Freddie Gray on My Mind! That Cry! Lost on the Cops!

There was a young black man named Freddie Gray. His voice, in the most authentic expression of the tragic moan I have ever heard. Such a sound usually appears on the stage, acted in the dramas of the ancient Greeks and Elizabethan tragedies. When I heard the loud moan coming out of Freddy’s throat as the policemen picked him up, a moan, authentic, deeply felt, by me, as his tragedy expressed itself arising from his great pain in the midst of those human beings committed by oath to protect and keep the peace, I thought, immediately, “Those men have no empathy!”

Imagine, a group of men trained in the evils of crime who have no empathy, any ability of feeling with the victim, the sufferers of what issues from crime. They had prejudged that person as one guilty person who had no need for justice and its trials to decide criminal behavior. No, let him suffer. They picked him up, he moaning unforgettable cries of pain surging from his broken back, and I, deeply empathizing that pain, screaming at those unfeeling monsters on the television screen.

They were impervious to that cry for some basic human care. “Let him suffer!” they must have been thinking.

Now, I hear that cry, and I am suffering with a deep, empathic reverberation of it.

The larger meaning may be clear. Enforcers of the law may have had their capability for empathy irreversibly destroyed by their everyday encounters with the lawbreakers of our society. I wonder if the spouses of officers of the law suffer from their daily interaction with men and women who must deal with the criminals who have no feeling for the victims of their evil actions.

The hazards of law enforcement. For our guardians. Was there no training in the emotional sides of policing? These days, I feel certain that that may become a concern of police-chiefs everywhere. They must be questioned about the apparent lack of instruction in “appropriate” empathy as a significant part of their “dirty” job in dealing with all sorts of miscreants. I do not know, but I presume that chiefs have already entered that side of policing.

That cry! That pain! I cannot forget it. To them? It was nothing. Prejudgment! Freddie! You deserved better treatment. Policemen! You must have the course that will have to awaken your judgment of what is right and wrong, regardless of your pre-judgment. Freddie deserved better. The way you picked up that kid was not right. You just have to withhold any temptation to rub it in. Or if it was not prejudgment, then stop doing a medically trained person’s job.

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Published in: on April 28, 2015 at 3:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

My Boiler-plate Text to Certain Comments

This is the response that I will give for some comments that seem to me to be “boiler-plate” or standard-form comments, easily copied and pasted. No effort involved. No character involved. Ditto. Ditto. Ditto.

I, JFD (author of this blog), have concluded that many comments are manufactured and offered to subscribers as quick and easy bundled copy-and-paste “boilerplate text” comments, as judged by the exact same language used by many different commenters. Am I right? Or are commenters copying comments of other commenters and pasting them as one way to save labor in commenting?

(1) I have no other social media, none of it but this blog. (A question often asked.)

Also, I use WordPress.com, which is FREE, and provides some beautiful themes to choose from, also FREE. I chose WordPress because I read that it was very highly rated by critics.

(2) I get that phrase, “brain dead”, a lot, as a comment on comments on my blog essays. I explain some cases as people not writing in their native language, which would explain some of the problems of diction. I am wholly inclined to understand and tolerate. Others, as I keep saying when I have responded to that comment elsewhere, are not careful with the grammar of English. It seems to me that the informality of web-talk gives a license to write like fugitives from their old ogre English teachers, so they slop through their comment-message with a devil-may-care vengeance! On the web, anything goes, they believe. I cannot forgive that. They are not brain dead; their brain has taken a long vacation from personal responsibility. Then, too, they probably are desperate to fit in like all the others who have a fear of putting on airs for fear of ostracism. OR, bad grammar is what you get from commenters who are in a hurry. The “slap-dash” response on the run. Okay. I get it. Yeah, if it is basically understandable. Better than nothing!

Think in depth what that “brain dead” accusation means. Take it seriously. The writer of it might really desire to read the best English style, as I do, and is offended by that tendency to lower standards of English diction. If that is the motive, it is admirable. There must be a craving for good diction on the web. Hooray! Punish bad diction wherever it is seen! (With that one proviso.)

But try to distinguish bad diction from “typos”! That is an order! My mistakes are nearly always typos. I try to correct them. All. Me no type too good. Well, then, I should re-read and make all corrections, as my duty. I know I have failed in that respect.

(You know what! This is sounding like it might be a part of a style guide for all would-be weblog writers. Eh?

I will now select and copy this and save it for the next one who says that thing about brain-dead contributors, my social media (nada, zilch, zero, nichts,). WHOOPEE! Now I never have to type this out ever again. Just select and paste. AH-h-h-h-h–yes! I SHOULD HAVE DONE THIS LONG AGO!

(3) “Brussels”. Anyone know what it is? The phrase shows up occasionally like an imbedded secret message to others of which I am innocent. I always erase it.

(4) Also, once in a while I get the comment that my blogs are RIFE (excessively abundant) with misspelled words. I might as well include my objection to that charge. There may be “typos” because I am a “hunt-and-peck-er”. But I am an excellent speller who uses the dictionary regularly. If you must make that charge, give one example when you make the charge, and where it occurs, or I’ll have you arrested for ___?____, maybe, wrongful conduct as a critic, whose duty is to make the criticism relate to the specific case.

I erase all comments that I judge to be an “advertisement”. Isn’t that called “spam”? Spam was served to me in the service. I think it was invented for service meals during WWII. Guess what? My dear Mom mailed me a box of treats when I was overseas in’45. In it was a can of Spam. The home-baked cookies arrived wrapped in wax paper ON TOP OF THE BOX, believe it! The flimsy suit box had been torn open by the rough handling. I wondered if any cookies had disappeared along the way, but it didn’t seem so, oh, maybe one or two. HONEST HANDLERS! Dear MOM!

Published in: on April 24, 2013 at 10:29 am  Comments (11)  

Losing Heart for It

Friends of my blogs, I am losing my heart for writing here. I have experienced a, to me personally, great catastrophic event. I have been cut in half. The heart for the business of the world has been pierced. I am taking it very poorly and very seriously. Normal is sliding away. It will not return, except in some guise as pleasantness. But never again the usual enthusiasm.

It is a thing that must come to every human lifetime. It is universally human. The heart goes elsewhere. Not here. Never here again. I will never be the same.

Why do people fold their hands together when they pray? It is a disengagement of the hands from all work when the work becomes only thought and feeling. But I am an atheist without a prayer. There are higher powers in whom I must put my faith here, not there. I need a higher power, now. And I need time for doing what I can, while I await the outcome of my higher power.

There is more to say, sometime.

Published in: on April 5, 2012 at 10:52 pm  Comments (10)  

A Valentine’s Day Message, Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love is not all emotion and secretions, as the scientific view would have it. No, love also has, in my opinion, an intellectual component. Emotion is something that is triggered, stimulated instantly by certain visual, olfactory, tactile, aural, and where chocolate or coffee, etc., is concerned, taste or gustatory, perceptions.
Love will be a part of all modalities alone or in concert.

BUT! I believe the mind brings something intellectual to the love perception. Memories. Personalities. The internal monologue of mind and love as you narratize it in language, a poem, a greeting, a pet name or names, special talk, frequency of talk, saying it infrequently or frequently, loudly, or whispered with light breath close or mouthed afar across a great distance, lips to be read, a wink, a nod, a creative phrase, a bit of wit, where you go unbeknownst in a drive away, a surprise, of course the trinket, wrapped or not, a momentary help out in the kitchen, going to a knee to emote, a gesture, a wave across the crowded room, a song memorized for the occasion.

Try “So in Love” by Cole Porter.

(from “Kiss Me Kate” 1948)

Or play that song, sung by Kiri Te Kanawa, backed by the
New World Philharmonic
CDQ 5 55050 2
EMI Records Ltd 1994

Notice, in every phrase and line and stanza the slightly quickened beat of your heart. Tap it out as you sing. (I hope you know the melody!) There is no more perfect love song in the world than this melody and lyric. Make that song the theme song of your affair of the heart, your love.

There is a strong intellectual component of love, by what you say and do.

Remnisce about your relationship on this special day. Re-live every great moment you can recall of it. Look ahead to the things you want to do. Make this a mental love. The other stuff will follow. At least one kiss?

Published in: on February 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,400 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Published in: on January 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm  Comments (2)  

Moron Ideology—Oooooops! More On Ideology

A moron ideology is that today, the world will come to an end.

I hate ideology because it is not reliable knowledge. Facts underlying conclusions are not there. You will find the most imaginative speculations stated as truths, as reality.

AND PEOPLE — SUCK THEM IN!!!!!

Reliable knowledge. That comes with a premium to be paid. You have it if you know the operations that have been executed to produce the statement of a claim to know. Only smart people will ask the requisite questions? “How do you know that?” I am constantly amazed at the ignorance of the people moderating television interviews, the so-called PUNDITS who never think of asking that simple question. And then, the follow-up question again, “How do you know that?” To continue the probe, probing to get to the bottom, bedrock of the facts that will support the beginning statement.

Fart smellers! Er, sorry, smart fellows!

People can be gullible. Easily persuaded to accept anything on the flimsiest or even absent evidence, because it was never tested by a really good, vigorous probing to reveal a fraud or a reliable bit of knowledge.

Where will you be at the appointed hour of the end of the world, or the end of ideology?

Published in: on May 21, 2011 at 8:50 am  Comments (2)  

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 4,600 times in 2010. That’s about 11 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 54 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 189 posts. There were 4 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 158kb.

The busiest day of the year was June 21st with 54 views. The most popular post that day was Management of the Emergency in the Gulf Oil Spill.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were ifreestores.com, en.wordpress.com, android-vs-ipad.co.cc, WordPress Dashboard, and wedding.ebonito.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for bullyism, debate propositions, sympathy empathy apathy, operational definition of democracy, and physical coercion.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Management of the Emergency in the Gulf Oil Spill June 2010
2 comments

2

The “-pathies”, antipathy, apathy, sympathy, empathy July 2007
8 comments

3

The Behavioral Objective — in Profiling: The Arizona Law — in Teacher Evaluation April 2010
2 comments

4

HOW DO WE DEFINE DEMOCRACY? July 2007
5 comments

5

Critique of Pres. Obama’s Inaugural Address (1-20-09) January 2009

Published in: on January 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm  Comments (5)  

Veterans’ Day, 2010


11th Hour, 11th Day, 11th Month.
Does it move you? Should it move you? We used to have to stand by our desks in school for a moment of silence, at that very moment.
Bells and whistles of school and industry would sound out over the city. We used to have to know the history of this day. Do they still have that ceremony in schools?

This is a part of our mystic (misty) democracy. Patriotism. Part of what makes America beautiful. A remembrance. Of dead servicemen of our acquaintance. And those other days of wartime. Serious days. Solemn days. With VE Day to come.

Most people do not reminisce about such things. Probably nearly all do not. There should be a national conscience for this, conscience being, in my definition, a sense of the ideal self.

Published in: on November 11, 2010 at 12:59 pm  Comments (1)  

Food, Inc., The Movie

I believe that it is the responsible citizen’s duty to see this film. That done, you will carry with you a healthy critical nature every time you confront the splendors displayed in any super market you enter. You will know the ugly truth behind the beauties of display, the unconscionable treatment of the farmers by monopolistic agribusiness and of all livestock enforced by the demands of cost-cutting for the bottom line. You cannot feel any pride in American productivity where food is the product. Except for the organic producers.

Tender souls will not want to see the brutality and the iron-fisted control portrayed in the film, BUT THEY MUST SWALLOW HARD AND LOOK AT IT. Government regulation has been curtailed by deals of some kind. Farmers are hounded by patent-police sent by the monopolies which have patented LIFE. Violators will be prosecuted. Oprah Winfrey was prosecuted for libeling a farm product. She won, at great expense to her. Farmers are put out of business defending themselves against the big producers.

This film is a marvelous education in a very important facet of American life. You will take the knowledge gained to the checkout cash register where you will cast a vote in dollars spent on the correct foods and brands. You, as a shopper, will be made wiser. That you can have an effect on the policies of agribusiness is one major point of the film.

Published in: on October 28, 2010 at 6:23 am  Leave a Comment  

List of Books on Empathy

This is a list of books on “empathy” found on Amazon. Empathy has become a theme of a developing Zietgeist in the world today, to which this list may be somewhat of a testament. I am currently reading number nine.

  1. The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society by Frans de Waal (Hardcover – Sept. 22, 2009)77
  2. The Power of Empathy : A Practical Guide to Creating Intimacy, Self-Understanding and Lasting Love by Arthur P. Ciaramicoli and Katherine Ketcham (Paperback – Feb. 27, 2001)
  3. Empowered by Empathy : 25 Ways to Fly in Spirit by Rose Rosetree (Paperback – Nov. 15, 2000)
  4. Teaching Children Empathy, The Social Emotion: Lessons, Activities and Reproducible Worksheets (K-6) That Teach How to “Step Into Others’ Shoes” by Tonia Caselman (Paperback – 2009)
  5. Mirroring People: The Science of Empathy and How We Connect with Others by Marco Iacoboni (Paperback – June 23, 2009)
  6. Dancers Between Realms – Empath Energy, Beyond Empathy by Elisabeth Y. Fitzhugh (Perfect Paperback – Nov. 1, 2006)
  7. Listening With Empathy: Creating Genuine Connections With Customers and Colleagues by John Selby (Hardcover – Jan. 30, 2007)
  8. Men, Women, and the Power of Empathy: You Can Really Connect with Him! by A. R. Bob Maslow (Paperback – Nov. 7, 2006)
  9. The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis by Jeremy Rifkin (Hardcover – Dec. 31, 2009)
  10. The Empathy Gap: Building Bridges to the Good Life and the Good Society by J. D. Trout (Hardcover – Feb. 5, 2009) – Bargain Price
  11. Teaching Empathy: A Blueprint for Caring, Compassion, and Community by David A. Levine (Perfect Paperback – Apr. 13, 2009)
  12. Empathy and Moral Development: Implications for Caring and Justice by Martin L. Hoffman (Paperback – Nov. 12, 2001)
  13. Roots of Empathy: Changing the World Child by Child by Mary Gordon and M.D. Daniel J. Siegel (Paperback – Sept. 1, 2009)
  14. Roots of Empathy: Changing the World Child by Child by Mary Gordon and M.D. Daniel J. Siegel (Paperback – Sept. 1, 2009)
  15. Why Empathy Matters: The Science and Psychology of Better Judgment by J. D. Trout (Paperback – Jan. 26, 2010)
  16. Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy by Dev Patnaik (Hardcover – Jan. 19, 2009)
  17. The Heart of Being Helpful: Empathy and the Creation of a Healing Presence by Peter Roger Breggin (Paperback – Apr. 28, 2006)
  18. Understand and Care (Learning to Get Along, Book 3) by Cheri J. Meiners (Paperback – Aug. 15, 2003)
  19. Understand and Care (Learning to Get Along, Book 3) by Cheri J. Meiners (Paperback – Aug. 15, 2003)
  20. Creating Harmonious Relationships: A Practical Guide to the Power of True Empathy by Andrew LeCompte (Paperback – Feb. 1, 2000)
  21. Empathy (Little Sister’s Classics) by Sarah Schulman and Kevin Killian (Paperback – May 1, 2006)
  22. Hot Issues, Cool Choices: Facing Bullies, Peer Pressure, Popularity, and Put-downs by Sandra McLeod Humphrey and Brian Strassburg (Paperback – Nov. 20, 2007)
  23. Empathy Reconsidered: New Directions in Psychotherapy by Arthur C. Bohart and Leslie S. Greenberg (Hardcover – Apr. 1997)
  24. Learning to Listen, Learning to Care: A Workbook to Help Kids Learn Self-Control & Empathy by Lawrence E. Shapiro (Paperback – July 2008)
  25. Just Grace by Charise Mericle Harper
  26. Empathy and the Novel by Suzanne Keen (Paperback – Mar. 12, 2010)
  27. Rediscovering Empathy: Agency, Folk Psychology, and the Human Sciences (Bradford Books) by Karsten R. Stueber
  28. All Better by Leigh Attaway Wilcox and Lee Wildish (Hardcover – Oct. 1, 2007)
  29. Empathy and the Novel by Suzanne Keen
  30. Toxic Psychiatry: Why Therapy, Empathy and Love Must Replace the Drugs, Electroshock, and Biochemical Theories of the “New Psychiatry” by Peter Roger Breggin
  31. Mastering Communication with Seriously Ill Patients: Balancing Honesty with Empathy and Hope by Anthony Back, Robert Arnold, and James Tulsky
  32. Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential–and Endangered by Bruce D. Perry and Maia
  33. The Compassionate Brain: How Empathy Creates Intelligence by Gerald Hüther and Michael H. Kohn (Paperback – June 13, 2006)
  34. Abstraction and Empathy: A Contribution to the Psychology of Style (Elephant Paperbacks) by Wilhelm Worringer (Paperback – Nov. 14, 2007)
  35. Empathy in the Global World: An Intercultural Perspective by Carolyn Calloway-Thomas

Published in: on September 9, 2010 at 11:50 am  Comments (11)  

When Does “Personhood” Begin?

Life may begin at conception because there is irritable matter in an interaction. That is, matter that has the power to respond to some stimulating other matter, either to push back against another detested force or welcome a desired or compatible force. Life is not “personhood” until that matter organizes itself and becomes viable, capable of life or normal growth and development. At conception, that may be a possibility, but personhood is not a given, an absolutely predictable state of being, especially, particularly, peculiarly during its time in the womb. It takes a birth to verify personhood, acceding to citizenship, a legal name and certified. (Actually, the neonate must still take some time to establish a known personhood in its ego. But that’s another matter of matter.) There’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip.

There are people who want to endow matter in the womb with personhood before that matter has been tested for viability, before individuality has been certified. I think there must be religious or spiritual ideologies that have come pressing down on mothers and doctors dictating their actions. Someone is saying “I have a right to that life you are bearing. That is the right to life that I have over your life. Your life and that growing life inside you is not your own. AND THAT CARRIES BACK TO THE MOMENT YOU AND YOUR PARTNER CONCEIVED THAT PERSON. AND WE CALL IT A PERSON BECAUSE THAT ENDOWS IT WITH THE SAME VIABILITY THAT WE AND I HAVE NOW. OUR CALLING IT SO, MAKES IT SO.”

Yeah. Sure.

Abortion does not end the life of an “individual” human being with “personhood”, only matter with viability pending and personhood to be acquired later through experience of the outside world-environment.

I am sure the court cases will have a difficult time resolving those critical definitions. If they are loaded with one ideology or another, and not justices who are capable of dispassionate reasoning, balancing all the alternatives carefully, seeing the philosophy and science for the greater good of future life on Earth, then the issue will continue plaguing society with murders of doctors rendering that medical service that hinges on the individual case with no guidelines for general practice.

To me, the issue can easily be resolved as a private case between doctor and patient, those closest to the individual situation. That is one of the ultimate freedoms of living in a democratic (free) society, free of the totalitarian tendencies of individuals or groups of individuals with an ideology that assume and empower a superior and infallible knowledge through the law of the hammer.

Case in Point, Relevant to the Previous Blog Entry

I once taught a class for an hour in which I said nothing that was not a question. At the end, my final question was, “What did I do today?” They said many versions of “You made us think”. Not once did anyone say, “Everything you said was a question.” I had to tell them. If someone had seen it, that would have required a knowledge of “meta-communication”.

Published in: on November 10, 2009 at 2:55 pm  Comments (4)  

Skill, Behaviorism, Learning, Drama, Voice

I am a behaviorist. A playwright must be a behaviorist. Drama focuses on action. Thought must be “outed”. Description must be detailed in the technicals. Theme, philosophy, meaning must be converted to the phenomena of character and plot, the dialog. The effect must convert a collection of individuals into a uniform behavioral outcome. The totality is an exhibit in the museum of human behavior. The recipe then gathers dust until its next incarnation.

We need to hear (take a deep breath): a good voice speaking in conflict with an adversary words that resonate great ideas set in poetic devices to make ideas memorable to an audience eager to hear what may transform them into better human beings through understanding of the ways of resolving life’s important conflicts. (Whew! I stuffed that trunk full!) The drama form serves that aim very well. And that is the province of rhetoric.

I am a behaviorist. As a teacher, I wrote goals for behavioral outcomes of learning experience. Ethics, speaking, writing, and listening are behavioral skills. (Write the last act first.) The meaning of life resides in what you “do” with it. (That’s in the Oly play.) I need to understand the grammar of everything. That is fundamental. For instance:

What is the fundamental math skill? For nearly everyone in everyday life, the foundation should be “probability”, or statistical reasoning. They do not teach that.

What is the fundamental history skill? They teach the facts of history without teaching how historical facts are generated. For nearly everyone, assigning the writing of a family history, picking the brains of the elders while they are still alive would teach the basis of history.

What is the most fundamental skill of all? It’s nutrition. We are all amateur eaters where we should be professional eaters. They do not teach that. And what’s the fundamental fitness skill? You answer that one. I say, be a self starter, with one principle in mind, discipline. And so it goes.

About learning. Give my mind a problem, and I have enjoyed, after some strenuous effort, some good outcomes. That’s fun. If it hurts, you are in the throes of learning. Learning is change, the destruction of old habits and creation or substitution of new ones. “Stop that!” is not constructive. “Do this!” is. Change destroys confidence. You are motivated to believe that the new level of behaving will improve on the old comfortable way of doing things. You experience what Gerald Heard called egression into a new state of consciousness. You have evolved in the only way that humans can evolve. Having learned gives satisfaction.

Here’s a basic communication skill. Since I love the drama form of entertainment, I love reading aloud with old fashioned, shameless bravura. (I can be had.) I don’t know if I am good or just another Florence Foster Jenkins. I would like to narrate an evening, Hallowe’en ballet program where I read Riley’s “Little Orphan Annie comes to our house to stay…”, Carroll’s Jabberwocky, Poe, and others.

The awareness of voice for the multitude is minimal to non-existent. (Except for extreme makeovers, in which the voice is being operated on to make it not incongruous with the youthful appearance.) The television and movie technologies have a retrograde effect through the electronically assisted voice when needed for the live, public voice for the stage. Body mikes? What the hell! What speaker at the rostrum would eschew the microphone? Not one. And do they know how to handle the mike? Most will stoop to it. Even actors at the awards ceremonies who depend on the boom man for that. Many actors have lost it for the stage. I taught voice and articulation. Actor’s voices are not as beautiful in quality nor as strong as they need to be. Loud, impassioned lines too often sound shouted, a high-pitched, strident, broken, cracking, rough screech. The tools, the instruments are not there any longer. “I am old, Father William.”

The Captain AHABs of the U.S. Economy in Congress: REPUBLICANS!

Wherever they are, wherever and whenever they speak, their only economic policy pursuit: cut taxes! The past eight years. The next eight years. Then. Now. Forever. It’s monomaniacal (“mental derangement restricted to one idea”)!

Captain Ahab, in the great American novel, Moby Dick, or, The White Whale by Herman Melville, could not be deflected from his pursuit of the monster white whale. You know Ahab’s fate. The Republicans’ insistence on tax cuts is their Great White Whale. The Republicans are that deranged. Everything can be solved by tax cuts. Leave more money in society. Don’t take it out in taxes.

I heard Sen. Jim DeMint (Republican, Joint Economic Committee) say it. I expected it, as the discussion progressed on George Stephanopoulos’s Sunday morning program, and then I heard it. (Jim demented.) But Barney Franks sharply, convincingly rebutted DeMint. It wasn’t hard. Just plain, reasoned good sense.

This metaphor of Ahab, the monomaniac pursuing Moby Dick, to the destruction of his crew and ship and himself, perfectly expresses my assessment of our current economic crisis, its causes and its status.

It began with Reagan: “…government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” And he proceeded to emasculate government, to denigrate what is the hope of vast numbers of citizens for justice, safety, security, and all those promises in the Preamble to the Constitution. Reagan gave the self-serving among us that shibboleth of ultra conservatism, lapel-pin flags, trickle down economics, deregulation, union-busting, the values feint, and so on. What is so amazing is that the people who had most to lose from such policies lapped it up, voting against their own best interests. Ultimately, I see the Republicans as ugly creatures created by ignorant voters. I fault the citizens who lack intelligent discernment involving code words calling for acts that have consequences the gullible do not foresee.

That is the essence of “ideology”, Republican ideology, which favors ideas that have expressions that bear no relationship to the truth. You have to be smart to be a citizen in a democracy. The educational system was developed to be the guardian of the democratic process which is seated in government. The government system is not the problem. The establishment that takes charge of the government can be the only source of any problem. Reagan demagogued it and gave us his legacy of lies, swallowed whole by the type of people who wanted their own personal gain to prevail over the general welfare.

Published in: on February 5, 2009 at 11:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

‘Tis the Season to Be Entertaining Etiquette

When people receive you into their houses for a party, do you enter and then leave without making to the hosts some nice, thoughtful comment on what you have observed about their entertaining grace?

Your hosts have probably made some preparations and formal adjustments to their home pertinent to the occasion of your visit. They probably have furnishings of interest for which they have some pride in showing, things that give them pleasure and may also be a source of pleasure to their visitors. There are some things present that may test your perspicacity and reveal to the hosts something about your good eye and the quality of your appreciation and tastes, about your background that justifies their self-congratulation for knowing you and inviting you.

Surely, what they have done in some special effort to entertain you warrants the simplest expression of gratitude at the least, without excessive gushing. Something you say to them may make your participation memorable, in a good feeling the hosts can take to bed after their exertions of the day.

Good party guests make comments to the host that show a general interest in the good things of living.

To enter and take everything the hosts offer and say nothing about the experience can and probably should be taken by the hosts as a low evaluation of the their efforts to entertain. If the feelings of the guests are negative, should they keep quiet rather than speak the truth? Is silence better than saying the negative? It is the responsibility of the guests to find the right words that communicate exactly what they feel about the evening.

If the hosts failure was absolutely perfect, that terrible fact should have become obvious to everyone who was there, probably including the party-givers. However, there just had to be at least one thing that was the saving grace of the evening and worthy of comment. The hosts will use each observation in their analysis of the party. Not one person should take for granted that the party was a success.

If there is a discrepancy between what the guests tell the hosts to their faces as they leave and what the guests say to each othet in the car going home, then there is a clear ethical problem in the guests’ self-concepts. For that, there is little to be done short of taking the course of treatment.

Published in: on December 14, 2008 at 9:53 pm  Comments (1)  

Blagojevich, Illinois Governor — What Obama Should Do—

— at his news conferences. Upon receiving questions from the press about the Obama’s part in the Illinois governor’s wanting kickbacks for an appointment to fill Obama’s Senate seat, Pres-Elect Obama should say this:
“If you put that issue above the urgency of the questions about the economy, the war, the inadequacy of health care in this nation, among other more pressing problems, then I will ask you to stay after class — uh, uh — this news conference when I will gladly answer any and all questions on that issue, in a post-mortem irrelevant to me and the real issues before this nation. Simply, I have had nothing to do with “that one”, but whatever you need to ask I will give answers.

I have also added to my seating chart of the reporters at these news conferences a grade for the quality and topic of each question. My staff and I will confer on the assignment of that evaluative statement, and I will be guided by that chart in my taking of questions. Hollywood has its “A” list, “B” list, and so forth. So will we hold you accountable just as you hold us accountable. But the real important communication will take place in the Pre-Mortem.

Published in: on December 14, 2008 at 9:29 pm  Comments Off on Blagojevich, Illinois Governor — What Obama Should Do—  

“Infant Industries”: Automobile and “Green” Manufacturing in the U.S.

Infant Industry #1
Have the manufacturers of American automobiles become “infant industries” that require protection against competition from China, Japan, Korea, Europe, or any others competing for sales in the U.S. whose product is not built using U.S. labor forces? In the Senate hearings, the import of cars from Korea was clearly perceived and cited as unfair competition at this time. Nations that exact high tarrifs on imports or exports or use other means such as quotas to gain a more favorable position in the U.S. market constitute unfair competition AT THIS PARTICULAR TIME OF THE RESTRUCTURING OF THE U.S. MANUFACTURING OF CARS. Does the present circumstance require protection legislation that favors our auto industry?

The history of the U.S. shows certain periods that had such protections. If it were to be instituted now, could it shield the auto industry for a certain length of time to be given to the re-tooling and restructuring of this business? Or is there an argument against such protection that would continue the competition as a better spur to the auto makers to drive them to their new goals?

I tend to believe that they should be held under the gun of competition because they have, for so many years, been unable to muster the vision of a new, greener world of independence from fossil fuel burning. They have ignored that competition. They have been reluctant for many years to innovate.

On the other hand, if they have put on the hair-shirts of a new ethic, sincerely committed now, well then–relief? They are getting the money from us. Is that enough? Should the money go hand in hand with the protections? Would OUR money invested be safer with their protection?

Infant Industry #2
Are we going “green”? That is certainly YES! Just now it’s all talk, getting ideas and making plans, but I just know it is coming. However, what nation will become competitive and own a large share of the market in “green” technology and manufacture the hardware that underlies wind, solar, geothermal, automotive, wave-action, biomass, and energy storage technology? The inception of this industry is upon us. I think it qualifies as an infant industry and the competition has been proceeding for some time now, but the automotive technology appears to have escaped from the U.S. and gone elsewhere.

I said to my wife, “Wife!” I said—

This morning I said to my wife, “Wife!” I said, “Wife, is there anything about you I don’t like?” Then I said, “Wife, let me think. There must be something.”

I thought and thought.

“I can’t believe it, wife, that you are perfect. In spite of what everyone thinks about me, wife, I am not perfect.”

I thought hard for a while.

“Wife, there is one thing. When you make coffee, you crumple up the little paper coffee filter and put it aside. I always find it right where you left it on the counter, just a short reach one pace from the waste basket, and I throw it in, every day.”

No response.

“You just want me to feel wanted and needed. That must be it. I’ll never fail you, ever, wife.”

I guess there just isn’t one thing I don’t like about my wife. But I tried.

So the election season is over and the avalanche of issues to write about have disappeared.

Published in: on November 26, 2008 at 4:28 pm  Comments (2)  

Mr., → Prof., → Sen., → Pres.→ Obama, STOP!

Stop borrowing Reagan’s “trickle” metaphor. You are on the verge of getting your own, but you’ll have to take one more step!
This is a melting pot we live in. Look at the pot, where many disparate groups of identities are mixed in the stew of this society. Multifarious communities make up this society, and no one knows better than you. Where is the heat applied? At the bottom, of course. And what happens inside, at the bottom? Bubbles form. Bubbles of gas pop to the top. And what’s in the pot melds, bonds, joins, blends, merges, every ingredient contributing to the final product, the savory stew that is us, the U.S.

Now look at the “trickle” notion that branded Reagan’s economics. “Trickle” does not come from the bottom. “Trickle up”— NO! Trickle comes from up and moves by gravity down. It is an apt metaphor for those who see authority crushing down from the top onto the communities below. It’s authoritarian, totalitarian, fascistic. Despotic, undemocratic, repressive, tyrannical, demanding. An apt description of Republican approaches. Kill big government and substitute the unbearable weight of the economics of wealth crunching down on top of those middle and poverty classes below.

The blunt force trauma of wealth on the children of the wealthy can account for some of the problems of rich kids, but even more, if greed is good and greed gets goods, and that drive for wealth operates at the expense of the majority, then, yes, change we can believe in is needed, NOW! A new politics; a new economic policy.

No, Mr., → Prof., → Sen., → Pres.→ Obama, your life story bubbled up from the bottom of the pot, and you should be touting, not a borrowed metaphor (which doesn’t make sense), but your own brand of economics and democracy THAT BUBBLES UP FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE MELTING POT. It’s a simple but big change, stamping your own brand ® on economics and politics.

I HAVE PRES. OBAMA DOWN AS (to use a grammatical construction) ⇒ THE FUTURE-PERFECT PRESIDENT; he will be satisfied and happy next year at this time with what he will have done.

Please, somebody, get the message to him!

Published in: on November 1, 2008 at 8:00 am  Comments (2)  

In the Light of Our Current “Bailout” Crisis, Read This–

–page I have posted on my Blogroll.

Sen.-Elect Jim Webb’s Wall Street J. Op-Ed: CLASS STRUGGLE

Published in: on October 11, 2008 at 8:23 am  Leave a Comment