Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Mighty Acorn, Al Gore and The Flattened World

Our remaining oak is a blue oak and this is an acorn from that tree. They don't put out acorns every year but this year they are putting out a bumper crop. Sometimes it sounds like popcorn popping in the microwave. I've been hit on the head a few times and they definitely hurt. If everyone of them became an oak tree we would have thousands of trees. They are very slow growing because they are drought resistant.

Now we come to Al Gore and the flattened world; if you voted for Bush in 2004 and consider him a good president, you might want to stop reading right now. But come back another time. I rarely get political.

Al Gore's new book "The Assault on Reason" is a real page turner or in our case a CD inserter. We listened to it on our trip to Washington.

New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani wrote in her review, "In 'The Assault on Reason' Al Gore excoriates George W. Bush, asserting that the president is 'out of touch with reality,' that his administration is so incompetent that it 'can't imagine its own way out of a horse show,' that it ignored 'clear warnings' about the terrorist threat before 9/11 and that it has made Americans less safe by 'stirring up a hornets' nest in Iraq, 'while using the language and politics of fear' to try to 'drive the public agenda without regard to the evidence, the facts or the public interest.'"

It is a truly scary book. Our constitution is being eroded on a daily basis by the Bush administration. Mr. Gore's central argument, according to the reviewer (I agree with her), is that "'reason, logic and truth seem to play a sharply diminished role in the way American now makes important decisions' and that the country's public discourse has become 'less focused and clear, less reasoned.'" This is the assault on reason.

Now for the next book, Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat, A Brief History of the 21st Century." He's a columnist for the New York Times. The reviewer in the New York Times for this book was Fareed Azkaria."The metaphor of a flat world, used by Friedman to describe the next phase of globalization, is ingenious. It came to him after hearing an Indian software executive explain how the world's economic playing field was being leveled. For a variety of reasons, what economists call 'barriers to entry' are being destroyed; today an individual or company anywhere can collaborate or compete globally." The first barrier was the fall of the Berlin wall. The book is a hard read so I highly recommend listening to it in small doses. One of the Friedman theories that I like best is that countries with McDonald's don't get involved in wars. It's shorthand for saying that countries who have a stake in the world economy don't want to mess it up by doing something stupid like going to war. Countries without McDonald's include Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Just so you know that I'm now becoming some intellectually elite snob, my next book is a murder mystery by Elizabeth George and then a book by Jennifer Chiaverini, "The Christmas Quilt." See I'm not a snob afterall.

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1 comment:

Rhonda said...

I'll have to check out the Gore book. But the problem for me is...I have so many that I'm in the middle of now. It'll have to be in awhile.

Now that's a mighty fine acorn.
I did not know that it is drought resistant.
How cool is that.?!