Monday, December 27, 2010

At Last, Proof of Culture Gone Wrong

--I've just seen some proof of this contention!
Well, strong evidence, at least: an article
advising women about how to avoid makeup faux pas
engendered SIX HUNDRED comments! How important
is THAT subject, I have to ask?? In contrast, many
important articles and blog posts get far fewer
hits or comments.

It's been said by better minds than mine, but bears
repeating: Focus on light matters to the virtual
exclusion of the more important and urgent will
doom us to repeat Ancient Rome's our case,
at this rate, we won't have lasted even the 400+
years of their ascendancy. (Rome herself succeeded only
by bloody conquest and a caste/slave system.)

The internet reveals many clues as to society's
state, sad information, much of it. Do your own
survey, if you haven't already. If you are a caring,
intelligent person, you won't like what you see:

(1) Very few articles urging the overhauling of the
country's infrastructure. Instead of spying on so-called
"allies", why not tend to important issues at HOME?

(2) Where is the popular drive toward the greatest good
for the greatest number? Yes, there are caring people,
just NOT enough of them to make the difference. Ask
anyone working/volunteering in any of the helping
agencies, like food depositories/pantries, after-school
programs, the sick or disabled. They will sing my sad
song for you;

(3) The U.S. no longer possesses good, general knowledge
in science, math and history, all of which heavily contribute
to a top tier society. For decades now our students have fared
laughably compared to other nation's pupils; those countries
are catching up to us (some even surpassing us).

The ultimate proof of culture gone wrong is ignoring
a telling reality: we are in this together. "Community"
is another one of those catchwords so lovingly tossed
around, like "democracy" and "meritocracy". It's high time
we demonstrated we understand what those terms mean,
and act accordingly.

There's still time, just barely.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Understanding the True Significance of Reaganomics

I read a lot of history and economic material, am inclined to
personally pursue "progressive" (whatever true currency any of
these terms can possess) politics/policies/programs. Yet I'm able
to defend Reagan's presidency, at least the first five years,
on at least two important grounds:

(1) Reagan and Gorbachev, due to their personal, FDR-style
openness, put an end to the Cold War. (-Nevermind that we STILL
spy on each other!) Major, more objective, historians say so,
and I recall that memorable Time magazine article describing how
they left their handlers except for two interpreters, later getting
their glasnost underway in the fall of 1987. Some significant
drop in spent monies on the arms race can only be a good thing,
unless you own a munitions factory.

(2) Most of the leftist punditry I've observed only focus
on the negative effects of Supply Side and other policy
deregulating businesses and corporations. But they miss
something extremely significant: Reagan gave the laissez faire
"purists" their chance, and they largely blew it, NOT hiring,
NOT plowing extra profits back into their companies, retrofitting,

Reagan, a former democrat turned republican, seems to sincerely
have believed the U.S. business community would step up
VOLUNTARILY, (a la Herb Hoover); he successfully pushed
through his deregulatory agenda....including tax breaks for
factory owners to improve and expand their business; this was
called the 10-5-3, few took advantage of it. I think Bob Dole
angrily commented about that, and had this special tax incentive

Since 1900, TWO U.S. presidents gave business interests their
untrammeled way during economic contractions,which policy
resoundingly failed for all but the wealthiest, most self-obsessed
opportunists. (If you count Bush II, perhaps THREE.)

It isn't logically or rationally possible to dispute a philosophy
for most people to understand its flaws UNLESS it is actually
TRIED. So, listen up, super conservative republicans:

The true significance of Reaganomics: the greedy had the
opportunity to prove voluntary compliance for the common
good can work....but they didn't take it.

Bring on regulatory reform.
Just not a true nanny state.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Not The Last Word if I can help it

Dear Mr. "G.", you misspelled "precedent".
Also, yes, the Bush tax cuts run out soon. What do
you think is happening in the lame duck session?
These cuts will likely be extended, with a few
modest yet key language changes....perhaps you've
heard the expression, "God is in the details"
(-to say nothing of any potential devils).

Good for Mr. O!--About TIME he took the rigid,
the greedy and the ignorantly posturing of BOTH
parties to the woodshed.

NO, we CAN'T do whatever we see in our mind's
eye. Right now I am quite disgusted with a large
fraction of my fellow humans, but I can't teleport
myself to a more advanced planet, even though my
cerebral cortex boasts intelligence and imagination.

But when rushing to post, what's logic got to do with
it? To paraphrase Tina Turner, Logic, a secondhand
"emotion". My fantasy is to suddenly see far more
logic, sure possession of relevant facts, and supple
handling of English.

NOT happening before I die, I'll wager.

(P.S.: The Last Word is the MSNBC blog referred to here.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Phil Gramm Not So Irrelevant--to the FED

A few months back I characterized former senator Phil
Gramm as irrelevant after he used that term dismissively
about Glass-Steagall, the prescient 1930's two acts reining
in the banks. I hadn't known what he's currently up to, or I
would have castigated him for more recent atrocities
now affecting the entire U.S.

Sen. Gramm's opinions about "irrelevant regulations"
seemed unimportant--after all, he was (thank you, Texas!)
not reelected. But wait--where is he now?? He's a vice-
chairman of ZURICH'S UBS, the huge foreign bank which
has received a multi-billion bailout from THE FEDERAL
RESERVE. The Fed, now banker to the world??

According to VT Independent Senator Bernie Sanders,
quoted in a December 2nd, 2010 Bloomberg article,
that's a damned good question, which he and others
are assiduously pursuing. (--yahoo!)

All I can say is, where is a Phil Gramm look-alike
doll when I need one! (-To stick pins into, that is.)
Talk about "voodoo economics"! This last decade in the
U.S. economy seems like The Wild West, Caribbean Voodoo
Ceremonies, or treks to the Oracle at Delphi for
sage answers, etc., with all the exotic financial
instruments promoted by greedy idiots who'd taken leave
of their senses (lacking any reality-based sense, common,
uncommon, inspired or otherwise).

Meanwhile, certain pronouncements from U.S. think tanks
verge on the obviously fantastic, essentially claiming
the Fed must engage in loans to overseas banks. But
was such a practice in its original (or even current)

Is the United States still a sovereign nation?--With
geographical borders which have economic boundaries
as well?--Or just a gigantic corporation thoughtlessly
run by omnipotent oligarchs rolling roughshod over the
rest of us? (We need Teddy Roosevelt and cousin FDR
back AGAIN.)

Somebody call me when there's a concerted plan based on the
greatest good for the greatest number.

Until then, find me that damn Gramm doll!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WikiLeaks: More Proof that Idiots Run the Store

Whine, whine, whine! Alarmed voices all across the diplomatic
map caution and complain that these leaks compromise
diplomacy, international relations, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
The revelations include many petty, other-than-germane remarks.
But what did we expect? That these stellar figures comport
themselves professionally, including dignified demeanor and
verbal restraint, focusing on solving difficult if not downright
intractable issues? (--Oh, of course NOT.)

But I did.

Sadly, idiots of various stripes are still running our little
store, with small profit to the rest of us. Outside the U.S.,
certain nations occasionally put up no confidence votes and
entire representative bodies have had to resign. Since we don't
possess such a mechanism here, how about this:


"Complete" entails national, state and local elections.
Yes, it's only a fantasy. But that show of no confidence
surely would make many "Idiots" take notice.

Then maybe some of them would better mind the store.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chertoff's Christmas Comes Early

Recent polls claim most Americans have
no problem with the scanners now used
at some major U.S. airports. Since the
Chertoff Group promotes these machines,
our former Homeland Security boss must
be jumping for joy. That uninformed people
don't perceive danger is not proof against
future shock.

A Primer Regarding Human Exposure to Radiation:

(1) To this day there is no "expert"
agreed-upon safe human exposure radiation level.
(2) All radiation, whether high or low,
is cumulative. Why do radiation techs at
hospitals or doctors' offices leave the
room or wear protective gear when patients
are X-rayed? Why should you wear a lead lap
apron while getting dental X-rays? Why are pilots
publicly objecting to going through airport scanners?

There is only one answer here: too many accumulated rads
can kill you by causing cancer. If radiation
exposure wasn't cumulative, it would be safer,
because future cancer risk due to radiation would
be manageable.

Radiation medicine has saved many thousands of lives,
including mine. But radiation alters/kills healthy tissue
as well as tumors, so the blessing is definitely a
mixed one.

Going through the scanner avoids the official molestation
AKA the TSA Patdown, which is why "Opt Out" was a non-event
this Thanksgiving. But frequent fliers or those who require
repeated medical X-rays got more dangerous dosing than they
obviously realized.

Dear Mr. Chertoff, don't wear yourself out from jumping for
joy or laughing all the way to the bank. Profits from
the Rapiscan scanners will eventually dwindle, as people
learn that even a little radiation is a dangerous thing.

Meanwhile, it looks like your Christmas came early.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mortgage Companies, DO Income Verification

Apparently the banking and real estate industries
have NOT learned their lessons. The Great Recession
of 2007-2010, largely fueled by strange, unsecured
loans and other exotic "financial instruments" (which
yet were profitable all along the transaction highway)
is not quite over, despite good numbers in the markets.
If only the extremely well-to-do feel no pain, but the rest
(the majority) are suffering, claims of recovery are specious,
to put it politely.

Over a week ago I heard a quite alarming radio ad over
Chicagoland's CBS feed, promoting "the biggest no-brainer
in the history of Earth! Get FHA refinancing of your
house note, no income verification required!" (--No brainer,
indeed.) I contacted an executive at the station complaining
why this was an ad which under fair practices, truth in
advertising law, etc., should not have been accepted.
I was told no income verification loans ARE/WERE legal,
he'd had one in the past, etc.

Now it shouldn't have been necessary to remind this nice
gentleman that, just because HE didn't default, the
practice is therefore economically-speaking, more widely safe.
But I did. He agreed to check out my concern, and I hope
he has.

Hey, mortgage companies, do your damn job! DO INCOME

It's the economy (AGAIN), stupid.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Opt Out" for Good: Take the Train

I'm way ahead of you one-occasion boycotters--
I stopped flying in 1988,when my Continental flight
suddenly dropped 5-10 thousand feet during a nation-
wide winter storm. Landing at Denver Stapleton,
I found an airline PR person and directed him to a
window. We looked out at my plane which was to
continue on to Chicago, my destination. I asked for
the ice to be removed from the wings. When he refused
I demanded overnight accommodations and a Greyhound
ticket to Chicago, which I got. The plane did make
it safely back to Chi, but several flight attendants
had also left that plane, I later read.

Before and since I've travelled by train; but only
by train, car or bus since 1988 for national travel.
During that 20 plus hour ride one can read, sleep, get
plans organized, thought out and written down, etc. Oh,
and seriously stretch your legs too. You can cut down on
hotel expenses by building sleeping on the train into
your schedule.

Frequent fliers/business travelers? Videoconferencing
has been on the rise, and could sharply escalate now
that many across the U.S. are personally, uncomfortably
aware of just how intrusive the TSA security practices
have become. Remember the shoe stores and their
radiation machines? You stepped up on them and saw
your foot bones. That's unnecessary harmful radiation,
(as all radiation exposure, high or low, is cumulative)
which explains why those things are gone. The new scanners
now in use at our major airports have a direct
financial connection to Chertoff, our Homeland Security
Department former boss. He and his private security firm
partners sell these very machines....CONFLICT
OF INTEREST, anyone? Chertoff was promoting these
scanners WHILE Bush's Cabinet officer.

Don't mind strangers sliding their hands up your inner
thighs, over your buttocks, and even between your
legs as part of a public inspection? Then you're among the
80% of Americans so in love with their money and middle-class
conveniences that they would permit such a violation of privacy
and dignity--the whole spectacle is pathetically nasty, really,
for anyone with an ounce of self-respect and/or modesty.
THIS IS OFFICIAL MOLESTATION, there is no other better term
to use here. If there ARE no other accurate methods to avoid
terrorism, we are NOW a third world country, all the flag-waving
and bragging to the contrary.

The day these intrusions make their way to buses and trains is
when I look for another nation to call my own....

That really WOULD be opting out for good.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Errorville USA: Post November 2nd, 2010

Errors everywhere! I wouldn't even care that much,
except the innocent will be victimized by such arrant
stupidity. Now that the dust is settling somewhat after
our recent national elections, let's examine the most
egregious errors one by one:

(1) "Smaller government is better government,
saves us all money." --No, there are actions
only a larger government can take, such as providing
a humane safety net, massive research projects, defense,
and emergency large-scale bailouts (when the banks and
Wall Street are too greedy/stupid to refrain from practices
which threaten the whole Earth's economy).

There's something called a county hospital, which
takes in poor as well as paying patients. Some fiscal
conservative who suddenly finds himself short of money
to pay for private care better hope he lives close
enough to a county hospital which accepts non-paying
patients or his health's on the line....p.s., these
are government-financed county hospitals! Ditto the
libraries, fire and police departments. (--Oh, and the
public schools, but of course, nobody needs those, MOST
Americans can afford excellent private
education for their offspring.)

(2) "No more stimulus or extended unemployment money!
We don't want to leave massive debt to our children."
Once more, with feeling: if the unemployed have no
income, they won't spend, and although a totally
consumer driven economy isn't the best possible
economy, it's the one the U.S. has had for FIFTY
plus YEARS, so deal with it, extend unemployment
benefits. As to the stimulus: whatever one's political
REQUIRED major reconstruction to our bridges, roads, rails,
etc., for well over TWENTY YEARS. Remember the deaths
in Minneapolis when that highway bridge collapsed? More
such tragedies await due to inaction. --So stimulate that!
--Hire people to fix a literally broken America, which
actually resembles the Third World more and more each

Memo to deficit hawks: the deficit goes up and down, over
time. A mere ten years ago the U.S. had a surplus with no
tax cut for the wealthy, but then we got Bush II and his
expensive, immorally/ineptly handled wars....and a huge
tax cut for the rich, about the time NYC needed funds
to clean up after 911. Our grandchildren aren't automatically
doomed to drown in debt; the nation's fortunes have changed
within a five-year time frame more than once in our history.

(3) Mass media morons make matters even worse, enlighten
no one, exaggerate everything, do little original sourcing,
repeat colleagues' mistakes, ad nauseum, ad infinitum.
When "journalists" query the President at White House press
conferences, they repeat each others' questions which Mr.Obama
has just answered, while NOT getting to the heart of several
important issues. Instead, in this last press conference, the
President was largely baited about democratic party losses and
his own re-election prospects. (Say, does this mean we never
got rid of yellow journalism?--Could be that term has more than
one meaning.) Edward R. Murrow and David Halberstam are
surely spinning in their graves.

Yep, look for it on a world map: Errorville, otherwise known as
the USA.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Hijinks vs. Wailing the Bailout Blues

Well, it's time to do the math again. The great hue and cry,
hankie-wringing hullabaloo about "the bailouts are ruining
the U.S. economy, drastically deepening the debt" isn't
justified by the numbers. Out of the 787 or so billions
loaned out to various organizations, the government
expects to have most of that returned to the taxpayers
save a relatively paltry 51 billion, according to the
Associated Press: yes, this is no typo, 51 billion out
of 787 billion, out of an economy which boasts an annual

Dealing debt disaster out to the hustings to batter
politicians and philosophies one doesn't like is not only
scary, it's very dangerous as well. Oh, and a far more
deliberate lie than anything else going right now:

So, woe is highly appropriate this Halloween season;
sure, scare everyone witless about the economy, apparently
high unemployment numbers aren't bad enough. Irresponsible?
So what?? Anything goes in love and war--love my own ideas,
hate anyone on the opposite side of the political divide; and,
by golly, it's war, complete with victims,victors and spoils.

Enjoy Halloween but don't fall for the bailout wailers
who either can't or won't do the math. The national debt
is indeed problematic, but one that comes and goes. Now
and again there are even surpluses.

....Alas, no surplus of common sense in America, that
scarcity scares me, whatever the holiday.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Politics 2010, New Word Magic: Maybe

Maybe: there's a watchword for the intelligent
present and foreseeable future. Not automatically
negative nihilism, not pie-in-the-sky optimism/denial,
but guarded hope, realistic outlooks/ efforts. That's
what I'm saying to younger people I've been running into
this political season, many who are dejected, feel rejected,
wonder who really cares about them. I'm asking them to dig
deeper, find intelligent, caring candidates to believe in,
then support those. Granted, the effort required is somewhat
on the massive side, but ultimately worth it to all of us.

Maybe. Maybe the future IS worth investing in, maybe we have
to fight on for the younger ones, the animals (-even the plants!).

There's magic in Maybe, a watchword candidate I can
get behind.

Maybe some sweet surprises await us.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Real Jackasses: Partying State Legislators

How about that 2010 nationwide state
legislators convention in Kentucky?
Largely a party thrown by big-buck corporations
to woo votes, ABC filmed aging legislators
attempting to recapitulate their youth,
(oh, and by the way, FAILING) far more
nauseating than the Jackass movie stunts
could ever be. At least JK, JT and crew
were clearly good-natured, only potentially
harming themselves. Most tellingly, you
had to PAY and GO to a theater to be
shocked/entertained, whereas with these
true jackasses in our nations' legislatures,
everyone is held hostage to these bozos
not tending to their state's horrendous
budget, unemployment, education and crime

Instead of the pathetic partying, did these
folks caucus to share positive solutions
for seemingly intractable problems? I had visions
of them doing so before seeing the ABC video.
Why oh why are adult Americans so DAMN IMMATURE?
Why do too many hate work?

How about replacing those incumbents when
state-level elections roll around? Now THAT'S
sending a message, most particularly about
"honest services".

Throw the rascals out: The real jackasses,
our partying state legislators.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Digitally Dumbed Down While Ascending the Tower of Babel

Focus! Multitasking excellence is a myth. Six million years
of primate evolution must militate against the Distracted
Digital Age; our human brains were hardwired to concentrate
on intricate problems, with a loss of peak performance when
distracted. No one can simultaneously and accurately
perform four or more tasks; switching back and forth between
them is little better.

But our egos tell us otherwise (we multitaskers are au courant,
the best and the brightest--just see how busy and connected
we are!)Yes, yet: accuracy is significantly less, and analytical,
logical processes are fragmented, reduced. Check out the
multitasking experiments at MIT and Stanford as described on a
recent PBS Frontline, "Digital Nation"; you may be as chagrined
as the carefully chosen students tested were, suddenly faced with
evidence of their less than-accomplished brilliance.

Certain university educators have been forced into a kind of
reductio ad absurdia, wherein they no longer assign books
over 200 pages to their students, some of whom in turn publicly
admit they no longer read books at all, but instead utilize
digital analogs of Cliff's Notes. Some professors have concerns
about the reduced ability to maintain, sustain protracted focus,
leading others to pen tomes bemoaning the "dumbest generation".

So what are we left with? -Too many younger people who don't
know that Dayton is in Ohio, can't locate large European
countries on a map, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. -Grammar rules
and spelling tossed by the wayside, which in turn dulls and
distorts any intent to accurately communicate.

Then there is our immaturity, initially prolonged because the
United States considered itself the sole winner of WWII (as we
sustained fewer losses and no invasions to speak of). The Xbox
crew vanishes for long periods into a vicarious "reality"
where they have "adventures" and "skills" "far beyond those of
mortal men", becoming Superman (-Super Avatar?) for the
moment. Whatever happened to actually BECOMING someone,
something, special? Answer: that takes far more effort,
sustained focus (reread: hard work, appreciation of delayed
gratification.) Overly highly prioritizing fun and relaxation
is more properly the domain of children, not adults, who
supposedly mature to enjoyments of a deeper
sort, while still retaining a sense of fun.

All this is absolutely nothing new, current media warnings
to the contrary. The rush to the bottom, lowest common
denominator culture has been building my whole 65 years.
"New", "easy", etc. blared out from ads from NYC's Madison
Avenue not long after WWII ended, smoothly segueing/sliding us
into the consumer culture, the Me Decade, the Me Generation and
--voila! The Wow! Now! Generation. All technology turnover has
done merely exacerbated these national societal trends.

Every new generation generates fears that the world will now
be carted off to Hell in a handbasket, which thankfully hasn't
happened. But with the advent of the Atomic Bomb and
"automation" (antiquated term, that) the world HAS forever
changed, and many of us are afraid we have engaged in a
Faustian bargain with our darker selves, with unmanageable results.

So, what's next? --Another new gadget that entertains us and
detains us from looking deep inside, the real final frontier.
I'm not wishing for a return to the cave, merely hoping
for just enough simplicity married to introspection which will
enrich all our lives and relationships, solve pressing global

In the meantime, however, we're being digitally dumbed down
while ascending the Tower of Babel. Alexis de Tocqueville and
George Santayana are still spinning in their graves.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's the Labor Market, Stupid

Remember the '90's? Back then a snappy saying gained currency:
"It's the Economy, Stupid". Most people think it still
is, for reasons as varied as the nation's landscape.
But one realization should stand out head and shoulders above
all other and contrary opinions: without businesses' ability to
obtain credit, meaningful increases in hiring won't occur,
the retail sector will experience a grim, Grinch-like holiday
season, and a second recession will follow quickly on the
heels of the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Such a scenario
is scarcely rare, regrettably. Check out the 20th century's
recessions and you will find several instances of decades
in which two contractions occurred.

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama, attempting to inspire job creation
and infrastructure repair, has been scurrilously attacked
and parodied in seemingly borderline illegal ways. Yet
Obama's unemployment extensions have yielded positive
results, according to Mark Price of the Keystone Research
Center, a purportedly independent think tank. Price claims
there would have been millions more at or below the poverty
line without the extensions, which surely contributed to
American buying power in recent months.

So let's do it! Hey there, banks and businesses sitting
on cash, release that death grip, start lending and hiring!
Christmas is coming; have some faith in the country you
profess to love and admire.

It's the patriotic thing to do.
Don't forget, it's the labor market, stupid.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The U.S.: Neither a Democracy Nor a Meritocracy

September 16, 2010: now that we're in the thicket
of the political season, it's high time we clarify
certain terms, to wit, democracy and meritocracy.
I strongly suggest the USA as a whole is neither:

(1) A Democracy is NOT what Benjamin Franklin
called the new nation on September 17, 1787,
The date our Constitution was signed.
In answer to a woman's query, "What sort of
government have you given us, Mr. Franklin?",
he replied, "A Republic, Madam, if you can keep it."
Actually, it's a representative, democratic republic,
even with subsequent constitutional amendments
and other liberalizing federal statutes which
also followed. All of the candidates, incumbents
and pundits invoking the word democracy should
recall a little thing known as the Electoral College.
In the words of the Pledge of Allegiance:"...and to
the REPUBLIC for which it stands,..."

(2) A Meritocracy can't possibly be what we've got
here, EITHER, with all the incompetence, mismanagement,
misstatement, lack of information, communication and
procedure ad infinitum. What about the well-known cliche'
"It's not what you know, but who"? There's real-world
reason nepotism and cronyism are included in American
English dictionaries. We DO indeed have very able and
knowledgeable people in government, industry and education
--but are they the major percentage? That seems more and
more untrue with each succeeding newscast and political ad.

One fine day in the far-off future our nation may
be able to accurately claim its status as a
democratic meritocracy; I fervently hope so.
Better still if all the other 199 countries
are justly described that way as well.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

PG&E, Dangerously Incompetent, is at it again

Not content with building a nuclear reactor near
the Hosgri Earthquake Fault in Diablo Canyon, PG&E
(Pacific Gas and Electric) also succeeded in constructing
a many miles-long natural gas transmission line with
many subsequent problem incidents/issues reported.
This latest gas explosion in California has destroyed
many homes and lives; much of the blame may safely be
laid at PG&E's doorstep. Pointed questions abound:

(1) Where does PG&E get their consulting or in-house
geologists from? What are their credentials, their
acuity, their experience? I challenge their expertise
absolutely, because that is the initial weak link in
the decision/command chain that keeps leading to
serious problems caused by this utility.

(2) Where are the regulators with the requisite
legal and character teeth to stop these dangerous
projects which end up costing way too much in
lives ruined, property and money wasted?

Many thousands must voice their intelligent
outrage with a burning, even fiery critique,
(stylistically, NOT literally, meant!)

Or PG& E will skate off to do it yet again.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Extremism is only rarely a virtue

Yes, just a few people can bring many troubles.
There is a U.S. "church" calling itself Dove
(a highly paradoxical appellation, it turns out)
which intends to publicly burn a copy of the Koran.
The fearless leader of this tiny sect (estimated
membership, 50) proclaims he and his are tired
of being intimidated by kings and others, wants to
bring back the U.S. to its rightful place in the

So he thinks our great and glorious nation can
regain its premier position by intentionally
antagonizing irrational, violent extremists abroad?
There is a photo of him and his all white truck
emblazoned with bright red lettering,
"International Burn a Koran Day", 9/11/2010, 6-9 pm".
Mr. "Church of the Dove" Jones is well-advised
to look into a very polished mirror, long and
hard. Maybe then he will counsel his flock to cancel
the ill-advised little conflagration he's planned,
and while he's at it, rename his church too.
Since he and his are NOT peaceful as is the Dove
of the Holy Spirit, how about " U.S. Chapter of
Worldwide Extremists"?

If only this irrational person and his devotees
would consult various history books with a
thoughtful studiousness, they might realize
what has proven true:

Extremism is only rarely a virtue.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Friday, August 27th gave Maywood, Illinois a
perfect weather day to showcase the fresh
produce planted by Green Corps, young people
who may have previously never dealt with gardens
of either the vegetable or flower variety.
The Prairie Path "Open House" (outdoors only)
was a tripartite effort by Loyola University
Medicine, Cook County Green Corp and University
of Illinois' should have
seen the pride and joy on those young faces!

The garden of course was bursting with tall
leaves of Kale and other vegetables, baby
watermelons hidden between them on the ground,
etc. Today, Saturday, the mature crops
go to the local Farmers' Market for sale.
Meanwhile, the young planters have already
sampled some of their wares. What could be

Projects like this have sprung up all around
the U.S., with many teens gaining insight
into more than mere appreciation of where
food actually comes from. The value and rewards
of teamwork, sensitivity and sustained effort
are pearls beyond price, food for the soul.

In this Good News Garden
a good time was had by all.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Reason, Fairness and Compassion: Off the Table

Why don't most of the politicians and
Wall Streeters read and heed Paul Krugman
and Simon Johnson? There's really only
one ugly reason: The super-rich and
well-fixed political figures really
don't care about middle and lower class
Americans, the majority. As Paul Krugman,
Simon Johnson and James Kwak so ably point
out, the rich and political, hereinafter
referred to as "they","them" or "their",
keep changing their reasons to deny
further assisting the unemployed. I've
seen cries of "socialism", "deficit-driven
depression/bankruptcy", "bond investor
withdrawal risk", etc. ....Whew! Say,
call me when you make up your minds--
AND make some sense.

Some of them have forgotten, if they ever
apprehended it, 6,000 years of recorded
history, oh, and a pithy little saying:
"...You can't fool all of the people all
of the time". The scales of Justice
sometimes swing back to weigh in favor of
the oppressed. Yet I see that many of
"them" must act and live by the old saw,
"take the money and run". But by forgetting
the lessons of history and economics, in the
long run, EVERYONE pays for stupid,
narrow-interest policies, even the very
proponents of same.


(1) Exhort those sitting on cash to hire!
Productivity numbers have lied for decades;
I'm here to attest to the sharp decline in
accuracy AND quality; you can't really do
"more with less", you just do LESS.

(2) If there is stimulus money unspent, allocate
it to employ people to fix our infrastructure.
Realize nothing lasts forever, not even the proton.
(Reading more science over a lifetime versus
partaking in many pointless social
opportunities would be a big help here.)
If the stimulus fund HAS truly been spent,
vote more money to do this vital work which
has been stupidly, niggardly, overlooked.

Remember in November.
(Please, remember in November.)

Unless a miracle of sane policy or
voter awareness/alacrity occurs, reason,
fairness and compassion are off the table.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Clean Air or Clean House: The Senate

The Union of Concerned Scientists is quite disturbed by the
current Senate inaction on climate change legislation, and so
am I. The following is a letter I sent to Illinois Senators
Durbin and Burris through the Union of Concerned Scientists'
take action website, which encourages editing the sample
letter they thoughtfully provide:

Some Senators are attempting to delay or block the EPA's
authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate global
warming emissions. These sorts of attacks are unacceptable:
the very politicians who want things to remain as they are
haven't read enough science to understand that the impending
climate change danger affects everyone on Earth--INCLUDING
their OWN families.

This denial insanity has progressed so far that even
physicist Stephen Hawking has been quoted as making
outrageous statements like "We must leave Earth or
face extinction." --What?? Say, let's fix things
right here, right now, while there may yet
be time. Moving to another planet to continue the sad
historical human pattern of overpopulating, polluting and
violence isn't even in the realm of possibility for several
hundred years, so let's get down to business now, shall we?

The question becomes, "Is the Clean Air Act the law, or not?"
If it IS the law, Congress must find a way to enforce it,
period. Otherwise it might be time to politically clean
house, if not the air, in subsequent elections.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Crazy Like a "Fox": Insanity Creep Grips the Nation

In their "coverage" of Shirley Sherrod, Fox News has
revealed (yet again) several symptoms of organizational
insanity, formerly referred to as "the Big Lie", a tactic
used by the unconscionable over the centuries, but more
recently, spectacularly and hideously, by the Nazis and
racist U.S. southern state politicians of notorious
yore/lore. To wit, (if scarcely witty):

(1)--Say anything! Don't bother with further research, post
a video purportedly making your point without even really
reviewing it, etc. That's what worthy news outlets believe
in doing, yessir. Then, with egg on your face after the world
discovers your egregious error, self-righteously backpedal
and blame the hated Obama White House for not properly vetting
what Ms. Sherrod said at an NAACP meeting.--Whew!
Lie and deny, me oh MY.

(2) Yet insanity creep is gripping much of the U.S.,
because this news outlet is crazy like a fox, knowing
that many Americans are intellectually lazy, won't
dedicate the time to ascertain accuracy in invidious
accusations like this. Sadly and inexcusably,
an administration official was just as negligent as
Fox News. But UNLIKE Fox, the White House jumped to an
apology with alacrity after discovering their mistake,
offering to rehire Ms. Sherrod, who appears to be mulling
such an idea over carefully....very carefully.

Alexis De Toqueville, touring a young America in 1831,
observed the nation's flaws even then, and we haven't,
regrettably, reformed them since. A hunger for novelty,
not delving deeply into important issues or knowledge,
makes Americans hostage to liars of every stripe and
agenda. (Bernie Madoff, anyone? He "made off" with the
money, fulfilling the negative imperatives of his name.)

What M. Alexis saw is at bottom of the worst excesses
and errors of the entire business world as well. Those
laid off during deep recessions are not usually rehired
by their old employers, and at least since 1982, I've
noticed the wholesale elimination of job titles.
Foisting more tasks on those still working has
become common practice.

Are any of you patriotic, truly? If so, don't fall
for the crazy like a "Fox" in our culture. Demand
more from yourselves and all others. After all,
people who love their country can't possibly
enjoy jokes or criticism about their nation's
very public rash stupidities.

At least I don't. Who likes derogatory comments
about their mother? One's country is at once
mother and home....

We forget that at our peril.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Good Fight Wages on , Everywhere

Just when the constant barrage of negative network news
threatens to overwhelm many of us, with its horrifyingly
repetitive, seeming inevitability, we can be reminded that
everywhere, the good fight wages on.

Here are just a few of the many ways to be inspired:

(1) We can go outside, stay awhile! (But observe all
safety/health measures.) Let's try to do without our
sexy tech cells, etc. for a few daylight hours a week.
(2) Follow PBS (Public Broadcasting) programming, even
their substations, and you will see that everywhere, even
in the poorest sections of the globe, good and positive
efforts are succeeding. Particularly view newscasts from
all around the world, for a better world perspective, and
I don't mean Google Earth, pretty as that is.
(3) Volunteer! Every community has need of whatever
gifts we may possess, so why not share them; the feeling
one gets is like nothing else, even love, but then,
it IS a form of love, no?

Recently I took my own advice (1) and went canoeing for
the first time, thanks to my very kind and smart nephew.
Being on the water in a local lagoon for two hours was
balm indeed for an over-harried mind. Calm waters
can smooth turbulent emotions....even merely recalling
the experience is calming and pleasant.

Following item (2) I found a little something called, which allows everyone to put a program
on tv. It's similar to CAN TV in many respects, but
unlike CAN, only a free broadcast tv with PBS is required
to receive it. Like CAN TV, is accessed by web
and cable as well.

So, yes, this blog focuses on the many errors everywhere,
but now and again good news is great, important too.

Let's join the good fight, wherever we find it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fast Flight from Common Sense on Facebook

Yessir, Facebook is surely a study in contradictions and
extremes. One thread covers memorializing a departed gifted
friend, important issues of the day, as well as the usual minor
ordinary occurrence. Then there's the thread, 60,000 fans strong,
which is cheering on the 19 year old fugitive thief/burglar who
reportedly stole planes, boats, cars and $1,500.

The "Barefoot Bandit, Colton Harris-Moore, escaped from
a halfway house two years ago after a troubled childhood. His
mother has a different last name, hasn't had custody since
he was 17, hasn't seen him for two and a half years. She says
the charges against her son are "exaggerated".

But it's no exaggeration to say that there's something wrong
with a culture which can produce 60,000 "fans" of a disturbed
young thief who was eventually apprehended carrying a handgun.
A fund created for Harris-Moore has already received donations.

One of his victims said it best: "Just knowing he has a huge
network of supporters makes me really worry about the state
of this country." Indeed.

Hey, if anyone has a charitable itch they are yearning
to scratch, donating to needy children and animals would seem
a better way to spend money and supportive sentiments.

But that would involve genuine caring, not circus-like entertainments.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Tarring and Feathering, Oil Spill Peril and Pain

The horror and anguish about the current Gulf Oil Spill is accelerating, in sad and ultimately
unreasonable, although understandable, reactions. One tearful local resident actually complained/implored he'd done nothing to deserve this....Indeed, he and all the other
life forms native to the 60,000 square mile area now contaminated have done nothing to
merit such a tragedy. There ARE, nevertheless, many blameworthy others, including:

(1) The new drill rig technology designers who promoted
the previously untried one mile deep project; why wasn't a less
deep design tried first? --Simply "scaling up"
is not rigorous science.
Having a superb command of Physics (i.e., in this case, the physics
of the ever-increasing pressures encountered in ever-increasing
depths) might have prevented/mitigated
the disaster before it began;

(2) Those oil rig workers (like many front-line employees)who knew more than the higher-ups, but only displayed concern
for the hierarchy and their jobs when they didn't abort
the project as the problem clearly presented itself;

(3) The bosses who looked at a so-called "bottom line"
and denied permission to shut down operations, who said
to substitute salt water as a cost-cutting measure;

(4) All the public relations people who attempted the
proper "spin" and figuratively turned many of us into
whirling dervishes instead with their lies;

(5) The politicians OUTSIDE Louisiana who are still championing
this energy technology, including, at times, Mr. Obama.
The tiny tarballs he fingered during his recent photo op were
much smaller than elsewhere, especially since that beach
was cleaned up before he arrived;

Then there's British Petroleum (or is it Beyond Petroleum?)
What can we say about the BP CEO who actually uttered the
sentiment about wanting his OWN life to return to normal?

Too bad tarring and feathering are illegal. The above-numbered
humans deserve such, not the animal and plant life in the Gulf.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The New York Times, Ben Bernanke:Two for One

While reading The New York Times Online ( May 14th),
I became shocked that two respected institutions could get
"it" so wrong, the causative factors leading up to the
Great Recession of 2008-2009.
To wit, heavily edited and paraphrased :

(1) NYT Interviewer: Some people ask, could you
(Ben Bernanke and the Fed)
have averted this serious recession? Mr. Bernanke did NOT
state the correct answer, which should have been "No".
Absent the controls in place for some 65 years, chiefly the
two banking acts known as Glass-Steagall, NO ONE could have
stemmed the gushing tide of red ink on balance sheets, Main and
Wall Street's, as the big banks simply ran amok,
acting out that willful child's arrogant claim,
"I can do ANYTHING I want!".
Add to that the rush to sub-prime mortgages by
those something for nothing artists,
the note sellers/holders as well as the "buyers"
who really should have known they could not afford
a house, even after being goaded/inspired
by countless ads proclaiming "You deserve it"
(this "it" being whatever someone wants)....

(2) Mr. Bernanke added to his obfuscations/misinforming statements by repeating that tired
old Wall Street saw: ......the regulations during FDR's time were primarily designed for commercial banks, not the fast-moving, innovative financial instruments in our modern interconnected markets......-Whoa! -Wait! The language of Glass-Steagall
was precisely crafted to avoid all the commingling, hiding, laissez faire fox-guarding-the-henhouse problems extant ONLY after the G-S Acts of the '30's were allowed to lapse during the Clinton/Gramm/Leach/Bliley era. Few, if any, changes in the language of Glass-Steagall are necessary; Mr. Bernanke well knows those acts covered all the zany, irresponsible, greedy behaviors of many big banks, then and now.

Renaming a thing, process, etc. is the favorite tactic of those impatient for fame/fortune/power without possessing truly new, good ideas; this happens in Medicine, Science, and even more frequently, Finance. Changing the terms of rash business practices in 1998 and after doesn't change the reality that the same phenomenon constantly reoccurs, over decades and even centuries. Read Lord Keynes' General Theory, then watch Niall Ferguson on PBS, "The Ascent of Money"--show me the profound "differences due to new instruments in this new century", please, I may be missing something important.

On May 14th, The NYT and B. Bernanke both erred,
a two for one scenario. It's vital to read, think,
tell the truth then act. Hopes for a less chaotically
painful world ride on such an approach....

It always has.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kerry's Errors of Understanding: The American Power Act, 2010

I'm following The American Power Act, Kerry-Lieberman, May 2010. My concerned
reactions to the proposals in TITLE I, Subtitle A follow:

(1) I understand how fervently most of us Americans want to cut ourselves loose
from MiddleEast Energy Dependence, as the political realities of that area are uncertain,
to employ kind euphemisms;
(2) But Nuclear Power is NOT clean, safe, financially sound, or even strictly "local"
(confined to our U.S. borders);
(3) The entire issue is one of Physics, Geology, Geography, Reactor Technology, Storage Cask
Technology/Reliability, Proprietary Business Interests, Power and Politics....fiendishly
difficult to understand even by the finest minds without years of intensive study.
(4) I often feel that few in the U.S. Senate (or House) at any time have deeply studied
the exigencies inherent in pusuing this technology; former President Carter, having been
a Navy Nuclear Engineer, is the only top official I can recall with such expertise.

Please do not support TITLE I Subtitle A of The American Power Act when it comes
to the floor; the old arguments from the '60's and '70's still have factual relevancy, sadly.
Radwaste is still toxic after 250,000 years, and reprocessing does NOT mitigate the danger.

Concerned Americans should call, fax, wire, email or snail mail their national house and senate reps.

The consequences of inaction or apathy are long lasting and great.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Trampling on Your First Amendment Rights Again: Will We Have to Change our National Anthem?

Thank God for PBS, I often say. On Sunday, April 25th, 2010, a PBS expose', "Food, Inc. " unpleasantly reminded me yet again of the constant battering The Constitution of The United States continues to take. This time a key issue was Agricultural Product Disparagement Laws, enacted by some 13 states, which forbid public criticism of food products. In some cases,
(remember the TV star sued by the beef cattlemen?) even if the criticism comes from outside
of those 13 states, agribusinesses from any
of these 13 feel free to sue. These are attempts (nothing new) of ignorant states' righters to ignore/weaken the federal constitution, exert control favoring their interests nationwide. (If you missed this important program you can find it on

The agribusiness industry, taken as a whole, currently acts like the trusts and monopolies of yesteryear.
Some of the biggest players have:
(1) Stifled books about to be published warning of unsafe foods, cruel treatment of farm animals, and filthy food factory practices;
(2) Cowed whistleblowers into not even publicly stating what foods they themselves do and do not consume;
(3) Sued small farmers not agreeing to buy and plant the agribusiness' patented seeds on specious grounds that the farmers' own private seeds have been "stolen from the corporation".

Since most of us are aware of recurring food recalls and
warnings to dispose of edible products, the risk of illness and even, though (thankfully) more rarely, death, is certainly real....but hey! the profits and pride of U.S. agribusiness uber alles.

What is more basic than the need to eat uncontaminated food or speaking out to warn others of the danger? These rights (which most of us take for granted) are being seriously compromised by, as usual, big money. The USDA itself is limited in what it can legally do, although there has been movement to increase its power significantly.

Every adult should contact their state and federal representatives to strenuously object to these
and other outrageous practices by agribusinesses. If nobody does, we will eventually have to change our national anthem.

After all, we will no longer be the home of the brave in the land of the free.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Let's Bring Back that Eye for an Eye Guy

In hallowing the First Amendment right to free speech, the Supreme Court has just struck down
the law forbidding the propagating and selling of cruel animal videos showing the torture and crushing to death of helpless small animals. All 50 states still have anti-cruelty laws on their books,
but purveyors of this distressing filth will continue circumventing them with impunity, all for mammon and sick thrills. How this over-broad interpretation of free speech rights can include such a privilege, which, by the way, seriously conflicts with all 50 states' anti-cruelty legislation, utterly escapes me. However, I'm not without suggestions:

(1) All 50 states could institute a special class-action suit against this practice,taking it to the Supreme Court.
(2) Bring back the Code of Hammurabi. You remember him, the "eye for an eye" guy, don't you? Applying such severe sentences to these monstrous cowards would please many of us, I feel sure. Yes, it's quite a sardonic, even untenably, illegal notion, yet it has the charm of implacable symmetry.... and I suspect it could be quite effective.

Since the Constitution and our culture would forbid instituting (2), I'll pin my hopes on (1).
But don't think my dark wishes for these inhumane, unfeeling monsters will go away.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Simon Johnson: When He Talks, Politicians Better Listen

Simon Johnson's new book, 13 Bankers, has just come out, an instructive primer on the serious flaws in the U.S. banking system. Johnson and coauthor James Kwak explain how "too big to fail" is a dangerously erroneous concept, because:
(1) The market does NOT efficiently, effectively, regulate itself, witness the Great Depression
of the 1930s and the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Both economic disasters occurred during
largely deregulated eras.
(2) Since it's U.S. taxpayers bailing out the banks when their high-risk practices bring them to
bankruptcy's brink, the market is NOT providing any solutions; indeed, this policy amounts to taxation without representation. (Did anybody actually agree to this, other than the bankers and politicians?)

Simon Johnson has more credentials AND savvy than anyone else around the Beltway when
it comes to economics. He was the IMF's Chief Economist, is an economist at MIT's Sloan School of Management, an author and lecturer.

13 Bankers should be required reading for Congress, the White House, and all and sundry in
Washington, D.C. As Mr. Johnson has said during frequent TV appearances, the lessons of history, ignored, inevitably return to haunt and harm. I'll reiterate it:

George Santayana must be spinning in his grave.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Blame Both Russia and U.S. for Adoption Failure

There are more questions than answers regarding the recent adoption failure which had the young Russian boy returned to Russia unaccompanied. But one thing is clear: blame goes to both countries. It's time very pointed questions are put to all the responsible parties involved:

(1) Why didn't the single American mother adopt an American child? Didn't she qualify under
U.S. adoption rules?

(2) Why didn't she take the boy to a mental health professional? Her occupation as a regular RN
does NOT equip her to function as a psychiatric professional.

(3) Did the Russian adoption agency withhold vital information from the would-be mom?
Are they lying now, expressing "outrage" at such a charge?

(4) To the three Russian families eager to adopt "Justin"--where WERE you when he was languishing in an institution? And by the way, why ARE there so many Russian children in
orphanages needing parents?

(5) What were the airlines thinking, transporting the boy on connecting flights, one ten hours
long, with no supervising adult? Were they really following the law as they claim?

More troubling questions surely exist, but I have to agree with the Russian authorities who
want to end these transatlantic adoptions. There are reasons, not particularly positive ones,
why many Americans seek overseas adoptions.

Just one thing, though: Russia could do a better job with their own in-country adoptions.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Laws, Not Regulatory Agencies, Create a Stable Economy

The Dodd bill does not have sufficient strength to effectively rein in the greedy overweening
tendencies of the big banks. Most of the current suggestions and proposals only modestly curtail the negative propensities which brought us to the Great Recession of 2008-2009. The bill leaves
reform up to regulatory agency control, a weak and largely ineffective solution. Where were the SEC and the FTC when some of the more recent outrages occurred?

But I have a simple solution: Bring back Glass Steagall! From the inception of the two acts during
FDR's administration until the Clinton era, when Glass Steagall was allowed to lapse, we enjoyed
decades of relatively stable economic growth. The recessions occurring then were milder and
were not world-wide in import. Banks were not permitted to house investment, loan and commercial activities under one proprietary roof, BY LAW.

No agency or committee will be able to control Wall Street and the largest banks: the only
practical enforcement possible is BY meandering discussions, no delaying tactics, no blind eyes applied, just acts which become law.

Glass Steagall was well thought out, extremely effective. Despite hedge funds, derivatives, and
all the other modern financial bells and whistles ("instruments"), the world hasn't changed very much. Greed and hubris remain a permanent part of the human condition, requiring a firm hand.

Glass Steagall is the right firm hand. History has proved it; why don't we ever learn?

George Santayana must be spinning in his grave.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Census Bureau Alert: Your Grasp of Grammar is Poor

I've just finished answering my Census 2010 Questionnaire, and my nose is still out of joint.
Did anyone get a load of the impossible grammar used in the first two questions?
(1) How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment........on April 1, 2010?
(2) Were there any additional people staying here April 1, 2010......?

--Augh!! It's now March 16th; most of us have already received our forms, or are shortly about to, so HOW can "were" be in the same sentence referring to "on April 1, 2010"? Can the person who devised the questionnaire's language actually be that ignorant of the subjunctive mode, which he/she should have used? "Were" means past tense as used here, period. The only way this language could be correct is if we all got the forms AFTER April 1st.

The rush to the bottom, intellectually speaking, proceeds ever apace.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Memo to Nascar: Encouraging Accidents Not Sporting

After the last few NASCAR accidents at the track, some staged at nearly 200 mph, it's time to arrest a few people....since "accidents" is a misnomer. Several of these miraculously avoided death,
but not mayhem; one spectator now "sports" a serious jaw injury. The latest was a deliberate bump at over 190 mph, the "bumping" driver openly acknowledging his deliberate intent and utter lack of remorse. So he should be arrested, along with Brian France, NASCAR CEO, who is quoted as actively encouraging his drivers to "mix it up".

It is amazing to realize how many sociopaths achieve prominence in fields where a conscience is usually considered mandatory.....

....and scary.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Washington Reflections After Presidents' Day

Another Presidents' Day has ended; to celebrate, I reread Flexner's excellent biography of George Washington. I came away, as I had earlier, with profound gratitude that Washington had been the father of our country, that no other could have so served. It grates on my sensibilities that Jefferson is usually more widely extolled, his intellect, his tastes, his "hatred" of slavery, etc., etc. But delve more deeply and you will find that Washington, despite few years of formal education, had a far-ranging and practical mentality, a continuing eye and attention to the rectitude of his character, and little inclination to stoop to the petty political posturings and calumnies which Jefferson routinely employed, even against Washington who had trusted and promoted him. Jefferson did NOT free his slaves, but Washington did, some before his death, the rest in his will.

An always amazing aspect of Washington's character was his constant consciousness of how his every act as President would create precedent; he continually strove to do what he considered in the nation's future interest. History has validated his judgments and actions for the most part.

Many, when polled, no longer list Washington as one of the best Presidents of the United States.
That is a great oversight: he was the best.

Friday, February 19, 2010

2012: A Democratic Primary Presidential Challenge, Anyone?

Mr. Obama has had a surprising and disappointing year. On the positive side, along with his advisers, he DID stave off a potential depression . He has also improved our image abroad. He should have kept his focus on the economy, and only when a recovery was obvious to one and all, then taken on the thorny issue of health care reform. But his priorities and positions have, regrettably, become skewed. He has turned his back on many of the campaign positions and promises which got him into the White House. So why would I vote for him again? Instead, I plan to be part of any movement to challenge his reelection plans. Specifically, any credible challenger
in the upcoming Democratic presidential primary will get my encouragement.

His "green" energy policies leave a great deal to be desired-what's with his new, pro-nuke stance? $54 billion to promote new nuclear power plants? Has he discovered a safe way to store toxic radwaste, a substance that remains deadly for 250,000 years? What about the very real danger of giving terrorists more "fuel" for their attacks? There were ample reasons for the 33 year U.S. moratorium on new nuke construction projects; how ironic that a liberal democrat has now authorized eight billion for new plants in Georgia.

Even George Bush didn't dare to enact such a foolhardy energy plan.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Edwards' scandal saga not newsworthy

Why all the interest in FORMER senator Edwards' personal life? He has long been out of office, will
likely never run for another, so taxpayers' monies and interests are no longer at issue. Admittedly
the scandalously salacious details of his sex life are usual fodder for the tabloids, but the mainstream media have also given a lot of space to this "story"; aren't there other stories of greater import they should be covering? And why should anyone other than the principals be interested? The one item worthy of serious news outlets is whether a crime was committed regarding improper use of campaign funds.

Then there is the judge in the sex tapes imbroglio: hello, judge, why do you even want to render
a decision on such a tawdry matter? Does it really matter who actually can claim ownership of such
a thing?

Time for the "serious" media and certain judges to grow up and attend to more relevant matters.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Facebook's Founder: New Year, New Mistakes

Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder wunderkind, has
done it again, a bold statement: privacy is dead, he proclaims,
social norms show this to be true. --Say, did he take a survey?
He's just making a firm conclusion based on perceptions
gleaned from mass media, all of it. But life for us seven billion
plus humans is more complicated than Mr. Zuckerberg's
shallow analysis allows.

I submit he is wrong, on several fronts. People CAN calibrate
just how much privacy they desire/require, even if extra effort
must be expended to achieve their comfort level. In public,
there has never been any legal expectation of privacy, even for
those who hope to blend anonymously into a crowd, so that
aspect remains the same even with mounted cameras. But they
can choose whether to email, join a social website, etc. Some,
like me, choosing not to be subjugated to overly personal airport
body searches, have given up flying in the post 911 era.

Fame doesn't exactly equal loss of privacy, either. All of our
most publicized celebrities, just like the rest of us, can have
locked doors and covered windows at home! So Zuckerberg,
silly lad that he is, his computer genius notwithstanding,
made a whopping gaffe. He'd be a lot better off attending to
the various lawsuits coming his way.

MZ may be referring to a subset of Americans, albeit
somewhat large, who want to "be up to date in Kansas City",
"Keep up with the Joneses", etc. These people, mostly the
under-45 crowd, seemingly keenly feel peer pressure, even
toil in industries which honor such pressure. But there are
also many intelligent folk who challenge such current notions
of "social norms", have better things to do than Twitter or
Facebook only about ordinary, inane activities.

A lot of these smarter people have read and heeded the
prescient message in The Time Machine by H.G. Wells;
would anyone want to be part of either of the two future
societies Wells describes?

I view such a prospect with the proper fear and loathing it
deserves. Mr. Zuckerberg could profit from a reading (or
re-reading) of The Time Machine as well.