Watching the slow-motion train wreck of an economic system collapse unfold

Watching the slow-motion train wreck of an economic system collapse unfold
click pic to reminisce

Giants Tix and Nostalgia  

Posted by howard in nyc

2014_07_21
11:45

As often occurs, I've been remiss in keeping the ticket list current.  With a few more followers, I'll be more motivated.

I'm in Cali today, had a high school reunion, and I'll get to see the Dodgers series.  I plan to be back sometime in late August, but I'll list some games I know I will not attend.

Great to see you guys at our reunion.  For some irrational reason I feel the weight of all these decades pressing upon me, in a melancholic way.  I think my denial regarding youth and the march of time finally broke.

shoot me an email anytime, or comment here on the blog. Sorry I don't have the face value prices at hand; we can work something out just give a call.






Fri 7/25 I'm using them
Dodgers 7:15pm

Sat 7/26 I'm using them
Dodgers 6:05pm 

Sun 7/27 I'm using them
Dodgers 1:05pm 



Mon 7/28
Pirates 7:15
$37

Tue 7/29 SOLD
Pirates 7:15 

Wed 7/30
Pirates 12:45 
$37


Tue 8/12
White Sox 7:15pm
$54

Wed 8/13
White Sox 12:45pm 


Fri 8/15
Phillies 7:15pm

Sat 8/16 SOLD
Phillies 1:05pm

Sun 8/17 SOLD
Phillies 1:05pm 
$64


Six Dead in Isla Vista  

Posted by howard in nyc

2014_06_01
22:45

I don't think Neil Young will be rhyming that line.  Nothing poetic or musical about this tragic massacre.

This hit me hard, in contrast to the last time an insane man killed a bunch of college students on Del Playa Avenue (2001, four dead when he intentionally drove through a crowd.) I think in large part because my cousin is suffering from recurrent breast cancer and is facing imminent death.  In smaller part because I had visited IV just three weekends prior, walking the same streets.

But affect me deeply it did.  The hateful and random murders caused me to think hard and deep why these things are becoming more frequent.  I was forced to set aside my strong ideas about guns in America (300 million is a fait accompli, any serious attempt to significantly reduce that number will require a government so intrusive as to render all personal freedom a relic.)

I cannot seriously consider that we magically crossed a gun availability threshold at some point in the past decade or so, that suddenly made these shooting incidents occur.  From no angle of this can I reasonably conclude that the guns are the primary problem.  This incident alone, the crazed killer stabbed three victims to death; he maimed several with his car.  The prior Isla Vista mass murder did not involve a gun.

We don't have primarily a gun problem, regardless of my opinion or of the mass knee-jerk emotional response.  We have a crazy person problem.  A homicidal-crazy person problem.

The recurrent screeches and pleas for gun control as a response to crazy people committing mass murder are illogical, emotional and tiresome.  They ignore the arithmetic of 300 million guns.  They indulge in a particularly pediatric fantasy that more government power (and money) can somehow magically protect us from such gun violence.  This childish indulgence ignores the dismal record of the government at prohibiting possession of all manner of drugs.  It further ignores the fact that the particular juristictions that have the most severe government gun restriction (Chicago, New York City and Washington DC) somehow have the most gun violence, and the amount of gun violence is independent of the changes in laws (it's the economy, stupid!)

But the most infuriating emotional argument of those who trust government to remove guns from the hands of crazy homicidal maniacs is that to not pass further gun laws equates 'doing nothing'.

If your remedy, which is already proven to fail, is not adopted, that is the rhetoric equivalent of 'doing nothing'.

Ironically, such a course of thought and action itself 'does nothing' about the actual problem.  The crazy person problem.

Yeah, that is a tough one.  A problem that does not lend itself to an emotionally satisfying answer like 'have the government take away all the guns'.  I ain't got an answer.  I can help frame the question rationally, which is itself pretty rare.

There are probably more of these mass murders in recent years because there are more homicidal-crazy people.  And what treatment/support they are receiving is less effective and less available.  Maybe, some of the 'treatment', like antidepressant medications (SSRIs in particular), or childhood psychiatric meds (Ritalin/Adderal) are the cause.  I have no idea, but consideration of such possibilities is drowned out by the gun debate, as well as squashed by the pharmaceutical profit maniacs.

I think there is a bigger reason.  We have more sick, crazy people, sick to the point of mass murder, because we are a sick, crazy society.  Much sicker and crazier than two or three decades ago.  This is one of the results.

I found myself falling back on the way I was trained to think about problems in my profession.  A sickness/disease model provides a clear metaphor for my thinking about 'why'.

We have a diseased culture/society.  I've ranted at length on this.  Gun violence is not a primary cause--it is a symptom.  To treat this primary illness by taking away the guns is folly.  It makes as much sense as proposing a case of recurrent metastatic cancer, involving multiple organs, be treated by amputation of one body part that is involved and declaring that as the only way to cure the primary disease.

And that failure to perform that amputation is tantamount to 'doing nothing'.

The gun violence is a tertiary symptom.  The problem is crazy people.  The larger problem is a sick society that produces crazy people by the millions.  The prognosis is fucking grim.  Throwing more government power and money at the tertiary symptom will fix nothing, and will certainly make things worse.

There are remedies for our sick society.  There are remedies for the increasing number of crazy violent people.  They are hard, expensive and emotionally uncomfortable remedies.  Like reversing our increasing worship of money, power and war in distant lands.  Or actually treating mentally and emotionally disturbed people beyond prescribing a pill.  Or families being more involved in the support of a crazed, emotionally disturbed young man than buying him an expensive car to boost his self-esteem or calling the cops to check on him.  (Sadly, this creep's parents were finally moved to the correct action--go and see him yourself--only too late to avert the mass deaths.  I don't mean to pile on them; I just wish, as I am certain they do too, that they had taken that action earlier, and saved their son's life as well as the other six lives.)

The number of times that such an incident occurs, the gun thing is revived, and either zero or minimal legislative action results is the most infuriating cycle of all.  The point isn't even to politically achieve significant gun control--it is just to feed some elusive emotional need, to indulge in some ridiculous fantasy focused on 300 million scary inanimate objects (without bothering to count the objects.)

Another symptom of the big sickness.  Emotional satisfaction is all important.  Sure beats the hard work of thinking.

I try very hard not to indulge any of my own peculiar fantasies, regarding our sick society and the increasing numbers of crazy people.  I see the direction we are proceeding, and I see us gaining speed.  More worship of and love of money; more fraud and deceit; less political response and accountability to anything but money, less thought and involvement by the masses in the nearly irrelevant political process; more chemicals in our sedentary bodies.  More war.  Yadda Yadda.  Faster and faster we head ever forward.  The dead young bodies are just another symptom of metastatic recurrence.

Giants Tix, June 2014  

Posted by howard in nyc

2014_06_01
21:45

Team is playing great.  I hope I can get to a bunch of games, but not until late June.  More tix for y'all.

Same story as prior years.  I will put the tickets up one month at a time, since my travel plans are usually last minute, and I like to use the seats when i am visiting Cali. so around the last week of each month I will post available dates for the following month.

Tickets can be transferred electronically, instantly and securely, via the giants' web site. you can pay me with Paypal, (even though i hate those fuckers i don't have an alternative set up) or if we have done business before, just send me a check.

The giants use differential pricing, so I will list the literal face value for each date. Face value varies between $37 and $87. Price is always negotiable, up as well as down.

Here are the June dates.  I'll try to keep the site updated.

shoot me an email anytime, or comment here on the blog.

Fri 6/6 SOLD
Mets 7:15pm

Sat 6/7 SOLD
Mets 7:05pm 

Sun 6/8 SOLD
Mets 1:05pm 



Mon 6/9
Natinals 7:15
$37

Tue 6/10
Nationals 7:15 
$37

Wed 6/11
Nationals 7:15 
$37

Thu 6/12 SOLD
Nationals 12:45 



Fri 6/13
Rockies 7:15pm
$54

Sat 6/14 SOLD
Rockies 1:05pm 

Sun 6/15
Rockies 1:05pm 
$64
 
Last week of the month, I am hoping to use myself.







Giants Tix, May 2014  

Posted by howard in nyc

2014_05_08
14:45

Man, that was fun.  I saw seven games last month; I gotta do that more often. 

Same story as prior years.  I will put the tickets up one month at a time, since my travel plans are usually last minute, and I like to use the seats when i am visiting Cali. so around the last week of each month I will post available dates for the following month.

Tickets can be transferred electronically, instantly and securely, via the giants' web site. you can pay me with Paypal, (even though i hate those fuckers i don't have an alternative set up) or if we have done business before, just send me a check.

The giants use differential pricing, so I will list the literal face value for each date. Face value varies between $37 and $87. Price is always negotiable, up as well as down.

Here are the May dates.  I'll try to keep the site updated. Tix for June will be posted soon.

shoot me an email anytime, or comment here on the blog.

Mon 5/12 SOLD
Braves 7:15p 


Tues 5/13 SOLD
Braves 7:15 


Wed 5/14 SOLD
Braves 12:45 


Thurs 5/15 SOLD
Marlins 7:15 
$ 37

Fri 5/16 SOLD
Marlins  7:15


Sat 5/17 SOLD
Marlins   6:05 


Sun 5/18 SOLD
Marlins   1:05 


Fri 5/23SOLD
Twins   7:15 


Sat 5/24 SOLD
Twins   1:05

Sun 5/25 SOLD
Twins  1:05

Mon5/26 SOLD
Memorial Day
Cubs  1:05p  


Tues 5/27 SOLD
Cubs   7:15

Wed 5/28 SOLD
Cubs 12:45 












 















Giants Tix, April 2014  

Posted by howard in nyc

2014_04_09
13:45

I'm using them.  Until the end of the month.

About time I get to use these tix.  It has been a few years since I had a nice long California trip.  This time a little biz, a little pleasure, a lot of Giants baseball.

Same story as prior years.  I will put the tickets up one month at a time, since my travel plans are usually last minute, and I like to use the seats when i am visiting Cali. so around the last week of each month I will post available dates for the following month.

Tickets can be transferred electronically, instantly and securely, via the giants' web site. you can pay me with Paypal, (even though i hate those fuckers i don't have an alternative set up) or if we have done business before, just send me a check.

The giants use differential pricing, so I will list the literal face value for each date. Face value varies between $37 and $87. Price is always negotiable, up as well as down.

Here are the April dates.  I'll try to keep the site updated. Tix for May will be posted soon (but I'm gonna get to use a bunch of those too.)

shoot me an email anytime, or comment here on the blog.



Fri, 4/25
Sun, 4/27
Indians  face $58
Indians  face $58
7:15p 
1:05p

Mon, 4/28
Padres  face $377:15p 
Tue, 4/29Padres face $377:15p
Wed, 4/30Padres face $377:15p 

















How Long? Not Long!  

Posted by howard in nyc

2014_01_20
16:15

I haven't posted for months, because events are just the same ol' same ol'. Waiting for the end of the House of Cards Economy (not a knock on Netflix, which is dead if the net neutrality case stands).  Most that I might record here is just repetition.  And the failure of the nation to respond rationally to the Edward Snowden disclosures of how our privacy is utterly stolen and gone leaves me nearly speechless.

Let me wallow in the past today.  I posted this on the sportsfrog:


http://sportsfrog.net/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=679


MLK Day 2014--How Long? Not Long!

Postby Howard » 20 Jan 2014 15:44 

"…because no lie can live forever"


The deep love and hope I hold for my country is deeply rooted in the revolution of civil rights and freedom that unfolded before my young eyes across the late 50s and the entirety of the 60s. The rapidity of change, from a segregated, two-tiered society that featured regular lynchings and drastically different economic and employment opportunities based solely on skin color, to statutory declaration and broad enforcement of equality before the law and before the power of government, shaped my little mind as well as the direction of our country.

Our nation did not establish perfect equality of opportunity in a fifteen year period. But damn if we didn't make phenomenal progress toward that ideal, over a time period no more than a mere blink of an eye on the scale of history. And we continued to make phenomenal progress for at least another two decades.

Our nation did not erase racism in the hearts and minds of the people overnight, or over the six decades since Ms. Parks refused. But damn if we didn't erase such a vast amount of that irrational hatred that the thought of a lynching in Mississippi going unrecognized, much less unpunished is ludicrous. That a man with brown skin has been elected president by the power of the vote of millions of white American citizens.

What I have seen my nation achieve over the course of the first half of my lifetime is nothing less than a miracle of human action. As far as I know, unparalleled in recorded history (and I welcome correction to this conclusion, please.)

We are not a racially equal society. We do not have fairness and colorblind opportunity (economic and otherwise.) But we are so much closer to those ideals than we are to the status of black and brown Americans in 1950.

I am troubled not by the failure to make more progress, much less by the failure to achieve a colorblind society. While I am cheered by and grateful for the freedoms I enjoy daily in this society, so different than the society of the recent past, I am troubled by my sense that we have ceased to progress, and that we are moving in the wrong direction, regarding not only race, but regarding other measures of fairness, equality and opportunity.

However, few things in nature or in human history move in a straight line. I was spoiled because the 'arc of the moral universe' appeared to move in a steep, straight line during my youth. Sections of that curve were quite straight, if observed from a vantage not too close and not too far. Probably an illusion, magnified by my temporal bias.

Great forces of masses of people interact with individuals, great and small, to create historical changes. Segregated America was bound to change, based on the forces embodied in the masses, black and white, forces build up over decades if not over centuries. But the time, place and expression of those forces were shaped by individuals, some whose names are famous, some whose names are unknown.

No individual shaped and directed those mass forces with more import than Dr. King. Pretty damn skillfully too; the positive effectiveness of his acts are undeniable. Perfect he was not, as a strategist, as a tactician, as a human being, he made plenty of mistakes. Hell, even as an orator he erred (but not very often). But that is just nitpicking; his record and his legacy as the leader of the movement toward civil rights for all Americans establishes him as one of the most important historic individuals of 20th Century America. No non-president and few presidents were more important individuals in shaping our recent history.

I always liked this speech.


Full text and audio, about 30 minutes (click):

Text only (click):



Video of end of speech (with money quote):






Video of first five minutes(click).



Why So Syria?  

Posted by howard in nyc in , ,

2013_09_09

21:45

The confused foreign policy of this administration would be comical, were so much not at stake.  The USA's top diplomat makes a careless offhand remark, at the end of a press conference rife with multiple errors spoken by our Secretary of State (detailed here).

Kerry says, a war can be avoided if Assad gives up his chemical weapons by the end of the week.  Assad says, OK, fine.  Hummanma hummanma wait, I didn't really mean it.

Jeebus, where to start?

Well, we've seen two dictators in the same region agree to give up their chemical weapons under US and international pressure.  Saadam, and Kaadafy.  How'd that work out?  They got their asses regime changed anyway.  I'd put my money on three for three.

While we're at it, are we gonna ask Israel to give up their chemical weapons too?  Are we gonna give up ours?

While I am confident the USA has an arsenal of poison gas which our leaders have no intention of relinquishing, I really don't care about that.  Because it is a matter of physical fact that napalm, Agent Orange, depleted uranium and white phosphorus are chemical weapons.  And a matter of historic fact is that the USA has used these chemicals to kill people.  Recently too; not way back in the ancient history of Vietnam.  All these were used in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Yet our leaders, with straight faces, profess to punish someone else for using chemical weapons to kill.  The punishment?  We are gonna Kill Syrians to show Syria that Killing Syrians is wrong.

I can't decide which is worse, that millions of Americans agree, or that millions of Americans would agree were this a GOP president doing the same thing, or that millions of Americans cannot be bothered to pay attention.  I'll go with 'C', just barely.

The fake morality of the whole spectacle is just the worst.  The fairy tale that we are so Morally Outraged by the murderous Assad regime that the policemen of the world must murder, and/or change regime.  Even a child can see this warmongering of the past two decades, continuing through this day and hour, has nothing to do with morality.

There are the many many instances of truly outrageous mass murder which passes unpunished.  There are many, many people and groups that benefit greatly from warfare in particular places, usually where there happens to be oil and gas.  Moral outrage is a convenient excuse, nothing more.

This war is probably gonna happen, regardless of Obama's stumbling and Kerry's bumbling.  Regardless of all the lies, contradictions and misstatements shoveled in our general direction over the past three weeks.  Regardless of the blatant illogic of doubling down on our financial support of the same muslim extremists who are our sworn enemy of the past twenty years (the first World Trade Center bombing), by being their Air Force.   

Too many people want this war.  They don't give a fuck about morality, popular opinion, or anything other than power, money, and getting what they want.  A much larger number of too many people don't care enough to stand up and stop them.  It might be delayed a few weeks or months; maybe we'll get lucky again.