Friday, December 18, 2015

Over the past few days I have followed some tweets into a neverland of self-proclaimed Nazis, National Socialists, white supremacists, gun worshippers and anti-Semites. I do this every now-and-then in order to (mildly) confront some crazies and delusionists. Sometimes I suggest therapy for their extreme rage and anger, or for their refusal or inability to deal with reality, data and evidence. In return, I receive slams, slander and mad abuse.

I know about anger and rage, and I know of refusal to relate to reality; and it disturbs me a lot to encounter these people who love doing middle-school name-calling while being totally unable to respond to a question or comment about their vile hatred of various "other" groups.

And then I got a request in my email from someone I like, asking if I would accept his offer of connection on LinkedIn. I think I am in the majority who wonder, "What in the heck is the value of LinkedIn, and why have I joined?" But I did join - years ago - and I was happy today to agree to this old buddy's request. Then I made a serious error, as I have done EVERY SINGLE TIME I have responded to a request to add someone to my LinkedIn "network" - I read the latest and always-growing list of people that LinkedIn has declared is "my network." I recognized a few names, was glad to see some pix of people I once knew, saw many listings of people I don't know and are in no way apparent to me to be related to me. And I knew - as I always have when I have done this before - that I should never look at LinkedIn's version of "my network" because I don't relate to these people. Who are these people? Mostly, they are people I encountered when I worked in Big Law, and I feel very glad not to work in Big Law now; I don't know how I stood it then, and I could not go back. I recall the egos, and the rules, and the puffing up, and the right appearances, and the right clothes, and the politics, and the social connections. And I could never fit into that system.

So, as I often feel, write and say, I will close with, "Geez, what a country; what a fucking country."

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lovely Spring Day on December 14th

I walked three miles today, to and from a doc appointment. Along the way, I saw many beautiful scenes, and also was fortunate to be able to give directions and a recommendation for lunch to a couple of visitors/tourists in our town - Joey K's on Magazine Street, which has wonderful down-home NOLA food in a delightful atmosphere with a great, kind service staff.

The recent agreement on slowing-or-stopping global warming by cutting carbon-based energy usage seems to me a very mixed bag: if all countries take significant steps - not simply make efforts, but act significantly - then maybe the accelerating march to a Planet of Death will be halted. If some countries do not make efforts, or if many countries - or several big countries - do not take significant steps, then there is nothing that can be done because there are no enforcement mechanisms. So life and civilization changes dramatically or fatefully. If some countries take significant steps but miscalculated on what steps were essential, then we are doomed. If many countries make excellent estimates of what they need to do, but some do not, then we are doomed. And of course if the best estimates made this week are inadequate then we are all doomed.

So, why the uproar of praise and joy, the congratulations, and the expectations that Obama will be a historically great President because of leading the world's nations to finally agree to do something - enough - to stop the destruction of our planet? Is it pie-in-the-sky baloney, realistic optimism, or something else - perhaps the relief that something has happened that might cause our Earth to survive? Is this part of the aura of our era: that we thrill to the mere possibility that we can (appear to) take mature action for the common good? Or have leaders of many nations and groupings overcome moral and intellectual inertia and actually taken action that will make a difference - have risen above hopeless, care-less and ignorant futility?

This is another point at which I am glad to be old(er) and aging. The near term - US election 2016 - and the medium term - global climate change catastrophe - are fraught with uncertainty, maybe fraught between uncertainty and soul-jarring, civilization-crushing terror. Peace be with you.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Exceptional Nation

It's hard to imagine our politics becoming more bizarre than they are with the crazy New Yorker and all his cretinous followers, but Cruz lurks; and he's likely not alone.

And what about Cliven Bundy, right-wing rancher who attracted hundreds of gunmen that led to our government caving on seizing & auctioning his cattle for unpaid land-use. Now it is clear what it takes to stop the long arm of the law from executing enforcement actions - then months/years go by with no follow-up. Civics books will have to be re-written to reflect the new reality of "government of laws."

This will be a very interesting and informative election campaign season; we may learn more about the reality of our system of information and government.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Yesterday I believed that the Prez would tell us all on our teevees that it was finally time to grow up, that the adolescent period of American history had finally passed, that if we were to continue to be any sort of nation we had to - as a whole, as a group - start acknowledging reality, data and facts, deal with them, and stop dreaming. Last night the Prez spoke, and he might have been speaking to the citizens and other residents of this country ... or, as Charles Pierce wrote, he might have been speaking to another country, or a country "to be" sometime or somewhere else. Over the next 11 months, we shall see if our society has matured or whether he spoke to a fantasy country that may or may not exist sometime.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

I am resuming writing on my blog. Please let me know if you do not wish to receive regular, maybe daily, posts about current events & my-and-Holly's exciting life!
Last night, Holly and I had the great delight of going to the opening of the art exhibition of Jimmy Block at Sibley Gallery, on Magazine Street in New Orleans. Jimmy is a friend of mine and a truly good and nice guy who is also a remarkable artist. It was good to see Jimmy, as always, but in addition we got to see Jimmy's work in three different media. Because the weather was excellent and we love our neighborhood, Holly and I walked there and back, a little over three miles round-trip. What an evening!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

In June of this year, a guy was walking in New Orleans, had to pee, and stopped at a house that was under restoration to pee next to the house. It happened that the owner of the house was driving by. His house under restoration had been broken into (he said), so he stopped his truck, jumped out and shot the miscreant-pee-er several times. The pee-er shouted that he was not breaking in. House owner responded (per witnesses), "If you move, I'll kill you. If you try to get away, I'll kill you." Somebody called the cops, and after awhile the owner-shooter was arrested for assault. Last Friday - the day after Thanksgiving - the District Attorney entered his decision in the court record not to prosecute the house owner-shooter.