A Little Change Is OK

Housekeeping is not what I do best. In fact, mostly I avoid housekeeping. However, I realized that restarting this old blog is going to require a little. A little housekeeping, I mean. As little as possible. Please bear with me.

Until this month, I hadn’t posted here since the end of 2016. Seems like my will to blog faded away after the sorry election of that November. Not a single post in all of 2017! After all that time, the blog seemed to need repair.

You might notice that I’ve been tinkering with the blog title and the visual theme. I might  cull out a few old posts that no longer seem relevant. Maybe fiddle a little with categories, tags, widgets.

Housekeeping will be done soon, or I’ll simply give up on it. I’ll turn my attention to blogging. But the posts will be different. Writing will be more concise. My political opinions will be banned. Simplicity will be the focus. I hope to have photos and observations on my new life in Florida.

In a day or three, I shall return with a brief outline of the changes necessary to bring me and my life to this time and place.

— John

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WE NEED CHANGE.

I think the number of children living in poverty in the U.S. is about the same as in Britain. In the richest countries of the world, including the U.S. and Britain, it is immoral to have so many children living below the poverty line. In fact, I believe the child poverty stats indicate that rich countries like us are morally bankrupt! As the artist who created a nifty and instructive poster said, Zero children should be living in poverty. “We need change.”

Indeed. We as a society (and as an electorate) have both the means and the power to reduce child poverty nearly to zero. But do 51 percent of us want to really do that? Do 51 percent of us even care?

I’m afraid to say the answer.

(You can see the poster by clicking on the Abba1blog post below.)

— John Hayden

abba1blog

This started of as a little sketch of a table and chairs in a coffee shop, which evolved in to a mini poverty poster!

I have been reading so much lately about the hidden and unspoken inequality and hardship that goes on in Britain that no one speaks about, and most probably don’t even know about, for example these insane poverty statistics.I think when your’e eating a cinnamon swirl with a soy latte you realise how lucky you actually are? and that a cinnamon swirl probably isn’t a life necessity (no its definitely not). So all of us in that coffee shop that day who were spending too much money on cake, are lucky people to even be able to have that as a opportunity to us, and i completely recognize that.

The fact that 1 in 4 kids live in poverty I think is really really sad, as like…

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Bernie Sanders Wants To Change The Democratic Party

Give Justice A Chance

Bernie Sanders made it clear last night in California that he’s no longer running against Hillary Clinton. He’s running against Trump.

But more importantly, Bernie continues to run because he hopes to imprint his values and issues indelibly on American politics.

Bernie wants to establish a left-of-center political movement that will live on long after the 2016 primary season is over. Continue reading

How Far The Republican Party Has Fallen

Let’s try to apply a little historical perspective to the 2016 election.

When Nelson Rockefeller, governor of New York, ran for the Republican nomination in 1964, his divorce and remarriage were considered to be disqualifying, in the eyes of many voters, especially Republican women.

Today, the presumptive Republican nominee for the highest office in the land is . . . Donald Trump? How many times has he been divorced? I forget. It doesn’t matter.

How America has changed in half a century! We were an intolerant society with overly rigid standards. We’ve become a society with no standards at all. We tolerate anything.

For Donald Trump, the charismatic chameleon, no standards apply. Nothing is too crude or too reckless. There are no limits to what the crowds will cheer for.

I wonder, what would President Eisenhower think of Donald Trump as commander-in-chief?

— John Hayden

 

State and Warfare

I don’t know if this perspective on the changing nature of war is 100 percent correct, or not. It certainly provides food for thought in this second decade of the 21st century.

I’m uncertain about the term “consumerist warfare.” This would seem to imply that the warfare is designed to protect a consumer-driven economy.  I need to think about this some more.

As we view the final season of “Downton Abbey,” it’s as if many in America and the U.K. and Canada are caught up in an extended meditation on the old order slipping away and a new and unknown order going forward. Ready or not! The many posts pondering the end (or at least evolution) of the western nation-state over at Clarissa’s Blog also cause us to think about changing times writ large.

Clarissa's Blog

The manner of waging war transforms with every transformation of the state model (Many people say that it’s the other way round: the state form follows the changes in the ways of waging war. Ultimately, the warfare methods are indissolubly linked to the state model, no matter what “comes first.”)

As we discussed before, the nation-state model arose, to a significant degree, in response to a need to find a less costly way than any that had existed before to wage war on an unprecedented scale. This goal was achieved in full, as we all know from the example of the two world wars. Without the nation-state, this kind of warfare would not be possible.

As the nation-state withers away and a new state form comes to replace it, warfare changes as well. Today we are seeing a gradual consolidation of what I call “consumerist warfare.” (This is just my own…

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One Thousand Blog Followers

followed-blog-1000-2x

 

How the blogosphere has evolved since 2007!  WordPress.com logged 660 million blog posts in 2015, according to the Year In Review report, published this week. However, I often wonder if blogging, which was the big new thing in the first decade of the century, has peaked. Every year brings more online competition. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, podcasts, on and on. Continue reading

God Has A Tiger By The Tail

It’s as if God has a tiger by the tail.

Do you feel like the world is spinning out of control? That the center cannot hold? Or that the universe is spinning so fast it will self-destruct by centrifugal force? Or some other, as yet unidentified, force? 

The scary thoughts I’m having at the end of one bad year and the start of an unknowable New Year were sparked by seeing the movie, “Star Wars.” However, this witches’ brew has been bubbling in my brain for some time.

Change comes fast and furious, and I wonder if we are near a convergence of forces that could bring on catastrophic change. I’m flashing on the Age of Aquarius, but this is not what hippies and free thinkers were hoping for in 1967-1969.

Think about it. All Black Swan scenarios are on the table.

War.

Global warming.

Technology off the leash.

Government. Or worse, the absence of government.

Economic collapse.

Social upheaval.

Mass migration(s).

Epidemics or pandemic.

Water scarcity.

Starvation.

Revolution.

Fascism.

Anarchy.

Chaos.

“Star Wars” is a brilliant, futuristic story of the battle between Good and Evil. The Light side and the Dark side.

(Aside: Does Star Wars glamorize war?  Don’t worry, this won’t be on the final exam.)

Back to the battle. Is it a battle between Good and Evil, or between God and Satan? I suppose it depends on whether you have a religious point of view, or a secular point of view.

Maybe it’s not a battle so much between Good and Evil, but rather, a battle between Truth and Lie. Or Truth and Illusion?

In 21st century political discourse, we have difficulty agreeing on facts. Maybe it’s a battle between Fact and Falsehood? Or Fact and Ignorance? Love and Fear?  These are some of my disorderly thoughts at the turn of the year, questions sparked by Star Wars. I should not wade too far into philosophy or theology, lest I be in over my head.

That’s enough uncensored thinking for the first day of the year.

What say you? A tiger by the tail? Spinning out of control?

— John Hayden

Jon Taplin On The Brave New Technology Revolution

If you have 45 minutes and you’d like to know what’s happening in the worldwide technological revolution, I recommend “Sleeping Through A Revolution,” a lecture by Jon Taplin of the Annenberg Innovation Lab. Watch and listen to the lecture here.

The Internet economy is destroying jobs. Taplin cites the ruins of the music, newspaper, book, film, and television industries. The Internet economy has transferred a wealth of income  from the “creative class” (the makers of content) to monopolistic Internet platforms, such as Google and Facebook, Taplin says. And Amazon.

But wait! Musicians, editors, printers, authors and workers in the TV and film industries are not the only losers in this Brave New World of technology monopoly. Taplin predicts:

“The technological revolution is about to come for everybody else’s job too.”

Do you doubt it? The number of robots in the world is doubling every 30 months, Taplin reports. The lecture covers a lot of ground. Past, present, future. I’m not going to report the whole lecture. I urge you to watch it for yourself. I plan to listen to the lecture at least one more time.

— John Hayden

Blogging From My iPhone

Notice how brief the previous post about the Fitbit was? I was out-of-town and experimenting with remote posting using the WordPress IOS application for my new iPhone. I’m not what you call an “early adaptor.”

It’s clear the IOS app doesn’t  give you nearly all the functionality of WordPress on a desktop. Continue reading

Change And Construction Is A Constant In Montgomery

A CONSTRUCTION CRANE TOWERS OVER A BUILDING IN PROGRESS IN THE HEART OF ROCKVILLE.

A CONSTRUCTION CRANE TOWERS OVER A BUILDING IN PROGRESS IN THE HEART OF ROCKVILLE.

Back in the day, the symbol of change was the bulldozer. When the suburbs were being created in the 1950s and 1960s, one was never far from the sight or sound of bulldozers grading the land for construction of single-family houses on quarter-acre lots.

Fast-forward to 2014, and the symbol of change is more often the construction crane. Single-family houses — mostly for the high-end market — are still constructed in Montgomery County, but that’s no longer the most common form of construction. More often, you see multifamily housing. The garden-apartment style of multifamily has been replaced by four-story buildings, and the trend is to go higher and denser.

We seem to have general agreement in Montgomery County in favor of tall development, rather than sprawl development. “Smart Growth” is the catchphrase.  The profiles of some communities — Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Rockville — have been redefined by high-rise construction. We’re not talking skyscrapers, but that time may come.

For a more in-depth look at change and economic development issues in Montgomery County, please see my post today in David Lublin’s TheSeventhState political blog under the title, “Contemplating Life Inside An Economic Engine.” 

— John Hayden  (BJohnHayden@icloud.com)