Todd Akira Morikawa
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Rock the Vote
Is Trump doing a good job? by Chrys Jordan
Answer by Chrys Jordan:
He is not.
There is not much distinction between an average player and a great player. The average player can do much to improve his mental game. Never underestimate the power of your mind.
Meditation can be very beneficial before you play. I like to meditate at least an hour before the tournament. This helps me to be in tune with what I want to accomplish.
What I will tell you can help you to prepare for the WSOP in 6 weeks and may even help you become a world champion.
The most important thing is to prepare your mind. Take charge of the mental part of the game to reach your goals. I promise you a well-prepared player is hard to beat.
A negative person can’t beat a positive person who thinks he’s going to win. The one who planned his way to the top will beat the one who is just…
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by Nora Bateson
photo by Indiana Vatikiotis-Bateson
(This piece has a different tone than most of my work, it is a little bit of satire and grit, and given the times, I think some measure of spunk is needed. Not to be negative, but to avert numbness.) -NB
The world is a beautiful place, full of souls that want only to be loved. Humanity has achieved wondrous feats of elegance, humor, grace and poetic creativity… but there is also the asshole factor. By asshole I mean jerk, I don’t mean murderer. Certainly murderers are assholes, but not all assholes are murderers. With all the name calling and finger pointing right now why not take a minute to apply the axioms of systems thinking and ecological patterning to something closer to home than saving the world. We all know a few assholes, and those that can admit it might confess to having even occasionally joined…
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What are some important, but uncomfortable truths that many people learn when transitioning into adulthood?
Compared to others, certain ethnicities and races (and genders, sexual orientations, and so on) are just plain royally f*cked from the day they’re born (also depending on locale and time period). ⁃ Bad things constantly happen to good people. Good things constantly happen to bad people. ⁃ People are constantly making enormous life decisions (marriage, children, etc) for all of the wrong reasons. ⁃ Often, the most important and consequential moments of our lives (chance encounter, fatal car accident, etc) happen completely at random and seemingly for no good reason. ⁃ Your sense of habitating a fully integrated reality is an illusion, and a privilege. Take the wrong drug, suffer a head injury, or somehow trigger a latent psychotic condition like schizophrenia — and your grip on reality can be severed in an instant. Forever.
Answer by Patrick Mathieson:
- Every person is responsible for their own happiness — not their parents, not their boss, not their spouse, not their friends, not their government, not their deity.
- One day we will all die, and 999 out of 1,000 people will be remembered by nobody on earth within a hundred years of that date.
- Practically all of the best opportunities (in business, in romance, etc) are only offered to people who already have more than they need.
- The idea that you will be happy after you make X amount of dollars is almost certainly an illusion.
- The idea that you will be happy after you meet [some amazing person] is almost certainly an illusion.
- For most people, death is pretty messy and uncomfortable.
- When you don’t possess leverage (go look up ““), people will take advantage of you, whether they mean to or not.
- Almost everybody is making it up as they go along. Also, many (most?) people are incompetent at their jobs.
- When talking about their background and accomplishments, almost everybody is continually overstating their abilities, impact, relevance, and contributions.
- Physical beauty decays.
- Compared to others, certain ethnicities and races (and genders, and sexual orientations, and so on) are just plain royally f*cked from the day they’re born. [EDIT: depending on locale & time period]
- Bad things constantly happen to good people. Good things constantly happen to bad people.
- Very few people will ever give you 100% candid, honest feedback.
- People are constantly making enormous life decisions (marriage, children, etc) for all of the wrong reasons.
- Certain people — some of whom are in positions of enormous power — just do not give a damn about other human beings.
- Often, the most important and consequential moments of our lives (chance encounter, fatal car accident, etc) happen completely at random and seemingly for no good reason.
- Your sense of habitating a fully integrated reality is an illusion, and a privilege. Take the wrong drug, suffer a head injury, or somehow trigger a latent psychotic condition like schizophrenia — and your grip on reality can be severed in an instant. Forever.
Yet, despite all that not-so-good-ness, overall life is pretty damn rad. And we’re lucky to get to participate in it.
In the US and in several other nations, we seem to be sliding back to a socio-political-industrial-military situation that is similar to the Gilded Age of the late 19th century. Vast income inequality, nasty divisive partisan politics, chest-thumping nationalism, military buildups and adventurism, and a backlash against immigrants.
Answer by Murray Godfrey:
I think we’re descending back into a more technologically advanced & more comfortable version of the situation that existed in the late 19th century, better known of as the “Gilded Age.” There are so many similarities I should write a book on them.
- Technological advances create a rapidly changing economy resulting in gross wealth inequality where the rich became insanely rich, a beourgening upper middle class, but for those who couldn’t get on the right side of the changes – displacement, frustration and anger.
- Much of that anger was taken out on immigrants, of which there were many, and they were bringing with them rapid cultural changes. Immigration was one of the most divisive issues of the era & many called for immigration restrictions or bans. Some were passed. There was also anger against minorities.
- It was generally an era of economic expansion, but it was boom and bust to the extreme, and those busts hurt the working classes the worst. There were cataclysmic financial crises in 1873 and 1893 due to lack of regulation. They caused depressions that lasted 5–7 years afterward. There was a smaller financial panic and downturn in 1884.
- A rise of nationalism, often ethno-centric nationalism, around the world.*
- There were no particular international threats to the United States, but a vague sense of insecurity, assisted by the sometimes violent activities of extremists around the world (at that time, radical anarchists) and instability in certain parts of the world (at that time – the Balkans, Russia/Eastern Europe, China). The end of the era featured a rapid military buildup by the most technologically advanced countries in order to fight….. no one in particular.**
- Through all this, the U.S. government seemed to do NOTHING to help people, mired in a seemingly unending cacophony of circular arguments and insults. The politics were nasty. Oh the government did some stuff, but nothing of note that makes the cut into most history books. Urban growth & technological innovation makes the history books.
- Politics were extraordinarily divided on a partisan basis – the presidency and both houses of congress were only controlled by the same party for 4 years out of 20 between 1876 and 1896. What’s more, it was divided over petty and personal issues, both within the parties and between them. Every presidential election between 1876 and 1900 was decided by 2 or 3 states and a few thousand votes, usually in New York and Indiana. Five elections in a row were like that.
- Two out of the five elections in the period resulted in presidents who won the electoral college but lost the popular vote.
- Part of the reason for the closeness of the elections was because the party coalitions were disparate but fairly evenly matched. There were defections from both parties to a variety of 3rd party movements too, which meant that the presidents typically won with less than 50% of the popular vote.
- There was a distinct lack of respect, practically virulence, among both politicians and their partisans for the leaders and supporters of their opponents. Democrats and Republicans hated each other’s guts. It was worse than the 1960s.
Despite what anyone tells you about the 1960s/70s, the Cold War was a powerful mechanism of unity that promoted a kind of consensus despite visible protest for/against Civil Rights or the Vietnam War. Despite that, it was possible to forge consensus across party lines from 1945 through the early 2000s. Presidents from Truman to Bush (the younger) were able to do it on a variety of issues, although it started to get harder in the 1990s and Bush’s No Child Left Behind probably represents the last true major bi-partisan legislation in recent history.
Is it going to get worse?
If that history is any guide, it will get worse before it gets better. We could have several more elections similar to the vitriol of 2016. I fully expect Donald Trump to encourage it, since he is a creature that thrives off of it (a 19th century analogue would have been Roscoe Conkling). The characteristics & trends I mentioned above persisted for 3 decades before a consensus on domestic affairs began to congeal circa the early 1900s, in part around the personality of Theodore Roosevelt.
It’s like a person with a weight problem. The United States did not get this way overnight. The weight will thus not come off overnight. I’m not sure how far we’re into this divisiveness problem, but in my opinion the divisions revealed themselves with the 1998 Clinton impeachment. If so, we’re about in the middle right now, hopefully over the hump.
*We can hope that the recent defeat of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands is an indication this is not as strong as a movement as we thought after Brexit and Trump. We still have the more important cases of France and Germany coming up this year
**The arms buildup occurred in most of the powerful nations, all starting in the 1870s-80s more or less and continuing into the 20th century. It erupted into World War I, which started over some inconsequential b.s. I sincerely hope that does not occur again, but we are getting close to “due” for a world conflict, which typically occurred once every 75–100 years or so since the modern era began (~1500). We are currently in year 72 since the last global conflict.