Thursday, July 26, 2012

Penn State and the NCAA

By Tom Kando

The Penn State child sex abuse scandal has been the top of the news for a year or so.  Because I have some painful memories about Penn State myself, I haven’t written about this.  But I have changed my mind. After all, I taught at Penn State. Not only was I a professor there, I was in the VERY SAME SHOP as Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky. My tenure-track position was in the College of Health, Physical Education and Recreation  - the same unit which houses the athletic program, including varsity football. I regularly bumped into people like Paterno and Sandusky in Rec Hall’s hallways, offices  and locker rooms.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I am a Facebook Voyeur

by Madeleine Kando

I admit it, I am a Facebook voyeur. I waste my precious time on Facebook because there are a few faces amongst the millions that matter to me, like my daughter Aniko. She lives far away, you see. She leads her life in the mist of distance, so I like to get a peek every so often, especially now that she gave me a grandson.

But I don’t often post things on Facebook and I am sure I am not the only voyeur out there. Let’s face it, Facebook is a huge sniffing ground. This is how my little chihuahua must feel when she enters the doggy park. Read more...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What Happened to You, America?

By Tom Kando

Throughout its history, America has been the country of the future, a progressive and forward-looking country that planned ahead and had a vision. America was always gung-ho, always ready to go ahead, to show the world how to do it better, how to build  it better.

The current high-speed train mess in California is a prototype of how far we have fallen as a people.  While the governor and the legislature are still keeping the project  (barely) alive, a majority of the public is now against it (aided and abetted by short-sighted  opinion leaders like  Sacramento Bee  columnist Dan Walters).

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Greatest Generation

Saved from WBR Museum
by Madeleine Kando

I never liked groups very much. I instinctively mistrust them, probably because, in my childhood I was a refugee, fleeing from the persecution of one group by another. I am a loner, at heart and feel quite comfortable being one. But there is one group to which I belong whether I like it or not: I belong to a certain generation. Since I stopped trying to hide my grey hair (a very liberating, economical and time-saving decision), I have become interested in where I fit in, in the grander scheme of things. It’s tempting to try to fit yourself into a certain category, as if belonging to the 'baby boomer generation' means anything more than that one is born between 1944 and 1964. Read more...

Friday, July 13, 2012


By Gene Avery

After I (Tom Kando) posted the piece about “Growth Forever?” I received an e-mail from Gene Avery with a poem.  Gene is a Sacramento poet who reminds me of people like Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac (I hope it’s okay to say this).  I don’t know much about poetry, but I am  impressed by Gene’s poem, which is related  to my “Growth Forever” post, although much more eloquent. Gene graciously let me reproduce his poem:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Which are the Best and the Worst Olympic Countries?

By Tom Kando

With the imminent opening of the Olympic Games in London, I thought I’d entertain you with the following  timely information:

During a previous Olympic Games, Sacramento Bee columnist Marcos Bretton bemoaned the fact that Mexico had done so poorly in terms of the medal count - just as badly as “Indo-freakin-nesia.”  This prompted me to compute the various countries’ medals in proportion to their population. Read more...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Do Some Conservative States Hate the Poor?

by Madeleine Kando

Last week, I was all excited when the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act's Individual Mandate does not violate the U.S. Constitution. But the High Court also found that Congress cannot penalize states that refuse to go along with the law's plan to expand Medicaid to cover adults up to 133 percent of the poverty level.

By that ruling the Supreme Court pulled the rug out from under the most vulnerable part of the population, the poor. Had it been left the way it was intended, they would have benefitted from the Health Care Reform Act the most. Read more...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World - Part Two

by Tom Kando

As I promised, I am sharing with you further details of David Deutsch’s marvelous book -  The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World . Last time, I summarized his main thesis. Today, I want to tell you about his attitude, his background and his love for the Enlightenment.

1. Deutsch's erudition

The author  sometimes reads like  a know-it-all who pontificates ex cathedra. He seems to  say that we should just accept his views; his authority (which is EXACTLY what he preaches against throughout his book). For example, he  tells us several times   that the “Spaceship Earth” metaphor is an error, as are  the concepts of the biosphere and a sustainable planetary environment. He calls these ideas “parochial.” He never equivocates, when telling us which ideas and  philosophers are  right, and what and who is  wrong. For instance, Plato? Somewhat of a dufus who largely misunderstood Socrates.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Growth Forever?

By Tom Kando

Things haven’t been going well economically since 2007, particularly in the Western World, i.e. in Europe and in the US.

Meanwhile, “the rest” has been rising (See Alice Amsden’s The Rise of “The Rest”). For example, the huge so-called “BRIC” countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) enjoy  explosive  growth.