Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Son

My son turns 18 today.

But that can't be possible. He was just born a couple of weeks ago.

He just took his first step, he just discovered cake and ice cream, he just started pre-school.

He just sang along to the Winnie the Pooh song.

He just saw his first movie.

He just learned to swim.

He just learned to throw a ball and ride a bike.

He just learned to read and quickly found out how wide and wonderful and magical the world can be.

He was just afraid of something in his room at night.

He just said "not all jokes are funny, Daddy."

He just made a few friends.

He just learned that not everyone is nice, but you should try to be nice to everyone.

He just won an Ultimate Frisbee state championship. He just won another.

He just fell in love for the first time. He just had his heart broken for the first time.

Next week he will graduate from high school, with honors.

Then I suppose it's off to college and out into the world.

And Mrs. Franklin and I sit and wonder at just how fast time can fly...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Democracy In The 21st Century

We've got a lot of nerve, trying to export "democracy" abroad when we no longer practice it at home.

"Chutzpah", I think our Jewish friends would call it.

For instance, in the US Senate, a simple majority is no longer considered a majority. No, now you need a "super" majority. Why? Just because the Republicans want it that way...or else they'll filibuster everything. Why? Because they still can. (We can thank, dear, trusting, simple minded Harry Reid for that one.)

OK,  what about gun control? Having approximately 90% of the populace supporting some kind of new regulations should be enough, right? Au contraire, mon frere! The NRA doesn't want any changes and what the NRA wants the NRA gets. Wayne "A Gun Is A Tool And So Am I" LaPierre and his bags full of cash make sure of that.

Depending on how the questions are phrased, the majority of the American people also support abortion rights, gay marriage, green energy, sensible immigration reform, high speed rail, rebuilding the infrastructure, higher taxes for the rich, closing corporate tax loopholes, health care reform, cutting the defense budget, and a long list of other "progressive" actions.

So what's the problem? Guess.

That we are still arguing, and, as a result, stalemated over these issues is indicative of one thing:

Money trumps democracy almost every time. And the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case has only made the situation exponentially worse.

Forget all that one man one vote, land of the free, "We the People" nonsense.

Money trumps democracy almost every time.

That is the one thing we really should teach the kids in school. That and Mandarin.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Chinese Lightbulbs

Everything falls apart, eventually.

That is a given.

For proof look no further than your bathroom mirror. What stares back at you now as compared to what stared back at you last week, or last year, or 10 years ago?

With time, and the proper medication, we can expect and accept that sort of decay....

However, when things fall apart long before they should, long before they once did, well, that's a horse of a different color.

As a society, we seem to be on an endless quest to find cheaper ways to do things.

Cheaper is not always better, the Wal Mart family's fortune to the contrary.

Cheaper usually involves lower wages, lax safety and environmental standards, poorer quality, compromises all along the line.

It is cheaper to pollute. It is cheaper to let infrastructure decay. It is cheaper to incarcerate.

In the short run.

It is always cheaper and easier to do nothing.

One thing we can be sure of: somewhere, someone is making a killing off of cheaper.

And that profit is used to buy a Congress full of short-sighted grifters, libertarian nihilists, religious hypocrites, corporate toadies, and just plain, run of the mill imbeciles.

And once that bought and paid for Congress convinces us that we as a nation can't afford to do the things that once made us great, well, heaven help us all.

If they are allowed to, it only takes a handful of very rich folks to impoverish a multitude of regular folks.

Everything falls apart.