You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2012.

Of course, I voted in Illinois, not one of the handful of swing states, where every vote REALLY matters.

Down with the Electoral College! (go to http://www.nationalpopularvote.com)

Two years ago, I put up the following cautionary entry on this blog. The threat still looms over us all. Also, check out http://www.nationalpopularvote.com.

Start by Fixing the Electoral College

September 22, 2010

One day again (see the election of 2000), the Electoral College will put in a President who did not win the national popular vote. This archaic instrument is not fundamental to our democracy, in fact it is anti-democratic. It was the product of a 18th century political compromise by the founding fathers. It is not needed anymore. It doesn’t do what it was meant to do. It could destabilize the nation at a time when grassroots voters demand to be heard.

What is the history? What is the risk? What are the arguments, pro and con? What can we done to change it, before it’s too late?

To join the discussion and find some answers, read my essay, “One Collage Too Man.” Go to chilit.org, click on “Roll of Members” found on the left column, click on “E”, then go to “Charles Ebeling” and click on the essay title to read or copy it.

Make up your mind, then do something! Isn’t it time for a National Popular Vote? Thanks.

Here are titles of the 8 essays I’ve written and presented to date before the Chicago Literary Club, since joining in 2005. I will present a new essay related to the use of colors in the world of power and politics on this Election Eve, which I will then also post here. Those of you concerned about the risks of the Electoral College in this year’s elections might take a look at my essay, One Collage Too Many, cited below, for insights and ideas. All my essays are copyrighted.You can pull up the full text of each by searching for the title at the website of the club at http://www.chilit.org

French Fried – From Monticello to the Moon, October 31, 2005
Masai Mara Hood Ornament, March 12, 2007
Samuel Johnson and His ‘Clubbable’ Friends, January 21, 2008
One Collage Too Many, November 3, 2008
Breakfast with Mr. McDonald, October 26, 2009
Acceleration, November 8, 2010
All That Glitters…, November 21, 2011
Bozzy’s Last Lap, James Boswell, The Great Biographer – 1789-1795, April 23, 2012

When both political parties talk in terms of creating or replacing jobs lost by what they insist on misrepresenting as the “middle class,” they don’t speak of how we will re-employ low-skilled workers who are NOT candidates for college, management or high-tech industries. Yes, there are many who can benefit from more and better educational and training opportunities, including retraining, and enter or re-enter the middle class. But there are many millions more who were never in the middle class and never will be, because their abilities and capacities are limited, and more suited to decent manual labor, hourly jobs and low-skill positions. They are willing to work and learn, but there won’t be room for everyone in middle management and the lab.

The reality the politicians ignore, and seem afraid to acknowledge, is that the U.S. needs to create millions of new low-skill jobs, and the opportunity to do so sits right in front of us all. Our infrastructure in the U.S. is in bad shape, in need of repair and replacement — roads, bridges, dams, commercial buildings, apartments, homes, our forests damaged by fires, our commmunities damaged by storms. We need to upgrade our airports and build njew railroads. To do all that, and accelerate the rebirth of our economy, We need a new public works program nationally, and a private works program too. Millions who are not capable or ready to achieve middle class status in our society need honest, honorable, decent paying work to support themselves and their families. And they need it now, not in five years. Many returning veterans (and hopefully there will be many and soon) can benefit from that work as well.

What no politician speaks of or has any announced specific plans for is a “working class” jobs program of massive scale, to replace the manufacturing and white-color jobs that have been or will soon be eliminated by new technology or that have gone overseas to low paid foreign workers. Yes, we need a jobs program for the real professional “middle class,” but we desperately need one for the equally real “working class” as well. Where are the plans, and when does the work start?

Yes, there definitely should be a TV program called The Poll Show. You can’t watch or listen to 5 minutes of any news or opinion program anymore without hearing endless political poll results, more than often qualified with the caution that the comparitive numbers results are “within the margin of error.”

In a way, many of these broadcasts have become The Poll Show, insofar that their content is mostly the reciting of the latest political poll results and commentary about it. When did polls replace real journalism? If there is but one election, why do we need literally thousands of pre-polls to try to measure emotion?

Guess what? The election itself is the real poll. But what would the vapid, endless news and opinion “shows,” and they are mostly “shows,” rather than true programs, have to talk about if it weren’t for these polls. And how can the pollsters find new and meaningful people to poll, over and over again, when most people I know hang up on pollsters or anyone else soliciting them by phone, if they answer their phones at all?

The great “Poll Show” is everywhere’ indeed, and one of the first election reforms I’d like to see is for the so-called news media to forsake most political polls as meaningless exercises in temperature-taking that fill time for advertisers and give lazy news and opinion commentators something to talk about.

With today’s announcement that the print edition of NewsWeek will soon be no more, I lament the chance to hold it in my hand, take it to breakfast, and change out each week’s issue in my coffee table magazine piles (I guess I’ll have a lot more room soon on that coffee table).

Here’s what I wrote about Newsweek, which has been with me for 53 years, a while back on this blog:

Newsweek Should Stay

June 18, 2010 in Magazines, News Media | Tags: Literature, News Media (Edit)

As a high school civics student, I subscribed to Newsweek, and checked off every story, every week, as I read them all, from my most to least favorites. Maybe that had something to do with my getting interested in journalism; that, and liking to write and being a reporter for the school paper. But that, my friend, was 50 years ago this past spring.

I’ve subscribed to Newsweek (http://www.newsweek.com/)most of the time since, except during a short stint in Vietnam as an Army press officer (no magazines received there). I was just reading it over lunch today, and enjoying the good and relevant stories as much as ever. Now, the Washington Post has Newsweek for sale, and they say there have been some 70 bidders, including a Chinese news agency rumored to be associated with the Chinese government. Newsweek is losing editors and writers, and losing money more than anything. If the magazine itself were any thinner, it could be used for stuffing shoes.

But I think it’s still terrific, and a must-read up there for me with The Economist, Fortune, Wired and Popular Science. Editor John Meacham, a frequent guest on Morning Joe and other topical political shows, is one bright, articulate guy, even if he seems a little sad lately. I may be a loyal old softy, but in my book, Newsweek deserves to continue, in print, digitally or otherwise, but continue it should. It still informs, enlightens and stimulates, and that’s more than you can say for a lot of so-called news media.

Five questions for which the debaters won’t have answers…
October 3, 2012

In the Presidential debates tonight, I doubt whether either candidate will have realistic answers for these 5 questions.

1. When will our endless wars and military occupations stop?

2. How and when will we unwind our spiraling national debt?

3. When and how will we implement election reform and restore civility to federal government?

4. How will each American receive the medical care they deserve and how will it be paid?

5. How and when will the banking and financial risk industries be separated again?

Outside of Houston, a small town rallied to save a local 100-year-old historic oak tree, and mounted a creative campaign to raise $200,000 in funding, that involved 5 powerful CAT tractors working in Unison to move the living tree 1500 feet, out of the way of a new road. Why does it matter. When an entire community cares that much about saving a living symbol for the future, and mounts an effort as resourceful as that of moving the Endeavor Space Shuttle through the streets of LA, it deserves our notice, and respect.

See the “moving” video. http://youtu.be/BFTj0hM3DHM

The Fontana Frog, long the most recognized but neglected community symbol in Fontana, Wisconsin, at the west end of Geneva Lake, has been newly replastered and painted, restoring the original luster of this roadside wonder that once graced a now-abandoned miniature golf course on the road into the village. “Ribbit, Ribbit!”

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