Author Archive

What Happens if the Uninsured Pick Up a Gun?

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

By Writeside

Watching MTP today I was struck by how Dick Armey and Tom Coburn avoided any responsibility for the right wink kooks who are gathering weapons and ammunition, joining militias, buying gold and stockpiling cans of beef stew. Certainly it should be as obvious to those two gentleman as it is to everyone else that these nuts are being riled up because they are being told – by the Republicans – that the Obama administration is doing everything from wanting to kill grandma to destroying the American way of life. The right needs responsible leaders who will stand up and loudly repudiate the violent threats.

But after all, what the right wing wants is to preserve the status quo. They want those who “have” now staying that way, and as for those who “have not?” Well, the Republican party is pretty sure that those who have not are illegal aliens, lazy African Americans, Marxists, just plain evil or a combination of all of those things, and not deserving of having anything like health care in the first place. Certainly they are people who made “poor choices” in their lives and thus deserve to die young and leave nothing behind for their children.

Yes, the people like the idiot who brought a gun and threatening signs to the Portsmouth town hall, and the nutbag who held up the “Death to Obama and Family” signs in Maryland are a small percentage of even the right wing nuts, but all of them want to preserve the status quo. What about those who don’t?

What if the 46 million people without health care decided to form their own militias? It seems to me that the “have nots” in this country should be more motivated to change the way things are than the “haves.” Latest estimates are that 37 million people live in poverty in the United States. If only 1% of those who either live in poverty or who do not also have health care coverage decided that our system – despite overwhelming Democratic majorities – was not going to respond to them in general, and to the health care crisis in general, that would be an army of between 370,000 and 460,000 people. What percentage might it be if we see the moneyed interests come away with a “win” here? 3%? 5%? 10%?

And none of their anger would be based upon lies.

This is why I am anxious to see some leadership from those on the right. They threaten us with military coups to “restore” the GOP to power, and the Republican leadership winks and says that they know nothing about that. Then they turn around and say that they “understand” the anger that infuses the radical right.

They miss those with grievances on the left, those who worked last year to put huge Democratic majorities in place to effect change, those who worked within the system to try to make this a better country.

They Republicans play the “we know how to use a gun” schtick a bit too loosely, and they forget that they’re not the only ones who do…

“If There’s Hope, It Lies in the Polls”

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

I wonder how many people will understand the political literary reference I made in the title of this post? More on that later, but what I am describing is the hope that is brightening the breasts of many of those poor defeated souls on the right who are now clinging to an arbitrary measurement devised by a pollster who has consistently had poll results that skew to the right as the “evidence” that the country is “moving to the right” and ostensibly away from President Obama and the Democrats.

Of course I’m talking about the Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll and the bogus “Presidential Approval Index” that Rasmussen has devised that current shows the President at “Minus 8.”

Reading that figure would lead many to believe that 54% of the public disapproved of the job he is doing with only 46% in favor, right? Wrong, because, you see, what Rasmussen has done is to subtract those who “strongly disapprove” of the President’s job performance from those who “strongly approve.” This “index” does not consider those who either simply approve or disapprove.

First off, the subjective nature of the word “strongly” makes polling based upon this kind of judgment suspect in my mind.

Second, the fact is that even Rasmussen’s poll shows that a majority approve of the President’s job performance.

Third, as I have said before, Rasmussen’s poll numbers are way skewed to the right compared to other pollsters. The RCP average of polls has the President’s overall approval/disapproval rating at 56.3% – 38.5%.

Fourth, whereas approval ratings can be leading indicators as predictive agents for future elections, we are still almost 3 and a half years away from the next Presidential election, so these polls are mostly meaningless in terms of analyzing them to assess the President’s “vulnerability” next time out.

So we have a pollster who skews right making up an index that means nothing especially given the placement of his data alongside others, and we have a group of people on the right misinterpreting the significance of those same flawed numbers in an effort to “prove” to themselves that they were right all along and that the country was somehow “mislead” into voting for the President and are now “seeing the light,” right?

The good news is that most people, if asked to comment about this “significant drop in the President’s popularity” and being asked if they “regretted voting for the President (which is another way the right wingnuts like to cheer themselves up)” would likely respond to the person asking them this question by saying: “What the fuck are you talking about?”

So, take heart all you Fox News devotees. You have three and a half more years to cry yourselves to sleep at night with made up numbers.

Then you will probably have to come up with some new ones to hold you until 2016…

by Writeside

Thriller

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Michael Jackson was a contemporary of mine. The fact that he died suddenly and without regard to the resources available to him can only raise my own sense of mortality. It should remind all of us how precious every minute, every sunrise, every moment with those we love really is.

Despite enormous talent, enormous success and enormous wealth, Michael Jackson seemed to be tormented throughout his life.

Tonight we hope that he finally finds peace…

By Writeside

What To Do About North Korea

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

The speech President Obama should give from the East Room at the White House:

Good evening. I would like to address my comments to the leaders and citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

With your recent tests of nuclear weapons and tests of both short and long range missiles, it is apparent to all the nations of the world that you have entered the “Nuclear Club.”

While being a member of that club means that you have achieved a certain level of technological adeptness for which you can be justifiably proud as a nation, reaching that goal also has some very unfortunate consequences.

At this moment, because of your newfound technological abilities, many nations around the world, including the other nations that have missile and nuclear technology equal to and beyond yours, have programmed military and other targets in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea into the guidance systems of their multiple warhead nuclear tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles.

A nuclear explosion anywhere around the world that can be traced or otherwise associated with your development and manufacturing of nuclear weapons will likely cause an immediate launch of perhaps hundreds of nuclear tipped ICBMs that would destroy much of your country and mean certain death for a large portion of your population, leaving behind land that would be useless to support human life for a generation or more. The effects of the nuclear war that would thus be ignited would kill hundreds of thousands more around the world, and disrupt life for every living person.

I say this not as a threat, but as a reminder to the leadership of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea of the awesome responsibility that comes with being a nuclear power. Presidents of the United States since Harry Truman have lived with this threat of mutually assured destruction and have thus far been able to keep these weapons from further use. I urge you to take whatever precautions are necessary to do the same to ensure a future for your children and grandchildren.

If you need assistance in ensuring the security of your nuclear weapons, we would be willing to help as would many other nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Sadly, there is another cost to your recent technological breakthroughs. When you abrogated your agreements to suspend your nuclear program, you also abrogated the willingness of countries around the world to provide you with the food, fuel and other assistance that was a part of those agreements.

We here in the United States stand willing to help you meet the needs of your people. We would love to once again offer assistance through trade and by delivering food and other needed supplies.

But we will not do that with a country that is an acknowledged nuclear power and has the means to threaten the rest of the countries in the world with destruction. To that end, I urge you to consider abandoning your nuclear program having already shown the world your technological capabilities and achievements. The world now understands the brilliance of Korean scientists in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but it is time to put those advances aside in order to better care for your people.

If you wish, we can assist you in dismantling your nuclear program and returning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to its former non-nuclear status. Again, I am sure that many countries around the world would be willing to assist you in that regard.

After you are free from the responsibilities of being a nuclear power, we would be very happy to re-engage in discussions for ongoing trade and aid. We are always ready partners for peace.

As I said earlier: welcome to the club. It is a sad welcome because of the heavy burden you now bear both in terms of mutually assured destruction and in the loss of desperately needed aid, but I must believe that you did not make this decision without careful consideration of the consequences. Having made your point, you can now make the courageous decision to walk away from this terrible power, to show the world that you can make a decision that is best for your people and for all of the people in the world.

Again, the United States is always a ready partner for peace with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and we look forward to peace and prosperity in the future for both of our countries.

Thank you. Good night. And May God Bless America.

By Writeside

Why America’s Not Ready for an Iranian Revolution

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Just take a look at the nonsense that is being peddled by the right wing today (and the last few days). A lot of empty words attempting to incite a war or something (?!?) against Iran in the aftermath of their election that featured truly horrible stagecraft.

There are many who are “analyzing” the Iranian election results, from the statisticians at fivethirtyeight.com to editorialists and columnists around the world and I don’t want to rehash any of that here, particularly because they have – no doubt – done a better job than I would do, but really. Did they not notice the crowds in the streets supporting the4 opposition candidate when they decided to announce that the incumbent won with 63% of the vote? Laughable. If they had said that it was close, but Ahmadinejad ended up with 51% of the vote, likely very few would have done more than yawn.

But back to our story.

Some Americans seem to want to incite an armed insurrection in Iran (okay, some want to incite an armed insurrection in the United States, but that’s a different post, okay?). They do so without knowing who they are supporting.

They reflexively want to oust the theocracy currently in place. Perhaps they want a military dictator, someone who will rule with an iron hand but ensure that the next Iranian government is secular. Kind of like Saddam, right?

Would the United States be in a position to help a fledgling actual democracy in Iran? Could we “get over’ the fact that they are almost all Muslim in that country – and we “know” that all Muslims just want to kill Americans and Jews (and not necessarily in that order), right?

You would think that we would have learned our lesson from instigating revolution in Iran in 1953 what could happen when you do things like that.

Or Chile.

Or South Vietnam.

Or Guatemala.

Or Pakistan.

Or Iraq…

Point is that unless we know for sure that the next government will be. Unless we can be certain that the next group will in fact be democrats, and will have the best interests of the Iranian people and world peace at heart, why the hell would we get involved?

And the truth is that we CANNOT know what would happen next.

The best we can do is to watch and see what happens, and wait to offer support and aid or to continue our discussions and hope to be able to achieve a level of diplomacy with whatever government ends up running that country.

Oh wait. That’s what the Obama administration is doing…

Never mind.

By Writeside

Do What’s Right

Friday, June 12th, 2009

In the NY Times today Paul Krugman calls out Fox News Network (and specifically Glen Beck) and the Washington Times, citing them as examples of how the dividing line between “main stream conservatism and the black helicopter crowd” has all but disappeared.

I agree with him that making irrational statements like Beck’s that FEMA might be building concentration camps does very little to help the situation in the country, and, by ratcheting up partisan tensions may certainly instigate some of the less stable to violence.

But should Beck temper his rants, which some find entertaining? Does he and others like him have a responsibility for the idiots out there who are killing people? As much as I would love to say that they do, as much as I despise Beck and liars like him, the answer is “no.”

Entertainers do what entertainers do. If you don’t like it, you don’t watch it or listen to it, or buy it.

Even newspapers – especially newspapers – have a long history of slanting themselves to the whims of their publishers, going all the way back to the beginning of the country. Again, if no one buys the paper (or visits the website) that is what will make a difference there.

That being said, those who make statements that might lead others to violence need to make it clear that they do not advocate such.

Irresponsibly quoting Jefferson and saying “The Tree of Liberty must be refreshed, from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants,” can be nothing BUT a call to violence.

“Warning” the public that the Obama administration is “totalitarian” and building “concentration camps” can also be nothing BUT a call to violence – UNLESS IT IS COUPLED WITH A STATEMENT AGAINST VIOLENCE.

That’s what is owed here. Fox News needs to make it very clear that it abhors violence and that anyone interpreting any of its hosts to be calling for violence are wrong.

What is needed are prominent citizens from the right who will decry violence and declare that it is un-American.

I believe that everyone should have the right to pursue their own dreams, to make money where they can, to exercise their freedoms to speak, write, and whatever to their hearts content – until that activity infringes someone else\’s rights to do the same. Then there has to be compromise, there has to be accommodation.
When people are killing other people because what you are saying riles everything up, you need to do something about it.

I am not asking right wing entertainers to give up their schtick.

I just want them to also do what is right…

By Writeside

On the Road Towards “Post Capitalism”

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

I started to write about this idea once before, and you can go back and dig through the earlier blog posts to find it if you want. (I am not sure it would be worth it, though.)

Basically the idea is this: technology is reaching a point where the productivity of the American worker is becoming too great compared to the amount of work needed to be done in our country. These changes run from increased efficiency to technology assuming more of the workload. As technology advances (and it is advancing geometrically as opposed to arithmetically) there will be less and less need for human labor and thus, more and more leisure time.

The quandary for our consumer driven economy will be that humans will still need to, well, consume. That will ultimately mean that we will get paid for doing less.

Perhaps we will extend “the college years” into the late 20s, with most getting at least a master’s degree, and a good chunk a PhD. Maybe we will decrease the retirement age. Certainly there will be a lot of people getting paid an awful lot for doing basically nothing – even more than is being done now, but it will happen unless we abandon capitalism altogether and at once, something I don’t foresee happening.

But I want to take this on a tangent for today because of something that occurred to me while watching a show called Nextworld on the Science Channel.

They were speculating about the houses of the future, and they focused on the Microsoft model house, a house where the walls are made of giant led displays, with the result that your guest room – for example – can look completely different for each guest that stays there.

They can have personalized décor and lighting, right down to pictures and videos on the walls that relate only to them – and their own tastes in music too!

While I was thinking about how cool that is the thought occurred to me: how the hell much will that cost?

I would guess that each room you have outfitted like that could add up to $20K to the price of the house, so not very many people will be able to afford it in any event.

But how does that tie in to my theory of “Post Capitalism?” Well, I’m glad you asked!

The next thought that I had after thinking about the cost was that it wouldn’t really matter because we all were going to get paid a lot of cash for very little work anyway, specifically so that we could purchase this kind of stuff from Bill Gates’ company.

But then I thought: shouldn’t we have higher aspirations than that? Shouldn’t we use our resources to make sure everybody in the United States had somewhere decent to live first, before we started building houses that changed walls on your whim?

There are homeless people. There are people living in tents and campers. There are people living in tarpaper shacks from Appalachia to New Orleans and God knows where else.

As we move towards the next phase in our economy, the phase I am calling “post capitalism” but one that others most assuredly call by other names, shouldn’t concentrate on filling basic human needs for everyone before making sure someone, somewhere has a computer operated toilet?

And I am not sure how we achieve that. And I am skeptical that it can be done. But shouldn’t we at least try?

Is the goal in life in America to have more food than others who will then go to bed hungry? Should that be the goal?

Many argue that the profit motive, greed, is what has made America great, and that it provides the incentives needed to spur invention and creativity. I find it hard to argue against that, but it also creates supply and demand curves for labor which doom a certain percentage of people to poverty.

In my mind we need to find a way over this hurdle if we are to survive and survive well.

Maybe we start with universal health care and universal access to higher education.

Maybe we, as a society, will become inspired by someone or something to more readily respond to what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.”

But then again, maybe not.

By Writeside

Inconvenient Separate Truths?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Through the wonders of the internet, we can discover that the truth isn’t really the truth anymore.

Nope. For any given issue, for any given bit of information really, you can find a source somewhere in the ethereal world that disputes it, thus not only giving the lie to your so called “fact,” but proving that the exact opposite is true – if someone wants it to be.

It would be easy to become alarmed at this phenomenon, after all, it IS kind of unnerving to know that there are a whole large group of people out there who believe that there has been a five decades long conspiracy embracing officials on four continents, including every member of every state’s electoral system, every member of the national committees of both national parties, every member of the Electoral College, every member of Congress and every member of the Supreme Court working together and in absolute silence to hide the fact that President Obama isn’t really eligible to be President either because he wasn’t born in Hawaii or because his father was not a citizen when he was born.

On one of the sites where these people gather someone asked if yesterday’s temporary stay of the Chrysler bankruptcy ruling meant that the Court was about to “take up” the eligibility case. “Do you think even liberal justice Ginsburg sees this as a way for the Supreme Court to rule on Obama’s eligibility?” WTF, right?

Like I said, it would be easy to e alarmed at the number of people holding idiotic beliefs and ideas in this world if you didn’t realize that its only because of the internet that you can now find out so much about them, and that they can reach places that you frequent.

As a point of fact, there have always been nuts like this running around, from the John Birch Society to those that believe that a select group of “industrialists” in Switzerland actually control the whole world. In my bookshelf I have a book from the 1950s called “The Unseen Hand” that traces the influence of such groups to virtually every war, to every major national and international action going back to the American Revolution!

While some would say that the internet makes it easier for these nutcases to organize if they were of a mind to, I kind of think that it’s a good thing that they are communicating in an arena that can be easily monitored by the appropriate authorities. I do think that some of them are nuts enough to be harmful to themselves or others, but again, being able to spout off on line also makes them feel like they are “doing something” and that might be enough to keep them docile.

The crazy will always be with us. In the meanwhile, lets enjoy their wackiness while we can!

By Writeside

Into the Personal: A Heart Attack a Day?

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

I had a heart attack in 2001. It was a very mild one, a blockage in a small artery at the very southern end of my heart.

I was awake and watching on the video screen as the doctors snaked a catheter up through an opening in the artery in my thigh and up into my heart to the site where the blockage was. I felt the intense pain in my chest as they inflated the balloon, totally blocking off the artery and the blood flow to that part of my heart, and I felt the intense relief when they let the air out of the balloon and opened the passage of blood fully once again, ending my heart attack and putting a stent in place to hold it open.

At first, of course, I exercised and ate well, taking off pounds and keeping them that way, but over time it is human nature to become complacent.

With the help of diet and medication, I keep my cholesterol under control, and my weight only 5% or so above what the ideal should be, but over the years my exercise has diminished, especially since here in Georgia it is hotter than hell during the summer, and that gives me a good excuse to avoid getting any.

But recently – after a stress test – I decided to get back into shape and have begun an exercise program to do just that. Five days per week, alternating between “stressful” aerobics (3 days) and weight training and light aerobics (2 days). It’s going fine so far – I can see improvement and I feel better, but it also raises the phenomena that is the subject of this post: Because I didn’t take care of myself before my heart attack, I have to live with the feeling that I am having a heart attack every day.

The heart attack left me with a small area in my heart that gets deprived of oxygen when I exercise or otherwise have an advanced heart rate. This causes somewhat sharp pains in my chest and in my left arm – very similar to the symptoms of my heart attack.

It’s called angina, and even what I have is mild compared to some other people. It won’t kill me, it’s kind of like a scar, except it hurts when I put stress on my cardio-respiratory system.

And, since putting stress on my heart and lungs is the only way to increase my cardio capacity I have to work through the angina, work through the feeling that I am having another heart attack just to make my heart stronger.

Kind of ironic, huh?

Some people are incapacitated by the pain they get from angina – likening it to “an elephant sitting on your chest,” something I have never felt. Imagine trying to run, or even walk while feeling that. I’m lucky that I can work through mine, and if you have never had a heart attack, you are luckier still.

The point? Does there have to be a point? Well, there is, and this is it: genetics, your family history is the strongest predictor of heart trouble. Stress, diet and lack of exercise can exacerbate it, just as controlling all of those things can lower your risk, but knowing what might be coming is the best preventative.

So take note of your risk factors, watch your diet, and run pain free while you can.

A heart attack per day isn’t fun, trust me…

By Writeside

An American in Cairo

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

I hope that the President’s speech in Egypt today accomplishes something – anything.

But just by going there and speaking, just by addressing the Islamic world and declaring that the “Unites States is not at war with Islam,” he has accomplished what should have been obvious but has been ignored since 2001.

Religious extremism is the cause of much violence and death in the world and has been since history began. For right now, for these times, Islam is the major cause of this violence, but Christianity has had its centuries. Thankfully Christianity has now evolved into something more secular and less virulent, although there are pockets of that latent violence around as witnessed a few days ago in Kansas.

As the President rightly points out, we need to separate those extremists who would use violence to attain heaven from those who understand the true meaning of religion. We must come to understand why those elements might have appeal with some people who otherwise might not be inclined to violence and we must work to deprive those who would use both religion and the weak of mind and spirit to attain there own twisted ends of the ability to convince others to join them.

It is not as simple as fighting a war. I don’t think anyone is seriously suggesting right now that we “root out members of Operation Rescue and bomb their homes” although that is the course some would have us take with regards to Al Qadae. In fact, to follow that analogy, some on the right would have us bombing towns where Southern Baptists live because members of Operation Rescue are Baptists.

The hope that the President aspires to is that Islam will also become more secularized and lose some of its virulence over time. For that to happen we will have to see an increased prosperity among Muslims, see a decline in poverty levels, and to give more people a sense that we are all in this together as opposed to the shared belief that the upper classes and the people of the West are out to deprive the average Muslim of his rightful fair share.

A tall order, especially since most Muslims live in societies that are not fair, and where upward mobility is denied. In those countries the West makes a handy villain, a good place for people to put their anger as opposed to looking at their own upper class and rulers.

But we cannot fight ignorance overseas if we tolerate ignorance at home. We cannot reach out to Muslims effectively while many Americans believe that someone who practices Islam either worships the devil, wants to kill their children or both.

The balance the President is seeking in Cairo must be matched with a determination to educate Americans about other religions, to root out the sources of religious violence right here in our heartland. Otherwise it will all be a wasted effort and we will see a xenophobic administration elected again sometime in the near future, pushing us right back to the “crusade” of the Bush administration.

A tall order, an uphill climb, an arduous task, but one that is begun well with this speech today.

I wonder how it played in Kansas?

By Writeside

Quite a Time for Political Junkies!

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

We are living in remarkable political times.

And I say that as someone who, while a child, remembers 1968, remembers hearing Lyndon Johnson announce that he was not going to run that year, remembers the assassinations, the riots, the turmoil of that time and, of course, all the years afterward.

To me, it is simply amazing how quickly the Republican Party has fallen apart, how swiftly they have descended from control of all branches of government to literally fighting over the (still shrinking) remnants of their party.

That might seem harsh, but when the three “leaders” of the party are Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney, and they are spouting nonsense, what else is there to say?

Now, I don’t happen to believe that the GOP will “disappear” but they are facing what I think is a critical juncture in their history.

Faced with the prospect of reducing itself to being the party of white Southerners, the GOP needs to reach out to minorities in ways that it’s just not doing right now. In fact, it almost seems like they are going out of their way to alienate anybody who might otherwise be predisposed to voting for them.

The people in the Southwest are very environmentally conscious. The GOP base rails against environmental protection.

People in the Northeast are trending towards favoring civil rights for homosexuals. The GOP base rails against this, calling it “perversion” and “leading to the breakdown of civilization.”

At a time when the country desperately needs youth to study science and pursue scientific and engineering careers, the GOP tries to dispute science on all fronts, even to the point of ridiculing the Theory of Evolution.

Conservative, Catholic Hispanic Americans? The GOP embraces xenophobia and some even want to remove citizenship from those born in the United States.

Conservative, Christian increasingly middle class African Americans? The GOP wants to hobnob with the CCC, wants to “celebrate” those who fought to keep people enslaved, and wants to end affirmative action programs.

It seems for every potential constituency, the GOP has a different reason why they end up being hated and dismissed.

It is not my intention to give them advice, far from it. The longer they stay out of power, the better off the country will be in my estimation.

But it IS interesting to watch…

By Writeside

Fifteen Minutes?

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

I was thinking about this yesterday as I watched video of the disappointed fans of Susan Boyle – some of them with tears in their eyes after her loss on “Britain’s Got Talent” – mourning this “stunning” defeat of their hero. I was thinking that perhaps Andy Warhol was a better prognosticator than we all thought when he predicted that at some point in the future “everyone will have fifteen minutes of fame.” Maybe we’re to the point where that is down to ten minutes or less, but really, his comment in 1968 has certainly proved to be more accurate than all of the “experts” who predicted that the 21st Century would see flying cars, meals consisting of pills, and the 12 hour work week.

Well, the 12 hour work week is kind of accurate if you average in all of the unemployed and underemployed people in the country (like myself), but I don’t think that was the intent of the prediction, so again, that leaves Warhol almost alone in successful predicting.

There are plenty of stories about fame being gained on Youtube and other similar sites. Twitter is now starting to make people famous. There are also people seemingly intent on becoming “infamous” in these days of quick and fleeting fame. But to what end?

Now, of course, many embark on campaigns to become “internet famous” just for the chance to market themselves and make a lot of money. The “Octomom” now has a family of 14, but apparently the deals didn’t work as well as she thought. She doesn’t have a popular television show like Jon and Kate, and neither does she have the best selling books, the $10 million dollar, 24 acre estate in Virginia that they do, although I’m sure she was counting on that happening.

I really don’t know if someone “discovered” Susan Boyle and helped her market herself to fame and apparent fortune, but it would be sad to find out that they did. Like most people, I love the surprise celebrity of someone who has been obscure and ignored by the world and by the good things in life, the someone who when finally given the chance proves to be worth as much as the many privileged who occupy the celebrity shelf in our society.

I hope that Susan makes as much money as she can in the next year or so, and that she invests wisely, because after about a year she’s going to go from “Hey, you’re Susan Boyle!” to “Didn’t you used to be Susan Boyle?” If she’s smart, she can be set for life. I hope she’s smart.

As for me (and the rest of us)? Well, we will continue to toil away, hoping that someday, somehow we will move into the spotlight for the fifteen minutes Warhol promised.

In the mean time, at least we have each other… Don’t we?

Guys?

It’s Been a While, I know…

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

I am in the midst of my second straight year of unemployment, the price I pay for being a management type over 50 in a down economy, and I have admittedly been depressed off and on since it all began.

There is no light at the end of the tunnel yet, and my savings are running out, but there is some reason for cheer.

A network has actually expressed some interest in an idea for a documentary/political reality show I have developed. Getting someone to listen is actually the hardest thing, and I have at least crossed that most difficult threshold.

Beyond that, even the small interest being shown gives me something of a release because I CREATED SOMETHING THAT SOMEONE AT A NETWORK LIKES!

It will probably never go much beyond discussion, but it gives a glimmer of hope.

The last time I was here I began to discuss what comes after capitalism, or at least what will be the next phase of capitalism in the United States as we watch as technology increases industrial capacity and decreases the demand for labor. The Japanese have made great strides in robotics applied to house cleaning and other tasks that might go to low paid workers — and even highly paid factory workers!

New developments in technology are going to make “the office” disappear and along with it jos in commercial real estate, fast food, office supplies and automobiles.

Yes, as technology advances exponentially, we all will have more lesiure time, and we’ll have to get paid for it if we are to keep consuming…

The outlines of this new relaity are becoming clearer to me, and I want to discuss them here.

I apologize for giving in to depression and staying away, but I’m back and I hope to stay!

— Writeside

Sunday Night

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

By Writeside in Exile

From temporary quarters in Qunicy, MA

A long way from home and the security of my own bed, I’m here in the Northeast again, waiting for an interview tomorrow, which holds what is probably a dim hope of a job.

I suppose that I am among a growing minority in the country, those long term unemployed who in desperation take to the road.

Perhaps my chronicles of the lost will have some appeal on the blog.

Let us hope for something good, huh?

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Economic Exile

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

by Writeside

In hours I leave hearth and home in Georgia, headed to New England in search of better “professional opportunities,” that is to say, a job.

Unemployment is high in the South, and although probably not that much better in NE as a percentage, there simply are more opportunities there.

But my trusty laptop travels with me, and I will expound on politics, economics, and whatever other bullshit I see and experience as we go along in the new “Age of Obama.”

Hopefully by the end of next week I will be coming to you from Hartford, CT.

Why did I choose Hartford? I don’t know except that it puts me in a good spot to apply to jobs all over New England and even reaching down into New York and New Jersey if need be.

While this will be a lonely time for me personally, it should be a good time for the blog because I will likely have plenty of time to write here — and plenty of angst to share.

If you aren’t reading BTF yet, now would be a great time to start.

It’s going to be a bumpy ride!