For every COVID-related death, remember the many survivors whose lives have been scarred forever

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(Photo credit: Pixabay)

A close relative once told me one of the saddest real-life stories I’ve ever heard.

A few years ago, a young man from India traveled to Cleveland on a business trip. While in town, he contracted a devastating disease that ruined both of his lungs. For the rest of his life, he was forced to stay in a bed in a local long-term nursing home, hooked up to a ventilator.

“He was the nicest man,” my relative recalled, having taken care of him as a nurse. “But he was so sad and lonely. He knew he would never return to…


In an abundant society, time is perhaps the most precious commodity. COVID-19 is forcing us to rethink how much it’s worth.

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(Source: Pixabay)

For the past few years, one of my family’s indulgences has been Saturday dinner from Parisi’s, the local high-quality pizza place. Cost: about $40, depending on how many cannolis we order.

But, to protect our health during the COVID Era, we’ve cut back on such ventures. Last Saturday, as we were enjoying a homemade meal of lamb, asparagus and peach pie, my wife turned to me and said, “this food is just as good, a lot healthier, probably equally bad for the environment, and it cost us $20 less. Why don’t we always do this?”

The answer is because making…


Short answer: It depends on “what” and “for whom”

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Photo: Mediamodifier from Pixabay.

By any typical historical measurement, 2013 was a pretty good year here in the USA.

Yet, listening to many political leaders of both parties talk about coronavirus’ economic consequences, you’d think the quality of life in 2013 was like that of 1931 — something to be avoided, like your coughing next-door neighbor.

They’re saying that, if we don’t “open up the economy,” our country’s Gross Domestic Product will drop by anywhere between 5 percent and 75 percent for 2020.

Nobody really knows what the hit will be, but let’s say it’s 20 percent. That sounds terrible. But let’s think about…


Will a broader definition of “prevention” be America’s watchword once again?

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Photo: Alachua County via Flickr.

If there is “a one percent chance” that a threat is real, “the United States must now act as if it were a certainty.”

— Vice President Dick Cheney, 2001

Suddenly, “national security” ain’t what it used to be.

When Vice President Cheney articulated his “One Percent Doctrine” nearly two decades ago, he was talking only about the threat of “weapons of mass destruction” in unfriendly hands.

After five hundred thousand American, Afghani and Iraqi deaths and six trillion taxpayer dollars, the way that the United States responded to that threat is much debated. …


I’m a big vote-in-person guy, but not at the risk of spreading infection

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Voting by mail. Photo: Chris Phan via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

I feel most American and most a part of my neighborhood when I’m standing in line on Election Day at my local polling place.

But that experience isn’t worth dying for.

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) drives down voter turnout (as we’ve just seen in Wisconsin) and threatens the lives of the many senior citizens who serve as poll workers, I’ve become a reluctant convert to and now staunch supporter of conducting elections in an emergency by mail.

This is no small step for me.

I live in Colorado, where every registered voter gets their ballots delivered to their homes…


The energy industry gets the ultimate “Get Out of Jail Free” card for killing millions of birds each year

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(photo by: Kat Lovasi; license: CC BY 2.0)

Imagine you’re a wildlife ranger who’s uncovered a cold-blooded case of avian murder.

The perp has confessed to all the grisly details. He burned down his barn, despite knowing that some baby owls were nesting inside. He needed the space to put up a new oil rig, he explained. While it was too bad about the owls, it was his property and he was free to do whatever he wanted with it.

Now imagine taking the evidence to the prosecutor. “It’s a slam dunk case,” you say. “Big fines, maybe even some jail time.”

“Not so fast,” the attorney responds…


We’ve reached “full employment.” So why are so many Americans unhappy?

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Left to right: Johnny Lee, Johnny Paycheck, and Mickey Gilley 3/1/78. Photo: Cris57helpme via Creative Commons.

The latest official report says that the U.S. unemployment rate has been under 4 percent for a year and a half and under 6 percent for five years.

You’d think that everyone from old-school liberals to Wall Street Republicans to populists of all stripes would be jumping up and down with glee. After all, it’s been economic dogma for decades that “4 percent” means we’ve achieved “full employment;” that pretty much everyone who wants to work has a job or is in a short transition between jobs.

Yet no one would say that Americans are feeling happy these days, even…


We’ve reached “full employment.” So why are so many Americans unhappy?

The latest official report says that the U.S. unemployment rate has been under 4 percent for a year and a half and under 6 percent for five years.

You’d think that everyone from old-school liberals to Wall Street Republicans to populists of all stripes would be jumping up and down with glee. After all, it’s been economic dogma for decades that “4 percent” means we’ve achieved “full employment;” that pretty much everyone who wants to work has a job or is in a short transition between jobs.

Yet no…


Happy Meals’ special treats are giving kids the wrong idea about our disposable society

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McDonald’s Happy Meal Hummer. Photo: gadgetdude via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

My daughter is now finally old enough that she no longer insists, to the point of tears, on getting a toy — usually a plastic action figure wrapped in plastic — with her McDonald’s Happy Meal.

I’d like to think that my frequent comments about how “something that you use for just five minutes shouldn’t be polluting the environment when you’re an old woman” have finally sunk in. But I suspect it was my wife’s insistence that she had to clean up or get rid of all of the unused tschotskes in her bedroom. …


Understanding the roots of resistance to change makes progress more likely

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Photo: Steve Buissinne from Pixabay.

I really, really, really want to cancel my home delivery of the Denver Post newspaper.

I can’t justify the environmental costs of the ink, paper, printing machines and the paper’s transportation to my porch. I can still get all of the Post’s local news, sports coverage, comics and crossword puzzles online for $18.34 less per month. And I’d relieve my wife of the need to remind me to take out the recycling bin so often.

But I haven’t been able to do it. It feels like I’d be signing a death warrant for an old friend.

I’m sharing this angst…

Kirk Weinert

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