Saturday, March 31, 2012

The wisdom of Ian and Sylvia

"…these are moments apart…
known only to you and I,
for old friends and lovers have no need to talk
of the how and the where and the why…"

Ian and Sylvia (Ian b. 1933, Sylvia b. 1940)
From their song "January Morning"

If you've been lucky enough in your life to have an old friend or lover, and thus, to be an old friend or lover, then you know what les deux Canadiens are saying….

…and you know it's a quiet, evergreen joy to merely touch your partner, or do the gaze, and share a memory of your son, or see again your grandchild's first steps, or savor the enduring fruits of long-ago halcyon energies, or decide to have another teeny slice of carrot cake for dessert….

The mostly pensive Ian and Sylvia brand of Canadian folk and country music was on the charts in the 1960s and '70s, never really at the top of the charts, I think the flower child segment never caught on to the bittersweet pathos of their songs…

If you've never been in love, maybe you won't feel the hurt in this bit  from "French Girl" ----

We talked of all,
we talked of nothing,
I left with promises to meet,
she told me where.

But she laughed each time I asked her name,
vague promises to meet again,
but her friends down at the French cafe
had no English words for me.

Friday, March 30, 2012

I still don't get it.....

Congress has a public approval rating that's down to about 10%, I get that part, most Senators and Representatives stopped doing the public's business years ago—they're just doing the incumbents' business, focused in whatever misguided ways on getting re-elected….

Now, here's the part I just don't get:

From The Washington Post: "Even in the most anti-incumbent primary season of the past few decades, less than 5 percent of members of Congress lost their primaries."

Where the heck are the 90% of Americans who think Congress is worth just a teensy bit less than a bucket of warm spit? I guess most of the folks who are fed up with Congress just aren't bothering to turn out to vote…..that's another part I just don't get….

I didn't get it before, either...

Another take on fighting incumbents

The wisdom of Anna Quindlen

"I would be most content if my children grew up
    to be the kind of people who think
      decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves."

Anna Quindlen (b. 1953)
Author and journalist

Honestly, I don't know much about Anna Quindlen but apparently quite a few people like reading her books...

Speaking of books, that's why I posted this cutesie little bit, I've always wanted to have enough bookshelves in a big enough room with a high ceiling so that I need to have one of those Edwardian-looking ladders with the wheels on the bottom that I could push it around here and there, and every so often climb up to get another old book....and in the middle of the room, I'd have a huge spinnable globe of the world, the kind that Sherlock Holmes would be proud to have....

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2012 All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The curiosity of a child...

It was the end of the day. The cop parked his police van in front of the station. As he gathered his equipment, his K-9 partner stood inside the van, barking.

The cop noticed a little boy staring at him. 'Is that a dog you got back there?' the lad asked.

'It sure is,' the cop replied.

Puzzled, the boy stared at the policeman and then looked again towards the back of the van. Finally, the boy asked, 'What'd he do?'

Sometimes something isn't better than nothing….

The national transportation bill languishes, Congress is doing nothing about stimulus for the economy to boost jobs recovery, important judicial and executive appointments are held up, there is no action on rolling back oil company tax breaks, more or less no action on any of the significant problems facing our country.......yet the members of the House have time to vote almost unanimously AGAINST two budget bills that were cooked up for political purposes and---as everyone knew with complete clarity---had no chance of being approved.

Yesterday the U.S. House rejected a bogus budget bill that mentioned some top-line items in President Obama's budget proposals, but had no serious detail about how to implement them. The vote was 0-414, that's right, no votes in favor. Republicans wouldn't support anything labeled "Obama," and Democrats wouldn't support a dubious and politicized outline of a budget.

The House also rejected, with only 38 members voting "Yes," a similar sham budget loosely based on the Simpson-Bowles report, with $4 trillion in spending cuts and $1 trillion in new tax revenues. Same old story: Republicans won't vote for new taxes, and Democrats won't support very deep spending cuts that reduce social safety net benefits without new revenues from the very wealthy.

I wish the members of Congress would stop getting all excited about voting "No" on something, and start doing their duty to do what's right for our country.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wrong question on health care mandate...

I think the national polling about the health care reform legislation is all wrong. It seems a majority of folks think they want parts of the law, or all of it, "repealed," and the individual mandate is singled out to go in the dumper.

I suggest that pollsters are asking Americans the wrong question.
Instead of asking "Do you support the individual mandate to buy health insurance?" they should be asking "Do you want health care when you're sick or injured?" and "Do you think you should pay for your own health care?" Reasonable people will say "Yes" to both of these questions, and then we can understand that the individual mandate makes common sense.

Anybody who doesn't have health insurance and plans to get sick or injured in the future should wear a wrist band that says "I didn't bother to pay for health insurance, so if I can't pay for treatment, please park me on a gurney somewhere and wait until I get better all by myself or die" ……or something like that, except for sweet old grandmothers, toddlers, and really poor or really mentally incapable people, you know what I'm saying….

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The wisdom of Edmund Burke

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil
             is that good men do nothing."

Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
Irish statesman, Member of British Parliament

If you think you qualify, you can't walk away from this call….and to all good women: ditto

...and by the way, as a member of the House of Commons, Burke was on our side during the Revolutionary War! We coulda used a few more good men like him over there…

...along the same lines, from Old Abe

Monday, March 26, 2012

The wisdom of George Bernard Shaw

"The power of accurate observation
      is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature

Shaw was an ardent socialist—in the context of his time, he was a Fabian. Hard to tell if his remark on cynicism comes from his literary side or his political side…..maybe both. I struggle to avoid thinking that my thinking about politics and our political/cultural democracy is merely cynical…..most of the time I convince myself that there is a frightful dose of realistic, accurate observation involved, and I can swallow that only with a pinch of fantastic hope….

Anyway, perhaps you know that Shaw wrote Pygmalion in 1912. That's the play that was turned into My Fair Lady by, among others, Alan Jay Lerner, who contributed the divine lyrics. Shaw's dialogue was real good, but it was different.

My favorite work by GBS is Saint Joan, a 1923 play that was believed to have catalyzed his selection for the Nobel Prize. Saint Joan is a delicately simmering interpretation of the life and tempestuous times of Joan of Arc…..Shaw allows her to say "I cannot bear to be hurt." Perhaps she did not entirely welcome her fate.

I dare you to try to name anything else written by Shaw. He wrote five novels, two short stories, about 50 plays and almost two dozen published collections of essays. Yeah, I know, I couldn't name any of them either….

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Louisiana: the disconsolate few have spoken…

The talking heads on cable TV news and the big news websites were struggling last night to sound like they were reporting a big news flash that Rick Santorum won the Louisiana Republican primary.

I'm a big fan of NOT breathlessly reporting each primary in terms of "Gingrich has to win here" or "Romney can lock it up here," I wish the media would stick to "just the facts, ma'am" and tell us what the candidates are saying about policy and programs, and let the primary process play out until we know who the winner is. I can wait.

Another factor that should have depressed last night's reporting about the outcome in Louisiana is this: there are about 3.4 million folks in the Pelican State who are old enough to vote, and more than 97% of them didn't vote for Santorum yesterday. That's the headline: "3.3 Million In Louisiana Ignored Rick Santorum"

Cheers for the good folks, regardless how few or how unhappy they were, who did their duty and turned out to vote for the candidate of their choice…and, I'll add this, regardless of my opinion or your opinion of the candidates, at least the actual voters exemplified the democratic ideal.

Shame on all their neighbors, who didn't know, or didn't care, or didn’t bother…

More on the trivial few....

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The wisdom of Leo Buscaglia

"Those who think they know it all
         have no way of finding out they don't."

Leo Buscaglia (1924-1998)

Never heard of him? Maybe I'm the only one…

My sister passed on this very useful reminder that I don't know it all, and you don't too, by the way, imagine how dry as dust life would be if there were no surprises left, no more new friends, no Spanish cheese left to taste for the first time, nothing more to learn, no new amazingly clear and powerful reason to change your mind about something…..

So, a little bit about Leo. He was an educator, three degrees from USC, taught in the Department of Special Education, he spent his life working to break down barriers between people, emphasizing social connectedness…..he argued that social bonds are essential to transcending the stresses of everyday life and enriching it above the limitations of poverty as well as crossing communication gaps between generations.

Sounds heavy? With Leo, it wasn't. He taught a course called "Love 1A," his first book was titled "Love," at one point five of his books were on the New York Times Best Sellers list. He was a motivational public speaker, people in the audience lined up to HUG him after his talks.

If you're interested, check out Leo Buscaglia here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The wisdom of Humphrey Bogart

"I should never have switched from scotch to martinis."

Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957)

Wow, Bogart was born before Theodore Roosevelt was president. Didn't know that.

Anyway, those were Bogie's last words, by some accounts……he was no stranger to either of those potables, so the apparently ill-fated switch might have been closer to top of mind for him at the moment of passage than such a regret might be for you or me…, me, personally, I'd stick with martinis any day, right up to the last….although, to be fair, a last-minute changeover to manhattans would be a concept I could toy with, assuming I retain sufficient faculties for such rumination and could put my last thoughts into words….just in case, I'm mentioning right here that if I blink once, it means martini, two blinks mean manhattan… ice, just pour it out of the bottle..

Anyway, Bogart is one of my favorites, and not because The American Film Institute ranked him as the greatest male star in the history of American cinema (personally, I'm thinking Gregory Peck…). Bogie is high on my list for being Charlie Allnut in "African Queen," and for being Capt. Queeg in "The Caine Mutiny." As Mr. Allnut, he ultimately made sense of the inscrutable and found true love in all the wrong places….

as the despised Queeg, Bogart ultimately made the mundane all too inscrutable and opened others' minds to their own hearts, some of them not too lovely to look at….

Being Humphrey Bogart was a good role for him.

…and by the way, if it helps you in your personal journey in any way, Bogie's middle name was "DeForest".....go figure…..

Thursday, March 22, 2012

This is no drill....

Just putting this out there: the United States accounts for about 20% of world-wide oil consumption, and we have about 2% of the world's oil reserves…..underground, in shale, in the Gulf, continental shelf, any rancher's backyard in Oklahoma..

We will not EVER become self-sufficient in oil production, no matter how much we "drill, baby, drill"……unless our economy slips back into the Dark Ages, in which case whale oil might be enough to get us by….

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

3 out of 4 ain't good

It's bad news when it's good news that 75% of American high school students get their diplomas after four years of readin' and ritin' and 'rithmetic. Read that "only" 75%....

Now that's a 2009 report, most recent available, and the figure is up 3.5 points from the graduation rate in 2001. So we're seeing progress.

But it's depressing good news….the other 25% of kids who dropped out or couldn't keep up got an automatic "Do Not Pass GO" card instead of a diploma, they'll be paying for their failure to graduate all their lives, and we'll be paying for their failure to graduate, too, in lost productivity, increased social aid, impacts on their children, the fallout of lost dreams…

I realize that looking for a 100% graduation rate is foolishness, but “the land of the free and the home of the 25% of young adults who didn’t graduate from high school” doesn’t rhyme too well….

Other posts on education:

Monday, March 19, 2012

We're cooking the planet....(part 3)

Imagine if Chicken Little had gone around shouting "The sky will be falling in the next 50 years or 100 years or so!"

I'm guessing that the ill-informed or adamantly suspicious folks who dispute the scientific conclusions about global climate change and global warming haven't recently visited the mid-Pacific archipelago nation of Kiribati. The 103,000 people who live there are making plans to move because the Pacific Ocean is rising.

Now, the salt water that surrounds their scattered group of three dozen atolls isn't rising quickly…scientists currently estimate the rate is one inch every 10 years, although it will rise more quickly in the future. The atolls are only a few feet above sea level… they won't actually completely disappear for quite a few years.

But the slowly rising sea has already contaminated some of the underground fresh water that is vital for Kiribati's agriculture , and weather-related changes in rainfall, tides and storm patterns perhaps are more imminent threats. Already a few villages have been relocated.

The government of Kiribati is taking steps to buy 6,000 acres of land on the island of Fiji, about 1,300 miles to the southeast. Ultimately, the people of Kiribati will abandon their ancestral homes, and make a permanent move to Fiji.

On Kiribati, Chicken Little could say "The ocean is rising!" and get some respect. The people there believe they have to take action now to deal with the unavoidable effects of global climate change.

Cooking the planet (part 2)

Hot times....

Cooking the planet (part 1)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The wisdom of Chili Davis

"Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional."

Chili Davis (b. 1960)

Honestly, I never heard of Chili Davis before I read this searing insight on the Cryptoquote page of my newspaper….and I don't have that baseball card with his picture on it……..obviously, wisdom-wise, he's a step up from Yogi……and maybe my snooty little comment about Yogi just confirms that I'm having a bit more success with the mandatory part than I am with the optional part…..

Addendum from my sister, who knows a lot more than Chili knows:

"If growing up means
It would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree,
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Not me!"

Peter Pan (b. 1902)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

6:49 a.m.....

I realize that some may not find this amusing…..I slept soundly until 6:49 a.m. this morning and I'm just tickled to mention it. It happened to be a Saturday morning, however, as I'm retired, it could have been any day of the week, I would be just as tickled to roll over and read 6:49 a.m. on my digital clock on, say, a Wednesday….

Now, I'm saying "tickled" because that word has about the right mix of whimsy and delight without being rammy in any particular way, I don't want to wake up at 6:49 a.m. every morning, hey, I'm a busy retired guy, I got things to do.

Ooops. Full disclosure. I got things I want to do. I don't do any of the other kind….

Fairly often I'm awake before 5:30 a.m. or even 5:00 a.m., and sometimes when I wake up, wide awake, at 3:46 a.m., I get up, because I got things I want to do.

But today it was OK….my dance card is full, but nothing I had to do before daylight, and reading 6:49 a.m. when I rolled over gave me a little tickly jolt of pleasure and I instantly felt stoked to start using all this energy, and it felt good to think "Good morning, Rick, you're a lucky guy, and you're ready to roll."

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thank you, Greg Smith

I didn't announce my retirement on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times,
but I'm glad Greg Smith did on March 14.

Maybe you heard about him. Greg was an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs, in charge of the company's U.S. equity derivatives operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. (By the way, imagine that, GS now has extended operations on every continent to push the kind of toxic financial instruments that buried us in a housing meltdown and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression…..).

But, back to my hero, Greg Smith. Mr. Smith is now famous because he not only decided to quit his job, he decided to explain why on the Times Op-Ed.

Boil it down to this, here's a quote: "Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as 'muppets,' sometimes over internal email."

And another one: "I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It's purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them."

And another one: "…the environment [at Goldman Sachs] now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it."

At  Goldman Sachs, the folks who brought us the housing bubble, financial meltdown, state/local government crisis, high unemployment and continuing human misery are still doing it.

Greg, thanks for telling it like it is. Hope you have better luck in your next job.

…and I realize this is a bear of a different color, but I always liked Fozzie_Bear and I wanted to use his picture……Wocka Wocka!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The wisdom of George Carlin

"Think of how stupid the average person is,
          and realize half of them are stupider than that."
George Carlin (1937-2008)

You know, I didn't know that George Carlin had died. Too bad. I would have thought that the guy who said "It isn't a near miss when two planes get too close to each other, it's a near hit" should have lived a lot longer so he could speak more truth. Anyway, his observation about the average person is a bit unfriendly, but of course actually true…..and keep in mind, most of them can vote…

Still, I think most of the time I prefer to say what George said, this way: Think of everything that's a little bit haywire in the average person, and realize that half of us are at least a little bit better than that.

It keeps hope alive…

Did you know that Carlin was a meteorologist? Sample: "Weather forecast for tonight: dark. Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I don't get it....

Congress has a public approval rating of 9%, I get that part, most Senators and Representatives stopped doing the public's business years ago—they're just doing the incumbents' business, focused in whatever misguided ways on getting re-elected….

Now, here's the part I don't get: Mississippi and Alabama had their primary elections yesterday. One Senator and seven U.S. Reps are up for re-election in those two states, and yesterday every single one of them was re-nominated for another term. By huge majorities. Sheesh.

Where were the 91% who don't give a good rating to Congress? Maybe they don't live in Alabama and Mississippi… Maybe those eight members of Congress who got another nod yesterday are the best of the best…

Maybe all the folks who are fed up with Congress didn't bother to vote yesterday...that's another part I just don't get….

A super PAC that fights entrenched incumbents....

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ignorance is blah.....

Sometimes ignorance is bliss….here's something I wish I did not know:

The Public Policy Polling outfit in Raleigh, NC, says more than half of Mississippi Republicans believe President Obama is a Muslim. In Alabama, the other state that votes in today's GOP primaries, the number is almost as high, at 45 percent.

Uh oh....dark and stormy.......guess I just have to say it this way: any person with anything close to a respectable dose of intelligence, common sense and human decency must conclude that there is no evidence that President Obama is a Muslim. No evidence. Period.

So what kind of person believes that he is and will say so out loud? It's unwholesome to speculate about the possible answers to that question, the mind goes hazy, it's a close befuddlement of the third kind…but I'm pretty sure the word "ignorant" figures in here……

Monday, March 12, 2012

The wisdom of Oscar Wilde (part 2)

"Be yourself, everyone else is taken."

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Oscar Wilde never hesitated to be himself, happily for us….he left a distinctive body of very entertaining work and he set an example of fearless individualism. OK, sometimes he was preposterous, too. Anyway, I endorse his advice: be yourself, do what's at the top of your list today, and don't forget to say "I love you" to those you love….

...yet more from Oscar Wilde

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wyoming: the trivial few have spoken...

"Romney won Wyoming"……yup, absolutely right, and also absolutely wrong.

Only 577 people voted for Mitt, way more than the 360 people who voted for Rick all, only 1,310 hardy residents of Wyoming turned out to choose their candidate can find more people than that standing in line to buy Madonna tickets......where were the other 400,000 people in Wyoming who are old enough to vote?

This is a travesty of democracy. Romney won 7 delegates, but it just ain't true that "the people of Wyoming" chose Romney ....

I included a nice picture of Wyoming just to add a somewhat cheerful note.....

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kansas: the very few have spoken...

The media reports are coming in, Rick Santorum won the Kansas GOP caucus this afternoon, he picks up 40 delegates for the presidential nominating convention. Good for him.

Trouble is, almost 99% of the folks in Kansas who are old enough to vote didn't vote for Santorum, because they didn't vote at all.

Looks like less than 25,000 Kansans turned out for the precious opportunity to choose their favorite candidate to run against President Obama in November. The other 2.1 million residents who could have turned out, didn't bother…

Is this the right way to run a democracy?

Has Romney clinched it?....

We'll have to wait to find out what the cable news talking heads have to say about this, but maybe, just maybe, Romney may have sort of clinched the Republican nomination for president when he swept all 9 delegates recently at the GOP convention in Guam.

Guam, as you know, is a tiny island in the southwestern Pacific, it's a U.S. territory with a population of more than 175,000.

Anyway, the 215 Republicans on Guam who were eligible to vote enthusiastically picked Romney by a show of hands. Technically, the 9 delegates are uncommitted, but they promised to vote for him.

Now, I didn't see any pre-Guam convention polling results, and as far as I know neither Wolf Blitzer nor any of the other talking heads has mentioned this surging win for Romney, maybe some super PAC piled a lot of cash into ads on Guam television….I'm also not sure if Romney campaigned on the island. I don't think Santorum or Gingrich went there, and I don't know if the Tea Party operates that far west…

Still, this is the kind of momentum builder that can't go unnoticed, and frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if both Santorum and Gingrich drop out of the race after they hear about it….Ron Paul, I'm not so sure, he'll probably stay in at least until we hear the results sometime this weekend from the Northern Mariana Islands, where 9 more key delegates are up for grabs.

The GOP primary might be just about in the bag for Romney, it might be all over soon…

Romney grabs 9 more delegates in Northern Mariana Islands GOP caucus.
Now it's definitely all over, Mitt's unstoppable, he's riding the surging wave from the western Pacific right on in to the GOP nominating convention, where are the cable news talking heads? I'm already desperate to hear some insightful commentary about this...

The wisdom of Michael Oakeshott

"It is the mark of all intelligent discourse
            that it is about something in particular."

Michael Oakeshott (1901-1990)

Oakeshott was an English philosopher and political theorist, he served as a Fellow at Cambridge and as Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics. His credentials are decent, to say the least.

I do not endorse his work because I know almost nothing about it, but I like his epigram about intelligent discourse, which is in short supply in the public realm these days. The more I think about it, the more it seems like it means something in particular…..give it a try yourself…

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fighting entrenched incumbents...

Here's a twist: a super PAC that's not trying to supply millions of dollars to buy the GOP nomination for one of the candidates.

The Campaign for Primary Accountability says it's aimed at undoing the insanity of veteran incumbents in U.S. Congressional districts who have more or less "safe" seats, that is, districts in which one party has such a stronghold that it's more or less impossible for the incumbent to lose in his or her re-election contest. Often these districts have been gerrymandered into weirdly nonsensical shapes to create the safe haven, regardless of the negative impact on the people of the district. Incumbents who can't lose may be beholden to interests other than those of the people.

This Texas-based group is just getting started  by helping to finance challengers going up against pols who have become part of a "permanent political class" that isn't exactly focused on righteously doing the public's business. CPA claims it will be non-partisan, and will go after both Republicans and Democrats who have been in Congress just too darn long.

(You might argue that this includes almost every one of them, but let's start with the egregious cases first….)

Now, I hasten to say that I'm opposed to the operation of ALL super PACs on principle, but Leo Linbeck III and his Campaign for Primary Accountability at least seem to be on the right side of the welfare of American voters. Let's wait and see what kind of work Leo and his wealthy friends do, and how well they honor their commitment.

All is explained....

just read this in hyperspace:

Fox News is a comedy channel.

Some things are more clear to me now....

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Quid pro quo......not

I have a request for all of the Republican primary voters in North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee who voted for Rick Santorum and Ron Paul on Super Tuesday. (Reminder: Santorum won those three states, with a little less than 40% of the votes).

Again, my request is going out to the Santorum/Paul voters who obviously like the candidates who are talking up "less government," "cut those entitlements," "get the government out of our lives," "get the government off our backs"…..

I'd like it if they would give the money back.

The money I'm talking about is all of the federal spending (social benefits, highway construction, government services including air traffic control and water management and mail delivery and education, you know…) that goes into those three states.

Now, to be fair, I have an offer for those same folks: you can stop paying federal taxes.

I figure that works out to a great big bonanza for those of us in the other 47 states.

We'll save a big chunk of money, because the people of North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee benefit from total federal spending that exceeds their federal tax bills.

For every dollar of federal tax they pay,

the people of North Dakota receive $1.68 in federal spending

the people of Oklahoma receive $1.36 in federal spending

the people of Tennessee receive $1.27 in federal spending

More on federal spending and taxes

Mitt's not it, yet.....

I'm deliberately writing this on Tuesday evening before all the Super Tuesday primary voting results are in, just to make the seemingly obscure point that even if Romney were to win every delegate up for grabs today, he still wouldn't be close to the 1,114 delegates he needs to win the GOP nomination in August.

So all the gas by the news media and the cable TV talking heads about who surged, who boosted his chances, who "did what he had to do" wherever he had to do it, who took a step to wrap it up or who faded into a somewhat murkier obscurity…. in other words, doggone near all of the reporting verbiage that is filling air time and bandwidth right about now… just plain belly wash.

It's numbingly irrelevant badinage. Some of it is desperately self-interested "spin."

None of it is useful information right about now.

Let's let the primary selection process play out. Let's just wait and see who wins the nod.

It's really the only option.

Always has been.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The wisdom of Abraham Lincoln (part 3)

"The good thing about the future is that it happens one day at a time."

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
16th President of the United States

Yup, that's a good thing, too much work to do to make a better future…..

More from Old Abe

....and more....

Monday, March 5, 2012

Too many guns

The governor of Virginia recently signed a bill that repeals the state's 19-year-old ban on purchasing more than one gun per month. Shame on him (he voted FOR the ban 19 years ago) and shame on the legislature, which had enough new conservative Republicans to pass the bill after years of stalling by Democrats and moderate Republicans.

There was no compelling reason to overturn the one-per-month cap. Gov. McDonnell and a majority of the legislature are pandering to gun advocates.

Here's the issue: who needs to buy more than one gun a month, month after month? You draw your own conclusion.

If somehow you need more than one gun in Virginia, you could buy one on the 30th of this month and another one on the 1st of next month.

And in case you were wondering: the ban wasn't airtight. In the years since it was imposed, exemptions had been approved to ease the restriction for law enforcement officials, people with concealed weapons permits and legitimate gun collectors.

Who else needs to buy more than one gun per month, month after month?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The wisdom of Satchel Paige

"Age is a case of mind over matter.
              If you don't mind, it don't matter."

Satchel Paige (1906-1982)
The pitcher, one of baseball's greats

This advice can be good medicine, pretty hard to overdose on this one.

Satchel played baseball  for 40 years, starting with the Chattanooga Black Lookouts of the Negro Southern League, and ending his Major League Baseball career with the Kansas City A's in 1965. He was a legend then, and still is. He's in the Hall of Fame.

Paige just might be more famous for his bite-size aphorisms than for his pitching.

Such as:
"Go very light on the vices…..the social ramble ain't restful."

"And don't look back—something might be gaining on you."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Did they really think...? (part 2)

…they weren't doing anything wrong?

City Council members in Bethlehem, PA, sure do stand behind their votes. And they can stick to their guns. Or maybe they're just sadly disoriented, maybe a teeny bit ornery, self-interested small city politicians who don't mind doing the dirty, politically speaking, in public.

Could I be wrong here?

Seems the six members of council just can't get their heads together on appointing a new city controller to replace the hard-working civil servant who recently and unexpectedly vacated that position . It's an important function in city financial operations, it should be filled promptly. Initially there were a half dozen candidates. There's an election to permanently fill the seat in a couple months. Not sounding like a problem so far, right?

Ooops.......six council members have voted eight different times over the past several weeks in an attempt to pick a candidate, but an ugly stalemate has become entrenched. The three candidates on the short list have each received two votes in each of the six ballots…and the same two council members voted for each candidate every time.

No public accusations that any candidate is unqualified or on the run from the cops in Minnesota…no public elaboration by council members about their unrelenting failure to reach agreement on appointing a controller for the good of the city…finally, they agreed to never agree, and sent the selection task on to a county judge (the usual backup process, as spelled out in the statute).

What's going on here?

Obviously, something other than "picking the best candidate" is going on here. Obviously, something the council members don't want to discuss in public. Obviously, something that has nothing to do with availability of a suitable candidate.

In other words, this looks like a petty political logjam. Just like the petty political logjams that are producing the same old, same old failures to govern effectively in state legislatures around the country. Just like the petty, doctrinaire, special-interest-driven political logjams that are producing frenzied inactivity and preposterous, destructive, politically doomed "votes on principle" in Washington.

Our city council members should give back about a month's worth of their $7,000-plus annual salaries, because they haven't been earning their pay recently. Serving the public interest?  Nah.

But apparently, they thought they weren't doing anything wrong.


More wrong thinking....