Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Merry Christmas, 2008

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

Merry Christmas, 2008


Click to enlarge

Settle down, my little goslings, and let Aunty Rosalea dispense your gifts this sunny but cold Oakland Christmas morning. (Yes, I know it’s Boxing Day Down Under, but let’s pretend.)

::Yuletide greetings::
First, from my house to yours—the Yule Log! For the past two days, local station KOFY-TV (pron. “Coffee TV”) has replaced its regularly scheduled programming (often infomercials) with a yuletide log accompanied by a variety of Christmas songs.

INSERT: Yuletide.jpg

::Ho, ho, halt!::
Otown is all a-dither over the conundrum of whether it should prostitute itself to HBO by allowing a drama series to be filmed here that focuses on a former pimp trying not to go back to his old lifestyle. The Mayor and several councilors say it doesn’t fit with the city’s attempt to re-brand itself as a “Model City”; the series’ producers say that it could do for Oakland what The Wire did for Baltimore, bringing in jobs and money while the filming takes place and boosting tourism after the series airs.

For a nice local take on both sides of the argument, including a common criticism of Mayor Dellums that he has done nothing to improve the city, see this story and its accompanying comments. Personally, I think that slapping Model City makeup on an acne-ravaged face does nothing to cure the acne so let’s hope HBO is interested in promoting deep cleansing. The Wire certainly got people to look at Baltimore in a more holistic manner.

::Ha, ha, help!::
At the state level, a showdown in the California legislature which has led to a budget impasse, and lost jobs and wages for state and municipal workers, has also led to this funny video from California’s Courage Campaign of Arnold Schwarzenegger facing the ghosts of California Past, Present and Future.

::It’s the economy, stupid!::
On the national level, the graph in this blog post from November 19, comparing the Dow Jones during the eighteen months leading up to the Great Depression and its performance today is your lump of coal.

But as an antidote (perhaps), read this wonderful series of articles by Italy’s “Gandalf”, Giancarlo Livraghi, about the power of human stupidity. Most date from the late 1990s. Unfortunately, the link often results in a Server not Found message, so you might try this link to Rageboy instead. One quote I especially love is:

“Stupid people can combine instantly into a super-stupid group or mass, while intelligent people are effective as a group only when they know each other well and are experienced in working together. The creation of well-tuned groups of people sharing intelligence can generate fairly powerful anti-stupidity forces, but (unlike stupidity bundling) they need organized planning and upkeep; and can lose a large part of their effectiveness by the infiltration of stupid people or unexpected bursts of stupidity in otherwise intelligent people.”

“Stupidity bundling”—is there any better explanation of what has happened to the world economy than that? It should be noted that Livraghi, an advertising executive turned philosopher, thinks that stupidity is common to everyone, but only those who can acknowledge their own stupidity are not completely stupid. His book entitled The Power of Stupidity will be published next year.

::The reason for the season::
If you haven’t caught the BBC’s series in which one of their reporters retraces the steps of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem, then you can watch it online here.

::God rest ye, merry gentlefolks::
Well, my little goslings, the roast is ready (not fowl, you’ll be pleased to hear!), and the wine is poured, so it’s time to take my leave. To the strains of the San Quentin Mass Choir, I raise a glass to wish you good cheer, a merry Christmas, and a hope for peace, love and joy, both in your personal life and on this magnificent blue pearl we all call home.

*************

rosalea.barker@gmail.com

--PEACE—

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Keith Rankin: Narrow Vision: Subsidised Cars And Street Immunity
Problems make the world go round. Many of us – maybe the majority of workers, and certainly the majority of well-paid workers – earn our living addressing problems. A problem-free world would represent a major crisis for modern social-capitalism. (Yet standard economic theory continues to present the productive economy as a mechanism for 'satisfying wants', as distinct from 'addressing problems... More>>


Biden In Tokyo: Killing Strategic Ambiguity
Could it have been just another case of bumbling poor judgment, the mind softened as the mouth opened? A question was put to US President Joe Biden, visiting Tokyo and standing beside Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida: “You didn’t want to get involved in the Ukraine conflict militarily for obvious reasons. Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that?” The answer: “Yes. That’s a commitment we made.”.. More>>

Dunne Speaks: Robertson's Budget Gamble On Treasury
The popular test of the success or failure of Grant Robertson’s fifth Budget will be its impact on the soaring cost of living. In today’s climate little else matters. Because governments come and governments go – about every six to seven years on average since 1945 – getting too focused on their long-term fiscal aspirations is often pointless... More>>


Digitl: Infrastructure Commission wants digital strategy
Earlier this month Te Waihanga, New Zealand’s infrastructure commission, tabled its first Infrastructure Strategy: Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa. Te Waihanga describes its document as a road map for a thriving New Zealand... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Leaking For Roe V Wade
The US Supreme Court Chief Justice was furious. For the first time in history, the raw judicial process of one of the most powerful, and opaque arms of government, had been exposed via media – at least in preliminary form. It resembled, in no negligible way, the publication by WikiLeaks of various drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership... More>>




The Conversation: Cheaper food comes with other costs – why cutting GST isn't the answer

As New Zealand considers the removal of the goods and services tax (GST) from food to reduce costs for low income households, advocates need to consider the impact cheap food has on the environment and whether there are better options to help struggling families... More>>