Sunday, February 18, 2024

Aging

I've got a birthday coming up in a few days.  I'll turn 91!  That's old, man.  By any measure that's very old.

So how do I feel about it?  My feelings range from being grateful for my blessings to being shocked at being so old.  There has been a lot of talk about how old Biden and Trump are.  Can they handle the job?  Is their cognition going downhill?  They should get out of the way and let the next generation take over.  And so on . . .

Here I am more than ten years older than these two and doing OK, thank you very much.  I don't see any signs of mental deterioration.  I don't have the energy I had in the past, but I'm mobile and able to walk or drive OK.

Then there are the obituaries.  I scan the papers every morning and note the ages of the now departed souls.  Most are younger than I am, some by quite a bit.  So how does that make me feel?  I am conscious of facing the future with a limited time frame.  Will I be around to see who wins the next election?  Will I make it to the next World Cup?

I take nothing for granted.  I live in the present, not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.  It is definitely one day at a time.  And I am a happy, grateful guy. 

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Headlines!

News of the Day:

Secretary of Defense goes missing for a week.  Doesn't tell anybody, even the President.

Support for Ukraine from the U.S. and Europe is declining.  Russians on the offensive.

Israel continues to unnecessarily kill innocent Palestinians, mostly women and children.

Congress deadlocked again.  Government shutdown looms.

State of Emergency in Ecuador as the army confronts drug gangs.

Chaos on our southern border as tens of thousands of immigrants storm the gates.

Trump continues to lead no matter how much seemingly bad news comes his way.

The Warriors show no sign of getting out of their slump.

Good economic news of no help to Biden.

Am I focusing too much on bad news?  It's possible to see it that way.  Let's look for something better tomorrow.  Until then, have a nice day!

 

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Antisemitism!

Antisemitism has been in the news a lot recently.  While there are many ways to show that this phenomenon has spiked up dramatically since the Gaza war began, I saw something in a Bret Stephens column that got my attention big time.

He wrote: "A Harvard-Harris poll conducted this month finds that 44 percent of Americans ages 25 to 34 and a whopping 67 percent of those ages 18 to 24, agree with the proposition that "Jews as a class are oppressors."  By contrast, only 9 percent of Americans over 65 feel that way." 

These are shocking numbers.  Two thirds of our young people endorse antisemitism!  It doesn't take a genius to see what the future holds in store for us.  Even if some of the young ones modify their views as they grow older, we're still in trouble.

And by 'we' I don't only mean Jews.  For sure, this kind of prejudice against the 'other' will spread into other areas, against other people.  It's not going to be pretty.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Looking For Some Sunshine!

Haven't posted for a while.  Sorry about that.  No excuses, just haven't done it.

What I have been doing is looking for some bright spots in what has been a rather dreary year.  My findings:

The horror in Gaza goes on without relief.  A plague on both your sides, say I.  There is more than enough blame to go around.  And I feel for both sides.  

Now in the background, but still horrific is Ukraine.  It's a stalemate and support from our side is in question.  The outlook: More of the same in '24.

Politics in the U.S. is getting a lot of attention.  And the news isn't good.  The Republican side is a circus and Trump is way ahead.  The Dems are stuck with Biden, and he looks weaker by the day.  I am one of those who fear we're headed for a disaster and can find no way to stop it.

Do you see any bright spots yet?  Yeah, neither do I.

New Covid variants are putting more and more people in the hospital.  And the winter surge is upon us.  I am up to date on my vaccinations, but don't feel well protected.

The numbers say that the economy is doing well, but fewer and fewer people feel that they are better off than a couple of years ago.  The mood is not upbeat.  Go figure?

The immigration disaster gets worse every day.  All sides believe something must be done, but leadership is missing.  It is a huge problem that is being held hostage by petty interests.

Abortion is getting a lot of attention these days.  The disconnect is glaring.  Most Americans favor allowing abortion with limits.  But the anti-abortion forces have power in the courts and in many state legislatures, so what most people want ain't happening.

I could go on, but why bother?  It is a cloudy day, with intermittent rain, so I think I'll retreat to my bubble and watch a movie. 

Friday, October 27, 2023

A World Divided!

In recent times it hasn't been difficult to find examples of issues or situations that divide the world.  Russia's invasion of Ukraine did it.  The U.S. and the developed world on one side.  China, Africa, India and the less developed countries either on the other side or sitting it out.  And now we have it in spades in the Israel/Gaza conflict.

The savage attack on October 7 by Hamas on Israel and the Israeli response since then has polarized people everywhere.  For a brief time in the immediate aftermath of the attack Israel held the moral high ground.  Their people had been slaughtered.  But it didn't take long for the preconceived assumptions about right versus wrong insofar as the Israel/Palestine history is concerned to be front and center.

The ferocity of Israel's response to Oct. 7 provides an easy target for those who are not inclined to side with Israel.  But even if Israel's wrath was less dramatic, I have no doubt that the divisions ready to express themselves on both sides would have raised their ugly heads.

And so we have a world divided - one more time.  And innocent people will pay the price.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Ben Sheehan!

Ben Sheehan said this after the events of Oct. 7.  Sad and profound:

Of you have less empathy towards victims because of how you feel about their government, propaganda is working on you.

The goal of propaganda is to dehumanize.  It works to dehumanize Israelis and it works to dehumanize Gazans.

Propaganda is everywhere.  It seeks into us over time.  It seeks to block our empathy receptors.  So when we see violence, we rationalize away our human response.

I like to think most of us are above propaganda.  But this weekend reminded me how widespread it is.  Because a lot of people reacted to this violence with justification, not empathy.  I guess it's not surprising, but it's still heartbreaking.

Killing innocent Palestinians is horrific.  Killing innocent Israelis is horrific.  If you don't feel the same, I think you should ask yourself why that is.

 

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Bad Trip!

Biden going to Israel is a bad move in several respects.  First of all, it is unnecessary - a symbolic expression that is not needed to make it clear to the world that the U.S. stands with Israel.  Second, significant resources will be expended by Israel and the U.S. to assure that Biden and his entourage travel safely.  These resources could be used for more useful purposes.

Third, since Biden is in the middle of an election fight there are clearly political calculations associated with trip, such as:  Biden is old but he can undertake an arduous journey successfully.  This shows how a real leader responds to a challenge.  He has the courage of his convictions.  Etc., etc.

So in my view it is a dumb move.  Seems like bragging a little bit to counter his critics.  More like something Trump would do.  Buon viaggio, Joe.