Kent Pitman

Kent Pitman
New England, USA
Philosopher, Technologist, Writer
I've been using the net in various roles—technical, social, and political—for the last 30 years. I'm disappointed that most forums don't pay for good writing and I'm ever in search of forums that do. (I've not seen any Tippem money, that's for sure.) And I worry some that our posting here for free could one day put paid writers in Closed Salon out of work. See my personal home page for more about me.


Editor’s Pick
JULY 9, 2013 8:59AM

Politely Accepting Failure in Education

We give up on our students way too easily. We expect only a few to succeed wildly, most to bumble their way through with mediocre outcomes, and a fair number not to make it at all. We’ve allowed that to seem normal, but it seems to me… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 24, 2012 7:20AM

Legalized Murder

  “If I had a son, he’d
      look like Trayvon”
 —President Obama, 23 Mar 2012

President Obama said Friday, “My main message is to the parents of Travyon Martin: ‘You know, if I had a son he'd look like Trayvon.’ A/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 17, 2011 6:38PM

Occupational Hazards

As the movement variously known as Occupy Wall Street (OWS) or “We are the 99%” enters its second month, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what it's done and where it's going.

Polls continue to suggest that support for the the movement is growing. A recent NBC… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 10, 2011 9:56AM


A lot of the discussions we have about what's fair to tax seem to refer to questions of how people should “share the pain.” I don't like the way that discussion usually goes, but not because I don't think people should share pain. I just question the definition of “pain” that… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 1, 2011 8:19AM

An Open Letter to the Capitulator-in-Chief

Dear President Obama,

Today I’m even more discouraged with you than I ever have been. And please don’t flatter yourself by thinking, as I suspect you do, that because you made “the hard choices” people were bound to be concerned. Do not smugly say to yourself, well “thi… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 11, 2011 7:05AM

The Final Frontier

With the end of the shuttle program, it seems to me it’s time to do some serious contemplation about what we should do next with NASA.

I’m sure some would like to put the whole organization in mothballs, but many of us have higher hopes. Some are frustrated that we… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 7, 2011 8:54AM

Just a Gut Feeling I Have

A Slice of Life

In 1991, at a visit to Walt Disney World in Florida, I ate at the Coral Reef Restaurant in the EPCOT theme park. It’s a wonderful restaurant, with tasty food, great service, and a highly unique view into a huge aquarium… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 3, 2011 2:04PM

Prenatal Murder and Unjustified Miscarriages

Earlier this year, Republican State Representative Bobby Franklin placed a bill before the Georgia General Assembly that attempts to empower and require the state to intervene in what the bills refers to as “prenatal murder.” The bill, Georgia House Bill 1, begins with this summary (bold… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 29, 2011 9:14AM

Taking Charge of the Debt

The buzz yesterday is that there may be another way to resolve the deadly game of chicken being foisted upon the American people by the Tea Party over the debt. It turns out that the answer was in plain sight all along.

The 14th Amendment, section 4, quite plainly reads:… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 15, 2011 4:16AM

The Recent Move toward Criminalizing Birth Control

A recent news story from The Rachel Maddow Show caught my eye and seemed worth sharing. The story reports on recent moves by Republicans in several states to redefine the meaning of the word “person” in a way that could have sweeping effects.

For example, the story explains, legislation… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 3, 2011 7:19AM

To Serve Our Citizens

There is a recent move by Republicans to try to cut back on child labor protections. In Missouri, a Republican-sponsored bill proposes to eliminate the prohibition on employing children under 14, to eliminate restrictions on numbers of hours a child may work, to eliminate requirements for a work cert… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 5, 2011 9:14AM

Dead Certainty

I’ve heard it said that we as a people should demand pictures as proof of bin Laden's death to have a properly transparent government.

I assert that adequate proof has, in fact, already been offered.

We are not relying simply on blind trust of the US Government.

Routinely in… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 10, 2011 9:37AM

Was the recent Wisconsin Senate action really Illegal?

Yesterday the Wisconsin state senate made an outrageous procedural move, eliminating collective bargaining rights for state workers, in a vote that really had no advanced notice. You pretty much have to see the event with your own eyes to truly appreciate how inappropriate this was from a procedural… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 7, 2011 10:32AM

Unexpected Admissions on Peak Oil and Climate Change

The Guardian reported last month, based on a Wikileaks document, that the Saudis have publicly overstated their capacity to increase production in response to likely future demand. The Guardian quoted a Saudi cable that begins as follows (with bold added by me for emphasis):

SUMMARY: On November 20,

Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 15, 2011 11:10AM

Computers in Jeopardy!

Monday through Wednesday, Feb 14-16, 2011, the evening television show Jeopardy! is airing a man versus machine competition called “The IBM Challenge” in which a computer (or really a set of computers) named “Watson” is challenging two all-time Jeopardy! champions in an exhibi… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 6, 2011 7:07PM

A Truckload of Snow

Recently I’ve been traveling a lot.

The travel wasn’t for pleasure. Beyond that, I’d rather not discuss the reason, thank you.

What I do want to talk about is the weather. Or, more specifically, the contrasts in weather. I think one sometimes notices things more acutely whe… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 9, 2010 2:02PM

Real Patriots Don’t Whine About Paying Taxes

I was not one of those who voted based primarily on a promise to reduce the deficit. Mainly I didn't because I didn't and don't believe a lot of the promises by the Republicans and Tea Partiers, who seemed to mention it all the time.

Republican Lip Service to FiscalRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 17, 2010 7:50AM

The Big C

Climate Change. There are a great many things I could say about Climate Change, but today I want to make a pretty simple point about the likely health effects of Climate Change: They won't be good.

It's also common in discussions of Climate Change to talk about the effects on la… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 15, 2010 6:11AM

Deficit Attention Disorder

I'm afraid I have a lot of trouble with the entire debate about the deficit. It's not that I don't believe in being fiscally responsible. It's that I can't take seriously someone who insists on dealing with the issue of the deficit as something that's a black and white issue. There… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 30, 2010 7:31AM

McCain Bill Enables US Citizen Imprisonment Without Trial

Ex-POW Senator John McCain is the sponsor, along with 9 co-sponsors, of Senate bill S.3081, which in open and direct defiance of the Supreme Court ruling in Miranda v. Arizona, the case that created your so-called “Miranda rights,” provides for the indefinite detention of people, includin… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 26, 2010 6:46AM

The Cost

For those of you just waking up from a coma or returning from a sensory deprivation chamber, the last “US combat brigade” officially left Iraq last week. It seemed an appropriate time for a pause to reflect on the cost we've incurred.

I heard someone remark on TV the… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 20, 2010 9:30AM

The Coming Tsunami of Heat Waves

This article has been updated in some very minor ways. A dagger (†) appears next to each change to remind people to see the footnote at the end for an explanation of the update.

Even a Conservative Look Ahead is Scary

Noah Diffenbaugh, assistant professor of environmental Earth system science/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 9, 2010 8:26AM


The big worry about Climate Change is not some issue of gradual heating, it's how near we are to various tipping points. [Methane molecule] There has been concern brewing that carbon dioxide is just the tip of the Climate Change iceberg. Methane may turn out to be a more explosive problem, not… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 7, 2010 10:27AM

Renouncing my Status as a Republican Wannabe

Upon reflecting a bit on the implications of my post from yesterday, I want to clarify that I can no longer realistically say I aspire to be a Republican even if the party were cleaned up as it needs to be.

The Republicans have in too many ways shown that… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 16, 2009 5:11AM

A Line in the Shifting Sands of Health Insurance

[medicine/money logo]

I would like to see the US have universal health care. Short of that, I’m willing to bargain down to a public option. But the public option is gone.

Without, at minimum, the public option I no longer support this bill.

On Countdown with Keith Olbermann yesterday (Tuesday, December… Read full post »