Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Not Understanding Caucuses

Talk about not eating sausage or scrapple if you saw it being made. Well, the Iowa caucuses gave me the same feelings when I tried to understand them while watching it all unfold on television. The greatest, strongest country on earth chooses its president, the World leader, by a process a kin to a butcher shop process. Everything but the squeak and the squeal went into these caucus theatrics.

Someday when the United Sates matures beyond an Old Western mentality of guns and guts by understanding elections are part of the sacred trust between the voters and those we elect to lead our nation.
Primaries, with the Iowa caucuses leading off, are strictly political party affiliations and many times unique to the state they're scheduled  in.

First, a multi-party commission should be convened to rewrite the election process. When passed, this commission should have considered  in its deliberations the following : (1) weekend elections (2) divide country into six primary election territories (3) universal use of private voting booths (4) any other suggestions by you or others.

Second, a similar commission be empowered to limit terms. House limits ; 6, two year terms ; Senate limits ; 2, six year terms ; President limits ; remain the same, 2, four year terms.

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, January 28, 2016

"Working the land. Looking for a fertile spring." Settlers say on TV.
Memorable advertising language filling the television airwaves lasts for a long time, therefore it has standing with me, but not to the extent, that I'll switch my service provider. My advanced age allows me to be closer to a settler's mentality, which is, don't ask me to change since I'm comfortable with what I have and change, for change sake, would only bring me more uncertainty and need for a new learning curve.

Monday, January 25, 2016

I feel kind of sorry for those of you penned up in your homes because of the snow conditions. In fact, because I'm penned up every day for the duration of my life since I'm clinically declared "Homebound", I can really understand just how you feel. Well, get over it. Your inconvenience will end in time, but mine won't. Life has a way of dealing some interruptions along its path and understanding with acceptance is one way most successful people deal with adversity.
Nevertheless that humans have traveled to and walked on the moon a weather event like yesterday has crippled man's movements here on Earth bringing traffic to a halt. We're vulnerable to, especially, winter problems because Americans are so wedded to vehicles in our need to get somewhere, anywhere, just so it's away from home. Storms from snow or rain and tides from the moon's attraction are the cripplers for human movement here on Earth. Events like costal flooding are predicted to only get more severe as the Earth warms and storms likewise will get more intense.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Horizons For Viewing

My whole life, horizons have captured my imagination. Finding a comfortable spot to sit while observing a far off horizon of interest was like a discovery moment, an awe inspiring one. These days my horizons come only from looking out windows: south and east, from my bedroom; west, from my living room recliner out the front windows overlooking the front porch and houses across Evans Street.

East on our horizon stately stands a round vessel held up by six stout legs way up higher by far then the rooftops of adjacent, existing north Sheridan Street homes. It is man's tribute to the awesome power of gravity that this, and other towers that hold potable water, are in urban settings all over the country. Processed water is pumped from the water plant some miles away and up to this extremely large vessel atop six legs. From this high up holding tank water flows down and fills pipes in a predetermined grid while water pressure is maintained in the grid through the function of the laws of gravity. The height of the column of water determines the gravitational down pressure that is exerted in the flow of water as it flows outward under pressure from the location of the tank into the grid system it services.

Silhouetting that water tank many days when the wind is calm is the plume of vapor from the Limerick Electric Power Generating Plant's twin towers. Often a northern flowing wind pushes the plume north and it obscures the view of the Sheridan Street Tower. But, it's the rising sun which plays artist with the plume, the elevated tank, and the horizon. The sun at just peeking up at the horizon becomes a huge yellow ball much larger than the sun looks when overhead. Then, as the sun rays pierce the vapor plume they color the sky profusely, as rays refract off particles floating within the vapor. Purple, all shades of red, and various hues of yellow meld with each other to form the panorama of a colorful painting, a mosaic of undetermined colors. Individual murals last only minutes at a time since they are produced by moving elements : the sun rising, the clouds in motion, and the vapor plume ever billowing.

Rarely does a horizon remain a visual constant because when the viewer moves the perspective of the horizon changes. The farther off the horizon the less change is perceived as realized when viewing the horizon when at the ocean where the curvature of the earth determines the ultimate distance of the horizon. Far off mountain ranges act similarly as the ocean, little change is perceived when you, the viewer, moves your base somewhat.

Whether watching a pile of applewood burn or watching the mosaic of fine fall sunsets would one get the coloration of the eastern horizon on a normal daybreak. Rising early is the only necessity in observing the eastern display of colorful movement but, if you rise forty minutes before sunrise you'll have a chance to see five planets gracing the eastern sky in a show of solidarity. Beauty is in eye of the beholder.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Price Of Ignorance

History records many declines of an imperial power who thought they would rule their World, as they knew it, forever. Inevitably, the decay of their governing system for an ever increasing accumulation of knowledge failed. This marked the path leading them to their demise.

Fitting this definition - is this the USA of today? Ever since our inception as a nation, we have gained military, financial, and education superiority throughout the world. Our educational system was once, by far, number one.

Ignorance, I contend, is the harbinger of things to come. This morning, I learned of the latest comparison between American students and students from the rest of the World's industrialized nations. Our students are fading fast in competitive testing with no end in sight as they spiral down.

No answers have I ; comments though, are much easier to come by.

For what it's worth, reading has always been considered the premier process in the learning cycle, but I've changed my mind on its prominence over the years. Now, I think, writing must be the ultimate provider of knowledge leading one toward wisdom. It is wisdom we must urge the young to attain. It's not enough to be able to accumulate facts and regurgitate them on a test, but the learned, must be able to put to use whatever knowledge they've acquired. The young, even those well read, need what writing forces them to accomplish.

Writing well is a learned exercise. It requires the writer to pick a theme, introduce the theme, expand a discussion of it, and finally sum up what information the writer thought relevant. The nature of writing's structure, I believe, imprints on the brain of the writer in ways reading, even of the highest caliber, does not do. In fact, good writers are excellent readers, look at their bookshelves. By their efforts, they encourage a real lust to gain wisdom thru writing.

Acquiring knowledge is commendable ; utilizing gained wisdom results in supremacy.

Ronald C. Downie







Sunday, January 17, 2016

Liberal
One of the truths imprinted on me as I've aged, well past retirement, is my  insistence on believing in the human values found in a more liberal society. I have tasted the value of social security, the forced system of saving so repayment can be made to us at an age we're non-income producing. Also, Medicare has made my physically in firmed age more tolerable, less stressful, addressing each of my advancing maladies.

What good is a government that has neither a true policy to enhance the full life of a newborn or, at the twilight of life, which insures all a meaningful compassionate ending ? A liberal government that I am drawn to is not one which rattles its sabers for purely posturing purposes but, rather, stands tall in the worthy defense of the country's existence. Dialog, in these advancing centuries, must, in my mind, be the weapon of choice rather than nuclear confrontation, in other words, the end of the World as we have known it could become a reality.

Since its inception, our's is the greatest country ever conceived by humans. The United States of America is a country based on laws stated by a Constitution and administered as written by three bodies : the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. It is beyond my total comprehension, that in a country miles and miles more advanced than every third world country, voters could send to congress people confessed to undo our tested system of governance. Bent on obstruction are these forty or so House members who are subtly cheered on by some closeted Senators.

Yes, our country is strong enough to withstand this assault but, in doing so, we lose many chances to make ourselves better. Also in doing so, we develop a deep public cynicism which undergirds a "can do" attitude based on accomplishments. As a cancer invades a person this, attitude of a cynic, permeates a society, and erodes the publics' health. I will not ever side with this fringe element, they are as a plague in a civilized society.

Ronald C. Downie