New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Paying It Forward

April 23, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Family, Missy Beattie

Thoughts on ‘Authentic Carbon Trading’

by Missy Beattie

Recently, I read an article about the aging population, specifically, those who have Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and the burden placed on families, society, and health care.  As always, I looked at reader reactions. A man said he’s saving for the likelihood of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, long-term care in a facility, so his children won’t have to bear the responsibility. I agree with the person who said she’d take her own life if diagnosed with a mind-robbing, progressive condition. You know, go while the going is good.

We, the Sisterhood, Laura, Erma, and I, discuss end times. Our own.

I have it on the best authority that I am not depressed. (more…)

The Needs of Others

July 01, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Family, Missy Beattie

What We Get in Exchange for Having to Die

by Missy Beattie

I ran out of my kingdom this morning, past businesses and houses with flowering lawns. Hearing music, I felt that ancient call of divinity and watched a perfect American family (wife, husband, son, and daughter) enter a place of worship, a sanctuary for some, a Sunday morning coming down or comeuppance for others, and usually, for me, real estate seldom noticed. I wondered what my mother would say, that quick-witted little woman who made pronouncements about proper church attire, if I heeded the sound of music and wandered in, wearing New Balance and spandex.

I ran on, continuing to think about my mother. The choice she made to stop medical screenings after Daddy died. Her decision to starve rather than endure weekly blood transfusions. I was at home in Kentucky during her last days.

As I write, sister Laura’s on her way to Kentucky. I haven’t been there since Mother died. I don’t know why I can’t go. I tell my siblings we should gather somewhere. (more…)

A Foundation of Decency

May 06, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Economy, Robert C. Koehler

Building a Society that Protects Everyone

by Robert C. Koehler

“Everywhere near the building, the stench of death was overpowering. Men in surgical masks sprayed disinfectant in the air.” We move from tragedy to tragedy with hellish regularity.

“The scope of injuries,” Jim Yardley writes in the New York Times, “was horrifying: fractured skulls, crushed rib cages, severed livers, ruptured spleens. One survivor lost both legs. . . . A teenage girl named Sania lost her right leg. Another teenager, Anna, lost her right hand.”

This wasn’t from a bomb in Boston. It was from a collapsed building outside Dhaka, Bangladesh — another shocking sweatshop disaster, this one claiming the lives, according to the most recent count, of 385 people, with many more missing and at least 1,000 injured. Eight people, including the owner of the building, which housed five separate garment operations employing more than 3,000 people, were arrested. Workers, the Times reported, saw cracks in the walls of the building the day before it collapsed. They were told to go to work anyway. (more…)

Sustaining Life

November 14, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Evaggelos Vallianatos

New Book Explores ‘How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity’

by Evaggelos Vallianatos

Sometime in the 1990s I heard the Harvard professor of medicine, Eric Chivian, make a presentation on Capitol Hill about the anthropogenic origins of global warming. He is an academic who speaks to the world. He co-founded International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which, in 1985, won the Nobel Peace Prize. He is also the founder and director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.

I recently rediscovered Chivian because of his work on biological diversity, which he edited with his colleague, Aaron Bernstein. The book, Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity, published in 2008 by Oxford University Press, is extremely important and timely. The Library Journal named it the “Best Biology Book of 2008.” It is now in its fourth printing and is used at scores of high schools, colleges and graduate schools all over the world. Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic editions are scheduled to appear in a year or two.

Sustaining Life deserves the attention it is getting. (more…)

Near-Death Experiences

October 04, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Missy Beattie

To Bee or Not to Bee…

by Missy Beattie

I have a neighbor, F, here in the Kingdom of Cross Words (and puzzling entanglements), who’s been depressed and medicated off and on for months.  The genesis of his anguish is twisted adoration for a female who clutches him closely and then hurls him away with language and equivocation that would send most in the direction of sanity. Seems this woman-like object holding the deed to F’s underwater soul has torture down to an artistic science. And despite my disdain for his willingness to accept abuse, F and I have managed to talk each other up, and by up, I mean elevated from death wishes. Plus, he tolerates my radical political views without recoiling or criticizing.

Recently, F announced he had a story for me. I thought perhaps he was going to report that sunlight’s truth had illuminated his sensibilities as well as his sensitivities and that finally he’d used the word he and his fixation once selected to signal THE END.  But no. (more…)

Life on Mars?

August 20, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Randall Amster

Searching for Signs in the Cosmos, and on Earth

by Randall Amster

Forty years ago, David Bowie asked the musical question, “Is there life on Mars?” Bowie’s song embodied an escapist sensibility, a longing for life elsewhere to break the doldrums and despair of living on Earth. Filled with vivid imagery, the song reflects humankind’s eternal longing to be part of something larger than our mundane lives. In essence, it taps into an acute desire to discover that there’s more than meets the eye to this existence.

As such, the search for extraterrestrial life is equal parts theological, philosophical, and practical. With the Curiosity rover now cutting swaths through the stark Martian landscape, we may soon have an answer to this perpetual question, at least partially. More to the point, it’s entirely plausible that (at the least) vestiges of life will be found to exist wherever there is (or was) water, and Mars almost certainly fits that bill. The impending confirmation will do more than alter our creation mythology — it will force us to rethink whether the heavens are merely there for our taking as the sole cosmic occupants. (more…)