About Ron Wolff

Ronald Wolff, Psy.D., has been writing intermittently since childhood. He has authored an unbelievably amateur first novel (“Unintended Consequences”), a political thriller centering on preservation of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (“Operation Capitol Hill”), and a number of literary short stories (“The Magic Pill” and “The Cellist”). In his “spare time,” he serves as President/CEO of a non-profit agency serving adults with disabilities. Inspired by his background reading for “Operation Capitol Hill,” Ron is now researching and writing a non-fiction “sequel,” tentatively entitled “I Pledge Allegiance: To What? The Paradox of ‘Me’.” It’s a massive project intended to ask the following questions: How well is this country doing in achieving the fundamental goals outlined in its founding documents? To the extent that achievement falls short of potential, what barriers exist? How, if at all, can these barriers be mitigated or overcome? Ron lives in Claremont with his dog Angel. He texts but does not tweet. Should you be so motivated, write him at OpCapitolHill@aol.com.

3D Decision-Making Model

david-brooks-wide

Ron Wolff: Robust cognitive ability, a healthy emotional outlook, and high ethical standards will combine to produce decisions fitting our complex society.

Jerry Brown’s Budget

Ron Wolff: California’s “new” (but experienced) governor is bringing some urgently needed honesty and fresh thinking to the budgeting process in a state weary of smoke, mirrors, a two-thirds requirement in the legislature for tax increases, and the ravages of a recession imposed largely by external forces.

Welcome to the “Inland Empire”

san bernardino

Ron Wolff: The “Inland Empire” is a vast stretch of land east of Los Angeles County inhabited mostly by cacti and Republicans, characterized over the years by brazen political corruption (the most recent former San Bernardino County assessor used the office as a political headquarters when he wasn’t high on meth or participating in rehab) and the intellectual analysis of issues on a level of sophistication that would make any fifth grader proud.

Evolution Continues

evolution

Ron Wolff: Species typically become extinct as a result of failure to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Homo sapiens may be the first species not only to have caused its own destruction but to have had the power to see it coming — and failed to heed the warning signs.

An Uncanny Coincidence

dancing on gun barrels

Ron Wolff: It was announced this week that the pullout of NATO troops from Afghanistan will be — 2014! Amazing as it might sound, 2014 is exactly the same deadline I have set for myself for the imposition of a low calorie diet. I’ve had this objective since 2002, but it’s always been part of a long-term strategic plan, not something I wanted to rush into prematurely.

Supreme Court Overturns Giant Victory in World Series

antonin scalia

Ron Wolff: In a stunning and unexpected development, the United States Supreme Court has vacated the recent victory of the San Francisco Giants over the Texas Rangers, awarding the World Series crown to the team from the Lone Star State.

A (Mostly) Thoughtful California Electorate

meg and carly

Ron Wolff: Voters demonstrated sophistication and thoughtfulness, first, because they failed to allow the onslaught of money to purchase their brains.

Sarah Palin: Professor of Freedom?

Sarah Palin

Ron Wolff: I suggest that it is not necessary to postulate bias against conservatives as the reason for the preponderance of liberals in academia. The simpler answer is that conservatives (with exceptions! I don’t want to over-generalize!) are less able (or at least less inclined) to engage in critical thinking worthy of an academic environment.

Should We Regulate Cities?

Indicted Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo

Ron Wolff: I can’t help thinking what the “deregulation contingent” of political thinkers would do about the situation in Bell, California, where a corrupt city council, in collusion with a city manager accused of criminal activity, raped the treasury of millions of dollars by paying themselves excessive salaries, sometimes for meetings that lasted only a few minutes.

Discouraging News

Ron Wolff: So, will someone please explain to me how CEOs getting wealthy and average workers being cheated out of hard-earned wages is part of the American dream?

Tale of Three Bureaucracies

Bureaucracy

Ron Wolff: Could it be that we might actually get 19.1% better insurance coverage if we allowed the government to run the program? I don’t know; you tell me.

On Reading the Sunday Paper

sunday newspaper

Ron Wolff: Like many people, I get some of my news these days from blogs. But I still read a daily newspaper. Had I not, I might have missed several key reports.

Checks and Balances, Part II

fat cats

Ron Wolff: Here I reveal how a coalition of sub-populations cutting in an entirely different direction (connecting selected people with powerful segments of government) can become destabilizing — possibly even undemocratic (dare I say dictatorial?).

Checks and Balances

Ron Wolff: Government is simply the institutionalization over time of the collective will of the people at any given moment, established with at least one essential objective in mind: the prevention of the inevitable chaos that would result in its absence.

Boy’s Suicide: Avoidable Tragedy?

depression

Ron Wolff: Los Angeles County Supervisors have been aware for years that several of their largest departments — Juvenile Probation and Children and Family Services among them — are dysfunctional. They claim to care — but the problems persist. There is one thing a leader does in urgent times — take urgent action!

A Grand Fourth

Ron Wolff: FDR spoke about “four essential freedoms” on January 6, 1941, naming 1) freedom of speech and expression; 2) freedom of every person to worship in his own way; 3) freedom from want; and 4) freedom from fear — which he explained was related to a reduction of armaments and the lack of physical aggression against any other country in the world.

Discrimination: Alive and Well

boy scouts

Ron Wolff: I don’t quarrel with the Boy Scouts’ right to determine its own membership qualifications, although I think what they’ve done is short-sighted in the least and actually downright bigoted. (Other organizations serving young people — the Girl Scouts, Campfire, Boys and Girls Clubs, and probably a host of others — have seen the light.) What I don’t understand is the desire to celebrate and applaud discrimination, unless of course you approve of those views yourself.

Fight Them Over There, Not Here?

times square bomber

Ron Wolff: All of our efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, now spanning about eight years (twice the time it took to win World War II), have not resulted in an ability to keep would-be terrorists outside our borders or foil their plots in advance (no doubt with some exceptions).

The Awkward Confluence of Capitalism and Democracy

Ron Wolff: If PG&E believes so strongly in democracy, shouldn’t it let its shareholders vote on whether to support a campaign like this? Don’t hold your breath. If capitalism thrives because it promotes market efficiency, what’s wrong with letting governments operate utilities if they can do it better than private enterprise?

How Many is “Too Many”?

hank aaron

Ron Wolff: In Los Angeles County, child abuse hotline tips flow in at a rapid clip. Responsibility for investigating them falls to the Department of Children and Family Services. The Los Angeles Times reports that more than 18,000 cases are unresolved within the mandated time limit of 30 days, at least in part because there are simply not enough social workers.

Alert! George Will Speaks the Truth (Sometimes)

George Will

Ron Wolff: Democrats pushed health care reform, according to Will, because of liberals’ tendency to “lunge to maximize government growth.” Presumably, it was irrelevant that insurance companies were acting like bandits, taking policy-holders’ money and then withholding services when people got sick, and that millions of Americans were dying prematurely because they didn’t have access to quality medical care.

Buy Stocks and Enter Coal Mines at Your Own Risk

Ron Wolff: The logical question to ask is: How much is the CEO of Massey Energy Company compensated for setting the tone and establishing the philosophy that “violations are unfortunately a normal part of the mining process”? According to the New York Times , CEO Don L. Blankenship earned $11.2 million in 2008, about twice what he earned in 2006.

Stock Ownership: Theory vs. Reality

Money

Ron Wolff: I can’t help wondering how much more I (and millions of other Americans) could be earning from our stock portfolios if the billions of dollars paid in executive compensation (based on rationale that is marginal at best) were distributed to the shareholders.

Putting the Brakes on the Corporate Model

Toyota rough seas

Ron Wolff: How ironic (and unfortunate) it is that Toyota’s massive current crisis was caused, by its own admission, by a switch from the traditional Japanese model of high quality to the Western desire for growth and profit.

Unemployment? Or Unwillingness to Pay for Services?

Joblessness

Ron Wolff: Meanwhile, millions of people look for work. No, they’re not all trained to be police officers, probation officers, electrical engineers, or teachers. But many of them could be. And most of the rest are either qualified or COULD be qualified to perform tasks that provide society with useful — even necessary — services.

Education, Texas Style

Texas-ed-board

Ron Wolff: Oh, by the way, country and western music will be studied as a cultural movement. High school freshmen will probably be assigned the task of writing lyrics to twangy melodies — when they’re not studying about the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the National Rifle Association. Yes, they’re all “in.”

Good News on Bullying

Schoolyard-bully

Ron Wolff: What are the consequences of not providing mature social learning environments for our children? Just observe the overgrown children who populate our legislative bodies!

Balancing Altruism and Self-Interest in Government

Charles Kuralt

Ron Wolff: No doubt some of the “conservatives” (for lack of a better label — generally I dislike labels as oversimplifications) who read my articles feel that I spend too much energy denigrating our society. I can almost hear them say “If you love Denmark so much, why don’t you move there?”

US Political Process Haunted by Paralysis

Obama state of the union

Ron Wolff: “So we’re paralyzed in the face of mass unemployment and out-of-control health care costs…Blame our political culture, a culture that rewards hypocrisy and irresponsibility rather than serious efforts to solve America’s problems…I’m sorry to say this, but the state of the union — not the speech, but the thing itself — isn’t looking very good.”

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