Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day: Let's Be Worthy of Their Ultimate Sacrifice

Why, exactly, did all our service men and women die?
To preserve our way of life, our freedoms, so the usual
cant goes. But:

(1) ARE we "free"? Not quite to the level we enjoyed
before 911; witness the Patriot Act and the cavalier
disregard of the FISA court's stipulations. Librarians
must "give up" titles of checked-out books, ditto sellers
their lists of books bought by credit cards or online. Then
there's the Rapiscan (Rapescan) intrusion at our major
airports, which Mr. Chertoff promoted WHILE employed as Bush
II's Homeland honcho. You can recall other outrages, I'm sure.

(2) Our "Way of Life"? --What's that, exactly? A rush to the
bottom which has continued for decades, exploited/promoted
by canny NYC Madison Ave. ad types, always and everywhere
inserting "you" and "yours", as if each of us is the only
important thing on the planet, instead of the "greatest good
for the greatest number". (That U.S. number is now way TOO big,
some 309 millions worth, thanks to "too much fun".)

(3) What about willful, dangerous denial of all inconvenient
(a) Nah, nuclear reactors aren't dangerous, the triple tragedy
in Japan can't happen here, OUR technology is better than theirs.
(HEY, Theirs ARE OURS, we sold the design specs to them.
GE Mark Is are there AND here.)
(b) Our Exceptionalism is ruining our relationships worldwide, as
many in the other 199 nations simply know better. We DO have
"healthy" nuclear weapons, more than anywhere else; "MAD"
is dead. We also boast the largest agribusiness combines on Earth,
but brutality to animals by factory farm workers has been
documented via video. We also pollute more than most,
due to our NOT-retrofitted factories, utilities, car engines.
Other occurrences abound, but best to limit the verbiage.

On Memorial Day I mourn and laud those who put others before
themselves, our brave service men and women. But there's a lot
of re-examination and personal revamping to be done before we'll
be worthy of them and their noble, ultimate sacrifice.

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's the Society, Stupid

After reading yet another article explaining the
arbitrary, unjust practices/philosophies of the current
corporate world's hiring, I became angry yet again.
Here are THE "NEW RULES" as designed by these people,
the very people keeping the U.S. unemployed at a
historic nine plus percent:

(1) Don't be old. This means you even if you're only
49. This is probably based on marketing's prime
consumer age range, 18-49. Retail generally considers
everyone else zombies, or at least unimportant.
This number was arrived at long ago, should have been
modified more recently in the interest of reality.
(But what's logic got to do with it, or even noticing
change, cause and effect? How about "rules" for that?)

(2) Don't be unemployed long term. Have these CEOs or
HR heads heard of the Great Recession of 2008-2011??
Do they understand that middle class college grads
can't leap at any "opportunity" of getting even low
wage jobs, for two very key reasons:
(a) employers don't want to hire them, feeling/knowing
they will leave as soon as a better job presents itself;
(b) middle class college grads understandably would
like to stay in their accustomed lane; moreover, need
to, as foreclosures and auto repossessions loom.

There were more "rules", but best to stop here.
Very few things still seem sensible in the U.S.
of 2011. The different parts which must fit together
in order to have a great society simply DON'T.
Yes, it was ever thus, let's look back at Shakespeare,
"the times, they are disjoint". But it's worse now,
if several recent decades are compared with this one.

Character issues abound; overall morality has definitely
declined. Hard-headed equals being practical, profitable.
Social mobility formerly meant upward, now mostly means
downward. Where's the blame? It's the economy, stupid.
Underlying that, far more troubling:

It's the society, stupid.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Reform's" Many Forms: Nothing New

I'm turning Biblical, start running now. One of
the more interesting books in the Old Testament
says all is vanity, nothing new under the Sun.
(Except for the clothes and gadgets, that is.)
But we are encouraged to enjoy the fruits of our
labor nonetheless. In Chicago, the political scene
is largely about vanity, not reform, ambition, not
the greater good.

Heralded all over local Chicagoland media is our
"new day", because the City Council and the Mayor
are sporting new faces. Yet the "dreams", problems
and goals are the same compelling ones that have
preoccupied us for many decades. Who is OPPOSED to
better education, no/low crime, balanced budgets, etc.?
Rahm Emanuel emphasized these during his swearing in
today down by the lake. Chicago's Mayor will not likely
fix these matters. The causes are cultural, economic,
endemic and long standing:

(1) EDUCATION: Most kids (and their parents) simply
lack gravitas, meaning, in America it's practically
a federal offense to basically be a serious, goal-oriented
person. The never-ending search for gratification and
novelty often sidelines serious research, serious productivity,
serious problem-solving. (By the way, I hate fun, and you
can quote me.) Recalling the high rate of substance abuse,
divorce, crime, etc., it's very hard to be optimistic.
Whatever "reforms" are enacted, given this cultural context,
how are we going to make the kids do their job, which is to study?
Tackle THAT one, Rahmster Monster.

(2) BUDGET WOES: Who will be stiffed, left out, victimized
by benign neglect? Will pensions be funded? Are certain
unions really expecting too much? Should teachers be required
to keep up since their students are? (-Don't worry, many more
questions could be inserted here, but I'll refrain....) Then
there's the ugly phenomenon of NIMBY, i.e., you won't be making
me sacrifice in MY backyard, noooo....

Time to recur once again to the Good Book. I'm hoping to
escape all the hackneyed phrases and promises designed to
soothe our troubled minds, but I doubt it; humanity hasn't
changed markedly in 2,000 years.

When God or Jesus speak I see sense.
And you can quote me.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sarah Palin's "Spudnut Moment" (-!)

--Finally! Is Sarah P the new Mrs. Potato Head?
There is no disrespect intended toward the little
shop in Washington State she referred to in an
endearing "small business, the heart of America"
lengthy, hectoring aside. She seemed to misread
President Obama's inspirational intentions and the
history of Spudnuts.

While making these mistakes, she included erroneous
summaries of the Cold War and the Soviet Union's end.
Nothing like being on a roll....

Tsk, tsk. She may be pretty, but all I see is
Mrs. Potato Head, also usually shown smiling.

P.S.: This further foray into coining new words
and punning didn't float: Sputnik vs. Spudnut?
At best, a spurious alliteration. (Hey, Sarah,
it's not "Spudnik", if that's what you're going

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What's Logic Got to do With It? Logic, a Secondhand "Emotion"

Tina Turner's hit often comes to mind when watching
the antics, policies,and justifications of governments
around the world, ours included. If logic, cause and
effect considerations WERE the rule of the day, every
day, well, there would still be volcanoes, but far
less violence, tragedy, wasted time and material

Please, I'm pleading for specificity, deeper research,
more thought before speech, all those virtues bespeaking
of demonstrable intelligence. All else reduces into
rabble/babble, eventually. Venting is ideal when we
feel more "air" than "heat", see the light.

Consider the logic; consider our common humanity.