Gentlemen, Do The Honorable Thing.

The President of South Korea has already declared them guilty.  If you are looking for the Anglo-Saxon legal system and innocent until proven guilty, it isn’t happening.

The overturned ferry would seem to be from incompetence.  The captain will have to eat his words from 2010 about safety.  Having an inexperienced third mate steer at night in difficult conditions?  That wasn’t clever.

Those poor parents.  The dead kids are out of it now, the poor parents, (for many of whom, it may have been their only child), get to live with this.

Even when the crew is tried, if they get off, who will hire them?  It’s a culture that values honor and responsibility.  The principal of the school hung himself.  You may consider his only failing not checking the ferry company out thoroughly, but to be fair, I’m not sure how much that would’ve helped.

Gentlemen, the principal of the school had more principles than you.  You might be able to save some of your honor, but time is running short in your culture.


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Malaysia Flight 370. The CNN Experts Slumber Party.

There’s nothing funny about what happened to those poor people.  John Cleese was asked in an interview, if there was something he could not be funny about.  His response?  Cancer.  He thought he couldn’t make cancer funny.  Maybe Gilda Radner could, God rest her soul.

You can make something of the CNN constant breaking news.  A century ago, the newsboy on the corner could only make that cry once a day.  Now, it’s after every commercial break.

Mary Schiavo, David Soucie, Michael Kay, and Richard Quest, are practically camped out at the CNN office in New York at Columbus Circle.  It’s like a never ending campfire/pajama party.  They complain about squeezing toothpaste from the middle of the tube.

You have to like the floor map.  Way cool.

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Josef Joffe and Why America Will Stay on Top.

This is another recommendation from Fareed Zakaria of CNN.    I just finished his book, The Myth of America’s Decline.

Maybe, we need to feel we are in jeopardy, so we can be motivated to achieve.  Not saying we don’t have issues, but it made me feel happier.

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Cadeau Wants a Motorbike.

Cadeau is the eleven year old son of my Rwandan buddy, Anastase.  Cadeau announced for his twelfth birthday, he wanted a motorbike.  Anastase asked Cadeau if he was crazy and he could get hurt or killed.

Cadeau, with the courage of kids said he wouldn’t be killed and he was under eighteen, so he didn’t need a license.

Ah, the logic of kids.  No worries.  Mom put an immediate stop to this.  For if Mama ain’t happy…

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Dude, You Asked Miss America to the Prom in Front of Everyone?

I was watching CNN this morning, and saw the story about the York, PA high school student, who asked Miss America out to the prom.

If the audience was pre screened and Senior Patrick Favares already informed school officials, he planned to do it, and they said no, why did school authorities allow him to go.

Miss America was there to speak about specific topics, involving science and technology.  She had a purpose, which he was disrespectful of.

Having said this, young Patrick placed the school in a bind.  Obviously, I want what I write to go viral.  Having said this, notice I just used the term “Going viral.”

Dear readers, young Patrick put the school in a bind.  After Miss America asked the school to be lenient, she, wittingly or otherwise has helped undermine the authority of the school administration.  Patrick Favares may lose some college acceptance or employment later, for not obeying instructions, but for the most part, he may gain big time for his insubordination.

Some of you may consider me an cranky old man.  I’m getting there and I was no saint.  For all the good the Internet has, such a modern news story undermines the authority of those dedicated parents who are trying to teach our kids.  I now understand why I know a lot of ex teachers.  I’ve read about Finland and how educated and respected their teachers are.  Is this any way to run a 21st Century country?


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Don’t Want to Be a Refuge and Wander the Earth.

Jews throughout history know this feeling all too well.  This was brought up Friday, by my work buddy Anastase, who’s from Rwanda.  I’m reading a book by a Rwandan exile named Louise Mushikiwabo called Rwanda Means the Universe.

Anastase said “Eleven years on the run, if trouble breaks out in my adopted country, the United States of America, I’m not running again!”

I had to agree with him.  Both of us are getting old and grouchy.  Starting fresh in another country is not easy.  I just finished German journalist Josef Joffe’s book about how the United States has naysayers and that we will be fine.  I like that.

Also, I am too slow to run; more likely to slug it out, if need be.  You know the saying, I wont start it, but I’ll finish it.


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Political Science and the Brain

I just finished a book by three political science professors, John R. Hibbing, Kevin B. Smith and John R. Alford, called Predisposed, Liberals, Conservatives and the Biology of Political Differences. First I will start with their talk about City College of New York.  Yes, a conservative’s nightmare, the alma mater of my father Marvin Charton and myself. The first time I went up to that Harlem campus was Spring, 1975, to see the place I was going to attend.  I started to cross Convent Avenue, when a brick flew by my nose. I grew up hanging around a college campus, (Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.  I wasn’t accustomed to being greeted by flying bricks there). I found later, I’d walked smack through the middle of a faceoff between rival group with the police trying to keep them separate.  I think of that moment, when I watch John Cleese in Life of Brian leading the stoning.  “All right.  Who threw that?”    (The cops stopped me from retaliation). I remember going home to my father and saying in horror, “Dad, they have Communists and Socialists there!”  He burst out laughing.  I heard his stories about getting snide comments, because he was in ROTC and wearing his uniform.  Where else could you have a college, where Conservatives were few and far between (in the 1930′s, supporting F.D.R would still make you a capitalist pig in Alcove One of Shepard Hall).  My childhood dentist Dr. Max Geshwind, took me to task for going to City College, telling me it was full of Commies. There was a student strike in the Spring of 1976, when I was ending my freshman year.  The Conservatives on campus then were the Moonies.  (Members of the Unification Church).  The ultimate anti-Communist.  I remember one day when this poor young woman was sitting in front of Shepard Hall.  The Communists and Moonies were trying to convert her at the same time.  Finally, she just looked up at them and cried, “Please shut up, all of you!”  Yes, some of us were trying to go to class and learn something.  Where else though, could you have arguments between Maoists and Stalinists?  If we could figure out the political biology back then, what would have this told us?  You had a college of people tinkering with ideas, that in practice become conservative and ossified. I was a Political Science major, but Mom and Dad were trained as Chemists.  Now, I am fascinated by the brain, genetics, and how they can affect politics. The authors are right, there’s no such thing as a Conservative or Liberal gene.  (Or to paraphrase comedian Tom Lehrer, None of which the news has come to Harvard; and there are many many others, but they haven’t been discovered).  Scientists can measure though how different people react to different stimuli.  That can be amusing, as long as veins aren’t bulging during it and no strokes and or heart attacks are involved. I’ve written some essays for American thought, I call Hamiltonian vs. Jeffersonian.  I have to wonder how brain activity and dna may change that. We will learn more as time goes on.  We’ve seen how Liberals can be wealthy and Conservatives poor.   The issues will also vary from country to country.  In China, for example, Conservatives may mean hard core party members, Liberals, business types. The authors were right about Groucho Marx being a better student of politics than Karl Marx.  Karl Marx thought strictly in terms of economics driving people.  Then there was political psychology.  Still not thinking about how the body works. Maybe we can divide things more into Conservatives and Tinkerers rather than Liberals.  Conservatives want to do just that, conserve.  Also, it seems the main driving force for Conservatives is fear, and disgust, rather than power.  We have to keep our military strong to prevent them, from doing whatever.  See, the driving force is fear of what’s unknown. Tinkerers on the other hand, like to work with the system, make changes and experiment.  They want to adventure and try different things.  Something that scares Conservatives. There will be more as the Science in Political becomes more, well, Scientific.

Posted in A Sarcastic Look at Life, A Silly Look at The World, dna, Hamiltonian vs. Jeffersonian, History Made Fun, How Monty Python Ruined My Life, Marvin Charton, Philosophy, Profiling, Reading History Like a Novel, Uncategorized, United States | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment