BY THE LIGHT OF A NEW DAY

stars-in-night-skyAstronomers believe there are hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe, and between 100 and 300 billion stars in our own Milky Way alone.  The sheer immensity is both humbling and beyond our modest comprehension.  Yet increasingly, people can’t even take in the vast spray of stars cast across the night sky anymore, as that display has been veiled by the light pollution enveloping our cities. Thus, while much has been gained in our relentless technological trek, much too has been lost along the way, too.

With even the majesty of the night sky taken we tend to shrink in the dim light of man’s own making.  By that weak light many people remain shaded in the darkness of fact-aversion, beyond the light of acquired knowledge and accepted science.  And though all science is amenable to challenge, there is no light strong enough to penetrate blind denial or unquestioning allegiance.  Accordingly, many see only right-wrong, light-dark, win-lose, here-there, yes-no, ME-YOU, a very  brittle outlook, indeed. Even our political framework has been constructed into cartoonish either-or choices.

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CAMPUS UNREST – CHALLENGING SELF-BELIEF

Campus unrest in Berkeley (Deseret News)

Campus unrest in Berkeley (Deseret News)

Protests, at times violent, have broken out in recent days against provocative right-wing speakers at U.C. Berkeley and NYU.  The initial reaction has been to lay blame on the radical left who remain frustrated with their loss in last November’s election and what they consider the travesty of a Donald Trump presidency.  On the other side, left-leaning conspiracy theorists have posited that the real ring-leaders behind the campus unrest are elements of the far right looking to gin up anti-left sentiment.

There are the two America’s we have heard so much about right there.  One side revels in the Trump swagger in the face of what they see as America’s reduced standing in the world, while the other is frightened by the new administration’s impetuous unpredictability and lack of experience.  But given that these campus protests actually reflect student beliefs, is it possible that what we are seeing isn’t simply a mirror held up to the nation’s political polarity, but more evidence of how overly catered to children now coming of age are, believing any challenge to their sensibilities is beyond the pale, regardless of which side of the political divide they may stand? Continue reading

TOP 10 POSTS OF 2016

The author

The Blogger in an analog state

As the interesting, arresting year of 2016 comes to a close I thought I’d go back through this year’s blog offerings and see which ones captured the reader’s imagination or piqued your interest most.

Here then the Top 10 most read posts on this site from the now fading year.  Topics range from Olympic performances, to State of the Sport issues, to presidential politics,  and beyond.  Many thanks to all who stopped by for a read and maybe even a reply. Happy 2017 to all!

 

  1.  RUPP IS IN!!! – Galen announces his debut marathon will be the U.S. Oly Trials in Los Angeles. Kinda thought he might do well. Now, it’s on to Boston 2017!
  2. THEORY OF PERVERSE INCENTIVES IN RUNNING – Foot-racing, which used to be the focus of running events, is now just a supporting element.
  3. IN THE WAKE OF THE WOMEN’S 800 – A crash, tears and histrionics in the women’s 800m final at the Olympic Trials.
  4. DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC? – Almaz Ayana smashes the women’s world record in the 10,000 meters by 14 seconds without as much as a furrowed brow.
  5. CHICAGO 2016 – For the second year in a row the Bank of America Chicago Marathon staged a no-pacesetters competition with a slow winning time.
  6. COE ATTEMPTS TO WALK IAAF OFF THE LEDGE – New IAAF prez tries to draw his sport back from the cliff of doom.
  7. SUB2 PACK FORMS UP – Like the murmur of far off hooves, the Sub – Two Hour marathon quest became a lot more audible in December.
  8. IN TRUMP WE TRUST – And we thought the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series was historic!
  9. THE HEAT WILL BE ON IN L.A. – Conditions for the Oly Trials Marathon in L.A. were forecast from the low-70sF (21C) to 80F (27C) at noon.  Not ideal, by any measure.
  10. BACK TO PACING AS USUAL – Pure racing for high stakes is what grabs the attention of the common man.

That’s the Top 10 from 2016.  Safe New Year’s celebrating, and we will get together again in 2017!

TR

END

 

NOVEMBER SURPRISE

They call it an October surprise, and we had a few of those in the run-up to this historic 2016 election. Maybe not one as stunning as the November surprise that put Donald Trump in the White House, but now comes the question, how about the surprises that may come in February, March, April and beyond?

Because here’s the thing about Donald J. So without context is he upon entering the Oval Office, and so opaque to the public are his business dealings – no tax returns released after all – what happens when it turns out he just said all those things on the campaign trail to get into office, and didn’t really believe wholeheartedly in very much of that agenda?

It may be a cynic’s view, but what if he turns out to be the left-leaning New York Dem he once admitted being?  OMG, what if in one of the great ironies in U.S. political history President-elect Trump ends up as a hybrid version of a third Obama term? Yikes! Continue reading

IN TRUMP WE TRUST

And we thought the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series was historic.

trump-coinIn a massive FU to the ruling class that bailed out Wall Street then sold out Main Street, the American people elected boorish billionaire and reality TV star Donald J. Trump as its 45th president yesterday.  It was a stunning rebuke not only to his Democratic challenger and status quo candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, but to the current President Barack Obama, and the Republican Party hierarchy as well.

Not since Old Hickory, Andy Jackson, rode into Washington from Nashville in 1829 has such a pure populist insurgent been handed the reins of power by the American electorate. But even Jackson had a record of military and political service. Trump is the first man elected to the nation’s highest office as a complete novice, with no military or political experience of any kind in his CV.

Never once ahead in the polls in the election run up, Trump’s shocking victory and Clinton’s perilous fall announced to the world that a powerful anti-establishment, anti-elite, anti-immigrant movement had arrayed itself behind the Trump banner.  And while this movement is coming FROM the people, it is also true that it is not really OF the people, as Trump is no more one of the people than Mitt Romney was. Never has been, never will be.

But in the absence of an acceptable choice from the Dems, Trump wielded his “Make America Great Again” slogan like a conjurer’s stone until even true blue states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin succumbed to the fever dream offered by the New York real estate tycoon.

And it didn’t matter that Trump has never once experienced the kind of difficulties that led millions of people to throw in with him. He was no American Lech Walesa, the electrician who co-founded Poland’s Solidarity Movement and led a workers’ strike in the shipyards of Gdansk in 1981 that began the dismantling of Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.

But in the absence of a person who comes directly from the ranks of the disenfranchised, Donald Trump’s populist message and bombastic braggadocio was seized upon as the imperfect vessel to hold the frustrations and hopes of this country’s under-served, and non-represented.

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WALLS OF INTOLERANCE, BRIDGES WITHOUT SPANS

Last Thursday First Lady Michelle Obama delivered an emotional rebuke to Republican Party nominee Donald Trump after sexually aggressive comments he made in 2005 surfaced on an open-mic Access Hollywood video.  The week following the tape’s release nine women came forward telling of incidents with Mr. Trump that mirrored the behavior he bragged about 11 years before.

Mr. Trump has vehemently denied his accuser’s allegations, said his 2005 comments were just “locker room talk”, and then called the uproar that followed part of a sinister news media led conspiracy meant to take down his insurgent presidential bid.  His rabid followers began sharpening pitchforks and re-tarring their torches, but many on both sides of the aisle were deeply offended by the grabber in chief’s words, denials, and conclusions.

First Lady Michelle Obama‘s voice broke several times during the speech she delivered in New Hampshire as she categorized Mr. Trump’s conversation with Billy Bush in 2005 as “hurtful, hateful language.”

“Language that has been painful for so many of us,” she continued. “Not just as women, but as parents trying to protect our children and raise them to be caring, respectful adults. And as citizens who think our nation’s leaders should meet basic standards of human decency…It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted.”

There is no doubt the First Lady was deeply troubled by Citizen Trump, as she probably has been since he first championed the Birther issue that questioned her husband’s legitimacy as president. But while it is easy to puncture the gilded pomposity of a man born of great wealth but an equal dearth of couth, perhaps Mrs. Obama knows now how the right-to-life movement feels about abortion and what it represents to their closely held beliefs.  Is it happenstance alone that the coarsening of American culture has coincided, not just with the emergence of a man like Trump, but with the Roe  v. Wade decision in 1973 (not to mention Watergate and the Vietnam War)?

So let’s all open our eyes and look around. There is more than one point of view. And if you are talking about equivalency, there are many who (evidently) would still take a loud-mouth lout who pushes himself on women, but who represents fundamental political change, over a status-quo candidate who “dissembles on an Olympian level”, “condones infanticide”, and enables her husband to push himself on women, too, all while serving as poster girl for the same/old, same/old. Continue reading