Thursday, October 29, 2015

October 28, 2015: No Candidate "Get Well" Prescriptions for Our Sick Society and Economy

Deutsche Welle reported tonight (October 29th) that U.S.
economists are surprised at the anemic 2015 Third Quarter
figures of a slim 1.5% overall growth rate. Why the surprise?
Our so-called recovery is really just what old authors used to
term a "creaming over" of an intractable reality. U.S. salaries
are mostly flat, with service jobs like social work requiring
degrees seldom realizing anything but modest pay gains even
after extra education is acquired.

Meanwhile, the October 28th Republican Debate hosted by
CNBC was a dismal failure in every sense of the word, with
only two candidate sentences hitting the mark, one by Ted
Cruz, the other by Chris Christie, both strongly suggesting we
get down to cases and deal with the economy here--which,
while previously promised, certainly did not occur last night,
with CNBC NOT putting serious, specific economic questions
...oh, they did ask about Fantasy Football, which occasioned
Gov. Christie's umbrage.

Otherwise, it was political theater as usual, the moderators
attacking the candidates, who fought back, but remained civil
to each other. CNBC attempted to restrain the presidential
hopefuls from raising  real issues; the candidates had to outshout
the panel in order to get their policies, views and concerns
broadcast. Unfortunately, I had to agree/applaud that tactic as
a necessity. The audience, as primitive as those back in Ancient
Rome being entertained at the Coliseum, roared their approval
at every outburst. Spectacle over substance, that is the average
American, apparently.

As to substantive, important issues which WERE actually raised by
the candidates if not by CNBC moderators:  Carly Fiorina  was
dead wrong when she stated categorically that tax reform has
been bruited about and ballyhooed for decades, but nary a reform
was ever enacted. Carly, go back to the Reagan/Tip O'Neil Tax
Reform Act of 1987, presaged earlier by tax acts in 1986 and
1982. These were bipartisan, successful reform efforts put into
law...--TSK! Carly, I take back the previous estimation I had of
you as being research-minded.

Where are the candidates' "Get Well" prescriptions for
our sick society and economy? Few found and none
now peeking over the horizon, I fear.

[P.S.: Every current presidential debate has included
at least one female blond moderator. Apparently this is
a requisite qualification. Why? To cynically attract male
viewers? The Oct. 28th CNBC blond moderator fulfilled
the dumb blond stereotype, asking a candidate where
SHE had read some pejorative fact about him. She
expected him to help her castigated HIM?  --Really??]

Monday, October 19, 2015

October, 2015: Stay Away from the Middle East, If You Value Your Life

I will never go to the Middle East, especially Israel,
especially since a stupid security guard mistook a man
from Eritrea for a terrorist, shot him, and the gathering
mob kicked him, after which (what a surprise) he died.

Tensions, shootings and stabbings are escalating between
Palestinians and  Israelis, to the point that it has become
largely irrelevant who started what incident. More people
have begun to whisper we are in the third Intifada; simply
speculating such a situation exists may make it so.

If I wish to see new places and visit others far from home
I'll go online or turn on television...chances are excellent I'll
avoid gun or knife violence.  If the tourist trade ever dries
up in these violent, exotic locales, perhaps money pressures
may drive these places toward stability--a slender hope at

If you value your life, and can avoid traveling to the
Middle East--any area between Egypt and Jordan,
well, wisdom is the better part of valor, the saying
sort of goes.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Chicago: How Is Rahm Emanuel Much Different from Disgraced Barbara Bennett?

First, Mayor Emanuel:

If any reader likes/loves Chicago for all the intellectual,
cultural and scenic offerings it indeed possesses, perhaps
many of you have already experienced a "cringing moment"
while viewing the artistic renderings via media of the George
Lucas proposed lakefront museum. Here are more aspects
to make anyone cringe yet again:
(1) Chi's mayor has involved his Hollywood brother, super
agent Ari, in this pathetic project: Ari has a ten percent $$$
interest in it.
(2) The architectural renderings are as hideous as they are
unimaginative: the exteriors look like tents from Hell or outer
space, take your pick.
(3) This project is highly unnecessary: we have many fine
museums, even one dedicated to broadcasting. Hollywood
has massive and effective PR right now, why should Chicago
build this monstrosity, even if (purportedly) no tax monies
will fund it?
(4) Various pundits have wisely speculated that this is a
double nepotism/vanity attempt: It is an homage to Lucas'
prominent Chicago wife, as well as aforementioned Ari,
no angel even if he operates out of LA.
(5) FINALLY:  this "thing" trashes the Burham Plan,
which was wise, forever fine and truly visionary. But
then, we DO live in an ugly era of McMansions, etc. ...
which I earnestly hope is a passing phase.

Second, Barbara Bennett:

She is so like Rahm E, in insider deals and parceling
out funds and perks to family, it is utterly unsurprising
he had picked her to run the Chicago Public Schools.
B is probably less intelligent than E is, I suspect, as she
left an e-trail: even Bush II stopped emailing family after
being told how easily emails are hacked.

Next time I see/hear Chicago's Mayor at a press
conference, I'm only giving him a provisional
"maybe" re: his "truthiness". After all, the ghost of
Daley I surely still hovers over Chicago, with his
unapologetic, defiant statement that OF COURSE
he helped family--whatever's wrong with that??

Oh let me count the ways....

Monday, October 5, 2015

Doctors in Afghanistan: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

October 3rd, 2015: (Alledgedly) American airstrikes in Kunduz
killed 22 at a medical charity clinic, injuring many more, even
though the doctors there had warned the Afghans and Americans
they were coming close to their clinic's location, which the docs
described to them...well in advance.

Plain and simple: hubris married to incompetence caused this
tragedy. Stop bragging about surgical strikes, precise targeting,
etc. In this incident, patients perished, doctors died-- so much
for precision. Minimizing the horror, authorities term such an
event "collateral damage". --Hogwash! It's nothing more than
murderous stupidity, callously called something else.

Perhaps Doctors Without Borders should set boundaries
and limits--for themselves, go to places where their good
deeds AREN'T punished by death. The lives they save
will be their own.

[UPDATE: the survivors of the Kunduz airstrike have
left the bombed-out clinic, relocating to a safer area.]

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Latest Carnage at a School: When Nimby Becomes Imby

A small town makes map fame for a sad tale of murder--yet
again. This time it's Roseburg, Oregon, at a college with a
student population of about 3,000. According to tonight's
NBC TV news report, (10/02/'15) nine people died
yesterday morning, including one professor. Initially, and
predictably, the death toll was exaggerated, breathlessly
broadcast to be 13, but local authorities released an accurate
list with photos;  the number is nine. The assassin died during
gunfire exchanged with police, but he managed to injure
between seven and nine others in addition to his kills. One
hero, a former soldier, managed to stop further fatalities
even while being shot himself; he is recuperating, his pix
showing a smiling survivor.

When Nimby (not in my backyard) becomes Imby (IN my
backyard), the reactions and statements are always amazed,
pained, predictable. "Nothing like this has happened in our
area before", etc. ... shock, sadness, but not awe.

Lester Holt quoted the CDC, saying there is one murder
every 16 minutes in America. Another report I saw last
night claims there have been 294 school shootings (not
killings) in the USA in the past eight months. What the
Hell is going on? YES, tragic and senseless violence is
part and parcel of human history, but something evil is
now afoot, accelerating, something that began with
Columbine and earlier, with the Unabomber.

The writings of these defective, murderous malcontents
generally equates to: "I'm alone, disrespected, marginalized--
I'll show 'em, I'll show 'em all... I'll kill a few people and
get on the news, in the papers, online...".  There is much
more to this horrific scenario than simple mental illness
married to the ridiculously easy availability of weaponry.

Our superficial society, with our envy of and wish for
celebrity, unwillingness to understand and accept the
vicissitudes which come to every life, lacking in studious-
ness--these all greatly create a climate of frustration, the
"ire in desire", if you will. Everyone is NOT equal: all are
not equally lucky, talented, agile, brilliant, beautiful,
innovative, inspiring, studied,  focused, ambitious or driven,
ad infinitum. It has been ever thus; these inequalities will
continue to exist. Unfortunately, we are all told all too often
that anyone/everyone can become the president, a quarterback,
a  sexy singer/dancer, a best-selling author, a guitar hero.
Sorry, S'ain't happening! Some will, most won't.

...But yes, do try. If you fail, at least you've tried; you'll
know where you're at. This is a good thing, because
you can conquer your disappointment by trying something
else. Eventually, you will find a good spot, as this is
indeed a nation famed for its second chances and
comeback "kids".

That's when the good "imby", success, occurs.