From Whence We Came, To Where We Go

Some rambling musings

by Brian Leubitz

I was watching the Space Shuttle take off this morning after wading through stories of dubious importance.  Sure, the fact that Martin Garrick got busted for DUI, flagrantly breaking more laws than Anthony Wiener, was interesting.  I mean sexting kills thousands of people every year. Oh, right, that would be drunk driving that kills over 10,000 people in the United States every year. (and 950 in California in 2009)

But, the space shuttle really got me musing about what the California Dream once was.  I’m not old enough to have experienced the feeling of promise that California embodied during the post-war boom, but I have read a book or two on the subject.  The world was once our oyster, and we were united on the idea of pushing the boundaries of science.  But united was the key word there.  We realized that it would take more than a year or two, and it would take the combination of resources from a variety of entities.  And we understood the power of education to build a better future for the state.

I’ll not just wax nostalgic about the Master Plan for higher education.  It has been eulogized already in these digital pages.  Pat Brown is gone, and the son wasn’t the father in the 1970s, and he still is not in the new century.  

I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this, other than to comment on the depressing nature of a state, and a nation really, that can no longer agree on what made us great.  California is still the heart of America’s innovation, and we can continue to remain so.  We shouldn’t forget that we still have an embarrassment of riches to bring to bear on any task.  

Now, I think I’ll go back to monitoring the brewing struggle between two California companies, Google and Facebook, for my social networking loyalty.

2 thoughts on “From Whence We Came, To Where We Go”

  1. You can tell me where you come out on social networking and I’ll follow your lead.

    But I’m old enough to remember what the California Dream once was. I remember when small suburban public schools gave you a good education. I remember going to UCLA for $100 a quarter. I remember when ordinary working people could buy a decent house and pay for it with decent wages. Families were thrilled to have their own cars and good roads we could use to explore the state. I remember when people came here–not just for the ideal weather–but for the abundant opportunity and growing economy. I even remember when people could talk about politics and disagree without being disagreeable. And you could read a newspaper or watch the nightly news with the belief that you were getting the facts.

    You may find this hard to believe, but in my youth, government was generally viewed as a benevolent force–there to protect us. Government did good things for us like build roads and bridges, schools and airports. It made it possible for companies to form and grow because it provided the infrastructure they needed to do so. People all over the world were willing to buy our goods because they trusted them and the regulators that oversaw them.

    You’re really not going to believe this, but I remember when Orange County really had miles and miles of orange groves. When there were fruit orchards and creeks in the San Fernando Valley. You could smell Lompoc before you could see it because of all the commercial flower fields. And there were sand dunes as far as the eye could see in Los Angeles coastal communities. My friends and I would walk for miles to the beach, and nobody worried about it. There was a sense of wide-open space that everybody enjoyed and took pride in all the beauty.

    Let me know anytime you want me to wax nostalgic for you, and you can let me know whether I need to switch to Google+.

  2. I grew up wanting to be an astronaut.  My father just missed the cut for the scientist-astronaut program, and I had a distant relative who walked on the moon.  My mother worked with Micheal Collins at the Smithsonian for a year, where she was a docent.  

    This lead me to study science and mathematics in my schooling, earning honors in New Jersey (we moved to New Jersey when I entered 7th grade) State Science Day and the national Math Olympiad.  I didn’t have the temperment for an academic career (nor the temperment for the apprenticeship required for a PhD) so entered industry.  Since I moved to computers, California was the place to go.

    Maybe I’m now old, but I don’t really care for social networking.  I took a look at Facebook a few years ago, and left after a week,  I’m not interested in trying G+.

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