February 06, 2015

America Preparing for a Female President?

Note: This is a guest post by Hannah Williams

The 2008 presidential election of Barack Obama was one of historic precedence; for the first time in the history of the United States Americans entrusted the governing of their nation to an African-American. Despite America’s reputation as a melting-pot of ethnicities, all 43 presidents prior to Obama’s election were white. It took over two centuries for Americans to elect a non-white leader of the free world.

All 43 Presidents fortunate enough to gain the responsibility of governing the United States did share a common characteristic with Obama despite their racial differences, they were all males. Roughly half the American population is female yet their representation in the White House has been non-existent and representation within government as a whole, although growing, barely scratches the surfaces of percentages relative to their population’s representation.

Fortunately for Americans, the United States probably won’t need to wait another couple centuries for a historically ground-breaking election. The 2016 election is shaping up to bring the election of the first female President. Some had hoped 2008 would be the year females gained ground on the other 43 male Presidents but Obama was able to push past former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Democratic Primaries and eventually claimed the Presidency.

The 2016 election seems to be gearing up perfectly for Hillary Clinton to become the first female to lead the United States. But Clinton isn’t the only female Americans have placed their hope in. Fellow Democrat, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has also been heralded for her work within the party and is poised to become the fiercest competition for Clinton during the Democratic Primaries. Senator Warren has publicly denied her ambitions to run in the 2016 elections but many believe her mind can and will be changed.

Despite their competition within the same party, the odds are heavily in favor of a female emerging as the Democratic candidate in 2016, an unprecedented feat in itself. A survey of bookmakers partnered with Gambling.com revealed the actual odds of a female winning the 2016 Presidential Election are 6/5, far greater than any previously held elections. With what many believe will be the eventual emergence of a female Democratic candidate, whether Clinton or Warren, the odds will only increase.

The election of President Obama was a much-needed step forward towards a more inclusive American government but can’t be the only step taken. Females as well as other races deserve equal representation within the White House. The 2016 Presidential election will hopefully just be the next step Americans take towards equality for all.

December 12, 2014

I Gave up Sports to Read: My Favorite Books of 2014

This year, I decided to give up playing Fantasy Football and listening to sports talk radio during my commute, and was able to read/listen to the following 21 books instead. Never going back. Asterisks* note my top recommendations.

*A Farewell to Mars – Brian Zahnd
*Money – Tony Robbins
David and Goliath – Malcolm Gladwell
Surprised by Scripture – N.T. Wright
The Signal and the Noise – Nate Silver
Sacred Roots: Why the Church Still Matters – Jon Tyson
Think Like a Freak – Steven Levitt
4-Hour Chef – Tim Ferriss
4-Hour Body – Tim Ferriss
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work – Mason Currey
Reimagining Church – Frank Viola
The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human – Jonathan Gottschall
Free-Range Kids – Lenore Skenazy
The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday
Finding Organic Church – Frank Viola
Prototype – Jonathan Martin
How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big – Scott Adams
The Explicit Gospel – Matt Chandler
What We Talk About When We Talk About God – Rob Bell
Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense – N.T. Wright
The Humor Code – Peter McGraw

August 04, 2014

Are they a 'Rebel' or of the 'Empire'? A False Dichotomy

Blanketing any writer/philosopher/scientist/artist/politician as “right” or wrong” is entirely unhelpful. Are they a 'Rebel' or of the 'Empire' is a false dichotomy. Like the rest of us, they are mere men and women, deeply shaded in gray. Let us judge only their ideas, and one at a time. Quick to embrace the cream that rises to the top. And equally quick to discard the folly, not as evidence of their intentional opposition to all things good, but merely of their humanity.

August 03, 2014

The Noble and Psychotic Act of Reading a Newspaper Cover to Cover

There is beauty in the act of reading a local newspaper cover-to-cover each morning. There is psychosis as well. For while this once may have been, this habitual act no longer offers an efficient way to become informed – no matter what your intellectual interest. We continue to do ‘noble’ things, not for their nobility, but for how they comfort us.

July 24, 2014

The "Cynical Optimist" is Not a Contradiction of Terms

The "cynical optimist" is not a contradiction of terms, but a real understanding that while the human heart is undeniably corrupt, the breakthroughs and inventions of a few will make the entire world better, all without us needing to become better people at all – a “rising tide lifts all boats” scenario. We will get richer. We will become safer. We will technologically progress. All without any moral progression required at all. Thus, we must be on guard for the illusion that we are evolving when things around us get better, when we are most certainly not.

February 01, 2013

30 Rock is Over (DON'T WORRY - NO SPOILERS)

The final episode of 30 Rock aired last night. Don't worry, no spoilers.

You see, I can't spoil the show. Because in its seven year history, 30 Rock never gave us a single story line TO spoil - nor one to root for.

In fact, 30 Rock was far and away the funniest show on television I didn't really care about watching.

Because intentionally a-sexual and disinterested Liz Lemon never gave us a coming of age or love story to root for. And her supporting cast of self-consumed exaggerations created big laughs, but no empathy either.

Perhaps this was an intentional attempt to recreate a single-serving, episode at a time Seinfeldian "show about nothing" - or a direct snub at more formulaic television - a "we don't need a Sam & Diane to make people laugh".

And they didn't. But they didn't make us care either.

Instead, they would serve up multiple jokes in a single episode that would make no sense to those not intimately familiar with the Food Network show, Barefoot Contessa.

They would alienate the 95% in order to make the 5% feel incredibly IN on something.

And they packed more smart and clever jokes in a 21-minute show than anyone else did - so chances were, no matter what 5% you were in, you'd at least have a handful of magical moments each episode.

But then you would forget about it.

December 21, 2012

Not Lying to Your Children About Santa: A Christmas Compromise

My adamant refusal to let my daughter believe in Santa Claus is one of my least popular belief systems.

For the small minority of us whose childhood trauma resulted in parental resentment, it couldn't be simpler. We don't want our children to similarly resent us.

But for those who transitioned out of adolescence without spite, they fear my child will lose a sense of magic they remember so fondly of as a kid.

My rebuttal to date has been, "It's the presents that make it magical. Not who they're from."

They disagree. And I'm not entirely sure. So, what about this for a compromise?

What if I simply don't go out of my way to stop her belief, similarly to how I don't go out of my way to convince her the Transformers aren't real. "Now you know the Decepticons are just pretend, right sweetie?!? They're NOT real!"

I'm comfortable with the larger world of make believe we all learn to separate in our minds (some better than others).

But, I just can't lie to my daughter...about this at least.