Saturday, March 21, 2015


In my former career, the salinity of the seas was always an ever present factor, that you had to take into account, even when not particularly thinking of it.

This may account for a hypothesis that has come to mind, to account for the fact that despite one of the warmest years on record, the north east coast had record cold.  I suspect that the ice melt has left a layer of cold fresh water over the denser warm sea water of the Gulf Stream thus limiting the ability of that current from moderating the climate as in years past.  If New England has a cooler than usual Summer, it may further the hypothesis.  If it were to be true, that the ice melt has reached proportions high enough to affect the climate, it might bode really badly for our planet as a whole.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


The recent election results, in Israel, prove, once again, that illusions of exceptionalism only lead to disillusionment.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Republicans, intrepid as always, in their willingness to rush into places where angels fear to tread, may have insured that Iran becomes one of the world's nuclear powers by interfering in the negotiations.  If the Republicans succeed in scuttling the negotiations, in the court of the world's opinion, they will own the the reason for the failure to reach detente.  The U.S. has had no diplomatic ties and few commercial ties to effectively levy sanctions on Iran, and it is the Europeans who have been putting the screws, so effectively, to the Iranian economy. If and when  negotiations are broken off, public opinion in those European countries may force lifting the sanctions thus handing a bloodless victory,  just as they were handed a victory over Saddam Hussein, without losing a drop of their blood, by George W. Bush. 
There must be something in the stuff Republicans drink that makes them so clumsy when it comes to diplomacy.  


In his response to the 47 Senators who signed the letter  warning Iran about negotiating with the Obama Administration, Foreign Minister Zarif, basically, rejected it on Constitutional grounds.  That it was rejected basis the U.S. Constitution rather than the Irani Constitution, might have been a crowning insult to any but the most obtuse Government official, which meant, in this case, since no offense was taken, none was given. 

Monday, March 9, 2015


The former Yugoslavia was, for me, the only communist country that I actually enjoyed going to.  It's major entities, Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzogovina spoke the same language; didn't attend their respective Houses of  Worship, except on high holidays, in the same way; teased each other, affectionally, about the foibles of their different groups.  No Yugoslav ever let his job, working for the Government, interfere with his real work so there was an abundance of everything, at least compared to the other Eastern bloc countries I visited.   Things rapidly deteriorated, after the death of Tito, as demogogues seized on nationalism as a way to grab power for themselves.

Sunday, March 8, 2015


Evenings in the Eastern Bloc ports, where I attended vessels, in the 1980s, usually meant lively political discussions while consuming rather large amounts of wine and spirits.  It was here that I devloped a response in the matter of explaining the difference between the economic systems of the East and West.  I started out with a quote that I believed had been attributed to Charles DeGaulle to the effect that while God had chosen to limit the intelligence of mankind, He had put no boundaries on its stupidity. "In a command economy," I explained, "all of the stupidity is concentrated in  central spot, whereas, in a market economy, the stupidity is dispersed.  Any illusion that one system is superior to the other will be short-lived because, in the end, stupidity will out"