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.