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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Boomer Congress asleep at the switch

In the past five years, we have learned that the executive branch has circumvented federal bans on torture, abandoned the Geneva Conventions, monitored Americans' phone conversations without the required warrants and "outsourced" torture through "extraordinary rendition" to several foreign governments. Recently we learned that the FBI recklessly abused its power to secure documents through emergency national security letters.

Once again, congressional oversight of the growing national security, intelligence and law enforcement establishments has fallen short. But there are now obstacles to reestablishing effective oversight that did not exist three decades ago

"Where's Congress In This Power Play?"
Washington Post

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Boomer-cons: learning to love big brother

Brooks admits what has been crystal clear for some time -- namely, that so-called "conservatives" (meaning the contemporary political "Right") no longer believe (if they ever did) that government power should be restrained in order to maximize freedom. That belief system, says Brooks, is an obsolete relic which arose out of the the 1970s, and has been replaced by the opposite desire -- for expanded government power on every front.

"Neoconservative Radicalism Has Reshaped Our Political Spectrum"
Salon (Daypass required)

Boomer documentary: "doublespeak"

And so we find ourselves in a little trap. The wise historiographers who might enlighten us with a true and savage diagnosis of the fatuousness of “The Boomer Century” will never watch it. That might not matter, except that “The Boomer Century” comes with the imprimatur of PBS, and the contributions of various mainstream scholars and droners with advanced degrees. How do these people continue to complain about the lies of Nixon and Johnson when they seem merely to have re-engineered Vietnam-era doublespeak for purposes of chintzy sophistry like this?

"Apart From Wanting It All, What Makes Boomers So Special?"

New York Times

Boomer documentary: snore-inducing

The Boomer Century: 1946-2046" will be a stunner for everyone who has been asleep or sequestered in Tora Bora since the end of World War II. You'll learn for the first time everything the rest of us have experienced, heard, read, or watched ad nauseam about the over exposed generation that began in 1946.

I'm in the vanguard of this 78-million-person cohort born between then and 1964,and I've been bored with us for years. Imagine the suffering the rest of you will experience tonight, when this two-hour yawn of a thingairs on Channel 2.

"The Boomer Story is Getting Old"
Boston Globe

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Iraq: the boomer-con war

From its inception, the Iraq war has been George W. Bush's signature project.

It was conceived by a small band of neoconservatives who had on their side the vice president's robust agreement and unflagging determination to have the United States return to Iraq. They, in turn, had the president's ear.

The public has long seen Iraq as Bush's war. It is why his approval ratings soared with what appeared to be initial success, and why they have sunk with the prospects for anything resembling an American victory.

Now the war belongs to the Republican Party.

"This War Belongs to Republicans"
Indianapolis Star

PBS boomer documentary: superficial, self-congratulatory

In keeping with many boomers' "I'm-OK-You're- OK" penchant for unreflective navel-gazing, "Boomer Century" glosses over some of the fallout of the "greed is good" generation (narration rather blandly notes, "Rule-breaking can sometimes lead to immoral behavior"). And the film is practically blind to the fact that subsequent generations have followed the boomers, that the culture at large has come to value youth over all else, that even though we're all living longer, our employers may not want to pay us for our services into our 70s.

That'd be the nightmare scenario for the typical boomer: a prolonged period of irrelevance.

"Boomers Cast a Loving Eye On Their Generation"
San Bernardino County Sun

Study: seniors have fewer health complaints than boomers

San Francisco, CA (PRWeb) March 27, 2007 -- Americans generally assume that as they age they will feel less and less healthy. They will "Feel their age." In fact, the opposite is true. According to a recent survey of over 500 Baby Boomers and Seniors conducted by 50Plus Research, a market research company specializing in the Baby Boomer and Senior market.

Seniors feel healthier than Baby Boomers. Compared to their friends, Seniors feel very healthy. In fact, 37% of Seniors feel that "My health is much better than most people my age." But only 20% of Boomers feel this way. Why?

"Seniors Feel Healthier Than Boomers"

Monday, March 26, 2007

Boomer politics and the graying of America

There is a downside to all this. Generations below the baby-boomers simply do not provide enough people to fill all the jobs being created by the American economy. That ensures that many elderly people will have to keep working whether they choose to or not: society cannot afford to have them retire.

Some experts believe that spiralling social security costs are already completely unsustainable. Social security and healthcare cost the federal government $1,034-trillion in 2005, more than twice the defence budget. By 2030 the costs could be as much as 75% of the entire federal budget. Yet by 2010 there is expected to be a labour shortage in America of 10-million jobs. That problem could be filled by immigration. "We have a safety valve in this country in that folks want to come and live here," said Quinn. But immigration is a hot-button issue and it is far from certain that it is politically feasible to encourage cheap labour to move to the US. America is already building a wall on its border with Mexico to keep illegal immigrants out.

"Brave Old World: How the Elderly Are Seizing America"
UK Independent

(False) hope springs eternal: boomers still searching for perfect mate

The baby boomer generation wants it all when it comes to relationships, says California marriage and sex therapist Marty Klein, who recently attended the Canadian Conference on Men's Health in Victoria.

Klein says his boomer generation is the first to marry for love, expect hot sex with the same partner, and live for an extremely long time.

Is this want-it-all concept working for today's marriages? Not really, according to Klein, citing statistics that suggest about 50 per cent of marriages end in some form of separation, and more than 50 per cent of boomer adults are not monogamous.

"Baby Boomers Want the World"
Vancouver Sun

A century of boomer leadership, a century of failure

The very oldest boomers began turning 60 last year, and “The Boomer Century: 1946-2046,” a documentary to be broadcast tomorrow night on PBS, explores how life after 60 might look to the generation known for challenging authority and redefining everything from race relations to marriage.

Will the boomers quietly — and uncharacteristically — get off the stage and leave the messy questions about the environment and the social safety network to the youngsters? Or as science extends life, will they lead the charge in reshaping notions of age in the 21st century? Just imagine: TV shows like “Grandmother Knows Best,” third and fourth careers, old-age communes with families of choice. But if millions of people routinely live to be 100, what about challenges as varied as social security and failing health for the largest elderly population in American history?

"Boomers: Whimpers or Bangs?"

NY Times

Literature of death: boomers monitor obits

Staring death in the eye that's what a lot of baby boomers seem to be about these days.

Obituaries in their many forms are drawing increased interest from that largest group of aging Americans.

The boomers are subscribing to obit news groups, obit Web sites, obit blogs and obit forums, according to an account in the Belleville News-Democrat, a newspaper in Belleville, Ill.

"American Trends: Obits of Growing Interest to Aging Baby Boomers"

Richmond Times-Dispatch