TODAY FROM AMERICA:
Hayden’s seventh birthday is upon us, so my experiences of the week have been bent to conform to his expectations. Not that that is not the normal situation, but birthdays make it even more so. Running about buying presents, cakes and associated accouterments required by the child and the society we muddle within, takes up most of my time.
At the entrance to the subdivision in El Dorado Hills stand two large boulders. On these boulders, local residents paint various messages usually regarding either birthday’s, new teen age love affairs or now and then Girl Scout cookie sales. In keeping with my commitment to periodically share in the traditional rituals of whatever culture I may temporarily reside in, a few afternoons ago I drove up to the rocks and illegal spray cans in hand painted one of them:
It reads, Happy Birthday Hayden, 7 on 7.
I have had no further update regarding Bill Geyer’s condition.
B. 2012 Predictions:
In December I made a bunch of predictions for 2012 that I sent to a few of you. Now with the first quarter of the year almost compete, I thought I would see how those conjectures are doing:
Although as I mentioned the God Train may have left the station, it does not mean that waiting for its successor, even if futile, cannot be fun. My proposed name for 2012 is The Year the End Began. I decided however discussing how 2012 does that may be a little too depressing so I decided to make a few guesses about things that may happen during the year. Here is what I think:
a. American Presidential Election:
The winner of the election will be a man; most likely Obama since the Republican candidate, probably Mitt, will be unelectable because of, in Mitts case, a lack of enthusiasm from the Republican base (matched only by the lack of enthusiasm by the Democratic progressive base for Obama) and by the existence of an inevitable conservative third-party candidate. Among the other announced Republican candidates, no one has a chance to upset the incumbent. Obama can energize his base by choosing someone like Hillary as his running mate. This trial balloon went up this week. If Obama was not such a wuss, he would pursue this option vigorously, but not until it becomes clearer who his opponent will be.
No change. Although a brokered Republican convention remains possible, I do not believe it will happen and Romney with be the Republican standard-bearer and will most likely lose the general election provided the economy remains relatively intact. As for Hillary as VP it is too early to tell. On the Republican side, the most logical VP candidate is Mark Rubio, young, hispanic, relatively unknown and from a must win Republican state, Florida. A third-party candidate remains a distinct possibility. Buddy Roemer is already the announced candidate for an internet based third-party.
b. Control of Congress:
Neither party. The Republicans barely hold on to their control of the house while the Democratic majority in the Senate is reduced to one. Gridlock continues until the 2014 elections.
No change. But strong Demo gains in both houses possible.
(to be continued)
A few months ago, in “This and that…” and later in my blog, “Trenz Pruca’s Journal,” I commented on Naomi Wolf’s observation that a certain portion of the nation’s younger generation appears intentionally choosing to be less mobile and unmotivated to pursue the high intensity jobs that past generations aspired to. I pointed out that this trend may be exacerbated by the increasing use of mobile communication over the past decade or two. Perhaps a major portion of what we purchase, I surmised, is intended for travel to and meeting with other people. Things like automobiles, clothing, cosmetics and the like, for the most part, are intended to facilitate face to face meetings between people. With mobile electronic communication, at least to those who rely upon them (mostly the young who grew up using them for their juvenile socialization needs), such travel and meeting oriented purchases are less necessary, and the employment requirements to acquire the money to obtain them less pressing.
Such shifts in social goals need not be great in order to have a significant effect on the nation’s economy. As I pointed out a mere 3% of potential purchasers eschewing a second car could be enough to eliminate growth in the automotive industry for that year.
Some evidence that this shift already is occurring is provided by the chart I have recently come across that indicates Vehicle Miles Driven in America has declined for the past 7 years and the pace of the decline is quickening.
While the recession accounts for some of the decline, it began prior to the beginning of the rescission (as it did in 1980) but more importantly it has continued and even accelerated following the recession’s end.
If this chart is a harbinger of the future, just think about what it may mean for the future, on jobs, highway construction, automobile manufacturing, climate change, the textile industry and on and on.
What is curious to me is that few economists, commentators or financial pundits that I know of appears to have even glanced at the phenomena much less commented on it except as an artifact of the recent recession. Perhaps they think it is irrelevant.
Before the advent of the highly mobile society in the 1920s economics was the provenance of a few academic scholars. Since its inception the industry has grown such that every mid-sized institution worth its salt, has a house economist (as well as a lawyer and accountant, two other growth industries over the past 80 years). Could it be that they have really been studying the wrong thing all along?
The Adam Smith’s of the world in the 18th Century attempted to generalize the workings of traders and brokers meeting in a few coffee houses in London. Their musings were found useful but inadequate to describe the industrial economies of the 19th Century and by the Twentieth Century re-evaluated again. But were they not simply attempting to generalize the workings of trade in an agrarian society, the dynamics of industrialization and most recently the transportation based economy? In every case they proved to be somewhat satisfactory for describing what lay in front of them, but wholly inadequate in either predicting or describing the transition to another economic paradigm? In other words, perhaps the title of Macro-economics their practitioners assumed for their trade was never very Macro at all, but just a poorly written operating manual for a soon to be obsolete machine.
MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES, THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
Site under repair.
PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:
(Not the guy, although he does look a bit frightening himself)
Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/
(Now to be fair, were this to be entitled “Dem. Congressperson,” the only changes I would see would be:
1. The Clown Parade replaced by a photo of an S&M float in the SF Gay Freedom Day parade.
2. Instead of the passing of money, a picture of the leader of the mob of town’s people off to set fire to Frankenstein’s castle.
3. “What I think I do,” would be the same photo as in #2.
4. Although I believe the final photograph applies in general equally well to elected officials in either party, I will leave it to the readers to come up with something they consider more accurate for Democrats. I personally tend to like this )
(Wow, no wonder every guy was busy ramming sharpened stakes into each others backside. If you kill the other guy you get to keep his women. It was good to be a guy in biblical times. I can understand now why guys like Santorum and the Divines would like to get back to those times. On the other hand, Jesus seemed to suggest, forget the sticks, hang out with harlots and a bunch of gay guys, cover everyone with oil and then lay hands on each other. That sounds pretty good too. I must admit my day-dreams seem to be very Christian. “Get it on with Jesus.” I like that. Maybe I will start going to church again. Perhaps I missed something the first time around. Back then the priest in confession would ask if I masturbated. I did not know what the word ment since “jerking off” was the common phrase among my peers. I thought masturbate had something to do with school so I always answered, “no Father, not yet but soon I hope.”)