SATURDAY 6-PACK: March 17, 2018

A weekly listing of articles, audio clips, and other tidbits I’ve encountered that seemed interesting, insightful, or otherwise useful

 

It’s been a few weeks … and so much has happened.  Yet, maybe not so surprisingly, a number of items that have been pending for my unwritten recaps these past few weeks are still relevant.

First was the sudden (but not the least bit unexpected) firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.  Current Occupant of the Oval Office or no, Tillerson has been inept in his role.  But the firing was done in the brutal, ham-handed way that is the trademark of the Current Occupant.  His departure plus other recent ones plus rumors of more to come have once more made it clear that chaos is “business as usual” for the Current Occupant.  However, despite the traction the chaos narrative finds, the chaos itself is not the the problem; it is that underlying issue that is  the root problem in the White House these days.  Read on to find out what that is:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/the-white-houses-problem-is-honesty-not-chaos/553073/

 

But that’s just how he does things, right?  One person’s chaos is another’s creative, stimulating environment.  Is it just a matter of perception and personal style? While chaos can be creative and encouraging conflict can be a way of surfacing the best ideas, it takes real leadership skills to do this effectively.  Is that really what’s happening in the White House?  Here’s a two-fer that offers some insights:

https://www.marketplace.org/2018/03/08/business/how-right-kind-conflict-can-lead-better-management

https://www.npr.org/2018/03/08/591816734/trumps-televised-meetings

 

Speaking of chaos, one of the big developments in the last few weeks — that’s quickly disappearing under the firings and rumors and the Stephanie Clifford lawsuits (and sordid details) — is the Current Occupant’s decision to impose tariffs on imported steel … and then Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn resigned.  These are not encouraging signs and these two pieces explain why:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/3/8/17091906/us-economy-danger-trump-tariff-policy

http://www.businessinsider.com/theres-no-one-to-stop-trumps-economic-agenda-2018-3

 

In a more recent economic development this week, iconic megastore chain Toys ‘R’ Us is going our of business.  Most of the coverage regards this as just the latest example of traditional bricks-and-mortar retail failing to adapt to the modern era of Amazon.  But there’s more to this story that just that … and more to it than the declining interest in actual toys as touchscreens become ubiquitous  — even for tots.  “We are all Toys ‘R’ Us and the vultures are hungry…” Read on to find out why:

http://theweek.com/articles/761124/how-vulture-capitalists-ate-toys-r

 

This week also marked one month since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  State legislatures are in full swish across the land … and changes in gun regulations are being introduced, debated … maybe even given a vote.  On the national level, Congress, with full cooperation from the Current Occupant and the White House, is doing the usual slow-walk in hopes the furor will subside in the near future.  Why can’t we change the policies in ways the vast majority of Americans want?  The NRA justly gets much of the blame and this two-fer explores why and how.  The Radio Lab is well worth a listen, but it is over an hour.  However, the history detailed in the podcast is referenced in the Vox piece.

http://www.radiolab.org/story/radiolab-presents-more-perfect-gun-show/

https://www.vox.com/2018/2/27/17029680/gun-owner-nra-mass-shooting-political-identity-political-science

 

Students walked out of schools across the country this past Wednesday as a call to action.  Some countered by telling them to walk in and reach out to the marginalized and bullied in their midst to better prevent future shootings.  Others called this victim blaming.  Why does it have to be either-or?  The real solutions that can prevent future school shootings require both-and.  The author of this piece takes us into his real life experience as a teenager who might have become another Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold or Nikolas Cruz.  It’s a powerful reminder that Nikolas Cruz is not a monster; he really is a teenager with a very difficult life — and a very real, very human being.

http://www.startribune.com/this-is-what-a-potential-school-shooter-looks-like/476420823/