Monday, August 4, 2014


It is a relatively quiet domestic U.S. summer, but not so
quiet in the rest of the world. Beneath the surface of the
apparent domestic tranquility, however, the nation’s
voters are making up their minds about who they will
vote for only about three months from now. Labor Day is
only weeks away.


A few key party primaries lie ahead, but most of the
candidates for governor, U.S. senate, U.S. congress, and
state legislator are now known. Pundits, including this one,
have been citing a growing trend toward Republican and
conservative candidates, but yours truly is cautious about
making predictions or declaring any trends to be an inevitable
political tsunami. There are contradictory signs in the
economy, The stock market is making hesitating new highs,
official unemployment figures are lower, some sectors are
stronger. On the other hand, true unemployment figures
(all those without jobs, whether they are “seeking” work or
not) remain very high, warnings of stock market “bubbles”
abound, some important sectors are not booming. The
Obamacare debacle is entering a new and perhaps more
painful stage as new healthcare insurance rates are
announced, and the free market of hospitals, physicians
and private insurance companies companies react to and
absorb Obamacare realities.

Market-based innovation in technology, education, health
care and communications continues to explode.

There are counterproductive and interminable debates
about political correctness, redistribution of wealth and
opportunity, political name-calling from all sides, dubious
weather and environmental patterns.

There are sobering real-life impacts from continuing and
new natural disasters, including historic water shortages in
California, drought in the West, floods in the Midwest, etc.

Useful conversations are taking place about the future,
but they are mostly out of sight of the general public.
(One hopeful small sign: my friend Newt Gingrich’s
important new book BREAKOUT: Pioneers of the future,
guards of the past, and the epic battle that will decide
America’s fate
, originally published last November, has
suddenly appeared on a bestseller list. When I reviewed
it last year, I suggested this was a must-read book by
concerned citizens. This book is apparently one of those
rare publications whose importance needed a period of
gestation before taking off.)

A vital national conversation about the transparency and
reform of government at all levels is taking place, but much
too slowly. It has not yet entered its political stage (in which
advocates are rewarded by voters).

It is an exceptionally quiet baseball season. Many of the
sport’s stars have just or are now retiring. Some of the best
active players have been hurt or are out for the season. Baseball
statistics (part of the pastime’s enduring appeal) are notably
unremarkable midway into the season. Interest in the annual
All Star game seemed at a low point this year. The numerous
interleague games this season might be also diminishing the
appeal of the interleague World Series in October. Astronomical
player salaries, and some players‘ misconduct,  continue to
interfere with appreciation of the teams athletic and competitive

Seeming anarchy at the southwest border, including a flood
of very young undocumented immigrants, is doing much to
mute a previously growing consensus for immigration
reform. The role of the federal government in this situation
is so far particularly ambiguous and potentially

The movie business is having its worst summer in memory.

Copyright (c) 2014 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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