Friday, July 17, 2015

Coloring Books for Adults

Your friendly proprietor was walking from a parking garage at Stanford to his office on the other side of campus when he passed a group of six-year olds wearing orange t-shirts with the words "Media Academy" printed on them.  I have been reading numerous stories of two-year olds using ipads, kindles, and other digital devices.

Imagine coming across an Associated Press story on July 15, 2015, "Trendy But Calm:  Adult Coloring Books Selling Like Crazy."  Indeed, at one point during that week adult coloring books occupied 8 of the top 20 slots on Amazon's best-seller list.

Are adults regressing to their childhoods?  One book title hints at their fast-rising popularity:  "Adult Coloring Book:  Stress Relieving Patterns."  Adults are joining coloring clubs, entering coloring contests, and posting on social media about the therapeutic benefits of coloring (presumably within the lines?).

There it is.  Fearless six-year olds taking over the digital world as their parents sit at home coloring books to relieve stress.  I suspect the subject of next year's camp for seven-year olds will be how to monetize their media apps and/or platforms, which will likely be taught by financially successful eight-year olds.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

It's time for a Little Honesty on the new Greek Bailout

Greece and its creditors--European Commission members, the European Central Bank, and the IMF--have been playing a game of pretend to oppose austerity and pretend to keep Greece in the Eurozone.

Neither matters nearly as much as enabling everyone involved to go on their European Charter guaranteed right of five weeks vacation beginning the last week in July and extending through the end of August.  Summer vacation is sacrosanct in Europe. Neither rain, sleet, hail, tornadoes, floods, heat, cold, fire, wind, earthquakes, or any other crisis can be allowed to disrupt the summer vacations of the residents of Europe's social market economies.

So to all our European friends, bon voyage and guten appetit! September will be soon enough to deal with any Greek problems that remain unresolved.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Greditors 1, Grebtors 0

To expand the universe of new "Gre" words, the EU's humiliating agreement to grant Greece another loan was a total victory for the Greek creditors (Greditors) and a stinging defeat for the humiliated Greek debtors (Grebtors).

Greeks now understand the Golden Rule:  He who has the gold rules!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Whatever Happened to The Third Way of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair?

The Third Way is a position that tries to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by synthesizing conservative economic and social welfare policies.  It was exemplified by a group of political leaders in the 1990s that included President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, and leaders of Brazil, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Israel.

The Third Way dissipated after Clinton and Blair left office, becoming the way to acquire vast fortunes.  President Bill Clinton accumulated an estimated $130 million in personal wealth, Tony Blair anywhere between $45-100 million, and Al Gore $300 million.

Many politicians and appointed officials of all stripes–left, center and right-prosper after they leave office.  These include cabinet officials, agency heads, generals, legislators, governors, mayors, and other prominent public officials.  Public service has become a path to millions in private (self) service.  No doubt President Obama will top them all with a book contract, board memberships, speaking fees, investments, and partnerships.

It is not illegal to reap large rewards trading on influence and contacts made during office after leaving office.  Nor is it necessarily unethical.

Your friendly proprietor believes that “public service,” which conveys a higher order of virtue than earning a living in the private sector, should not be a means to acquire large fortunes.  It demeans the high offices these individuals held.  He finds this kind of money-grubbing distasteful, unbecoming, and undignified.  Better are the words of Star Trek’s Lieutenant Worf, “they have no honor.”

Is it any wonder that public servants are held in such low regard.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Identity Politics in the United Kingdom

Why did the pollsters get it so wrong in the United Kingdom?  How can this be?

The pollsters were not willing to accept the rise of identity politics. They could think only in conventional class terms of right vs. left, Conservative vs. Labor.. 

Identity prevailed:

Scots voted for Scotland (the Scottish National Party).
English voted for England (the Conservative Party).

Diversity failed:

Diversity oriented Brits voted for a United Kingdom (Labour, Liberal Democrats).  They were trounced.

Ethnicity is now the dominant factor in British politics.  Get used to it.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Change the Narrative

Replace Diverse with Heterogeneous

Replace Sustainable with Durable

Replace Sensitive with Civil

Replace Equality with Equal Opportunity

Replace Democracy with Constitutional Republic

Replace Justice with Equal Treatment Under the Law

A Challenge:  Try going a whole day with the new narrative.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Day in the Life of.....

the intelligentsia.

Six words frame almost all written and spoken discourse.  It's increasingly difficult to read an article or hear remarks on any subject that does not include one or more of the six words or their correlates which underpin the contemporary liberal (bigger government) narrative:

Diversity (Diverse)
Sustainability (Sustainable)
Sensitivity (Sensitive, Insensitive)
Inequality (Equality)
Justice (Social Justice)

Every dimension of life requires diverse, sustainable, sensitive, equal, democratic, just policies and outcomes.

A challenge:  See if you can go a whole day without uttering or writing any of the six commandments.