||This old house was only a few blocks from the state Capitol in Madison,
Wisconsin. All the neighborhood cats lived in the basement during the
winter. The house has long since been torn down, but in 1972 there were
AR2ax speakers in the front room, and a lot of good music was heard there.
In the 21st century I am just as opinionated as ever,
and I now have an outlet. I shall pontificate here about anything
that catches my fancy; I hope I will not make too great a fool
of myself. You may comment yea or nay about anything on the
site; I may quote you here, or I may not. Send brickbats etc.
August 2, 2012The biggest problem facing the country today
We have relatively high unemployment in the USA in this election year, higher than we are used to. But the situation is even more serious than that.
The dimwit Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980. Since then there have been five Republican presidential terms, and two Democratic terms, during half of which the House of Representatives was run by Newt Gingrich. Since 1980 consumer debt has doubled, and government debt has tripled, and mortgage rates have dropped by 500%. That is how we maintained full employment for most of that time. And we can't do it that way anymore.
Suppose Reagan and the Bushes and their like were a team of racing drivers, and convinced us that the economy depended on their using some sort of super-fuel of which there was only a limited amount. They won a great many races since 1980, but they've run dry. Their rich friends who sold them the fairy dust have stashed trillions of dollars outside the USA, and too many of the jobs that were created along the way were in service industries, not paying as much as the manufacturing jobs that were moving overseas. And now the economy has hit the wall and consumers have lost 40% of their net worth in the last few years.
We need a new philosophy of government, and it's not less government. It's smarter government.
August 2, 2012The second biggest problem facing the country today
When I worked in a minor civilian capacity for the Texas State Senate a dozen years ago, David Dewhurst was Lieutenant Governor and President of the Senate. He was a faceless establishment apparatchik in a one-party state, presiding over legislative jiggery-pokery and a dishonest and unnecessary congressional redistricting (he was in the pocket of soon-to-be disgraced Tom DeLay, then majority leader of the House of Representatives). It was business as usual in Texas.
Now, a decade later, he has lost a battle for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate to someone named Cruz, a Tea Party favorite, the sort who will go to Washington and refuse to compromise, so that we will have even more gridlock.
August 2, 2012The third biggest problem facing the country today
Henry Juszkiewicz, CEO of the Gibson Guitar Corporation, wrote a good column in the Wall Street Journal last week about his problems with the federal government. An interesting letter in the paper today consists of two sentences, totally unrelated. The first sentence is silly, pretending that federal robocops have been raiding the Gibson factory because it is a "non-union success in a right-to-work state." The second sentence however is this:
Unfortunately, with the Federal Register running around 75,000 pages and with 4,000 new rules in 2012 alone, everyone is in violation of something.
I'm glad the writer got to the point. Most police states are created on purpose; we are getting one through absentmindedness.
August 2, 2012One of the smaller problems facing the country today
Planned obsolecence is out of control. It is happening while we are asleep at night. My new iPhoto is ugly and more difficult to use than the old one was. The other day I agreed to an update of Safari: big mistake. Now along with other unnecessary new features, if I am on Facebook and I click on something somebody has shared, after looking at the picture or watching the video, I can't return to Facebook using the back button: I have left Facebook and have to start over again. Isn't that brilliant.
Of course Facebook is entirely unnecessary in any case, but this sort of thing is all around us every day.
We need fewer designers.