By Kent R. Kroeger (May 4, 2021)
“There is no great genius without a touch of madness.” — Aristotle (384 BC–322 BC)
“You are only given a little spot of madness, and if you lose that, you are nothing.” — Robin Williams (1951–2014)
“I know a mouse, and he hasn’t got a house. I don’t know why, I call him Gerald.” — Syd Barrett (1946–2006)
Just suppose clouds had strings attached to them which hang down to earth. What would happen?
How you answer this question may not only indicate your level of creativity, but also the likelihood you…
By Kent R. Kroeger (April 27, 2021)
In a previous essay, I received in response a number of strongly-worded, negative responses for my referencing a quote by Irish poet Brendan Behan which suggested the police sometimes make bad situations worse.
Regrettably, I chose to include a quote more for its acerbic flourish than its relevance to my underlying argument.
While I’ve observed, firsthand, instances when police officers escalated tensions, it was not because of any flaws in their character or training, but due (in my opinion) to the institutional norms and rules governing how they interact with the public and…
By Kent R. Kroeger (Source: NuQum.com, April 21, 2021)
“We need to re-imagine policing and public safety in this country”
— Barack Obama, April 12, 2021
Today, as many people are expressing a sigh of relief at the conviction of Minneapolis police office Derek Chauvin in the May 2020 murder of George Floyd, I was reminded of an essay I wrote a year ago about the too common use of excessive force by police in the enforcement of minor civil violations.
Many journalists and commentators have emphasized that the reason Minneapolis police engaged with George Floyd on May 25,2020 in…
By Kent R. Kroeger (April 12, 2021)
As more and more people across the world are getting vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, daily headlines continue emphasize how this virus and its variants remain an imminent threat.
There are currently 23.9 million active COVID-19 cases in the world. That is the most at any given time during this pandemic.
Accordingly, the current number of COVID-19 related news articles are so numerous it is understandable if people are numb to them.
However, for me, one recent news story stood out from the clutter:
By Kent R. Kroeger (March 31, 2021)
In a previous article I argued it is dangerous making simplistic partisan assumptions about which U.S. states were effective in combating COVID-19 and which ones were not. This is particularly true when the impact of COVID-19 on a state’s economy is also considered.
As Figure 1 (below) demonstrates, states able to protect their economies relatively well while keeping COVID-19 deaths rates relatively low (Quadrant A) included as almost many Red (Trump easily won in 2020) states as Blue (Biden easily won in 2020) and Purple (2020 battleground) states. Conversely, a significant number of…
By Kent R. Kroeger (March 30, 2021)
If there is one thing politicians like to do, it is to brag about their uncanny foresight and leadership skills. Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus pandemic has exposed many of them as far less capable than how they present themselves.
And no politician has been exposed more by this pandemic than New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who published a book in October 2020 (“American Crisis” — which is no longer being promoted by its publisher) about his “heroic “efforts to stop COVID-19.
The problem with Cuomo’s self-promotion effort was that the pandemic was far from…
By Kent R. Kroeger (March 19, 2021)
November 17, 2019: A 55-year-old individual from Hubei province in China may have been the first person to have contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
January 21, 2020: A Washington state resident returning from Wuhan, China (Hubei province) becomes the first U.S. citizen with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Early February, 2020: Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, in a podcast, says the coronavirus was created and released by the Chinese Communist Party as a bio-weapon. [Note: No direct evidence exists to support this accusation]
By Kent R. Kroeger (February 26, 2021)
It is reasonable to think some news stories should be considered more important than others. And though one person might have a different ranking than another person, when those subjective rankings are combined across an entire society, the average ranking should reflect the relative importance of news stories within that society.
In reality, however, editors and journalists through their training and position possess disproportionate power in developing those rankings and, subsequently, are the ones who decide what news stories are ‘fit to print’ and make the nightly TV news. Nonetheless, if news organizations…
By Kent R. Kroeger (February 23,2021)
OK, maybe speech and press freedoms aren’t ‘over,’ but they are damn well in decline. And this is despite the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment being quite clear on the extent the government can limit free speech and the press:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
By Kent R. Kroeger (February 19, 2021)
The U.S. may have experienced 7.7 million additional COVID-19 cases and 155 thousand additional COVID-19 deaths due to its subpar health care system.
This finding is based on a cross-national statistical analysis of 20 West European and West European-heritage countries using aggregate, country-level data provided by Johns Hopkins University (COVID-19 cases and deaths per 1 million people), OurWorldInData.org (Policy Stringency Index) and HealthSystemFacts.org (Health Access and Quality Index). The analysis covers the period from January 1, 2020 to February 5, 2021.