Category: Politics

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Don’t Fall In

On June 29, 2006, a sinkhole mysteriously opened in our backyard. We lived nearly 5 kilometers—about 3 miles—outside the Washington Beltway. I wouldn’t want to be too close to the District of Columbia this weekend, in the wake of today’s momentous, or shocking (depending on your politics or values), Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v Wade. States will now individually dictate when, if at all, abortions may be performed.

I use the Featured Image as a metaphor, so to speak, for the sinkhole into which people praising or condemning the decision will fall into. Seems like there is no solid ground under this topic; anyone and everyone opposing your position, whatever that may be, will be pushed in and buried. To some, abortion is murder. To others, it’s a right taken away.

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Tattered Tome

March 7, 2022, along Howard Avenue, down the block from the University Heights library, I came across discarded, open book Basta!: Land And The Zapatista Rebellion In Chiapas by George A. Collier and Elizabeth Lowery Quaratiello. Copyright 1994 and 2005.

Say what? Published by Food First Books? Self-described, the organization “has been working to end the injustices that cause hunger since 1975…Food First has published over 60 books and hundreds of articles and research reports”. Ah, okay. Mottos like “where food justice grows” illuminate the group’s progressive politics and policies. 

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Someone Explain This to Me

Please forgive me for being critical, but this is what happens when a state sends mail-in ballots to all (presumably) registered voters: Citizens post on Election Day—that’s for Primaries here in California. I came across this outgoing ballot at 11:09 a.m. PDT and wondered why not mail before the recommended May 31 or take to the dropbox inside the public library, which is a half-mile walk?

Sure, the ballot is valid if postmarked today but why wait until voting day if the plan is to post? Call me confused, which wouldn’t be unusual, but still… My other question: Which is more secure—the vote mailed or cast live? I ask because the local polling place doesn’t check IDs; not today, anyway. At least the mail-in ballot envelope has the citizen’s name and signature. I dunno. You tell me.

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The Shredded Republic

For this Memorial Day we present a solemn sentiment reflecting the tattered state of the Republic, which is shorn to pieces by cultural and political strife. At no time since my first eligible-to-vote Presidential election have I seen such fractious and contentious state of the electorate or the representatives in Washington, D.C.

Worst of all is my profession. The Fourth Estate has abandoned its duty to protect the public interest. Subjective reporting and editorialization define modern journalism. The Fifth Estate, which includes new media and online informational utilities (e.g., Facebook, Google, Twitter, and the like), is worse because of rampant censorship. Patronizing tactics choose for you, because presumably you’re not smart enough to sift fact from fiction. I would mind less if professional news gatherers reported responsibly more.

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We All Need a Smiley Break

Flashback two years, to May 2, 2020: SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns compelled Californians to avoid anyone and to otherwise practice so-called safe social distancing. The seeming hardship would pale compared to racial riots that would erupt weeks later.

One of my neighbors literally put on a happy face—among several encouraging, or funny, street decorations to adorn this University Heights property and/or the sidewalk straddling Meade Avenue. Seems like every time I walked by something different greeted. Thank you.

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It’s a Cultural Cold War

The United States continues to seek new punishments against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which started on Feb. 24, 2022. Americans rally to the cause with good intentions that may not mean much and that may do more harm than good. For example, pouring out Vodka and evoking spirit (no pun intended) of the Boston Tea Party accomplishes what?

As Dan Kois writes for Slate: “Stop Boycotting Random Russian Things. You are not stopping the war in Ukraine”. Nutgraph: “It is dumb to boycott things that have no actual connection to Vladimir Putin or even, in some cases, to Russia. But it’s also foolish to demonize every vestige of Russian culture, and ordinary Russian citizens, and Russians abroad, as a result of a catastrophic war launched by a despot”.

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So Which Is It Supposed to Be?

Yesterday, while walking to the used bookstore where receiving a U.S.  Constitution booklet and unprompted lecture, I came upon the oddest objects—on the outer fringes of University Heights’ boundary, along Georgia between Howard and Polk. Are these signs in the Featured Image more signs of San Diego bureaucratic bungling? This stretch is part of the Georgia-Meade bikeway, for which someone in the city authorized traffic circles with the wrong community name that later required sandblasting to correct.

Tell me, when have you ever seen a posting stating “Speed Humps Ahead”. Gasp, is that, ah, innuendo for approaching sexual activity (e.g. humping) in hedonistic Hillcrest? Yes, I am being facetious, but it’s not an unreasonable question to ask about the neighborhood.

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How Did Guns Come Into This?

Today, while making a purchase at a used bookstore, I spotted a booklet containing the United States Constitution on the counter. I asked the price. “Free”, the owner answered, “from ACLU”. He emphasized the acronym for the American Civil Liberties Union like either I didn’t know what the organization was or that there was special significance by the group producing the handout—perhaps both. Whichever, or neither, he wanted to impart something.

Was either my surprise or interest at all the reason? His next statement, unprompted, perhaps explains: “It says nothing about assault rifles…[but] well-regulated militia. Most militias are illegal”. That was so left-field—politically, not just figuratively—I couldn’t rightly respond. He referred to the Second Amendment: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”.

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Let’s Not Save More Night for the Day

My work blog for JupiterResearch disappeared after Forrester’s acquisition during Summer 2008. I had long left the analyst firm and smartly brought a copy of all the content with me. On April 7, 2005, I griped about Congress’ plan to add two months to Daylight Saving Time, which, incidentally, commenced day before yesterday for 2022.

This afternoon, my newsfeeds flared with a report from Washington, D.C. that our, uhm, illustrious senators unanimously voted for the so-called Sunshine Protection Act, which would make DST permanent. Meaning: Year-round. I am almost impressed by their god-like gall—that they, and they alone, can protect the sun. Okay, they do need cooperation of the House of Representatives drafting like legislation and signature from the President. But aren’t they, as a collective group, one big ego? You don’t need answer.

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The Difference Between Today and Yesterday

Gasoline prices continue their relentless rise here in San Diego. Regular unleaded now is $1 or more per gallon than on Feb. 24, 2022—when started Russia’s Ukrainian invasion. The Featured Image and companion compare changes over one day. The Arco is located at El Cajon Blvd and Texas Street, where North Park and University Heights meet.

But 30 cents a gallon more than yesterday, or the day before, isn’t the bigger difference. I awoke this morning to news alerts that Joseph Biden banned importation of Russian oil. Price to pump fuel is least of the problems. This sanction, on top of the others, leads to one conclusion, and a single consequence: The United States and Russia are unofficially at war. All that remains is declaration by one side or the other.

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The Con is On

If you’re banging the drum of warning about impending climate doom or advocating essentially destroying Russia to save Ukraine, what will you say when the gasoline price soars past $6, $7, $8 a gallon or you’re hungry for lack of something—anything—to eat? Surely those, ah, causes will be meaningless then—and you lie to yourself if thinking otherwise.

Reason demands that people like you stop prattling emotions, wrapped in crisis, to sway public opinion and political policy. People like you share the critically common characteristics of grifters. Today, in the United States, following the change of administration in Washington, D.C., the con is on.

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The Law of Unintended Consequences

I came upon the strangest circumstance today: Firemen rushing into a home with water hoses to put out nothing. The residents hadn’t called for emergency services, and they were surprised to be cleared out onto the street. The Featured Image, taken quickly using iPhone 13 Pro, shows some of the gallant first responders after everyone realized that a bystander had badly blundered.

This, ah, older gentleman observed what he thought was smoke coming out of a vent, which is why he rang 911. What he really saw: Steam from someone showering. Whoops. My first inclination would be to bang on the door yelling “Fire!” Wouldn’t you? Maybe he did but there was no response because the person was in the shower and she couldn’t hear him.