Sunday, August 28, 2011

Brain Food for a Sunday Afternoon

Lt Col. David Anderson, Kanani Fong, and family

This Sunday as the Eastern seaboard begins to relax and restore power and pump out flooded basements in the wake of Hurricane Irene, an article in Southern California's Orange Country Register remind us that we are just two weeks away from pausing to remember the day modern America changed forever. The article was penned by my good friend and fellow blogger Kanani Fong, who in addition to being a gifted writer, is the wife of Lt. Col. David Anderson, an Army surgeon who just returned from his second deployment to Afghanistan. Her story told in her own words show the depth of commitment that many Americans have felt to their country and fellow citizens since September 11, 2001. She begins.
Loving someone at war is the second-worst kind of missing you will ever experience. The worst kind of missing is if they die. We don’t like to think of it, but we do.

My husband, Lt. Col. David B. Anderson, joined the Army as an active-duty surgeon when he was 52. Since then, this midlife turn of events has taken him to two areas of conflict. First was Kunar, where he was the surgeon in charge of the 759th Forward Surgical Unit. The second, from which he just returned, was in Herat. Both were in Afghanistan.

Deployments have a rhythm: Inhale, he’s here; exhale, he’s gone.
Kanani continues by explaining how she came to be an army wife in what she calls middle age and I call just reaching your plateau. In a few short paragraphs she explains how she has managed to raise their two teenage children and maintain both their home and still find time to lend her support to the troops and their families. Take the time to read the article and visit her blog the Kitchen Dispatch where she will keep you abreast on her life as an Army surgeons wife.

Read more:
An Army doctor's wife explains war at middle age

Rents in the fabric of Globalization

This next post comes by way of Steve DeAngelis who write the Enterprise Resilience Management blog. In this post Steve examines the rents in the fabric of Globalization and what America can do to mend them.
Overall globalization has been a good thing for the world. Millions (if not billions) of people have emerged from poverty's grasp as globalization washed over the shores of the better part of the world during the last several decades. Admittedly, globalization's effects have varied by region and state. Along with winners globalization has created some losers. As a result, globalization's fabric has become threadbare in spots. Jeffrey Sachs, a well-known advocate for the underprivileged and director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, points out, for example, that unskilled labor in developed countries like the United States has been hit hard by the consequences of globalization. ["Tripped up by globalisation," Financial Times, 18 August 2011] Sachs insists, "The path to recovery now lies ... in upgraded skills, increased exports and public investments in infrastructure and low-carbon energy."
Steve continues his post by building off  the original prescription by Jeffrey Sachs, where he brings much needed insight from someone who is fulfilling a calling to help develop a future worth living.
Although I agree with Sachs on the basic thrust of what is required to bring real recovery to the U.S. economy, we differ in some particulars. Sachs, for one thing, believes corporations should be taxed more heavily. I fear that would only make matters worse since corporations would likely send more of their money to tax havens overseas. Clearly, tax revenues need to increase and government spending needs to be reeled in if basic government needs and essential social services are going to be provided; but the best way to increase tax revenues is to put people back to work. Corporations that create jobs should be rewarded for their efforts rather than be penalized. I've argued since the beginning of the recession that more needed to be done to encourage entrepreneurs to start businesses and hire employees. Unfortunately, it looks like politicians are more interested in pointing fingers of blame at each other than they are about trying to work together to stimulate job creation. Getting off the soapbox, let me return to the subject of globalization.
Read more:
The Holes in Globalization's Fabric

Have we reached this point in our history?

Finally, comes this guest post over at Zenpundit written by Pundita who uses an amusing video to introduce and illustrate her point.
The title of this post refers to the punch line in a series of TV commercials in the USA for Sears Optical eyeglasses. The ads feature amusing skits of people in serious need of a pair of glasses, such as the woman who mistakes a police patrol car for a taxicab. But helped along by bravura performances from Tara L. Clark as a blind-as-a-bat cat owner and Squirty as a wild racoon who can’t believe his luck, one of the skits is so funny it’s gone viral on the internet:
Pundita notes the contribution of the master of zenpundit Mark Safranski to the discussion with this comment.
Over at ZenPundit, Mark Safranski has again expressed concern about what he calls an emerging American oligarchy, an elite that’s manipulating the rest of the American populace to accept its rule. Meanwhile, Fareed Zakaria is seriously proposing that America replace its president with a prime minister and Congress with a parliament — with an upper house, I suppose, to be stuffed with Mark’s oligarchs, duly elected of course, so that Americans will stop the troublesome habit of vehemently disagreeing with one another. 
Read and watch for a final desert of brain food.
Missing Something?

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