Friday, July 14, 2017

Drip, Drip, Drip!

The good news (some would say bad news, but not me) is a highlight of every day.  Drip, drip, drip it comes:

Another potential Trump scandal;
Another lie, clarification, retraction;
Another incendiary tweet;
Another Russian contact not reported;
Another legislative setback;
Another poll with bad numbers;
More easily refuted lies;

On it goes.  Good news every day.


Sunday, July 09, 2017


We define intractable as “hard to control or deal with.”  In our world today we live in a sea of intractables.  Take a look:

The Israelis and Palestinians – intractable
Acts of individual and group terrorism – intractable
Shias and Sunnis – intractable
Race relations in the U.S. – intractable
Tens of millions of refugees and no end in sight – intractable
Income inequality – intractable
India and Pakistan – intractable
Prejudice against “them” or “the other,” whoever is different than we are – intractable
Political dysfunction in Washington – intractable

And the list goes on – and on.

For glass half full people, there are rays of sunshine that break through the clouds every once in a while:

The Irish stopped killing each other – finally
In many places same sex marriages are legal
LGBTQ rights are greater than they used to be
Medical breakthroughs are saving many lives
A black man was elected president of the United States
Most of the world is taking climate change seriously
Infant mortality rates are declining
The Chicago Cubs won a World Series

The problem with cynicism and bemoaning the state of things is that it doesn’t help.  If you don’t like what you see, sitting on the sidelines is a safe place from which to criticize, but you won’t change anything.  Theodore Roosevelt makes the point:

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena: whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who arrives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause: who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievements; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Break!

On Friday I leave for Lake Como and Southern Spain.  I predict that while I’m away not much will change.  Specifically:

The Giants will still stink;
Trump will still tweet;
Washington will still be dysfunctional;
Terrorist acts will still kill innocents every day;
Our civil discourse will still be uncivil;
The Brits will still be in disarray;
The number of refugees in desperate need will grow;
Etc., etc., etc. . .

How about seeing the glass half full rather than half empty?
It’s possible, but more and more difficult.
The old people who are running things are hapless and helpless.  Stuck in the past as future.
The young ones are beginning to stir, but need to do more.  If there is hope, they are it.

I return on the Fourth of July – a propitious date.  We shall see – later.

Monday, June 12, 2017

No Place To Hide!

I wonder if there ever was a time when escape was possible.  Maybe – maybe not.  But one thing is for sure – today there is no place to hide!

Let’s begin with the subject du jour – terrorism.  There is no place on this planet that is really safe.  Not a day passes during which people are not killed brutally, without warning.  It’s not only in war zones where terror is around every corner.  We expect carnage in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Somalia, and the rest.  But Manchester?  Orlando?  Moscow?  Portland?  And the rest?  There is no place to hide!

Inequality has always been with us.  As sure as the inexorable movement of the tectonic plates on the earth’s crust will reshape our land, so will inequality continue to be part of the human condition.  We have always had the rulers and the ruled, the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots.  The difference now – with the Internet, social media, and the instantaneous flow of information in all directions – is that the spotlight shines brightly on the top 1%, or the middle class, or the bottom 80%, whatever interests or angers you.  As a result, constructive or destructive action is more likely to occur.  Either way, there is no place to hide!

“The Others” have never been easy for us to relate to.  If “They” are different I am uneasy about them, or afraid of them, or hostile to them.  If they are a different color or a have a different religion or come from a different culture or speak a different language or have a different sexual preference, they’re not one of us and I am uneasy, afraid or hostile.

And so we come to immigrants – millions and millions of them, everywhere and no let up in sight.  The conditions under which most of these Others live is horrific.  But have they been welcomed into new lands?  With few exceptions the answer is no.  Quite the reverse.  Walls have been erected, tiny quotas have been established, we have turned our backs and looked the other way.  Shame on us, starting with this country of mine.  Do we think the problem will go away?  Not a chance.  And there is no place to hide!

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg.  With global warming the ice may be melting, but it won’t melt fast enough to save us from needing sooner or later to confront these and other issues.  Unrest is on the rise.  It will manifest itself whether we like it or not.  And there is no place to hide!

Friday, June 09, 2017

Thoughts for Today!

In my view Comey told the truth yesterday.  He was persuasive and credible.  On the negative side, when Trump suggested he do something inappropriate he should have said so at the time.  I don’t buy the excuse that he was too stunned or maybe intimidated in the Oval Office.  I think he wanted to keep his job and thought he could act with integrity without confronting or calling out Trump.  He was wrong.

What’s going on with John McCain?  His questioning of Comey was bizarre and hard to fathom.  He seemed to either be under the influence of something and/or exhibiting signs of dementia.  Later he tweeted that he had been staying up too late watching Diamondbacks games.  I don’t buy it.

Good for Jerry Brown for taking California’s commitment to the environment to China.  With the 6th largest economy in the world, we can help overcome the impact of the current U.S. administration thumbing its nose at the rest of the world re climate change.

I’ve been watching Vice’s daily news show on HBO.  I’m far removed from the show’s 18-34 target audience, but I want to better understand how people are communicating with millennials.  I find the show interesting and informative.

The Giants really are woeful this year.  Going into the bottom of the ninth yesterday in Milwaukee ahead 5-3, Melancon comes in, gives up two runs, and blows the save.  Then, in the 10th, the Giants score 4 and win the game 9-5.  Who gets the win?  Melancon.  Blows the save, gets the win.  Go figure.

Go Warriors!!