Fareed Zakaria nails the climate change, entitlement spending asteroid connection: They’re both about our preference for instant gratification.

Highly recommended:

In Tallahassee, we’re doing a program on both of these asteroids on January 14th. We’re calling it FEARS: Where not everybody feels your pain… “What if manmade climate change is real and the social welfare state is doomed? (We might just need a beer.)” We’re having the conversation at a bar on a stage.

Joshua Brown: “Dear Jamie Dimon”

Screen shot 2013-10-05 at 11.37.59 AMHere Joshua Brown, a New York investment advisor, writes compellingly about the heart of America’s fury after the 2008 meltdown (without the normal tribal 1/2 view) in his blog “The Reformed Broker” (and gives us another view on our rising inequality asteroid):

Not only do we not “hate the rich” as you and other em-bubbled plutocrats have postulated, in point of fact, we love them… We love the success stories in our midst and it is a distinctly American trait to believe that we can all follow in the footsteps of the elite, even though so few of us ever actually do.

So, no, we don’t hate the rich. What we hate are the predators.

What we hate are the people who we view as having found their success as a consequence of the damage their activities have done to our country. What we hate are those who take and give nothing back in the form of innovation, convenience, entertainment or scientific progress. We hate those who’ve exploited political relationships and stupidity to rake in even more of the nation’s wealth while simultaneously driving the potential for success further away from the grasp of everyone else…

America hates unjustified privilege, it hates an unfair playing field and crony capitalism without the threat of bankruptcy, it hates privatized gains and socialized losses, it hates rule changes that benefit the few at the expense of the many and it hates people who have been bailed out and don’t display even the slightest bit of remorse or humbleness in the presence of so much suffering in the aftermath.

Read the entire post here.

The Atlantic: Asteroids Club guest Kay Hymowitz on why it’s hard for the left to talk family breakdown

Hymowitz_Kay Here’s a snip from an article from The Atlantic about why it’s hard for the political left to talk about the breakdown of family, featuring observations from our premiere Asteroids Club event dinner guest in Tallahassee, Kay Hymowitz. Learn more about the program by clicking here. (You can have an event like this in your hometown…) Also check out the entire Asteroids Club-themed dinner season we’re hosting HERE.

According to Kay, “it’s like stable marriage and community are the secret sauce of economic well-being that nobody on the left wants to admit to using.”

So if liberals are so worried about economic inequality, why not talk about stable marriages? “Liberals have been at the forefront of challenging all sorts of tradition as being oppressive,” Hymowitz said. “That included the sexual revolution, feminism, and, of course, the gay revolution. Because the left is so identified with those themes, it becomes very difficult to propose that the break-down of the family has not worked very well, particularly for those groups the left professes to be most concerned about”

E.J. Dionne agrees with Kay and turns it around on conservatives focused on family but not apparently seeing related liberal concerns: “My shorthand is yeah, if you care about social justice, you’ve got to care about families. But if you care about families, you’ve got to care about social justice.”

From The Atlantic:

The problem is not that people on the left don’t find family or values important. It’s more that language, history, and ideology create political hazards, rendering family issues almost impermissible in the public sphere. As Robert Jones, the CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, put it, avoiding family issues is a survival tactic in the face of deeply divided political camps. “If I’m a politician or organizer… on the left, it’s not so much a principled censorship, but a pragmatic avoidance of the issue to keep the conversation less mired.”

Read the entire article in The Atlantic HERE.

This just in: Keep one eye on the sky beginning October 1 (the Air Force won’t be…)

Sequestration Asteroid

From Fox News:

“The Air Force says it can no longer afford to scan the sky for extraterrestrial threats that could doom the planet, all because of the sequester cuts Washington forced on itself when it failed to rein in the exploding national deficit. Called the Air Force Space Surveillance System, it’s “critical” to defense, the Air Force has said. By October 1, they’ll have to pull the plug.”

Apparently the extraterrestrial threats include about 1,000 asteroids large enough to “potentially unleash global catastrophic devastation to the planet upon impact.”

Kind of a big deal, yes? From this bit of asteroid news you probably shouldn’t expect much of a reaction from our elected officials. Last spring, when one asteroid actually did hit earth and one closely missed us on the same day, Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) asked NASA chief Charles Bolden what NASA would do if a large asteroid was expected to collide with earth in three weeks.

“The answer to you is, ‘if it’s coming in three weeks, pray.’ The reason I can’t do anything in the next three weeks is because for decades we have put it off.”

So break out the space suits, America, and give Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck a heads up. Looks like we’re on our own again.

Robert Putnam: “The crumbling of the American dream is a purple problem”

Robert Putnam writing about his hometown in Ohio, in the New York Times:

‘As successive graduating P.C.H.S. classes entered an ever worsening local economy, the social fabric of the 1950s and 1960s was gradually shredded. Juvenile-delinquency rates began to skyrocket in the 1980s and were triple the national average by 2010. Not surprisingly, given falling wages and loosening norms, single-parent households in Ottawa County doubled from 10 percent in 1970 to 20 percent in 2010, while the divorce rate more than quadrupled. In Port Clinton itself, the epicenter of the local economic collapse in the 1980s, the rate of births out of wedlock quadrupled between 1978 and 1990, topping out at about 40 percent, nearly twice the race-adjusted national average (itself rising rapidly).’

‘…The crumbling of the American dream is a purple problem, obscured by solely red or solely blue lenses. Its economic and cultural roots are entangled, a mixture of government, private sector, community and personal failings. But the deepest root is our radically shriveled sense of “we.” ‘

Read the whole article online HERE.

Asteroid lights up the sky in South America. Join the Asteroids Club.

“Aye, Caesar; but not gone.”

3085213407_4cdaae44a7Warned of his ultimate doom on the Ides of March by a seer, Julius Caesar smirked as he passed him on that particular March 15th. The Ides of March was here noted Caesar, and apparently he was still just fine.

“Aye, Caesar…” the Ides of March was indeed here, “…but not gone,” suggested the seer.

On this particular March 15th some 2057-ish years later, an hour before it passes, complacency might be worth a thought.

Just because the sky is blue, doesn’t mean the asteroid isn’t on its way…

Photo credit: Matt Barnett (yes, if you’ve got a keen eye or a gambling habit, this is from Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Seemed more consistent with our own uniquely American version of incoming problems…)

Join us for a cool new Online Townhall to identify asteroids

AthenaBridgeWe’re excited to be partnering with AthenaBridge in offering you an exciting new online to tool to – what else – identify asteroids! Of course, the tool can be used for whatever kind of organizational or civic issue you’d like to launch a deliberation on. An exponential improvement on online discussions to date (you know, the ones that go in circles), we’re digging this software. Here’s the blurb from AthenaBridge: “AthenaBridge software helps organizations sort through complex issues by engaging their members in productive online deliberation.” Help us play with it and both suggest and vote for or against asteroids, as well as for and against support for asteroid status!

Click here to dive right in to asteroid hunting mode.

Discovery News: Top 10 ways to stop an asteroid

storymaker-top-10-asteroid-deflection6-1-660x433Just in the nick of time, Discovery News has shared the top 10 ways we might deflect an asteroid heading to earth. (They must have heard about our newly minted Asteroids Club.) They include cool tricks like deflecting it with mirrors and painting it white?! Not a single recommendation, however, includes “ignore it and get back to partisan gamesmanship.”

Steve Rattner, on why they’re “asteroids”

“To me being a climate change denier is the same as being a debt denier. We’re putting millions of tons of carbon into our atmosphere every day that we’re going to have to deal with and we’re incurring billions of dollars of debt that we’re going to have to deal with. Sure, they’re different problems – but it’s the same issue: Do you recognize the problems now and deal with them or do you simply let them sit and fester until something bad happens?”

— Steve Rattner, Morning Joe’s economic analyst

(Watch Jonathan Haidt’s TED talk “How common threats can make common (political) ground” by clicking here.)