Tuesday, October 30, 2018

There Are No Easy Answers!

The focus is again on the violence that has erupted in this land of the free.  Blacks shot in a grocery store because the guy couldn’t get into a church that he had targeted.  Bombs sent to
Trump critics by a MAGA true believer.  Old people slaughtered in a synagogue by a virulent anti-Semite.  And those are just the ones in today’s headlines.  Less visible is the long line of others wanting to do the same.

So the commentators, the survivors, the politicians and the 24/7 media are trying to figure out what’s going on, why, what can we do, what does all this mean, who’s to blame, etc. etc.  Trump is the easiest target.  For sure his divisive, bigoted rhetoric of hate deserves to be called out and deplored, but he’s the messenger, the accelerant, for what’s already going on in this country, not the source of it. 

I would argue that as Americans we have much to be proud of – from the beginning to the present.  But we also have an incredible ability to buy into the myth we’ve created about how wonderful we are.  America First.  American Exceptionalism.  Leader of the Free World. Gleaming City on the Hill.

In fits and starts we’ve acknowledged the dirty underbelly of America the Beautiful, but we’ve never really fully confronted it.  The racism.  The religious prejudice.  The income inequality.  The discrimination against the ‘others,’ whoever the latest ‘others’ may be – especially if they aren’t white and don’t speak English.

Is it worse now than in the past?  Not really.  Just more obvious given 21st century communication.  Will we wake up in time to reverse direction and come closer to realizing our American Myth?  I’d like to say I’m hopeful.  But I’m not.

There are no easy answers!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Thoughts for Today!

The Saudi explanation about what happened to Khashoggi is ludicrous.

In tonight’s game, there is one more chance to send the Dodgers home for the year.  Go Brewers!

In Yemen, 14 million people – many of whom are children – are at risk of dying from lack of food and/or bombs, and the world is looking the other way.

About the midterms, they say all politics is local.  Dems better hope that’s true because at the national level they have neither a compelling narrative nor leader.

Why does it seem like every Saturday I read that the Israelis killed more and more Friday demonstrators on the border with Gaza?  Why?  Because every Friday more and more people are killed.

Watch “Leave No Trace,” a wonderful film.

I see that Apple is offering a new OS for Mac – Mojave.  From what I’ve heard I see no reason to hurry and download it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


Does it surprise you:

That right wing governments are turning up all over the place?  Hungary-Poland-Italy-Brazil-Turkey-Myanmar, etc. etc.  And of course, in the United States – or at least on the way.

That homelessness is pervasive in my lovely San Francisco?  For decades local politicians have toured the Tenderloin, witnessed the drugs, debris and despair, wrung their hands at it all and failed to come up with viable solutions.

That people around the world don’t trust their governments and institutions?  Why should they trust when corrupt and self-serving “leaders” are running things?  When income inequality is on the rise?  When they work hard and don’t see the fruits of their labors?

That church attendance is down?  That schools are underfunded and overcrowded?  That an average family can’t afford to buy a house?  That there is an opioid epidemic?  That climate change goals are not being met?  Oops – stop seeing the glass is half empty you say?  Sorry – that’s just the way it looks from here.

Is there hope for the future?  Sure, hope is always possible.  Trouble is, as the old proverb says:  If we don’t change our direction we’re likely to get where we’re headed!

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018


I was in Las Vegas for three days last week – my first visit in ten years.  A lot was new, flashy mega-hotels and casinos that weren’t there in 2008 and more on the way, making it clear that this phenomenon we call Vegas has not yet reached its peak.

And that’s what interests me – the phenomenon of it all.  I’m not interested in gambling, so that part doesn’t call to me.  I’m not impressed by the glitz, so that doesn’t call to me.  There are many great restaurants, but I can get them in San Francisco, so they don’t call to me.  Yet, something does impress me and when I think about it I am intrigued.

I think it is the unlikely, unpredictable nature of it all, Las Vegas as a phenomenon that no one would have guessed was going to happen.  An undeveloped spot in the desert, not close to anyplace of note, that staked out a claim to be unique and began to offer people an alternative to their everyday lives.  Would it have happened without mob money and influence?  Who knows?
And it doesn’t really matter.

What we have now and from the beginning is that unique alternative, an escape, from the humdrum.  The allure transcends nationality, race, gender, and wealth.  The appeal is worldwide.  The allure is a human phenomenon.