Wednesday, October 22, 2008

When the boom is over, what happens then?

By Carol Gee

(image: Wordle)

Many big things have been happening that make the news. We shake our heads and say, "Not again." These headlines, for example, signify big deals, big "booms," so to speak: Russia test fired a old missile. India sent a rocket towards the moon. A U.S. air strike went awry in Afghanistan, killing Afghan soldiers by mistake. Stock markets are crashing all around the world signifying the end of a financial boom. And the McCain presidential campaign is not expected to explode victoriously into the headlines on election day. And still we worry. Roger Simon was able to capture our mood perfectly in his column for Politico today, "Democrats' Gloom Deepens." We are superstitiously afraid that Barack Obama's meteoric track will not bring him the presidency, that there is still a booming October surprise waiting to happen to spoil it. But there is often a bit of good news to counter the bad, if we look for it hard enough:

Space remains mostly peaceful -- "India launched its first unmanned moon mission on Wednesday following in the footsteps of rival China, as the emerging Asian power celebrated its space ambitions and scientific prowess," according to The Financial Times story. This is good news we hope, in step with the recent promulgation of "Keep Space For Peace Week,"* celebrated internationally by activists around the globe.

Military might is not the only force with power -- "Russia test-fired an intercontinental Stilet missile on Wednesday as part of the checks needed to extend the service of the weapon until 2010, the strategic missile forces said. The missile, which belongs to a type commissioned in 1979 . . ," reports Yahoo! News. At the same time there was this positive news from the BBC News: "Western donors have pledged $4.55bn (£2.7bn;3.5bn euros) to help rebuild Georgia, two months after its conflict with Russia."

Some plans go terribly wrong, others work unexpectedly -- "Nine Afghan soldiers have been killed and three others wounded in an air raid by US-led forces in eastern Afghanistan," as reported by Aljazeera. In the meantime, the BBC reports that many of al tQaeda's websites have been down for weeks, fueling speculation that hackers or counterintelligence targeted the key websites.

The way out of the economic crisis depends on the individual efforts of all of us, doing what we can to help. "A fresh batch of downbeat earnings and gloomy outlooks pushed US stocks sharply lower on Wednesday as concerns grew over the difficulties facing corporate America in the wake of banking sector turmoil," The Financial Times writes. In the midst of the turmoil, it seems to me that Barack Obama's brand of "Communitarian Populism" could be just the sort of governance needed. We are going to need all the help we can get to right the listing the ship of state, and we are much of the help we need.

Hat Tip Key: Regular contributors of links to leads are betmo* and Jon#.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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