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Like our pandemic response, the U.S. Capitol riot is the latest cataclysm to be blamed on a failure of imagination.  Who could imagine a virus that crashes the entire global operating system, or an attack that narrowly fails to decapitate the U.S. government?
And the obvious answer?  Anyone who was paying attention.
Just as epidemiologists long warned of a pandemic, the insurrectionists helpfully advertised their violent intentions all over social media.  The phrase storm the Capitol, unleashing countless QAnon furies, appeared 100,000 times in the month before the attack, according to Zignal Labs.  The President clashed his cymbals and stoked the lie;  party leaders largely ignored or pampered him.  The day before the attack, an FBI office shared the warnings from online:  “Be ready to fight.  Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in  …  Get violent.  Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest.  Go there ready for war.”
Which means that it should have required no imagination to foresee an uprising that was planned, promised and promoted in plain sight.
But until we find our way back to a shared reality, lack of moral imagination will remain a national-security threat.  Lack of moral leadership at a moment like this imperils democracy itself.  In our schools and sanctuaries and clubs and communities, in our dealings with alienated friends and family, the vital work of replacing toxic fantasies with hard realities falls to each of us.
    —     Nancy Gibbs
From her op-ed:  “TheView Essay: America’s Moral Vaccum
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  1 / 8 February 2021
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On This Day In:
2021 Are You Rotating Crops?
Wrong Block, Dummy
2020 I Choose Justice And Mercy
2019 Close, Sustained, Careful, Daily
2018 One Brick At A Time
2017 Order The Rope, #DumbDonald
2016 Chains Of Habit
2015 That You Shall Remain
Did You See That?
2014 True, Vibrant And Open
2013 Remembering, Yet Again
2012 Something Of Value
2011 Sleep All Day

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I do not know which of our afflictions God intends that we overcome and which He means for us to bear.  But this is certain:  Some I have overcome, some I continue to bear.
  —  Jean Toomer
[Another (2022) COVID Update:
This update is being written on 5 June 2022 (for posting on 12 June).  There have now been:  1,003,803 total deaths;  247 average deaths per day;  84,565,697 total cases (about 1% fatality rate);  97,611 new average for daily cases;  and, 258,747,147 vaccinations (at least one dose and over 5yrs old) – for a rough 83% of the (eligible) population.  Over 90% of hospitalizations and deaths are of those who have not been vaccinated.  I have not been able to determine if the (remaining) less than 10% are fully vaccinated and current with their booster(s).
What do we know?
Surprisingly little (IMHO) at the end of 18 months…  The early prediction was a fatality number of 2.2 million in the first 18 months IF WE DID NOTHING.  We temporarily shut down a significant portion of society (NOT the economy).  We halved the total deaths to date, but not the rate of deaths per cases.  The economy (and society) are roughly back to “normal”.  Most people can (do) now work from their offices (and / or homes).  Stores and restaurants / bars are mostly opened, but business levels have not recovered.  Most importantly:  we still have little to no publicly available information about the rates or effects of “long-term” COVID, the number of folks with current boosters, or the duration of the vaccine (or booster) effectiveness.  We DO know there is a general decrease in the vaccine(s) effectiveness – hence the recommendation for boosters.  We don’t know the breakdowns by factors such as age, gender, over-all health, etc.  I’m not saying the number(s) isn’t (/ aren’t) out there somewhere or that someone, somewhere isn’t tracking this data – only that I can’t find it readily available.  And, here we are:  “Only time will tell…
As a side note:  much is being made about the pandemic’s effect on the economy – past and current.  While we (in the U.S.) have accepted deaths and illnesses as a “cost” of returning to a “normal” economy, the world’s manufacturer (China) has not.  They continue to impose local and wide area shutdowns to prevent the spread of COVID whenever there is another surge.  Our (U.S.) demand continues to grow back to normal rates (pent up and current demand).  Goods are not being made / delivered to meet demand – so prices increase.  They will continue to do so until supply (roughly) matches demand.  No matter what the Federal Reserve does to interest rates to “cool” inflation, it will have little effect until the manufacturing / delivery conditions change.  How long will that be?  How long is a piece of string??  You never know until have it’s been finally cut (until it’s over).    —    KMAB]
Original post (from 2020):
[This is an unusual post for me.  This post is being written on 28 May, three days after the Memorial Day weekend.  Yesterday, the U.S. passed 100K in deaths due to COVID-19.  We are dying at just under 1,000 lives per day.  We are engaged in a great social experiment testing whether we can open our economy without a plan to deal with the virus.  This post is scheduled to go online roughly 15 days after the holiday weekend.  If the President’s gamble was correct, the average death rate will be at or below 1,000 per day.  If his gamble (with our lives) is incorrect, the death rate will be higher – and potentially much higher.  Only time will tell.   —   KMAB]
(2021) Follow Up to Last Year’s (2020) Post (115,000+):
The “post” above is from one year ago.  It is still too early to tell how good / bad a gamble President Trump took with the health of the nation.  Partly because it is still too soon to have had academia take a look at the data and partly because a number of states – mostly (but not exclusively) with Republican governors (Florida) – are using their office / administrations to hide the true / accurate numbers of illnesses and deaths for political reasons.  We do know that since the Inauguration, the vaccine count has gone from under 50 million to over 300 million.  Over 50% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of vaccine.  Part of this success is attributable to a competent President / Administration and part to the manufacture and distribution of the various vaccines ramping up.
As for our losses, the current “rolling” weekly death average is under 500 per day.  A few weeks ago, the CDC also updated the information on their site to “confirm” that not only are the vaccinated unlikely to get seriously ill and die (still 5 – 10% chance of illness, and less than 1% chance of death), you are also unlikely to become infected and ill at all (15 – 20% illness rate once vaccine period is completed).  Again, it’s too early to KNOW the exact numbers, but in this case it’s because (it is my understanding) “illness” is being self-reported.  Still, this is “good” news and we should see the economy and society begin to return to normal.  We’ve dodged a bullet this time folks.  I am not making light of the individual losses to family members and friends, but the virus could have been a lot more lethal and we still have a considerable way to go on getting the rest of the way to herd immunity.  Let’s hope we are better prepared for the next epidemic…
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On This Day In:
2021 One Year Later (Now 604,000+)
Good Intentions
2020 115,000+
2019 One Generation’s View
2018 The One Thing
2017 Never Give Up
2016 Which Generation Are We?
Congratulations, Kyle!
2015 Centered
2014 Economic Trinity
2013 At Both Ends
2012 Holding Allowance
2011 The Power Of Good

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Home of the Brave?

May 27, 2022 By Gabe Kapler
The day 19 children and 2 teachers were murdered, we held a moment of silence at sporting events around the country, then we played the national anthem, and we went on with our lives.
Players, staff and fans stood for the moment of silence, grieving the lives lost, and then we (myself included) continued to stand, proudly proclaiming ourselves the land of the free and the home of the brave.  We didn’t stop to reflect on whether we are actually free and brave after this horrific event, we just stood at attention.
When I was the same age as the children in Uvalde, my father taught me to stand for the pledge of allegiance when I believed my country was representing its people well or to protest and stay seated when it wasn’t.  I don’t believe it is representing us well right now.
This particular time, an 18 year old walked into a store, bought multiple assault rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, walked into a school with an armed resource officer and its own police district and was able to murder children for nearly an hour.  Parents begged and pleaded with police officers to do something, police officers who had weapons and who receive nearly 40% of the city’s funding, as their children were being murdered.
We elect our politicians to represent our interests.  Immediately following this shooting, we were told we needed locked doors and armed teachers.  We were given thoughts and prayers.  We were told it could have been worse, and we just need love.
But we weren’t given bravery, and we aren’t free.  The police on the scene put a mother in handcuffs as she begged them to go in and save her children.  They blocked parents trying to organize to charge in to stop the shooter, including a father who learned his daughter was murdered while he argued with the cops.  We aren’t free when politicians decide that the lobbyist and gun industries are more important than our children’s freedom to go to school without needing bulletproof backpacks and active shooter drills.
I’m often struck before our games by the lack of delivery of the promise of what our national anthem represents.  We stand in honor of a country where we elect representatives to serve us, to thoughtfully consider and enact legislation that protects the interests of all the people in this country and to move this country forward towards the vision of the “shining city on the hill.”  But instead, we thoughtlessly link our moment of silence and grief with the equally thoughtless display of celebration for a country that refuses to take up the concept of controlling the sale of weapons used nearly exclusively for the mass slaughter of human beings.  We have our moment (over and over), and then we move on without demanding real change from the people we empower to make these changes.  We stand, we bow our heads, and the people in power leave on recess, celebrating their own patriotism at every turn.
Every time I place my hand over my heart and remove my hat, I’m participating in a self congratulatory glorification of the ONLY country where these mass shootings take place.  On Wednesday, I walked out onto the field, I listened to the announcement as we honored the victims in Uvalde.  I bowed my head.  I stood for the national anthem.  Metallica riffed on City Connect guitars.
My brain said drop to a knee;  my body didn’t listen.  I wanted to walk back inside;  instead I froze.  I felt like a coward.  I didn’t want to call attention to myself.  I didn’t want to take away from the victims or their families.  There was a baseball game, a rock band, the lights, the pageantry.  I knew that thousands of people were using this game to escape the horrors of the world for just a little bit.  I knew that thousands more wouldn’t understand the gesture and would take it as an offense to the military, to veterans, to themselves.
But I am not okay with the state of this country.  I wish I hadn’t let my discomfort compromise my integrity.  I wish that I could have demonstrated what I learned from my dad, that when you’re dissatisfied with your country, you let it be known through protest.  The home of the brave should encourage this.
    —    Gabe Kapler
Manager, San Francisco Giants (baseball team)
Mr. Kapler’s personal blog can be found at:  Kaplifestyle – A Lifestyle and Fitness site by Gabe Kapler
The specific post can be found at:  Home of the Brave? (kaplifestyle.com)
[Disclaimer:  The above post has been copied from the original site without permission or prior approval.  I make no claim of ownership – implied or actual.  I read the original blog post multiple times to try to extract the hi-lights for a “fair-use” review / quote.  I lacked the skill (or heart) to do this, so I am reprinting the author’s post in its entirety.  If Mr. Kapler feels I have misused his intellectual property and asks me to remove or modify this post, I will do so.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 Make A Difference
What’s That Sound?
2020 Promise Her In Music
2019 But I’m Well Past 100 By Now
2018 Learn
Land Of The Free, Because Of The Brave
4 Appearances In A Row, 4 Wins To Go
2017 And Yet I’m Still Having Fun
2016 I See Coincidence Everywhere
CA3: Civil War
2015 I Resemble That Remark… (5!)
2014 The Writer’s Dilemma
2013 Just Paying The Rent
2012 Remembering…
2011 A Little Farther

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Russia is still contending with the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Russia can meddle in Ukraine at the margins, but threats to fully invade and occupy a country of more than 44 million people aren’t credible.  That big a move would cost too many Russian lives and too many rubles for a chronically weak – and weakening – Russian economy.  In recent months, Belarus provided the latest example of the post-Soviet demand for fundamental change and the need to shoot people to keep protests under control.  In the most recent presidential election in Moldova, a Harvard-educated economist toppled a pro-Kremlin incumbent.  Last year, Turkey’s backing for Azerbaijan dealt a humiliating defeat to Russian ally Armenia in a region that Russia once dominated.  Beijing is increasingly competing for influence with Moscow among the former Soviet Central Asian states.
    —     Ian Bremmer
From his opinion piece:  “The Risk Report: What game is Putin playing?
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  dtd:  21/28 June 2021
[It seems the “threat” of invasion was a little more “credible” than Mr. Bremmer believed (the editorial was from 2021).  IF the West continues to support Ukraine and IF Putin doesn’t resort to tactical nukes, it appears Mr. Bremmer will ultimately be proven correct that Russia bit off it bit more than it could chew (let alone conquer).    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 Or Faith In A Creator…
It Seemed The Taste Was Not So Sweet
2020 Nearer My God To Thee, By George
I’ve Got To Keep Working On It
2019 Laugh With Me
2018 Both Sides, Mr. President?
2017 Republicans Better Wake Up
2016 Truth Telling
2015 To Be Effective In The Modern World
2014 A Little Cover
2013 Binding
2012 Lift
2011 Another Good Movie, Another Excellent Book
miSFits
I’m Just Not Sure

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In absolute terms, moreover, the mass and volume (to say nothing of the cost) of all that was required, particularly in fuel and munitions, to maintain an army in field operations at an intensive rate against a similarly equipped opponent, was now very great.  It had taken a quantitative jump since the Second World War.  Warfare in the Middle East in the seventies had shown this very clearly, if on relatively small scale.  It was just no longer possible, at the rate at which stocks could now be exhausted, to sustain intensive operations of war for months on end.  Head – and equipment – counts were no longer the true measure of an army’s capability.  Formation in large numbers could be a liability rather than an advantage unless they could be kept effectively in action.
The Soviet war-fighting philosophy, from whatever origins it may been evolved, was in the circumstances of the 1980s exactly right.  It enjoined the initiation of total and violent offensive action, swiftly followed through to the early attainment of a valuable objective.  The position of military advantage thus secured would then be exploited by political means.  Speed was everything. The corollary was that failure to secure the objective in good time must result in a thorough-going reappraisal, in which to continue to press towards the same end might very well be the least sensible course.
    —     General Sir John Hackett (et al)
From the “future-history” novel:  “The Third World War: August 1985
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On This Day In:
2021 Facing Life
70’s Sunshine Sound
2020 #IncompetentTrump And His Pandemic Briefings
#IncompetentTrump
2019 I Hope So
2018 Painted Into
2017 Prayers, Miracles And Lottery Tickets
Roman View
2016 Dignity And Grace
2015 Is It Warm Enough For You
2014 What The Right STILL Wants
2013 Embrace Serendipity
2012 Your Order, Please
2011 Well Enough Anyway

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The Fed has had almost no success gently bring down inflation once an economy has started to overheat.
The long-run threat (facing the economy) is that we will cease to be one effective country.  Whether that’s a failure of public investment in everything ranging from collecting the taxes that are owed – where there will be $7 trillion in taxes that are owed but not paid over the next decade;  that is a huge loss to the government  …  [and] a huge source of injustice because most of the nonpayment comes among the highest-income Americans.  Whether it is the fact that at the early stage, we were dependent on other countries for masks, and we were not well prepared for a pandemic, despite the fact that there had been repeated warnings that a next pandemic would come.  Whether it is the fact that it takes half an hour longer on the schedule to fly from Boston to Washington that it did when I first started taking the trip regularly 40 years ago.  This falling-apart of society is our greatest long-term threat.
I think another important part of the calculus is that when governments lose control over money, people tend to lose confidence in them.  Progressives need to ponder the fact that when they’re not able to keep inflation under control, they can pay a very large political price.
    —     Larry Summers
Former Secretary of the Treasury
In an interview with / by:  Eben Shapiro
The interview was titled:  “The Leadership Brief: Inflation worries are keeping Larry Summers up at night
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  dtd:  21/28 June 2021
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On This Day In:
2021 Questioned By Life
If There’ll Come A Time
2020 Trying To Grow Pearls?
2019 Instantly Turned
2018 Sitting
2017 No Right Way
2016 Still Ticklish
2015 Maybe Sooner Than You Think
2014 The Path Of Mastery
2013 Love’s Ignorance
2012 Here’s To Enjoyment
2011 Not Just The Facts, Ma’am

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Your Army can accomplish for an extended period only those missions that are accepted by our citizenry for whom the Army exists to support.
    —    General William Westmoreland
[And the same is true for our representative form of government, too.  It (WE) cannot do anything over an extended period of time without continuous support by the public.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 Surrender With Hope
A Little Grace
2020 Two Midway
Invisible Hands
2019 Speaking Of #45
2018 A Higher Loyalty
RIP – Our Silver Lady
2017 Slowly Cutting Their Own Throats
2016 Man’s Advantage Over God
2015 Deeply
2014 Hi-Yo Silver, Away!
2013 Warning:
2012 Thinking About Beauty
2011 A Founding Father’s Argument Against Public Funding Of Religious Education
Weekend Update
So Far, So Good

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Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose and you allow him to make war at pleasure.
    —     Abraham Lincoln
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On This Day In:
2021 How Many Times
I’m Breaking My Silence
2020 When Looking Around
2019 Except Dying
2018 History Will Judge Him Favorably
2017 Are You Confused?
2016 The Golden Mean
2015 To Infinity And Beyond
2014 Taken Back
2013 Windows Or Doors
2012 All Rise
2011 Vote Weight

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God created war so that Americans would learn geography.
    —    Mark Twain
[Just over a week ago, I was discussing the Ukraine (at that time the Russian threat of invasion) with someone who said, he didn’t want the U.S. to get involved in the problems of some “tiny, insignificant country in Europe that I can’t even point to on a map”.  I replied Ukraine is bigger than California (almost twice the size) and just smaller than Texas (roughly 90%), and you probably can’t find it because it was part of the U.S.S.R. when you were studying world geography.  I added the Ukraine President is the guy who stood up to #45 when he (#45) tried to extort them into a announcing a bogus investigation of Joe Biden in exchange for military funding for Ukraine’s defense.  The funding had already been authorized by Congress and #45 was withholding the funds to try to “buy” the U.S. election with a made-up scandal.  Maybe Twain was only part right.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 I Welcome The Questions
6:00 AM
2020 Increasing Importance
And Now Joe
2019 But Yours
2018 And Smile More Often
2017 He’s Keeping The Light On For Us
2016 The Results Of Trying Too Hard
2015 Make Me Look
2014 Fresh Drink
2013 Good Business
2012 Unsure Spirit
2011 A Lost Valuable

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It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.
    —     Mark Twain
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On This Day In:
2021 Right Up Until Armed Insurrectionists Attack Congress
No Time
2020 Sometimes Human Nature Stays The Same
2019 Sometimes Too Subtle
2018 A Lot Like Teaching
2017 Wake Up
2016 I Like Dreaming
2015 Importance
2014 Unearned Humility
2013 Science Is Trial And Error
2012 Franklin’s Creed
2011 First Steps
2010 Home Ill…

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Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.
    —    Mark Twain
[Found at one of the blogs I follow:  “A Pondering Mind
The site is located at:  https://aponderingmind.org/
The specific post is at:  https://aponderingmind.org/2020/05/17/politicians-and-diapers-must-be-changed-often-and-for-the-same-reason-mark-twain/
Please visit the original site if you have a spare moment.   —   KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2021 I’m Still Learning To Play
What Are You Looking For?
2020 All You Can
2019 No Wall And Not One Dollar
‘Cause It Makes Me Scratch
2018 Mirror, Mirror
2017 Keep On Keeping On
2016 Reflections
2015 Is It Time Yet?
2014 Ask Any Follower
2013 Cornered Or Surrounded?
2012 Escape
2011 Achievement
Not Unreasonable Enough

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I wish I had an answer to that because I’m tired of answering that question.
    —     Yogi Berra
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On This Day In:
2021 Guns Or Butter
Caught Up In The Magic
2020 Haunting Illusions
True Color
Crackin’ The Flags
2019 Maybe A Slight Advantage
We Should Never Give Up On Our Dreams
2018 As I Recall
2017 Truly Generous
2016 Choose Your Destiny
2015 Fast And Firm
2014 Neither Head Nor Heart
2013 Lonely, Foolish, Love Songs
Batting 1.000
Coward, n.
2012 At Least A Little More Difficult
2011 Speaking Of Fear

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A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.
   —     Steven Wright
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On This Day In:
2021 Do Senate Republicans Believe In The Constitution And The Rule Of Law (Or Not)?
With Your Red Dress On
2020 Morally Treasonable
2019 Lost Again Or Still?
2018 Why #LazyDonald Starts Work At 11AM
2017 At Least Most Of The Time
2016 But Doctor, I Never Learned How To Read
2015 Punch The Keys, For God’s Sake!
2014 Ouch!
2013 Revelations
2012 Movies And Juicing
Brady Gets #4 (Prediction)
Happy To Get Up
2011 What About Good Blogs?
2010 Slowly, Slowly…

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The decision to reject one paradigm is always simultaneously the decision to accept another, and the judgment leading to that decision involves the comparison of both paradigms with nature and with each other.
    —     Thomas S. Kuhn, PhD.
From his book:  “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
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On This Day In:
2021 Senate: Defend The Constitution – Convict Trump
Can The Senate Find Truth?
2020 All Foam And All Dreams
2019 Why #IncompetentDonald May Be The Most Successful President Ever
Latina Fish Story
2018 Blocking The Light And Air
2017 It’s Even Dimmer When You Don’t Have It
2016 Inconvenienced By Degree
2015 Sincerity
2014 Prayers For Junior
Senseless
2013 Interesting Drink
Super Bowl XLVII Declared A No Bird Zone
2012 Smile
2011 Come Forward

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Sometimes it is easier to see clearly into the liar than into the man who tells the truth.  Truth, like light, blinds.  Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object.
    —     Albert Camus
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On This Day In:
2021 Not Here, Not Again
Will The Senate Convict An Insurrectionist?
2020 Senate Perfidy
2019 Contributing To Congress
Yellow Signs Of Spring
2018 But Take Heart
Poetic Marker
2017 The Few, The Many, The Most
2016 To My Brother
2015 For Junior
A Roman Rome
2014 Hmmm
2013 What’s A Motto With You?
2012 Worthy Companions
2011 Bourne Again
Which Ten Are You In?

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