Thursday, October 30, 2014

Citizens United is dis-uniting and destructive

What is it the wealthy say?  Money is speech.  Or is it: speech is money?
Some say that 'money is free speech' but it certainly isn't free.  It costs millions of dollars to speak that freely.

The problem I have with this wicked affront to common sense is this:  I don't know who is speaking.  The money spent on free speech comes from unknown sources who don't have to reveal identity.

My speech comes with a face and a name.  The millions spent on political campaign speech come out of darkness: no names, no faces.  We don't even know if they are Americans.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ignorance kills another word

Journalists, TV anchors, and editorial writers are hard at work destroying another valuable word.

They are abetted by the badly educated doctors and scientists in charge of the so-called 'Ebola crisis.'

What word?  Protocol.

Dictionaries define the 1st meaning of protocol to be the forms of ceremony and etiquette observed by diplomats and heads of state.
The 2nd meaning is the first copy of a treaty or other document prior to its ratification.
The 3rd (and final) meaning is any preliminary draft or record of a transaction.

There is nothing in those meanings related to responding to  a dangerous disease or  wearing a hazmat suit.

The better word would be "procedures." 

What caused this post is the front page of today's issue of the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel.  A color photograph is headlined "Airport team flies into action."
The photo shows three men in white hazmat suits surrounded by six firemen in varied stages of assistance with the suits.  The caption for the photgraph reads as follows:

"The Fort Lauderdale Fire Department demonstrates its protocols for handling Ebola patients who might arrive on an airplane."


Friday, October 17, 2014

Ebola Czar? How about the Surgeon General?

I have been checking all the media reports on ebola on a daily basis and wondering why we don't hear from or about the Surgeon General of the United States.  I admit that I didn't know his (or her) name so I looked it up on Google.
Guess what?  There is no Surgeon General.  The nominee is "tied up in politics."
What a Congress!  What a President!

But, somehow, all will get together to find an Ebola Czar.  Do I laugh or do I cry?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Weather is dangerous? This is news?

Has anyone noticed a trend in TV news when a weather system is moving from West to East across the United States?
Tonight CBS News reported a storm moving east with 24 million people in its path.
Last week ABC News reported a storm with 52 million people in its path.
Similar reports were heard this past summer and each time we were given the news that millions of people were in their paths.
Each time we were shown the obligarory photographs of destruction: trees blown over, roofs torn off, flooding, etc.
Is this information of population count a new requirement of meteorology?  Does it change anything or make anything clearer?  Does it have any purpose other than the obvious one which is to hype the news and make us afraid?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Music! Music! Music!

In a very good blog called About Last Night I was  reading a reminiscence of childhood and found this line:
I miss waiting impatiently to hear a good song on the radio for the second time."
Oh boy, I thought, do I know what he means.  He writes of that time when music didn't obliterate the barriers of time and space as it does now.  Today we can hear a song over and over and over again.  On demand.  Any hour of the day or night.  We are our own disc jockey.

The enjoyment is not the same.  The magic of a 'new' song is stillborn.  Disappointment comes way too soon.  Boredom is the result of limitless choices.

Irish author James Joyce wrote a famous short story titled The Dead in which a song reveals a devastating secret in the life of Gretta, wife to Gabriel.  The song is "The Lass Of Aughrim" and it is sung at a gathering that includes this husband and wife.  Gretta is greatly affected by the music and this effect is not lost upon her husband.  When they are alone, he questions her and she responds by giving way to her emotions, revealing that the song was sung by a young man in her past whom she loved.  The young man died and Gabriel learns that he has never been and will never be loved like that by this woman.
Today, I fear, "The Lass of Aughrim" could and would be played so many times that Gretta would grow sick of it.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Late apology

I can't let this month slip by without at least one post.  I apologise to any who have been coming here lately, looking for a post of some kind.
There have been days when an idea came to me and I began a post only to abandon it.  Why and wherefor should I do this, I would ask myself, and got no answer. 
I live with disorientation.  America today is changed so much from the America I knew that I feel like a stranger in my own land.  How do you defend something that no longer exists?  How can you love a vanished world?

The picture on the left was taken in winter of 1943-1944 when I was ten years old.  On the back of the photo, my older brother wrote: "Here are the ten little porkies (some on other side) enjoying their meal.  I took this when they were  6 weeks old.  The pen in background is the one I built for her of the lumber from camp.  Notice the 'runt' in the back end after her meal."   This photo and note were for my father who was working on the Al-Can Highway in Yukon territory, Canada.
The photo on the right was taken in early summer of 1944.  My brother Alan and I were feeding the kids.  Notice the patches on the knees of my pants.
The 'camp' that my older brother referred to was built by the government on my grandmother's dairy farm during the Great Depression.  The building lacked insulation, electricity and plumbing.  It served as living quarters for a crew from the Civilian Conservation Corps  sent there to clear brush from Seely Creek and build wooden bridges at each farm to provide access to the Goose Pond mountain range which ran along the north side of the valley.

From 1948 to 1950 (sophmore & junior high school years) I ran a trapline during the winter to catch wild animal pelts to sell for extra money.  Every morning before school, I dressed for winter and walked the trapline regardless of weather.  Trapping is one part of my youth which I would not repeat but these examples show how markedly different life is today.

Friday, July 4, 2014

On my mind tonight

The so-called "right to own property" is an empty right.   The Hollywood scenario wherein we see the family gather at the fireplace to observe the burning of the mortgage papers is only half the story.  Every property has real estate taxes levied upon it.  If these taxes are not paid annually one's private property is subject to tax sale and ownership is gone.   Real estate taxes are never paid off;  they are only paid currently. and forever.   One's property is owned by the State