Thursday, August 27, 2015

Heard On The Street

I once, really more than once, heard hedge fund managers can care less if the stock market goes down, even a lot, since they make their money on market volatility not on stability. Up or down is their preference and rapid is their choice. Funny, what these money managers seek is opposite of what the common person on the street desires, which is market stability, upward and slowly.

The question arises : was this latest stock market fiasco orchestrated or did it react only to international money problems with China the focal point ? Investigative reporting will have to have time to do their work and may never come to an adequate decision. Again from Gran'Pa Downie's admonitions, "Money talks but bull s... walks !"

Big Money has a well oiled lobby in Washington, DC. that can spin a story anyway it pleases and until the public, you and me, get angry enough to elect representatives strong enough to squash these bugs nothing will get done. It is up to us at the ballot box, folks.

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Citizen's Responsibility

What is a citizen's responsibility ? Responsibility is: to sound an alarm when, as in colonial days, the community faces eminent danger. I've spent the greater part of my adult life engaged in some aspect of public service, something I'll never regret. History will be the final arbiter as to whether I made a difference in the lives of citizens living in this borough, named Pottstown.

As a citizen, I wish to sound an alarm !

The borough must oversee the dredging and complete elimination of the silt islands now anchored in place with four foot tall vegetation that clogs up the west channel of Manatawny Creek, a creek that must flow under the King Street bridge, to drain waters from its upstream drainage basin.

Yes 1972 was caused mainly by the flooding of the Schuylkill River which has been alleviated by holding upstream flood waters in the Blue Marsh Impounding Lake. More likely today, the silt island upstream, under, and downstream of the King Street Bridge will cause flooding of Memorial Park ball fields, the island, and the new wading park. Along with them, many homes and businesses in close proximity to the Manatawny Creek have an all likelihood of flooding.

The creek bed is the only course creek water has to flow in that drains the entire upstream drainage area. Engineers designed the bridge to accommodate this estimated total flow. The King Street Bridge was designed to have two channels flowing under it, a finite gross amount of space to accommodate ordinary flows with enough space left over to take care of extreme rain events.

We live in changing times when normal rain events are exceeding experts' estimates by a long shot. Couple this phenomenon with a reduction in space that water has to free flow under the bridge, because of the silt islands full of vegetation, and a flood is its to be expected.

The tragedy is that a major flood could be avoided if town fathers demanded county officials take proper action. Years ago the county and the River Keeper we're instrumental in taking out the dam below High Street claiming no ill effects would come of its loss. Well, when in the dam was in, it caused slack water to occur far up stream from the bridge where silt deposited, not at it, as it does today.

I implore town officials take immediate action to study the existing condition of the Manatawny Creek and to develop an action plan, not only eliminate these islands but, if possible, eliminate the reason that islands build up in the first place. This is my "Citizen's Alarm" ! Please take action !

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, August 7, 2015

Living In Fear

My life started in 1935 : as a youngster, if my parents' conversations weren't about the aftermath of the Great Depression, they lamented about the dark clouds over Europe indicating an escalation of German incursions into surrounding countries. America entered the Second World War as I entered grade school where my schoolmates and I practiced drills to crouch under our desks so we could ward off targeted fascist bombs.

For the rest of my life killing fields of war have occupied TV and the news papers with little respite from illustrated horrors sent out over the media. All my adult life I've been known as a tough guy and in sports, life, and business I've propelled this image. Although, my life has lived fully up to this image, down deeply, I've lived with a fear of the unknown especially through the years of global nuclear proliferation.

I'm no longer concerned with my life, it's coming to an end and I know it. But, as with all living organisms, life is a continuum. New generations sprout from the present one and, as this is repeated again and again, the species lives on. My concern is for my offspring that they will be able to live until they reach a normal lifespan.

It's the crazies of this World which trouble me. No longer are we in an era of the Great Khan, Genghis, who once ruled a quarter of the World.
His hordes defeated a tribe, killed the males, bred the females, stole their treasure, and burnt to the ground their buildings. It's simpler today, young looking servicemen and women in a hardened silo deep in the ground have a key, a screen, and a phone connection. Their orders are drummed into their heads. I'm sure there must be fail safe directives in their orders but, "if things can go wrong - over time they will go wrong" is a truism found often in the business world's dialog.
I may be too impressionable having lived my life fearful of the unknown consequences that the thought of war brings. One mistake can trigger "mutual assured destruction" that may trigger a life ending Nuclear Winter. The weight of conflict seems to be an ever growing burden on humanity and it seems to me that only through human dialog can the unthinkable be avoided.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Watching and Waiting

Watching California burn is a study in Man's ultimate insignificance; he can watch and react to flare ups but is helpless in completely extinguishing flames if the weather won't cooperate. 

Watching the Middle East erupt in the use of armament is a study in Man's inhumanity to his fellow man; killing to cleanse a culture of some other culture is truly an act of genocide. 

Watching the World cringe from the thought of drones becoming so commonplace in most facets of life is a study in Man's timidity to embrace and control progress 
before drones fly violently out of control.

Lastly, watching yourself sway left and right as the World, you feel, folds in around you in ways that you're existence seems unnecessary. Man's insignificance, his inhumanity, and his timidity has manifested finally in yourself when hopelessly you feel unnecessary and opt out of life's equation. 

Reaching rock bottom, now you have a chance to rise, since there's no other avenue of escape. Hopefully, the heinous acts of war bypass you so you can be part of the future in a society filled with vision and freedom.

Ronald C. Downie