No, Not That “F” – Other Things
Odds and Ends
Before we begin, today is Election Day in many places. If that includes where you live, hope you are doing or have done the right thing as a citizen and voted, wisely.
I have a few items in mind to share today. I was amused as I developed the list to find that something could be found in common with a very disparate listing – the letter F. So, with that thin thread of continuity, here we go.
F is for Ford
Ford led the way in making a contract deal with the UAW. In some ways, that is not a surprise. Ford has been ahead of the pack for some years in many ways. Before anyone else saw the coming changes, Ford said it was no longer a car company – it was a transportation company. The difference is not unimportant, and they put teeth in the term by investing in lots of new directions.
They were also the first to move firmly on the electric vehicle track. The changes they did in the truly iconic F150 truck (military grade aluminum in the frame, a fully electric pick-up truck) were considered high risk – they have paid off stupendously.
The contract deal is not everything each side wanted, as one would expect, but it is quite the victory for the United Auto Workers (UAW). The other companies quickly signed up for pretty much the same.
Everyone was curious to see how the UAW leadership would run this strike. This is a generation that has never known such a large labor action. Their plan to have strategically placed, rolling strikes worked like a charm. Overall, well done.
The labor force and the country are better off for this one.
F is for Finally (A Speaker is Finally Selected)
After three weeks of absolute chaos, the Republicans in the House of Representatives finally chose a Speaker. Be careful what you wish for- you might get it. The bad news is that this fellow is even worse than one might have expected. He almost makes Jim Jordan look almost normal. This is about as extreme as they come – he just presents nicely.
The bad news for the country is that this solidifies that was the extreme wing of Republicanism is now clearly the center of mass. Nothing good is going to follow. The good news is that politically, the Democrats can go into every race saying the local Republican Representative voted for a guy who thinks there is no gun problem, that women are to carry any child any time, that LGBTQ’s are not real people, that God chose him to be Speaker, etc., etc. They own this one.
The unknown is whether the new Speaker might surprise us all and do some reasonable governing in the coming days. I doubt it but I would love to be wrong. We will know soon enough. The other unknown is what might have happened if the previous candidate, who lasted one day, had made a quite deal with Democrats to get elected and pursue coalition government at some level.
F is for Fantastic (Technology)
Over the last month, I acquired the new Apple Pro Max phone and the new Apple watch. Every time I do this, I am reminded how remarkable technology is and how fast it develops. What one can do with these devices is remarkable.
The progress in technology has almost always been impressive. It was only a few decades between the Wright brothers’ flight and the moon landing. I remember talking to an astronaut decades ago, noting that the technology in my phone (smart phones were just coming out then) was way more than the Apollo lander had on the first moon landing. And just this week, I saw this photo.
Says it all, doesn’t it?
F is for Friends – or the Lack Thereof
That there is an increased sense of loneliness and isolation in America post-pandemic seems painfully obvious, although we are not sure why this is the case. A lot of intersecting factors are at work in all this. We can see that the cost is high, for individuals and for society. It seems like almost every mass murderer had no friends and felt isolated. Some politicians always say that “they “are shutting you out, cutting you out. A sense of isolation and resentment takes root.
This is an interesting topic for me. I enjoy people pretty much, but can go weeks without seeing people and be fine. A good dose of isolation is splendid, good for mind and soul. But even I get that having human connections counts a lot. Two short, interesting articles touching on this that I am pleased to recommend:
The Weaponization of Loneliness, Hillary Clinton, The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/08/hillary-clinton-essay-loneliness-epidemic/674921/
NPR has a good article on a Pew Research poll on Americans and Friends:
F is for Fearless
They are a small group, and some have too far-out there politics (some are communists – remember them?), but they are to be admired for their courage and what they are trying to do. A small group of Israeli Jews and Palestinians living in Israel have organized themselves as combined neighborhood security groups.
They are escorting people through other neighborhoods to minimize people being attacked for who they are. You have to be impressed. If peace is ever to come to this region, more of this, done on the human level, is required.
F is for Fall (the Season)
I have the good fortune to live in the Smoky Mountains, a place where the Fall season is like Nature’s cathedral. This is one reason we chose to live here. Fall just about everywhere is my definition of perfection.
I appreciate all four seasons, but for many of us the rest of the year is just delay until the next Fall. The colors, the aromas, the weather, even the food and the clothes. How sweet it is. I hope you enjoy it at least as much as I do. Thanks, Nature – you blow us away with this show every year.
See You Next Week
Bill Clontz & Feathered Friend
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