Category Archives: What to do

Pealing the Onion

The clear root of terrorism is a major world religious community that has come to look at us with such horror and disgust that they approve of their sons blowing themselves up in protest. That seems more than strange, but no one seems to be trying to explain it. From an evidence point of view, facts are facts, though.

That community seems to see something about us from the outside that we can’t see from the inside. The difference between inside and outside views of natural systems is a common blindspot. No doubt, looking closely at someone else’s ugly reflections of us is unpleasant, and they may be really missing things too, but because any complaint has some valid basis, it could be important for us to consider it.

We long have, and still do, actually seem to be blowing ourselves to smithereens with money, and we have often appeared to hold all else in profound disregard. As our speed of change accelerates with compounding investment, and we maintain confidence that growth will solve even the exploding crop of imbalances it creates in our lives, we now seem to be loosing control of events to boot. Two cultures, at war, both mesmerized by blowing themselves up. It’s a remarkable parallel.

What’s the plan man!

I’m not getting much sleep lately, taking on too much, burning with ideas; not a good plan. But then neither is humanity’s plan for us all to make decisions 16 times faster every lifetime forever.

It indicates we’re missing something, like where the heck are we going anyway! Sounds presumptuous perhaps, but I can fix that. The underlying problem is that our perceptions of where we are operate on a sliding scale.

Continue reading What’s the plan man!

Failure in responding to Katrina

So soon after the embarrassing failure of emergency response it’s a little risky to venture an explanation.    The appearance is that government planning for emergency response to “the big one” failed to include providing food and shelter for those stranded by it.

My opinion is that the problem was mainly that FEMA kept following the plan they had on file even when it was apparently not working.   I think both key failures, the bad plan and bad leadership in response, come from the scale of the problem.    The disaster caused by Katrina was different in kind and was treated as only being different in degree.

Continue reading Failure in responding to Katrina

Health Care or Immortality?

It’s very telling that healthcare costs have been soaring at 3-4% above inflation since the 60’s, and no one seems to be talking about the underlying cause.

Its share of GDP has grown from 5.1% in 1960 to 7.0% in 1970, 8.8% in 1980, 12.0% in 1990, 13.3% in 2000 and 15.3% in 2003. It has actually tripled, and is still heading higher (1). That’s perfectly unsustainable.

All the restraints we’ve struggled to put in place have slowed it but failed to change it, and the impact on businesses large and small are visible everywhere. On the public side the Medicaid funding crisis is far larger and sooner than that of Social Security, and more and more individuals are losing their benefits. Major change is about to happen. Continue reading Health Care or Immortality?

Trading up

Thomas Friedman made a very good point in his op-ed column on CAFTA in the Times today (6/24/05).

The hazard of protectionism in a rapidly growing global economy is shutting yourself out, proverbialy cutting off your nose to spite your face. With China on the make, particularly, it is almost certain that trade barriers between the US and Central America would undermine joint ventures between US designers and Central American producers. Competiton with China is going to be nip and tuck and we shouldn’t let protectionist urges do that.

First, though, let’s take a moment and celebrate the problem. It’s been a hundred years or so that the developed economies, the US and old Europe mainly, have been doling out a few fish and unsuccessfully trying to teach the rest of the world how to catch their own. It was a largely disappointing enterprise, save for easing our guilt for being rich and not knowing how to share it. Continue reading Trading up

When they’re right theyre right!

Joe Frank, the late night NPR weirdo, renders his imaginary average American characters and situations with a wandering laser beam, creating fascinating strangers. Last night he started talking philosophy, gave me the opposite reaction and I just had to shut it off.  We’re all not good at something it seems.

For a while I’ve been wondering how I can give credit where credit is due to the neo-cons. I’m generally loath to give them and inch, considering their tendency to ridiculously abuse any opening. It would be SO helpful if they would just say what they mean, for example. Continue reading When they’re right theyre right!