Saturday, April 30, 2016

Can I Get a Witness?

One of the contributing factors in the difficulty (I almost wrote impossibility) of  that "discussion" about race in America we're constantly told we need to have is that victims in America have tended to set themselves above advice or criticism  and thereby gain the right to direct any conversation in it's course or conclusions. "for are we not victims and are not our critics all evil?"  I'm sure that by this sentence the gavel is already descending on the verdict that I'm a racist,  But enough of that, lets talk specifics.

I read in the Daily Kos just now that African American poet Crystal Valentine was deeply offended by Megyn Kelly's assertion that Jesus was a white man. Now any statements about Jesus  need to be qualified as to whether we're talking about Jesus of Nazareth, the failed Jewish revolutionary or Jesus Christ of myth.  Obviously Megyn and Crystal are engaged in equivocation, or more specifically, the fallacy of equivocation.  Those are two different characters.  Those who come to Jesus through Sunday school or through Christian education are talking about  someone either half god or entirely god or even, like Gilgamesh of Uruk, one third divine. He was a man of peace come to mysteriously erase inherited sin that without him could never otherwise be erased.  He died and was resurrected, although the family of myths diverges in the details.

There's absolutely no historical evidence for this Jesus so perhaps one can call him Chinese or a Swede or African with equal authority.  If I were part of that "conversation" I might have pointed out that the Jesus that might actually have been wasn't Celtic or blond, he was a Jew without any physical feature we know of to distinguish him from other Jewish men at the time.

It is this mythological Jesus Ms. Valentine refers to when she says:
“How can she says Jesus was a white man when he died the blackest way possible? With his hands up, with his mother watching."
The answer is easy and history gives weight to her statement, all the poetry and passion, all the sound and fury notwithstanding. It's just as valid and more so to say he died in the most Jewish way possible. In fact the notion that only descendants of American slaves have ever been persecuted and oppressed and no one elses experience can be referenced or compared  is a bit obnoxious. Jewish lives matter.

So I'm sorry, all poetic references to the child saint of Ferguson notwithstanding, Jesus was a Jew from the Northern Kingdom and likely from a tiny hamlet called Nazareth and came to Jerusalem to oust the Romans and their collaborators with divine help.but we really can't be sure.  He may be fictional, he may be a composite of the many rebels seeking God's help by purifying the people.  His ethnic background is not irrelevant, it's essential and the image of him as a persecuted ex American slave is poetic license with no power to influence objective views of history.  Jesus the man belongs to the Jews, Jesus the Savior is anyone's because we make him up as we go along, whether or not you call myth as a witness, and by doing so se forfeit the right to claim that he was or was not anything at all.   

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Common Sense

" No nation ought to be without a debt."

-From Common Sense by Thomas Paine-

But everyone today is an Economist and everyone knows debt is bad and the secret to good government is parsimony.  After all, a government is just like a business, isn't it?

"The world needs more U.S. Government debt" 

wrote Narayana Kocherlakota in Bloomberg View yesterday.  He is the Lionel W. McKenzie professor of economics at the University of Rochester who served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 2009 through 2015.

He feels the immense earning power of the United States allows us to produce the extremely safe bonds the world wants and which are in  short supply. No business would act like this, he says. A corporation with such a safe cash flow and such low borrowing costs would issue debt to pay shareholders and fund expansion.  Analogously, the US government could cut taxes and build infrastructure. Instead market forces steer capital into risky investments like sub-prime mortgages and businesses and households are reluctant to spend, keeping short term rates low.

Every nation should have a debt and yet, because of political pressure from a party teaching the voters that personal debt and government debt are the same thing, artificial  constraints are imposed on debt, contrary to market demand:

" constraints that punish savers, choke off economic growth and could sow the seeds of the next financial crisis."
But of course the ultimate test of policy is not whether it works: whether it increases prosperity  and stability, the test is whether it sells to a public kept on the edge of panic and outrage by political interests.  Platitudes, and attitudes and outright deception rule and apparently we like it that way. We look for leaders with no experience, we look to those with no experience for advice on world markets, fiscal and monetary policy and sleazy, vulgar and misogynistic  real estate developers for advice on social and ethical problems and we develop a debt that can't be repaid and that  keeps us like a ship taking on water with a captain who doesn't believe in bilge pumps. No nation ought to be like this.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Fear and Loathing in Target

Are these the best or worst of times?  Probably the answer is yes, but I have to argue that they are the craziest of times.  Is it a symptom of this  national insanity that any organization with the word Liberty or Freedom or Patriot in the title is mostly about extremist politics?  Of course I have an example:  it's the Liberty Counsel * which of course has nothing to do with Liberty and  advocates for special powers and legal exemptions for evangelical Christians.  Now, when you really think about it, it really isn't about Christianity as that family of religions usually likes to be defined, but about restricting personal liberty when it comes to matters of sex or gender or whatever language is approved by other organizations that aren't about what they're calling themselves.  No, the Liberty Counsel is about restricting personal liberty and substituting a rigid code of behavior derived from. . . well from them actually.

So it's no surprise to read that the president of this august body, one Anita Staver is raving about bringing a gun into the public restrooms at Target.  Target, guns, ha ha ha.   And although in just about any State there's no law against doing that if you have a carry permit, Target has a 'no guns' policy in their stores, so Mrs. Liberty here is openly ignoring the Liberty of Target and private property rights in general and possibly engaging in Armed Trespass in particular.   Of course the Target Crapper Patrol would have to see that gun as well as they would have to see the gonads of  an alleged gender bender and neither is likely to happen as things stand in toilets everywhere.  There's never been a problem except in the evil minds of  the New Inquisition.

But the question isn't the legality but the alleged necessity of doing so, now that Target has made it their policy to allow transgendered people to use the loo of choice.  Yes, I know, there has never been a problem with that. Department store washrooms during business hours are not a dangerous place and  transgendered  or androgynous or even scary people with tattoos  have always used them and you never noticed. I'd worry more about Christ-Crazy gonad obsessed old women with guns and a heart full of hate.

No this grandstand play is about nothing other than a power play by Christo-Nazis who oppose equal rights under the law for people they choose to hate for religious reasons. They have gone to court to protect the right of pubic employees to get paid for a job they refuse to do because of their  twisted religion.  No, It's a threat of armed violence designed to create an atmosphere of fear and face it, Target has as much right to say who uses their toilets as they do to call the cops on old quick draw Staver, and Rupaul has the same right to keep and bear arms as anybody else.

So let me say this about that as Nixon used to say:  I just may begin to frequent the liberty Council and the other organizations it controls: **
  • Luke 18:27 Foundation, Inc.
  • Liberty Counsel Action, Inc.
  • Liberty Counsel Action
  • Freedom Federation, Inc.
  • Liberty Action PAC, Inc.
  • Salt and Light Council

And when I do, I'm going to carry a concealed weapon or two.  And why not?  You're all about Liberty aren't you? That's right Anita, I'm coming soon to a crapper near you and  no telling what I might be wearing or bearing.

* Listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.

** Also affiliated with Liberty University Law School, which was founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell and Liberty Counsel.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Study This!

Seek, and ye shall find, it says in the Gospels, much to the cynical amusement of those looking for things they never seem to attain, or acquire. If it's freedom you're seeking, your not going to find it if the Gospel Growlers can help it. Freedom is dangerous and so is Democracy and we have studies to show it.

I'm sure Utah Governor Gary Herbert is going to find what  he's seeking in the studies he's using taxpayer money to fund: studies to prove that pornography is a public health hazard which creates a "toxic environment." Of course it's all an attempt to preach religion from the Governor's office and nothing more.  But it's good to know that there is, at last, some notice of toxic environments in Utah, even if  he's not actually talking about the environment we call air or water or land or even  a toxin that actually poisons anything or any one.  No, those nebulous but harmful effects need to be created, hence the study.  We need to start studying  pornography keeping in mind that it's bad, very bad: it's

"a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms."
It reminds me of Richard Nixon's studies of Marijuana intended to back up the bogus claims used to criminalize it.  When the studies showed no harm to the stuff, he fired the researchers.  But this isn't a medical or scientific study and it assumes the conclusion that grows out of the toxic environment we call religion.  Truth by assertion is unassailable. Support by evidence produced by fake studies is simply window dressing. When it comes to research; those "studies" we always hear about find  only what he who pays for them is seeking.  These studies tend to be the building blocks of marketing if not also the bricks paving the road to hell. You pays yer money and you gets your study, complete with an actor in a lab coat and a clipboard. If it's freedom you're seeking, your not going to find it if the Gospel Growlers can help it.

I have to wonder if the public health "impacts"  they most assuredly will find will be restricted to Utah, since they don't seem to appear in places where pornography is everywhere and I wonder if the "impact" of  rampant abuse of women and young girls that is ignored or tolerated or swept under the rug in Utah will come under review here.  I suppose it won't yet we can be sure there will be "links" to all sorts of  health risks even if we have to invent consequences to be linked to. Something will be needed if the study bothers to examine countries whe

After all we can start with the premise that "pornography is rape" thanks to extremists of another stripe and after that the only hard part is not to talk about old Mormon men with harems of little girls and other forms of Latter Day female slavery in Utah and elsewhere.

But I don't want to blame it all on Mormons.  The GOP has been straightjacket-worthy for decades, ignoring the real problems threatening our health and well-being, our freedom and survival, in favor of ranting about dirty pictures.  The Tampa GOP convention in 2012 was quite obsessive on getting "tough" about pornography and I'm sure we can remember Ken Starr from previous campaigns attempting to criminalize even medical terminology concerned with sex on the internet.  It's the Republican disease as much as a Christian disease but of course today there isn't enough difference to make it seem constitutional.

I might suggest that Evangelicals, religious fanatics of all sorts and the Republican Party are the real public health hazards: obfuscating public health programs, opposing individual liberty, thwarting science and supporting the oppression of  "gentiles."

Isn't it funny - and by funny I mean tragic - that as a free country we encourage things that have no place in a free country?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Boris the Mayor

It's good to be reminded in these trying times, that American politicians don't have a monopoly or a patent on bigotry, ignorance and plain old stupidity,  much less the diplomatic incompetence to make an enemy of your best ally.

Take Boris Johnson, mayor of London, who tells the world that Barack Obama has an "ancestral dislike of the British Empire."  because his father was born in Kenya.  Now it may be true that there is some animosity in Kenya as there is in so many places where the British Empire viciously suppressed liberty and opportunity in a flamboyantly racist fashion, but Obama could have easily, if such a thing as "ancestral animosity" is a real phenomenon, come to dislike the British Empire from his mother's complex, but partially Irish ancestry.  But do we -- and by we I mean the world -- have to remind  Boris that EVERYBODY HATES THE GODDAMN BRITISH EMPIRE?   The Chinese still hate your guts nor is there any lack of memory in  Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent or Africa of the British scourge.

Of all the stupid excuses to insult someone trying to talk sense into the British.

Boris the Mayor

It's good to be reminded in these trying times, that American politicians don't have a monopoly or a patent on bigotry, ignorance and plain old stupidity,  much less the diplomatic incompetence to make an enemy of your best ally.

Take Boris Johnson, mayor of London, who tells the world that Barack Obama has an "ancestral dislike of the British Empire."  because his father was born in Kenya.  Now it may be true that there is some animosity in Kenya as there is in so many places where the British Empire viciously suppressed liberty and opportunity in a flamboyantly racist fashion, but Obama could have easily, if such a thing as "ancestral animosity" is a real phenomenon, come to dislike the British Empire from his mother's complex, but partially Irish ancestry.  But do we -- and by we I mean the world -- have to remind  Boris that EVERYBODY HATES THE GODDAMN BRITISH EMPIRE?   The Chinese still hate your guts nor is there any lack of memory in China, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent or Africa of the British scourge.

Of all the stupid excuses to insult someone trying to talk sense into the British.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

On the Money

Sure it's time for a change.  I've been commenting for years that other countries have artists, authors, poets and scholars on their money while we have government officials, symbols of authority.  I've long suggested that Andrew Jackson be the first to go: a miserable racist who deported thousands of people in brutal fashion to miserable concentration camps because he simply didn't want them East of the Mississippi.  Many American Indians have compared him to a certain German leader it's impolitic to name here.

I wish however that there could have been a calm, scholarly but public discussion of  just who most merits becoming the face of the twenty dollar bill, that denomination that dominates the wallets of America.  I know, that's naive. This is America and discussion in America sounds much like the wilds of Montana at night during a full moon.

Harriet Tubman won't be the first female on our currency, that distinction has been had by mythological figures for a long time and of course Sacagawea ( and a baby boy) had a run on a now defunct  dollar coin even though we have no idea what she actually looked like.

So it's mousy, plain and un-heroic looking  Harriet Tubman. we have photographs to prove it.  Of course real heroes hardly ever look the part and for her efforts to save people from slavery at great personal risk, she certainly is as much of one as men like Oskar Schindler and probably greater since she took so many terrible risks with her life.   Good for her. She stood for something, just like George Washington even if she didn't have a white horse to ride on. She not only stood for something truly moral, she broke laws to do it and essentially went to war, which come to think of it was what our founding fathers did even though those were British laws..  I just wish it didn't feel so much like pandering because I know full well every time someone pulls out a twenty in America, there's going to be some comment, some grimace and I'm going to have to distance myself from people even further.  I just don't want to listen to it - idiots demanding that we boycott the twenty. I can see the stickers on all the ATMs.  I just wish it didn't absolutely have to be a woman and a black women, even though  it does, doesn't it?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Firearm Derangement Syndrome

I was watching Samantha Bee gyrating on my TV the other night, dressed an a homemade Eagle costume festooned with plastic guns and made to resemble an NRA mascot. It was one of those Bones and Tambo moments.

She had just finished telling us you could now buy guns on TV and not telling us you still had to go through a Federally licensed gun dealer and complete the transaction including any waiting periods and background checks just as though you'd bought it from his stock.  Guns on TV!  Oh so shocking and when the demo includes using a watermelon as a target, you just know people who own or buy guns are all dreaming of mass murder.  You just know and because you just know, most anything you say that furthers the cause of angry prejudice is just fine. Empty mockery, slander, malicious stereotyping -- no less revolting than a minstrel show done in blackface used to provide.

One of those moments. Do I call it an epiphany? Do I trot out the fable about straws and camels or is it just one of those cases where the weight of facts finally prompts you to admit that your sense of belonging to a group or movement  has been making you lie to yourself?  These people are as crazy as a Trump, I said to myself as I made the decision. These people are no more honest than Fox News.

I'm joining the NRA.

I wonder if the gun control extremists aren't becoming their best recruiters. Yes, I've been laughing at them for years for their constant twisting of every proposed morsel of regulation into a rabid attack on our God given right to own and wave any kind of firearms, but I've been long troubled by their opposition's growing use of false figures, deliberately misleading terminology and refusal to acknowledge existing law and precedent.  All of a sudden, I'm beginning to see that as more than just enthusiasm.  I see it as part of the escalating zealotry and extremism that is prompting what I used to call the Left to cut a swath through the law, the truth and reason to get to the demons they alone see and justify it by the sanctity of the cause. It's become so universal to identify any skepticism about the details and particulars and assumptions of anti-gun crusades with the NRA, one might just as well join them and get the magazines.  They have interesting articles.

A Connecticut judged ruled Yesterday that a lawsuit directed at Bushmaster Firearms International seeking damages for the rampage shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School 5 years ago could proceed.  Much has been made of the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act that protects arms makers from liability in such cases as this, where the legal product was sold legally but subsequently stolen and used to commit murder by a third party. Much will be made of it because Bernie Sanders voted for the PLCAA  and Hillary Clinton did not. This alone may be enough to shift my support to Bernie because I'm angry as hell and I'm just not going to sit still for any more furious and fatuous crusades.

Since Bushmaster broke no law or regulation culpability or "wrongfulness" in this case can only refer to some offense that has nothing to do with the law. It can only be based on some kind of moral offense involved in selling guns and that's going to be very hard to sell to a jury.

“The Superior Court has subject matter jurisdiction over a wrongful death action where the injury arose out of conduct by the defendants,” 
The magic is in the word "conduct."  it puts all conduct into the same box thereby enabling opportunists to sue anyone for anything they had nothing to do with, much less liability for. It's new. No one sued Bruno Magli for selling OJ his shoes, much less the company who made the knife.  It's a precedent not only dangerous to law and justice, but to civilization,  and in this specific case it shifts blame from the adult who allowed a deranged child access to a weapon and trained him to use it.

Is this organized campaign based on passing the very real blame to someone with deep pockets but no legal culpability in order to inhibit the importation, manufacture and sales of firearms in the US?  I think so.  I think, as do most Americans, that this is wrong and who else agrees that has any influence?  Bernie Sanders perhaps, the NRA for sure, crazy as they are about so many other things.

The lies about selling "weapons of war" are all the more poignant when one realizes that the 2nd amendment specifically references the idea that we need to keep weapons of war available to the public. The plaintiff's lawyers are going to have a hard time propping up the idea that it's immoral to sell the Bushmaster AR-15 because it''s "military" in light of the fact that it isn't. Morality is in the eye of the plaintiff in this case and the plaintiff alone if I read public sentiment accurately.  One of the pitfalls of moral outrage is to think, since you tend to associate only with other zealots, that most people agree with you.  We shall see.

It's appropriate to look at how a legal precedent will affect future court decisions and if it transpires that Bushmaster is held liable for wrongful death without doing anything wrong, then  the manufacturer of anything can be held liable through no actual fault of commission or omission of his own.  Is it appropriate to think about how giving the finger to the constitution and centuries of law might be a bad precedent when that constitution is already under assault by Christian supremacists?

It's not the only about this jihad, there are so many other crusades billing themselves as "liberal" having to do with ignoring evidence, accepting some evidence without question and  ignoring other evidence based on prejudice alone, there are efforts to presume guilt when it involves certain categories of people and  other complaints sufficient to cause me not to  follow the noise and revel in the rage of the mob, but I'm taking it step by step.  Today it's the NRA tomorrow it may be the people who want to tell me what I think because of my skin color or what I can say because of my ancestry. Small steps on a long, long ladder.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Say Hello to the New Boss. . .

I hate revolutions.  They almost always make things worse because they rely on zealotry and anger and revenge. The angriest, the craziest and those with serious problems always wind up as the leaders because the truly furious can't trust the pragmatic and reasonable who might just try to regulate the power they feel is needed to overthrow, to punish, to abolish and yes, even to exterminate.

There's usually fuel and fear enough to consume a culture or a civilization and of course we're constantly improving our fuel production and distribution even though our memories aren't any better than they ever were. We still hear people demanding more oil drilling as the world staggers under a glut of cheap oil. We still hear that Obama is against oil production even after he's expanded it enormously.

The world  staggers under a glut of misinformation and ignorance as well.  We're still howling about government "bailouts" that have been paid back with interest, saving countless jobs and strengthening the economy.. We're howling about things that are getting better as though they were getting worse, as though we feared a loss of purpose, of the self righteous glory of our anger if crime declines, economies improve, criminals are caught and justice prevails. As economies recover we have to hide it, we have to pad crime statistics, use misleading rhetoric, inflated numbers or anything else the end justifies -- even though we won't ever let it end.

Who was so angry at "wall street" when things were expanding like a soap bubble?  Who was so angry at people and entities sheltering capital in tax havens until they were busted and rounded up?  And again, who is paying attention to the serious problems that particular crusade is causing to law abiding "little" people.  In fact I wonder who enthusiastically voted to make all those things banks and finance companies and other entities legal again and why now are they looking for scapegoats when they should be looking in the mirror?

You see, I may hate patriotism and righteousness as much as I hate revolution and for the same reason. It's the passions of people, the passions of the mob and of their leaders I'm disgusted by.  It's hard to think of a good cause that isn't co-opted by zealots and turned into narrow channels that alienate rather than enlist altruism and good will toward man or beast.  The agenda and the power structure of some organization is always more important and always must be protected against, for instance someone who really opposes all racism, all injustice, all discrimination, all greed and all oppression.

We just become what we hate the more we hate it, and we didn't need Nietzsche to tell us, or Orwell to remind us that the rebels become the new oppressors.  So it's not enough to look for effective reform in banking and finance, we have to stuff a straw man full of everyone from the bank janitor to the bank resident. We can't just try to vote responsibly, we have to elect clowns and idiots to "punish" the government.  We can't think of more rational laws, so we have to denounce all of them just because they're laws and whatever we do we have to make everything seem far, far worse than it is even when we lose support from rational people for doing so.

If GM is building and selling cars in China, we have to complain they're "exporting jobs"  If a government bailout proves to have been a good investment, we still have to keep calling it bad names as long as possible.  If a retired school teacher in Mexico gets her nest egg confiscated, we have to ignore it because "wall street" may be hiding money even though the massive crackdown began a decade ago and we ignored it.  If innocent people have their assets confiscated without due process, we don't care because there's a chance they only have money because they're drug dealers.

I hate revolutions because they hardly ever address the real problems, they hardly produce productive change and because they always become self perpetuating: become all about the revolution itself , and because there's no fool like an angry fool.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

That Berning Sensation

I think Bernie Sanders has a lot to be embarrassed about, despite another primary won, but I'm not sure that revealing his apparent lack of  knowledge about just how he would retrieve all that pie from the stratosphere  worries me.  Just how a president makes state college tuition free I don't know nor does he, and when pressed by Bloomberg TV as to just who on "wall Street" should or would be punished for what crimes, he had no answer and  when interviewed by the New York Daily News about how, among other things, he would break up big banks, he sounded very much like a schoolboy explaining why he hadn't done his homework.  It's being called a disaster, but is it?
Donald Trump joked that he could shoot someone and not lose a supporter.  Whether or not it's strictly true, we Americans support candidates without much reliance on objective and dispassionate arguments.  We like slogans, platitudes and promises and the feeling that some buffoon loves and respects us uncritically and will attack our bogeymen and scapegoats in dramatic fashion. I don't think Sanders'  lack of  knowledge about economics, banking and finance hurts him one bit, sad to say, nor his equal unfamiliarity with foreign policy and current world events.  Perhaps his supporters don't want to be informed about those subjects lest they lose the confidence that innocence (and anger) bring.  If your concerns are mostly about tuition and loans why ask the man about a nuclear North Korea or Iran shipping weapons to Yemen and the rise of Neo-Fascism in Europe?  Why care if he answers "I don't know?"
When he rails about the "bailouts" the dogs prick up their ears, because it sounds like somebody got something for free, the scenario that enrages both camps, but  as I see it, the return on that "bailout" has netted a gain - a profit for the nation of nearly 70 billion dollars.  No, that's not a big piece of such a huge pie, but then, remember that an economic collapse as big as the Great Depression was avoided and countless jobs and industries were kept in the United States. A once endangered General Motors is selling cars in China as fast as they can make them.  What else do we sell there?  Mr. Sanders has no interest in telling us that Obama's policies may have saved the country and in that he mirrors the  disloyal opposition on the Right.  What does that say about him?  
I will of course vote for him - or nearly anyone if his opponent is one of the GOP circus clowns, but without thinking of Mrs. Clinton as being the best of all possible candidates, I worry about a 75 year old dog having to learn a whole world of new tricks in a world and a country being torn apart by wild and ignorant armies, day and night, here and abroad.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Safety first

Everything in America is getting so scary - not more dangerous, but more scary.  Parents who back in the 80's managed to fend for themselves are now hovering over their offspring now that things are substantially safer, and municipalities have tried to prosecute parents for allowing a ten year old to walk a mile unescorted. Safety.  Safety above all or ├╝ber alles as the song goes.

A week or month doesn't go by without some official raising of "awareness" and I believe than April is Autism Awareness month.  Of course the danger in raising awareness is that it raises fear without a corresponding  increase in risk and it seems that people 20 or 30 years younger than me are awfully nervous about -- well about almost everything from food to firearms and so often about things that are no longer nearly as risky as they once were.

Even children can communicate with nearly anyone in an instant should they need help, but how many had the freedom I had growing up in the 50's?  Damned few I should think.  It was back when the world, just out of a nightmare war felt very safe but most things were far more dangerous than they are now.  But if some kid was kidnapped, someone shot by a maniac or his drivers license stolen or was run over by a drunk driver in Sandusky, Ohio, neither I nor my parents would know about it.  There was no Autism awareness at all, not even by doctors, but there was epidemic Polio and childhood diseases killed far more children, as did cars and household poisons. It's much safer to be a kid and an adult for that matter.

I'm not saying, by any means, that life is worse now, but the fear factor is greater and the technology that once gave us freedom and safety is now looked at with fear; telephones, WiFi, bicycles and above all CARS!  Remember that freedom you used to feel in a car?  All alone on some lonely highway even if you were only commuting?  You might have to learn how to change a tire, you might have to walk, you might have to exercise some initiative but the taste of freedom!  Now, of course you just call the motor club and your location can be tracked if you call 911 but that's not enough.  It's still possible that you make a mistake, misjudge speed and distance or misread the road surface and you'll get hurt.  Too risk, we need self-driving cars and many if not all automobile makers are putting all their resources in cars that drive themselves BECAUSE IT'S SAFER.

I've lived too long.  I haven't had an accident since the 1960's and it was a minor scrape, but how can you trust me now that awareness has been raised?   Fortunately I have a motorcycle and a self driving bike probably isn't in the 5 year plan for Harley Davidson., but  the "American Road" will soon be as safely dead as Kerouac and Dean Moriarty, and I might as well be too, because even though it gets safer every year, it's too dangerous.  Will by grandchildren inherit a world without cash, with curfews and where all social interaction is on the Internet?  I don't want to find out.