6 years ago
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Numerous friends are attempting interventions to jolt me out of my "assume the best" daze; most notable was this beautifully-worded plea from Bob: "Diane, she's a creationist, for God's sake!"
Like the holdouts in New Orleans, I so want this time to be different. To keep my little cave reality intact...to click my heels and be back in Kansas, where ethics and character live....
Friday, August 29, 2008
ok ok - maybe it isn't "conviction" ....my last post evoked images of authoritarian leaders who had great conviction...or even W...
Perhaps it is "character" then which captures the essence of a leader (person) I can support ...and by that, I mean someone who is indeed willing to sacrifice image, power, personal comfort to do the "right" thing - while also willing to change his/her mind based on reasonable principles, rather than force the "right" thing to be his/her thing.
James Joyce could do stream of consciousness!
A brief call with my non-registered non-voting sister compelled me to address this question: what makes Palin's inexperience better than Obama's inexperience?
Conviction. For example, I want someone to answer a question when asked rather than dance around it, and to make sacrifices to do the right thing.
If someone lacks experience, they can surround themselves with the right people to fill the knowledge gaps; but if they lack conviction, all the knowledge in the world won't lead them to make the right choices.
I don't want to be a jaded person. I want to believe the best.
Dare I let myself allow for McCain's selection of Sarah Palin to signify a move emblematic of the bold, courageous McCain I long for, rather than one of pragmatic tokenism?
It's easy to let your mind regress to the latter by lazily grasping onto stereotypes: she's white, from Idaho, is an "evangelical Christian" (loaded term) with 5 kids and was a TV broadcaster (the lower-paying entertainment sector). That said, she also, at great personal sacrifice, opted out of an abortion knowing her baby had Down Syndrome, and has taxed the gas companies so powerful in her realm.
Granted, Alaskans have not proven themselves to be the most discerning lot...and in July Ms. Palin went under investigation for a little vengefulness...but, is that bad...? I liked Kill Bill I. And Kill Bill II. Maybe a little too much.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
The NYT headline reads, "Newcomers Adjust, Eventually, to New York"
He suddenly found himself exasperated by slow moving pedestrians, and, like a true New Yorker, began darting around them instead.
“Any time I want to see someone and catch up with someone, everyone takes out their BlackBerrys and says, ‘This weekend isn’t good; how about three weeks from now?’
“Nothing is sugarcoated"...
I am already there and haven't even moved yet!!
When I find myself fighting with a wireless mike, i often complain to my group exercise classes that, in addition to commanding the disciplines of physiology, kinesiology, choreography and CPR, I also must be an audio/video expert. Clearly these are not complementary skill sets.
But I'll hush on up after reading about what teachers in Texas are now doing. Talk about "scope creep" in your job description!
Then again, they are from Texas so maybe it isn't such a stretch....lest you think I'm being a blue state snob, take it from the source:
"Country people are take-care-of-yourself people. They are not under the illusion that the police are there to protect them." -- David Thweatt, Harrold, TX school superintendent
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Take the state of Alaska, for example.
"Hey, indictment isn't conviction."
"84 is the new 50."
"People have been voting for Ted for 40 years and their inclination is to keep doing it," Dave Cuddy, a former state lawmaker who finished a distant second to Mr. Stevens, said in a phone interview several hours before the polls closed.
We've all been there.
I used to LOVE John McCain. The heroic, principled maverick who did what he wanted to because he thought it was the right thing at the risk of losing personal power.
Well, maybe it was all a figment of my imagination. That image dissolved when I read that one of McCain's primary differentiators to Bush - his fiscal policies - had eroded.
So I was forced with a painful, wrenching decision:
OPTION #1: Stay embroiled in the past....the facade...the delusion...that he would do the right thing, regardless of partisan power plays. That reality felt SO good. It let me believe what he said. It enabled me to vote with conviction. Gave me a glimmer of hope in the human race.
OPTION #2: Receive the new data. Recreate the model. Rewrite history.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Of course, learning can come in all forms - print, audio, digital...so why does it make me so wistful to see the disappearance of musical instruments and books? Because I'm convinced that there is something we lose when we give up the tactile interaction with the printed page, the pen, the musical instrument. Our brains simply cognate differently - and dare I say, less?
Just saw "Idiocracy" - sure hope this is not foreboding!
I've always loved working with college students. Because college is all about future. Hope. Potential.
Strolling around Berkeley today was a wonderful revisitation of that nexus of discovery also known as the College Campus. What an awesome season of life.
Posted by biz at 8/18/2008 11:47:00 PM
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Gracias Horacio the SFFD member, Badge #755 (I verified) who, on his off-hours, took the time to pull over and ask if he could talk to me. Why? To love-on-me! Tell me how beautiful I am. And ya know what? I lapped it up. All 4'9" of his affirmations. He's not a construction worker right?
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
The U.S.' sudden interest in Polish security is the latest illustration of the earlier-cited study about the pscyhology of risk...
That was an obvious reference to the force and ferocity with which Russia rolled into Georgia in recent days, taking the key city of Gori and apparently burning and destroying Georgian military outposts and airfields.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Risking yet another Olympic rant: in my typical current events/cultural awareness lag, I just learned that the opening ceremonies were effectively simulated for all television viewers via computer-generated imaging (CGI). Yet another example of the insidious "not quite true but enough to satisfy us" infiltration of the psyche playing out there.
Such prisoners would mistake appearance for reality. They would think the things they see on the wall (the shadows) were real; they would know nothing of the real causes of the shadows.
...or as Paul put it:
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
The Truth, the Truth....someday we will see it in its entirety. Maybe not this side of heaven tho'.
Elsewhere I recently opined how selling disability insurance must rank down there for weird jobs. Not far behind/below must be "serving clients" at towing/impoundment agencies. I've had the chance to personally witness such service through my own travails with the Department of Parking & Traffic and now my friend Kelly - freshly on the scene in San Francisco to innocently record some music at a non-profit community studio - has had her own storied experiences....
We shouldn't purport to advance conspiracy theories as a general rule, but there is a point when it would be almost irrational to NOT consider such when, in 4 days, one receives 4 tickets...including one for parking in a spot that another fair citizen seems to escape....or for not having a permit which clearly seems to be in existence here....is it possible for an entity such as the city of San Francisco to stalk?? Forgive me for laughing Kel...remember: "it was towed, it wasn't stolen. I'm grateful. I'm grateful."
Posted by biz at 8/13/2008 12:22:00 AM
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
More fodder to underscore yesterday's post...the opiate proliferates:
The west has been remarkably sanguine about this resurgence of authoritarianism, and one reason is that, this time, the comrades have money. Even as the Kremlin repeatedly confiscates the assets not just of its own businesspeople, but of foreign ones, too, investment bankers, and plain old investors, are flocking to a Moscow flush with petro-roubles. The same is true of the Gulf states. China, on a path to become the world’s largest economy, is the most attractive of all.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
In a recent post I juxtaposed China against the rest of the world; however, a great article in the Sydney Morning Herald highlights just how much more sophisticated the regime is in not overtly dichotomizing its agenda - some excerpts:
There has been intense speculation for years that the Olympic Games would hold the Chinese Communist Party to ransom, and force open the system to competitive viewpoints and help entrench human rights. But that's not what's happening....analysts are now coining new definitions for the Chinese state model: "popular authoritarianism", "hybrid" or simultaneously "repressive and responsive"....Chinese leaders prefer to stick to Deng Xiaoping's old formula of "capitalism with Chinese characteristics". It's essentially pragmatism.
As a communicator, I can't fail to notice how critical PR is in this ingenious approach:
Most importantly, and least understood in or outside China, Communist Party leaders learnt there was no point in a vast propaganda apparatus that served up only Marxist-Leninist dogma and scared people into submission. So they reprogrammed China's propaganda apparatus into the world's most successful public relations machine.
Rather than fearing new communication technologies, the state co-opted them. These days propaganda and security organs monitor text messages and send messages of their own. Tens of thousands of internet police block sensitive sites and seed "favourable" discussions on chat rooms and blog sites. They allow Chinese citizens to access many foreign media sites, while emphasising some reports and filtering out others.
In short, China is mastering the art of adhering to no ideology whatsoever beyond securing the ultimate power of the state -- all while making its subjects feel like they have a voice ...and, of course, giving them some bread. What would Marx think of this kind of opiate?
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Whether geopolitical conflict or interpersonal angst, isn't life all about whether we stand to gain or to lose? This study comparing outcomes of those who go to trial vs. settle has many implications which supersede explicit litigation strategies.
The findings are consistent with research on human behavior and responses to risk, said Martin A. Asher, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania and a co-author. For example, psychologists have found that people are more averse to taking a risk when they are expecting to gain something, and more willing to take a risk when they have something to lose.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
The titanic clash of China and Rest of World:
China’s Leaders Are Resilient in Face of Change
China Defends Right to Deny Activists’ Visas
Beijing Police Stop Tibet Protesters Near Games Venue
China Ferries Olympic Athletes in Hybrid Cars to Cut Pollution
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
The American Academy of Actuaries issued a policy statement Monday suggesting that "holding the retirement age constant is a certain prescription for future financial problems."
Extra Extra: Economists Issue Statement Saying Increasing Supply Leads to Lower Prices!