Tag Archives: work

Consequences

Dharun Ravi at trial. File photo, AP.

It’s time again to talk about bullies.

Yesterday, a jury in New Jersey found former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi guilty of most of the 15 counts against him, including anti-gay intimidation, a hate crime. Ravi is the former roommate of the late Tyler Clementi, who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after learning that Ravi was using a webcam to view his encounters with other men. Clementi was gay.

Now Ravi is a convicted felon, facing at least a few years of jail time and possibly deportation to his native India after he serves that time. When a firm nationwide policy of zero tolerance arrives for the bullies — and it now seems it will — it will probably look like this. Continue reading

Lazy, Self-Indulgent Little Girls

Real and troubled: Claire Danes as Carrie on "Homeland"

I’m about halfway through catching up on a program, Homeland, that wrapped its first season some months ago. It could not be much better: a Federal agent (Claire Danes, as Carrie Mathison) tries to exorcise her guilt over the botched intelligence of 9/11 by preventing the next big instance of domestic terrorism from occurring. She becomes convinced that a former Iraq POW, Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), now returned and trying to adjust to American life, is working on carrying out such an attack. Once convinced, Carrie is not the kind of person who’s likely to change her mind.

One of the best things about Homeland is Carrie herself: an intense workaholic who is both an asset and a liability at work. Early on, we see her struggling with a medical issue, then we learn that it’s a mental issue, next that it runs in the family. Throughout, this woman is persuasive. She has a knack for convincing her colleagues that the things she believes are really happening.

Hell, she convinces us.

But Carrie’s lows are dramatic. She cusses, rants. Has alcohol-fueled impulses, sleep disturbances, crying jags. Declares that I just can’t do this anymore (never mind this is her life, her passion, all she seems to want to do). Naturally she does these things. I’m not sure you can depict a mental patient in fiction without showing them. Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Neil Postman

Neil Postman — writer, cultural critic, thoughtful guy — would have been 80 years old today. In his memory, and because memory is important, I am asking you to read his son’s appeal on DayRiffer.

Neil Postman wrote that line. Accept no substitutes.

Most of what I have written in my life now belongs to corporations (the bastards!), or to all of you; I have always been either a paid consultant or a blogger. So this is in no way a selfish appeal.

Neil Postman, unlike me, had important things to say about childhood; about humanity itself. If we lose sight of these things, we risk forgetting what it is about us that is special: what is most worth remembering, if you will.

Happy birthday, Mr. Postman. And belated thanks.

It’s Not Them, It’s Me

I listened to President Barack Obama’s speech in Tucson last night — after reading it online.  I’ll admit it:  I cried.

Naturally.  The words he used last night hit all of my cognitive reward centers:  humility, empathy, listening, love, family, children, partner, future, better, community, hope.

Hope.  Barack Obama always did have me at hope.  I elected this man because I knew he would be the Dad In Chief:  the leader who is also a father, one who continues to aspire to the hopes and dreams of his own (and indeed all) children.

I loved the President’s speech.  I wanted to celebrate it.  So I went to Wordle, and made an image of the most frequently used words in the full text of the speech.

This is lovely enough, but it is not what I remember.  Where is empathyHumility?  Why isn’t hope bigger? Continue reading

The Family Christmas Letter

The Broshar family has … well, nothing much to share.

This year, that didn’t stop us:

Not really fit to print.

We hope that your year was every bit as unremarkable, forgettable, mistake-filled, and otherwise delightful as ours.

Read the full version here!

Things That Happen in Airports

Been there, done that, threatened arrest, got the t-shirt.

It hasn’t been a fun few years for flying, has it?  First with the shoes in the bins, then with the liquids, now with the pat-downs:  security screening is easily the worst part of going anywhere by air.

But there is something hysterical in the complaints over what the Transportation Security Agency is doing lately.  The now-infamous Don’t Touch My Junk blogger from San Diego got so much attention — first for doing what he did, then for saying what he said — that many in this country are now taking seriously the idea of scaling back TSA’s power and procedures.

As of today, a Florida airport has dropped TSA as its security provider, and will be going with a private firm instead.  Dude:  That’s some second-world, reactionary, throwbacky stuff right there.

I can’t support this, and I’m pretty sure it won’t end well.  Not with things like this still making the news. Continue reading

What Happens When You Sit One Out?

The morning after, the numbers are in.  One in five people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted.  One in five.  Those who did vote turned out for Democratic candidates over Republicans by a wider margin than any generation before (56 to 40 percent — all of us before them, my generation included, have been an even split).

The rest — we’ll call them unlikely voters — break down along the same lines.  But who cares how you identify if you don’t vote?

Sure; there was no President to elect this time.  No rallies, no viral videos on YouTube.  Sorry about that.  There’s only so much dancing baloney those of us who are already working are obliged to make, know what I mean?

It’s early yet, but I thought I’d tackle the consequences.  Now, a few months from now, and later.

Here is what is already gone:

  1. The judges who approved gay marriage in Iowa. Voted out.
  2. One Senator so good he was actually an institution (Google “Russ Feingold”). You might want to look up “McCain-Feingold Act”, “USA PATRIOT Act (nay vote)”, “bipartisan”, or simply, “integrity”.
  3. Voter protections under Federal law. In Oklahoma, voters approved a measure requiring the use of photo ID at polling places.
  4. Locally:  Legal marijuana in the State of California. I guess you can say we never really “had” this one.  The over-30 population was all over the map about it, but many people under 25 were excited about legalization.  Not stoked enough to vote!
  5. Even more locally:  The right to sit or lie on any public San Francisco street between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., with the exception of special events (like today’s Giants Victory parade).  Eat your Ben & Jerry’s walking, hippie.

And here’s what’s next in the crosshairs:

Health care reform. Not that this is a subject that really matters to young people.  “Although [President Obama] has pushed efforts with health care reform, that’s change that hasn’t affected the majority of 18 to 29 year olds,” says Lillian Nottingham, a Harvard student who helped craft a survey of youth voters this year.

I guess Nottingham missed this little event.  She’ll really miss it sometime after she graduates, when her inability to read about the events she’s covering costs her a real job.

Student aid reform. Republicans have promised their Tea-Party backers that they are going to start cutting the budget somewhere.  Where else can they possibly go?  To Social Security?  Medicare?  The people affected by those programs actually vote.

I fought like hell to get President Obama elected.  I fought doubly hard for the passage of health care reform, because it was — and still is — the right thing to do, for generations I will never live to meet.  But after some time working in that particular salt mine, guess what I’ve decided might be the new right thing to do?

Stop fighting.

I have never lived that way.  It’ll be new.  How does it feel, Millennials, to wait for someone else to do stuff for you?

I think I’m finally ready to find out.