Saturday, November 5, 2011

Stabilizing The MCP

For most of my life, I've kept a Miscellaneous Crap Pile on or near my desk.  It was comprised of tidbits of information gathered that I found enlightening, interesting, or simply bizarre that I hadn't yet managed to find a use for. I knew however, that sooner or later, most of the collection could or would contribute to the greater good.  And while not quite so precariously piled as the image depicted, that MCP needed periodic review to increase its stability (something around here certainly needs some increase in stability), to determine what actually still remained in the pile, and whether the aging process had caused items to either pass their expiration date or produce something that could or should now be consumed.

While there is a physical MCP that must be addressed at Just Blowing Smoke, there is a mental one as well.  In it are any number of ideas that I have about subjects that I always think I want to get around to writing about, but never seem to find the time or the right hook required for the piece to actually do so.  Considering its location, the stability of the pile is seldom considered; storage capacity however has increasingly become an issue.  There was little enough to begin with, and my continued predilection to fill it with useless information doesn't help things.  Since spreading useless information (like fertilizer) is what we live for at JBS, perhaps it's time to share some of these tidbits.

Those at the head of the uprisings cleverly dubbed the "Arab Spring" are now assuming power.  In sharp contrast to the pronouncements about seeking democracy and freedom from despots that the mainstream media attempted to convince us was the goal of these movements, all now seem intent on adopting Sharia Law as their cornerstone of government.  Strangely however, having apparently misjudged, misrepresented, and missed the boat on the goals of these movements; that same media is now curiously silent as what they initially deemed a spring falls back on demonstrably restrictive principles and a kind freedom that the Spanish Inquisition would be proud of.  I wonder in the days ahead if some of them won't look back with fondness on the days living under the tyranny of dictatorship that they have now escaped.

While restrictive practices are returning to the Middle East, their end may be seen in yet another place here in the Midwest; as voters go to the polls in Ohio to vote on Issue 2 which seeks to end the stranglehold that public-sector unions have on government in this state.  Curiously, those against this Issue seem only capable of defending policies which are bankrupting cities, counties, and this state by the use of what is known in NW Ohio as "half-truths, mistruths, and outright lies".  Also curious is that after accusing those in favor of the issue of funneling outside money in to break unions in Ohio, we find that those opposed to Issue 2 are outspending those in favor by almost 4 to 1; most of which has been funneled into their coffers from out-of-state unions.

(I have to note here that I have been getting robocalls from the AFL-CIO for weeks now, urging me to vote no on Issue 2.  What fascinates me is that these calls never come from a number in Ohio, that their efforts are wasted since I now live in Kansas  and cannot vote on it, and that their calls are pre-recorded as opposed to using a live union employee.  Is it a lack of solidarity that causes them not to use a union employee, or can they simply not afford to pay someone scale to make the calls?)

Kansas City parents are facing a curious educational dilemma these days.  The Kansas City school district recently lost its state accreditation, and the support of much of the community; especially those with students in it.  It's unlikely that this situation will be resolved quickly, quietly, or cleanly; as far too much time is currently being spent on accusations and recriminations about who's at fault and faretoo little on how to repair the damage.  Parents cannot hope to find relief from the Parochial school system in KC however, as the increasing uproar over priests and alleged child-abuse continues.  One priest is under indictment, and three others are facing some tough questions.  Even the bishop of the KC diocese has been indicted on a misdemeanor charge for failing to turn information over to authorities in one of the cases.  Talk about being between 'the devil and the deep blue sea'!

And how would such a clean up be complete without talking about the 'Occupy Movement' whose areas of occupation in most parts of the country could do with a bit of cleaning up themselves?  What can we say about these intrepid idealists braving increasingly inclement weather without proper shelter; desperately seeking social justice and egalitarianism (I wonder how many of them know what that word really means), while likewise searching for a WiFi connection and a cup of coffee from Starbucks (one can normally be found at the other BTW)?  Perhaps what we should say is that those who apparently didn't get a marketable education in college are now getting a rather brutal one from 'the school of hard-knocks'.  Theft, assault, and rape occurring in these encampments are not the lessons I would have wished for them however, in spite of the fact that I am a supposedly evil Conservative.  

Idealism and a desire for change are often the last notions that the real world manages to batter out of us on the path to maturity (a path BTW, that I am unwilling or incapable of following).  Age, time, and responsibility will have their way soon enough without giving humanity's worst elements and predators the opportunity to further disillusion if not permanently scar them.  My only advice is for those of you out there (who will probably never see this) is to take a closer look at the world and adjust your target identification systems.

One more bit I should mention is a farewell to fellow Curmudgeon Andy Rooney.  At age 92, Mr Rooney managed to precede me at attaining room temperature by passing away yesterday, hopefully by as many years as he preceded me at attaining the position of 'grumpy bastard'.  It was a role for which he was perfectly suited in both appearance (Who can forget those eyebrows?) and temperament.  He had a wry wit and a great delivery that annoyed while enlightening, which is the highest aspiration of any in our trade.  If there is a heaven, has probably  already secured a great spot inside from which to bitch about things.

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