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Our Best Attempts Stumble

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:39 PM

It’s been hard to get my mind around the horribleness of what is happening in Afghanistan. Some thoughts:

Reeling from the horrors of 9/11 two decades ago, we entered Afghanistan to eliminate terrorist camps and also try to build a better nation for the people who had been caught under the Taliban’s control. Was it hubris or hope to think we could lastingly accomplish either goal? I’ll leave that discussion for another day, but this week has reminded us of how even our greatest powers stumble.

Despite the great sacrifice and heroism so many poured into this effort, despite the world’s strongest militaries throwing unfathomable sums of technology and money at the situation, despite most of the world preferring a Taliban-free globe, the Taliban now chat on Twitter as the reasserted leaders of Afghanistan.

I Want Five Stars to Mean Five Stars

Something Has Gone Wrong with the Modern Customer Service Survey

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:39 PM

Something a bit more lighthearted: my musings on the oddity of customer satisfaction surveys that dock employees for anything less than perfect scores. Do such policies bug anyone else?

It was an innocent — even endearing — touch when I received a delivery today. The delivery person left a sticker on the bag thanking me for my patronage. The sticker depicted five stars, a not too subtle hint at his desire for a five star review. And he deserved it — the items came quickly and correctly and in perfect condition. But, it got me thinking about how weird our view of customer service surveys has become.

The Ending Platform Monopolies Act is Dangerously Misinformed

How Politicos' Low Tech Understanding Threatens High Tech Harm

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:43 PM

I see folks on both sides of the aisle getting way to excited about a massive interference in Big Tech by Big Government. In this piece, I discuss some of the issues that are inevitable with it while also noting the real Big Tech problems we need to deal with:

Probably all of us have some frustration with one or more of the Tech Giants who are being targeted by Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s “Ending Platform Monopolies Act.” It is tempting to cheer on efforts to offer a cure to common Big Tech disease, checking their power over us. But, like a layperson coming up with the wrong treatment for a serious illness, this and other similar proposals, dangerously operate on oversimplification that threatens to make our technology much worse while ignoring the genuine Big Tech problems staring us down.

To Heck with Crassness

Do Trite Curse Words Really Help "Art"?

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:04 PM

My latest take on OFB, tackling the subject of f-bombs and the like in current pop culture:

I’m tired of it. I’m tired of every currently running TV show someone tells me to watch being littered with content that might make even the proverbial sailor blush. With so many forms of entertainment now freed from the reach of the FCC’s decency rules, it is now countercultural if dialogue or song lacks a peppering of the coarsest words. Is this really the best we can do?

Find Out if NoVax is Right for You

If Skipping the COVID Vaccine Were a Pharmaceutical Commercial...

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:44 PM

What if not getting a COVID vaccine were promoted like a medication? Imagine “NoVax,” if you will. That’s the starting point for an OFB piece I wrote in response to a skeptical friend who asked for a non-reactionary reason why someone should get the vaccine.

The disease that we will likely recall for the rest of our lives as simply “the Pandemic” has been answered by vaccines that, by any pre-COVID standard, would be viewed as incredibly effective. Reduce spread, reduce severity and do so with stunningly few severe side effects? How can “NoVax” be appealing in that light?

Leaving the Social Media Stockyard

The Promise of the Internet was Decentralized Content. Let's Return to It.

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:59 PM

Over on Open for Business I argue that it is time for us to return to taking the blogosphere seriously and start to see it as the first place we post, instead of being “social media first” like so many of us are. In doing so, we address some of the biggest concerns both the Right and Left express about social media and we return to the heart of the Internet’s decentralized promise:

It is time we took back control. A healthier Internet need not be free of social media, but it must have far more decentralized interaction from us, so social providers have to actually compete for our attention. The blogosphere offers the path to that better Internet.

My current and former blogosphere compatriots… let’s do this.

Are We Palm Sunday Followers of Jesus?

So Many Misunderstood Jesus Then and We Still Do Today

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 3:27 PM

Palm Sunday was yesterday, marking the beginning of Holy Week. A week when Christians remember Jesus’s path toward crucifixion and His subsequent overcoming of death. While both Palm Sunday and Easter are filled with joy, the joy of Palm Sunday is striking in how the crowd was joyful – at least in part – for the wrong reasons.

Hailing Spring

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:57 PM

Well, it is definitely spring here in Missouri. It just hailed for a very long time just now — and these hailstones are still relatively large after sitting in a downpour for about 10 minutes prior to when I went out to retrieve them. 😳 (The white stuff on the ground is more hail.)

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WandaVision's Power was in the Human, not the Superhuman

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:19 PM

What is grief, but love persevering? Disney+’s WandaVision is one of the best series I can recall gracing the small screen in decades and that question posed by the Vision (Paul Bettany) captures so much about what allows the show to be profound beyond the strictures of either of its roots: classic sitcoms and Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Pastor Stemler

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:11 PM

I learned this afternoon of the death of one of the best pastors I’ve had a joy to know, Pastor Herbert Stemler. This is a photo of him and me from the night of my ordination in 2012.

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