In challenging times, the past is a seductive distraction

My New Years Day column for the AJC:

A mere five years ago, the man who is now president was just an obscure freshman senator from Illinois; our governor was some congressman from Gainesville whose name nine out of 10 Georgians would not recognize. The national unemployment rate was 4.4 percent and your house was probably worth 40 percent more than it’s worth today.

Things change — they always have — but these days the pace of change has seemed to quicken. Maybe it’s the consequence of technology that compresses a generation’s worth of evolution into a few years of revolution. Or maybe it just feels that way, just as all of those who came before us felt buffeted by change in their own time. As participants rather than disinterested observers, we lack the perspective to really know.

Certainly, the world that many of us thought we knew and understood has been transformed in the last few years. In recent polls, only a third of Americans still say that our country’s best days are yet to come, and a majority have lost faith that our children will live better lives than we do. The economic affluence enjoyed by this country after World War II —- and the military dominance that flowed from it — feels strangely fragile and threatened.

To those who lived through the Great Depression and the horrors of a world war, that post-war affluence came as a pleasant surprise, and many knew better than to take it for granted. They had seen how it comes and goes and they didn’t trust it. As a result, they had a more accurate perspective than those of us who were raised on the idea that success was our natural birthright as Americans.

We are now faced with the realization that what we understood to be a permanent state of affairs may instead have been an aberration, a temporary product of temporary conditions. Faced with such circumstances, it is natural to seek out villains and to entertain doubts. If our affluence was testament to our nation’s strength, wisdom and goodness, as we were taught, what does its diminishment tell us? Does it mean that we have become less wise and less good? And if so, can we regain what was lost by trying to return to what we were, or what we thought we were?

Personally, it’s foolish to think in terms of “taking back America.” The path ahead is not behind us. If we are not the country that we used to be, good. We can be the country that we are going to be.

Although some may wish otherwise, the demographic, cultural, technological and economic changes of the past generation cannot be undone, and the worst thing we can do is waste time and energy trying to undo them anyway. The answers of the past apply to the problems of the past.

It is hard in a time of rapid, disorienting change to continue looking forward, to focus on what we plan to become rather than on what we used to be. As we jump from ice floe to ice floe, testing our agility, we may yearn for the days when we felt firm ground under our feet.

But that firm ground wasn’t all that firm after all.

– Jay Bookman

611 comments Add your comment

Fedup

December 30th, 2011
8:50 am

First. Finally.

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
8:54 am

“It is hard in a time of rapid, disorienting change to continue looking forward, to focus on what we plan to become rather than on what we used to be. As we jump from ice floe to ice floe, testing our agility, we may yearn for the days when we felt firm ground under our feet.

But that firm ground wasn’t all that firm after all.”

and, let’s not forget, that firm ground is also part of America’s myth – such as the myth of the fabulous 50s (they weren’t so fabulous for everyone – particularly women and blacks), the myth that, prior to the 60s and 70s, no one had sex outside of marriage, the myth that 2-parent households were everywhere prior to the skyrocketing divorce rate.

none of this is true, yet we still yearn to long for the days that only existed in really cheesy black-and-white TV shows …

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
8:55 am

oh … and … WELL SAID, Jay!!

happy new year!!!

Lord Help Us

December 30th, 2011
8:57 am

A very ‘Progressive’ perspective.

I suppose you also believe in ‘Secular’ government.

My God man! You are a ‘Secular Progressive!’

According to my media sources, Jay, YOU are the problem!

King Of All

December 30th, 2011
9:02 am

Looking forward, How do we become CEOs that will pick a board that will reward us heftily compared to our workers? Can’t beat them you join them, right?

Virtual Reality

December 30th, 2011
9:03 am

Normal

December 30th, 2011
9:05 am

Yeah, I remember the “Fabulous Fifties” as “duck and cover”, bomb shelters, Little Rock, and (shudder) Elvis. I remember living in Germany when Russian soldiers tried to take my Mom and me away (I was five then). I remember Army sedans coming to my friends houses on base to tell that family their husband/father had been killed in Korea. Yeah…the fabulous fifties…

…and the Sixties? Well…just more of the same…

Daedalus

December 30th, 2011
9:05 am

Who cares about politics this weekend? Its time for the real College Football Bowls. How about that UW/Baylor game — now that’s what I call no discernible defense.

Oh, by the way, Go Ducks!

FactSayer

December 30th, 2011
9:05 am

It would have been solid ground if those danged Republicans hadn’t melted it! :smile:

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve.

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
9:06 am

Normal – 9:05 – then, could you please tell people that Mayberry didn’t really exist … and neither did Sheriff Andy and Ain’t Bea?

retired early

December 30th, 2011
9:06 am

Well said, jay…as always.

Have a happy and safe New year.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

December 30th, 2011
9:08 am

The path ahead is not behind us

Funny thing is that no matter how much we would like it at times, you can never go back. This country has never been perfect, it never will be perfect but it can continue to reach to progress and improve just as we as individuals should do the same.

Fedup

December 30th, 2011
9:09 am

Jay the reason the for the downturn is because of the breaking down the laws of commerce since Reagan’s days. Bring back the FDR rules we will be good shape.

Senior Citizen Kane

December 30th, 2011
9:12 am

USinUK cites “the myth that 2-parent households were everywhere prior to the skyrocketing divorce rate.”

Myth? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1960 90 percent of children lived in a two-parent household. The percentage is now about 68 percent. But I agree with your point that the 50s were certainly not great for everyone.

Normal

December 30th, 2011
9:13 am

USinUK,
I would but then I’d have to admit there was no “Jeannie”… :)

Patrick

December 30th, 2011
9:13 am

I think the Talking Heads have already summed this all up for us. Listen to the lyrics…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-io-kZKl_BI

Richard

December 30th, 2011
9:15 am

You sound like poor Henry Adams lamenting the evolution [in a pace far too fast for him] of modern society in the late Victorian era when the slow pace of change became a juggernaut of innovation and invention with all the ills that brings.

??

December 30th, 2011
9:18 am

Sonny Perdue from Gainesville? Hello? Did I miss something?

Mick

December 30th, 2011
9:19 am

usinuk

Happy New Year! 50/50 chance I’ll make it across the big lake this summer.

Jay – excellent column sir & a happy new years to you and your family. Life is cyclical and there’s no reason that we can’t learn from our mistakes to right the ship. Unfortunately, everybody wants it done yesterday, this will take some precious time to fix, that only increases the risk that if we don’t get it right, more will suffer in the future…

??

December 30th, 2011
9:20 am

Ronin

December 30th, 2011
9:22 am

Jay, I don’t always agree with your politics, however, this is one of your better pieces.

I’d still pay to hear you and Boortz debate the Fair (or not so Fair) Tax. 2012?

Mary Elizabeth

December 30th, 2011
9:22 am

The world is changing, not only America. It is unstoppable. Life always moves forward, never backwards. Better to understand the nature of the change, and embrace it, than dream of a past, which is gone. Our leaders must now practice leadership, of a different nature, for others to follow.

From Mary Elizabeth Sings, December 26, 2010:

“The old world is quickly coming to an end. Do we, individually and collectively, in this next year and beyond, have the grace of spirit – as well as the courage – to relinquish power for service? Are we wise enough to know that America’s first president, George Washington, by his example of deliberately relinquishing power, was modeling for posterity the role he desired for America’s leaders to emulate in the future? Will America acknowledge that all in the world are inherently equal? Will America and Americans lead others in seizing this budding egalitarian world consciousness through the choices we make? If America can lead others into the coming new age, in this new direction, then she, like her first president, will become a great leader through her grace of spirit and wisdom, rather than simply through her power.”

http://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2010/12/26/a-new-year-a-budding-world-consciousness/

carlosgvv

December 30th, 2011
9:23 am

It is certainly true that times change. It is just as true that people don’t. So, there are a number of things we can count on for the foreseeable future:

1. Wars
2. Power obsessed politicians
3. Greed driven predatory capitalism
4. Runaway political correctness
5. The people eventually becoming fed up and revolting is one way or another which will result in a new power structure which will devolve into Wars, bad politicians, runaway greed etc etc etc etc

Happy new year!!!!

Southern Comfort

December 30th, 2011
9:25 am

those of us who were raised on the idea that success was our natural birthright as Americans.

Wat’chu talkin’ bout Willis?? Don’t go talking about my American Exceptionalism like that. I AM American, therefore I am successful. :)

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1960 90 percent of children lived in a two-parent household.

Tell that to the thousands who’s parent(s) were lynched or locked up in jail/prison. I guess they make up the 10% or something.

Sonny Perdue from Gainesville? Hello? Did I miss something?

You missed the entire point. Our Governor, Nathan Deal, WAS a congressman 5 years ago.

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
9:25 am

Senior Citizen – you forget – prior to the 1960s, many fathers / husbands were killed in war and in agricultural accidents -

Aquagirl

December 30th, 2011
9:27 am

in 1960 90 percent of children lived in a two-parent household.

And those carefully-parented children grew up to be Baby Boomers. I can think of no better argument against the traditional 1950’s family.

Adam

December 30th, 2011
9:28 am

If our affluence was testament to our nation’s strength, wisdom and goodness, as we were taught, what does its diminishment tell us? Does it mean that we have become less wise and less good?

Of course not. We are exceptional. It’s the liberal boogeymen who are destroying this country, even when they had no power that we could see, behind the scenes our Manchurian candidate was using his voodoo powers to wreck the economy before being elected, a plan that we liberals had in the works since his birth in 1961 when the birth certificate was forged and we knew we would attack American Exceptionalism at its heart! Barney Frank also exercised his voodoo powers since before he was elected to FORCE the leaders in Washington to do everything his way, and FORCE lenders to lend. It was only after people started seeing through this that the truth was revealed: The liberals were always in power and the LIBERAL MEDIA was duping us all!

OR, we could admit that we got a big head and we need to be a little more practical and less “all about the money,” and also admit that Obama and Barney Frank had NOTHING to do with the economic collapse. If the conservatives weren’t so obsessed with finding blame, we might be able to get there, since once you remove their favorite scapegoats, there really only are a couple of other obvious people to blame, and they are not liberals.

Quagmire

December 30th, 2011
9:29 am

Jay,

Happy New Year to you and your family. You have entertained and educated me this year. Please keep up the good work because GOD knows you have helped me get through some boring work days. Happy New Year to my Rush/Boortz/Fox Fans. You guys are funny when you stir up the pot.

Funniest blog – “Honorable George Bush” by White, I’m still laughing

President Obama 2012

Stonethrower

December 30th, 2011
9:29 am

We only have ourselves to blame. We are more interested in being entertained making athletes wealthy playing a kids game and obscure people famous for being (not) reality TV stars. All the while politicians like preachers are fleecing the flock while tickling their ears with glorious revelations. Mitt Romney says, unlike Obama, he understands how the common man feels? Hallelujah, Holy $#!T, where is the Tylenol

Mick

December 30th, 2011
9:29 am

southern comfort

Haven’t seen that name for a while….happy new year to you and your family – it could be a better year, no matter what, make it so…

Southern Comfort

December 30th, 2011
9:31 am

Mick

I started to go back to my original name, but I’m trying to keep my net image clean. I’ll probably have a bottle or two of SC before the week is over at the rate I’m going.

Southern Comfort

December 30th, 2011
9:32 am

Stonethrower

After reading your post, one movie line came to mind…

“This town needs an enema!” :)

Adam

December 30th, 2011
9:33 am

HEADLINE: Keynes Was Right

“in late 2010 and early 2011, politicians and policy makers in much of the Western world believed that they knew better, that we should focus on deficits, not jobs, even though our economies had barely begun to recover from the slump that followed the financial crisis. And by acting on that anti-Keynesian belief, they ended up proving Keynes right all over again.”

“So the real test of Keynesian economics hasn’t come from the half-hearted efforts of the U.S. federal government to boost the economy, which were largely offset by cuts at the state and local levels. It has, instead, come from European nations like Greece and Ireland that had to impose savage fiscal austerity as a condition for receiving emergency loans — and have suffered Depression-level economic slumps, with real G.D.P. in both countries down by double digits.”

I challenge anyone to tell me WHY Keynes was wrong, without using the stimulus or the so called “lost decade” as evidence (because neither of those hold up to scrutiny). Show me a time in history when anyone even tried Keynes more than half-heartedly if you can find one. I can show you plenty of examples of how austerity measures led DIRECTLY to economic problems, and plenty of examples of how supply side led DIRECTLY to economic problems, both only resolving themselves through other outside forces such as war restitution and changing policy from austerity to something else.

AmVet

December 30th, 2011
9:34 am

We can be the country that we are going to be.

Bravo! I wish I had written that, Jay!

Many of us are ready, willing and able to fight the good fight for our more perfect union.

Even while a certain segment of our society is hyper-exclusionary, ever-fearful and always angry. They are the bane of this republic, these arch-conservative reactionaries who desperately and futilely try to escape a future they cannot comprehend. By definition and by practice they

These “agents of intolerance” have no vision, except to look backwards and long for the “good old days” when it was lawful to force their orthodoxy and Jesus prayers on all of our school children.

I’ve got bad news for them – Ozzie & Harriet are not around anymore. And neither are Joseph McCarthy and Jim Crow…

Mick

December 30th, 2011
9:34 am

A lot of people here don’t get their own personal history too well. I mean really, out of all human history think of all the times and places you could have stepped off into? The times we live in? It’s all gravy my friends compared to so many eons of alternatives!!
Happy New Years to all here! There’s value in perusing different perspectives…

Senior Citizen Kane

December 30th, 2011
9:34 am

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
9:25 am

Senior Citizen – you forget – prior to the 1960s, many fathers / husbands were killed in war and in agricultural accidents .

As a senior citizen, I’m supposed to forget.
But really, that doesn’t explain the current low rate of two-parent households, and my main point was that it wasn’t a myth that two-parent households were everywhere in the 50s.

0311/1811

December 30th, 2011
9:36 am

“If we are not the country that we used to be, good. We can be the country that we are going to be.”

…………… and if being the country we are going to be is not being a “good country” then that is bad.

But, there is one solid rock I hang on to:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Hebrews 13:8

ByteMe

December 30th, 2011
9:37 am

Our progress is accelerating faster than most people can fathom.

In 1900, pretty much everyone over 40 no longer had their own teeth. Diseases crippled and killed with ease. Horses were the primary mode of short-range transportation and steam engines (ships and trains) were for longer-distance travels.

Coming very soon are vaccines to cure cancer. Cure. Without side effects. Just kill the cancer cells leaving everything else untouched.

The progress made in the first 20 years of the 2000’s will match all the progress made in the 1900’s. And then we’ll do it again even faster.

Never give up. Never slow down. Never grow old. Never ever die young.

Happy New Year everyone.

Quick

December 30th, 2011
9:37 am

Awesome perspective.

Mick

December 30th, 2011
9:38 am

jamvet

A rockin new year to you my brother!! The coolest thing about the music is that we lived it while it was happening the first go round, now it’s the soundtrack. Keep digging up those hidden gems…

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
9:39 am

Senior – 9:34 – considering there was a 28% increase in divorced couples between the 1950 and 1960 census, that tells me that it was a growing phenomena even before the 1970s and a relaxing of the laws

and my point wasn’t simply about the 1950s and divorce, specifically – men abandoned their families or died in wars or accidents … and women died in childbirth -

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
9:40 am

“and if being the country we are going to be is not being a “good country””

ah, I see the Reading is Fundamental vans haven’t been making their rounds lately …

Common Sense isn't very Common

December 30th, 2011
9:41 am

We can’t go back in time? Why not?

I need to bash a woman in the head and take her to my man-cave!

j/k

Where the hell is the DeLorean?

Adam

December 30th, 2011
9:41 am

AmVet: Even while a certain segment of our society is hyper-exclusionary, ever-fearful and always angry. They are the bane of this republic, these arch-conservative reactionaries who desperately and futilely try to escape a future they cannot comprehend.

I am convinced that by not rallying behind a non-establishment candidate and allowing Mitt Romney to become the nominee, the Tea Party has died and failed all at the same time, mostly in the aspects of “taking back our country” since their ridiculous nonsense will cost them dearly in the 2012 election cycle, regardless of the economic situation. Reasonable people already know that the slash and burn rhetoric only leads down the path of more war and tax cuts, not economic recovery.

0311/1811

December 30th, 2011
9:42 am

USinUK:

I see you must not be aware of what is happening in Europe and your adopted UK.

Corey

December 30th, 2011
9:42 am

P-E-R-S-P-E-C-T-I-V-E

Mick

December 30th, 2011
9:43 am

1811

America is still an interesting experiment. No matter what, obama can not drive you all crazy past 2016! If he is re-elected, then retool for the next election but please understand that if people return him for four more – respect that decision, you need not agree with it, just as we would if it is romney…

Adam

December 30th, 2011
9:43 am

I see you must not be aware of what is happening in Europe and your adopted UK.

And I thought I had already seen the most ignorant statement from Scout I would ever see prior to this one. Scout continues to surprise.

Common Sense isn't very Common

December 30th, 2011
9:43 am

USinUK

ah, I see the Reading is Fundamental vans haven’t been making their rounds lately …
———————————-

Them damn gubment cutbacks :-)

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
9:45 am

Scoutty – “I see you must not be aware of what is happening in Europe and your adopted UK.”

okay, I’ll play …

England (and it’s associates), France, Germany, etc … they’re “bad countries”, are they???

AmVet

December 30th, 2011
9:45 am

Back at ya brother Mick. Peace to you and yours.

And sorry that your Canes are not bowling this year. Gawd knows what it is going to take to clean up that program, but I do hope they can find a way, and get back to where they belong – playing for national championships.

Speaking of which, I’ve enjoyed the mini-resurrection in Lincoln and think more good times are ahead. GO BIG RED! (Beat SC.)

This gem epitomizes what is was like back then, when we were pups and our generation changed the world…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvj99sK1Gl0

Mick

December 30th, 2011
9:45 am

usinuk

Here’s a teaser to get your attention; It’s clear skies and about 70 degrees with no humidity and a gentle breeze here in miami, guess where I’m going? :lol:

Adam

December 30th, 2011
9:46 am

Mick: But I want to see Romney’s short form, long form, and college records!

Oh who am I kidding. He’s a wealthy white man. I don’t need to see any of that because I know, based on him being a wealthy white man, that he must have a birth certificate from this country and he must have gotten good grades if he’s wealthy!

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
9:47 am

Mick – “America is still an interesting experiment. No matter what, obama can not drive you all crazy past 2016! ”

heehee … you just reminded me of the nutty-nut-nuts that were so blind with their hatred of The Clenis that they were spreading rumors that he and Hillary were conspiring to do away with presidential term limits …

ah … good times …

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
9:48 am

Mick – it sounds like you’re just going … outside!

70??? (sigh) … it’s not going to be 70 again for some months …

I miss 70 …

Common Sense isn't very Common

December 30th, 2011
9:49 am

I still like the idea of Hillary and Biden switching spots for 2012.

Exploding heads all around :-)

TimeForRealChange

December 30th, 2011
9:50 am

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded- here and there, now and then- are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.This is known as “bad luck.”.” -Robert Heinlein

Not Blind

December 30th, 2011
9:50 am

Liberal blather. The US military dominance didn’t occur immediately after WWII. After WWII the next big world altering war was the Chinese “civil war”. Then there was the Korean war which was the impetus for the US becoming a super power.

Those that don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. In history you will find the reasons for our current mess. The vast majority of these reasons involve the federal government.

There is nothing more stupid that a person that thinks a “D” or an “R” before a politician’s name makes that politician the right choice for the job. Most of them have an agenda that doesn’t even consider the needs of the country.

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
9:50 am

okay, just for fun, I’m going to share my soundtrack as I work my last day in the office for 2011 … enjoy!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWQl00LWEwE

(think of it as a little early driving music)

AmVet

December 30th, 2011
9:51 am

Adam, as you may know my musical muse is a relatively obscure, blue-eyed soul artist from Philly.

I want to change the world
I want to make it well
How can I change the world
When I can’t change myself
Try again tomorrow

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–lQIqVM1cM

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
9:52 am

Not Blind – “The US military dominance didn’t occur immediately after WWII. After WWII the next big world altering war was the Chinese “civil war”. Then there was the Korean war which was the impetus for the US becoming a super power.”

go back and reread … Jay didn’t say that it came immediately after WWII – he said it came from the economic affluence that followed WWII … which fits into the 1950s timeline / Korean conflict / Cold War …

0311/1811

December 30th, 2011
9:52 am

UK:

If you can’t see the serious decline (Europe) that we should not emulate then I can’t help you.

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
9:53 am

AmVet – love Todd Rundgren … amazing musician :-)

Mick

December 30th, 2011
9:53 am

adam

My point is this; no matter who becomes president, we will survive. Does anyone doubt that if its romney that as an american he will do his best to get it right? The same for obama, why would anyone in their right mind even want that job? What a personal burden with such a divided country. Nobody wants to admit that the seas will be rough for a spell. My grandfather fought in WW1 and my parents had a childhood in the depression, how many generations will not have a cross to bear?

md

December 30th, 2011
9:54 am

“To those who lived through the Great Depression and the horrors of a world war, that post-war affluence came as a pleasant surprise, and many knew better than to take it for granted. They had seen how it comes and goes and they didn’t trust it. As a result, they had a more accurate perspective than those of us who were raised on the idea that success was our natural birthright as Americans. ”

Pretty much sums it up for a country that is now SPOILED.

Instant gratification (through technology) is the name of the game……everybody wants “it”, and they want it right now. Long term thinking died with those WW vets………..

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
9:54 am

Scout – “If you can’t see the serious decline (Europe) that we should not emulate then I can’t help you.”

in other words, you refuse to be specific …

… as usual.

for someone who clings to a rock, you never cease to surprise me with how spineless you are when it comes to supporting your opinions with … you know … facts

0311/1811

December 30th, 2011
9:55 am

Here, as always, is the only real key:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will HEAL (emphasis added) their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Off for awhile ………… be nice to each other even though I know it’s hard. The personal attacks never help.

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
9:55 am

md – 9:54 … okay, I plead guilty to standing in front of the microwave and saying “cook, dammit!!!”

;-)

wet wiccan

December 30th, 2011
9:55 am

The past always seems like a simpler time mainly because we were children, and if we were fortunate, we had parents who saw to our needs. Believe it or not, in 20 years the children of today will look back on these times as the good old days. Crazy, ain’t it?

F. Sinkwich

December 30th, 2011
9:56 am

“In recent polls, only a third of Americans still say that our country’s best days are yet to come, and a majority have lost faith that our children will live better lives than we do.”

Thanks to O’bozo.

While you libs ilks here celebrate the decline of this country, most Americans are working hard to restore its rightful place in the world.

Mr Dave

December 30th, 2011
9:56 am

Grease is on tonite…

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
9:59 am

“While you libs ilks here celebrate the decline of this country,”

if by “decline”, you’re referring to women having equal rights as men, to blacks having equal status to whites, to greater access to education … yeah, I’m happy to celebrate that “decline” since the 1950s …

Mick

December 30th, 2011
10:00 am

sink

Yeah, it’s all obama’s fault, what a loser mentality, keep looking in the mirror for your daily workout…

JKL2

December 30th, 2011
10:01 am

AmVet- I’ve got bad news for them – Ozzie & Harriet are not around anymore

The true Axis of Evil. I am sooo glad we don’t have those negative influences around anymore. Baby Mama’s and gangsters with their pants hanging around their knees are such an improvement…

AmVet

December 30th, 2011
10:02 am

USing, those hot birds and their accents still knock me out. When I got there, as a twenty year old (courtesy of Uncle Sam), I’d go into town and strike up conversations with the ladies just to hear them talk in that lovely, lilting dialect.

I saw this artist perform there – she opened for Supertramp – and even though I knew of her and had heard some of her stuff, I had no earthly idea, what a huge talent she was…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifARMmcqhD8

md

December 30th, 2011
10:02 am

Latest and greatest…….right now (Iphone 400s, Ipad 62, air jordans, etc etc). And statistics say paid with credit…………..

In years gone by, folks wanted something like that they saved until they could pay cash……..now, they spend on the material items until they lose they car……then house.

Adam

December 30th, 2011
10:03 am

F. Sinkwich: Thanks to O’bozo.

While you libs ilks

Wow that’s a bingo card two-fer.

(In case you didn’t realize it, saying stuff like that shows everyone you don’t know what you’re talking about, especially the blaming Obama for the whole economic crisis part).

GW

December 30th, 2011
10:04 am

Jay – You know I am linking to some of your columns now. Here’s mine that gives perspective on change.

On the Accelerating, Exponential Rate of Change in Society
http://blog.locustfork.net/2011/01/how-do-we-deal-with-all-this-change/

TimeForRealChange

December 30th, 2011
10:04 am

USinUK: I have a feeling he’s referring to the vast expansion of the welfare state, the dissolution of the stability creating nuclear family, the wars on drugs that has destroyed inner cities, stuff like that. However, your response amply demonstrates your intolerance of people with different opinions.

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
10:05 am

ah … I just love me some shuffle …

another great song for the New Year …

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUGmwDB49Tc&ob=av3n

Normal

December 30th, 2011
10:05 am

Sinkwich,
President Obama didn’t start it and is getting no help to fix it…other than that, you are right on.

Also reread USinUK’s 0959….needless to say, I concur with her…

F. Sinkwich

December 30th, 2011
10:06 am

Bingo, Time……

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
10:07 am

Change – “However, your response amply demonstrates your intolerance of people with different opinions.”

:lol:

okay, you win the prize for the most blinkered response for the day (even though it’s not even lunchtime, yet) …

Sink accuses liberals of “celebrating the decline of America” and *I* am the one who is intolerant???

laugh.

flippin.

riot.

Stevie Ray

December 30th, 2011
10:07 am

JAY,

My favorite of your writings thus far IMO and very thought provoking…makes me think of my second favorite philosopher Albert Camus and his absurdist concept. Seems to me we’d all do much better to stay in our shoes, recognize that happiness is simply fleeting moments to relish as they come, and keep in mind how absurd the other moments can be. Doubtful to me if people were more or less happy in prior days or not….and none I find have capsulated same in your words. I’m not a fan of polls in general, but definitely see no value in prospective style questions like mentioned. Worrying about the future and getting out of the moment is the result of most unhappiness….It’s all temporary….

Tough part for me is keeping this all in mind…

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
10:08 am

AmVet – 10:02 – when the mister and I used to live in CT, the women in our local Stop-n-Shop used to just luuuuuuv hearing his accent (the woman at the bakery counter once did a little dance)

md

December 30th, 2011
10:10 am

An example (you assumers please note the word “an”……as in not meant to represent more than one), had a middle aged young lady comment on filling out an application for public assistance…..under utilities, one must list what is paid monthly for each one….water….electricity…..gas. Her question was “where do I right down cable?”

Now, if (also take note of the word if to avoid a day long discussion of this position) that is indicative of many more, then Houston, we got a problem.

Normal

December 30th, 2011
10:11 am

GW,
Interesting post, as was “The Futurist” site contained within. Thanks.

Adam

December 30th, 2011
10:12 am

md: under utilities, one must list what is paid monthly for each one….water….electricity…..gas. Her question was “where do I right down cable?”

What’s your point? Are you saying the poor should not have access to Fox News?

TimeForRealChange

December 30th, 2011
10:13 am

USinUK: He was wrong to say that, and you are wrong to imply ridiculous untrue motives to right wingers.

Stevie Ray

December 30th, 2011
10:13 am

FSINKWICH,

I too find your musings rather thin. Decline is very relative as others have pointed out. Gloom, doom and despair is a tough burden to shoulder…plus you always have to find someone to blame..

I’m only a victim of me…knowing that at any moment I can jump out from behind a rock and screw my psyche up to no end…rather mindboggling thinking for the day wouldn’t you agree?

josef

December 30th, 2011
10:14 am

The past is prologue, and the best is yet to come. Trite? Perhaps, but I am an unrepentant and incurable optimist.

We Americans are exceptional in many areas, some good and some not so good. At our best we are able to reinvent ourselves on a moment’s notice and to do so with remarkable ease and success, even if some here (JAY, :-) ) don’t want to believe it.

All I have to do is to look at the little smiling faces I have the blessing of working with every day. One generation passeth and another taketh its place. Have a little faith, hope and charity. They’ll take you a long way on your journey to the tomb!

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
10:14 am

md – 10:10 – while I get where you’re coming from, how many people have aerials? in the US, cable is wired into every home for a reason – TVs are built for it

AmVet

December 30th, 2011
10:16 am

USing, keep on rockin’. Todd cites Elvis Costello as one of his big influences. And that jump up gem of EC’s is so very fine.

JKL2, methinks you missed the point.

I loved my childhood. Parts of it were heaven and parts of it were hell. And I still get shook up when I see that clip of John John saluting that flag draped cassion going by.

Another amazing musical hero of mine pays homage to Buffalo Springfield…

Capture the moment, carry the day
Stay with the chase as long as you may
Follow the dreamer, the fool and the sage
Back to the days of the innocent age
Storybook endings never appear
They’re just someone’s way of leading us here
Waiting for wisdom to open the cage
We forged in the fires of the innocent age

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uunU0Aoup_I

Common Sense isn't very Common

December 30th, 2011
10:17 am

josef @10:14 am

The past is prologue, and the best is yet to come. Trite? Perhaps, but I am an unrepentant and incurable optimist.
———————-

And some say there is no good in alcohol :-)

FactSayer

December 30th, 2011
10:17 am

Now, if (also take note of the word if to avoid a day long discussion of this position) that is indicative of many more, then Houston, we got a problem.

Granted you are not the first person to misuse a word such as (note the use of “such as”) “right” in a sentence but I would not go so far as to declare it a problem worthy of informing Houston.

md

December 30th, 2011
10:18 am

“What’s your point? Are you saying the poor should not have access to Fox News?”

The point? Figured there would be some that wouldn’t see it…….Cable is a want…….not a need. Hence the reason it is not listed on that type application……….

If one see it as a need, then I’d hazard a guess they are part of the problem.

Tess

December 30th, 2011
10:18 am

As a result, they had a more accurate perspective than those of us who were raised on the idea that success was our natural birthright as Americans.

Success is something one strives to achieve. It cannot be a gift from Peter to Paul.

Those who work for it (success) can achieve it, in whatever form it comes. If they are waiting for the government to deliver it, then break open a bottle of whine. They (govt) has nothing that is rightfully theirs to give.

larry

December 30th, 2011
10:20 am

Its the end of the world as we know it , its the end of the world as we know it , it’s the end of the world as we know it …………

And you know i feel fine!

I’m gonna miss those boys from just down the road from me. It was an interesting 31 years. Remember them and the Producers playing at the 40 watt. Ahhh! memories!

USinUK

December 30th, 2011
10:20 am

Change – “He was wrong to say that, and you are wrong to imply ridiculous untrue motives to right wingers.”

aw, diddums. truth hurts – what many people on your side of the fence see as a decline (gay rights, women’s lib, birth control, etc) is what many of us celebrate …

Derek

December 30th, 2011
10:20 am

What a bunch of worthless dribble Bookman, you and Lukovich don’t have to take over the liberal flag now that Cynthia is gone. as to those talking about the bad things in the fifties and sixties. History is to learn from, both good and bad, we’re still fighting wars, also our financial spendings are still giving us depression and unemployment, and may lead to inflation as we had during Carter with 20% interest rates. What was different then, neighbors and Church’s knew and helped others. People’s word counted for something and local areas controlled local issues, not the feds