Tag Archives: politics

Mr. Maduro

Mr. Maduro

“Aerial view of the Tienditas Bridge, along the border between Cucuta, Colombia, and Tachira, Venezuela, after Venezuelan military forces blocked it with containers, Feb. 6, 2019.” Courtesy Voice of America

It wasn’t long ago that Venezuela was one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America, and Caracas one of the most prosperous communities.  They have more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia and more poverty than Columbia today.

The deterioration of their oil industry began with the election of Hugo Chavez.

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Filed under International Affairs

On the Basis of Sex


Courtesy of Focus Features

A couple of years ago at a dinner, I had the honor of meeting a well-dressed elderly woman while sipping a martini (both of us!). I learned that she was one of the 1,000 or so female pilots in WW2 who became known as WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots).

onthebasisof sex1

Fifinella, the official Mascot of the WASPs

The WASPs weren’t the Army’s idea, but the idea of famed aviatrix Jackie Cochran, who, with so many men going off to war, suggested the idea of women ferrying new planes to bases to Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor made it happen, but the WASPs were not really taken seriously by the Army Air Force.

They were issued used mechanic’s overalls that the women called Zoot Suits, men’s sizes only, 44 and up. Of course these were too big for most women. But the women actually turned lemons into lemonade, making them look fashionable (with the sleeves rolled up).

They were not even integrated into the military, but seen as a civilian auxiliary.

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Filed under Navy, Politics and Culture

A Good Op-Ed on the Mattis Resignation

Was in the WSJ today. According to them, James Mattis resigned after being blindsided by President Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria.

James Mattis is one of those men whose leadership style should be emulated by those wanting to be great leaders. Lex, who I think was also one of those rare leaders, admired James Mattis with an anecdote.

I’ve read today good arguments – pro and con, about Syria.

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Filed under International Affairs, Politics

50 Years Ago

Just read an essay in the WSJ by Patrick Buchanan, entitled With Nixon In ’68: The Year America Came Apart.

I am a Baby Boomer, having come into the world in 1950. In fact, I arrived supposedly 3-4 weeks early as my father got called up for Korea and according to my mother, she was so upset – it was chaotic – she went into labor early.

Personally I delineate the 1950s era and the 1960s era with the Kennedy assassination. That was one of those dates where you could say there was a “before” and an “after”. With all of the scares of the Cold War, America seemed to have lost her innocence November 22, 1963.

There was the “Free Speech Movement”  at Berkeley starting in 1964. With riots, which became familiar in the 60s.

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Filed under Politics and Culture, Vietnam

James Madison vs. Mark Zuckerberg

Madison vs Zuckerberg

Having programmed computers for 25 years, I came to the conclusion that there is very little “new” under the sun. I can remember working for a boss, Gene Bishop – now long gone – who told me about the heady days of working in IT at Aerojet General, when they were building rockets to go to the moon.

He was referring then to what we came to know as spreadsheets and saying that with their giant mainframes, they had designed the equivalent of a spreadsheet. Without CRTs – terminal screens –  – first as “dumb” terminals dependent on all of their information from the mainframe – 100s – 1000s of feet or even miles away, it took some human effort to think with 2 or 3 dimensions  and read a printout on the old mainframe paper.

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Filed under Media, Politics and Culture, Uncategorized

Useful Fools or Rose Colored Glasses?

I had an idea for a post peculating in my head, and my friend Robert Avrech pretty much said everything I wanted to say today. It is one thing to be idealistic – in fact, I would say without idealism the world wouldn’t change much for the better. It’s another to filter the facts to fit your weltanschaung.

Always thought it was Vladimir Lenin who coined the term “Useful Fools” but alas, his term was slightly different.

Interesting thing I learned about our modern Olympics: It was the 1936 Berlin Olympics when a dictatorial government first used the modern Olympics to extol their virtue.

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Thought Provoking Op-Ed?

Those who read the Wall Street Journal know that over time they have been no friend of Donald Trump. Personally, I had some reservations about him but voted for him.  Even in this young country’s lifespan, it is difficult for people today to get some political perspective.

But at least twice in our history, politics were pretty polarized. Hard to believe today that during the Revolutionary War, only a third of the population supported independence, while another third supported the Crown. Do I have to mention that people were also polarized during the 1850s?

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Filed under Politics, Uncategorized