Monday, March 30, 2015

A Lesson in International Relations

Once again I had a fascinating conversation with a seatmate on the Metro. She appeared to be a tourist and so I ask where she was from. I was taken aback when she answered very clearly in English, "I am from Moldava".  Somewhat startled since my mind's map of Europe goes back to Yugoslavia, I asked exactly where that was and she replied that it was in Southeast Europe. With her husband  working in our State Department she too was hoping to find employment there . How disappointing not to have my business card so I could continue our conversation on the Internet!

Just before departing I asked her to share with me one outstanding difference she found between her home country and living in the United States. "In Moldava people are not friendly, and we would never have a conversation like this," was her reply.

I know this does not qualify as a rant or rave, but it affords me an opportunity to share two thoughts:

1. Recalling again the opportunities that are there for learning when we are not wedded to devices, and

2. The enjoyment that is mine when I share ideas and thoughts with family, friends and any who might tune in to my rants. Thus I'm hoping do this more often in an informal way - hopefully most Mondays  I'll assure you that I will soon return to more deep-seated problems and thoughts: insights from the perspective of another generation.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Ron's Rant Returns with A Brief Look at Four Amereican Problems

I returned from a months vacation ready to tackle what I a believe are three of America's most important topics: achieving world peace, reducing the disparity of income and opportunity in our country and restoring America's public school system. All this because I read four books on vacation. Unfortunately March madness has intervened, and once again the insight of sportswriters caused me to tackle America's fourth greatest problem, The Plight of Interscholastic Sports.

Please do not scoff! There is historic precedence for an American president intervening in college athletics when President Theodore Roosevelt was prevailed upon to intercede in reducing the brutality of football. Fortunately today's Washington Post (March 23, 2015 on pages D2 and D3) has articles by Norman Chad and Sally Jenkins (respectively) that provide a basis for bringing sanity to the sporting scene. By taking the lead from these two sports writers, perhaps we could bring pressure to bear to make change without distracting the president from other more pressing problems.

While I have previously chastised Chad (known as the “couch slouch”) for resorting to a highly sexist style of writing in his weekly column, he names names and pulls no punches in attacking the ridiculous hypocrisy of the college sports. Sally Jenkins not only outlines the problems, but takes it a step further to propose “Five fundamental changes (that) would alter the landscape”.

Certainly I am aware that college sports come no way near the other problems I mention. However they do represent a degree of hypocrisy in American life that leads so many of our idealistic youth to tune out many of our societies values.

I'm sorry if this Rant really doesn't speak to your (and even my) deep-seated concerns. Thus my next blog will tackle those first four. Truly peace (with a nod to religion), education and the welfare of all classes of society top my list. While a few of you may ponder what are the four books, I'll instead put in a plug for my other blog and the great opportunities we have in the nations capital to hear authors speak of their books for free – in this case at Politics and Prose, American University and the Aspen Institute - where the four authors spoke recently.