Posts

Modern democracy--Success or failure

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I did not believe how easily the Republican establishment, people who had been in Washington for a long time and had professed a belief in certain institutional values and norms, would just cave. You think about John McCain: For all my differences with him, you would not have seen John McCain excuse a president cozying up to Vladimir Putin, or preferring Russian interpretations of events over those of his own intelligence agencies. And to see figures in the Republican Party do a complete 180 on everything they claimed to believe previously is troubling.  -- Barack Obama True democracies, modern or not, don't fail.  I know that sounds extreme and a bit insane, but here is my reason for believing it.  Democracies don't fail, but the people in a democracy can.  America is right on the edge of seeing whether we will fail or not. Our democracy has been wrapped in too much myth and hasn't been seen as clearly as it should be.  We have heroes of our democracy and that is a pretty

Dinner in Two Hours

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It's a cold Saturday morning, January, 1960 and it's time for the battle. Dinner won't be for another couple of hours and we have the fort ready.  Took three of us to get the snow packed right and we can't wait to try it out.  We even have the snowballs ready made and stacked.  Snow on the ground three feet deep.  You'd think we were in the mountains!  Other than having to shovel the path to the outhouse, this winter has been perfect. Of course there have to be rules.  No snowballs packed around clods and rocks!  No BB guns!  No breaking off icicles and using them as clubs or spears!  No knocking down the walls of the fort, because we don't want to have to build it again.  Next week, we swap out the guys who get to use the fort. Some of these guys have no sense if you don't set this out ahead of time. The above is a real scene from the best snowfall winter of my lifetime in Manchester, Kansas.  It was my last winter in my beloved town, ten years old and movi

Letter to Santa.. what I want this Xmas!

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  Dear Santa, This year, I don't need or want any toys.  I know it sounds corny, but I kind of want peace around the world more than toys, I hope that is OK.  I have a list in order that I am hoping you can bring me for the next year: A return to health for my daughter.  I think that is all she will need, she will do the rest. A government that helps Americans and other people in the world.  I think we are about to get a new President, but, if we don't, you may as well just forget the rest of these wishes. A return to efforts to mitigate climate change.  The sooner you can get that here, the better. Peace with justice for people.  And give an extra helping to oppressed people.  You know who they are. Feed poor people and get health care for them.  While you are at it, see if you can bring a little understanding of their needs to rich people. A new vaccine for Covid-19 that works.  And could you bring a little wisdom for the people who don't understand things like masks and

Best, Worst, Probable, the World in Five Years

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As I write today's blog, I don't do so feeling unbridled optimism, more a deadly serious realism.  Most of our lives are spent with real, but relatively personal issues, superficial on a global scale.  That doesn't mean that global scale issues don't exist, it just means that they are relegated largely to scholars, specialists in fields, and national leaders.  Not now, for they are in the forefront for a plethora of reasons.  I am going to try to give my view on these important issues, not in a dispassionate way, but in a manner as realistic as possible from one American man's armchair perspective. Below is a comic piece from the political cartoonist for the Washington Post, Tom Toles.  He summarizes beautifully many of these essential challenges facing America.  They are American, but many in varying degrees are also global in implication.  America is fortunately or unfortunately still a powerful force in the world.  It is also a force that has diminished in positi

Day in the Life of Conrad

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8:00 AM Nice morning.  Check the news and see if the world has fallen the rest of the way apart.  It hasn't.  The rest of the way still is to go.  Better eat some breakfast.  Oatmeal and banana sounds good this morning. 8:45 AM Check my email and Facebook, etc.  Nothing big yet.  Ordered a book series by Zelazny.  It's his full 10 book Amber series.  I enjoy his books. 9:15 AM Hmmm ...  It's Thursday.  I know because they are doing trash pick up.  Better check the air quality, because my doctor wants me to walk 1 hour in the morning and 45 minutes each evening.  That hasn't been working very well, because I have susceptibility to bad air conditions causing asthma and I don't go out unless the 2.5 micron particle count is in the good range, below 50.  California fires don't care about my walking schedule.  So, let's see ... Nope, too high.  I'll find something else to do until it gets better.  If it does.  In fact, while I eat breakfast, I think I'll

Recipes for my grandchildren

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 Let's get something cleared up right away - I am not a cook.  Other than the Barbecue and I could always cook them up some hamburgers or fish or veggies there, but that would be the end of this post.  As much as you might wish that, I am going to instead forge ahead on a quite different path. I have four grandkids that I will list later, but it is important to lay the groundwork for the tale I have to tell.  I had two grandfathers, the most relevant people for my background as a grandfather.  One of them was a bar room brawler with alcohol problems in his early grandfatherly years, but all of that was hidden from the view of me as a child.  He was after all a good provider and was warm enough with us kids, so there was never a problem there. My other grandfather was, as we were told when we were young since there was just too much to hide, a bit eccentric.  In reality, as my mother so aptly phrased it, he was nutty as a fruitcake.  That is unkind, for in that early age, there were

Power

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 I am changing my original path on this topic, for my impulses until this morning was to go with a combinations of science (physics) and sports (baseball).  In other words, I was going to be on typical guy thinker territory.  I'm a guy. This morning, I deflected as I reflected - Johnny Cochran would have appreciated that delightful use of the language - reflecting upon last night's debate between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence.  And the fly, of course, for any of you who watched.  Pence I have watched for four years and Kamala, being local, for a longer time.  Everyone was waiting for Kamala to eviscerate Pence and the Democrats would jump up and down in joyous celebration while the Republicans would claim that she was the nasty, angry woman they had warned America about.  She had eviscerated Brett Kavanaugh during his hearings, leaving him speechless, a reflection of her extensive past as a prosecutor.  But, she didn't do that.  She lost no ground and people viewed her as th