The Ignorance Industry
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 5, 2023

In the mental economics of our species, there is a slow but steady demand for Information – but the market for Ignorance has become increasingly busy. The plain fact is that most people do not want the Truth. Why? Because it’s too inaccessible, too incomprehensible, and too likely to be unpleasant. Of course, you and […]

Training Days. Sacré Bleu!
By Ernie Witham   |   November 21, 2023

The driverless Metro flew into the station and stopped on a euro. The doors opened. There were so many Parisians crammed into the front car, I thought it might have been an AI-generated crowd image. Trois got off. Dix got on. Including moi. Yeah! But not my wife. Oh-oh!  She mouthed, “See you at Saint-Sulpice.” […]


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Climate Repair ‘Five Times Faster’?
By Robert Bernstein   |   November 21, 2023

I have written before about bad subsidies and incentives that have gotten us into the Climate Crisis. But there is another way to view the problem. “Nobody thinks we made the transition from horses to cars by taxing horseshit. Nobody thinks that we created the internet by taxing letter writing. Why would it be any […]

On the Job
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   November 14, 2023

For most of human history, the people who did the hardest physical work were at the bottom of the social scale. These were jobs that went to people called peasants, villeins, or slaves, working in the fields alongside horses and oxen. Women and their traditional roles of housekeeping and child-rearing were always in a class […]

Left is Not Woke?
By Robert Bernstein   |   November 14, 2023

In ancient Greek tragedy, exile was considered a worse punishment than death. In modern times, woke cancel culture applies exile with little regard to its devastating impact on the target and on society. “Woke” originally meant a person was awake to actual racial and social injustice. Leftist Susan Neiman wrote a book Left is Not […]

By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   November 7, 2023

One of the books that most influenced me when I was growing up was written by a man whose career had been based on helping people to sell things. His name was Dale Carnegie, and the book (a best-seller) was How to Win Friends and Influence People. One good thing about it was that its […]

Common Narrative for Israel/Palestine Conflict?
By Robert Bernstein   |   November 7, 2023

I usually consider myself to be a secular Humanist. But events like the brutal October 7 Hamas attack on Israel make me feel very Jewish. Everyone wants peace. The question is on what terms and how to get there. The Humanist Society of Santa Barbara (HSSB) hosted a refreshingly innovative talk in 2018 offering a way […]

  • Wetness for the Prosecution
    By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   October 31, 2023

    Although I have done my share of things I regret, sometimes my misdeeds have brought their own penalty. Two of those occasions involved the theft of books, which, at the time, I justified to myself because, being a poor college student, I couldn’t always buy the books I wanted. One episode took place in the […]

    Taking Place
    By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   October 10, 2023

    In the normal functioning of our society, many situations arise in which one person has to take the place of another. The details, of course, can vary widely. It may be temporary, as when somebody has to “call in sick” and their part of a job must be done by somebody else. Or it may […]


    Walking the Walk and Talking the Walk
    By Ernie Witham   |   October 10, 2023

    After my first date with an attractive young woman named Pat, she told a friend that she’d never met a guy who talked as much as I did! My strategy was to regale her with as many stories about myself as I could think of in hopes that something I said was clever and endearing. […]

    Immigration Statute of Limitations?
    By Robert Bernstein   |   October 10, 2023

    Trump claimed that he was going to go after “bad hombres” who were illegally in the U.S. But then he went after people like Juana Flores, right here in Goleta. She had been in the U.S. since 1988. Her husband and her many children and grandchildren were all legal U.S. citizens. She probably would have […]

    The Way it Was
    By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   October 3, 2023

    In the now-almost-forgotten days when many of us regularly watched an early evening network newscast, Walter Cronkite, who was then recognized as the Dean of American Newsmen (there were very few newswomen), used to sign off his report with the words, “And that’s the way it is…” To me, and perhaps to many other members […]

    Conspiracy Theories Not What They Used to Be?
    By Robert Bernstein   |   October 3, 2023

    “Even Conspiracy Theorists Are Alarmed by What They’ve Seen” was the title of a recent New York Times article. I grew up in an era of real conspiracies. Senator Frank Church of Idaho conducted hearings after Watergate investigating the horrific abuses by the CIA, FBI, and NSA. Perhaps most shocking for U.S. citizens: Operation MKULTRA, […]

    By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   September 26, 2023

    One of Irving Berlin’s best-known songs begins with the words: “I’ll be loving you, always.” And it goes on to assure the “you” to whom it’s addressed, that this is really a very special pledge, with no terminal date. It’s “not for just an hour, not for just a day, not for just a year […]