Saturday, May 11, 2019

Our Whack-A-Mole U.S. War on Drugs

We once had a ‘war on alcohol,’ which we called Prohibition. We Americans are good at war with things, but they seem quite regularly to fail us.

Prohibition was a constitutional amendment, no less and its end required another constitutional amendment. Complicated stuff.

Interesting things happened, 14 years later, after repeal.

Joe Kennedy (who made a family fortune from bootlegging) became the American Ambassador to Britain and sired a son, later to become our 35th president.

The Mafia calmed down a bit and got into quieter activities such as extortion and mob-run businesses that, if you didn’t sign on, got your windows (or your legs) broken.

But that was then and now is now, although the parallels are fascinating between drugs and alcohol.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Rhetoric on Capitalism vs Socialism Falls to Stupidism

You won’t find stupidism in a dictionary, so don’t bother looking. I just invented it.

There are many great attributes to Capitalism, but it needs controls (and once had them).

Four out of the five best nations in which to live, according to residents, are socialistic: Canada (no), Sweden (yes), Denmark (yes), Norway (yes) and Finland (yes).

Now you can the positives and negatives on both sides and discuss them intelligently, but all too often that’s when stupidism rears its ugly head. And ugly it is.

Friday, May 3, 2019

The Very High Cost of Not Knowing

I sat down with a friend last week and the conversation drifted to whatever it was in the current news. I prefer to think of it as the news torrent, because it comes in a downpour and is gone in a flash.

I understand that.

We’re coming close to times where, despite having 1500 friends on Facebook, there’s no one to call at 2am when there’s an emergency. 911 doesn’t help much when your child has a raging fever and what you really need is someone to come stay with the kids while you and your spouse rush off to the hospital.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Irony of Great Britain’s D-Day Celebration

Truth be told, it’s actually three ironies.

The first is that Great Britain is doing flyovers and military extravaganzas in celebration of their contribution to saving Europe from Nazi invasion at the exact same time as they are leaving the European Union.

That’s an irony worthy of the definition, by almost any standards.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Bank Settlements for Criminal Activity—and Willie

Would you buy a used car from a dealer who had been repeatedly sued for false claims and screwing his buyers? I guess not and yet we keep doing business with major banks that do the same.

Bernie Madoff is in jail right now, serving 150 years for duping investors in a Ponzi scheme. Justice served, but Bernie’s a bit-part player in widespread international fraud, a very small fish in an enormous pond of barracuda.

Yet the top seven major American banks settle enormous claims against them for fraud out of court, with no jail time for CEOs and what amounts to a hand-slap penalty.

Last week, leaders of seven of the country’s largest banks testified before the House Financial Services Committee that, a decade after the global financial crisis, the industry is financially healthier and less risky.

Monday, April 15, 2019

“Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”

That quote comes from Verna Myers, inclusion strategist, cultural change catalyst, influencer, thought leader, social commentator, and author. It charms me in its simplicity and truth.

Ah well, it seems perhaps we’ve finally had enough of tribalism. The politics of clinging to this base or that have failed to served us well and some 40% of the electorate no longer identify with a major party or candidate. Why, you might ask, is every choice in modern times a vote for the least-bad candidate?

But the times they are a changing. The young, those ignorant upstarts we old white men denigrated for so long are on the march and not only here in America.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Is It Really the Business of Business to Destroy Ourselves?

I suppose that, depending upon where you see the glass, this is just another of these half-full or half-empty conversations. Perhaps the title deserves a question-mark.

Pessimists (and I am very close to being one) will argue that Wal-Mart, Amazon and their like have grabbed an outsized slice of the American Pie.

There are markers for this for anyone over the age of sixty and that leaves out 80% of you. Historic memory is a short-lived thing.