Calling all World’s Foremost Experts! Calling all World’s Foremost Experts! Not much of a ring to that clarion call. The world is in a huge tangle and all we’ve got are mere mortals to ride to the rescue. Dang! What’s a planet to do? Forget about knocking on the door of the Fortress of Solitude to summon Superman or flipping on the Bat Beacon, or whatever that thing is they shine into the sky when Gotham City needs Batman to subdue one nefarious villain or another. Their particular skill sets are liable to just make things worse. There’s more than enough violent mayhem out there without those guys wrecking the joint. There’s wars busting out all over and now a failing economy and global warming too. The usual suspects in the super hero department won’t be able to help us out of these jams.

What this nasty plot turn in world events needs are people with super brains to start doing their stuff. Now if there was a super economist out there specializing in reversing mighty rivers of red ink, maybe named Economo, he’d come in pretty handy, especially if he had a trusty sidekick named Accounting Boy, a whiz at numbers crunching and efficiency. And another guy called The Diplomator, a super negotiator possessed of unmatched persuasive powers to convince the world’s warring parties to lay down their arms and talk peace. And maybe a guy named Powermaster to invent a form of energy that’s cheap, renewable and doesn’t produce chunky-style air.

But alas, even though what’s going on in the world resembles the story line in a comic book, the part where the world is about to go kablooey just before the super hero defeats the diabolical villain and saves the planet, this really isn’t a comic book. Even though 8 years of a cartoon character of an American president has lulled us into taking the surreal for granted, there’s some serious shit going on that needs immediate attention. Praying for the rapture to happen and wipe out Bush The Younger’s bonehead mistakes didn’t turn out to be such a solid plan after all. And now here we are staring down the barrel of trillions in losses and bad debts, 2 pointless wars of our own, a million and a half jobs evaporated overnight and the beginnings of global warming starting to make Al Gore look like Nostradamus with no relief in sight except each other. Now, that’s scary.

We can’t even stop arguing amongst ourselves long enough to agree on what to do first so we do nothing. We don’t even ask the right questions, never mind having any damned answers. Our Ph.D.s are being hired in droves by giant corporations to work on making one internet server respond a nanosecond faster than the other one and inventing tinier and tinier iPods while the rest of our scientists are stuck on black holes and figuring out how many billions of years ago some volcano in Iceland blew up and formed a really cool looking rock formation. As far as global warming goes, they love to measure and compare and make all sorts of doomsday predictions but hardly any of them are willing to do the tedious lab work to come up with solutions. 

Why risk that Discovery Channel paycheck to go and do the work for which you were educated? Besides, a lot of research doesn’t produce the desired results and it’s much easier to have a perfect record as a scientist when you don’t actually do any scientific work. Our economists sure turned out to be  bunch of numbskulls too, as did our business majors, who took until the world’s economy started showing signs of rigor mortis before they declared we are in a recession and everything they were doing was wrong. Well, no shit, Adam Smith! And America never did have much talent for diplomacy, unless your idea of diplomacy is endless repetitions of “We’re # 1!” The people with any real vocations in the arts of persuasion and selling ideas have always gravitated towards Madison Avenue and the lucrative salaries of the advertising industry.

Our inventors are all feverishly working on better ways of text-messaging and methods of producing flat abdomens. They want to see flat bellies? Wait until the hunger part of the world-wide recession kicks in, there will be a weight loss trend the likes of which Richard Simmons could only dream of. If this keeps up, the current figure of 36,000 daily starvation deaths worldwide will be looked back on as a time of plenty, especially once farmers set aside millions of acres to grow bio-fuels when the oil finally runs out. Not only that, but some hungry nations have nuclear bombs these days, and nothing makes a population testier than skipping meals, like all of them.

So probably the most uncomfortable shoes to be wearing right now have be those encasing the feet of Barack Obama, President-elect and the heir to all these problems. Not only does America look to him to do the impossible, but the entire world as well. If he solves a dozen huge problems, more than most presidents ever face, let alone solve, he will be a disappointment. There are so many mounting crises out there that this poor guy pretty much has to be a great president, not merely a good one. The deck is stacked against an incoming president like no other time since FDR took control of the nation during The Great Depression. 

To his credit, Mr. Obama is planning some aggressive policies and forming an impressive brain trust as his team. Most importantly, he doesn’t seem to have the smell of fear about him. Somewhere in the back of his mind, though, you just know he’s tempted to dust off the old Bat Beacon and call for some serious super hero help. “Calling All World’s Foremost Experts” just doesn’t instill an overabundance of confidence in a world misled and mismanaged by self-proclaimed experts and self-serving visionaries. Let’s hope Obama is one of those guys who embraces having greatness thrust upon him. There’s a whole lot at stake here and mere competence just won’t do the trick.

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