Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas...

and a Happy New Year.

This is my end of the year post, and it is simply a series of not so simple questions for you to consider providing answers to. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas.

1.) In the last year, what, if anything, have (you) learned about the culture we live in with respect to its functioning, resiliency, and its likely future?

2.) What are your biggest concerns with respect to the health of the nation vis a vis your own fortunes?

3.) If you could live in another (or other) part(s) of the world, where would it/they be, and why-other than weather related reasons- would you choose to live there?

4.) What sort of interesting developments or changes do you imagine will come about in the U.S. in the next twelve months? What have been the most interesting or meaningful ones to come about in the prior twelve months?

Friday, December 3, 2010

What Will it Take?

To the multitude of readers who regularly take in my column for kernals of insight, pearls of wisdom, and, of course, just for its sheer entertainment value, I would like to extend you an apology for not posting for well nigh almost three weeks. I have no reason to offer as an excuse for the dearth of new content from this quarter other than that a certain exhaustion set in last month. Perhaps it was the onset of the dreaded holiday season, or an impending birthday, or the paucity of sunlight at this time of year, but, whatever the reason(s), they served to short circuit my usually regular, if not always stellar, output.

Still, even as I was taking a self imposed and modestly refreshing break, I did happen to notice, among many global developments, that Ireland has unsurprisingly, but disappointingly, been broken by the monetary hooligans of the EU, and, also, that some here in the U.S. are expressing their deep disapproval, not to say outrage, at the methods and behavior of the Transportation Safety Administration whose
conduct of late has been markedly unkind to a number of folks seeking to get from point A to point B by air.

For what it's worth, I was in the less than enviable position of having to fly recently, and when it was my turn to stand inside the backscatter used by the TSA, I opted, as is my wont-call me crazy, but I trust the safety of the TSA's x-ray machines about as much as I trust the assurances of The Federal Government that The Gulf of Mexico is cleaned up and ready for unbridled shrimp harvesting-for the dreaded pat down.

The new pat down procedure, which the TSA employee assigned to check me for bombs and other such potentially dangerous cargo, made sure to let me know was in place and would be practiced, involved, among other things, the use of the back of the hand when slapping, excuse me, when checking passengers in what the TSA agent euphemistically referred to as (a tad nervously or so it seemed to me) "sensitive areas." The entire exercise was silly, which, other than the fact that the procedure likely amounts to a violation of the 4th Amendment and almost certainly won't do much, if anything, to safeguard passengers, is fine.

And all this puts me in mind of my opening apologia for my blogging absenteeism. I've just have had a Eureka moment wherein I suddenly feel I have a firmer grasp on just what it was that might have been keeping me from posting. While I am heartened that some number of my fellow citizens have chosen to stand up for themselves in the face of utter police state piffle as practiced by the TSA, I am, in the main, disheartened at the response of the vast majority of my fellow citizens who appear to have the demeanor of overfed sheep in the face of a constant barrage of myriad outrages.

It doesn't seem to bother most of my fellow Americans in the slightest that such entities as commercial banks and institutions like the The Federal Reserve are as lawless as wild west bandits. The behavior of these institutions is bad enough, but it doesn't seem to so much as provide the hint of a transitory wrinkle on the collective brow of the nation's above twenty one crowd that, in the face of a level of egregious scamming that would make Charles Ponzi blush, their Federally elected officials act, for all the world, as if they had either no clue, no balls, or were on the payroll of the scammers, which, of course, they are.

And so, one is left to ask the question that one is constantly faced with when one witnesses a strong electric shock administered to a subject who does little more than faintly twitch in response: Is the subject dead? And if not, just what is it going to take to make the subject remove the instrument of pain and strangle the son of a bitch who attached it to them in the first place? To be a tad less abstract, what are the American people waiting for, well, besides waiting in very long overnight queues for flat screen T.V.s and cut rate computers on sale at Best Buy on Black Friday? Why, dear reader, I will tell you what they are waiting for. They are waiting, like the sheep they are, to be shorn of their remaining threadbare wool. Pardon the unsavory imagery, but not until they are as naked as a porn star in a shoot on a public beach will they likely wake up and realize that they don't want to be sheep any longer. I am talking real deprivation wherein the sheep are left cold, hungry, and without shelter. Yes, I think that is what it's going to take to inspire the sheep to be something other than (utterly shorn) sheep.

Unfortunately, by then, and there will be a then, because the folks calling the shots in The Land of The Free aren't merciful, it will be too late. Glad I'm back yet?