Sunday, June 27, 2010

Undo Power for the Deservedly Powerless

It was warm and pleasant today when my wife and I drove our nephew and his daughter (my grand niece) to the San Jose Airport to drop them off for their flight back to Detroit. There was a lone car parked outside their Terminal C in the as-yet-unmarked loading area. We pulled in, removed their baggage from the trunk and began to exchange goodbye-for-a-while hugs.

Suddenly the warmth was icily dissipated with the lumbering approach of an unshapely hulk of a man with an equally misshapen goatee. He appeared to be tented within a pair of blue durable Dickie work pants and matching shirt, with the latter partially hidden under a yellow day glow vest.

As he trundled toward us he bellowed in an buffoonish, authoritative voice, “This is only for unloading. You have to move on.”  When I said, “We’re only saying goodbye.” He again bellowed, “You should have done that in the car. This is for unloading only.” Rather than trying to explain to this immovable object that it is difficult to hug in the car either on the highway coming from Santa Cruz or after we parked, we defiantly continued hugging until after we finished full well knowing that we were probably violating an “Unloading and No Hugging Ordinance,” and then said goodbye.

Ironically this weekend was designated as the San Jose International Airport Community Open House  — a planned public relations festivity welcoming one and all to view the end of a six-year, $1.3 billion renovation. Terminal C will be razed after July 4 and the incredible bulk will either have to find another position representing the airport or he could become a media spokesperson for BP.




Friday, June 11, 2010

Yiddish Lesson in Politics

Oy Vey and Gai Avek

Here Comes Verbal Drek

Less than two days after the June 8 California primary election results were confirmed for the gubernatorial and United States Senate races, the GOP and Democratic candidates for both offices were slinging more than mud at one another.

However, the campaigns show the promise of tackling the real issues citizens are concerned with as the GOP senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina, the former CEO and attempted assassin of Hewlett-Packard, lashed out at her Democratic opponent’s — hairstyle. Meg Whitman, the GOP candidate for governor who bought her nomination for more than $80 million (see June 1 post), tore apart her Democratic opponent Jerry Brown claiming he had failed at every political job he ever had. Allegedly Brown politely retorted by comparing Whitman’s campaign to that of Hitler’s minister of propaganda Joseph Goebbels. In turn, Whitman’s campaign manager called Brown’s reported comments ”deeply offensive and entirely unacceptable.’

California voters will be subjected to 151 more days of this crap — drek —before the November 9 general election. Sadly, this will probably be the same story for citizens across the country wherever an election is taking place. You can hear their collective moaning of  Oy Vey” accompanied by them imploring the politicians with their sure-to-come banal rhetoric and deceptive advertising to Gai Avek – just go away.



Monday, June 7, 2010

Inspirational Adam Cintz Accentuated the Positive

Adam Cintz lived through two World Wars, was confined to the Lodz ghetto by the Nazis during World War Two, and then sent in a cattle car to Auschwitz where he lost his eight-year-old son Shlomo to the chimneys. He was also separated from his wife Genia with whom he was miraculously reunited after the war. Adam came practically empty handed to America, found work and worked hard, learned English, started his own business, and looked for the positive in life and in people and always was willing to help in whatever way that he could. At ninety-six he started speaking about his experiences to students, as many as three hundred at a time, and inspired them to also do good in the world while they were around. Adam is no longer around as he died peacefully on Memorial Day, one month shy of his 100th birthday. Unlike the stories that follow, Adam always accentuated the positive and eliminated the negative, exemplified in the words of Johnny Mercer’s song. *

For more on the extraordinary life of Adam Cintz see posts on April 17 and 26, 2010.

Others Are Positively NegativeFont size

Each Side of the I’ll Says, “Get You Next”

You can start with the obvious — the politicians —who find no good in their opposition’s programs, brazenly describe their rival’s faults to the media, and make little or no effort to compromise on anything. It is not only party against party, but in California during the primaries it’s been GOP candidates against their fellow Republicans in an acidulous manner. Good news — there will only be twenty-two weeks of nauseating negative campaigning after tomorrow’s primary before the November 9 election. 

Doomsday Groups Fear End of Oil

They are lurking out there, people who feel oil supplies peaked two years ago, that an oil shortage is eminent and the economy may collapse followed by a breakdown of civil order. Some people are stocking up on food reserves in case the oil squeeze prevents food from reaching market while others are converting their investments into gold and silver. Good news —this fear brought together a Democrat and a Republican in Congress and they formed a Congressional Peak Oil Caucus in 2005. There is no record of this two-person caucus accomplishing anything, much the same as is with all members of Congress.

We Gather Together to Find Out Who Did It

On June 5 in San Jose, 400 discerning men and women met and the general agreement was that bad things are being secretly done to them. When asked who is responsible for this outrage, individuals accused Obama, extraterrestrials, the military-industrial complex, Communists, Jews, the United Nations, the lead guitarist of AC/DC, or in some case, a combination of two or more of these entities. They were attending the 10th annual gathering of people searching for alternative truths at the Conspiracy Con 2010.  Good old “Con Con” probably best describes the promoter’s motivation and those of the vendors.

Good News May Not Equal A Good Story

Those in the news business will say that you can’t blame the messenger — the media — for delivering the unpopular messages that permeate print, broadcast and online media today. It’s not their fault and to counteract the barrage of more than twenty-five minutes of dismal news each broadcast, some television networks search for something positive and close their evening newscasts with a story on a “Person of the Day” or “Someone Who Made A Difference.”

Today’s newspaper headlines (June 7, 2010) proclaim one gory story after another, and these were found in either The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle or the Santa Cruz Sentinel: “2 Men Seized at J.F.K Accused of Plotting Jihad,” “Coast Guard Sees Oil Spill Cleanup Lasting Into Fall,”  “Markets Prepare for Week of Turmoil,”  “Midwest tornado kills 7,”  “4 Killed in Iraq Bombing,”  “Millions of patients overtreated in U.S.” and  “Two window washers in critical condition.” One headline offered the question that’s been on everyone’s mind day and night, “Are contractors bribing Taliban?”

Ready for the Good News?

Bad news has been covered in perpetuity and about fifteen years ago a newspaper was started by some naïve, well-meaning individuals to counteract the overflow and it only presented good news. It quickly went out of business due to a lack of advertisers and readers.

*Lyrics to Mercer’s “Accentuate the Positive”

You've got to accentuate the positive, Eliminate the negative,

And latch on to the affirmative, Don't mess with Mister In-Between.

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum, Bring gloom down to the minimum

Have faith or pandemonium's Li'ble to walk upon the scene.

To illustrate  my last remark Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark.

What did they do just when ev'rything looked so dark?

Man, they said "We'd better accentuate the positive "Eliminate the negative" And latch on to the affirmative -Don't mess with Mister In-Between,  no, no,  Don't mess with Mister In-Between."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The California Primary With One Weak to Go

The Beatles Didn’t Care Too Much for Money

Politicians Believe It Can Buy More Than Love

In 1964, the Beatles released a successful single that included the words, “I don‘t care too much for money, for money can’t buy me love.” The two leading Republican candidates for California governor in the June 8th primary might not care too much for money but are hoping that it can buy them enough votes to become their party’s nominee in the November.

In 1973, It Was Deep Throat

In 2010, It Is Deep Pockets

By of the end of May, Meg Whitman, the billionaire former CEO of eBay had raised $83.4 million, including $68 million of her own money, but had only $3.8 million left in cash on hand. Her chief GOP opponent, entrepreneur Steve Poizner had raised $26.3 million including $24.2 million of his own money, leaving him with $3 million on hand. Their combined spending in the GOP primary race alone comes to about $103 million.

Fatherly Advice

To put this in some perspective, in the 1984 presidential election, the total spending by all candidates came to $103.6 million, and fifty years ago in 1960 when Kennedy ran against Nixon, it became the first $20 million presidential campaign. There’s the story that JFK received a telegram from his occasionally anti-Semitic father Joseph which read, “"Dear Jack: Don't buy a single vote more than is necessary. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for a landslide."

Brother Can You Spare $51.50

If Meg and Steve are trying to buy votes, they should recall that in the 2006 gubernatorial primary, Arnold Schwarzenegger received 1,724,288 votes — or 89.99% of the total of 1,916,080 cast by Republicans. Should the total GOP primary votes in 2010 rise to two million and the $103+ million is spent, that comes to about $51.50 per vote. It might have been more cost effective for each candidate to place one of their workers stand outside every voting place in the state, pass out a Ulysses Simpson Grant $50 Federal Reserve Note, and buy their votes directly.

I’ll Raise You $50 Million

The primary is just the warm-up for the general election that takes place on November 9th and the leading (and only real) Democratic candidate for governor is California’s Attorney General Edmund G. Brown, Jr. He’s better known as Jerry and has raised $21 million, spent only $400,000, and has not put a dime of his own money into the campaign. Yet.

No Republicans Running for Congress

Suits These Two Candidates to a Tea

The 19th U.S. Congressional District in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley has long been an almost guaranteed Republican seat, but not this year. Two of the three leading candidates seeking to replace the retiring Republican congressman are still out to win the GOP primary nomination and have their slogans pasted on billboards and on signs stuck in the ground throughout the rural areas. Their political leanings are quite similar and so are those slogans, yet neither candidate will admit to being a member of the Republican Party. “Pombo — Conservative for Congress,” reads Richard Pombo’s, and his opponent’s reads, “Jeff Denham — Conservative for Congress.” Looks like some advertising geniuses for both camps worked hard to create such powerful campaigns. When this bitter, heated contest is over, the two candidates should sit down, work together and plan how to beat any Democrat opponent who is foolish enough to run. They could probably best do so in a genteel manner with a tea party.

See for more on an environmental villain running in this campaign.