the Minnesota Gophers' 34-23 defeat of Nebraska, 10/26/13
commenting on Coach Jerry Kill's leave of absence to deal with medical issues
We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.
Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk
|The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome|
|Khun Damrong of "Starbung Coffee")|
Sure, my logo may look like theirs, but I don’t see it as being totally the same. I haven’t copied them. My logo has its own identity. And it’s green because the color has always had a special significance for Muslims like me. I’m dejected that a huge multi-national company should choose to take this action. They are like a giant treading on a tiny toothpick—what would happen if the toothpick stood up and stabbed the sole of their foot? It might backfire and some people might turn away from Starbucks. It’s normal for me to feel tired of vending, but on top of that now I have all this trouble that just seems nonsensical to me.Starbucks may have a legal case, but it feels, however, like corporate overkill. One street vendor? If anything, this use of a Starbucks-like logo promotes Starbucks more than it harms it, and Khun Damrong certainly can't take enough business away from the corporation's outlets in Thailand to make any financial difference—assuming he even takes away any business at all, which is unlikely. It seems petty. One even wonders if it might not generate a backlash that will cost Starbucks some money because people sympathize with the tootpick-sized underdog and decide to boycott the giant. For sure, Starbucks will spend more money taking Khun Damrong to court than he will cost it otherwise.
|An Isle Royale gray wolf|
Let Isle Royale’s fauna continue to come and go as it has for thousands and thousands of years. And let’s continue studying this national park, learning how fauna and flora adapt, change, survive and disappear over time. And who knows? Maybe wolves will find a way there on their own. Or maybe lynxes will return. Or a new animal. Let’s just see what natural forces bring, on at least this one island. Around the world, conservationists will face choices like this. There often won’t be easy answers. It may not be comforting to let a population of charismatic animals disappear, but sometimes it may be the right choice. (emphasis in original)Most readers of this blog would agree that we want to conserve and where possible restore our natural environment to the greatest extent possible. But what does that mean? Global warming is radically altering those environments, and there is no going back. Evidently, the North Country of New York is going to become the new North Carolina within several decades. What then do we want to preserve? We can't go back to the "natural environment" of the so-called Little Ice Age, which was the pre-Invasion natural state of North America, even if we wanted to do so. Should we be protecting species whose environments are undergoing significant change? Or should we just reduce pollution as much as possible and let the species fend for themselves "naturally"? The answers to these questions is evidently contextual and subject to revision as events and trends develop. What we require is not just data and knowledge. We also need wisdom. Amen.
Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us. Sometimes after a meeting I want to arrange another one because new ideas are born and I discover new needs. This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.There could hardly be a better description of the spirit of dialogue, which is a process of listening, reflecting, sharing, and listening again aimed at closing the gap between individuals, classes, parties, and ultimately nations. It lies at the heart of the political art of compromise and international diplomacy at their best. The absence of this spirit of dialogue can have devastating consequences, as we are seeing now in Congress' abject failure to listen, reflect, share, and listen again. On the other hand, a pope dedicated to dialogue is good news and is likely to have positive consequences for as long as Francis is pope—and beyond. Amen.