one-man bandLet’s pledge to each other not to be foolish, not to let vanity and ego, well, kill each other on the streets.

Fact is that we’ve eagerly bought the shoddy goods of multitasking. As a species, humans are terrible at it. Start by watching wrecks and near wrecks as drivers using cell phones career at each other and slam on the brakes (usually in time). Less dangerous and more common and certainly amusing see pedestrians on sidewalks or indoors walking into each other or walls as they try to ambulate and talk or text into the smartphone. It’s good perhaps that the phone is smart if the users are not.

Doubters’ Resource. Start with the collection of data and studies from around the nation and world at the National Safety Council here.

I run down some stats — how dangerous using phones while driving is, and that hands-free use is no safer. I talk about why we were even introduced to the idea that we can, should and must multitask. Alas, unlike a PC, we can’t get a retrofit of more RAM and a faster CPU. We really are trying to switch sequential tasks instantly. Our brains can’t do it. Multitasking is at best an illusion and at worst a deluision.

I go into a little background of CEO/manager think that led to the multitasking mythology. Bill Gates? Yes, Microsoft has been a primary villain here, promoting its Office and other software with a fantasy that every employee is a multitasker and is robbing the company if she or he isn’t working on many duties at the same time all day and every day.

icon for podpress  Multitasking kills [25:27m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

cartridgesAngry and saddened by the latest and legacy of mass killings by a gunman, the POTUS demanded state and federal gun laws to deal with licensing and sales issues. Sure, sure, those are essential, but let’s change America’s gun culture. That would literally be the gift of the century to current and future citizens.

I exhort us to do that. We can. Already as polls show repeatedly, over 90% of us want greater gun licensing and sales controls. Clearly the state and Congressional NRA-bought solons lack the courage and will to attend to our desires and judgment. So we need to help them.

In my lifetime, I have seen us advance from segregated schools and miscegenation laws to at least half way to racial tolerance and balance. That cultural shift can only continue. We need to do the same with our gun culture. We need to employ naming and shaming — yes, to our lawmakers, but as important in our normal interactions with friends, neighbors, coworkers and those we need. Think the office or factory, the church coffee hour, on the subway and on and on.

Implicitly and explicitly, threatening in any way our fellow citizens has to and can be made unacceptable. Listen to my raving on this by clicking below.

By the bye, the best info on the Roseburg shooter I’ve seen appears in the Britsh The Daily Mail here.

WaPo created a sobering graphic of the number of mass shootings in the U.S. (four or more killed) this year. See it here. There has not been a week without one and up to 5 per week.

icon for podpress  Roseburg implications [19:54m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Finally, it’s showtime. The pretenders will dribble off in the background. The loud. colorful summer gives way.

The inevitable (Clinton/Bush) were not. The highly improbable (Trump and most GOP candidates) are simply taking longer than we predicted for the inevitable flame-outs. Who’s left.

I raved today about the effects of the pending Joe Biden announcement. That promises a much more interesting and meaningful political fall that I could have hoped. I consider Sanders/Biden/Clinton in combat.

The pathetic Republicans and floundering, so many gasping fish on the boat deck. I doom Trump, Fiorina and others, keeping a JEB door open.

Listen in for my take.

icon for podpress  2 party 2016 update [28:12m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Tim McCarthyFirst-term Boston City Councilor Tim McCarthy looks to consolidate and reinforce his District 5 election. He faces a challenge from the same camp as two years ago.

Schedule Change:
He’ll talk with me Thursday, Oct. 15th at 3:00 PM Eastern on his prospects, accomplishments and ambitions. If you can catch it live, click here at showtime. Otherwise, hear or download his show on demand at that URL, back here or on our iTunes page.

McCarthy has made a career of delivering constituent services in several positions in Boston. He’s carried that over to this District office as well. We’ll talk about what he sees as his accomplishments…as well as his goals. You can prepare by hitting his campaign site.

Fairmount LineI’m not the first to propose fare-free mass transit. I’ve done it before, shall do it again, and won’t be the last. Yet, the proposal and concepts behind it continue to astound those who accept the current unnatural order of things transportation.

The shock to many is shifting from the it’s-only-common-sense idea that sure, a bus, commuter rail or subway has to charge for a ticket. Otherwise, who’ll pay for the expenses. Well, the commonsense thingummy almost always means, “I have nothing. I’ll just deal in cliché and stereotype.”

After our last terrible winter when the mass transit in Boston (the T as we call it, for MBTA) failed us countless times. The newish Gov. Charlie Baker set a task force to defining how to fix it. Not surprisingly, they wanted to do the same things, just cheaper and more efficiently. They never asked what we expect from mass transit.

I talk a bit in a short show (19 minutes) on why we should have zero-fare transit. There are many advantages in clearing road congestion, minimizing pollution, noise and wrecks, all by shifting the governmental (you taxes) expenditures from conductors, ticket vendors and such to the fares. I’d bet that be done for the same or less.

Then drivers who often disdain mass transit have to look at the huge subsidies they get in road building and maintenance, gas price supports and more. The are more heavily riding on our taxes than T riders would be. Let’s get real, boys and girls.

Many library as well as internet sources cover the topic. You can start with our 5-year-old Left Ahead chat with MA Gov. Mike Dukakis, here. Of course, Wikipedia as a multi-page recap of cities who are offering free transit, here. An excellent think piece on the subject by Henry Grabar appears in Salon, here.

icon for podpress  Free Mass Transit: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

U.S. Gun Violence Podcast

September 3, 2015 | 1 Comment

I’m either exactly the wrong one to comment guns or just the right one. I don’t own any and have no desire to do so. I don’t hunt and am not paranoid.

Yet, citizens of the U.S. of A. love guns. Stats read that our 5% of the world’s population owns nearly 50% of the non-miltary guns. We’ve averaged a mass shooting (4 or more deaths at a time) A DAY this year. One of us dies every 16 minutes, w24 hours from gun violence. Consider too our rates of mass shootings are five times the next highest nation (the Phillippines).

As I am wont to ask my sons, what can we learn from this?

I run on about what needs to change, what’s not going to change, and how to affect change.

Think Links:

icon for podpress  Guns, Bullets and Bull [23:58m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Yes, yes, it’s been a long time since POTUS 38, Richard Nixon, was driven from office in 1974. A long time in DC is not a long time. We live the legacy and it will recur.

The absurd obstructionism of the current Congress is just one manifestation of Republicans trying desperately, pathetically to get back at Dems for Tricky Dick. Another and equally obvious bit of revenge was the impeachment of POTUS 42, Bill Clinton. Sure, he accepted fellatio from a 20-something intern and then lied about it, but it was about Nixon’s disgrace. If the GOP in Congress can’t drive the Prez from office, at least they can taint him. Puerile…

We see it now in the obstructionist GOP-controlled Congress, pledging by leadership first to make POTUS 44 Barack Obama a one-term leader (failed, little boys) and then to prevent any major legislation (failed even worse, tykes).

We’d like to think that the next time Dems take control of Congress that they’d be smarter and more mature about it all.Don’t count on that. Revenge politics is a redundant phrase in DC.

icon for podpress  DC revenge cykcle [20:38m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

What exactly hkas inspired 1 truckload of Republicans and a shovelful of Dems to run for the Presidency? I hold forth.

The 17 announced GOP candidates and less than a third that of Dems have different mindsets. I see the Republicans as Captain Kirks to the Democrats’ Spocks. It seems each GOP announced one believes he or she is as good as anyone else in the field. Hence, he or she has a good shot at the nomination and hence the Presidency. Emotion-based madness, says I

Far more circumspect, more analytical Dems waited like predators for a weakness in the herd. Hillary Clinton has stumbled with criticisms of email server and such. When she seemed vulnerable, a few others came sniffling about, hoping to appear stronger.

The tow parties’ candidates have very different mindsets.

I rant on. The first message is to forget the mass media cliché of the Republican Clown Car. The horde of GOP candidates are all sitting ton the single right branch of the tree and may all tumble together under the weight. Certainly the survivor will have to dance a humiliating and irrational shuffle to get back to electable positions. Think about why they each think they are worthy.

At least Clinton has responded to the spoken and implied policies of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. We pinkos have to wonder if nominated and elected whether she’d override her hawkish and not-so-progressive nature.

icon for podpress  What 2016 already? [26:52m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Wring hands and rend garments…or not. Boston won’t host the 2024 Summer Olympics, as a big fish might not host a lamprey eel.

I spoke of why we simultaneously backed out of the bid as the US Olympics Committee told us to get lost. Fundamentally the catalyst came when the USOC visited and our Mayor Marty Walsh said in effect, “If you won’t tell me what I’m signing up for, I won’t sign.” Frankly both the International (iOC) and the USOC are accustomed to in fact demand, obeisance. Walsh is a simple man from the land of the maple trees (Guantanamera), not palms and ring or butt kissing aren’t his habits.

Of course the queering of the deal involves a lot more and I got into some of it.

More important, I am on the side of the many who not only resent the don’t-you-worry-your-pretty-little-head attitude of both the national and local proponents of the bid, but also stomp and point to the big promise. The USOC and Boston 2024 folk said repeatedly that we need this and that (infrastructure improvements, transit overhaul, affordable housing), and that we’d do it only under the deadline pressure of the Olympics bid.

We do need those things, but diluting our resources of money and time with Olympics folly can only delay or prevent that. Instead we need:

  • a governor, mayor, and legislative leaders committed to achieving these improvements
  • a clear and precise vision of where we want to go with mass transit, roads, housing and such

So far our newish governor, Charles D. Baker, has not shown himself a visionary. Moreover, our legislators are capons scratching the Beacon Hill yards clucking, “No new taxes. No new taxes.”

They may not have guts and smarts on their own. Yet with the passions educed from this 18-month bid process, the public has gotten a taste for improvements.

icon for podpress  Olympics '24 Banned in Boston [25:28m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Oh No rings I had no intetion of a solo commentary on the Boston bid for the summer Olympics in 2024. They are making me, making me.

The bid is off. The US Olympics Committee reps came to down for some ring kissing, but got something else kicked instead.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about what went suddenly bad after over half a year of promises, lies and politicking. If you want to listen live, click here, Tuesday, July 28th, at 2:30 PM Eastern. If you have your own comments, call 718-664-6966 during the show.

As always you can hear it on demand back here, at the show URL, or on our iTunes page.