Tag: news

Introducing The Sage Leopard Facebook Group

Looking for a constructive discourse around current events, news and politics? Me too.

Wonder how a lot of mis- and disinformation spreads on Facebook? A certain so-called documentary with false information easily made the rounds via FB groups. We also can utilize FB groups to spread valid information, share ideas on improving our communities and thoughtfully engage on current events.

Many discussions surrounding COVID-19, the upcoming election in the U.S. and other major events lack nuance. It’s all or nothing. For example, some people want unrestricted economic activities (see complaints about wearing masks in stores), but that’s missing the point: we can reengage in retail and other economic activities by taking precautions to mitigate the spread.

Another all-or-nothing mindset surrounds whether we support a political candidate: some seek an ideal that doesn’t exist. There is no candidate for anything that will check all your boxes, unless you are simplistic about pretty much everything.

Much of our society has become bifurcated and devolved to name-calling. What if you are neither an all-out liberal nor a diehard Trump supporter? There is plenty of room in between. I certainly am not one or the other of that binary choice.

What if you’re curious about what makes someone else’s worldview tick? What if you could persuade them to reconsider some aspect of their perspective?

I can’t help but notice in various community and neighborhood groups how self-righteous and wrong-headed some of the comments are. Hopefully, The Sage Leopard news group can foster a better discussion. Join and be a part of something we hope will be more meaningful.

Note: A few simple guidelines to get started. Do share ideas and articles you believe are true, well-researched and well-edited. Do not paste in propaganda; I’ll call out nonsense. Do try to listen and ask questions. Don’t curse out or otherwise engage in name-calling. We’re here to learn.

Join The Sage Leopard News Group here.

The Sage Leopard, thesageleopard@gmail.com

Katharine Fraser, moderator of The Sage Leopard news group

Sage Leopard News Read Roundup: Remote Work, China, Venezuela and Quarantine

Do you work remotely? Some days, it’s just better to be off the roads, such as today outside Houston, where a major highway is closed in one direction because of a hazmat spill of… wait for it… pig parts. Mmm, did you have bacon at breakfast today? On a larger scale, the coronavirus has curtailed business trips and other travel. This would be an instance where access to the internet can save the day.

Speaking of China, kudos to the Houston Chronicle for launching a series examining the economic model of the Communist state. The series, dubbed Rising Star, opens with “For Texas, promise and pitfalls in China.” A good read on a crucially important question: just how much will China’s economy continue to grow and at what pace?

Speaking of business trips, would you believe the Citgo 6 are back in prison in Venezuela? These oil execs were called from Houston to a meeting in Caracas in 2017 and are still captive (Citgo is part of the Venezuelan state oil company, PDVSA, but control of the company is tied up in disputes with creditors and the question of who will control the government itself). The Citgo 6 have been accused of corruption by the Maduro administration and had been under house arrest. Meanwhile, the opposition leader of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, just met with President Trump.

Ah, Trump. Do you know anyone who was surprised by his comments at the National Prayer Breakfast or at the White House yesterday when he lit into his political enemies and celebrated his acquittal from his impeachment? Apparently, some people are still waiting for him to become magnanimous and what used to be called presidential. Frankly, I was surprised he didn’t deploy t-shirt cannons at the White House reception where he thanked Republican leaders of Congress, his legal defense team and supporters. News flash: Trump’s personality is not going to change. He is a brash fighter. As he said it himself of House Democrats and apparently others: But I’ve beaten them all my life, and I’ll beat them again if I have to.” In his comments from the White House yesterday, he went through the Ukraine call, raised the question of Hunter Biden’s foreign work, praised his backers, lambasted Democratic policies and called the impeachment unfair. He used the word unfair or unfairly 10 times, according to the White House transcript. Whether you love or loathe the man, you must know, his persona is not going anywhere.

Finally, I’ve been wondering how life is treating the American coronavirus evacuees upon their return home, where they are currently under quarantine on military bases. They are making the best of it and are grateful, according to this Washington Post article.

The Sage Leopard, thesageleopard@gmail.com

Sage Leopard News Read Roundup: Biden, Coronovirus, Sanctuary

So much for Joe Biden 2020? The delayed Iowa Democratic caucus results revealed that former VP Biden is decidedly not the front-runner some (including Trump?) had believed him to be. The New York Times is out with a piece strongly suggesting Biden’s Iowa game was lame. Apparently. My concern had been that if Biden became the Democratic nominee, all we would hear about in the election buildup would be about Hunter and Ukraine. Maybe that won’t happen after all. I certainly hope not.

Speaking of Ukraine, former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch has left the foreign service and reminds us in an op-ed in the Washington Post that a new wave of diplomats are coming in. During these “turbulent times,” she notes that the Constitution and its protections, including the First Amendment, are still with us.

I never understand why people watch scary crime or disaster TV and films, when you can watch the news. See coronavirus. Just do a search for coronavirus and drones and you’ll see footage of Chinese authorities telling citizens via drone to put on their face masks in public as well as surveillance of the empty streets of Wuhan. The events unfolding are disturbing and, frankly, somewhat frightening. Ideally, public health officials – with a cooperating public – will be able to box in this thing before it gets worse. Meanwhile, a Japanese cruise ship full of passengers is under quarantine offshore because several passengers have the virus.

Speaking of travel, the U.S. is moving to limit the Global Entry program, which expedites re-entry to the country for pre-cleared U.S. citizens, in New York to put the squeeze on state and local officials for so-called sanctuary policies for illegal immigrants, according to the Wall Street Journal. This seems to typify the transactional approach to policymaking under the Trump administration. I’m not following the logic of, in effect, punishing law-abiding U.S. citizens because of illegal actions of others. But, it might have to do with the state of New York blocking the feds from seeing driver’s license information of immigrants, which an administration official says hampers ICE and CBP’s ability to screen people. The administration says that is precisely the problem. Last month, my boyfriend and I drove through a border checkpoint just north of Laredo, Texas, on our way back to Houston and were impressed with the equipment pointed at the vehicle, which we presumed might include license-plate readers and heat-sensing technology. The Border Patrol also had an equally impressive looking dog. We didn’t have any unannounced passengers or contraband, answered we are U.S. citizens and were waived through, per usual. To read more about our experiences near the border, read the Sage Leopard’s account of a deer hunt in Arizona. If you’re wondering why we were back in Laredo, read about our latest deer hunt here.

I hope you enjoyed this brisk roundup of my thoughts on the news of the day and welcome feedback on what might become a regular feature. Let me know what you think.

The Sage Leopard, thesageleopard@gmail.com