I started writing poetry about the fourth week of the pandemic. It has been a journey. As I write more, I uncover new layers of my mind. I also find new ways to interpret things I read. The human mind, it has been said, has fifty thousand thoughts a day, a good deal of it is chaos. In my mind, since I started, some of it is poetry. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s a struggle for purpose, or something struggling to get out. Maybe it’s just what I see in the whirlpool. Here are the three latest:


Yesterday is the graveyard of the past
Tomorrow is future’s gateway
Today we are here
Drink it in
Explore your desires
Connect with your other
Empty your troubles
Suck in the pure air
Float on a cloud
Freedom to expand
Let your thoughts run free


Rolling out of bed
Blanket of fresh snow
Quiet, peaceful
Peaceful, serene
Nature’s tranquilizer
Delayed errands
Hot soup
Bread drenched in butter
Chocolate chip cookie
Warm buttered rum
Engaging book
Darkness sneaking in
Back to bed


Walking in the forest
We are each other
Soft trail underfoot
Imposing life around us
High, lonely waterfall
Gray mist at its base
Emerald ferns celebrating existence
Time stands still
Without conflict
Eternity is beckoning
We are each other


There are two aspects to Social Security reform. There is the needed updating to keep it solvent and improvements in the system to make it a better friend of society. As of the writing of this essay, there is a proposal on the table by senators Warren and Sanders that will take care of most of this. They propose removing the cap on the social security payroll tax and increasing the benefits for all by $200 per month. The removal of the cap will make the system solvent for thirty years while effecting only a small portion of the population. The $200 boost will help those who need it most, those receiving a minimal amount from Social Security. In the interest of disclosure, 80% of what I currently live on is from Social Security and the $200 boost would have a significant impact on me.

There are some other “tweaks” I would like to see. Currently, the payroll tax is 6.2%. I would like to see this increased to 6.5%. For example, an individual making $100K per year, getting paid every two weeks would see their payroll tax increase by less than $12 per check. A small price to pay for increased solvency of the system and the benefit of society. I would like to see benefits extended to all who lack the capacity to earn a sufficient income to live. I’m not sure how to judge this, but we should be able to come up with a method. With this safety net, many who currently are not contributing members of society will be able to become one. Lastly, a review of the solvency over time is currently done periodically. This should continue to be done annually. If the forecast falls below 30 years, a deposit from general income tax revenues should be made to the Social Security trust fund to bring it up to 30 years.

I know these will be hard choices, but it is fair and progress toward a better world, which we do have the capacity to fulfill.


In my humble opinion, the concept of voting on increasing the debt ceiling is bogus. The time to think about the debt ceiling is when the budget is passed. At that point, the money is committed to be spent. The intention is to spend it. The Constitution doesn’t require a debt ceiling. The only thing I could find in the Constitution is that we should pay all our legal bills. No exceptions. Voting on the debt ceiling after the budget is passed is a form of double jeopardy. Haggling over the debt ceiling is a waste of time that could be used for other purposes. The legislature has so much to do and each issue needs to be reviewed. Don’t waste time.


This is the most difficult problem we face for several reasons. Politicians don’t want to do a lot about it, not because they don’t believe, but because if the constituents are slightly inconvenienced, they might vote against reelection. Also it is so big and looming that it is hard to comprehend. How do you comprehend death for all of civilization?

The first thing we need to do is stop using fossil fuels. This will take some time, which we have little of. There are some problems with alternates like solar, but they are the only option. Nuclear power is a good option, but suffers from a PR problem. We need to create incentives to do the right thing. Fusion is a good option 15 years from now. The task is to be alive in a recoverable position when it starts to become available.

I’m just going to throw out some random thoughts:

Carbon offsets: As they are currently configured, they allow companies to emit excess carbon if they buy offsets from other companies. This allows continued emissions from an accounting trick. For example, Tesla, whose cars on the surface have no emissions, sells credits to Chrysler so they can sell dirty cars. The thing is Tesla was going to create these zero emission cars anyway. Their total profit in a recent year was the sale of credits. Their cars still cause carbon emissions because they get the electricity from sources with fossil fuels. Until we can charge batteries without fossil fuels, we are deluding ourselves. If you are going to buy the concept of carbon offsets, it must come from a source that wouldn’t have been existent otherwise. Also their should be a time limit on how long these can be used. Either the emissions must be solved, or the use of the product eliminated.

Consumer psychology: We must get away from our obsession with bigness. The pickup truck mentality will be the death of us. Probably only ten percent of the pickups sold in the US need the load carrying capacity. Giant SUV’s are in the same category. We must develop a practical mindset. The planet can’t afford our waste.

Mass transit: We must focus on building more mass transit and push people toward using it. Things like closing areas to cars and making bikes easier to use. High speed rail between cities is an idea whose time come.

Working life: We must focus on more working at home and ditch the commuter culture.

Power grid: In the future, virtually all energy will be transmitted as electricity. Our current power grid is not up to the task. States like Texas should not be allowed to self-regulate their power grid. Everyplace needs to have a strong power grid to allow for easy transfer between areas of surplus and areas with a shortfall. This is just an observation, but I have seen public ownership of power distribution far superior and cheaper than private ownership.

Tax incentives: Tax on fossil fuels: I would propose an immediate $0.20 tax on gas and diesel fuel including off road use. This tax should be increased $0.03 per month until it reaches $2.00 per gallon. The proceeds of this tax should all be directed towards carbon capture facilities. There should be a $25.00 per ton tax on coal. This should also go towards carbon capture. The burning of coal for power should be phased out by 2030. Some sort of tax credit should be established for investment in new, renewable energy sources. We must reward good behavior and discourage bad behavior.

Compliance: The US should use whatever power it has, in conjunction with other countries, to enforce the battle against climate change. This should be both economic and political.