"One day a wind blew through the Ingleside garden... the first
wind of autumn. All at once the summer had grown old. The turn
of the season had come."
L.M. Montgomery, Canadian author (1874-1942), "Anne of
The dramatic change of seasons. This is the reason many of us living
in New England don't indulge in California dreaming.
also the daily change from day to night; can't avoid that by moving
to Florida. It can be minimized by moving to the Arctic or
Antarctica where you'll sit it in the icy dark for months,
meditating on the permafrost, waiting for the change to months of
are cyclical changes, which follow a repeating pattern that melds
into a much larger pattern of climate change from ice age to warming
and back again, with species evolving or becoming extinct.
Extinction is a permanent change.
Large Hadron Collider creates a miniature black hole that grows to
suck up Switzerland, then Earth, then our solar system — that would
probably mean a permanent change in our lifestyle.
Scientists tell us that this can't happen because a miniature black
hole isn't possible. But how do they know? It took them ages to
discover the larger black holes; how do they know they weren't small
once, before they sucked up entire solar systems that we can't see
the channel, change the menu, change the oil.
Recognizing that things are going wrong, we demand change; then,
shortly thereafter, begin talking about the good old days to anyone
who will listen.
being: Isn't it obvious that using "change" as the focus of a
political campaign is meaningless? Why has this year's presidential
race come down to a debate about which one is really about "change"?
No matter who wins, winter will come, night follows day, change
happens. But do things actually get better in the United States of
my age grew up in a Cold War that changed to a War on Terror against
Islamic extremists. Now Russia is becoming a problem again. Peace
would be a nice change, which both nature and history indicate isn't
going to happen.
candidates can best deal with the ongoing reality of aggression,
lust for power, and evil empires?
were always economic cycles, boom to bust, growth to recession and
sometimes depression, local and global. Is what is happening this
week so different? Aren't the rules of economics basically
unchangeable? For example, don't spend more than you earn or can't
afford to repay if you borrow — whether you are an individual or a
government. Which candidates, at the federal, state, and local
levels, can grasp the concept of fiscal responsibility?
federal government, having created the mortgage default problem
during the Carter administration by forcing banks to give mortgages
to the poor, is bailing out some of the financial institutions with
money that it doesn't have, because some of the institutions are
"too big to be allowed to fail." How big will the national debt get
before the government fails?
state/local level, the public employee benefit systems must be
changed before communities gets sucked into the black hole of
bankruptcy. According to
pensiontsunami.com, "the city of Vallejo, Calif., declared
bankruptcy in May, partly because it had granted police and
firefighters six-figure pensions that kicked in at age 50." Similar
change will be coming to a commonwealth near you unless
Massachusetts gets control over its public employee unions.
place to start is with Governor Patrick's beginner proposal to
replace some police details with civilian flagmen like those used in
all other states. At this week's hearing held by the Secretary of
Transportation, police unions angrily supported the status quo,
while two unintimidated men — Jim Stergios of the
Institute and David Tuerck of the
Institute — supported the governor's plan for change that
reflects the common sense of most citizens. I'm sure I'm not the
only one who saw a detail cop watching a hole being dug in the
middle of an empty parking lot at the Northshore Mall last week!
was hissed and booed, and Stergios was told that he would be
responsible for the first death at a construction site after detail
cops are removed. Neither man backed down, and I don't think
Governor Patrick will either. Good for them.
Meanwhile, some local police unions are trying to intimidate mayors
and selectmen into quickly signing contracts that include paid
details that can't be nullified by the new regulations — unless
those communities eventually declare bankruptcy due to extraordinary
employee health insurance and pension benefits.
a public mood for it, candidates and leaders will pledge change,
even knowing they face systemic attachment to the status quo in both
Washington and on Beacon Hill. All of us, leaders and voters alike,
need a clear understanding of the immutable laws of human nature and
of economic principles before we determine which changes are good.
thing is sure: "Business as usual" has grown old. This fall, if
voters want a better country and a better commonwealth, they need to
fan the winds of positive change themselves.