Some Thoughts About Recent Events Paul Losch's Community Blog, posted by Paul Losch, a resident of Palo Alto, on Feb 14, 2011 at 7:05 pm Paul Losch is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
World Event: What is going on in the Middle East reminds me of what transpired in Eastern Europe when Communist regimes fell 20+ years ago. This drama is far from over.
National Event: Does anybody honestly believe that the budget proposed by the Obama Administration and the rhetoric to same by the GOP leadership on Capitol Hill is the stuff of rational people?
California Event: Gov. Jerry Brown, unlike Arnold, is not a cheerleader, as he indicated in his proposed budget. I do not understand all the nuances of what he proposes, but I give him credit for attempting to take face on a very bad state financial situation.
Peninsula Event: CalTrain. We need to figure this one out. It is a valuable part of our transportation infrastructure and needs to be supported effectively. The current structure clearly is not working, but paring back its service offering as has been described in the media is the wrong cure for CalTrainís disease.
Palo Alto Event: the Wellbeing of our High School age kids. I have some involvement in this matter in my capacity as a CPA Parks and Recreation Commissioner. There is a great deal of effort, thinking, and action by many people and officials in the community to ascertain how at risk students are not taking their lives or other dangerous behaviors. And this is very difficult stuff. When we lost another Paly student a few weeks ago, I just felt helpless.
All the demographic trends in Egypt are trending downward. They are now not exporting any more oil, their water is running out, their population is rising still, and the people are feeling the brunt of that ... it is almost nothing to do with Democracy.
I quote the last paragraph of the article to point out that if we are not careful, and maybe even if we are, we may be facing the same thing:
``With abundant energy and food, we are treated to expansive and stable economies in which everyone stands a chance of gaining. Not that everyone will, mind you, but the possibility is there In an energy-constrained world, what was formerly possible is no longer do-able, things don't work right, and there seem to be persistent shortages of everything from growth, to money, to food, to goodwill. What used to work doesn't. It is at these points that the prior stresses and imbalances are most likely to snap and suddenly change the world.''
Posted by anonymous, a resident of another community, on Feb 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm
Egypt oil exports down? Is that a big deal (especially given that they are in the middle of a coup, hopefully leading to democracy?)
Egypt produces less than 650k barrels a day, ranking it about 30th in the world. By comparison, the US produces about 5,000,000 barrels a day, Saudi about 8m. (source: CIA)
But generally I agree with your point, Egypt is an upheaval about lack of economic opportunity: jobs, wages, fairness. While the fear boys on talk radio want it to be about Al Qaeda and Islam, in fact, the people in the street showed that AQ's violent methods and religious extremism aren't the solution.
May their God(s) bless them, and good luck to Egypt!
And may all leaders, tyrant or otherwise, ignore the economic well-being of their peoples, at their peril. As Paul notes, from PA to trains to state to nation to world.
Speaking of: John Boehner, it's getting on towards March, where is the jobs legislation for which you claim you were elected Speaker? How did that phrase go?
Posted by Anon., a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Feb 15, 2011 at 1:55 pm
Anonymous, kind of pointless contradiction, especially when you go on to agree with me. follow the link to the article i posted and just look at the graphs of Egypt's predicament, and then get back to me some some more of your sarcastic disagree ment ... ah, before you decide to agree with me again! OK? ;-)
Anyway, if you are too unmotivated to click to the link and take a look, here is the executive summary:
Population 1960: 27.8 million
Population 2008: 81.7 million
Current population growth rate: 2% per annum (a 35-year doubling rate)
Population in 2046 after another doubling: 164 million <<<<<<<<<<<
Rainfall average over whole country: ~ 2 inches per year
Highest rainfall region: Alexandria, 7.9 inches per year
Arable land (almost entirely in the Nile Valley): 3%
Arable land per capita: 0.04 Ha (400 m2)
Arable land per capita in 2043: 0.02 Ha
Food imports: 40% of requirements
Grain imports: 60% of requirements
Net oil exports: Began falling in 1997, went negative in 2007
Oil production peaked in 1996
Cost of oil rising steeply
Cost of oil and food tightly linked
Any country that has to import both oil and food is living on borrowed time. It was only a matter of time before something gave way, and apparently that time is now.
This is a microcosm to one degree or another of the whole "exponential" human world.
Posted by Geez, a resident of the Leland Manor/Garland Drive neighborhood, on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:34 am
Good grief. It doesn't remind me in even one tiny bit about the fall of the communist dictatorships. In that time, there were leaders who had read and understood principles of individual liberty and the protection thereof, principles of govts that work for protecting individual liberty, and there were people OF THE PEOPLE ready to step in and create their constitutions, their elections, their government.
This is much more like Iran...a groundswell of some university students in front with a military junta and an islamist population in the background. Iran turned into a military theocracy...worked out great, didn't it? It did not turn into a mob rule ( otherwise known as a "democracy" where 6 lions can outvote the 4 sheep on plans for dinner, then wonder why they are dying off after it is all gone). It did not turn into some style of protection for every individual regardless of gender, religion, race and sexual orientation.