Thursday, December 27, 2012

An Australian speaks

Here's an essay examining American politics and concluding that there is no longer an American Left, and that the rest of the world appears to be following the drift to the Right that America is experiencing. A couple of nice quotes from Arizona's Senator Barry Goldwater, a lover of liberty -- probably more a Libertarian than a Republican conservative.

A view of our politics from beyond our shores, and, as I see it, manifestly correct.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

As gross as it gets

Having your family's Thanksgiving meal in line while waiting for a retail store to open on Black Friday? America gone mad.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

A different feeling this morning

Different from other Presidential election-day sensations. Previous occasions: Intense interest in the outcome, from Kennedy/Nixon through Carter/Reagan and Bush/Gore and certainly Obama/McCain.  This morning: a mild, somewhat amused curiosity to learn if America has gone so far in the tank as to elect Romney/Ryan over the incumbents.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Don't look now

but Rev. Moon's right-wing rag, The Washington Times, has an editorial piece with which I agree.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Making my vote count

Here's a letter to the editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press that I emailed today. I'll update this blog if/when it's published.

Update: It was published on October 28, 2012.

During the summer of 2008, I worked diligently for Obama's election, traveling with other Californians to swing-state Nevada to canvass residential neighborhoods, knocking on doors, waving signs on street corners, all in the intense desert heat. It was a powerful experience to feel part of the "change" that Obama proclaimed. But now, after his term as President, I no longer support him: I'm voting for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate.

True, it's an easy choice for me, resident of a non-swing-state that will award Obama its electors notwithstanding my vote for Dr. Stein. But my ballot isn't symbolic. I'm voting for President as if it were a true choice--a democratic act, not just the political one of choosing the "lesser of two evils," which is the most I can say for Obama. I'm voting for what I believe in, including an end to American militarism and to corporate control of our political system; the advancement of economic fairness; the restoration of civil liberties; in short, the same principles I supported four years ago--the same "change" that Obama abandoned from the moment of his inauguration.

I admit I'm also voting against Obama out of spite, to express my belief that he bears the label, "worst President ever"--not, however, for reasons cited by Right-wing pundits but because he has, both for this writer and for future generations of like-principled voters, despoiled the concepts of "hope" and "change," leaving an electorate that has lost faith in effective democracy.           

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A ditty

This much must be said for Mitt Romney:

His positions on issues are omni.

He also orates

With speech that sedates,

A boon to the heedless insomni.

Turning inward

The brief essay -- and its link to a recent New Yorker cover -- captures precisely my reaction to these new Internet gadgets. Especially bothersome to me is the Twitter/Facebook combo. (Cell phones have some satisfactory functions, which I appreciated when I was on my roadtrip last month, on gravel tracks somewhere in the woods of Central Oregon.) And it's not just the idiocy of most communications, but the utter worthlessness. I mean, what do I care -- what does it matter -- that a massage was awesome or a pizza was cold upon delivery? For that matter, what does it matter that I hate Twitter/Facebook? So, perhaps I should cease cluttering up the ether with posts to this blog.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

A perfect interview

Mike Lofgren -- sage. The best, most succinct exposition of America's present condition that I've ever read.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Letter to the editor

Here's a letter I wrote to the editor of the SB NewsPress today. I'll update this post if/when it's published.

Update: This letter was published in the NewsPress on July 15, 2012.

On July 15, 1979, President Jimmy Carter delivered his since-dubbed “malaise” speech to the American people. It bears revisiting now because its essential themes have only become more compelling, its strains more urgent, its warnings more apt in today’s America. At that time, America faced a dire energy crisis due to disruption of oil supply from the Middle East, but Carter spoke more broadly about our nation’s condition.

He spoke with poignancy about Americans’ tendency to “worship self-indulgence and consumption,” to define our identity “no longer by what one does, but by what one owns.” The decline of the American spirit was evident in our governance as well. “We’ve always had a faith that the days of our children would be better than our own,” he said, but “our people are losing that faith, not only in government but in the ability as citizens to serve as the ultimate rulers and shapers of our democracy.” This “crisis of confidence,” he said, resulted from “a system of government that seems incapable of action,” a “Congress twisted and pulled in every direction by well-financed and powerful special interests.”

The crises America faces today – among them, a collapsing economy, senseless militarism, restrictions on our freedoms, a degrading environment – require that we finally follow President Carter’s calls for action, that we put aside “fragmentation and self-interest” and embark upon “the path of common interest and restoration of American values.” We didn’t heed the president’s words thirty-three years ago. We must do so now. 

Saturday, June 09, 2012

End of an era

What shall I listen to on Saturday mornings?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Telling it like it is

I read the same NYT essay about Obama's death squads and was as horrified as the writer of this article. Obama's a murderer, and proud of it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Start your day with this

A quick video that plays when you click on the link in the upper left hand corner of this page of radio programs.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Letter to the editor

Here's a copy of a letter to the editor of the SB News-Press that I emailed today. I'll update this post if/when it's published.

Update: It was published on May 25, 2012.

On May 17, the House was presented with an easy decision: whether or not to vote in favor of an amendment to the massive military spending bill. The amendment, proposed by Representative Barbara Lee of Oakland, would forbid the use of any funds for the war in Afghanistan, except for the “safe and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops and military contractors” from that war-torn country. It was an easy decision, because a “yea” vote would comport with the sentiments of a strong majority of Americans who have determined that the war is senseless and the U.S. engagement should cease. Nevertheless, Representative Lee’s amendment failed, 113 – 303.

To her credit, Representative Lois Capps voted in favor of the amendment, and while I have often criticized her positions, I applaud her “yea” vote. However, I find it odd that she gives us, her constituents, no indication of her action. She doesn’t mention it in newsletters, doesn’t note it on her website or Facebook. Indeed, on her list of “issues” on her website, neither “peace” nor “war” appears, even though our endless military adventures impact every aspect of our security, our economy, our environment, our culture, our nation.

Representative Capps, as a shoo-in come November, an emerging veteran Congressperson, hear this: It’s time you devoted as much attention as you devote to other concerns of your constituents to the most critical issue of our time. It’s time you spoke out, with unabashed fervor and unleashed ardor, for peace.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ya gotta love it

A district court judge with some balls.

Monday, April 02, 2012

For my good friend, the poet

Whoever said they were irrelevant? Not this poet.

Friday, March 23, 2012

How long do you think it will take

before the Orange County (California or Florida, doesn't matter) school board proposes this idea for their public schools? (Are you as surprised as I am -- disappointed too -- that the concept took root in Brazil?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sold out again

Here's the text of a letter to the editor of the SB News Press that I emailed today. I'll update this blog if/when it's published.

Update: It was published on March 23, 2012.

With friends like Lois Capps, who needs Republicans? Once again, our Congressperson has sold out her constituents – the 99%, that is. Not long ago she voted in favor of giving the President the power to arrest and imprison indefinitely any person, including U.S. citizens, who he decided was a terrorist. So much for our personal freedoms. Now, Lois has inserted herself into our pocketbooks, voting in favor of a bill – misleadingly called the JOBS act – that weakens regulation of corporate stock offerings, diluting, and in some cases eliminating, their disclosure requirements and abandoning longstanding rules protecting individual investors from fraud and overreaching by corporations and the sellers of their stock. Companies are now able to peddle stock publicly – using the Internet, for example – without heeding many of the regulatory requirements that protected investors’ pocketbooks in the past.

This enactment is said to make it easier for companies to raise capital. Haven’t we heard this refrain before? Isn’t the absence of regulation precisely what got us into this ugly economic mess? And who benefits from this law? You guessed it – the corporations. And if Representative Capps has the temerity to suggest that the bill will create jobs, I suggest she answer this question: Where’s the evidence? The short answer is, There is none – absolutely no studies, no empirical evidence was submitted to the House supporting the notion that by loosening reporting requirements on corporations more jobs will be created – except, of course, on Wall Street and, eventually, among bankruptcy lawyers

Sunday, March 18, 2012

This can't be right

Gerald Ford (not the dead former president) who was the chief stockholder in my bank, having in 2010 bought up 91% percent of the shares of Pacific Capital, my bank's parent company, for the munificent sum of 20 cents a share, will receive $46/ share for his stock in a merger deal under which Pacific Capital Union Bank is acquired by a Union Bank, which is in turn owned by Japanese holding company. That's got to be a typo, right? Nobody's entitled to a two-year return of 2500%. Right?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Not only racist, but stupid

Check out this piece about the "Don't Re-Nig" bumpersticker, and don't fail to read the last two sentences of the article.

Friday, March 09, 2012

I'm a sucker for musical theater

I just watched a presentation of The Phantom of the Opera as shown at the Royal Albert Hall, shown on PBS this evening. I'd seen the show on stage in Cincinnati some years ago and I love it -- the music brought me to tears, really -- but this television production was even better. Powerful, moving, much better than the movie.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Breaking silence

because I'm weeping over this.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A linguist's wish list

is aptly and humorously presented here. But it's much too short. "Don't get me started."

Talk about your litmus test

The Senate race in Massachusetts -- Warren against Brown -- is too close to call. Check out the numbers in the box halfway down the article. The young and the old like Warren, the middle-aged prefer Brown, and most voters could yet change their mind between now and the election. Both have the money to campaign and Massachusetts is a relatively "liberal" state. If a candidate with Warren's views can't get elected statewide there, we're in deeper poo-poo than even I thought.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Born and raised in Arizona

and, for good reason, lately ashamed to admit it. But this...this outrage...takes the cake.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

I give up

Okay, I'll vote for Obama, maybe send him a check, but only because of this.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A perfect motion picture

Wonderful cast, terrific story, exquisite pacing, all with a profound, timely and timeless message. The movie? Wargames.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

I'm still here

I haven't posted on this blog for quite a while, and, looking back several months I note that my posting has become sporadic and increasingly occasional and, frankly, not very interesting. But (mostly because maintaining this blog is free) I'm not quitting, but also not apologizing (much) because the reason for this isn't torpor. I've become engaged in work of a physical nature -- remodeling this condo I bought in May, doing almost all of the work myself -- and I find it such an absorbing activity that it drains all my interest and energy. Furthermore, it's an action I can take that has consequences and payoffs I can see and touch. Much more satisfying than wailing about the state of the world, the result of which is that nothing changes.

I'll continue to post here, and maybe I'll catch fire again, or from time to time, so stay tuned.