Tuesday, March 17, 2009

One Second before Midnight

by Al Petrone

Science tells us the earth is over 4.7 billion years old, with all of modern history and human civilization only occurring within the last 5,000 to 10,000 years. Said differently, if all of time were compared to a 12 month calendar, ALL of mankind's recorded history would have occurred on the last second, of the last minute, of the last day of that year. Using our universal timeline as an analogy, everything we know as humans has transpired at 11:59PM on December 31st .... all in less than one second. All of the world's cultures, languages, countries, empires, governments, religions, stories, songs and dreams that have ever come and gone - and those that are still here ....have all happened within this "one second before midnight". In this one blink of an eye, millions of species have appeared and disappeared off the face of the earth. One species however, evolved beyond the others, and learned to walk upright and communicate. In very short order, this same species went on to build pyramids, paint the Sistine Chapel, crack the genetic code of our DNA, and fly faster than the speed of sound. Thru their many stages of evolution, and while struggling to survive, this human species continually re-defined itself and its rightful place in the universe. As they journeyed on their many different paths thru time, they created many forms of culture and society. Along the way, each of these societies offered their own version of economic, political, judicial and religious belief systems. This resulted in the birth of numerous tribes within the species - each with their own language, their own customs, their own government, and their own Gods. Many of these forms of authority were based on birth-right, legend, inherited power, blind faith and legacy. Whether one believed the species was a "risen ape" or a "fallen angel", one thing was irrefutable: most of all human conflict had arisen thru man-made institutions....like borders, governments, religions, cultures, languages, and armies. Yes, the very same species that found the cure for polio, also created the atomic bomb. The very same species that sculpted the Statue of David and painted the Mona Lisa, also enslaved their fellow man. The very same species that wrote Hamlet and landed a man on the moon, also allowed a holocaust and several genocides to occur against their own species. History shows us that this continuous battle between good and evil has raged for thousands of years - with many of the ideas, cultures, governments, Gods and societies having come and gone in the flash of this one second before midnight.

... more on the hope for mankind after the click.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

File this under Irony

Today's losers losing their homes are Republican districts. At least according to the Center for Responsible Lending, who has just issued a new report that shows nine of the top ten districts with the most foreclosures are Republican and most likely to receive the bulk of any homeowner bailout, and thus, at least according to one On Air editor of a major cable network, fit the definition of "losers".

... read a summary of the loosing districts after the click.

Rick Santelli's 'losers' may turn out to be the people who are supposedly his ideological fellow travelers. Ironic? Just a little ...

A need to reconnect

"Must Read" piece from The Financial Times (London)

By Francesco Guerrera in New York

In different times, the offer from the check-in attendant would have been accepted with alacrity. But in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, with an angry public, populist politicians and an aggressive press baying for a crackdown on Wall Street’s “excesses”, the senior banker paused for thought when he heard those usually welcome airline words: “Sir, you have been upgraded to first class. Please follow me.”

Finally replying, “I am fine in coach, thank you”, he gave up the better seat and opened another chink in the armour of beliefs and practices that corporate America had built and spread around the world over decades.

Once hailed as examples of an American dream that rewarded success with large pay cheques, lavish perks and popular admiration, executives and their companies have been caught in the grip of a storm that will revolutionise business. The deep freeze of capital markets, the implosion of financial groups and the resulting rise in governments’ sway over the private sector have called into question some of the foundations of Anglo-Saxon capitalism.

... read the rest in the Financial Times after the click.