Thursday, December 18, 2014

Will Renewed Relations Benefit Cuba--Or the U.S.?

Congratulations to our president for issuing a legacy-
enhancing normalization of relations between our two
countries. But as a Cuban American I am wary,
reflecting on our troubled history there since 1898,
when Spain lost Cuba at the end of the Spanish
American War. Decades of U.S. multinational
corporation dominance in Cuba, Mafia involvement,
some Senators taking a prostitute-filled vaycay from
frumpy wives, etc., all speak to the big bully
browbeating the little guy, Cuba. History is filled with
such examples. Will we go that way again?

I'm trying to remain hopeful, holiday wishes and
dreams being what they are. Perhaps we have
learned the necessary lessons, will be a better
neighbor this time around...

" ' Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Bush Family's Hubris and Greed--A Third Bush President Not What We Need

--For pity's sake! It is time for new political blood in the national
arena, fresh thinking and fresh doing.  Judging by the drop in
excellence as we went from Bush I to Bush II, a Bush III might
well be the worst of all.  Bush I was a decent president, not
given to rash moves and unfortunate hyperbole, as his son
was. Why does this family not retire from the stage? (I feel
the same way about Hilary Clinton, who has had almost every
political job of note.)

Greed and hubris are back of this shameful clutching
at the limelight. We need decent, effortful, principled
and talented people to pilot our ship of state, NOT
stale retreads! Isn't there more imagination and
backbone available to us?

And what makes the  Bushes and the Clintons think
they are the best and the brightest? I rate them
merely mediocre; after all, they have records to
"run from".

Ellen Warren or Ed Markey, Massachusetts'
cream of the crop, throw your hats into the ring--

Monday, December 8, 2014

America's Police Must Respect Life by Obeying the Law

...Or why would the public obey and respect them?  The last two
weeks, with white cops killing unarmed black males, are proof of
the ongoing, shocking inequities between police and African
Americans. I read that rarely has a white cop EVER been charged
in the killing of blacks, nationwide. What kind of double standard
IS this? --Answer: an unjust one, and people are beginning to
rise up against such unethical, immoral and illegal treatment.

The next step is a massive voter registration drive, in places
where blacks are the resident majority but the authority is
mostly white. Nothing will change until the system is more
diverse, take that to the bank. Power, properly directed,
can heal much injustice. Marching in the streets merely
demonstrates unhappiness; we must change those at the top!

Meanwhile, President Obama, working for calm, publicly
reminds the U.S. that things are better than they were
regarding racism. I'm sorry, sir, that is weak, will not do.
Slavery was outlawed in 1865--how long, how many
generations must wait? It is time for the nation's 13%
black population to unite and begin, in a serious
way, to effect elections.

But before then, police must obey the law they are
SWORN to uphold--especially respecting human
life, including African American ones.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Happy Holidays to My Readers and Posters

My very best wishes to my readers and my two loyal posters,
Lester and Dan in this holiday season. We will shortly arrive
at a new year, one which should be filled with hope, humanity
and better understanding worldwide. It will take effort on a
massive scale, but it is at least remotely possible...

Because of people like Lester and Dan. You two always
keep your thinking caps on, a must in these turbid times.
You haven't given up or given in, even though events
can conspire to tempt anyone to do so.  Keep up the
good work!

See you all soon on the blogosphere; best regards,

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Buy Online--It May Be Safer

After the two shooting deaths reported at tony Nordstrom's
on Chicago's Mag (supposedly for magnificent) Mile, I had
a stray thought: why buy at big stores, where conceal and
carry nuts can enter and behave criminally, crazy? Answer:
If possible, buy online. The chances for violence with this
method are extremely rare, thankfully. No crowds, no
crazies, what's not to like?

So the two killed, a domestic violence situation played
out in public, purportedly were in love...some love!
Obviously the guy was obsessed. Real love does not
act this way; generally there is some concern and
caring for the other's welfare. This man cared nothing
for anyone's safety, merely male ego gone wrong.

This holiday, for peace of mind, why not buy on
line? It's likely to be much safer.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Injustice in Ferguson Not Relieved by a Good Grand Jury Decision

As the prosecuting attorney droned on in an attempt
to qualify (-spin) the skate-off awarded to Officer
Wilson by the Grand Jury, I realized the man
would not be charged. There was no reason not to
get immediately to the point other than to set up
the "rationale" for this ill-advised decision.

Even the devising of the Grand Jury itself was not
balanced: of the 12, only THREE were African
American. If they didn't actually agree with
the others' "no probable cause" sentiment,
what influence could they have had? It took
nine of the 12 to craft the outcome, so you
do the math. Ferguson is 67% black; how
does that translate into only three African-
Americans sitting on the Grand Jury?

I am disgusted and disheartened. With the
sharp decline in the intellectual ability of
most in key positions, married to the lack
of a vigorous electorate there in Ferguson,
the events since August were almost
preordained. I hope this is a wake-up
call to voters there; more blacks on the
local council and the police department
just might produce more reasonable,
equitable policies and practices...

But 'til then, this Grand Jury decision will stand
as another example of status-quo injustice.

It's the Wrong Time for Hagel to Resign

I have long held that Mr. Obama's White House advisers
are less than competently assured, less than what we
need in the Age of Terror; they demonstrate an unfortunate
sense of timing now, in insisting on Chuck Hagel's
resignation, which has been accepted. There should
be continuity at Defense while we struggle to handle
extremely problematic affairs in the Middle East. There
will be a power and policy vacuum while a transition
occurs, and no shining candidate for Defense Secretary
springs to mind.

Beginning with Axelrod and Plouffe, Mr. Obama
has favored his political Chicago connections, not
taking a page from Abraham Lincoln in presiding
over a diverse cabinet--except for appointing Mr.
Hagel, a moderate Republican who served in
Vietnam. These two characteristics made Hagel
a fine choice, which Obama now spurns on the
advice of his Chicago hacks.

The timing here couldn't be worse. The president
is wrong, Mr. Hagel has not "completed" anything,
not while ISIS runs rampant, among other nettlesome
dangers. There IS still time, however, for Mr. Obama
to complete an unfortunate chapter in his presidency--
get rid of most of his Chicago-based White House
inner circle...

No time like the present.


[Our president could ask former president Jimmy
Carter to be his Middle East adviser; Mr. Carter
is highly knowledgeable in Middle East Affairs,
is well liked there, has written important
books about the area. Why not? He certainly
has more foreign policy awareness and sensitivity
than anyone currently on the team.  But pride
rather than statesmanship will prevent such
an inspired appointment.]         

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Early Winter, 2014: Beware and Prepare

After seeing the six foot snowfall today in Buffalo, NY,
as well as the record cold temps nationwide, I am afraid
of what this portends for the season starting now rather
than in December. We'd better prepare NOW, as
more Polar Vortexes beckon:

(1) Blankets and flares for your cars
(2) Extra water and some small edibles
(3) Extra batteries for your cell phones
(4) Good, sharp shovels for your cars
(5) Buy salt and/or sand now
(6) Proper winter weight antifreeze
(7) Good boots with gripping soles
[forget the sexy high heeled styles]

Stay home if at all possible when such
storms blow, and shovel sensibly to avoid
heart attacks, which took some lives already
this week.

Winter, 2014: Beware and Prepare

Latest Palestinian Brutality Obscures Real Issues

A murderous machete in a house of worship? No
matter the underlying issues, such horrors in a holy
place can't be countenanced. I suspect sympathy for
the Palestinians' problems with Israel dims after an
atrocity like this. In the Palestinian areas, there were
celebrations complete with candy offered to drivers
and passersby. How nauseating! It's one thing to
kill for survival, quite another merely to make a

I have taken the Palestinians' side many times, as
Israel has wronged them, plain and simple. But
this latest brutality will not help their cause, even if
they feel some empty victory at the moment. All
they have achieved is murder most crude, while
the conflicts between Israel and Palestine remain.
Where are effective leaders on both sides here?
Answer: they don't exist. Netanyahu and Abbas
are incompetent.

Meanwhile, the latest brutality shocks the world
and obscures the real issues.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

2014's Republican Rout: Now It's About Accountability

We WILL be looking at the party in power to abandon the
politics of "no", simply opposing the Democratic president, as
the mantle of responsibility now rests squarely on them. OK,
Republicans, you have the ball. What are you planning to DO
with it??

In Illinois, Governor-Elect Rauner has vowed to "Shake up
Springfield", whatever THAT that a prescription
for problem-solving here?  In DC, now that Mitch McConnell
leads the Senate, will he actually do his job, stop simply blocking
the president?  Soooo many questions, so few good answers.

The middle class and the poor are the real losers here; even
though they are the majority numerically, Tuesday's Republican
Rise is very bad news for them. Did voters decide to hitch their
wagons to a star, figuring the conservative rich really have the
answers to their problems and the country's woes?  I think not:
I see more bone-headed decisions like Citizens United in our
future. The "greater good" is not a radical conservative mantra;
"More for me and mine" IS.

The Republicans have a slim two years to prove they are
able, willing to work for all of  us, rather than their friends
in the 1%.  I don't see this happy outcome, however...
but we will be watching--now it's about accountability,
and results. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Evil of Two Lessers: Rauner and Quinn for Illinois' Governor

Neither of these two men are stellar candidates, but Rauner
seems to be someone who won't care for the average Illinois
resident; he lines up solidly with the 1% instead...are there
numbers large enough in that 1% to win him the election on
Tuesday? If even one out of four of the advertised allegations
against him are accurate, he indeed is not fit to be governor,
as one TV ad concluded. --Heavens! Rauner-owned nursing
home abuses, threats against one of his CEOs, etc. These
charges, cited in Illinois mainstream media, are extremely
troubling. Curiously, the very same newspapers reporting
Rauner's bad actions also are endorsing him...don't their
editorial boards read their own expose's?  I'd vote for myself
for governor before voting for this guy, who has ZERO
legislative experience.  

That only leaves Governor Quinn. Yes, he has made mistakes,
particularly regarding his unconstitutional 2014-2015 Illinois
Budget address, but his misdeeds pale in comparison to
Rauner's. Quinn has always had the little guy's interests
at heart, going back to his consumer advocate days. He
has never been money-mad to the detriment of every other
important consideration, which matters to me.

So we here in Illinois have the Evil of Two Lessers in our
choice for governor--my vote is for Quinn, the better of
the two lessers.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Latest Ebola Errors Start With Nurse Amber Vinson

The earlier smug assurance about U.S. hospitals'
superior technical expertise has given way to many
misgivings--chief among them, the CDC's failure to
rush a "swat" training team to Dallas the instant Mr.
Duncan arrived there--but they are not alone. Texas
Health Presbyterian was lax in several important ways,
resulting in two nurses contracting Ebola, possibly
over one hundred other health care workers being
exposed as well...where is Dr. Anthony Fauci,
former CDC  head, when we need him? He's now
at NIH, but he would be better, more effective,
back at the CDC, where he served with brilliant

Amber Vinson, a nurse, should never have boarded
any plane. Even with her fever being a low grade
one, she knew fevers rise, should have had the wit
and the grace to cancel her flight. But no, she had
those all-important wedding plans to confab about
with family and friends. Calling the CDC was simply
a way to obtain a get out of jail free card; she may
have infected hundreds of passengers in her quest.
Curiously, the media has criticized everyone else
EXCEPT Ms. Vinson in the recent U.S. Ebola
scare. I'm sorry she is ill, but she should have put
the interests of others before her own.

If health care workers won't isolate themselves,
authorities must step in: prohibit any U.S. plane
travel for any medical staff dealing with Ebola
patients, and begin travel bans to and from
West Africa. These latest Ebola errors started
with a nurse who behaved irresponsibly; let's
institute procedures which remove such decisions
from the individual.

P.S.: My first name is also Amber. I certainly hope
I would have behaved more carefully than this.  


Monday, October 6, 2014

Dreamkiller AKA Reality Thriller

Some words are repeated to death; "dream" is one of them.
Whatever happened to aspirations, goals and objectives??
Particularly annoying is the omnipresent phrase,
"The American Dream".  --The?? --As in just one dream
fits all, or is socially acceptable?  Hogwash. This is, we are
told, the land of diversity--that applies to outlook, philosophy
and lifestyle goals, not just to ethnicity and skin color. So if
someone doesn't think marriage and home ownership are the
best "dreams" to chase, what of it? Everyone isn't entitled to
those things, by temperament, character, income, etc. ...
nor does desire for those two accomplishments beat in every

I'm here to be a killer of ordinary, cliched dreams--
there's a lot to thrill, still, in reality. Let's find it!  

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Our Open Sewer, the World Wide Web

It doesn't seem merely coincidental  that Yahoo Mail and
Gmail are both currently experiencing password problems
of major proportions, along with the latest large franchisor
hack of  fast food Jimmy John's customer cards (06/'14-09/'14).
We must realize all the major email providers are linked,
especially Google and Yahoo. The www. is an open sewer
which will never be completely controlled until a major technical
paradigm shift occurs. Few know just how fiendishly difficult
this is, which explains why tech providers mostly issue small
changes, apps, patches, packaging, links and updates,
rather than real revolutions.

(This sad scenario reminds me of STDs--you and your sex
partner are not only enjoying a private, intimate moment, but
are including everyone else you both have had sex with,
biological transmission-wise...ugh.  Here's to
compartmentalization, whenever/wherever possible.)

Compartmentalization could really help those of us using
the web right now; employing encryption is great, where 
rigorously instituted, but it's not perfect security either.
Desperation proposes practicing old, mundane

(1) Bring back snail mail
(2) Use cameras, not cell photography
(3) Use traditional landline phones, not VOIP
       at home
(4) Find an old-fashioned fax that does not
       record/store photo copies of transmissions

There are probably many "old school" ways to
reduce your web-enabled annoyances in your
private life--but then there's the web-wired
work place, public places...ugh, again. (-!)

Unintended consequences rear their ugly
hydra-headed tentacles yet again.

[Update, September 30, 2014: The latest
hack involves Albertson-owned food
giant Jewel-Osco. It is now becoming
so routine, the lack of hack-denying
encryption by big organizations must
now be termed "willful stupidity", all to
fatten the corporate bottom line, natch.]

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Myth of American Maturity--Political, Public Behavior is by "High Schoolers"...

And "college freshmen". I have attended public meetings of
widely varied kinds and persuasions since 1960, at a camp
ground outside Austin, Texas. Slowly, but surely, public
demeanor has devolved into shouting matches, personal
attack, less apprehension of  relevant facts, etc. If you
receive emails importuning you from sundry organizations
and campaigns, note the low level of English--"hey", "gonna",
too many exclamation points and red bold face, ad nauseam.

Over 125 years ago, fist fights and canings were sad
spectacles on the floor of the U.S. Congress; afterwards,
greater attention to dignified, reasoned behavior seemed to
be on the ascendant.  In the past few decades, lapses in
public have become more widespread, sanctioned by
"let it all hang out", the emblematic cliche' of the 1970s.

Go to village or city meetings, watch nightly news,
read so-called "premier" newspapers--will you
observe maturity of expression in those venues?
Here and there, yes, often, no.

The "me" generation(s) have become the forever
funsters who refuse to grow up or old gracefully,
via Viagra, plastic surgery, implants, etc., with
less-than desirable behavior mimicking the young to
match. (It's not an attractive historical moment we're
living in.)

Acting like irresponsible teenagers gives the lie
to any myth of American maturity, even in the
political arena and some churches--right at a time
when we must be at our best, with proliferating
primitive terror groups gaining ground each week.

Heeding H.G Wells' prescient fiction from the early
1900s and the factors in the Fall of Ancient Rome
(~410 A.D.) should be enough to help hurry us along
any growing up we'd better do; I wouldn't give most
"high schoolers" the vote or much credence in
serious matters...

But there they are, in Congress, in your town,
your state, irrespective of their true chronological

Monday, September 22, 2014

China vs. The United States: Death By a Thousand Cuts

China doesn't need a sophisticated missile system or any other
advanced weaponry to achieve ascendancy over our country.
China has "invested" roughly ten per cent of its economy over
here; those notes, called in when we are least able to repay,
are a  potential form of Trojan Horse, trampling by economic
devious, deft, design. It can destroy our trees (the Emerald
Ash Borer came from cheap Chinese imported wood), put lead
and other toxins into imported baby bibs and pet food, and now
--high tech, fake IDs. According to Chicago CBS TV 2, the fakes
sell for about $100 each, and are almost impossible to detect--
even by Homeland Security. (Recalling Tweedle Dee and
Tweedle Dumb Ridge and Chertoff, highly-placed  "national
security experts", I feel zero surprise at the latest news.)

It's time for clarity on U.S. security matters. Besides
insane, murderous Middle East primitive religious radicals,
China and Russia have never gotten over the "end" of
the Cold War. Russia's areas of attack involve cyber
situations, Mafia-like tactics and kidnapping gullible
girls for the sex trade. Lately spoiling for a fight, Russia
has tested us through proxies NATO, the Ukraine and
its Russian Separatists. China, however, harries my mind
more than Russia, whose moves via Putin patently
reveal themselves...

China has the expertise of subtlety and patience,
producing one small problem at a time, aided by
Clinton's NAFTA, which was poorly thought through.

Let's beware, be aware: China may become the next
superpower, simply by administering death by
a thousand cuts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The 227th Anniversary of the U.S. Constitution: Today's Important Date Will Be Sparsely Showcased

For decades now, our national and local media mavens here
have handed short shrift to the nation's most significant
document, the presumed highest law of the land, our often
imitated Constitution. Such a shame, because the process
to create the document is as fascinating to learn about as the
resultant body of laws is inextricably connected  to who we

The Founders were a group of men who assiduously prized
learning, and it showed. Jefferson, Minister to Paris, could only
participate by packet, which took six weeks from Europe to the
Colonies. But what an immense influence he was, sending books
to Madison about civilizations from all around the world, Greece,
Rome,  Asia, Northern Africa, on governments and trade practices
they had  erected in their successful societies. (Of course English
Common Law was the greater portion, already practised by
Colonial  lawyers and administrators.)

Madison, who wrote most of the Constitution, had all of these
references to consult for the duration of the Constitutional
Convention, which ran from May to September, 1787.
European Enlightenment values were imprinted into our
document, which has stood for 227 years, only added to by
amendment 27 times. What an astounding achievement: sitting
down, deliberating as to the best society to create, entailing
issues of due process, human rights, legal aspects of declaring
war and conducting trade...

But you won't see much on  the free networks tonight or
cable news, except on rare history programming. George
Santayana still has the telling words on the subject--
"Those who forget the lessons of history are doomed
to repeat it".  George wouldn't be surprised to discover
how few constitutional rights, requirements, obligations
and privileges are understood by the average adult

Our ignorance imperils us all--THAT does get showcased
on every night's news broadcasts.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11th: Praise for the President, Pans for the NFL

13 years after the terror attacks on the East Coast,
September 11th brings sobering reflections: terror lives,
it always may, it must be beaten back as much as possible.
To this end President Obama has come up with an action
plan, slightly circumspect and coordinated globally (he
hopes) to limit the threat ISIS poses to its region and
the West. Considering how little the U.S. really knows
about the culture, concerns, language and history of 
Arab areas, Mr. Obama's current plans are reasonable
indeed. It isn't just a matter of two American journalists
being beheaded, as primitively ghastly as such tactics
are; it is the stated intentions of these murderous armed
radicals that should alarm us...

The saying, "you can't kill an idea" is accurate, for good
or for ill, but we must regard such as ISIS as weeds
which require killing periodically, simply to survive.
Our resolve, treasure and policy must be clear here.
Back in the early 2000s, Freedom House claimed no
less than 50 nations out of the some 200 on Earth
harbored Al Qaeda cells and sympathizers. That is
a significant minority worthy of concern--and

Then there is the apparently sanctioned domestic
terror at home, men against their female partners.
Memo to the NFL and all football teams: why would
we women watch football, buy tickets to games,
marry or have sex with its players, clean players'
homes and allow these thugs to father our children?

Victimized Mrs. Rice in  her way is as blameworthy
as NFL head Roger Goodell, good-appearing (perhaps)
if not good at setting proper boundaries and penalties
for unacceptable behavior. Beaten senseless for all to
see via videos, then fiancee Rice subsequently marries
Mr. Rice. --WHAT? No consequences for almost
killing her? That's not love, not as I could possibly
understand it. She should think more of herself
than that. But I've said, still say, the whole world
of the NFL and any pretenders to that status sanction
violence toward its players and their women. It
will never end until the sport morphs into Touch
Football instead, unlikely for decades if at all.

So on this day of somber remembrance,
praise for our President, pans and boycotts
for the NFL.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Don't Cry for Me, Chicago-I'm Crying for You

...With the two presumed candidates for Chicago Mayor
in 2015 being Karen Lewis and Rahm Emanuel, Chicago
loses whoever wins. One, Karen Lewis, seldom evinces
the high intelligence she presumably possesses, having
taught Chemistry at Lane Tech and elsewhere for 22 years.
Then there is Rahm E., a diplomate in the Arts with political
experience and a very profitable but short stint as an
investment banker.

Why are either of them qualified to run a diverse, important
city like Chicago? I see her as a loud, overweight woman,
who could do and know better as a scientifically educated
person.  She may run because she has an ambitious ego and
backing, however insignificant or significant such support may be.
HE is even more of a maneuverer and an opportunist, who I trust
less; these two do boast a fiery nature, but feistiness alone can't
carry the day...

If the motive is to inject justice, peace, morality, fair play,
financial solvency and a reaffirmation that Chicago IS the city
that works, that is.

Does Chicago STILL WORK? Will it work with either R
or K at the helm? I'm crying for Chicago, where I lived and
worked for most of my life, so I care, worry too.

Here's hoping a dark horse comes along with  the finest
credentials, someone who inspires all to aim higher, who
then becomes the next Chicago Mayor.  

Hope, hope, hope....

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Nine Year-Old Girl "Learning" to Shoot an Uzi Accidentally Kills Instructor--Are You Kidding?

Arizona "accidentally" has lost its collective mind as shown in this
horrific story. The parents of a NINE YEAR OLD took her to
a shooting range where an instructor attempted to teach her
how to discharge an Uzi into a target, whereupon the weapon's
powerful recoil turned the gun on the "teacher". Was this
mortal lesson even necessary to anyone still in command of
their mental faculties (AKA good old-fashioned horse sense)?

Herewith  find the blameworthy, negligent and ignorant players:

(1) Her parents--why would they allow this slight young child
to even touch such a powerful weapon? I hark back to the day
when dads gave their 12 year-old sons a .22 and took them
out to the woods for some target practice. Are these parents
paranoid, heavily arming all in their household?

(2) The practice range--why would THEY allow this at all?
Were all at the range so woefully ignorant of physics that
they thought such a small child could physically and correctly
aim an UZI?

(3)  The instructor, who presumably handled many different
weapons during his career, should have refused to "teach"
this girl to use such an inappropriate instrument of death.
Sadly, he was the one who learned a lesson, losing his
own life in the process.

                       ARE YOU KIDDING?

OK, USA, get a grip. Your paranoid fears, fueled by
the news media and the entertainment industry, have
gotten the better of your good sense. Now that Conceal
and Carry is legal in all 50 states, we're seeing that too
many Americans have no idea about what they are
doing with these lethal playthings. How our enemies
must be howling in delighted laughter--we're doing
ourselves in, bit by bit, with this irresponsible return
to the Wild West, with ever more deadly firepower.

Keep those under 18 away from guns. The lives you
save may be yours, your young, anyone.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Jackie Robinson West T-Shirt Beats Anything Tommy Hilfiger Ever Made

$20 each is a bargain price for something so upbeat and winning,
those beautiful bright golden yellow Ts  emblazoned with the
squad's school name, Jackie Robinson West.  The 2014
United States Little League Champions (and second in the
world!) comported themselves with sportsmanship, grace
and dignity everywhere they traveled; no ugly spectacle
from any of THEM. These talented young people are
goodwill ambassadors from/for Chicago who can be
welcomed anywhere, based on their manners alone. 

Then there's Tommy Hilfiger, who charges beaucoup
bucks for his "designer" sports gear, worn by many
minority youths and adults, even though he once infamously
declared, with turned up nose, "I don't design my creations
for inner city youth". I saw and heard this interview,
televised in the late '90s. (Forget the urban legend which
casts Oprah Winfrey as the interviewer, Hilfiger as
spouting openly racist never happened.
His "inner city youth" remark is bad enough!)

If I were to buy an important T-shirt, it would have to
be one with the JRW team name...

Whose T-shirt would you rather buy?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Chicago Power Politics Ruin Any Excellence at the CTA

Ever since "the Old Man" (the first Daley Chicago
Mayor) exerted his powerful political will and almost
single-handedly created the RTA in 1973, mass transit
in the Chicagoland area has been beset with many trials,
fueled in part by the 47 board members at all four transit
agencies, CTA, Metra, Pace, RTA. The RTA itself 
is a toothless tiger, exhibiting almost zero oversight;
the too-large number of  board members spread out
between the agencies spells doom for any cogent,
practical policy formation OR accountability.

Scandals and tragedies (Pagano's suicide after his
theft of  unearned vacation monies became  public
knowledge) abound; entrenched Democratic
and Republican hacks make self-serving, stupid or
delayed decisions affecting millions in Northern
Illinois. The latest pricey poaching from the public
kitty involves transit pension fund "conferences" held
around the U.S. at expensive locations, like 
Las Vegas and Honolulu, neither known as a
location for modestly-priced ANYTHING.

No one books a conference in Honolulu OR
Vegas to save money (-!). The "rigorous"
meetings of CTA pension officials across the
country cost taxpayers and the cash-strapped
agency a cool $60,000 beginning in 2010, not
revealed until the BGA sued for the spent
amounts and venues. (See Chicago Sun-Times,
August 24, 2014)

Hold your conferences in CHICAGO, CTA,
locus of all CTA policies, programs, etc. Find
a reasonably-priced place there, and BOOK it.
You will also have at your convenient disposal
The University of Chicago, Northwestern University,
et al., repositories of much-required information for
proper policy formation.

P.S. to CTA retirement plan and healthcare trust
pension officials: Find funding for your vacations
elsewhere! Taxpayers have better things to finance
besides YOUR good times.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri: Following President Teddy Roosevelt

...Would be the best idea. He said that we must
"enter the arena" to improve our lives and our
nation. Without informed, effortful and active
citizenry, any community declines; we are seeing
such a phenomenon right now, with the racial
disparity on Ferguson's town council and its
local police force. 

An action-taking, involved, voting populace in
Ferguson might have prevented the wrong authority
cohort there, going back years, according to an
experienced friend of mine familiar with its history.
Researching the candidates, putting up a slate
reflecting awareness of and commitment to that
suburb's reality, needs, problems and goals might
have gotten more African Americans elected to that
council and hired on the police force.  Blacks staying
home, sitting on their hands has resulted in an almost
all White council and police department in a tiny town
(pop. ~21,000) which is 67% African American.

Like Diogenes, I've taken my figurative lamp
looking for light and truth far and wide.  One
striking realization is inescapable: success in human
or civil rights stuggles are never a permanent fait
accompli. Just laws, policies and practices must be
maintained, campaigned again for, at times, or they
will not remain. Granted, this is also an "inconvenient
truth"; we'd like to forever fix all the injustices and get
on with enjoying our lives under a more peaceful and
equitable regime...but it "takes a village", every day,

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty", an early 19th
century watchword employed by Frederick Douglass
and several U.S. presidents, was taken from John Philpot
Curran's speech in Dublin around 1790. (Jefferson did
not originate the expression, although he held similar
sentiments.) When we let vigilance slide, presuming
progress is permanent, we get ugly policies like Citizens
United, reinstituting unconstitutional barriers to voting
rights, and chipping away at reproductive rights.

Teddy would not be pleased.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Great News From Maliki and Missouri: Friday, August 15th, the Best News Day This Week

After some 90-odd municipalities across the U.S.
protested about the killing of Michael Brown and
the heavy-handed attempts at crowd control in
Ferguson, MO, calm was achieved there Thursday
overnight. --Good news, as authorities dialed
back their ugly spectacle of  tanks with military
weapons drawn, choosing instead to walk with
the protesters, wearing regular uniforms without
guns displayed. --Oh, and a promise to release the
name of the officer who shot young Mr. Brown,
18.  One only prays this technique becomes a
nation-wide precedent, looking like the "serve
and protect" mission motto affixed to police cars.

Overseas, Iraqi President Maliki, FINALLY
bowing to his people's will after great bloodshed,
has resigned. --Fantastic! Now if they themselves
can conceive of consensus building, bringing Shiites
and Sunnis closer together via deeds, demonstrations
of  respect, they will actually form their own nation,
never truly having been one before. (-Like several
other Middle Eastern "states", Iraq's map was crafted
by outsiders, Western imperialists, not by its people

Also FINALLY: Help from elsewhere enters the
Kurds' potential genocide, stemming the situation in
Northern Iraq. --Great! But this should have been
accomplished by Bush I in 1988-1991, when we
were over there anyway, saving Yemen. In 1988,
Saddam Husein was killing Kurds (children included)
with chemical where were we? Back home,
preening about how we won a limited, ~90 day war, etc.
Shock and awe indeed. Or was it firecrackers and flares?

And if Putin can be believed, that white truck convoy
heading west into the Ukraine MAY really contain food
and other relief aid, rather than being a Trojan Horse
maneuver to bring weapons to Russian separatists.
We'll see...if the contents are arms, how stupid can
the Russians BE, irrespective of  any reaction to
such silly propaganda? We will know, so--credibility,
anyone? It matters a great deal, tangibly and otherwise.

Today the Sun is shining in Chicagoland, the air is warm
yet not stifling, and some of the news has truly been good.
Let's have more of that!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Privacy Practices, Issues and Robin William's Death

Mark Zuckerberg was almost right when he loftily
proclaimed "Privacy is dead" from the heights of his
early success, which continues. I excoriated him for
stating such a blanket, blatant "truth" (-obvious only
to him). I have locks on my door, metal blinds on
my huge windows, and only physically admit anyone
already known to me...therefore, anyone with such
practices actually HAS some privacy. In public, there
is NO legal, logical, moral or practical expectation
of privacy, despite many individual, impassioned and
irrational claims,  whines and overt outrages to the
contrary. "In public"  includes the web, sites, visits,
even, apparently, emails, etc.

But the helicopters over Robin Williams'  home in
Tiburon, CA, courtesy of ABC TV, added to all the
other intrusions into his family's sorrowful space
is, frankly, beyond the pale. These sorts of insensitive,
uncivilized behaviors verge on voyeurism, which unwitting
Americans too often aid and abet, funding/viewing violent
videos showing way too much sex (--what's wrong, can't
"get enough", so watching it "works"?--Ugh).

Why do we need to know anything more than
"Mr. Williams committed suicide." ?  Why does
the public need to see sad pictures, hear toxicology
reports, etc., in exactly the same ugly media circus
we were treated to when Pop artist Michael
Jackson died? I have a disquieting, disgusting

In addition to being like ants in actions of mass
formation violence or sport (--see Dr. E.O. Wilson,
Harvard entomologist), we also resemble German
Shepherds, admirable, intelligent mammals except
when it comes to being entirely too ''nosy". -Have
any of you dear readers ever been on a sidewalk
when sniffed between your legs by a Shepherd?
That IS an invasion of privacy, an exception even
though it occurs in public. Similarly, the hunger to
know intimate and/or unfortunate details of others'
lives is emblematic of our more primitive, darker
sides, aspects of the human personality better
left unstimulated unnaturally, artificially.

But, to paraphrase Tina Turner yet again, what's
dignity got to do with it? So, stimulate the area
of the human mind, the paleomammalian area,
primitive structures indeed, responsible for
repetitious wars and overpopulation. Behaviors
encompassing empathy, civility, according
dignity and respectful privacy to others do
NOT emanate from this area. (-!)

Desires for fame, wealth and attendant ambitions
propel such ungracious, ever-accelerating media
methods and its large gaping, contemptible, chattering
audience. All this is an unholy catch 22, causing needless
suffering, unsupportable to the finer minds among us.

--HEAR ME-- leave Mr. Williams and his family
ALONE. He helped many, delighted millions,
deserves dignity in death. Individual lives and pain
still matter, some still feel; I am one of them.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Israel's Face-To-Face Military Technique in Gaza...

Is only employed when it suits them.  Cowardly and bullying in
quashing the Gazans (-Stop saying it's merely about Hamas, the
world rejects this claim of yours right now).  I pointed this out
in my last post, BEFORE the news reports that an Israeli soldier
purportedly had been taken by Hamas. And how did Israel
manage this thorny problem militarily? By boots on the ground
in Gaza, cordoning off  fairly sizable areas, then going house to
house (i.e., face-to-face) in search of their comrade.

Indeed, Israel might have devised a similar strategy which
COULD have been used to determine exactly where Gaza's
rockets were stored, saving civilians, especially children.
But nooo (John Belushi famously said) let's just bomb 'em,
they aren't worth such effort, they are less than ourselves,
etc. Bebe can mouth calm "verities" all around the media, but
actions are anybody's yardstick proof of truth.

Memo to Israel: is this really what you want? --To emulate
a Nazi-like superiority, bullying, genocidal game? It sure
as Hell looks like it. Yes, Arab extremists of many stripes
have committed more than a few atrocities of their own,
just as extremists everywhere have you're
joining this infamously long list of shame?

Apparently some nations are getting wise to your
own, obvious horrors; the U.K. is reportedly
stopping military aid to you, Mr. Netanyahu--
yahoo! [A triple meaning here: (1) your name,
(2) a shouted hurrah, (3) a man without a clue, you.]

Hey now: what a wish, quite making my year, if the
U.S. joins the U.K., stops sending weapons to Israel--
and everywhere else. We often guess wrong, showing
our lack of sophistication in matters outside the U.S.
(-inside too, come to think of it.)

"Face-to-face" would show some grace in such
a place, winding down a war with fewer children
killed, a better write up in histories to come...
come on, no thought to your legacy? There is
more to survival than military techniques.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Small-Scale Holocaust in Progress--Israel vs. Gaza Palestinians

How does anyone legitimize throwing long-time inhabitants
of a region out to create a nation for others?  This is the
unhappy, untenable history of the modern state of Israel.
(Uncannily, it is the United States' story as well.)Yes,
there is no defense for the Holocaust during WWII,
when millions of Jews (and others) were killed in Hitler's
genocidal, maniacal pogrom...

But right now, Bebe Netanyahu  and his supporters are
murdering many children, innocent humans who DID NOT
ask to be born into such unfeeling, bloody chaos. There is no
excuse for this: even if the United Nations is correct in their
statements that Gazan schools and other "benign" civilian
locations house rockets,  there ARE other strategies to
locate, remove and dismantle such weapons. But that
would require a "fair fight", face-to-face confrontations.
Oh no--let's use bombs, planes drones, etc....
Never mind the "collateral damage".

Per CNN and the Pentagon, release of a secret stockpile
of our U.S.-produced weaponry already IN Israel TO
Israel was ok'd on July 23rd at the same time the White
House sharply rebuked Israel for the large civilian death
tolls, including hundreds of Gazan children.  Even more
ammunition additionally (-and God alone knows
what else) has been promised by us to Israel--
what the Hell for?? Israel has killed over 1300
Palestinians so far; the Israelis don't need more
weapons, more materiel, more bullets.

Carefully perusing a map of the Middle East
yields one conclusion, that Israel would win any
fight against Gaza; the land area and population
numbers alone tell the tale. The Palestinians are
a plucky bunch, but they will lose. They keep
attacking Israel because of Israel's seven-year
blockade and the simple fact of Palestinians
having been dispossessed of their centuries-old
homeland...not too dissimilar to the White Man vs.
the Native Americans, here at home.

I'm convinced the Israelis are trying to bomb
and starve the Palestinians back to the Stone Age,
a small-scale Holocaust of their own, something
they really should not do, given the history of the

Dr. E. O. Wilson is still right: in mass human actions
like wars, uprisings and contact sports, we behave
exactly like ants.

I thought we were just a bit higher up on the
evolutionary ladder. Sadly, it appears we are not. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mayor Bloomberg: Memo Time! Your Tribal Penchant Is Showing

When it comes to Palestinian rocket fire, you think the airport
near Tel Aviv is perfectly safe, as a recent rocket fell "far away",
a  WHOLE MILE. Your allegiance to Israel and obvious lack
of science background are showing, even to the extent of putting
your life on the line...brave, but foolhardy. Yes indeed, El Al is
probably the safest airline on Earth, but that doesn't mean the
airport near Tel Aviv or planes landing or leaving there are
incontrovertibly safe, sadly. There are other aspects and factors
which can well trump whatever measures airlines and airports
can and do take.

RE: your lack of physics acumen astonishes anyone who does
possess it. When rockets and airplanes are parts of a logistics
(vector) equation, a mile is nothing, really, whether it's a
horizontal or vertical distance. --Come on! Don't billionaires
browse sci pubs at the odd moment?  Who would want to
be out of touch with at least 90 years of worldwide applied
physics? Once we had engine powered boats and trains, etc.,
we entered the modern age. Mr. Mayor, I urge you to join the
rest of us in boning up on airplane flight, an important part of
applied physics.

You are/were the head of a large publishing empire--
surely some of the publications deal with the sciences?
(checking the short list yields Businessweek, a title which
does deal with areas of sci/tech.)  Study more, please,
proclaim less.

P.S.:  It is fine to be true to your tribe, but not at
the risk of sounding silly or courting danger.
Persuading others to take unnecessary chances
is ignorant immorality indeed.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Brasil's "Confederados": You Left the U.S. for a Reason...

Because your ancestors lost our only Civil War, which killed
more military than any of our other engagements. You left the
U.S. because you couldn't accept the shame of losing, or
being required to set your slaves free...period. I had to sneer
suspiciously when watching the Vocativ video, where
hundreds of USA expats are shown wearing confederate-
era military uniforms and gowns, gala gatherings at their
home in Santa Barbara, Brasil, north of Sao Paulo. This
community claims it doesn't support slavery, sports three flags,
Brasil's, the U.S.' and the Confederacy's. They are proud of
their forbears' bravery and way of life, they say...a way of life
squarely built on slavery. Thousands of these poor losers
emigrated to Brasil, the last nation in the Western Hemisphere
to outlaw slavery, WHILE slavery was still legal there, in the
late l860s. So much for protestations about abhorring slavery...

The humane abolition of such a servile condition, accomplished
in l888 by Dom Pedro II, a forward-looking monarch who
established democratic institutions also abolished the Brasilian
monarchy while he was at it. It is ironic indeed that as Brasil
moved away from a less-than-civilized society, our less-than-
desirable citizens, not particularly interested in a way of life
promoting dignity for all, moved in.

One interviewee on Vocativ expressed a wish that the
U.S. could  accept them and their Confederate Flag...
nice try. Atavistic idiots in the Deep South keep raising
the outlawed flag (the Confederacy was NEVER a
nation, let's recall) only to shortly remove it from
public view by order of the LEGITIMATE
GOVERNMENT of the United States.

Examples like this bolster my opinion that the
past is never entirely gone, over, irrelevant.
Instead, it lingers, its effects much like a small
flame that can burst into a large conflagration
given favorable circumstances.

I fervently hope no circumstances occur which
would welcome these pathetic souls back to the
USA with open arms.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Errors Explored and Reviled: Air Travel Atrocities Astonish, Continue

--For Pete's Sake! For John, Mary and Dave's sake too...
CBS Network News this a.m. exposed yet another instance
of airline toffs with their heads in their behinds: Malaysian
Airlines, usually using a flight plan that takes their planes over
the Ukraine/Russian border, decided to reroute their planes
--this time, over SYRIA. WHAT...??

The June 2014 issue of Scientific American published a very
interesting, and telling, article explaining the psychodynamics
of Ponzi schemes, which go back centuries, sadly. A fairly
new discipline, behavioral economics, had to be developed
to explain humanity's contrary and irrational actions with
respect to money.  Following the money in this airline's case
proves the irrationality of plans emanating from the highest
corporate tiers--how else can anyone explain jumping from
the frying pan into the fire, route-wise, from the Ukraine
border to Syria?

Meanwhile, Malaysian Airlines was teetering on the
edge of bankruptcy before their two doomed flights
in the last six months. Poor management is evident in
their  CEO's thinking as announced a few days back,
at his press conference. The best outcome here is
that MA is bought out by better entities, better in
the safety, financial and plain good sense categories.

It's time to delve into Behavioral Economics, deep
enough to devise improved strategies for our actions
at home and abroad. Until then, air travel atrocities
will continue to astonish--to say nothing of the myriad
other sorts of illogical, harmful ways we behave.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Airlines Must Reroute Flights Over Conflict Areas

The surface-to-air missile murder of  Malaysia Airlines
Flight 17's jet passengers today near Donetsk in the
Ukraine killed over 290 souls innocent of violence
themselves. 17 was their unlucky final number.
It was an avoidable disaster...

Blame attaches to the airlines, even more than to
the Russians, the Ukrainians and the pro-Russian
rebels, for not rerouting the flight plan away from
this ongoing border dispute. That obviously didn't
occur to the officials of any airlines flying over
the area--but it should, as of NOW.

The three bad actors here, Russia, the rebel
faction and the Ukraine are not behaving in
a civilized or rational manner right now, so I
expect precious little from them. The airlines,
however, are a quite different matter; they are
a transportation industry, claiming that safety is
job one...hah! What they must do: standardize
safety measures which would include reroutes,
checked and adjusted DAILY, if need be.

Memo to anyone flying in the near future:
check the route your plane will be taking.
If it is over any area of conflict, change
your flight or even your plans. A truck-
mounted surface-to-air missile destroyed
a passenger plane at 33,000 feet in this
incident, reportedly.

Be savvy about your vacation plans--
and save your life. The airlines can't care
as you and I do...until the lawsuits start
rolling in. Perhaps a hefty suit will force
the airlines to be more attentive to areas
they fly over.


Post Script: the FAA has now issued a mandate
forbidding flights over conflict areas; they HAD
previously published warnings to the airlines.
Perhaps other nations will follow suit soon.

Monday, July 14, 2014

About the Middle East: Get Serious, Stop Sending Israel and the Palestinians Money

It's time to talk turkey about the U.S. role in the Middle East,
which to date, of late, has been ineffectually weak and
unproductive. Really, these atavistically antagonist tribals,
the Palestinians and Israelis, couldn't care less about any peace
brokered by Obama, Kerry, et al. How many wearily
frequent flight hours have U.S. Secretaries of State Kerry
and Clinton logged in their visits to these contested areas,
only to return empty-handed? (--I can't count that high.)

Follow the money, therefore: has massive U.S. aid,
in the billions each year to both sides here, produced
any telling U.S. influence over events over there?
I think not. We get face time and politesse, much
less than ACTUAL RESULTS. Time for a radical

          In imagination's visionary view only:

 A Rose Garden Presidential Press Conference,
in any year, any U.S. President speaking:

"Today I must regretfully announce the ending of all
financial aid to Israel and the Palestinians. This includes
military aid as well. We will continue to offer medical
and humanitarian assistance at times, but that is the
full extent of our future commitment, beginning today.

For decades The United States has attempted to host
and/or participate in negotiations, but these two combatants
continue to remain intransigent, endlessly destroying lives and
property. The Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel's
right to exist as a national state, and the Israelis aren't
much more accepting of the Palestinians. The USA, in
sending financial aid, abets these violent conflicts, merely.

Here at home we need to focus far more on our own
problems, many of which can be ameliorated by better
policies and more funding. Our decades-long international
role as the world's policeman must end, if only to allow
other nations to mature in their own statecraft, absent
our paternalistic presence...and monies.

The Executive Branch and our Congress, for once,
have agreed on this new policy turn. We hope this
produces peace in the region, as nothing else has; we
wish all parties the best of luck, long life and

(The White House Press Corp erupts into loud
cacophonous questioning, interrupting each other.)

No questions at this time. My statement is clear enough."
(The President walks away from the press conference.)


The last time the USA mediated a lasting peace in that
region, chiefly between Jordan, the PLO, Israel and Egypt,
it was accomplished by Jimmy Carter, a president who has
steeped himself in the history and culture of the entire
Middle East, proving it by writing intelligent books on
such subjects...hmm. That lasting peace occurred
in the 1970s. Apparently no one since has had the
same knowledge, expertise and demeanor to pull
off such stellar peace accords, still in effect in 2014.

Until another U.S. President and Congress attain
a comparable level of  international mastery, let's
stay out of Middle Eastern affairs altogether, ending
our billions in dollars and materiel of support,
a wake up call, clear and loud.

 Now THAT WOULD be getting serious about
the Middle East.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Can't Players Win Matches Without Violence? Foul Doings, Indeed

The World Cup team player from Colombia
(-THE correct spelling, gringos!) had to go ugly by
kneeing Brasil's (-ALSO correctly spelled) Neymar
in the back, sending him to a hospital in Fortaleza, with
an alleged broken back bone (but not the whole back,
thankfully). What has happened to the sports world's
skill sets AND attitudes?? Nothing good, bet on it.

Basketball, Soccer and other SUPPOSEDLY non-
contact sports have ratcheted up the violence in the
past few decades, which has sharply detracted from
the thrill of these contests; not by skill alone are games
won these days. Why must players take it for
granted that they will be seriously hurt, sooner or
later, if their careers last very long?--UNacceptable.

Since I played varsity basketball in Texas in the
late '50s (a guard with a reliable right layup shot), I can
speak to basketball's "evolution" as an almost completely
non-contact proposition to one where intentional fouls
are important aspects of strategy. --UGH!

I have no interest in Western Society's returning to
the days of Ancient Rome. Let's NOT employ
vicious gladiators, out to maim. I want to see skill
absent the pain, period.

Are American sports fair or foul? Lack of sportsmanship
in contests equals foul doings, indeed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Employer/Employee Paid/Unpaid Birth Control Benefits Scuffle--SCOTUS Decides, a Rare Right Decision

Hey now (Howard Stern's greeting), here are all the
sanctimonious, red-herring, truth-deflecting rationales at
work, pro and con: who pays for an employee's
birth control? Are these companies really religious, deeply
so, in fact, that they can't stand abetting by payout a
woman's (and her sex partner's) wish to contain
reproduction? I think not; it's merely a way to save
some on benefit monies paid.

A female howl now goes up: the giant corporations are
now in my bedroom, men still trying to control our bodies,
etc. While that may still be true in some quarters, women
are not actively being barred from obtaining birth control;
if one druggist denies this service, go to another! If your
employers won't pay for your birth control method, pay
for it yourselves! Planned Parenthood currently lists
the "pill" monthly tab at between $15 and $50. I live on
$12,000 a year and I could afford that.

Condoms, foam, the "pill": I paid for them all when I was
sexually active, with never a thought that anyone else
should pay for my intimately personal products. The only
persons obligated to buy such items are the sex partners
THEMSELVES. It is simply no one else's business...period.

The Supreme Court made the correct decision, a rare right
one lately, considering Citizens United and a long litany of
stupid, illogical and unjust votes. Still, Associate Justice Ruth
Bader Ginsburg is no fool, with her 35 page dissenting remarks
about creating a minefield full of future problems, precedent
being what rules (when rule IS actually employed) in our land.

We've entered the political arena (-AGAIN), with
Left vs. Right, Men vs. Women, ad libidinum, ad nauseam,
et al. Fractious fodder will fly, from now 'til November
2014 and beyond (-!).

P.S.: This has needlessly become a political and
religious football.
To women: You can choose to have/not have sex, but not
cancer--that is why birth control is not a medical benefits
issue or right, even though a doc writes Rx for the "pill".
To corporate execs: I don't believe in your denominational,
"devout" devotional denials. This is a money matter, that's IT.
To the Catholic Church: stop promoting overpopulation!
We don't need, and the Earth cannot support, the nine
billion souls projected to live on the planet by about
2050. The Holy Bible said be fruitful and multiply;
we've been there and done that, over, and over, and ....

When will reason, honesty and care constitute the
greater opinion and  policy we proclaim? --Coming
to our world anytime soon?

I'm still waiting.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Better Law: No Tax Exempt Status for Any Political Group

Make it universal, with no exceptions: then there
will be no easy opportunity for corruption, cheating,
BOLOs, etcetera. Why should any political
organization avoid paying taxes?  Whether we
mean the RNC, the DNC, the Socialists,
Public Citizen, the Tea Party (or any of many
offshoots), if you receive income, PAY
YOUR DAMN TAXES like everyone else
(except the Kochs and their fellow travelers)!

There are many "500" exempt categories in the
IRS list. Political groups enjoy tax-exempt protection
from "527", which category should be eliminated.
Only the destitute and ACTUAL charities deserve
designations denying tax-taking.

There are at least six 501 (c)s --we read and hear
about 501 (c) 3s far more than any of the others,
with their slightly different requirements. I'm aware
of fast and loose compliance problems in these
organizations. Several years ago the Sierra Club,
a 501 (c) 4, was quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times
backing a particular political candidate, illegal according
to the IRS. I called the Club and the Times; neither
wanted to admit error or culpability to me,
even though I had the relevant IRS restrictions/
requirements at right in hand.

--Do anything! --Say anything! --All for me and mine,
Let's grab great fistfuls of swag and hoard any monies
we've got now that we are demonstrably (and officially)
living la vida loca, the chaos of Back to the Wild West
in every aspect of public and private life.

Dear reader, don't counter with the objection that
good people still exist, I know that. However, not
enough of  them are cannily mitigating/militating
against every recent loss of progress, beginning
with the overturning of Glass-Steagall (1999),
which was (and is) one of the causative four legs
supporting the stool of the Great Recession, 2007
and counting. Voting rights, women's rights,
personal property rights, privacy rights, more,
are being seriously chipped away in favor of the rich
and powerful, which sets up an ever-increasing
drive toward BECOMING rich and powerful,
in fear of being marginalized or left out; hang
the moral hazards or harm to innocent others...
or the nation.

But time and treasure are being wasted on this
IRS, BOLO business with Lois Lerner, the U.S. House,
et al. Don't we still have an untenable debt? Aren't
we being laughed at all around the world for our
weakness while we're shouting about a U.S.
"exceptionalism" which is no longer what it was?
(-Reminiscent of post-Napoleonic France's
posturing as THE preeminent world power.)

Rue it, everybody--then get down to work,
time and treasure intensive though THAT is, too.
Change the tax laws across the USA; no tax
exempt status for ANY political group, period.
Now THERE'S some mighty, moral "exceptionalism".

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The U.S.: Better Off Than Brasil? Yes--and No

...They spell it with an "s", not a lazy "z".

Let's look at a few factoids, shall we?
 -Brasil has nearly 16% of its people living
   below the poverty line.
 -The USA? MORE THAN 16% of us exist
   below our poverty line; almost 20% of  U.S.
   children live this way.
 -Even considering the new discoveries of
   natural gas here at home, Brasil  has
   many more natural resources than we do.

A much more extensive comparison is better
done by others, but I get highly exercised
during 2014's World Cup fever when U.S.
media mavens bleat about Brasil's problems
as though we aren't facing many of the precisely
same ones, some of which are more
troubling here than there.

A little objectivity, anybody?
Are we better off than Brasil?
--Yes and no.

Non Nobis Solum-Not for Ourselves Alone

What a worthy slogan and sentiment! What if almost
everyone took this as their watchword? What a world
we would be...a far better one. This expression comes
from Cicero in his Duties; few have ever had the vision
and cogency of historian and philosopher Cicero--oh
Cicero and Solon, where are you two when we need
your wisdom, now more than ever before? Before these
polymaths of Ancient Rome and Athens there was a
use of Non Nobis in Psalms 115.1, The Bible, where
"not to ourselves" as a phrase is stated twice.

Chaos is spreading, clearly; the best of the West's talking
head experts are chewing their fingernails while sweating--
things look very dicey to them too. The USA may not,
perhaps cannot, gear up to mount a WWII-style effort
to quell the apparently approaching madness: As
"Policeman of the World", we freely now admit, we are
seriously understaffed, underfunded and (mostly)

The only solution is for almost everyone around the
Earth to care what happens to everyone else along
with themselves...

Non Nobis Solum: by caring for others we will best
serve ourselves as well.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The "Wizardry" of Dr. Oz: Merely a Magically Shameless Self-Promoter

...Until now, when he was hauled in front of the U.S. Congress
for touting all manner of minerals, organics, etc., in addition
to recommending the rarely tried and true, largely ignored,
"diet and exercise".

Not content with his prestigious and profitable career as a
premier cardiac surgeon and department head, he has his own
TV show, numerous annoying ads on the web, appearances
at tux-required events, ad nauseam.  The vanity of this "doctor"
is enormous--does he ever take a moment for solitude and

But blame attaches to his many acolytes as well. People
who want an easy way out or are something for nothing
artists eagerly lap up this mass-communicated nonsense.
Memo to Americans: You couldn't/didn't put on the brakes,
ingestion-wise, when noticing you packed on an extra
five to ten pounds? THAT is the time to get serious,
not after 50 or 100 units of unwanted, unneeded excess

We are all our own worst enemies, ultimately, generally.
The "Wizard of Oz" can't help with that.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Time Travel Back to the Wild West All Too Real Right Now

Winter worries over the several Polar Vortexes have
given way to Summer Shooting Anxiety, public places'
random murders by gun.  The latest, in Las Vegas,
shows how pointlessly, painfully insane such tragedies
truly are--two anti-government extremists, a male and
female, shot two policemen, were shot themselves
and she killed someone else. Could this violence bring
down the government they stated they so hated?
--Hell no.

There are too many guns, too many nuts, and too
many gun nuts residing in the USA. Time to bring
back more sane mental health facilities while issuing
a clarification of the federal constitution's Second
Amendment, a Founders' statement few understand,
apparently. The simultaneous success of these two
suggestions could calm to a simmer Summer
wacked-out Wild West weirdness...

But banking on it is idealism traveling to a bridge
too far to find.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Recent Furor Over Our Vets Masks the Problem's Long History

...Dialing all the way back to our nation's founding. Our military
men and women have never been treated well by our government,
with ongoing respect and care, beginning with the Revolutionary
War, 1776-1783. (-!) Those who forget George Washington's
pleas for soldiers' supplies, such as basic food and winter clothing
must be shocked when hearing the current day's VA neglect news,
which has recently identified many hospitals in that beleaguered
system, not just in Arizona.

Consistently, with one exception, the immediate post WWII
period, vets are forgotten, the hospitals have known inadequacies
and deficiencies for decades; in Chicago, in the 80s, I was at the
now defunct Lakeside VA, 333 E. Huron, in the waiting area,
talking with vets. Their complaints were the same then as now:
slow and/or poor care--the only item missing mention was news
of the "doctored" lists, a sunny prescription providing proof of
great care, engendering bonuses for the reporting institutions.

Every enterprise CANNOT successfully model the identical
missions and practices employed by for profit businesses--
especially not municipalities, hospitals, schools and charitable
organizations, but God knows they've been trying--and failing.
This mistake also applies to major transit systems like Chicago's,
which has been troubled for decades after it was transformed
into an unholy, ultimately unworkable political/business entity.

The U.S. throws big, splashy parties/memorials about three days
a year for our military service about TRULY
honoring them EVERY DAY??  That would mean better
health care, better salaries and supplies for the front line troops,
etc. That would also mean more taxpayer dollars required from
everyone else...

Or is the recent furor fodder for the chattering classes and
attendees at backyard barbeques, merely?  Talk is cheap
and easy. Only action proves sincerity in simply caring.

Who cares? I want to know.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Rahm, Your Poll Numbers Will Dive Even Further Now...

Since you have proven that you DON'T CARE
ABOUT SCHOOLCHILDREN. It doesn't matter what part
of Chicago a dilapidated school building exists in: as long
as the problem isn't in Lincoln Park or Hyde Park, well,
why care?  Mayor Emanuel (and Daley before him) were
somehow unable to cough up TIF or other monies to fix
schools on the South OR North Sides; the latest shocker
involves a hideously ruined school building in Rogers
Park, inches to feet of ceiling peeling paint, ad nauseam.
The photo reveal was broadcast on Chicago CBS TV 2, the
five p.m. newscast, 05/22/2014. 

R.E. closes 49 schools at once, which no system in the U.S.
had previously dared/attempted to do; he starts many money-
intensive projects (-tax payer paid?) which are completely
unnecessary, as they are duplicates of perfectly fine existing
entities. So he's tone deaf and somewhat stupid, attempting
to launch more luxurious places for the tourists and local
rich, even as his poll numbers dive, dive, dive...

With all your accomplishments, Rahm, how can you
forget poor people vote too?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Unpatriotic Americans: Our Many Rich and Credit Suisse

CBS Radio today (05/20/2014) revealed that Switzerland still
allows many thousands of rich "Americans" to evade U.S.
taxes by sheltering their money in numbered, secret accounts,
the same, decades-old technique--this in spite of stern warnings
from our government to both our citizens and the Swiss. How
patriotic is that?? I call it idiotic, self-serving, and...

Unamerican. Yep, y'all who made your fortunes here as you
could not anywhere else, YOU ARE unamerican if you didn't
pay your taxes. You have avoided your responsibilities
as American citizens in good standing. You aren't supporting
our military, police, schools, firefighters, many of them already
having given their lives caring for country and countrymen.
You lack a simple, but telling attribute, caring. You don't
give a $$$$ about anyone but yourselves--and the
helpless among us?--Fuggeddaboudit.

"Let's declare war on Switzerland!" Just when I was
turning darkly humorous, Credit Suisse has partially
redeemed itself by pleading guilty to this felony
of harboring our tax cheats, the bank and our
white collar criminals further enriching themselves
thereby...more confessions to follow, perhaps?

Memo to the darkly busy super rich who don't
pull their weight: You are definitely contributing to
the downfall of the United States. That IS unpatriotic.
--Thought processes haven't taken you that far?
Think it through, then do the right thing. I don't
believe Buffet, Gates and Turner act this way,
yet they still have plenty of dough to play with.
But then these gentlemen have demonstrated, over
and over, that they are caring human beings.

The next time you pledge your allegiance to these
United States, or attend Fourth of July celebrations,
ask yourself just where your true allegiance lies.

In the meantime, you are unpatriotic Americans.

                               Post Script:
Good golly, call Miss Molly!  New York State's hard-
charging banking regulator, Benjamin M. Lawsky,
obviously took his legal career cue from his very name...
fascinating, no?  

Friday, May 16, 2014

David Brooks Blew it on PBS-Ted Cruz Can't Become President

...of these United States, PERIOD! This is now the second
time I must take up this idiotic issue: if anyone bothers to check
Article Two of the United States Constitution, he or she will
see that in order to be a vice president OR president of this
nation, candidates MUST BE BORN HERE. Parents'
birthplaces are immaterial and irrelevant, as all the millions
of American citizens born in the U.S. to immigrant parents
can attest.

Once more, with feeling: Ted was born in Canada. His
mother was an American citizen, but she was and is unable
to confer natural born citizenship on her son. Yes, other
nations DO consider the parents' birthplace as the
chief qualifying determinant in citizenship questions,
our nation does NOT.  Ask Arnold Schwartzenegger,
Teddy: he has often said the country's constitution
should be amended to allow foreign-born American
citizens to be candidates for the U.S. presidency. Ted's
possessing dual citizenship and his offering to give up
his Canadian passport is beside the point: the Founding
Fathers were silent on this matter when they framed the
highest law of the land.

Brooksy, back to you: Obviously you don't bother to
crack open any original source materials (i.e., the federal
constitution) before proffering opinions on PBS' The News
Hour, as you did tonight, May 16th, 2014. --Brother!

I will be contacting the New York Times and PBS, your 
employers, regarding your shocking ignorance in this
extremely egregious error. They will be the second and
third major media outlets I've had to take to task regarding
Ted Cruz's legal viability as president of the USA :
months back, it was the Washington Post.

Meanwhile, David, get thee back to study hall
and check out Article II (Not the Second
Amendment!) Section. 1., Paragraph Five
of our country's most important document.
Benjamin Franklin is spinning in his grave, no
doubt, as he hoped the new nation's people
would be and become just a mite more studied
than this. He said as much after the document
was signed, September 17, 1787.
The "extra" period  after Section is in the constitution,
not an error here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"Silver-Tongued Sterling" Can't Wriggle Out of His Racist Rant

The racist billionaire can't get over and beyond that
dreadful tape by begging off with responses about
"mistakes", self-aggrandizing, seeking sympathy
 claims of "being set up", etc.

To me, it's so simple: his mistress, being a mixed
ancestry person herself, felt outrage and disgust at his
remarks and vowed to publicly punish him...why not?
She probably had other reasons to excoriate him as
well,  his querulous, racist directive to her giving her
the perfect means, he hoisting himself on his own

First and foremost, their adultery is still wrong,
legally and in the Ten Commandments upon which
our legal system is based. She should have held
a quarter between her knees and kept her lips
sealed until "Sterling" (-such an ironic name!)
proffered copies of his divorce papers to her.

He, of oft' entitled character/personality many
billionaires possess (Not Gates, Buffet and
Turner, though, thankfully) thought he was
graced with beauty and vigor due  his dollars-
but nooo! He is a rather plain old man, all in
all, no powers of articulation, logic, reason or
humanity,  his subsequent comments merely
reinforcing that damning tape.

We should all understand that high-stakes
professional sports are a business, yet
remember too NO ONE wants to be thought
of as a mere soulless, unentitled commodity,
clearly a value/view shared by both Boko Haram
AND Sterling: Black children and civilians in
BH's case, black NBA basketball players,
a majority of the NBA, merely money-
making "properties" for Sterling.

So where's that "post racial" society some
writers extolled we'd reached back in 2008?
It never existed, even with more and better
civil rights legal protections (1964 and 1965)
here in the U.S. Until the entire human race evolves,
expect "tribalism" ( i.e., my people are more worthy
than your people) to publicly rear its ugly head
from time to time.

I  pray to God that the scales of bigotry fall from
BH and Sterling; souls are hanging in  the balance,
theirs and their victims as well.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Good Luck, Jonathon: Patience Has Nothing to Do With It

The recent kidnapping of about 270 Nigerian girls by Islamist
extremist Boko Haram is an irony underscored by an event three
days this week, the World Economic Forum, to be held right
there in Nigeria's capital. Boko Haram's leader has bragged that
Allah encourages selling to the marketplace, therefore, he will sell
the girls into forced marriage...ah. So young Nigerian girls are a
mere commodity, not an oddity or a scarcity, sadly, in our insane,
injustice-weary world; what perfect timing! Maybe market-driven
extremists at the forum can haggle over prices for the different
girls, ruinously reminiscent of our country's former slave markets.

Sarcasm aside, even with short notice, can't the toffs attending
this conference reschedule their meeting? Boycott Nigeria
altogether and meet anywhere else BUT.

President Jonathon, does anyone believe your PR claims that
you have teams out assiduously searching for the girls? As to
patience, few of us interested in human rights and justice have
any with all of this. Silence wife Patience; she should have nothing
to do with the presumably ongoing investigation. Can Nigeria's
First Lady legally order arrests of protesters?  Nigeria is now
a mirthless joke,  finally, I have to believe.

Good luck, Jonathon. Seriously, get to work and mobilize
many men to root out these insane (and blasphemous, by
the way) Boko Haram kidnappers, stiff sentencing applied
at the minimum.


The WEF meeting  is a vast undertaking, with big shots from
all over Africa and China in attendance; there was no hope of
cancellation. The irony will have to stand...but attendees
at the 2014 WEF in Nigeria HAVE made strong stands in
statements about the ~270 girls, while Boko Haram has
killed several hundred people in the last few days.
President Obama is right: Darkness in the human heart has
yet to be extinguished.

P.S.: Readers can comment here, but I can't do so
on this browser; I can reply using a different one.
Dan and Mr. Lester, looking forward to your thoughts.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Our Brains Circling Down the Drain: PBS, Then and Now

Watching Wednesday night PBS, "science night" in 2014
is "science lite". Decades ago, we watched more serious
physics programs like "Key to the Universe", several hours
long, with Nigel Calder, only one example. Sir David
Attenborough may not produce and narrate many more
future nature series. (All his superior and endearing/enduring
body of work is still available at PBS online and elsewhere,
thankfully.) Some cable offerings might delight us still, although
none I've seen can compete with PBS at its best.

Free Wednesday nights now feature "Your Inner Fish"
with way too much Dr. Neil Shubin and his university's
scenery, way too little of the actual science. [--Damn
all this dumbing down vanity video!] Don't even talk about
"Nova Science Now" with Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson and
David Pogue acting far too immature (silly-cute), again,
at the expense of the science, given programming and
watchers' time constraints.

"Nova" is funded by a Koch Industries brother, so I
won't bother contributing to PBS until Koch disappears
from the credits.

Meanwhile, I can feel my brain circling down a
metaphorical drain, viewing various vanity science
showpieces showcasing certain profs.

Geography AND History Are Almost Destiny...

Unless many brave and intelligent souls militate publicly against
the outrages and mistakes of the past. To wit: The Monroe
Doctrine has hubris written all over it. Current and future U.S.
presidents can't rely on that old, imperialistically controlling
document, morally, any more than Russia rightfully reinstitutes
the Soviet Union by fiat and/or devious ambiguation.

The charges and counter charges now flying back and forth
between big bear and exceptional eagle are dangerous,
dragging us all back by degrees to a past MOST do
not want. The U.S. and Russia are attempting to mold
the entire planet in their competing yet flawed images.

Get gumption now, please, people of any ability:
get organized, create an indisputably LARGE cohort,
focus on a few important goals, and present them
FIRMLY to both Russia and the U.S.

The lives you save just might include your own. 

Meanwhile, Santayana, make room for Nostradamus;
you two may as well spin together, joint outrage,
one grave. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Travelers, Be Wary of the Ferry--at Home and Abroad

...Because many of them have serious design flaws, to say
nothing of the totally inadequate safety protocol/information
culture.  Too top-heavy and high in the water, aggravated in
some instances by having too many cars parked too high up
atop many of these working ferries causes some of the very
same sinkings of more than a few cruise liners.

Physics is fundamental; we WERE to have learned that in
school, but if not, ignorance is not bliss, so learn how it
controls your every waking hour, in cars, ships, boats,
motorcycles, building and architecture. (You can't expect
your luxury home to survive long term if it is perched on
a mountain made almost solely of mudslide-prone earth,
look out California!)  

Please, I beg you: check out the design and safety culture
of any ferry you may wish to take. As we have all sadly
seen, many lives can be lost when  we are too trusting.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A World-Famous Philosopher Has Never Stopped Spinning in His Grave

...why on Earth should he have? It is difficult to understand how
world leaders can continue to react in the same dangerously,
murderously tired ways they have always done--knee jerks
BY JERKS. George Santayana cautioned that those not
learning the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them:
so here we go again...the armed skirmishes in the Ukraine
have devolved into violent clashes with deaths, about three
so far, but it's early days.

There are two solutions that might make sense I'll offer here:

(1) Let the Ukraine become two states, divided by the
Dnieper River which does cut the country in half, call them
East Ukraine and West Ukraine. Let the East U align itself
with Russia, which seems to be what that region wants,
let West U line up with Western factions like the European
Union.  Not NATO, however: I don't see the Ukraine
anywhere near the Atlantic.

(2) Perhaps Russia could remove its troops in a face-
saving manner, all in charge could begin to relax,
and allow the Ukraine to line up with BOTH
Russian-related interests and European ones, as it is
literally located  between both.

Geography is destiny, someone said once. Being
mindful of such situational realities, can't we all
just get along? (so right, Rodney King). If we
can't, more murders, mayhem and destruction are
inevitable in a world that lost approximately 40%
of its financial worth during the Great Recession
2007 and counting.

Meanwhile, George Santayana continues his
graveyard spins....

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Heap O' Hubris (-and apparently, ignorance!)

U.S. sailors are suing Japan because they were
exposed to radiation during a rescue mission
to the stricken Fukushima disaster area. SURE,
why not kick a dog when it's down, WOW,
wotta brave who do (should) the sailors
suppose CAUSED this disaster?  Why, the
USA's GE Mark I and II reactor designs, sold
to a not quite up to speed technical society,
our former enemies, the Japanese--sold to an
island people subject to numerous earthquakes 
and tsunamis...

If the Japanese were really smart, they would
countersue re: being sold a pig in a poke,
faulty reactor designs by GE. Smart people
all around the world AND here at home
know/have known the GE Mark series are
flawed--GE engineers knew it in the
SEVENTIES when most reactors were
being built. Certain Japanese engineers
realized it as well, but ego and big-business
thrills often outweigh good sense; good,
innocent people are actually killed when
dangers are dismissed/overlooked.

Our sailors should sue the U.S. government,
but wouldn't dare, as employees; probably
some federal law exists to forbid such a

A heapin' helpin' o' hubris (aka willfull
stupidity) going back to the late 60s and
the seventies are at work here, to the
detriment of all.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

USA/USAID, Stay Out of Cuba! We Can't Control the World...

and we'd better stop trying. Cuba is an independent
nation, deal with it; 1962's Cuban Soviet missile threat
is not a current issue, so stay outta there--do you want
more problems like those we have with our not-quite-a
state, Puerto Rico? If this nation were so on top of the
many myriad concerns we've had here, why did it take
sooo long for Washington DC's residents to get full voting
rights? --Come ON. Democrats and Liberals, why aren't
you (figuratively) baying for blood as your peers with the
same philosophical inclinations did during Reagan's little
adventure (actually Ollie North's) in 1980s'
Central America?

Cowardice married to presumption has trumped good
sense yet again: USAID, authorized by -?someone?-
has been broadcasting a Twitter-like program called
ZunZuneo to Cuba--COVERTLY. Just as anonymous
screedsters can say whatever they wish, because there
are presumably no accountability repercussions attached
to withholding one's identity, some in  authority want
to control Cubans and their political destiny by secretly
propagandizing....shame! Go through the Voice of
America, my dad's old employer, for any honest,
practical power of persuasion.

Check out the Platt Amendment; decide objectively,
if any American can, whether we have our collective
heads screwed on correctly regarding Cuba. For
those who don't know, 70 and more years ago Cuba
was near enough, yet far enough away for philandering
U.S. Senators and other "big shots" to escape their
dumpy, out of shape wives, having affairs with young
Cuban females...disgusting. (If you require sexual
variety, don't marry!)

I'm a Brazilian-Cuban American; I was in Havana
for several weeks in 1955 before Castro took the
island, follow events there and the antics of the
Miami Cubans as well. Because of the Spanish
American War (1898) we became occupiers
of the place...can't we let it go?? The scenario
is pathetic, reminding me sharply of Putin with
the Crimea, using his old KGB mindset.

Two shaky world powers, Russia and the USA,
with lack of control internally must externally
bully two little places in proximity. Memo
to Obama and Putin: this is NOT the way to
maintain super power status, count on it.

USA/USAID, stay out of Cuba, we are not
the world;

Russia, leave the Ukraine alone,
aren't you big enough right now?

--YOU aren't the world EITHER.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Illinois Is Ill Indeed: Quinn, Madigan and Cullerton Ignore Our State Constitution

No court case or informed objections from the public stayed the
illegal hands of the top three Illinois Democrats with respect to the
Illinois Constitution's STIPULATED requirements for content
in the yearly governor's projected budget for the next year:

Quinn proposed a five year plan (-borrowing from the old
Soviet Union's five year plan budget projections, perhaps,
which failed, by the way?) for 2015 and beyond. Consulting
our state's constitution,  Article VIII--Finance, Section 2.,
State Finance, Subsection (a) yields the following important

o The budget address to the General Assembly must be for the
   next budget year ONLY, (-2015).
o The sitting governor must provide estimated revenue receipts.
o Said governor must detail the plans for expenditures and
   obligations for EVERY DEPARTMENT, authority, public
   corporation, etc.
o Proposed expenditures shall not exceed funds estimated to
   be available by the General Assembly during that year.  

The Illinois Budget Speech on March 26th, 2014 fulfilled
NONE of these legally mandated requirements. Instead,
Quinn trotted out our commonly-felt fears about education,
needed services, etc. It was only a pleading, pathetic
political speech.  That is a no-go theorem for anyone
interested in obeying the law...which the top three
democrats clearly demonstrated they were NOT.

Harking back to the televised Joe McCarthy (R) hearings
of old, a lone, past voice of reason accused:
"Have you no shame, sir, none at all?"  That this is now
an illegal democrat rather than a republican underscores
how universal and deep the desire is to remain in
the spotlight--graceless and problematic though
such wishes often prove to be.

Pat wants to be remain governor; I understand. But
Quinn's quite able to give this exact speech on the
campaign trail, which is what he should have done...


Illinois is ill indeed: parse the state name, and
what do we find? Ill in noise. Can we never
overcome such seeming sad destiny?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

No One Gains as Ukraine's Pain Continues:

Crimeans want to return to Russia's hegemony; apparently
have succeeded, for the moment; the "interim" Ukrainian
government in Kiev is demonstrably shaky; Russian troops,
many thousands strong, purportedly are massed on Ukraine's
eastern border with Russia; Putin says he has no plans to
go in, unless "Russian speakers in Ukraine request it".
(--Sounds a lot like Pres. Kennedy and Ngo Dinh Diem,
early '60s, no?  We all know how THAT turned out....)

We do, luckily, seem to have some conciliatory negotiators
in the persons of Russia's Lavrov and the USA's Kerry, still
meeting and talking in places like "neutral" Paris. (I fervently
hope this is not just window dressing or the usual dog and
pony show...)  

We're in an extremely delicate, internationally involved moment,
including energy distribution across many European national
borders, supposed competition for allying Ukraine with either
Russia or NATO, posturing by the two greatest nuclear weapons
powers, etc. Since I don't really believe much actually ever lands
atop the dustbin of history permanently, I fear the "Cold" War
is returning, Putin's KGB background being what it is, and
Obama's "exceptionalism" comments being what they are.
(-A pity: in his first term, our president did what he could,
traveled to mend fences; now he seems more like Bush II,
"we are the world, the rest of y'all are jest onlookers".)

The Russians have some points against us on their side, sadly.
How has The Monroe Doctrine ever stood scrutiny as morally
just policy? Absolutely available to anyone with computer
access and history books  is the sorry saga of United Fruit in
Central America, the whole western coast of which the USA
practically owned...look up General Walker and the Panama
Canal as well. So again, why our outraged sensibilities over
the Crimea, Ukraine's allegiances, and Russian putative
power expansions/extensions? --As if we really have any
control what happens beyond our own borders, even
within them, at times.

If any nation's leaders WERE honest, they would admit
publicly that their countries have shameful entries in pages
of their own history books.  No one will profit from Ukraine's
present painful moment, absent extraordinarily deft diplomatic

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Newton Minow, Former Intellectual Big Fish, Becomes an Aged, Illogical Little Fingerling

March 20th, 2014 CBS Radio 780 AM Chicago: Minow
supports Rauner for IL governor in November. Can he really
believe a man who made millions through his hedge fund
business is right for Illinois? Hedge funds aren't regulated;
their managers (owners) pay little in taxes relative to other
enterprises. A governor must be able to respect/obey laws
(i.e., regs), understand the proper roles taxation plays in
an orderly, caring and civilized society.
(--Police and firemen, anyone??)

For most of my adult life I've respected Mr. Minow, a giant
of thoughtful, incisive and insightful communication. An
attorney and former head of the FCC, he gained fame 50+
years back deriding TV as a "vast wasteland", which it was
and still is, excellent, exceptional programming not to the
contrary, infrequent as it is.

--But now? Mr. Minow, rightly observing  Illinois' grave,
even desperate, financial condition, wrongly concludes an
extreme right wing super rich executive who publicly stated
his desire to lower the state's minimum wage, then denies it, is
just what we need. He could have supported Kirk Dillard, a
consensus-minded republican with experience and the necessary

Newton Minow now carries out the meaning of his name:
just another little fish in reality's chaotic gale-tossed oceans
where we want whales with uncommon sense and sound

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dillard vs. Rauner: Money Isn't Everything, as the 2014 Illinois Primary Proved

...Yes, Bruce Rauner ran a rich campaign, and he has secured the
Republican nomination for Illinois' next governor in November,
but by a landslide, as the talking heads and pollsters predicted?
No indeed, it was a three percent squeaker, proving yet again
that, while money is very important, it doesn't quite account for
everything. Watch for Mr. Dillard to nail higher office down
the road, as he intimated in his concession remarks.

Pesonal disclosure is in order here: I was one of the many
independent crossover voters who wished to influence the
Republican Party's outcome last night (-and did!). I voted
for Dillard, Cross and Topinka, as I have watched them over
the years and observed that they can civilly negotiate across
the aisle. Like it or not, those who disagree with us must be
dealt with, simply because they exist and ideal policies are
usually far from certainly known or proven. These three
Illinois politicians appear aware of such basic realities
where/when others are not. The Republican Party in our
state will rise and become more powerful when republicans
behave more like former Governor Edgar, Kirk Dillard and
Mark Kirk.

I'm praying for more RINOS and DINOS to get elected
nationwide--why not?  A steep ideological divide during
decades recently here at home has not produced policies
which reflect truly constitutional aims, namely, that all, rich,
poor and in between have rights, privileges and problems...

Let's get to it; let's prove even more effectively, resoundingly
that money isn't everything; effort, intelligence and concern have
occasionally trumped $$$ signs.

[Signed by a long-time DINO-RINO]