Archive for July, 2010

Searching for an authentic basis for realistic optimism

July 31, 2010

Economic growth has always been driven by emerging nations.
As the sun once set on the British Empire, it is now, in its unstoppable path from east to west to far east, now going down on the the good ole days of the good ole USA. The time of our manifest destiny expansion is winding down.

Now we have, instead of the good ole days for which we older Americans yearn, the good new days, which our children and grandchildren will inhabit, while we take on more passive, though hopefully wiser, roles. Our golden age of adaptation is begun. We need to adjust our goals and practices to accommodate the great moving mandala of opportunity.

Can we meet the challenge of our age, or will we atrophy into welfare statism while crying prescription-drug-laden tears into our beer?
The times they are a changin’. We must rise with our acquired storehouse of knowledge (one if by land) and wisdom (two if by sea). Here’s the first principle for our next phase of development: 
Necessity is the Mother of Innovation.

Our great growth phase is over. Merryn Somerset Webb, in a valiant search for the occluded silver lining, grapples with this inconvenient truth in her article in yesterday’s Financial Times.

She passes along a statistical observation which she had gleaned from James Anderson, which  points out that the rate of global growth peaked in the mid-70s at 5%. “Since then,” notes Ms. Webb, “it has been around a respectable 3 per cent.”

It seems to me that this “rate of global growth” slowing coincides with  the big-picture decline of our own overall economic growth. It is a natural development that, we now find, has landed us in the present predicament, not unlike the “stagflation” of that late 1970s malaise.

But our present malady is surely more severe, and much deeper in its effects upon our comfortable existence.

And its root cause is this: the torch of economic dynamism is now being passed to a new set of runners. The new movers and shakers of capitalistic endeavor of our era have, in this round, a little more state-controlled coordination than in previous thrusts. Like it or not, this is the way things happen in a planetary development fueled upon fewer resources than we humans had before. The Hegelian dialect is surely demonstrable here in the great scheme of things. Capitalism and Statism are merging, as we speak, to produce something entirely new–something that is intrinsically more restrictive than the old models, and yet somehow, necessary. It is the way progress happens in the 21st century.

Conservatives are not comfortable with this. I am, myself, a conservative, but also a realist. Good ole-fashioned competition, in the future, will require more exquisite channels of organization. And there’s no way we Americans, for instance, can perpetuate this prosperity thing without playing by the new rules. Those new regs, dictated not by us fat’n’happy yankee consumers but by the new kids (China) on the capitalist block require more correlation with government.

Read ’em and weep, free-market absolutists.
Nevertheless, there is hope yet for us entrepreneurs and wannabees. There is most assuredly a worldwide thrust of free enterprise, also by necessity, on the micro level. This is happening in China, and it can happen again here. Like the great irony of life itself, in order to think big, we must again learn to think small.

The new young-bucks in the global chemin de fer are now laying another BRICK in the superstructure of planetary wealth and development. Merryn Somerset Webb also mentions in her FT article the somewhat symbiotic interplay of  imitation and innovation by which economic  processes expand. These principles for efficiency and improvement mortar together the fundamental building materials: capital, education, and technology transfer.

All together they constitute a new  economic lattice-work that will surpass our obsolete edifices.

These inevitable changes will hit some of us pretty hard. But as the old gaming challenge goes: Put up or shutup. Or written another way: Quit y’ er whinin. Get used to it. Or stated yet another way:

Do or die.

While we have a dire need to renovate the way we comfort-seeking Americans do things, what we  really need now in the face of such challenges is optimism.

President Obama, among many hope-seeking others, supplies it. Yesterday he told auto workers: ” Don’t bet against the American worker. Don’t bet against the American people.” Jackie Calmes reports in her New York Times article that our President hopes to drive the now-subsidized automakers toward overhauling their operations and make necessary sacrifices.

Sacrifices? Yes.

In other words, change with the times.  Necessity is the mother of Innovation. We’ve got some Federal Reserve Notes to send in your direction, but you’ve got to make good use of them.

Is that possible? Is it possible that highly-institutionalized, multi-layered redundant American industry can figure this stuff out and make best use of both governmental loans and stockholder investments? Is it possible they (we) can emerge from this camel through the eye of a needle downsizing tribulation better equipped to prosper in future conditions?

Our life depends on it.

You carmakers–both owners and workers–better get busy doing the right things to make us leaner and stronger, not fat and happier.

That kind of surgery doesn’t happen without a few cuts.
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Meanwhile, back at the tranche:  Has anyone built any trains in this country lately? Do we even know how anymore?

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About a nice Jewish girl looking for a nice Jewish boy

July 29, 2010

A nice Jewish girl was  looking for a nice Jewish boy in Jerusalem.

But she, a precocious  practitioner  of post-orthodox  morality, settled hastily upon immediate coitus with her randomly-chosen thrill-prick partner, instead  of the traditional marital consummation with a canopy and a smashed glass and so forth. Thus did the rudderless, liberated Israeli floozie manage to  make of herself a victim–a victim of  “rape by deception.”  The hot boy turned out to be, of all things, an Arab, not a Jew.

The clueless Jewess should have conducted her search in a more traditional way.  Maybe she should have scoped  out the synagogue, instead of wherever it was that she and Sabbar  had hooked up.  She would have done better to patiently and carefully seek out a true Jew–a man who is morally responsible, sensitive to a woman’s real needs,  and who understands the  covenental  paradigm  in which  life,  love and family  is procreated in this– God’s prolific earth,  in spite  of the dehumanizing  heathen  culture that preys upon our basest lusts and infects  us with its STD contagions.

Maybe the nice Jewish girl will get through this ordeal and next time find herself a nice Jewish boy, if it’s not too late,  next year in Jerusalem.

Praise God for the NAACP

July 25, 2010

Praise God for the NAACP, an organization in which a person is still able to publicly testify, without nitpicky persecution, about what God has done for her.

Shirley Sherrod recently addressed a convention of their members at the Freedom Fund banquet. She delivered a powerful, timely message for  that organization, and indeed for our nation during this perilous time. You may want to watch Shirley’s entire address as it has posted online, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9NcCa_KjXk

Her testimony constitutes an exemplary demonstration of how one person who has love, a constructive attitude, and a little help from God can overcome adversity. Ms.Sherrod has persevered though lifelong persecution and  hate to make a positive impact on a dysfunctional society. Hers is a rare contribution in a world ithat desperately needs  help.
I’d like to share with you a few selections from what she told the NAACP that night of March 27, 2010. The rest of this blog consists of quotes I have selected from Ms. Sherrod’s message:

“I knew that on the night of my father’s death (in June, 1965, ed.), I felt I had to do something.I had to do something in answer to what had happened. My father wasn’t the first black person to be killed. He was a leader in the community. He wasn’t the first one to be killed by white men in the county. But I couldn’t just let his death go without doing something in answer to what had happened. I made the commitment on that night at the age of 17 that I would not leave the south, that I would stay in the south and devote my life to working for change…”

(Later…)
“Two weeks after I had gone to school at Fort Valley, they called and told me that a bunch of white men had gathered outside our home one night and burned a cross….”

“My mother and my sister were out on the porch, with a gun…she saw some of them; she recognized some of them. She said: ‘I see you. I know who you are.'”
“She became the first black official in Baker County, just 11 years later, and she is still serving, y’all.  She’s chair of the board of education, and she’s been serving almost 34 years.”

“I didn’t know how I would carry out my commitment that night…”

“…that night…I was back in one of the bedrooms praying, asking God to show me what I could do.  I didn’t have… the path wasn’t laid out…there that night…I just made a decision that I would stay and work (instead of moving up north, ed.),  and young people,  I want you to know that when you are true to what God wants you to do, the path just opens up, and things just come to you.  God is good; I can tell you that.”

“…I’ve come a long ways. I know that I couldn’t live with hate, you know. As my mother had said to so many, “If we had tried to live with hate in our hearts, we would probably  be dead now. But I’ve come to realize that we have to work together, and it’s sad that we don’t have a room full of whites and blacks here together tonight, because we have to overcome the divisions…”

The man with the dragon tattoo

July 21, 2010

From the mists of long-lost time,
‘neath a sloggy snoggy bog
crawled a creature sloot with slime.
Scaly like a snake, but slip’ry like a frog.

When the apey humans saw it
slitherin’ through the clootey flume
they were aiming for  to draw it
into a room of gloom.

“T’was a dragon if I ever saw one
and what’s friggin’ more than that
It came huffing through the kingdom
like it owned the place, then sat,

upon the Stieg’s Salander shoulder
with tails of gruesey sex
to propel the dead man’s tattooed  tale
into an international bestsell text.

Then the dragon he slid slinkin’
from  Lisbeth’s stained-skin speck
and had himself pricked drinkin’
from a neo-Nazi’s neck.

Soon the inked-up beast  will dwindle
‘midst the world’s dysfunctional glut
as he sinks his paws in Grindell,
instead of a Svedish tattooed slut.

But the dragon’s breath is encumbered;
he’s destined to lose his pull
when his half-ass time is numbered
’cause the world’s a glass half-full.

No need for temples, mosques, or cathedrals

July 17, 2010

The tide of human history moves persuasively toward a revelation that temples, church buildings,shrines, stupas, mosques, and other architectural relics are useless for spiritual redemption.

Christ predicted the demolition of the second temple; he also prophesied much more societal and personal downsizing that is yet to come.

He is the founder of nonviolent resistance, disallowing Peter’s impetuous use of the sword, and then allowing himself to be crucified. All of this so that he could overcome death to demonstrate for us life beyond death’s door, if you are willing to believe it.

His strategy will win out in the end, and he doesn’t need buildings or conquests of any kind to accomplish it. The kingdom of God is found in the human heart.

Aliyah Yerushalayim

Aliyah Yerushalayim

July 11, 2010

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
May they prosper who love you.
May peace be within your walls, and
prosperity within your palaces.
For the sake of my brothers and my friends,
I will now say, ‘Peace be within you.’

Aliyah Yerushalayim