NRA’s LaPierre has to pay. Too bad it’s not for all the deaths

When a New York jury delivered a verdict Friday evening against the National Rifle Association and its longtime leader, Wayne LaPierre, my first thoughts were oddly not about the NRA or all the lives destroyed by the gunplay that the organization did so much to foster. I didn’t think of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who died by suicide, pulling the trigger on a gun that LaPierre had so desperately urged them to buy (to keep them safe from harm). Instead, I thought about the elephant that LaPierre encountered in Africa, and how the animal provided a capstone to LaPierre’s morbid career.

Is your cat bad? The problem is likely not with Fluffy — it could be you

When I started working with cats almost 25 years ago, it was purely out of self-interest. My own cat, Kittums, had recently passed away. I decided to volunteer at a local animal shelter to get more hands-on feline time: I was mourning and needed more cats in my life. There was plenty of instant gratification to be found at San Francisco’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals — cuddling with purring cats and playing with frisky kittens. These individuals had no problems finding new homes.

Propping up failing schools doesn’t help students

Four years since the COVID pandemic began, many US school districts are hurtling toward a fiscal crisis. An exodus of students and the pending expiration of federal relief money is forcing officials to weigh the need to close schools. Although that’s certain to cause some disruption, propping up failing schools will only worsen America’s learning-loss crisis.

The world can’t abandon the fight against malaria

Over the past two decades, the fight against malaria has been among the biggest success stories in global health. Campaigns to prevent and treat infections, particularly in Africa, have saved an estimated 11 million lives since 2000. Yet that progress has recently stalled — and in some countries, new cases are surging again.

STVR bill needs community involvement

There is a huge crisis in the state of Hawaii! There are thousands of people that are not homeless but live in homes that are built for just a single family, but end up housing multiple families because that is all they can collectively afford. There is a growing sense of sadness and a loss of hope of ever owning a home in Hawaii.

Let aid workers into Gaza

In the battered streets of Gaza, the air is thick with despair. Families, stripped of their livelihoods due to the conflict, now plead for the most basic needs. Aid workers offer one of the few lifelines left for these families, but now they too are getting caught in the crossfire. The protection of these workers goes beyond safeguarding lives; it is directly tied to the delivery and fair distribution of vital supplies among a starving population.

Democracy demands well-funded investigative journalism

Investigative journalism, which is critical to a healthy democracy, comes at a high cost. The return on investment, though, is substantial. Ida Tarbell’s willingness to dig into Standard Oil’s egregious business practices bolstered efforts to pass the Clayton Antitrust Act and to create the Federal Trade Commission. Upton Sinclair’s daring investigation into the meatpacking plants of Chicago likewise resulted in a long overdue regulatory response.

The election may turn on inflation, but do we even understand it?

How big of a role will inflation play in the upcoming presidential election? That’s anybody’s guess, but one thing is certain: Democrats will cite facts and statistics that they hope will lead voters to think inflation is under control, while Republicans will focus on facts and statistics that counter the “it’s all good” narrative.

Trump’s most successful deal? Selling tribalism

In a meandering Valentine’s Day speech in North Charleston, South Carolina, former president Donald Trump did what he does regularly at these types of events. He appealed to the tribal instincts of his supporters.

Start with the ‘why’

Almost 15 years ago, author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek gave one of the most watched TED Talks, “Start With Why.” During his talk Sinek told listeners, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Since then, Sinek has inspired millions of people and encouraged listeners and readers to discover their purpose.

It’s time to ask if patriotism has lost its way

Patriotism is love of country, and it can be a very positive force. All countries benefit when their people feel a sense of belonging and believe in their country’s goodness. But as our nation becomes more polarized and patriotism is used by some as a litmus test to judge and quickly condemn others, it makes sense to step back and ask ourselves: Has patriotism today lost its way?