Norway tops the Social Progress Index

Gross Domestic Product has become the yardstick by which we measure a country’s success. But, says Michael Green, GDP isn’t the best way to measure a good society.

His alternative? The Social Progress Index, which measures things like basic human needs and opportunity. …

The Social Progress Index determines what it means to be a good society according to three dimensions: Basic Human Needs (food, water, shelter, safety); Foundations of Wellbeing (basic education, information, health and a sustainable environment); and Opportunity (do people have rights, freedom of choice, freedom from discrimination, and access to higher education?) …


Some countries over-perform on social progress relative to their GDP per capita. Costa Rica is the biggest aggregate over-performer, showing strength across all the dimensions. The key lesson here is that building social progress takes persistence. Costa Rica has had strong education, health and welfare systems for a long time, as well as a long democratic tradition. SPI measures outcomes — life expectancy, literacy rate — not inputs, like laws passed or money spent. There are no cheats or quick fixes



Saudi Arabia is the biggest underachiever. I’ve just arrived … Actually I’m scheduled to get to San Jose, Costa Rica May 1st, my first visit.

gundamentalist child

Some children grow up in poverty, lacking food and sanitation, while others are born in countries where basic necessities are taken for granted. Photographer James Mollison came up with the project when he thought about his own childhood bedroom and how it reflected who he was. Where Children Sleep – a collection of stories about children from around the world told through portraits of their bedrooms – stemmed from his ideas.

16 Powerful Photos Of Children And Their Bedrooms From Across The World

I’m most worried for Joey, age-11, from Kentucky.

Joey Kentucky

Joey Kentucky2

What could go wrong for this kid? :-(

boycott Kroger’s Supermarket

Stop shopping at Kroger’s until they stop open carry of guns.

Groceries not Guns

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I was in Oklahoma last week. Pretty much every establishment I entered had either a “No Guns” sign. Or a “No unlicensed Guns” sign. Kroger’s does not. Boycott.

abortion, Gay marriage, prison, religion in the USA

… If you know whether a state was part of the Confederacy, it is possible to make a reasonably accurate guess about where it stands on a range of seemingly unconnected matters, from party politics to gay marriage. …

Today, only five states have no minimum-wage laws; all were Confederate 150 years ago. Of the ten states that lock up the highest proportion of their citizens, seven were Confederate. …


southern States

The 11 states of the Confederacy were Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia.

I was in Alabama last year. Very nice. I saw no visible signs of the legacy of slavery. I’m headed for Texas next week.

flag controversy

Montana does something SMART

Ten Republicans have joined House Democrats in narrowly defeating a proposal to permit concealed weapons on college campuses.

The Montana House failed Senate Bill 143 on a vote of 49-51 Tuesday. …

Opponents say only seven states allow concealed carry on campuses …

Republican Rep. Jeffrey Welborn said he voted against the proposal at the request of the parents of a Montana Tech student who was shot and killed by another student in 1982.

The House could reconsider the measure Wednesday.


NBC Montana

Allowing guns on campus would be more dangerous than not. Firearm accidents and stupidity would far exceed those incidents where some student stops a crime.

Kleck and Gertz were wrong.

rich getting richer, the poor poorer

Why is that?

Many of the rich (Cheap-Labor Conservatives) like “cheap labour”.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Though former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich overstates a bit, his key points are true.

Click PLAY or watch a trailer for Robert Reich’s documentary on YouTube. Inequality for All.

I can’t see why any poor or under-employed person should vote for the Republican Party. The American Tea Party hates the poor. Despises any program that gives one dollar to the poor. Yet wants to waste hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars in the Middle East.

I’m still trying to find a national American politician who’s a true fiscal conservative.

Films for Action – The Cheap-Labor Conservatives’ “Dirty Secret”: They Don’t Really Like Prosperity

Selma – a review

Selma is a 2014 American historical drama film …

It is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches

Selma has received universal acclaim from film critics. Praise has gone particularly to the film’s acting, cinematography, screenplay, and direction. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently holds a rating of 98% …

Click PLAY or watch a trailer on YouTube.

It’s an important movie. A good history lesson.

Martin Luther King Jr. emulated my personal hero Gandhi. Non-violent resistance. The best way for an oppressed minority to challenge a privileged majority.

It worked.

But as a film I found Selma average. Too preachy. The dialogue often not believable. The good guys too good, the bad guys too evil.

It might have been better as a documentary.

Instead it’s a Hollywood fiction based on a true story. I know not all the facts are exactly right. But John Lewis, being bludgeoned in this photo March 7, 1965, feels the film gets enough right. To him the film is true to the story.


Alabama Governor George Wallace was a prototype segregationist. During his final years, Wallace recanted his racist views and asked for forgiveness from African Americans.

I visited Alabama for the first time last year. Surprised and pleased to see no outward signs of overt racism.

Sooner or later the echos of American slavery will be entirely forgotten.

In the meantime, Selma is a reminder of how far we’ve come. And how far we have not come.

related – Neil Young – Southern Man