Don’t let them tell you otherwise

Pacific Garbage, Wikimedia Commons

Plastic is terrible. It uses petroleum, which is indispensable for certain, select uses, for things like packaging and straws that are better made out of almost anything else. Less than 10% of all plastic is recycled. It releases toxic chemicals when it is burned, and lasts forever when it is not. We are producing more of it every single year despite the mounting evidence that it is poisoning the entire food chain up to and including us. It is synonymous with cheaply-made and disposable. The only good news about plastic is how easy it to stop using it.

My day…


Things we should have let go of a long time ago…

Change is hard. I get that. We have made it pretty far as a species by evolving and adapting, but a crucial part of that has always been building on what has come before, using trial and error to find out what works, and keeping things the same until we see a compelling advantage in change.

Expired Milk (public domain)

The danger in leaping into the unknown has been obvious since our first ancestor was eaten by some unfamiliar large predator; stagnation is slower and much less dramatic. There are far too many “things” in our society that just linger on as pointless traditions…


What’s it worth to be the 50th Democrat in a razor-thin majority? What can you ask for in exchange for your support, and how long can you expect to be the belle of the ball?

We live in strange times. A portion of the electorate are taking orders from an anonymous internet lunatic obsessed with pedophilia, the disgraced former president is hunkered down in a Florida resort claiming he is going to be “reinstated” any day now, and citizens of West Virginia are demanding to be bribed with firearms into getting a life-saving vaccine unavailable to much of the world population.

And pretty much the whole might of the United States government is dependent of the whims of one man, Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia). He has this power due to the insane dysfunction built…


Don’t waste your time with bad faith actors

Backstabbing, Photo by Author

Good faith is essential. Our political, legal, and economic systems depend on it. Civil society can barely function without it. Yet crucial as it is, it is quite fragile and hard to replace. It is also under merciless assault from the rear guard of the Trumpian Death Cult. It is important, but like “bipartisanship” “fairness” or “socialism” people act like it is impossible to define or that it means whatever they want it to mean.

Good faith isn’t an ephemeral concept. Under the law, a number of things require it, even if it remains undefined and requires reasonable common sense…


A militarized police force can handle military accountability

Police, Photo Elaine Thompson/AP

The trial of Derrick Chauvin has concluded with the jury finding the defendant guilty on all counts. For most of America, this was welcome news, if not exactly joyful. For a small minority, it was an ominous development. Many had mixed feelings. Was this justice for George Floyd, or just punishment for Chauvin, in part for being so brazen about racism and power that he endangered it? Would this lead to more reform, or was this just an effort to prevent Minneapolis from being put to the torch?

After all, many other Black citizens have been murdered by police this…


The hollow pursuit of numerical advantage and the downside of self-preservation

SID MEIER Civ V Logo, Firaxis Games 2010

One of the greatest reality simulations ever designed is the turn-based strategy game series Civilization by Sid Meier. The game has grown right alongside personal computing from the early days, with Civilization VI the current iteration. In the game, the player guides a civilization from a prehistoric village up through the millennia to become a globally-dominant nation in the space age. Aside from being tremendous fun, the game is fascinating as a simulation because it does an excellent job at abstracting the whole experience of human civilization into quantifiable metrics while still retaining the spirit and complexities of the many…


What does the Grand Ol’ Party have to do Grand Ol’ Po’boys?

In our endlessly bragged-about modern economy, the rules are quite clear, both spoken and tacit. We tip at Commanders Palace, but not at McDonalds. When something isn’t selling the price goes down. If everyone wants something, the price goes up. When one studies economics, it is understood that you are dealing with an abstraction. The real world is much messier, of course, but all one has to do is pull back just a little to see the patterns. …


Last week I got a little carried away talking about the current tactic of using classical liberal values such as free speech, tolerance, and unity, against liberal democracy. I focused so intently on that basic tactic that I abandoned the overall strategic survey of the newly unified and energized far right. For that, I apologize. Let us return then to examining these groups and their motivations.

First a question, why should we care about the sometimes subtle differences and aims of these groups? They took up arms against American democracy and should be treated like any external terror group right…


How to use freedom to destroy it!

Complex systems are resilient. Anything from an evolved multi-cell organism on up to a nation with hundreds of millions of citizens has developed an instinct for self-preservation as well as mechanisms for combating threats. Generally, these can be classified as either attacks from outside or corruption from within. For the United States, great amounts of time, blood, and treasure are spent on external threats. As just the briefest of surveys, every year a legion of military minds compile the National Security Strategy (NSS), the Defense Strategic Guidance (DSG), the National Military Strategy (NMS), and the Defense Strategic Review (DSR).

Generals…


Only Criminals and Perverts Oppose DC Statehood

Many great and terrible issues bedevil the world today. Most of them are complicated affairs that pit deeply-held and competing, values against one another. If one considers something like the debate around abortion, there are almost as many positions as there are people. Only the most committed hyper-partisans and true sociopaths will refuse to admit that there are legitimate concerns and arguments all over the spectrum on the issue of abortion. …

Evan Charles Wolf

Failed soldier, professor, and politician.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store