Archives For Off The Top

Random things that fly off the top of my mind

Bush vs. Clinton in 2032…

December 18, 2014 — 4 Comments

This was not a banner year for youth voter participation. To be fair, off-year elections never are, but this year’s mere 12 percent participation rate of voters under 30 is about more than midterm ennui. Rather, it’s part of a larger trend of millennial disenchantment with the Washington establishment in both major parties — a trend that is primed to kick into high gear if we have a Bush vs. Clinton contest in 2016.

Bush vs. Clinton really is the perfect way to make us hate politics even more. At a gut level it feels aristocratic and distinctly un-American. At a policy level, picking between the previous decade’s leftovers isn’t much of a choice. And at a practical level I can’t help but think that my time will be better spent outside the voting booth than in it, pulling a lever for more of the same. Like much of my generation, I’d rather “take problems on in real time and fix them” — which isn’t exactly the government’s forte.

Or I suppose I could take the long view and start studying up for 2032. I’m sure George P. Bush and Chelsea Clinton will run a very competitive race.

SOURCE:  Bush vs. Clinton in 2016 is the perfect way to make millennials hate politics even more – The Week.

I have been a diligent voter since 1968. I don’t think I have ever missed even a mid-term election. I used to stay up late into the evening watching the political conventions. I wasn’t sure if I was a Republican or a Democrat so I watched both versions. But the last fifteen years or so, and especially the last decade, has almost completely soured me on anything political. So, I can see where my millennial friends have never shown much interest in voting.

But is this trend of the next generation of voters shunning the political process deadly to our democratic process? Only one in eight of them voted this past election and probably a similar number of African-Americans did the same. When a majority of citizens don’t think enough of the process to even vote they are leaving their fate to a small minority who do. Unfortunately that small minority is often those who thing government has no function in our society especially in the social realm. They, for the most part just want to keep their wealth to themselves. They are often the “I’ve got mine so screw you” block of electorate.

Getting to the specifics of the article above, even I suffer from “Bush vs Clinton” fatigue and since those are the two families that have dominated our politics for their entire lives I can see where millennials are too. But since the political process has become so putrid it does take a certain type of person to even consider the possibility of getting into politics. Not many even have the stomach to vote let alone run for office.

I fear for our country when I see the trend of so many giving up any connection to our political processes. Someone has to do the people’s business. I am just not a big believer in aristocracy or anarchy…..

 

America’s Religion…

December 14, 2014 — Leave a comment

2014-12-13_16-14-42People say that professional sports fuel what is worst in us. Our greed, our impatience, our willingness to ruin our bodies for the sake of fame. Our glorification of the worst human impulses, our blindness to the crimes these athletes sometimes commit….

It’s been said that sports are America’s religion and that this idolatry is our downfall.

SOURCE: These Royals Make You Believe in God | Angela Denker | Red Letter Christians.

I suspect that there are many more who will be sitting around their TV sets this Sunday afternoon watching  a football game than there are sitting in a church pew.  And even those in the pews most often rush home to join the former. Yes, we in America seem to be totally addicted to our sports.

I know that sports is supposed to build character in our young people but that can be accomplished in other far less destructive ways.  I believe sports does more to pollute the educational environment than any good it might accomplish.  I admit that, except with myself,  I am not a very competitive person and never have been. I have never seen a need to defeat any opponent in my life. In fact I believe that this attitude which is so predominate in most sports is a net negative on our society and even the world. It creates a totally unneeded caste system in our high schools that make some believe they have to stand out in other, often more destructive, ways just to get any attention. The high school and even the college jock dominates social life there even in my day. They are given special recognition  and privileges that are way above their overall contributions to the world around them. The level of “us vs them” created by most sports carries on throughout our lives.

We see it in our formal religious institutions. Just look at Israel, Iran, Iraq, or most of the Middle East countries to see how this “us vs. them” affects all our lives. We no longer seem to tolerate anyone believing something different from us. Too often religious leaders, contrary to the basic teaching of their religions, are the ones who incite these feelings. Jihad drives too many to fanatical views of life and spiritually but it is by no means the only destructive religious doctrine of our times. Jesus told us to love each other he didn’t put any public affiliations as part of that command.

In order to live together and love each other we must be tolerant of views that are different from our own. We need to throw away the “us vs them” mentality and realize that we are all in this together. While sports may not be the major contributing factor it is probably the starting point for many of these associations.  A little, well actually a lot, less emphasis on sports would help us return to celebrating our American diversity and the fact that we, as Rodney King, said so many years ago, just need to get along.


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Bob Segar Knowing-1

Yeah me too. One thing I have discovered from my long life is Ignorance is bliss more times than not..

All The Bad Guys…

December 5, 2014 — Leave a comment

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Great Britain has a population of 60 million citizens so they are only about one-fifth the size of the U.S. but I am willing to bet everything that the our cops fired their weapons more than 15 times last year. I’ll bet it is more than fifteen times in the last ten minutes. Our obsession with guns costs us dearly in human lives. I’m sure the NRA and other such folks will say that is because we have so many more bad guys than the Brits but we all really know it is because of the prevalence of weapons.  There is no getting around it, because of our guns we are just a much more violent nation.  As Peter, Paul and Mary said in their famous song Blown in the Wind, when will we ever learn? The answer to that my friend is indeed blown in the wind.

Introverts or Extroverts…

December 4, 2014

BossesIn the US, it’s always seemed like the answer was “extrovert.” 

Being social is lauded and most people seem skeptical of all that skulking about that introverts do. There’s no doubt research has shown a number of advantages to being a people person….

What about more social areas of expertise, like leadership? It definitely gets more complex. Extroverts are better leaders of passive employees, introverts shine with proactive workers:

…although extroverted leadership enhances group performance when employees are passive, this effect reverses when employees are proactive, because extroverted leaders are less receptive to proactivity.

SOURCE:  Introverts or Extroverts: Here’s Which One Has It Better | TIME.

The extrovert vs introvert thing has frequently been a topic of conversation in our society. As the beginning of the quote above says the answer to which is better in the U.S. has always been extrovert but is it really. Being a basic introvert and NOT a type “A” male I have a different view of things.

For the sake of this post lets concentrate on the last part of the quote above. That is about introvert/extroverts in leadership positions.

I spent thirty years in the corporate world and was exposed to several bosses in both of these categories. I had bosses who would  look over my shoulder at everything I did to make sure it was done as they wanted it. I was only the “grunt” to do what they couldn’t physically do themselves. I had one boss who would demand elaborate memorandums about the project I was working on. When I submitted the document he proceeded to change every sentence in it! I was tortured by those kind of bosses much more than I care to discuss.

And then there were some bosses who would give me a task and then go away and let me solve it my own way. It is not that they didn’t want me to report on my progress but they didn’t get involved in the details. I don’t know about you but for me it was a pleasure to work for this group of bosses. Because it was a pleasure I took extra pains to make sure everything was right the first time. With the old bosses I would intentionally leave somethings undone so they would have something to complain about.

When I became a boss I had a very loyal group of enthusiastic workers who I let use “their” creativity to solve the problems at hand. We were a happy group who actually had fun doing our jobs. My job was to support them in any way that I could. Their job was to creatively solve the problems at hand. I was an introvert who was not into taking credit for others work. I gave credit where it was due.

One of the problems today is that there are too many bosses who demand loyalty instead of earning it and when you do give them any sense of loyalty they will take your work as a means for advancing their own careers. Let’s face it due to the prevalence of extrovert type A bosses in the U.S. going to work is a drudgery for too many of us. It is the primary reason too many workers are passive….

 

Beam Me Up Scottie….

December 3, 2014

2014-11-26_09-08-20Ferguson has been dominating the news lately. Especially after the grand jury decisions. This post is not going to be about that except to say that needlessly taking another life is as tragic as all those lives lost previous to that young man. I thoroughly support a police officers right to defend himself and that is what the grand jury decided.  The way to defend himself is the matter of this post.

The point is that there should be a logical alternative to using lethal force against someone who you feel threatened by. That is especially true for our police officers who keep us safe. Reaching for a lethal weapon should be the last alternative, not the first one.

It seems that since the first episode of Star Trek was shown more than forty years ago we have come pretty far toward actually implementing many of the technological advances dreamed up in the series.  No, we haven’t got a teleporter yet, that’s the one I am waiting for, but we have accomplished much in other technological advances. One thing that is totally doable today but is being held back by an obsession is the phaser. You know the one that Kirk almost always said to set on stun.

Since we seem to have appointed ourselves as the policemen of the world we should be inventing new technology toward doing that job right. Why do we need to kill someone who may be threatening physical abuse on us? Whey is it necessary to take a life in order to preserve our own? I kind of think the total reason for it comes from our obsession with guns. If we found killing another person was as tragic as surely God does we would leave our weapons on stun and only use the kill setting for imminent death situations.

No police officer, or anyone else for that matter should have to decide within a split second to take another life when there are logical alternatives available. If we were able to disable someone attacking us without extinguishing another living soul I”m sure most of us would take that option. A taser is a good starting point but is just not that accurate and must be used close up. How about a laser guided wireless taser? We can laser guide our bombs so why not a temporary disabling beam?  I know the NRA would fight it as taking away our constitutional right to a “real” gun but isn’t it about time we told them where to stuff all their opinions. We have needlessly killed enough young men, especially it seems those of color….

Beam me up Scottie, or at least put our weapons on stun…..

 

About Me & FaceBook….

December 2, 2014

2014-11-15_08-17-42After yesterday’s post about people resisting change and not adopting the latest technology I thought I would take the opposite route today. Today I am going to talk about Facebook by giving you a view of my personal habits there. How is that for yin/yang??

Unlike so many, I have not made it a life’s goal to grow my “friends” list to any gargantuan level.  Some I follow there have hundreds of “friends”, some even have thousands! I think mine is currently almost fifty and several of those are institutions not people. I know that is pathetic by most standards for that site.  Who has only fifty friends and some of them not even people??

Another thing about Facebook that I simply don’t get are all the games you can play. I admit up front that I am just not a game player and have never tried them or even know how to access them but I do get it seems daily someone wanting me to play this game or that with them. I do dabble occasionally with some free Euchre and Pinochle apps when I am thoroughly bored and am too lazy to do anything else.  It passes the time…

I do get onto Facebook at least a couple of times a day. I visit the Will Rogers page frequently there and a couple of others just to see what is going on. A local town council member is very active on Facebook so I count on him to keep me up on what is happening in our small town politics (thanks Anton).  A few family members and past friends also get a glance once in a while.

Facebook is a valuable medium as long as you don’t get obsessed with it. It seems most people complain about how busy and hectic their lives are but millions  spend way too much time in social media sites. You can’t seem to walk into any place where people congregate without seeing as least a few kids, and some not so kids, Facebooking. Yeah, I understand it is a verb now.  Maybe if they put down their cell phone once in a while life would seem considerably slower for them. Maybe their hectic lives wouldn’t seem so hectic. That is the opinion of this old but tech savvy senior citizen.  Since I stream my two most active blog sites to Facebook I guess I better check my Facebook page now to see the reactions to this post, I don’t want to lose any friends over my reckless words here …. :)

2014-11-15_07-37-53“Quite frankly, a lot of it has to do with the strength of the Apple brand and how much merchants and customers love how easy the experience is. I’m not saying it’s changing the landscape overnight. But this has never happened with other mobile wallets.”-Denée Carrington, analyst, Forrester Research

SOURCE: Apple Pay catches the attention of retail customers.

I have been personally reminded lately of just how adamantly some people resist change while others embrace it.  Some don’t accept even the simplest changes in their lives without serious complaints. The smallest changes can set them off.  And then there are others who are bored when nothing changes on a regular basis. They welcome change; they even embrace it.

Apple Pay will be one of those issues. It is a much simpler and more secure way of paying but it does require a change in how we do it. For that reason there will be some who rant against it. Apple Pay is just getting started down a long road of implementation. Only iPhone6 currently has the capability of using it so its coverage is somewhat limited right now. But as more and more people upgrade and more discover the ease of use of iPhones this payment method will move swiftly into the main stream.

I upgraded my iPhone last week. I had been using an iPhone 4 for three years now and was ready for the change. The new phone has some nice new features and some added capabilities for those of us who are deaf and the bigger screen is certainly welcomed for these old tired eyes. :)  One of the first things I did was to set up an Apple Pay account. Although I have not yet used it, it is ready to go.  I live in a small town with about the only retailer of any size being Walmart and since they are one of the ones who are currently resisting the change it might be a while before I use it on a daily basis.

The system Walmart and some others are promoting is better for the companies but not so much the customers so I kind of think  it will go the way of Betamax. For those of you who don’t know about Betamax look it up on Wiki. :)

Getting back to the title of this post, change is a serious topic for some of us. New technology by its very nature mandates constant change. Some, including me, consider that a good thing. There will always be that group of people who will continue to use their old flip phones if they even have a cell phone. Change is just so hard for them. That may also explain why some of us continue to support one political party who has abandoned anything helpful to us who are outside the 1% long ago. They hate change so they will stick with something even if it is more harmful than helpful. Change is hard stuff…

I would like to believe that we are all accountable for our actions. We should all learn that actions have consequences. It is something every father should teach every son and every mother teach every daughter. But there are also things in life that tell us otherwise.

Some of us Christians have the idea that since we are just miserable sinners God does not hold us accountable for their actions. We therefore believe that God doesn’t really mind whether we do what he says because he knows we are so weak and pitiful and therefore expects nothing from us, including accountability.

Some of us say our actions are a result of their genes. Our ancestors were less than honorable so we are too. 

Some of us say we are the way we are because our parents mistreated us or did not teach us how to live a fruitful and accountable life.  They gave us bad examples of how to be.

To ALL those ideas I say poppycock!!

God did not put us on this earth to be “poor miserable people”. She put us here to love Her and to love each other and that certainly includes being accountable for our actions. I have come to believe that the primary purpose of Jesus coming to earth was to teach us how to live our lives in a Godly manner. Yes, I admit that we don’t do a very good job of that and haven’t since our creation but that is not because God wants it that way. Jesus Christ came to earth to clearly tell us that and to show us a better way. It is sad to me to see so many Christians who discount that fact in favor of saying we are not accountable for our actions or maybe more appropriately inaction.

Sure we all have different life experiences that affect our current situations. For me it was an extreme narcissist mother who thought primarily of herself. Little including her own children mattered as much to her as her own personal circumstances. Even though my exposure to her was somewhat  limited due to her abandoning me at the age of nine, it had a definite affect on me and that was to go to the other end of the spectrum with my self image. So our parents might have not given us much to go on things about life but it is nothing that can’t be overcome within ourselves.

We are all accountable for our actions, or at least we should be…..