Monday, December 30, 2013

Not Getting Attention!

I notice that some things just don’t interest people around here these days:

The upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia
End of the year celebrations
The National Hockey League
Japan’s shift to the right
Lack of rainfall so far this season
Flu shots
Economic growth, or the lack of it, in China
Bad weather someplace else
Car bombings someplace else
Displaced people someplace else
The price of gasoline
Wars in Africa
Unrest in Ukraine
The NFL coaches who were fired today

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Gift of Peace!

It is easy to take our blessings for granted.  After all, for most of us in this part of the world peace is with us today as it was yesterday and the day before yesterday and the day before that.  So we don’t think of peace as a gift, but as the natural order of things.

This is not the way it is for many people in many places.  Not true in the Central African Republic, not true in Afghanistan, not true in Somalia, not true in Nigeria, not true in South Sudan, not true in Iraq, not true in Syria, not true in Libya, and elsewhere.

And for others peace is tenuous.  Like in Ukraine, and Egypt, and Thailand, and Israel, and Lebanon, and Gaza, and elsewhere.

Peace on earth is a context for this holiday season.  For we lucky ones it is a gift to be cherished.  And for we lucky ones it is a good time to remember those for whom peace is not a given, to keep them in our thoughts and, if we pray, in our prayers.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Good News!

It’s the holiday season and time for some good news:

Putin pardons Khodorkovsky – and the Pussy Riot duo while he’s at it.
Obama pardons guys sent to jail forever under ridiculous crack laws.
A federal judge says that Utah’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court of Canada unanimously struck down three anti-prostitution laws.
Snowden looks more like a whistleblower than a traitor these days.
A healthy conversation about NSA spying – useful or a violation of civil rights – is underway.
The market is up.
Luis Suarez signs a long-term contract extension with Liverpool.
A new budget deal got approved.
New York City bans E-cigarettes.

Friday, December 13, 2013


It’s a black hole!  All this talk about who and how we’re spying on who and where is impossible to follow.

The cast of characters is endless:

Foreign Leaders
Phone records
Internet communications
Corporate information
Cell phones
The White House
Cyber Command
Meta data

A black hole!  What’s lost in the morass and competing opinions is any clarity about what’s right and wrong, what’s useful and not useful, what’s legal and illegal, what is big government out of control and big government doing important work, etc., etc. ad nauseam.

Love him or hate him, Snowden has opened a conversation that needs to be had.  Now we should figure out just what we’re talking about.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sports Report!

The 49’ers look like they’re headed to the playoffs.  Yet every time I watch them they look lousy to me.  Penalties at the wrong times.  Bad play calling on third down.  Bad decision-making by Kaepernick.  A lack of discipline.  If they get to the playoffs they won’t be around for long.  Or maybe all this is just me being mad at them for moving to Santa Clara.

Bummer that Juventus got knocked out of the Champion’s League.  Can’t figure out why they’ve done so well in Serie A and so bad in Europe.

I agree with the pundits who have bemoaned the U.S. draw in the World Cup.  Getting past Germany, Portugal and Ghana to make it to the knockout phase would be a miracle.

I’m OK with the moves the Giants have made so far.  Keeping Pence, Lincecum, Lopez and Vogelsong and adding Tim Hudson all make sense to me.  What’s left is to see about getting a left fielder with a bat.  Will they need to give up somebody to make this happen?  Could be.

I think Florida State will clobber Auburn in the BCS title game.  Well, at least the obvious two teams who should be in this game are playing.  By the way, you may recall that I said at the beginning of the season that contrary to all the smart predictions Alabama would not go undefeated.  Nah, you probably don’t remember.  But I do.

I’m happy to see Arsenal doing well in England.  Mesut Özil is beautiful to watch.  Staying with Futbol, Ronaldo should get the best player award this year.  He’s earned it.  And finally, while I’m not happy to say it, I think Bayern Munich is the best team in Europe and will win the Champion’s League.

I hear the America’s Cup fell short of reaching their financial goals, so the city may need to be out of pocket for the pleasure of hosting the event.  I can’t say I’m surprised.  Beyond the cost of the event itself it’s hard to figure the economic impact for businesses who gained because of an influx of visitors.  I don’t favor the city, i.e., taxpayers like me, needing to pay to have the America’s Cup here.  I do favor having it return, just because the location is so beautiful for all the world to see.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Observations for Today!

An unforgettable moment:  Nelson Mandela walking to freedom in Feb. 1990.
Observation:  Expectations were high.  He didn’t disappoint.

The World Cup draw – the US against Germany, Portugal and Ghana.
Observation:  Uh, oh.  US fans should come up with a Plan B for next June.

Near freezing in San Francisco.
Observation:  Cool, but no snow.  Take that, Midwesterners and East Coasters.

More killing and slaughter than usual in the news this morning.
Observation:  So what else is new?

Lots of talk about Bitcoins these days.
Observation:  I still don’t understand what a Bitcoin is.

The Pope’s words and actions continue to surprise.
Observation:  Good for him.

There is talk of a two-year budget deal in the House.
Observation:  An early Xmas present?  I guess we should be thankful.

Two David Brooks columns this week.  I guess he’s back from being on book leave.
Observation:  A thoughtful, sane voice – whether I agree with his opinions or not.