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Alex Baer

The Man Who Made a Forest

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The whole business of heroes and fame routinely gets tangled up, mangled and strangled by modern life, interest levels somehow high in vapid and empty people created for the times, people famous only for being famous, their lively, spontaneous actions for renown all baled up with (and sometimes bailed out by) well-rehearsed legal dance-steps, or the fancy footwork of plain-deadly infamy.

In our modern world, we often confuse price and value, among so many other things.  That is marketing's tales-and-sales mission, and marketing always lands its beachheads well-prepared.

Contrast today's fleeting flights of fame, awards for spurious and curious being, against those of the world's geniuses of the past who invented and gave back to the world so incredibly much.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 April 2012 16:10 Read more...

Hazards, House Organs, and Kidneys

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Just when you thought Fukushima was giving your sanity a breather, there's lots more human-generated hazards and madness waiting to provide us all individual meltdowns -- and that's not even counting politics.

Fukushima, again, or some more, the scoring's up to you:  Reactor Number 4 has a fuel storage pool that's barely intact, in a badly damaged building, the fuel open to the sky, in a region prone to regular earthquakes.  We humans ask again in unison:  What could go wrong?

A portion of the Monday report from Japan's Mainichi news:  "...the storage pool [is] barely intact on the building's third and fourth floors.  The roof has been blown away.  If the storage pool breaks and runs dry, the nuclear fuel inside will overheat and explode, causing a massive amount of radioactive substances to spread over a wide area..."

Last Updated on Monday, 09 April 2012 18:38 Read more...

Ten Places to Start

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We primates are flukes of evolutionary whims, stumbling experiments with bigger brainpans, still merely monkeys with car keys and credit cards.  We are not to take ourselves too seriously, nor be depressed or surprised at any of the routinely dumb monkeyshines or monkey business we perform and pull off in this life.

Really now, a realistic view:  Expect nothing of value to occur.  Should anything happen to go well, be pleasantly floored, realizing the usual state of our primitive efforts in any regard usually ends in catastrophe and collapse. This is a cautionary prescription for improved mental health, as most primate miseries stem from dashed hopes for better, staggering survivors of crashed expectations.  This is less pessimism than a Futilitarian view, which dictionaries describe as the belief that human striving most often is futile.  Sounds truthful and downright utilitarian, if you ask me.

Last Updated on Sunday, 08 April 2012 21:48 Read more...

Wall Street: Occupying Our Thoughts

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A postscript regarding eyebrow-raising news from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas:  It was news that said we'd best break down those megabanks that are too big to fail, lest the whole economy get sucked in and squashed when they topple again.  Imagine that, a conservative regional bank saying what regular folks have been saying -- for how many years, again?

The temptation is strong to say something snide here, such as, "What? No honor among thieves?" but we will do all we can to rein in that urge. Instead, we will simply agree it's asking for trouble, keeping more than half of the nation's banking assets in just five institutions.  The Dallas Fed agreed, adding those megabanks not only prolonged and amplified the 2008 crash, but have also been squarely hindering the recovery.

Last Updated on Saturday, 07 April 2012 17:19 Read more...

The World as Ante: Quite a Pot!

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In poker, when bluffing is not an option, and you're holding a very weak hand, folding is the most graceful and expedient way to bow out.  Keep hoping our global luck holds out with nuclear power plants, lest they get so maniacally sideways they force our entire species to fold.

Some countries are on a good path:  Germany has announced plans to abandon nuclear power in ten years.  Japan's faster, shutting down its last plant next month after people there declared they'd had enough radioactive fun to last them a few lifetimes.  The Japanese have taken the high road:  The only people atom-bombed in war, they are now trying hard to not return the sick favor, not spray radiation back on us all.

Last Updated on Friday, 06 April 2012 16:35 Read more...

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