Thursday, March 21, 2013

Narrow Interests Equal Narrow Tolerances: Open up the Magic Door

The more interests a person possesses, the more society and
the individual benefits. Enjoying different forms of music, more
than one kind of literature, more than one sport, more than one
place, leads to appreciating people not exactly like ourselves;
we become richer thereby.

Tolerance is still, even in 2013, a scarce quality. This character
flaw will only disappear with thoughtful exposure to divergent
points of view, people, places and times.

Open the magic door (as seen on a children's show) come
out and environmentally experiment--your life, happiness and
everyone else's does depend on it. 

Open up your mind, your heart, your hands.

Men Who Hate Women...

Have obviously written most of our laws, including some shockers--
domestic assault is a --whaaat?? Misdemeanor, not a felony?
The same injuries occurring between  two strangers on a street
ARE classified as felonies.

I don't intend to listen with any respect to claims our nation  is
sooo much more civilized than many another.(Unless mo' money
equals being civilized, which I reject--just look at Britney Spears
and the Lohan girl.)  Hogwash, really, just patriotic, unthinking
loyalty. I won't subscribe to "my country, right or wrong". I had
better be right, everyone else better be bright and right too, or the
deep do will worsen.

Come on, is the hypocrisy, hyperbole so ingrained in us that we
have no shred of objectivity? Pshaw, pooey, if true.

I do love our country. I and those I love were bred, born and
raised here; we do enjoy many positivities that are lacking
elsewhere. But the minute we feel smug, superior, even
deserving, deemed civilized behavior has gone.

All the 200+ nations on Earth are bound/divided by their
humanity. Until WE ALL GET IT, expect more atrocities
of every kind we've already seen...

Especially from those who must exert power over others,
i.e., most men.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Errors of It's "To Be or Not to Be"

I earnestly hope all I see seeming sad, wrong, or unjust is
mere projection and exaggeration by me. If I am wrong and
those I criticize among the  powerful, the celebrated and the
wealthy are right, I'd regret being wrong, but glad too, as
I don't directly have anyone's fate in my hands, whereas
many of  these financial, political and social lions DO.

There is an overwhelmingly strong myth here in the West
that we have eradicated slavery, that "robber barons" are
no more, that most people obey the laws at all times,  that
there has been permanent justice effected since Franklin
Delano Roosevelt served for three terms as U.S. President,
(1933-1945). But only suddenly, in 2007, it all came crashing
down around us due to the interworking, intertwining,
interlocking machinations of DC and NYC  (Wall Street).

Such an oversimplification of the cold, continued
hard-running truth is in need of a grappling hook to
anchor us to reality--as the French have it, the more
things "change", the more they stay the same. George
Santayana's warning us about those who forget the
lessons of history are doomed to repeat it is related,
has been proven again and again: WWI then WWII,
please, were either of these actually necessary?

It will take more than a new generation or two to
rid our Earth of these dangerous, destructive
stupidities. Something spectacular, like the Great
Pandemic of 1918, so sweeping in its implacable
death-dealing undeniability, will likely be the

" be or not to be...": To exist, to survive, to
thrive, are personal as well as universal questions,
my apologies to William Shakespeare. Errors of
mine notwithstanding, it will take the Earth as a
village to fix things.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The U.S.: Not the "City on a Hill"

The legislator from Ohio is receiving quite a bit of flack due to his
recent turnaround on gay marriage. He now publicly favors it, but
only after a two year struggle with the news a son gave him:  this
son is gay. If it doesn't affect you personally, well then, who cares,
or at the extreme end of reactions, we will excoriate them.

Who are "they" or "them"? People who AREN'T just like you,
with all your perfect values and insights. There's apparently
little time to empathize with those in  different races, and/or
circumstances. It boils down to this harsh truism about our
nation: there is little concern for the plight of strangers. In
philosophy it has been called "the problem of the other, or
'outsider' ".

For all our talk about being that "city on a hill" (an expression
cribbed from St. Matthew by St. Augustine and Pres. Reagan)
we Americans are pretty much heir to and exhibit the same
massive flaws of humans everywhere.

On Huff Post and elsewhere, the familiar refrain returns:
Social change is a slow-going proposition.  No, it's
always a case of kicking the can down the road, punctuated
by rare, remarkable leadership (like Pres. Lyndon Johnson
getting the '60s civil rights acts passed). I really hope I'm
wrong, but 50+ years of paying attention to all media, old
and new history texts, thoughtful persons 20-30 years older
than me, doesn't produce much optimism here.

Humans ARE great in the areas of procreation and warfare,
exactly as Harvard's famed entomologist Wilson has said.

So where's that fabled city on a hill? Such vaunted perfection
may have to wait until the afterlife, after all.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Next Third World Country, Revealed

So the Congressional Republicans are putting forth yet another
incarnation of  a "you're on your own" budget; if it passes, bank
on rows of homeless lining the "glamour streets" of the USA's
showplace cities (read tourist traps) such as Chicago, Miami,
Los Angeles, San Francisco, perhaps even--Branson, MO!

This may seem like gratuitous, overblown sarcasm, but it is NOT.
I recall seeing homeless on a main street bridge in Havana Cuba,
as a ten year old in 1955. Fast forward to the U.S. in the 1980s,
when I sadly saw the same scenes all over downtown Chicago.

All Republicans are not extreme right-wingers, even though
the Tea Party, Grover Norquist, et al have made moderate
Republicans'  lives hell along with many of the rest of us. But
what DO the Tea Partiers and Evangelicals expect to happen
if the nation's poor must recur to state voucher systems
which will work until monies abruptly run out
(which would occur in Illinois, my state)?


Memo to the Right Wing
Read and heed: former Mayor Daley wasn't way out of line
when he called Chicago "Beirut on the Lake" during a
politically frustrating moment. We weren't there then,
but may move in that direction.

Be careful what you wish for. In attempting to wash your
hands of inconvenient strangers' needs, you will bring on
the big reveal:

The United States as the next and biggest third world

Monday, March 11, 2013

Three Great Errors: Fukushima, Family Political Power, Sequestration

--Several items in the news over the last ten days--

  I'm in a stew, fulminating, in a ferment, over: 
(1) Sequestration: The "fail safe" plan which no one would
dare enact? But as it was an automatic, deadline-driven
legislation, only to be superseded by rational, consensus
acts of Congress, it went through....just as unemployment
is in noteworthy (numbers) improvement. Coincident timing
or creating a planned popular history "proving" that Mr.
Obama produced a dangerously failed presidency affecting
the entire country? Already airports are losing TSAs, many
other federally funded positions have furloughed workers, etc.
By the bye, sequestration, according to Oxford English
Dictionary, means to isolate, excommunicate, etc. It is a
Middle English legal term highly inapplicable in the U.S.
of 2013.

Is this really what the Tea Party wants? Y'all better own all
your own planes (mechanics too) or you'll be in the deep do
with the rest of us....  

(2) The couples and families gracelessly unwilling to give up
power, like the Bushes, now angling for Prez III. Then there
are the  USA's municipal mayors, resigning in favor of their
wives or other family members. Greed is SO unattractive, to
say nothing of ultimately unproductive, unseeing unseemliness.

(3) Fukushima in Japan: The nuclear utilities, U.S. homegrown
and Japanese, lied to themselves and the world about the safety
of this ~1970s U.S. defective design technology, most of which
are still in operation, with extensions beyond their 40 year design
life. Today (03/11/'13) is the second anniversary of the triple
tragedy, earthquake (9 on the Richter scale), tsunami, and
three core melts at the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Park in
Japan.  Experts here and there estimate ~40 years to clean it
up, at least to a relatively safer level. That's the same four
decades a nuclear plant is expected to operate. Physicist
Alvin Weinberg was oh so right, a "Faustian bargain", indeed.

We humans are still the like deer in the forest, overpopulating,
overreaching, underestimating, understanding too little,
too late.         

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dear Senator Leahy, Guns, Guns, A Whole Munitions Mess

The whole "munitions mess" is an inextricably interwoven,
intractable, uniquely American dilemma:

We sell arms to other nations, then react with shock
when the same weapons are used against us....
or we behave with grim but useless determination
when illegally obtained arms are spirited across the
border from Mexico, again to harm us.

What did we expect? Does anyone actually understand the
Second Amendment? Where IS that well-regulated militia?

What level of firearm possession would it take to make the
everyday American feel safe?  Anything in the way of
automatic weapons like AK-47s is an absurd abomination.

A futile hope: You and yours in Congress might someday,
somehow legislate this.

Then we wait for decades until the extant oversupply
becomes rust.