Study Hall….

We all at some time in our high school careers, no matter how long ago, remember that part of our day that fell under the heading of study hall. To some it was the only time we even looked at a textbook and for others it was a chance to get a head start on the evening’s homework. Then again it was an even better time to socialize and lob the occasional eraser or spitball. In our lives today maybe somethings never change.

My South African high still has not abated and the sheer volume of things to dwell upon envelop my psyche. Don’t even come near me as I expound upon the geographical, cultural and political issues that I look into with great regard. I studied my National Geographic Guide with a vengeance and felt I had at least a decent handle on what is going on there. Upon further reflection I asked myself if I had the same intellectual curiosity for the issues facing our great country?

I don’t go to an encyclopedic volume to study the US of A, but find myself at the whim of this channel or that, replete with their so called experts. The mantra of today is I am too busy and so jammed that I have to get my knowledge in snippets or sound bytes. Fair enough until I think about how I spend my free time. Over the weekend I spent the better part of nine hours or so watching football. I devoured the college games between The Fighting Irish and Ohio State. Sunday I ensconced myself in my beloved Broncos hoping they would come through and then Monday night praying the Patriots and those arch villains of Brady and Belichek would finally get their comeuppance. Such is life.

But then this morning I was brought back to reality by ISIS and a incredible interesting article in the Wall Street Journal on of all things, demography. I found myself debating my own leanings and was struck by my lack of in depth study of so many things. If knowledge is power I am the 100 pound weakling. Now some may say my admission of guilt is quaint but I had to think to myself, “What the hell could be more important?”

The ISIS thing has so many tentacles it defies understanding. I can have a visceral reaction and curse everything Muslim but hopefully reason will prevail. Bomb the crap out of them seems reasonable until I am faced head on with the reality that I will kill a lot of civilians.Tough call.  I can get pissed at Obama and his professorial detachment or meandering foreign policy but I have to ask myself what are the alternatives? Should I just say I am too busy or it is too complex to understand or I can get to work and in some way, shape or fashion forge my own solution. I have to keep at it. The Donald? Sorry, not my style.

The article on demographics tried to lay out a scenario that the world in its very being has taken some serious turns. Let’s assume for the moment that the world is indeed getting older. Two outcomes are striking. First is that if the populations are getting older they save more. Wonderful you say until you realize we are a consumer oriented world wide economy. Everything we do is based on people buying “stuff”. I have long held that we are running out of stuff and gadgets to buy. We just have too much. The lesser off want to buy stuff but now they are having bills to pay and at least for some eating is more important than a flat screen TV. We want things as cheaply as possible but that means we have to pay as little as we can in wages. Catch my drift?

The second logical outcome is that older people want more services from healthcare to recreation and that does not exactly entail hard goods. The services are expensive and are reliant more and more on government sponsored programs and high priced drugs. Now one of the ways to lower the average age is to have more young people. But the cost of having kids and educating them is soaring. The trend is to urbanize and that means less children as we look to two wage earners instead of the old one provider. There is one solution and that is to attract immigrants but I think you already know the way we look at that. What a kill joy you are TTG and right before Thanksgiving.
This does not portend disaster in the next few years but it is something we have to consider and especially among our millennials and next generations. We have taken our best and brightest and put them in professions while although lucrative are not especially long on innovation. The end result is our planners and administrators are thinking up new ways to merge and acquire or come up with some whippy new algorithm to trade faster. That’s not a shot at their livelihoods but the result is a bureaucratic mediocrity. If we get ticked at the lack of leadership and boldness in our elected officials they are creatures of our own design.

To make a long story short I think we need some serious thinking to go on and the government as well as the electorate has to get up to speed. We can’t say we are too busy or a problem is too complex to contemplate. Leave it to the professionals has left us bereft of understanding long term implications. We have to get out of our quarterly mindsets and look at it as OUR problem not someone else’s.

We have challenges in every aspect of our lives from immigration to foreign policy to infrastructure. We have got some fabulous minds to attack these opportunities. Fantasy Football? What about Fantasy Government where we put together our dream team and then win or lose on how we did our picks. Research their stats and pick the all stars. Me? I gotta hit the books. There is so much to learn.Watch out for spitballs.

As always and Happy Thanksgiving
Ted The Great

Factoids:

Since 9/11 we have spent over $7 TRILLION on defense. We have mismanaged Afghanistan and Iraq from the get go. Up until four years ago we did not know ISIS existed. We have been bombing them for a year but France, pissed off about the Paris bombing, took out the ISIS Command Headquarters on their first bombing runs ??????

The Boston Marathon bombers numbering 2 shut down and held one of our greatest and largest cities hostage for 3 days. Paris is frozen in place by 6 terrorists. Brussels where I only think of Belgian chocolates has been in lockdown and will continue to do so through next week. All because of a handful of terrorists. Kathy and I are going to London for Christmas to visit my son and his family….no matter what. And that is a factoid.

Lastly….Google “Perpetuum Jazzily  Africa”  and just sit back and listen. Very cool. Happy T Day All.

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