The New York Times has a wonderful column written by Al "Mega-Watt" Gore today.
His basic statement? We must "begin an emergency rescue of human civilization from the imminent and rapidly growing threat posed by the climate crisis".
I would put in the rest of the fluff, titillating thrills, bad news, global dilemmas, and energized chat....but I really don't have the feel for it. Al is on his way to a fire....with just the barest essentials.
The basic theme from this 100-line column...money, funding and government-funded repairs. Yep, on top of the banking crisis, the universal health care, the new internal security apparatus and rebuilding of all American bridges....there is the Al Gore funding requirements.
Not to upset Al and all of the global warmers...but I'm suspecting that our pot of money....somewhere along about the beginning of March...is going to be fairly empty. If I were Al...I'd go back to Nashville....go sit in the eternally heated sauna and pool...analyze the massive use of power consumption in my house...and bake some fresh blueberry muffins. Life will go on...with or without Al's dream.
Monday, 10 November 2008
The New York Times has a wonderful column written by Al "Mega-Watt" Gore today.
In the past few weeks....an amazing episode has occurred in little Iceland. As modern and wonderful as it was....as pure and geographically isolated as it was...life came crashing down while the banking chaos arrived. There was the absolute failure of the banks there...which survive only because of the generosity of the Russians (strange saviors). Add to this the downfall of the currency in the country, a pretty hefty layoff plan here at the beginning, and just a plain loss of what little financial reputation that they had gained over thirty years.
For those who aren't aware....there is basically one significant town in the entire country to talk about.....Reykjavik....which has around 200,000 folks in it. The rest of the country make up another 100,000 and its all in tiny isolated villages spread out over the island.
The curious thing is that savings are mostly gone. The banks couldn't protect the little guy who had $10k in his account and was 65. Prices for just about everything...from sugar and coffee, to beer and carrots...are up....in some cases...way up. Restaurants were a simplified operation in this town of 200,000...but what few they had...used to turn a fair profit. That doesn't happen anymore...as eveyrone stays home. So the nightclubs and places of entertainment are mostly closed up. Companies are running with inflation around 16 percent...and the problem is that it is still rising and may rise for another year or two. Air travel out of the country...virtually non-existent at this point. If you don't have to travel...you don't. Companies are being nice about this...but all of the big organizations on the island have set pay-cuts down to every single employee. Those are considered the lucky people...because the number of terminations are on the rise, and the chance of younger high school grad's being picked up in the spring...really aren't that great.
The quote worth remembering here: "No country has ever crashed as quickly and as badly in peacetime," said Jon Danielsson, London School of Economics.
The loss goes beyond the personal, shattering a proud country's sense of itself.
Rescue? There really isn't any country that can help them to the degree they need. Why start a business in Iceland because the general cost of operation is way more than anywhere else. Why loan money to someone who simply won't be able to pay it back. My humble guess is that twenty thousand Icelanders will likely leave the island over the next two years. Most will find jobs in Canada and Europe...maybe even the US. They did have a educational rate which might help these folks find jobs in the end. In five years...the population will be lucky to still be above 250,000.
This past month, over in Japan....a national disaster prevention panel sat down and discussed something that I've often pondered about. What if a big major earthquake were to hit Tokyo on a weekday, and people needed a toilet in the hours after the quake? I have actually pondered this problem and spent hours gazing at the problem at hand.
This group eventually came to an estimate that 12 million Japanese folks would run out of the office buildings, and storm the city center. Then.....within two hours.....the vast number would need to use the toilet....somewhere. The truth, guessed by this panel....is that some folks might have to wait up to seventeen hours.....before finding an adequate toilet to use.
I can only imagine that the panel use computer simulation to come to some of these toilet conclusions. Considering the amount of coffee that guys over fifty drink, the number of boiled eggs consumed each morning, and the motion of the earth upon your bodily functions....would all impact on the timing and desire to find adequate toilet facilities quickly. Just the idea of thinking I'd have to walk four blocks when I know I can only make it four hundred feet....before "deep impact"....makes this a bothersome topic.
I'm guessing that behind this....are some guys who'd like to plan out earthquake toilets around the city....with pre-planned paper and such....to help those in great need. In a time of crisis....there is always someone there to plan ahead. I kinda wish they'd start a think-tank on this....and maybe I could get a new job....least for a couple of months.
The new Obama administration will dump the embargo within 100 days of coming to power. Its not yet announced but most folks are anticipating this rapid change. It'll be a presidential executive order....which basically lifts the embargo and allows all Americans to travel and do business there.
My expections? There will be a rush by the airline industry to ramp up fifty flights a day down to Cuba. From Miami and Orlando...at least ten flights a day each. From New York City, at least four flights a day. We will be dumping at least three thousand Americans daily into Cuba by the end of summer. The hotel industry in Cuba won't even begin to handle this rush of tourists.
A giant industry rush will haul ass into the country and begin building at least thirty major hotel & casino complexes along the beaches of the country. By the summer of summer of 2010....a vast number of Cubans will be employed in the construction, tourism, and hotel trade.
Booze will be flowing....as fast as they can make it. Various distillery operations around the entire Caribbean will rush in emergency rum as even the Cubans can't keep up with demand.
At some point, the government of Cuba will begin to question this tourism trap and wonder if the embargo was better. Then some Cubans will begin to question so many foreigners being in the country. In five years, the Cubans will wish that Obama never opened the damn door and they had kept those stupid Americans out.
It is a curious concept....conversational hypnosis. If you had spoken about this concept ten years ago...we would have all laughed. In the past couple of years....reality now requires us to consider that the term....conversational hypnosis....actually does exist.
Basically, I would speak at a pace and lead in a way....to bypass your normal listening method. If I make repeated and associated comments....you will eventually be easily accepting what I deliver to your brain to process.
For example....if I stood and gave you a hour-long speech and kept repeating“that’s why I stand here tonight,” “now is the time,” and “this moment”....over and over....you end up turning your brain on half-power and not paying attention to what I'm really saying. Especially if I repeat those phrases fourteen times in that hour.
If I started to really ramp up my grip on you....I'd merely start to pace the speech with words like “and,” “as,” “because,” or “that is why.” I could even say “we need change” but never for an instant explain what it is I'm going to change. Your brain is mostly turned off so you don't ever ask where the change is located.
Visual imagry and metaphors are also great tools of getting your brain into a accept-it-all trance. I could toss in some really fine extra slow speech. I could add rhythm. I could even say forty lines of text but never go beyond the vague state of description.
Ever watched Hitler video-clips? Note the hand gestures. Using the hands....you can use them like hypnotic anchors. You can give one entire signal with the fingers.....and associate that with a comment like "change", "believe", or "together". It'll be like an ape giving you the forty-four different hand signals to indicate "trouble, Jim", or "bananas, please" or "cute butt". After a while, you get used to the signals and automatically associate them with the figure using them.
One of the great moments in political history this past twelve months....was the comment that Senator Obama gave: “a light will shine down from somewhere, it will light upon you, you will experience an epiphany, and you will say to yourself, ‘I have to vote for Barack.” The tone, the slowness of the speech, and the vagueness of it....simply bypassed your brain in terms of processing. You accept, rather than process.
Somewhere in the vast state of being....we should have some sign of an intelligent race....assembling information and actually processing it. If we can't process it....then what? Are we destined for something that involves automatic smiles when someone speaks? Its a curious state of life in America today....almost like being assimilated by the Borg (StarTrek).
Yesterday, in the midst of California...gay protesters stood outside an Orange County megachurch (Saddleback, of course) and they accused the church of telling "lies to deceive the public." Simply another day in the neighborhood over Proposition 8.
Adding to the uproar over the weekend...the governor spoke out and said that the California State Supreme Court will likely overturn the entire ballot initiative passed.
The curious thing I find in this entire matter...is that when this snowball started rolling several years ago...it was deemed a political and state fight. Everyone on the pro-side of the gay-marriage effort felt that the vast public stood in their support and this snowball would continue on through California and then onto other states. Eventually, all fifty states would deem this legally acceptable.
Frankly, the snowball has meet some huge object on the side of this California mountain....and its not going to fall any further...unless the State Supreme Court gets involved. The problem I see here...from a legal standpoint....is that even if they agree...then it gets taken to the next level...the US Supreme Court. Here, we run into the legal standing of these stupid California ballot initiatives. Its been understood since day one of ballot initiatives that they are legal and binding, unless voted down.
I suspect the US Supreme Court...by a narrow margin, will agree that voters can speak on this issue.
Where is the real failure of the pro-gay-marriage effort? I think getting state by state general effort to simply approve unions would have been a much simpler sale and easier to convince the public to accept. This zero-to-sixty attitude, which political activists believed the vast public sided with them in the deal...simply hasn't shown any value in the end. As unions were accepted across a broad part of society over a 10-year period....then marriage might have been worth bringing up and getting folks to accept the next step. In this case...there was no next step...and no chance to move slowly toward toward a goal.
The harsh truth of California and this proposition 8...is that the real public....all registered voters...have spoken...and the majority simply don't agree with the direction of the state. In a republic, you are stuck with majority rule...and not mob rule. Thats the harsh reality of a republic.
Gordon Brown, UK Prime Minister...is supposed to deliver a damn fine speech on Monday. It helps for folks like me to praise it before its even been said or spoken. This is apparently the annual PM speech at the Lord Mayor's Banquet.
The key to this speech....a forged new world order.
I realize....some of you have heard something like this before....in the 1930s....in the 1990s.....and here a dozen or so times in the past ten years. But Gordon believes this is a fresh forged new world order.....something different from the old forged new world order.
You can't really have a forged new world order....without reform....which means.....CHANGES. Yes, something that is near and dear to the hearts of all of us. And the components of this forged new world order? Well.....Britain, Europe, and the US....of course. Gordon wouldn't possibly find reason to include Honduras, Brazil, or Tonga in this forged new world order. They just aren't the right type of countries to play this kind of game.
Based on little key hints from Gordon....the globe is supposed to build up a stronger and more just international order.
A nice quote from Gordon speech: "...And if we learn from our experience of turning unity of purpose into unity of action, we can together seize this moment of change in our world to create a truly global society."
You can't have a speech of this character unless you had five great themes or challenges or hurdles or discussions. So Gordon lays them out....all five. Terrorism and extremism and the need to reassert faith in democracy; the global economy; climate change; conflict and mechanisms for rebuilding states after conflict; and meeting goals on tackling poverty and disease.
I sat there pausing and thinking about this. To be kinda honest....and not to really hurl Gordon too far off the roof....but what exactly have folks been doing for the past one hundred years? I mean....there are eight thousand political figures world-wide....who have spoken something like this and cast out five or ten themes.
To be very honest....almost all of the five Gordon spoke of....have been a priority of the civilized world for the past twenty years. I can pull out any speech of any French President over twenty years....and they've all been mentioned. Clinton and Bush both have spoke this kinda language. The PM's of Canada and Brazil have spoken most of these same words. All the various Italian guys who have come and gone and come again....have spoken these words.
Frankly, if I had been Gordon....I might want to do something radical and pull out a totally different topic or just told twenty good British jokes. It would have made the evening so much better. So for the poor victims of this dinner, who have to sit and listen to another Clinton-like speech which Tony Blair delivered six to eight times....I'd probably slide out the side door of the joint around 9PM and go have five or six Ales over at the pub across the street....and stumble back by 11 when Gordon finally finishes his 90-minute speech.
I would end with "God save the Queen"....but I think most would just appreciate an end to Gordon Brown's period.