aftermath of the ISIS attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, the city of Los Angeles shut down all of its schools after receiving an email that administrators believed constituted a credible terrorist threat.

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Democratic candidates blast Trump’s Muslim ban at debate

Published: MSNBC (December 20, 2015)

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley were unified on one topic during the last Democratic presidential debate of the year Saturday night: The toxicity of Donald Trump’s proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States. Each candidate seized on the opportunity to decry racial and religious bigotry — and encouraged the rest of America to follow their example.

O’Malley set the tone in his opening statement when he discussed a recent visit to a mosque in Northern Virginia and talked about “the danger that democracies find themselves susceptible to when unscrupulous leaders try to turn us upon each other.”

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Sorry Hillary Clinton, you still look like a cheater!

Published: The Good Men Project (December 19, 2015)

I suppose I should be happy that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has reversed its decision to block the Bernie Sanders campaign from its own voter data. For one thing, the punishment was grossly out of proportion to the crime – without proof that Sanders himself knew about the leaks from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, denying him access to his network of supporters would have effectively found the Vermont Senator himself guilty based on speculation rather than evidence. More importantly, though, the DNC’s initial move would have destroyed Sanders’ presidential bid before the first ballot was cast. Considering that there are already only three candidates in the Democratic presidential race – and one of them, former Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, isn’t taken seriously – this would have been a devastating blow not only for Sanders’ left-wing supporters, but for the cause of democracy within the Democratic Party.

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