Random Thought

You know, I was thinking this morning about giant bank failures after Wachovia bit the dust.  Surprise surprise.  I looked through the FDIC bank failure list.  While it appears a few small banks have failed recently, the number of large bank failures to small ones is bigger in comparison to the overall number of banks.  Perhaps part of the problem is that these institutions were too damn big…a dinosaur effect if you will.

This got me thinking further about those who scream and yell about big government, how it is horrible, etcetera.  I don’t hear these same people screaming about ginormous companies.  They would probably say this is because the giinormous companies are “private” and don’t use taxpayer money.  But that is a false argument.  Just because the money isn’t deducted from a paycheck or mortgage statement doesn’t mean it doesn’t come from taxpayers, and it probably means we paid extra so the private business could make a profit.

I don’t know where I’m going with this.  I just got to thinking about it this morning.  It’s not a discussion I have heard.

Periodically Disappear

The problem with wanting to be open about who you are and put your name on what you write is that if there are things you want to say that you don’t want certain other people to know about, you can’t write them on your blog, even if they are things you would really love to put on your blog.  There are so many things like that right now. Maybe I should make an anonymous blog.  But who really cares.

I’ve said it before, but I wish I could disappear.  I wish I could be someone else.  I wish I could feel optimistic most of the time like I used to, but that’s been years ago.  One thing after another after another after another.  Now it’s not so bad but my spirit has taken a major nosedive.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get it back.  I know I’m supposed to learn to be happy right now no matter what my life is, but I can’t do it.  It’s like there is one thing in my life that when it’s going well, I’m happy and when it’s not, I’m not.  Nothing else affects me in this way.  Nothing.  But I can’t stop being this way.  I’ve spent a decade trying and it does not work.  I have to just pretend there isn’t a future because to imagine the rest of my lifetime feeling like this is unbearable.  So I don’t imagine anything at all except a desire to disappear. I don’t mean die.  No.  I mean exist as barely as possible.  I can hear it now.  I can just hear it.  I’ve heard it before, all the reasons against living this way.  But no one is me.  No one has my brain and its energy and its unfulfilled desire.  I am sure others have felt this.  No doubt.  None.  And some went on and became happy again.  And others didn’t.  But I’m so tired of not having the one thing I want, the one and only thing I have consistently wanted for as long as I can remember, and I can’t imagine 40 or 50 or 60 or 70 more years like this.  I can’t even imagine the next 1.  Is this living in the moment, avoiding considering a future that might reflect the way things have been?  Is this just it?  So rather than live with that hope I will live barely.  I will periodically disappear.

Drive Your Car, McCain

This piece can be seen on Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lara-m-gardner/a-leader-should-be-able-t_b_129341.html

Out of curiosity, I made a small survey of job postings just to see what kinds of skills employers are requiring of potential employees. Among other things, one of the primary requirements of job seekers is that they possess the ability to multitask. Multitasking is a simple concept really. It means doing more than one thing at a time. Quite a lot of jobs require it. I did this because of all of the discussion yesterday on McCain’s desire to cancel the debate, as well as his temporary cessation of campaigning, both in order to “focus on the economy.”

How does this “focusing on the economy” work exactly? Does one sit and stare at numbers for a while in order to create this focus? Perhaps it means getting together with other people to talk about the economy. Maybe it means actual participation as a senator, an activity he was rightly allowed to place on hold while running for president.

What I find confusing is why McCain’s focus on the economy cannot take place concurrent with running his campaign or why it impacts his ability to debate. If he knows the issues, if he is prepared to lead this country, then he should be able to think on his feet and debate as necessary. He should be able to throw out a sound bite or two or answer some questions on talk shows for his campaign. Basically, he should be able to multitask. While debating may require some skill, certainly campaigning does not require as much. All he has to do is show up.

The man has been a senator for what, twenty-six years? Based on the number of years McCain has spent in public office, debating and campaigning should both be skills in which he is quite adept. These activities should be the sorts of things he can do without a whole heck of a lot of effort, the sorts of things at which he should be able to multitask quite well. It should be easy for him to focus on the economy.

For McCain, debating and campaigning should theoretically operate like driving a car. At first, steering and braking and shifting all at once is overwhelming, requiring our complete attention After a few years, these actions become so automatic we do not even realize we’re doing them. We can focus on other things while we’re driving, even stressful things like driving someone to the hospital or navigating through bad weather. Although our basic skills may be diminished, requiring greater attention so we do not end up in an accident, we do not suddenly stop being able to drive at all just because something bigger is happening at the same time.

I find it puzzling and distressing that rather than using the economic meltdown to display his prowess at multitasking, in order to focus McCain must stop performing skills that should be as automatic to him as driving a car. When older drivers reach the point where they cannot perform these basic functions we take away their driver’s license. If McCain has reached this point, should we really allow him to drive the country? I don’t think so.

Pitiful

It just makes me sick, those poor babies made ill by milk powder in China.  It reminds me of Nestle going into third world countries, telling the women to stop breastfeeding and to “use formula like western women,” all the while ignoring the fact that the water is unsafe to drink.  The result is a 50% infant mortality rate in these countries because the babies die from dysentery.  Now we have over 59,000 babies sickened and killed in China from drinking poisoned milk powder.

Fifty percent infant mortality rate.  59,000 sick and dying children.  All these giant numbers, all these sanitized words used to cover one salient fact:  some parent’s baby got really sick or died.  Each of those hurt or killed had a mom and dad who either had to sit up worrying about a sick baby or they lost a little baby they loved, not to mention the fact that these little kids had to suffer through sick stomachs, diarrhea, and vomiting.  Use sanitized words and it becomes so easy to forget that.

The other piece of this that strikes me is how truly sad it is that formula is fed to children instead of breastmilk.  I wrote a law review article calling for laws requiring employer accommodation of breastfeeding women.  For that article, I did extensive economic and medical research to back up my arguments.  The conclusion I drew was that breastfeeding saves lives and money.  We never should have switched to a system where it was not the norm.  Of course, money drove the trend on many levels.  Money, money, money.  Everyone wants it.  Everyone wants everyone else to think they have it.  Stupid decisions are made because of it, from the decision to make our babies sleep in other rooms to the decision to feed our children milk made from powder to prove we can afford it.  Later these decisions became the norm to the point where children who want to sleep with their parents are considered problems and babies drinking from mothers’ breasts is considered obscene.  No one questions why it started and what was normal for thousands of years becomes disgusting and unnatural.

I continue to marvel at the ridiculousness of human beings. We’re too smart for our own good.  Unfortunately, we aren’t smart enough to make milk that is as good as our own and the result is that it makes babies sick and kills them.  Pitiful.  Truly pitiful.

There Oughta be a Law…

How many times has something really catastrophic happened followed by people scratching their heads and saying, “There ought to be a law.”  I wonder how many of these same people would call such laws “regulation” because that’s exactly what they are.  Deregulation?  Deregulation is the removal of laws, including laws that protect us from harm.  In all the talk and rhetoric about less government and deregulation, this point is lost.

This morning I opened the newspaper to read about babies sick and dying in China because of tainted milk.  I searched for articles from all over the world about the scandal.  All of them contained the same refrain:  tighter regulations.  What does this say to me?  There were not enough laws to protect these people from milk that could kill or harm their children.

When it comes right down to it, deregulation is only a good thing to people who are only concerned with making more money.  Deregulation means letting the market (e.g., greed) determine entirely what should happen and what should not happen.  Here in the US, we are experiencing firsthand what it means to let the market make decisions.  It means letting greed make moral choices.  It means letting corporations balance a baby’s life versus the cost to make its milk safer.  Unfortunately, in many cases it is cheaper to let the child die than it is to fix the milk.  There are profits to be made by putting someone into a house they can’t afford.  Who cares if a family ends up on the street in three years?  We made our money. The market made the decision for us.

When we use sanitized terms to describe real, human, moral conditions, when these terms become buzzwords, it is so easy to forget that real people with real lives are involved and affected.  Deregulation means there are no laws to protect us from harm.  Letting the market regulate itself means letting money and profit determine what decisions are made.  Too often, these decisions have nothing to do with humanity and morality and instead focus entirely on making a profit.

Smitten

I’m completely smitten.  Okay, here’s an aside.  How is it that a person who reads as many books as I do, who loves words and word origins, who loves language actually, can have gone through life and not known that smitten is a past participle of smite?  How is this?  I am completely pitiful.  I should have known this.  I knew its use as an adjective, as in struck with a hard blow, grievously afflicted, and very much in love.  I knew these definitions.  I did not put together that the very much in love use was metaphoric for being struck.  Cupid’s arrow and all that.  I make these discoveries that there are so many things I do not know.  Sometimes they seem so obvious, I wonder how it is I came this far in life and did not know them.  It’s like driving down the same road every day your entire life and suddenly noticing a gas station that has been there for years.  Duh.