Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dumb Ideas!

I hear San Francisco is preparing a bid to host the 2024 Olympics.  Really dumb idea!  A promise that it can be done without public funding is a pipe dream.  A short-term economic gain will be dwarfed by the cost of building long-term structures that serve no useful purpose.  This city doesn’t need a two-week moment in the spotlight.  It’s the best city in the world without it.

For the Giants to break their budget and offer a long contract to keep Pablo Sandoval in San Francisco is a dumb idea!  The Panda fans will get over it if he leaves.  Granted, he has an outstanding postseason record.  But during the season is only a slightly better than average hitter and fielder.  And he can’t be counted on to stay in shape.  It’s fine to offer him a decent deal.  But if that’s not good enough, let the Red Sox (or whoever) have him.

To assume that Comedy Central’s new “Nightly Show,” will succeed is wishful thinking!  While it may not be fair to compare Larry Wilmore, who will be the host, and Stephen Colbert, who he is replacing, comparisons will be made.  Wilmore is a low-key personality and doesn’t have the power or charisma to carry a show.  Also, I read that “The Nightly Show” will focus on underdogs.  I don’t know for sure what they have in mind, but it will be a challenge to keep an audience interested in underdogs.  This misguided, dumb idea debuts on Jan. 19!

The Democrats may not have a monopoly on dumb ideas, but they can’t be faulted for not trying.  Keeping the same tired Congressional leadership in power is a dumb idea!  Failing to articulate a clear pathway to the future is a dumb idea!  Running away from Obama is a dumb idea!  Blaming the Republicans for everything is a dumb idea!  Not being a party that appeals to young people is a dumb idea!


Of course, Republican dumb ideas abound!  But that’s for another day.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

ScienceTimes!

ScienceTimes is a NYTimes special section that appears every Tuesday.  Frequently I skip through it quickly.  When I don’t I’m always amazed at how much I learn.  For example, in today’s ScienceTimes I found the following:

Denmark is pursuing the world’s most ambitious climate change policy.  They aim to end the burning of fossil fuels in any form by 2050.  Today they are above 40% renewable power on their electric grid.  (The U.S. is at 13%)

The Rosetta spacecraft has been chasing Comet 67P for ten years.  Tomorrow it will attempt to drop a small lander onto the surface of the comet.  And by the way, both Comet 67P and Rosetta are traveling at 34,400 miles per hour.

Dead jellyfish have long been thought to be disgusting gooey masses of stuff of no interest even to fellow sea creatures.  Not so.  Recent experiments show that the seafloor cleanup crew – hagfish, crabs and others – gobbled up the dead jellyfish as fast as they did more delectable sea corpses, like mackerel. 

It’s likely, but not a sure thing, that if you have survived Ebola you will be immune from catching it again, or at least you will be protected from the same Ebola strain.  Volunteers to prove that this is true aren’t stepping forward in great numbers.

The air quality inside gyms may be bad for your health.

The Charles Bonnet Syndrome causes visual hallucinations that come from the brain, not the eyes.  People see colors, patterns and even people who aren’t there.  A woman reports that her elderly mother has been seeing a ghostly woman who she is convinced is after her husband.  “Tell her to go away,” her mother pleads.  There is no indication about how the husband feels about the situation.

Monday, November 10, 2014

It's Not a Mystery!

I keep hearing the talking heads, the pundits, the opinionators opinionate about why the Democrats did so badly in the midterms. 
n  They focused too much on women
n  They didn’t focus enough on youth
n  People don’t like Obama
n  They didn’t get out the vote
n  The narrative was lacking punch

Don’t people know, they ask, that the economy is better – the deficit is down, there is no inflation, the jobless number is less than 6%? 

No, people don’t know – or care – that all these meta statistics may be going in the right direction.  Why?  Because it hasn’t made any difference in their lives.   “What’s in it for me?” people ask, and rightly so.  No clever ‘narrative’ from Obama or anyone else is going to make any difference in how much they have to spend, what the future looks like for their children or that they see a dysfunctional government getting worse every day.

Everyone is talking about doing more for the middle class.  And the middle class, i.e., most people are waiting for some tangible results.  They are not wedded to a politician or a political party – they care about their own well being. 

It’s not a mystery, guys.  Show results and you’ll be rewarded.  

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

It Won't Matter!

After months of campaigning, hundreds of millions of dollars, endless hours in which pundits punditized, and gazilliions of ‘what ifs’ - today is the day.  Will the Republicans get control of the Senate?  Today is the day to find out.  Maybe.  If there are runoffs in Louisiana and Georgia the result may not be final until after the first of the year.

But whenever the results are in and whichever party wins, it won’t matter.  We will continue to have a dysfunctional government, gridlock will prevail, no major initiatives will be possible.  All eyes will turn to 2016, focusing on the next election.

Whoever controls the Senate, Obama will be an even lamer duck.  Partisanship will rule.  The main job for all politicians will not be to serve the public good, but to raise money for the next campaign.

They say hope springs eternal.  That’s still true about your favorite baseball team on the first day of Spring Training.  Is it true for American voters?  At this point – I doubt it.

Have a nice day!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Rise of ISIS!

This week the PBS program Frontline aired a show titled "The Rise of ISIS."  It is a MUST SEE for anyone interested in what's going on in the world.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Thoughts for Today!

Halloween is still three days away, but as we await Game 6 tonight, Giants fans are haunted by the specter of Game 6 in 2002.  With a 3-2 lead in games over the Angels and a 5-0 lead in the 7th inning, we blew that Game 6 and lost Game 7.  A horror show of the first magnitude not to be repeated in Kansas City – please.  Go Giants!

Ebola confusion abounds in the land.  It typifies the state of governance with which we are afflicted these days.  Individual states are deciding on their own how to handle real or perceived threats.  The Feds are sending out conflicting messages.  The CDC is proving to be incompetent.  And of course for many people Obama is to blame for this and all other viruses.

I’m pleased and not surprised that the tax breaks San Francisco gave in 2011 to Twitter and other businesses willing to locate in the perennially rundown mid-Market Street area are paying off – big time.  More taxes being collected.  And a now unstoppable turnaround in that part of town – with housing, restaurants, stores large and small, etc.  For decades the experts had come up with good ideas that went nowhere.  Finally, common sense prevailed.

I read today that Israel stuck another finger in the eye of world opinion by announcing yet another housing settlement to be constructed in East Jerusalem.  Another unnecessary provocation.  Common sense does not prevail with these guys.  And the US response?  A mild “tut, tut, you boys are being naughty again, tut, tut.”