Tag human nature

Electoral College — Keep It

On March 4, 2019, an article was published about the effort in the Nevada State Assembly to join a compact with other states to, in essence, remove the role of the electoral college in electing the President of the United States.

In response to this article, I sent the following letter, with small modifications, to my elected representatives: Govoner Steve Sisolak, Assembly person Sandra Jaurequi, and Senator Keith Pickard. Enjoy,

Dear Representative:

I’m writing to you to express my view of Assembly Bill 186 that would implement “The Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote.” I am a constituent in your district.

This bill came to my attention based on an article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal by Colton Lochhead, which was published on March 4th and my reading of the bill from the NELIS website (https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/80th2019/Bill/6289/Text). I believe this agreement is a horrible idea for our nation. And, I encourage you to use your position and energy to defeat this bill.

I based my belief in the weaknesses of human behavior and decision making for the society, and a crucial element for democracy to continue successfully. The relevant weaknesses is human overconfidence. The crucial element for democracy’s success is the power of the minority voices to be heard.

As a society, we have many areas where we implement rules that mitigate over confidence in our fellow citizens. A prime example is requiring a jury to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt by a 12-0 vote, not a majority opinion. Majority rule, in its worse actualization, is mob rule. And, in judging the guilt of a fellow citizen, and electing a president to lead us all, the society should demand a higher standard than simple majority vote—especially a majority vote by people who are not Nevada citizens. I cannot think of a better way to drown out the voice of Nevada citizens that to defer its votes to a majority of votes who are outside the Nevada jurisdiction.

If you’d prefer a change to the current allocation of Nevada’s Presidential Electors, then allocate electors in the manner that the US constitution allocates Nevada electors. Two electoral votes based on the state-wide vote totals, like our US Senators, and four electoral votes, each based on the congressional districts currently applied in the state. In this manner, the voices of Nevada voters are heard in their complete diversity, which is a necessary component to keeping the faith of the citizens and encouraging democracy participation—A most important goal.

Thank you

Aaron D. Jackson

Eating Habits

A brilliance struck me. Unexpectedly! I research food and beverage trends as part of my job, therefore to find and read Ian Spreadbury’s “Comparison with ancestral diets suggests dense acellular carbohydrates promote an inflammatory microbiota, and may be the primary dietary cause of leptin resistance and obesity” was normal. As I finished the article, I sat back in my chair and exhaled. I smiled. Read more

Reaction to Trump’s Immigration Speech

Whew!  The 2016 USA presidential campaign has been exhausting to think about, to discuss, and goodness knows to imagine that Trump wins.   And he can win.   Why he can or cannot win has been the subject of many news program discussions, and most that I have seen just miss the point.  No, better said, most are in denial about what a large segment of the American population is willing to believe, say, and vote for.  When I hear the denial, it usually manifest itself as a question, “Who believes such a thing?”

It is clear to me that about 35-40% of the American public believes in Trump’s principle—I am better off surrounded by people like me.  Read more

Stop Looking for Passion at Work

The title is filled with irony.  The author of the linked blog post nails the discussion.

#1) Life is more than work and measurable accomplishments

#2) Time and energy are limited resources–how you spend them says a lot about who you are as a person.

#3) Passion renews you energy.  If you are lucky enough to have work (providing for your household) combined with your passion, hurray for you.  If you do not have work and passion interconnected, like most people, enjoy your life and the trade offs that make you happy.   It’s only the people with no passion we should feel sorry for.  Arguing which passion is better, well that is just idiotic.





Listening Well and the Cause of Happiness—What my God Children Taught me

My godchildren inspire me. They ask questions, alter my perspective and in exchange I get a youthful perspective. Some parents, surly know the feeling. The godchildren that inspired this writing are 14 and 15 years old. Their persistence forced me to think—to improve my grasp of “Listening Well” and “Causing Happiness.”

Listening Well

During the Thanksgiving holiday, amidst my godchildren’s question barrage, I was asked, “What would you do if you found one million dollars?”

My reply, “I’d try to give it back to who ever lost it.”

“No, I mean what if no one was around. You just found it,” replied my godson.

Confidently, I replied, “Well, no one loses a million dollars, and doesn’t look for the money. So, I’d help them find it.”

My goddaughter, better explaining her brother’s question, jumped in, “No! No, he means, noooooobody is looking for the money. You find a million dollars. What do you do with it?” Read more

Human Bias – Removing It?

Well, well.  As a well-traveled black male, I’ve know the US environment, no the global environment, to have prejudice and bias.  Not life threating hatred, but some.   I believe, all humans utilize biases–The human brain works quite efficiently with biases (a topic worthy of a blog post by itself).

My key learning from the article is that sufficient racial integration has not occurred such that a broad base of Americans, see, Americans with racial differences as one of them.  If the article would have reported on the racial prejudice of Black people, I suspect there would be no progress.  My life experience certainly echoes the percentages quoted in the article.

As I reflect on the article, I remember the discussion Barack Obama made after the wide display of the Rev. Wright sermons.  One telling point he made, “America has not integrated its churches.”  Maybe that is the true evidence of integration, religious worship.  The American society has focused integration efforts on schools, employment, housing and with the Affordable Care Act, health care.  Maybe, just maybe, its time to effectively integrate religious worship.  Now, that is a challenge.

AP poll: Majority harbor prejudice against blacks – Yahoo! News.

Unpleasent Behaviors Know No Boundaries

Everyone once in a while, we read a story or observe a behavior that challenges our mental constructs–those notions of cause and effect that support our bias and beliefs.   For me, the Bloomberg story of charities and telemarketing brought me to a stand still.   I just did not want to believe the greed and self-absorbed rationale that I attribute to the corporate world had invaded charitable organizations.  But alas it has. Read more

Stress – It Doesn’t Have To Be

Robert Sapolsky discusses physiological effects of stress

So we do it to ourselves: Stress the manifestation of idle time with intelligence. I love the line where professor Sapolsky says, “Primates are super smart and organized just enough to devote their free time to being miserable to each other and stressing each other out”. So there you have it, an educated explanation of why haters exist.

Indeed the realization of what stress does to you, should be enough to make people slow down and reassess why we do what we do. We all seem to believe that money does not buy happiness, but we rarely act on it. A book by Richard J. Leider and David A. Shapiro entitled repacking your bags – lighten your load for the rest of our life is a nice complement to the arguments professor Sapolsky discusses. In different ways, both support the notion that chasing a dream defined by your relative position to others is just disastrous. Read more

Making Democracy to Work

I have enjoyed the luxury to travel to many places in the world. While not an expert on any of the places, I always try to appreciate the similarities and the differences in each place that I have visited. My natural curiosity has opened up an understanding of human nature that really does make us more alike than many individual often imagine. One of the similarities though is the human capacity to seek personal gain at the expense of another. Around the world people understand the concept of fairness; they want it applied to them by others through out their daily lives. Unfortunately, it is far too rare that individuals acknowledge their own capacity for unfairness. Read more

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Ideas to clarify; Decisions to make

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