Mike Cornelison

Letters from the Lunar Outpost

All kinds of beauty do not inspire love; there is a kind which only pleases the sight, but does not captivate the affections.
- Cervantes, Spanish Novelist, Dramatist, and Poet (1547-1616)

Skid Row

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Los Angeles County’s homeless population has grown by 12 percent during the past two years amid a sluggish economic recovery that has left the poorest residents of the second-largest U.S. metropolitan area falling farther behind, a study released on Monday found.

 

The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s report cited stagnant or falling wages among the lowest-income earners, a local jobless rate that remains above state and national averages, and a worsening lack of affordable housing.

source: Reuters

The ranks of the homeless are swelling, but you’d never know it from the nightly news broadcasts. I find it fascinating, because I’m old enough to remember the days when Reagan was president and if you’re old enough to remember the 80s, you’re old enough to remember that there was no issue the media pushed harder on its broadcasts than the plight of the homeless in Reagan’s America.

Just a couple of weeks ago I was reminded of that ’80s fixation at the grocery store as they piped over the speakers Phil Collins’ song “Another Day in Paradise”, a #1 hit from 1989 which spotlighted the problem in both the video and its poignant lyrics:

She calls out to the man on the street
‘Sir, can you help me?
It’s cold and I’ve nowhere to sleep,
Is there somewhere you can tell me?’

 

He walks on, doesn’t look back
He pretends he can’t hear her
Starts to whistle as he crosses the street
Seems embarrassed to be there

 

Oh think twice, it’s another day for you and me in paradise
Oh think twice, ’cause it’s just another day for you,
You and me in paradise, think about it

It wasn’t just the news media and the musicians whose hearts were swollen with concern for the homeless back in the 1980s, even a sitcom like the Golden Girls devoted an episode to the folks in a homeless shelter, complete with a dialog-free three-minute-long video montage as a singer crooned, “Brother Can You Spare a Dime.” Now that was from the heart, how often do you see a sitcom breakout with a three-minute video montage?

And then Clinton was elected president and suddenly, I guess the homeless must have magically disappeared, because in Hollywood and all across the news media, the plight of the homeless was no longer even mentioned.

So now we see that homelessness is on the rise again, but outside of a brief mention flashed across the Reuters’ wire, somehow the rest of the news media doesn’t find it even worth a mention. Not as long as ABC-NBC-CBS-PBS-NPR-CNN-MSNBC have their man in the White House.

If you care about the homeless, if you want to raise awareness about the homeless, the solution is simple. Vote Republican in 2016 and watch how quickly the media rediscovers the plight of the homeless in America.

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Obama among the Greek Columns

Were the expectations for an Obama presidency too high to begin with? Yes, but to be fair, his cheerleaders in the media are as much to blame for that as his campaign team.

You know it’s pretty bad when even those ensconced in the comfortable confines of academia rank Obama’s presidency as somewhere between mediocre and poor.

From the left-of-center Brookings Institute:

We decided to conduct our own, original poll of several hundred members of the American Political Science Association on the topic of presidential greatness and President Obama’s current place in history (more on the methodology below * .) The results of our survey of political scientists with expertise in the American presidency include findings similar to other such polls and some intriguing new evidence, as well.

  • Those who view Obama as one of the worst American presidents outnumber those who view him as one of the best by nearly a 3-1 margin.
  • Nearly twice as many respondents view Obama as over-rated than do those who consider him under-rated.
  • Obama does not perform well on more specific dimensions of presidential greatness, often viewed as average or worse.

What can we take away from this? First, it is easy to infer that scholars and the public alike expected greatness from Obama early on and awarded it to him prematurely. Compare, after all, the fact that Obama’s first ranking in a major greatness poll was at #15; one must go back a half-century to Lyndon Johnson to find a president who entered the rankings at a higher number (#10), and LBJ was a well-known figure on the national stage who entered office after the national tragedy of his predecessor’s assassination. Second, scholars seem to hold Barack Obama in high regard personally, but view his skills and performance as mediocre to poor. Few think of Obama as an excellent president, while many more rate his presidency quite low, with the bulk of experts appearing to give him a passing grade but not one that would get him on the Dean’s list.

source: Brookings Institute

I remember being surprised at the tears of pride in my eyes when I saw Barack Obama being inaugurated president. It took me by surprise because up until then, his skin color had rarely even crossed my mind. Then I heard him utter this during his inauguration: “Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath . . . ” Uh, no Mr. President, I thought you were supposed to be the smart guy. Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, meaning you were the forty-third American to take the oath. It may seem like a minor quibble, but in taking the office of the presidency, for a president and his speechwriters to not even know how many presidents have stood before him, that was just a bizarre, surreal moment.

Just as it is with the people who said the same of Bush, the people who say Obama is the worst president ever are either unhinged or just ignorant of history. I think consensus of the academic denizens is correct – Barack Obama is a likeable guy, but he’s a guy who has never come close to living up to all the hype and his presidency itself ranks somewhere between mediocre or poor.

Let’s hope we choose better in 2016.

 

* 391 members of the American Political Science Association’s Presidents & Executive Politics section, the premier organization of experts of the American presidency, were invited to complete the online survey, which was administered by Brandon Rottinghaus of the University of Houston and Justin S. Vaughn of Boise State University. 162 surveys were completed online between May and November 2014. For more information, please contact the authors.

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I’ve written before about the liberal obsession with race, and every time I see yet another example of it, I just can’t help but think how sad it must be to go through life judging every action by every person around you in the context of skin colors.

Even more sad is the fact that the race-obsessed feel compelled to project their own fixations on everyone around them, thinking surely everyone else is just as fixated on skin color and gender and sexual orientations as they are.

That’s the daily hell that it must be for someone like Sally Kohn, who takes an act of kindness and turns it into a condemnation of that kind person as well as the society around us.

She was upset enough by this case of #whiteprivilege to make the tweet, but note how instead of going back to collect her wallet, Ms. Kohn had no problem drawing enough attention to her plight so as to be noticed by the MTA officer in the first place. Note also that she had no problem taking advantage of her so-called white privilege and took advantage of the free ride when offered it.

My last visit to New York in 2011, the people working for the MTA seemed as ethnically diverse as the city itself, so it’s kind of ludicrous to be thinking of white privilege in the subways to begin with, and not being race-obsessed myself, I’m thinking most likely, it was just a random act of kindness, as borne out by this observation from a daily subway rider of 20 years:

Yeah, that’s my best guess, a color-blind random act of kindness, but just to go along in the line of Ms. Kohn’s militant cynicism here, allow me to suggest an even scarier prospect for her race-obsessed mind to contemplate – what if this was not an example of #whiteprivilege at all, but instead, an example of #vajayjayprivilege?

Ms. Kohn never tweeted the sex of the officer, so it could have been a female officer of her own persuasion just lusting after her lesbian goodies, or it could have been a hetero female just sticking up for a fellow woman in a tough spot.

Or . . . what if it was some guy who’s gaydar is on the blink and was kind of hoping to get in her pants? Now there’s possibility that would both reinforce her cynicism against the world while at the same time, would confront her with the uncomfortable truth that #vajayjayprivilege does exist.

But of course, #vajayjayprivilege doesn’t fit the narrative, does it? Because while Kohn is ready to admit she was the improper recipient of white privilege, no way is she going to deflate the narratives of this oppressive male-dominated society and the #waronwomen. That would completely go against the narrative to admit that women have their own perks just for being women – free dinner on a blind date, ladies night and drink specials at the club, having the unique ability to cry your way out of speeding tickets, etc.

In my next post, I’ll be getting into #BeautyPrivilege and we’ll look at an unfair system where beautiful people of all races and genders profit at the expense of the not-so-attractive, in the work place, in our justice system and by having an unfair advantage of mating with other beautiful people, thus raising more attractive families and continuing to perpetuate the advantages of #BeautyPrivilege.

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California Drought

Here we are in beautiful, sunny California and oh by the way, we’ve got so much sun, we don’t even know what to do with all of it.

To be specific, once again, we are in a major drought. Last time the water reserves were this dry, it was around 1987. I remember it because it used to be, when you took a table at a restaurant, the first thing would be the busboy, bringing glasses of ice water to everyone seated at the table, unspoken, no questions asked. Then the drought came, and then the law came down, and there was no more automatic serving of ice water to whoever took a seat at a restaurant. If you wanted a glass of water, you had to ask for it. (I know, first world problems, right? The drought was so bad, we actually had to ask for that glass of water if we really wanted it.)

There was other rationing too, mostly stuff about how often you could water your lawns, but I was still too concerned with being a teenager to know anything about those rules.

The drought I remember more vividly was the one that hit in 1976. Hey, a little Déjà vu here, guess who was governor at the time? That’s right, it was Jerry Brown.

Governor Moonbeam

Governor Moonbeam

Now Jerry Brown is an interesting character. Someone correct me if I’m wrong on this, but I think he may be the only man in American history to serve two terms as governor, and then, twenty-four years later, get re-elected as governor again. Yeah, I’m pretty sure he’s the only guy to have ever done that. That is an amazing feat.

What makes me laugh when I think about Jerry Brown, is the fact that back in his first go-around as governor, his nickname was Governor Moonbeam. The guy who coined the term actually regrets it now because he saw in the governor something a lot more than some stoned-out kid who rolled out of a VW hippie van on the front lawn of the governor’s mansion, but the name stuck. And maybe rightfully so because while Jerry Brown was governor of California in 1980, he made a run for the White House with a campaign slogan of “Protect the earth, serve the people and explore the universe!”

Far out, man!

There was no doubt about it, you could just tell Jerry Brown was a guy who dropped his fair share of acid in the 60s.

And I remember a slogan from Governor Moonbeam back from that drought of 1976 . . .

If it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down.

There are almost 39 million people in California, and even with California law now mandating toilets to a “low-flow” of only 1.28 gallons per flush, I still think Governor Brown had a point then and we could resurrect that slogan now – “If it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down.”

As long as you’re not having company over, every time you save a flush by leaving just a little yellow in the bowl, you’re doing your own part to keep us from some nightmare scenario where one day we try to turn on the faucets and they come spitting out nothing but air.

Then again 80% of all human water use in California goes to agriculture, so there’s only so much you can do by cutting down on flushing.  There’s not much we can do but stick with “If it’s yellow, let it mellow” and just pray for rain.

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We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.

We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.

Back when Ferguson was going up in flames, I asked a simple question: Why did Governor Nixon let Ferguson burn? To recap:

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon had the National Guard mobilized a week in advance, yet that fatal night when the grand jury’s decision was read, the Guard was nowhere to be found.

 

As Ferguson Mayor James Knowles saw his city burning to the ground, he was desperately trying to reach the Governor or anyone else in State Government to plead with them to bring in the Guard. Not even a single call was answered. Mayor Knowles called it a “complete abdication of responsibility by Governor Nixon.”

Now in that case, the mayor slithered his way out of being held to account for his abdication of duty because no one knew if it was gross negligence or if he was acting as a silent accomplice, but this time, we have yet another Democrat in the mayor of Baltimore, just plain stupid enough to admit in front of all the world that she was willing to give the rioters sections of the city to burn and loot and rampage at will.

We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.

I have four points to make.

  1. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, all three of them changed the world and the one thing they had in common was a true belief in the power of peaceful protest.  When people were protesting peacefully in places like Selma, Alabama and the vast majority of law-abiding citizens at home saw video of those peaceful protesters on the one side and the firehoses and snarling dogs on leashes on the other side, anyone with a heart was rooting for the peaceful protesters.  Guess what? You just put the majority on your side.
  2. Barack Obama should return his Nobel Prize.  As the first black president, Barack Obama had a unique opportunity to change race relations but instead, alongside his buddie Al Sharpton and Eric Holder, he’s done more to widen the racial divide than anything.  Would it really be that hard for the president to say, yes, black lives matter and innocent black people killed by the police are tragedies, each and every one of them, but maybe we, as the black community, should also focus on the fact that 93% of our own people are killed at the hands of our own people?
  3. When Governor Nixon failed to send in the guard, when Mayor Rawlings-Blake green-lighted sections of her own city to be burned and looted, they weren’t helping spotlight the innocence of alleged black victims of police shootings, what they really were doing is making all the people outside of Baltimore say, we need more guns and more police to make sure the hooligans are kept at bay from where we live.
  4. When you make a conscious decision to give the rioters free reign to burn and loot and let them destroy all that’s best and good about your communities, what you’re really doing is you’re telling the corporations that brought jobs into the community, maybe you should think twice about ever coming back. When you come right out and say, we’re going to give you some space to destroy things, what you’re really doing is stomping on the hearts of hard working local entrepreneurs who had a dream to build a business and built it, and brought jobs to the community. You are sending hard-working citizens who actually want to make an honest living straight to the unemployment line. You’re encouraging people to “express themselves” by smashing windows and fire bombing the cars of people who had nothing to do with any of this.  Oh yeah, don’t worry you might say, insurance will take care of it.  Guess who is the first person to fall behind or get dropped by their insurance companies?  The poor.  And for the people who actually were shelling out the money to pay for their insurance premiums, if you’re still living somewhere in the adjacent zip codes, guess how much your premiums are going to be going through the roof?
  5. When we were watching the L.A. riots in 1992, my dad said something that will always stick with me: “You don’t shit in your own tent.” Nothing says stupid like trying to make a point by burning down your own neighborhood.

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Team of Rivals
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