Is Politics Becoming
a Spectator Sport?
In our youthful dreams we fantasized
about taking our activities to the ultimate level. Then life’s clock of reality struck twelve and
first base returned to being the sewer lid, centerfield, the adjoining neighbor’s yard; a microphone, a hairbrush; a
basketball court, a driveway; an ice rink, a swimming pool; and the stage, a foot locker. We were then
reduced to being spectators as surrogates performed our deeds in stadia, theatres, convention centers and virtual arenas.
Other walks of life were impacted as well as Boy Scout medals didn’t
transmogrify into Silver Stars; the captain of the safety patrol, the Chief of Police, and the prettiest girl in school became
just another ordinary made up face on the way to a job. Enter the surrogates again as their purview expanded
into a keystroke, warp speed, gigabyte, abbreviation laden, "reality TV", marketing poll driven, and spin doctored
Who are these surrogates that control our lives? They
are Super PACs, pundits, talking heads, agenda driven journalists, and comedians; the visible standard bearers for the uber
wealthy and power brokers. Yes, a “funny thing” happened to a guy that didn’t know who to vote for.
A few chuckles later he did. To say that comedians are responsible for the state of the world, is
and of itself is laughable, but they are definitely in the mix of opinion shapers. As critical junctions occur in a campaign
---- send in the clowns and sometimes these jokers appear serious. When is the last time you heard someone express an original
thought? Instead it’s “did you hear what (insert name here) said last night?” “On the (insert program
name) show, they took apart the (insert issue) here.
virtual arena where a vote is the price of admission, while a miniscule percent of the “one percenters” sit in
luxury boxes and enjoy the perquisites of their stature as their duly chosen sycophants through verbal legerdemain and statistical
prestidigitation attempt to deliver bought and paid for results. Mythical “Everyman” waits for the crumbs of inclusion.
“Joe the Plumber”, no! Have you seen the cost of plumbing? He has plumber’s butt because he is weighted
down with cash and mooning you as he pads his time driven invoice.
legitimate “Everyman” repeatedly counts his change from squeezed currency and the end that is exposed is the one
that is getting farther and farther from reach. Others stand outside the virtual arena, disenfranchised ----- no vote, no
entry, no hope.
We are better educated than any time in history. Yet,
we let others decide what is best for us while we gaze hypnotically, texting away ---- as anthropologists wonder if the opposable
thumb was really genetic progress.
Instead of filling full coffers, help someone with gas money or transportation
to find a job or get to the polls. Learn the issues and the ramifications. Talk about the issues as you solve community problems.
It doesn’t have to be a “bridge to nowhere”; it could be repairing a step for the elderly, monitoring children
to safely walk home from deteriorating schools, building a swing in a gang infested playground as the baggy subfusc scourge
is reminded that there are people united and who care.
to the bank, wherever there is a crowd of people doing constructive things and discussing issues ---- the politicians will
find you and assist you in gaining admission into the virtual arena.
1% can outspend the 99% but they CANNOT OUTVOTE them.
Bradley, the Oh Kee Doke, and Oz
According to the polls Tom Bradley was well on his way in 1982 to becoming the Governor of California.
After a spectacular stint as the strict, no nonsense Chief of Police in Los Angeles, he was carving a unprecedented
niche as a dynamic politician as his career path had segued to becoming the accomplished heralded FIVE time Mayor of Los Angeles
beginning in 1973 in a rematch of the racially charged 1969 Election with fading machine powerhouse Sam Yorty. Yes, Sam Yorty
had played the race card big time in 1969, but this divisive rhetoric fell on ears that were listening for a message with
the theme of change in 1973. Speculation loomed that Bradley’s time
in the Sacramento Governor’s Mansion would be a short stay anyway as the glare of the National spotlight would be luring
him to Washington D C as a Senator or even a Vice President. Then the unthinkable happened, African American Tom Bradley was
DEFEATED by George Deukmejian of Armenian descent, returning him to his day job as Mayor! How could this
happen? After all the 1982 Election Day exit polls had Bradley winning going away.
The electorate had grown weary of being polled and scrutinized.
A poll taker’s nightmare had occurred ---- the respondents had become biased and analytical instead
of spontaneous and earnest. The pollsters had fallen for the Oh Kee Doke as respondents were expressing
views which were felt as politically correct; then voted the more socially acceptable opposite. The Bradley effect was born.
The Oh Kee Doke, the modus
operandi of street hustlers as they “run their game”. The interlocutor with the aid of surrogates would tantalize
victims with his “game” while his surrogates co-signed and verified the authenticity.
Granted, poll taking methodologies and analysis has
become more sophisticated, but the warning signs are there. Polling can be and to a certain extent is overdone and politically
selective. Combine this with inculcating advertisements and you have a body of people who have had enough. This is particularly
true in the so-called swing States where the choices are thought to be still in doubt and may yet be swayed.
Look behind the curtain and realize the folly being
presented ---- then vote accordingly to your belief.
Behind the Wizard's Curtain
"JOBS", the sign in bold letters behind Mitt Romney underscores his Presidential Campaign
central theme. 12 million jobs in 8 years ---- quick math translates that into two 4 year terms. 12 divided by 8 years interpolates
into an average of 1.5 million jobs per year. 1,500,000 divided by 12 (the number of months in a year) means 125,000
jobs per month. That is great unless you are Barack Obama. Analysis of the monthly Jobs Report by Romney and surrogates
leads us to believe this rate of growth is "stagnant and slow". Even the 170,000 jobs created in October 2012 is
"inadequate" and "we can do better".
This reminds me of the carnival hustler that
ran away to the mythical Land of Oz and became "The Wizard". Romney the contemporary Wizard has shifted his traveling
show from Michigan to Massachusetts to Utah with a course set for Washington DC. Incidentally the Salt Lake City Tribune,
published in the REPUBLICAN and MORMON State of Utah endorses Barack Obama for the Presidency.
2012 Presidential Campaign alone has accumulated ONE BILLION dollars in contributions for EACH PARTY. The industries being
"rescued" and or "bailed out" in these instances are the media in political advertising revenues and the
fast food establishments for the army of campaign workers.
As the folk balladeer Jim Croce sang,
"Oz never gave nothing to the Tin Man that he didn't already have".
Revisited : What Time Is It?
It's that time again; Daylight Savings Time adjustment. The brain child of Benjamin Franklin in 1784 (all
the States, Commonwealths and Territories were in the same time zone then) has been a Spring ritual that gained popularity
during the World Wars I and II to conserve energy. I believe Daylight Savings Time should be eliminated altogether and when
we "spring ahead" in March 2013, it should be the last time. Furthermore there are too many time zones. In these
days of high speed travel and instant connectivity, the varying times within the continental USA are confusing. China,
which is slightly smaller than the USA in square miles, has one time zone. Since they are our chief trading partner and creditor,
send them a time zone. Seriously though, I believe two time zones would be ample, the current Pacific Zone should be merged
with the Mountain Zone and the Central merged into the Eastern. Alaska could/would have a modified Pacific Zone for the entire
state. The geographic boundaries of time are in 15° one hour increments; the majority of the continental USA is within
two time boundaries. Therefore the one hour shift between zones would be adequate. The media and transportation industries
would benefit from this change ---- "prime time" would 7:00 PM or 8:00 PM.
and the dates have been changed frequently during recorded history, all in an effort to align with the solar year to be consistent
with the time the Earth orbits around the Sun. The calendar evolved from eight, ten, or twelve months with intercalary months,
mainly February used for adjustment. The beginning of the year (and sometimes the calendar proper) corresponded to various
methods ---- significant events; start of a war, beginning of a reign, just to enumerate a few. Months were sub-divided by
Kalends, first day of the month. Nones traditionally the day of the half moon, either day 5 or 7, and Ides, traditionally
the day of the full moon, either day 13 or 15.
The correct current date was so confused that the
years at the beginning of the Julius Caesar reign were deemed "the years of confusion" until the Emperor decreed
a year (46 BC) of 445 days in length to "correct" the previous errors. This was the provenance of the Julian calendar
when in 1582 Pope Gregory XIII promulgated the Gregorian calendar, which was soon adopted by most Catholic countries. The
Protestant countries followed later, and the countries of Eastern Europe even later. The British Empire (Great Britain, territories,
colonies including USA) finally adopted the "new format" in 1752 by removing 11 days (Wednesday, 3 September - Thursday,
13 September) from the calendar.
The removal of the 11 days from the calendar was not seamless.
There were riots and other public outrage demanding "Give us our eleven days back!" All previous date references
were not adjusted, simply ignored. A noteworthy exception was George Washington's birthday. Washington was born on February
11, 1731 (Old Style) and February 22, 1732 (New Style). He did not celebrate February 22nd as his birthday until later in
life. Note: The official designation for this holiday is Washington's Birthday not Presidents Day. For those who dreaded the
Millennium --- your fears were unfounded because the Christianity based calendar despite all of the adjustments is still several
years in arrears, meaning the Millennium had already occurred before 2000.
April 1st was New Years
Day in France in 1582 (March 25th, Annunciation Day was New Years Day in the U. K.) ---by the way, a forthcoming Happy New
Year. The ancients believed and probably rightfully so, that the year began with the first day of Spring; calendars were based
on lunar cycles. There are several explanations for the origin of April Fools' Day, but here is the most plausible one. In
1582, Pope Gregory declared the adoption of his Gregorian calendar to replace the Julian calendar and New Year's Day was officially
changed to January 1st. It took awhile for everyone in France to hear the news of this major change and others
obstinately refused to accept the new calendar, so a lot of people continued to celebrate New Year's Day on the first of April
- earning them the name "April fools." The April fools were subjected to ridicule and practical jokes and the tradition
was born. The butts of these pranks were first called poisson d'avril fish" because a young naive fish is easily caught.
A common practice was to hook a paper fish on the back of someone as a joke. This evolved over time and a custom of prank-playing
continues on the first day of April.