Thursday, May 16, 2013
I’m tired of all the talk about cover-ups and scandals, charges and countercharges and the rest. So let’s leave Benghazi and snooping on journalists and the IRS and all the other controversies aside for today. What else is there to talk about?
There’s some good breakthroughs in stem cell research.
More states are legalizing same-sex marriage.
Housing prices are up.
The stock markets are in record-breaking territory.
Google Maps announced some new features that we’ll like.
Recent U.S. deficit numbers are much better than predicted.
California has a large budget surplus.
Juventus won the Scudetto for the 29th time. Go Juve!
Barcelona won La Liga. Go Barca!
Manchester United won the Premier League. Go Reds!
Beckham is retiring on top. Go Becks!
So is Alex Ferguson. Go Sir Alex!
I’ll be making my annual pilgrimage to Yosemite next week.
Jack Bauer and “24” will be back next year.
So will Downton Abbey.
See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?
Thursday, May 09, 2013
It Never Stops!
Partisanship has been a staple of politics forever. But these days the practice has risen to a whole new level. It is partisanship uber alles:
n Partisanship over the good of the country
n Partisanship over common sense
n Partisanship over integrity
n Partisanship over what the people want
n Partisanship over solving problems
n Partisanship to make the other side look bad, no matter what . . .
It is fair to accuse the Democrats of being partisans. But they’re not in the same league as the Republicans. Totally outclassed in the world of partisan gamesmanship.
McCain discussing Syria is all about what Obama should have done/what he isn’t doing/what he’s doing wrong. It’s about scoring political points, not constructive criticism or coming up with solutions.
It’s the same on the Benghazi witchhunt. Gotta find someone to blame. Gotta prove there’s been a coverup. Gotta prove Obama’s lying. And certainly gotta make Hillary look bad. Put it in the treasure chest to bring up against her in 2016.
Everywhere you look it’s the same. On the budget, on the deficit, on immigration, on gun control, on the environment, on abortion, on same-sex marriage, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum.
It never stops!
Friday, May 03, 2013
What is it about fads that cause many people to buy into them, to be part of the crowd that embraces this or that fad?
They come in many forms:
n A Christmas toy that I must get for my kid
n A movie I’ve got to see
n The latest iPhone or iPad or Android phone or whatever mobile device is hot
n That really cool new ice cream flavor
n The latest, greatest diet, guaranteed to help you slim down
n Blaming Muslims for everything that is wrong in the world
n Blaming Obama for everything that is wrong in the world
n And on and on and on . . .
There are many possible explanations for the fad phenomenon:
n I want to demonstrate that I’m leading the way, not lagging behind
n I want to be part of the ‘in’ crowd
n All my friends are doing it
n If I don’t they’ll think I’m old fashioned
n Peer pressure
How about those who deliberately avoid fads:
n I’ll prove I’ve got a mind of my own
n I don’t blindly follow the crowd
n It’s a temporary mania and will be old news soon
n It’s an advertising gimmick
n This craze is mass idiocy
Will fads go away any time soon? Not a chance!
Monday, April 29, 2013
They Still Don't Get It!
Maybe there was a time when the United States was so preeminent that the world would do our bidding and we had the power to control events overseas. Maybe. But even if that were so, perhaps in the years immediately following World War II, that was a long time ago and it sure as hell ain’t true today.
Recent examples are easy to find. We would get rid of the bad guys and put Iraq on the road to democracy. Reality: Iraq is in the early stages of a bloody Shi’a/Sunni civil war and we are helpless to do anything about it. We would do the same for Afghanistan and get rid of terrorists in the process. Reality: When we leave in 2014 our legacy will be a corrupt, violent, divided country with the Taliban in the ascendency and we are helpless to do anything about it.
Now there is a clamor from hawks on the right to step in and control events in Syria. Do something, they say. Anything. Just stop doing nothing. Their assumption is that if we just flex our muscles or say the right things we can turn the situation around. Reality: We still don’t get it. The rebels who would be peaceful democrats are in the minority. More and more the rebels lean to an Al-Qaeda approach.
Pressure and support from the outside is still possible. But to think that if only the United States would lead the way others would follow is a pipedream. It will take a collaborative effort by the Arab League, the European Union, Turkey, Russia and others to change the dynamics in Syria. And even then it may not work. In the end it will be the Syrians who decide what their future is going to be.
My hope is that Obama’s unwillingness to jump into the fray in a public and bellicose way does not mean nothing is happening. Helping to orchestrate a joint and meaningful response is a role we can play. But the underlying assumption being promoted by the anti-Obama crowd that if only the big, powerful Americans would snap their fingers everyone would get in line is just more proof that they still don’t get it!