Daily Prompt

Just the facts

By Orlando Ferguson – The History Blog, actually Library of Congress 2011594831, G3201.A67 1893 .F4, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15853213

via Daily Prompt: Theory

The point at which theory turns to fact is part of the process of verification that  scientists advocate and adopt. Every theory requires proof.

Would that we were all so mindful of our beliefs! The truth is not always what we think it, and conspiracies are among the many theories espoused without any proof. The only thing that proves is that we are not thorough and we are not scientists in our daily lives.

This can be made even worse when fake news becomes the rallying cry for our politicians and civic leaders. There is nothing civic or civil in declaring false what is true and lying to the American public. It is a disservice when those in positions to lead make people believe that the news is not real, even when the source of that news is reputable.

The scientific method would make us question every such misstatement, and prove what is so, and disprove what is not. Fine lines need to be drawn ever finer. When the truth holds up, theory becomes fact. Amen to that!

#history · #loss · #observation · America · better choices · churlishness · compassion · Daily Prompt · disrupt · empathy · political · politics · power · pretender · provocation · reflections · riff

Polish or coverup?

Cropped Photo © Tamara Beck

via Daily Prompt: Varnish

Putting a coat of varnish on an old beat-up piece is one way of making it look shinier and maybe younger than its years and wear. Like “fake news,” the ever-so-popular-with-the-conservative-base meme, varnish gives an illusion of things being other than they are. Let me explain what I mean about “fake news”– for the most part this is a term used to denigrate the factual. Varnish, in its way, denigrates a reality as well; it alters –or attempts to alter–the age and condition of the furniture to which it is applied. In this way, varnish is truly a fakery, while “fake news” is a slur against truth.

Daily Prompt

Just a tad

DuffySq_fromSteps.jpgvia Daily Prompt: Snippet

TMI is practically a plague these days. The habit of over-sharing seems to come with the desire to get social media exposure. No one shares just a snippet of their life story anymore. Instead they seem to go in whole hog, feet first and slather their facts in gory detail.

Withholding a little would be such a welcome thing.


#observation · point of view · politics · riff


OnTyrranySteve Bannon left the White House and his official role in the administration to become an off-campus Field Marshall. He baits the bear, goading a man who needs no invitation to act the fool and to violate the Constitution he swore to uphold into ever more outrageous claims of tyranny. Bannon, like many other advisors in this administration, encourages the illegal and the heinous.

John Kelly, for instance, has redefined “patriotism” to mean “treason for a cause you believe.” He defends Robert E. Lee in these terms and calls the Civil War, in effect, a misunderstanding.

1noAs for Bannon– to all my friends who saw his departure from inside the WH as diminishing his influence– I wish it were so.

The tom-foolery Bannon espouses is dangerous. It flaunts the values the Founding Fathers of the United States enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Unlike Jefferson, Hamilton, Eisenhower, the Roosevelts, John McCain, and Obama (to name a few patriots in our history), he is an unprincipled man. He loves disruption. Like the devil, he looks to sow trouble and division. Like his former boss, he spreads harmful fictions and calls the truth false.

November 15th addendum, out of the blue, or perhaps it’s the red, I should be saying.

By Dietrich Bartel (my father) – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=97656

Tax cuts, Spkr McCarthy of the House, was saying are about creating jobs and “making America competitive again.” What a cute rephrasing of the MAGA motto! The idea that giving tax cuts to the rich will somehow help the poor is an alt-reality view of the GOP.

Money in the pockets of the well-heeled has never trickled down to the worker. Once it’s theirs, they tend to keep hold of it.

Are tax havens, like Delaware or Singapore, benefitted by the policies that allow corporations to park their businesses without having to fork over revenue to the state? They do so by imposing registration fees in their districts, for example. They do impose unfairly on other countries which would benefit from levying taxes on the corporate entity.

Turning the USA into one big tax break for American corporations and businessmen exposes us to so many other financial problems. Who pays to maintain the infrastructure? How do we keep a police force or a national guard if money is not coming in to the treasury?

There is a sense of the dire which envelops many liberals these days. I am grateful to the New Yorker for its quotes on democracy. Archibald Macleish’s perspective as quoted in the June 5-12 issue by Jill Lepore brightened my day: “Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing.”

Baruch-Zicklin lectures on ethics · business ethics · ethics

Not your mama’s ethics class

© Tamara Beck

Do ethical values have a place in the conversation between business and the community? Can values be a stakeholder along with commercial interests and the people served by industry? These are the general themes of the Baruch Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity-HSBC series on business ethics.

The other day, however, the conversation took a new turn when Mary C. Gentile discussed her approach, “Giving Voice to Values (GVV)” which is about scripting and planning to make what you know to be the ethical thing happen.

Dr. Gentile does not “teach” ethics so much as helps students, managers, and others in the business chain rephrase the question. She does not ask what is ethical behavior, but how do we act on our understanding of what is right to effectively do the right thing.

For those who had been in potentially compromising positions at the companies where they worked, the path to an ethical response is one of three forks in the road. Some choose to take themselves out of the situation. Some would prefer not to act contrary to their personal values, but feel that is an unrealistic choice; they go along. Others are simply, as Dr. Gentile says, opportunists for whom there is no crisis of conscience in making an unethical choice.

For the first two categories of actors, GVV offers a program of rehearsing the “how” of ethical conduct. Rehearsals, Dr. Gentile points out, is a powerful tool to make an impact on other’s comportment. Rehearsing what to do gives you a kind of intellectual “muscle memory.” She also pilots the GVV thought experiment which posits the circumstances of an ethical dilemma for a protagonist and then asks “What would you do if you were the principal in this scenario?”

Dr. Gentile’s approach may be the answer to the business educator’s quandary over whether ethics can be taught.

Mary C. Gentile’s presentation was part of a tradition of lunchtime seminars offereed in The HSBC Student Series on Ethics and Accountability at Baruch’s Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity.

#beauty · #living · #observation · #poem · #poetry · #remember · admiration · awe


Central Park 1970 (Tamara Beck, photographer)

As the weather turns from sultry to sublime,/

The leaves blush with the pleasure of the/

new season and in anticipation of a/

frosty sleep to come. In the Fall,/

time is their friend and ours.