Thursday, June 6, 2019

Drones and the Sound of Silence

Amazon just announced its plan to offer thirty-minute delivery of products to Amazon Prime members.

I greet that announcement with a sigh, rather than any real enthusiasm for the process.

Soon it will be followed by pizza and fast-food deliveries, anything light enough for Wal-Mart to send your way and surveillance by local police as well as private companies promising a good night’s sleep.

If only you could sleep. And that’s my point.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Everybody Knows

What brings us together as Americans is far stronger than what divides us. The right-left, conservative-liberal narrative clung to by mainstream and social media moves society in the wrong direction.

It’s time—perhaps way past time—to understand that America’s naked, with its pants around its ankles politically and socially. Here’s a bucket, folks. Everybody bail.

The lyrics of Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows come to mind.


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.