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A View From the Edge

The same old dance

What is the news? According to Bill Paley, the founder of CBS, you need a balance in broadcasting: one side as entertainment, like Frank Sinatra, and the other as news, like Edward R. Murrow. 

Fred Friendly, the ex-head of CBS News, once said, “Television makes so much [money] at its worst that it can’t afford to do its best.” That’s certainly proving to be the case these past weeks.

A nation indivisible?

What do the words “country” and “nation” mean? Here we are, living in North America. How do we know? Because someone, a long time ago, drew lines on a map and gave physical names to places. This is New York, that’s Connecticut, over there is Virginia, and so on. We’re all (after a war or two) in the United States of America. 

History rewritten

In these times of gloom and disasters, let’s have some fun and look at amazing underwater discoveries. 

We’ll start with the Baltic Sea, surrounded by Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Germany. The water there is so brackish and cold that a little wood-eating worm called Terredo navalis dies without warmth and oxygen. And the result? Throw a piece of wood into that sea and, once it gets down to the bottom, it stays there, mostly intact, lifeless, preserved. 

We shouldn’t be surprised by any of this

$125,000,000,000: According to FEMA, that’s the minimum — yes, minimum — that those two hurricanes will cost the taxpayer. 

I’m giving up using words like billion or trillion; easy to say and no visual impact. 

Remember the F-35? The secretary of the Navy’s estimate, in testimony before Congress in 2016, over 10 years is $14,000,000,000,000. Like the hurricane guestimate, it will go up.

Friendship is not always the best choice to make

In the 1920s, a new idea arose: pen friends. You could have a friend the other side of the globe just by writing back and forth. 

The Scouts made an international pact to all be friends. 

Following WWII, whole countries went out of their way to declare friendship for those who had stood together: Britain became the friend of America and vice-versa. Argentina liked Britain and America. The Philippines was the friend of the U.S., and so on. 

Negative advertising

Let’s all start off with one assumption: If you have given in to a smart phone, that’s your primary computer for email checking, web surfing, a little game playing and, of course, social media. 

I suspect there are many of us who are fed up to the back teeth with all the advertising being pumped at us. You turn on your phone, and a browser automatically senses where you are and finds appropriate messages to flood your screen. 

The annoying popup advertising we all despise

Let’s all start off with one assumption: If you have given in to a smart phone, that’s your primary computer for email checking, web surfing, a little game playing and, of course, social media. 

I suspect there are many of us who are fed up to the back teeth with all the advertising being pumped at us. You turn on your phone, and a browser automatically senses where you are and finds appropriate messages to flood your screen. 

The talent of hiding $$$ in plain sight

Sometimes you have to take tycoons at their word. According to Northrup Grumman Chairman, President, and CEO Wes Bush (July 26), the Pentagon is “increasingly thinking about how they classify their programs.” 

Then he added this tidbit, that there was a “likelihood that an increasing fraction of our business may become restricted.” 

Jails and punishment and recidivism

Since it is likely there may be some high-profile possible jailings in the not-too-distant future, it is perhaps useful to review what prisons are, how they work and what their real function is. 

Bear in mind that pretty much everyone already agrees that justice and the law are often separated by an insurmountable chasm. But once convicted, people go off to jail.

The con game — history revisited

It is the oldest political game in the world: In times of economic insecurity, the plutocrat, the rich person, someone powerful in another arena, says to the people who are hurting:

“Your problems aren’t caused by tax dodgers, they are not caused by the richest people not paying you proper salaries with which you can live and raise your family. Your problems are not caused by bankers who gamble your future away.