Ron Wolff: Robust cognitive ability, a healthy emotional outlook, and high ethical standards will combine to produce decisions fitting our complex society.
Ron Wolff: California’s “new” (but experienced) governor is bringing some urgently needed honesty and fresh thinking to the budgeting process in a state weary of smoke, mirrors, a two-thirds requirement in the legislature for tax increases, and the ravages of a recession imposed largely by external forces.
Ron Wolff: The “Inland Empire” is a vast stretch of land east of Los Angeles County inhabited mostly by cacti and Republicans, characterized over the years by brazen political corruption (the most recent former San Bernardino County assessor used the office as a political headquarters when he wasn’t high on meth or participating in rehab) and the intellectual analysis of issues on a level of sophistication that would make any fifth grader proud.
Ron Wolff: It was announced this week that the pullout of NATO troops from Afghanistan will be — 2014! Amazing as it might sound, 2014 is exactly the same deadline I have set for myself for the imposition of a low calorie diet. I’ve had this objective since 2002, but it’s always been part of a long-term strategic plan, not something I wanted to rush into prematurely.
Ron Wolff: I suggest that it is not necessary to postulate bias against conservatives as the reason for the preponderance of liberals in academia. The simpler answer is that conservatives (with exceptions! I don’t want to over-generalize!) are less able (or at least less inclined) to engage in critical thinking worthy of an academic environment.
Ron Wolff: I can’t help thinking what the “deregulation contingent” of political thinkers would do about the situation in Bell, California, where a corrupt city council, in collusion with a city manager accused of criminal activity, raped the treasury of millions of dollars by paying themselves excessive salaries, sometimes for meetings that lasted only a few minutes.
Ron Wolff: So, will someone please explain to me how CEOs getting wealthy and average workers being cheated out of hard-earned wages is part of the American dream?
Ron Wolff: Government is simply the institutionalization over time of the collective will of the people at any given moment, established with at least one essential objective in mind: the prevention of the inevitable chaos that would result in its absence.
Ron Wolff: Los Angeles County Supervisors have been aware for years that several of their largest departments — Juvenile Probation and Children and Family Services among them — are dysfunctional. They claim to care — but the problems persist. There is one thing a leader does in urgent times — take urgent action!
Ron Wolff: FDR spoke about “four essential freedoms” on January 6, 1941, naming 1) freedom of speech and expression; 2) freedom of every person to worship in his own way; 3) freedom from want; and 4) freedom from fear — which he explained was related to a reduction of armaments and the lack of physical aggression against any other country in the world.
Ron Wolff: I don’t quarrel with the Boy Scouts’ right to determine its own membership qualifications, although I think what they’ve done is short-sighted in the least and actually downright bigoted. (Other organizations serving young people — the Girl Scouts, Campfire, Boys and Girls Clubs, and probably a host of others — have seen the light.) What I don’t understand is the desire to celebrate and applaud discrimination, unless of course you approve of those views yourself.
Ron Wolff: If PG&E believes so strongly in democracy, shouldn’t it let its shareholders vote on whether to support a campaign like this? Don’t hold your breath. If capitalism thrives because it promotes market efficiency, what’s wrong with letting governments operate utilities if they can do it better than private enterprise?
Ron Wolff: In Los Angeles County, child abuse hotline tips flow in at a rapid clip. Responsibility for investigating them falls to the Department of Children and Family Services. The Los Angeles Times reports that more than 18,000 cases are unresolved within the mandated time limit of 30 days, at least in part because there are simply not enough social workers.
Ron Wolff: Democrats pushed health care reform, according to Will, because of liberals’ tendency to “lunge to maximize government growth.” Presumably, it was irrelevant that insurance companies were acting like bandits, taking policy-holders’ money and then withholding services when people got sick, and that millions of Americans were dying prematurely because they didn’t have access to quality medical care.
Ron Wolff: The logical question to ask is: How much is the CEO of Massey Energy Company compensated for setting the tone and establishing the philosophy that “violations are unfortunately a normal part of the mining process”? According to the New York Times , CEO Don L. Blankenship earned $11.2 million in 2008, about twice what he earned in 2006.
Ron Wolff: Meanwhile, millions of people look for work. No, they’re not all trained to be police officers, probation officers, electrical engineers, or teachers. But many of them could be. And most of the rest are either qualified or COULD be qualified to perform tasks that provide society with useful — even necessary — services.
Ron Wolff: Oh, by the way, country and western music will be studied as a cultural movement. High school freshmen will probably be assigned the task of writing lyrics to twangy melodies — when they’re not studying about the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the National Rifle Association. Yes, they’re all “in.”
Ron Wolff: The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), a multilateral treaty promoted by the United Nations, commits its parties to work toward stated objectives for all its citizens. As of December 8th, 160 countries had ratified it. Not us. The United States has “signed,” but the Senate has never ratified.
Ron Wolff: “So we’re paralyzed in the face of mass unemployment and out-of-control health care costs…Blame our political culture, a culture that rewards hypocrisy and irresponsibility rather than serious efforts to solve America’s problems…I’m sorry to say this, but the state of the union — not the speech, but the thing itself — isn’t looking very good.”