Archive for May 26th, 2010

I listen to “progressive talk radio” a lot in my car, when I’m not playing Morphine, Little Big Town, or late Coltrane  loud enough to make my ears bleed.  One of the many things that distinguishes them from their toxic counterparts on the right is that they are somewhat kinder to crackpot callers.  Well, except Alan Colmes.

The unfolding cataclysm in the Gulf has brought a lot of crazy out of the woodwork.  About once a day, someone makes it past the screeners with some harebrained, Baroque scheme, invariably preceded with, “I’m not an engineer, but … ”  Then they launch into a deeply unlikely scenario involving balloons, pipe cleaners, trained dolphins, Libertarians, and Soviet submarines piloted by retired midget gymnasts.  Often, the disclaimer will be repeated midway through their lecture.  “I’m not an engineer, but they should really get somebody to do this.”  Then more midgets, more dolphins, more balloons until they run out of breath or the host has to break for commercial.

I don’t know what baffles me more — the hosts that give these citizens enough rope to hang themselves with and instead use it to make them a macrame trivet, or the people who call in and think they can end run around years of specialized training with a six pack and a box of crayons.

I’m not a brain surgeon, but I think if you drilled a hole in your head and stirred around in there with a grapefruit spoon, those cluster migraines would go away.

I’m not a lawyer, but I think if you get somebody to write to the IRS and tell them you’re dead, they’ll probably leave you alone. 

I’m not a musician, but that Lee DeWyze guy is a freaking nightingale.  

Maybe I’m being too harsh.  The desire to do something in the face of boundless incompetence, avarice, and arrogance is natural.  But, jeez Louise, put away the crayons, pick up the phone, and call your Congresscritter,  your senator, your President, and tell them you’re mad and scared as hell and if they don’t do something effective you’ll throw their asses out and elect someone who will.

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I really like the authors’ description of the use and abuse of  “complex” as vernacular for “difficult” in describing current social and political problems.  I especially like their discussion on optimization — ie, fixing stuff.

Their conditions for “fixability” are simple — a situation needs to admit change, to admit the measurement of change, and to be able to react to change.  Simple, really, if we ever did it. 

Look at the BP mess.  Certainly changeable, and the change would be measurable if the Obama administration would grow a pair and enforce transparency on the part of BP. 

Why isn’t this happening?  It’s complicated …


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