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January 2013 Archives

January 12, 2013

Could We Have a Little Quiet Here?

The Introvert's Way, by Sophia Dembling, is a pleasantly brisk explanation of why certain people crave quiet and solitude amidst the hurly burly of modern life. It's also a welcome defense of such people.

Some folk can't stand to be away from constant human companionship, of course. Some others are hermits (I don't know any of those), but most of us are somewhere in between. We enjoy seeing one another and may even enjoy a crowd now and then, but we also appreciate what is sometimes called the "cure de silence".

Unfortunately, uncontrollable extroverts apparently run the airports where it is assumed that travelers must be constantly stimulated with auditory cues, not just crucial information. That's apparently because someone thought it a good idea to run CNN on monitors on all concourses of America and also to keep cheerful music pitched at a level that makes normal conversations difficult. Passengers feel pressured; airport designers must suppose that passengers are bored. Amtrak also assumes that the traveler craves the sound of the conductor's advice every few minutes.

Continue reading "Could We Have a Little Quiet Here?" »

January 10, 2013

Youth are Clueless on the Debt

The number of young people voting for Barrack Obama dropped from 2008 to 2012 (from 66 percent in '08 to 60 percent in '12), but it still was a large enough majority to get him elected. But that doesn't mean the young generation is very happy about the election or anything else.

Continue reading "Youth are Clueless on the Debt" »

January 11, 2013

Biofuel's Cruel Punishment of the Poor

The law of unintended consequences continues with use of corn to create fuel instead of foodstuffs. The New York Times (give credit it where it's due) covered the subject a couple of days ago with a report from Guatemala.

The truth of this deplorable situation, however, has been known for several years. There is no excuse for ethanol subsidies. It is bad energy policy, bad economic policy and a violation of the well-being of totally unconnected poor people who have the bad luck to live in Latin America. The fact that this is known means that the Administration and Congress don't care about people whose distress is caused by U.S. policy--unless they vote.

The young man in the previous post who thinks his university should divest itself of fossil fuel stocks might better orient himself to the plight of hungry peons in Guatemala.

January 16, 2013

Hollywood's Contribution to Violence

The post-Sandy Hook debate on gun violence has led to some bizarre politics, and a bizarre lack of interest in where in our culture violence is steeped. If St. Paul urged people to think about "whatsoever is true, whatsoever is beautiful, whatsoever is virtuous," it was with the idea of letting actions follow thought--what a concept! TV commercials tell us to buy products that will solve our personal needs--and it works, obviously. What makes critics suppose that films and TV shows that gyrate in gratuitous violence don't also work?

I recommend Discovery fellow John Wohlstetter's recent posts at Letter from the Capital blog site, especially a new one on the Tarantino film that has even some militant blacks like Spike Lee antsy.

Writes Wohlstetter in "Violence and Tinseltown", "Tarantino's paean to racialist violence is akin to pouring a lighted cultural match on societal gasoline. Hollywood has bequeathed us a trashy culture, riven with violence (and much else, outside the scope of this posting). Once upon a time we could fall back on plain common sense, but with societal & familial fragmentation comes lack of the commonality necessary for there to be a "common" sense. So we drift, and the Tarantino types craft more violent ballets, get insanely rich & scorn accountability for any impact their work may have on their audience."

And it is considered very uncool to point this out in public.

January 21, 2013

London Mayor versus U.S. President

The day that President Obama recommitted himself to fighting climate change, with all those swell government subsidies to companies like Solyndra, happened to be the same one that London's Mayor Boris Johnson--while being very diplomatic--suggested that maybe England is going into a a mini-ice-age.

Writing in the Telegraph, Johnson the Tory mayor, said he was observing the fifth really cold winter in Britain. Snow doesn't just visit and leave, it stays, icicles form on traffic lights, "transport" is affected.

Continue reading "London Mayor versus U.S. President" »

U.S. Sinking in Fiscal Swamp, Gilder Says

A NewsMax interview with Discovery Sr. Fellow George Gilder has the free market advocate assailing the Obama Administration for sinking the U.S. economy in a "fiscal swamp".

Continue reading "U.S. Sinking in Fiscal Swamp, Gilder Says" »

January 29, 2013

Guns, Guns--How About Mental Health?

The media-political herd is following the issue of gun control in a non-stop fashion, but not one of the national proposals under discussion would have prevented the killings in Newtown. In other words, the gun debate--long suppressed because liberals thought it was one that lacked political support--is now the panacea for gun related violence. There is a side-show or two about violent video games, films and TV, but that's about it.

What we still lack is any concentration on the issue of mental health. Almost all the killers we see on the news are mentally disturbed people. But when you bring up this topic it seems that people want to dismiss it.

How can you "stigmatize" anyone who is mentally ill, blaming them for the killings of a few? The answer is that society should not stigmatize any group, but if liberals want gun controls for everyone, why can't they at least accept it for the seriously mentally ill?

Second, why is there so little media interest in the intiative of Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado--a Democrat--to "do a better job identifyng and helping people who are a threat to themselves and others"?

Continue reading "Guns, Guns--How About Mental Health?" »

January 31, 2013

"Free Lunch" Ethics Standard is Bogus

If you want to influence a public official, contribute to his campaign, or, better yet, offer him the support of a bloc of voters. What will not do the job is a "feee lunch", yet Pecksniffian reformers--and officials who want to appear like reformers--keep passing laws that supposedly set a high standard for elected representatives' behavior, but actually serve as traps for the innocent.

For example, a new "ethics code" for Broward County, Florida (remember Fort Lauderdale from that swell 2000 presidential vote-count?) makes it illegal for city or county officials to accept a free meal, even at a function where their attendance is arguably part of their job as a local public official. If a local business or an economic development group, or a charity or community association would like to see their representatives up close and personal there is suddenly a rush to the city attorney's office to get permission. If the invitation is from a lobbyist (say, the Chamber of Commerce?) or a group that has contracts with the city or county (the "Opera Guild" is an example cited), then the answer probably will be "no". No even for a drink. We have to keep that city attorney busy!

Continue reading ""Free Lunch" Ethics Standard is Bogus" »

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