The Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious (DOPOTO) has been following the news diligently, which is what we do around here, seeking signs that our nation is coming together to solve a very vexing set of problems. So far there’s not a huge body of evidence suggesting a unified effort. In the financial sector, outside of throwing mad money around and demonizing a certain few executives, it seems that the industry-wide chaos that led to the current financial meltdown still reigns. Research here at The Department seems to indicate that the only thing preventing a rain of banker and stockbroker suicides from the gleaming towers of Wall Street is the fact that modern skyscrapers don’t have windows that can be opened. 

Studies further indicate that this architectural feature, coupled with general inertia, is inhibiting a healthy changing of the guard at the highest corporate levels. The fact that the leadership in most of the troubled banks, investment houses and insurance firms has remained the same is only contributing to the problem and the economic recovery is being stalled by the many dimwits who have somehow found themselves in charge of these institutions. The recommendation here is to fire everybody who lost money running a bank, an accomplishment that a few years ago would be hard to imagine. They are, after all, banks, and banks are designed to do only one thing, to earn money. Does anyone open a bakery and not bake bread?

On the political front, there is much ballyhoo over global warming and alternative energy. In California, where there is a giant desert called the Mojave, many people have proposed installing solar energy collectors, the thinking being that this is a desert where the sun shines mercilessly all the time. “Not so fast,” says California Senator Diane Feinstein, there is the beauty of the desert to be considered, and the large tortoise population. DOPOTO will have to take her word for it on that beauty-of-the-desert idea since we have no one at The Department willing to go to a desert and check it out. None of us here is a tortoise able to withstand life in a barren wasteland. No word on where Senator Feinstein would prefer to place the solar power facilities, but one of California’s nicknames is “The Sunshine State” so presumably she’s got a backup plan to place them outside of the 25,000 square miles of ideal terrain for solar power that is the Mojave Desert. The Department eagerly awaits her ideas and proposals.

On a similar note, no volunteers were available to visit the Arctic to check out the Polar Bear problem, what with it being 40 below zero half the time and human beings being about the same size as seals, the Polar Bears’ go-to meal of choice. So, once again DOPOTO is dependent upon the numerous reports of impending climate change emanating from governments, scientists and corporations. It seems that there is no exact agreement on this global warming premise as far as its severity, the timing of the apocalypse and whether or not we can do anything about it except make documentaries and write reports. What we do here is write a whole lot of reports so the hope is that we’re doing our part to prevent catastrophic climate change.

In more political news, it seems that the President of Iran is really not the President of Iran. America’s new president, Barack Obama, made peaceful overtures to the nation of Iran, figuring their government would respond to it one way or another. But in Iran, there’s a creepy guy in a funny hat and black robes that has authority over their president, and it’s not the Iranian Supreme Court. It is instead someone called their “Supreme Leader,” a powerful religious guy sort of like Popes of previous centuries that wielded enormous political clout. This guy, being really old and in no danger of actually having to fight himself, has ruled out peace as something he’d like to talk about. 

To be fair, The Supreme Leader of Iran is simply following a human custom as old as civilization itself: old guys wanting even more money and power firing up young guys to go fight and die in pursuit of the the old guys’ objectives. It is a system that works. Not very well, unfortunately, but it does work. The Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious has studied numerous wars and it seems that no leader of any nation has actually picked up a weapon in many centuries, when kings realized that going into battle themselves only results in one of them getting his head cut off as a trophy for the other king. The thinking among world leaders, Supreme or otherwise, is that there are a whole lot of expendable heads available to do the dirty work. 

And so in all areas of human endeavor, the squabbles continue, waiting for someone to come up with a good idea so that it can be alternately praised or condemned. Research indicates, however, that good ideas seem to win out eventually in spite of any objections. A good case in point is the world of medicine, where doctors no longer think there is any such thing as “ill humors,” bleeding sick people doesn’t help their situation all that much and simple sanitation saves more lives than a thousand medicines. Of course this realization took centuries to sink in, with many a hapless patient dying at the hands of filthy quacks, but that is the nature of the human beast, as hard-headed a creature as any. The word “ignoramus” was not invented to describe any other creature but man. This has been a report from DOPOTO, where pointing out the obvious is our only skill.

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