Monday, June 27, 2011

Belief versus Fact

A disturbing fact about human beings is:  People believe the opposite of what they know to be true.

This fact has been true for the masses for God knows how long. 
This fact explains why people act against their own interests.
But I felt that our institutions (government, religious, educational, corporate) were managed by people who could actively control the intellectual clash between belief and truth.
I don't feel that way now.
One listens and reads, looking for signs that the President, the Congress, the bankers and corporate leaders, and university presidents understand what is happening and know what to do.  I find no signs.

Peter DeVries nailed it in 1961 when he wrote "What people believe is a measure of what they suffer."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Calf Slobber Pie

Overheard at the Duck & Cover Restaurant, home of the Scratch & Sniff Menu:

What do you like for dessert?
I'll have some calf slobber pie.
A pause, then - Never heard of it.
Well, you've got some right there in the case.
Show me.
He points.
That is called Lemon Meringue.
Well, back home, we call it calf slobber.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quotation For Today

Under the Republicans, man exploits man.  With the Democrats, just the opposite is true.

                                                                       Anonymous Bumper Sticker

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Capitalism and Education in Partnership

Last week we had dinner with friends at a local restaurant.  Halfway through the meal, the woman next to me turned to complain about the workers who were coming to her house to do repairs or maintenance.  It was not the quality of the work that bothered her;  it was her inability to communicate and perhaps relate to them.  All were foreign immigrants.  "Where are 'our boys'?" she asked me.
In a civilized world I would have formed an answer for her but in the world where I live, a world where restaurants cannot provide a meal without loud music cascading  from the ceiling, a world where fellow diners talk as if they were on cable talk shows, I did no more than shrug my shoulders and say "It's a problem."
Here is what I wanted to say:
American Society has  spent at least three generations teaching our young people that manual labor is an endeavor that must be avoided.  It is demeaning and unpleasant to work with one's hands.  We told our children they can do better than that.  They didn't need to 'waste their lives' when they could get a college education and do 'so much better.'  We fed them TV programs, movies, and stories about fathers who were ashanmed of their jobs and wanted their children to have it better.  Fathers were telling their sons to get an education so they didn't have to work in the mines, or fix automobiles, or labor on a farm.  These stories told us that these fathers were sacrificing their happiness so their children could have a better easier life.  Teachers and counselors reinforced these admonitions.
So we have millions unemployed who have never used a tool and can't fix things to earn money.  Or won't.
I might have asked if she didn't see it happening.
I also might have inquired exactly what picture came to her mind when she spoke of 'our boys.'
But she is in her mid-eighties.  Not enough time left to do or care anything about it.  I know this because I am only a few years behind where she is now.

Wikileaks under fire again.

If you like to watch Television News as presented by CNN in the belief that you are watching an objective truth-seeking program based on integrity and facts, then you may not enjoy the hatchet job that will be done on June 12, Sunday at 8:00 PM on CNN.
Titled "Wikiwars: The Mission of Julian Assange", it is little more than a rehash of old rumours mixed with inaccuracies and detailed revelations of Assange's personal bodily features and personality idiosyncrasies.  Qualities we all have,  by the way.
This is not surprising.  CNN has tried to denigrate Assange from the beginning.  Along with the New York Times and some other publications, they are an organ  of the American Government and do the bidding of same.
The question I have is: why Assange right now, at this time?  Is it another "pre-emptive strike" that our Government is so famous for doing? 
More likely, it just time to renew the lesson of the dangers of truth-telling and whistle-blowing to the American people.
A digression here:  I wish an enterprising reporter would research who was the first person to use 'pre-emptive strike' to justify putting the country at war without following constitutional procedure.
I bet most people think it means to strike first.  My understanding is that pre-emption means the seizing of public lands within one's own nation.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Katie Couric walks away.

Katie Couric has signed off as CBS Evening News anchor after nearly five years.  Couric ended her last evening newscast by telling viewers:
 "Thank you so much for coming along with me on this incredible journey."

Well, isn't that precious?  Five years is an 'incredible journey'? 

Walter Kronkite didn't become Walter Kronkite in five years.  He began with CBS in 1950 after a dozen years of reporting around the world.  He was assigned anchor of the CBS Evening News in 1962 and stayed until his retirement in 1981 (19 years as anchor).
Tom Brokaw stayed until he retired.
Peter Jennings stayed until he died.
When Couric got the assignment in 2006, there was a lot of chatter about her being the first solo female anchor of a primetime network newscast.
She will go down in the history books with that distinction but she doesn't deserve it.  She quit.  She walked away.  The so-called 'challenge' of her 'incredible journey' wore out and she moved on because in the end, everything she does is about her.  That is the modern way.