Monday, November 10, 2014

Understanding numbers, or maybe, failing to understand.

For the past several years I have read or heard the statement that the United States has less than 5% of the world's population but consumes 30% of the fossil fuel reserves.
The statement is true, as I found out, but I learned a piece of new information that really surprised me.
I knew that our population numbered around 315,000,000.  What I didn't know is that we are third in population behind China (1st) and India (2nd).
I was sort of shocked to learn this.  That famous 5% of the world's population fooled me into believing that we were far down the list of the 'most populous countries.'  By the way, it is actually 4.3%, not 5%.
My country's population has more than doubled since I was in high school.

That got me thinking about abortion and its effect on our growth.  I find that there have been 55,772,015 abortions since Roe vs Wade in 1973.
I have no training in statistics but I know that adding the number of abortions to the current population gives a simplistic and error fraught result.  Yet I also know that it would be an impressive number.  After all, some of those 55,000,000 babies would have made families.
I wondered what our country would look like today if there had been no Roe vs Wade.  What would the housing market look like?  The job market?  The unemployment rate? 
(This post is not an argument either for or against abortion.)

It's possible there wouldn't have been the huge increase in immigration (legal and illegal) because of the market pressures coming from that 55,000,000.
(Also, this post is not an argument for or against immigration.)

By the way, according to the Census Bureau, the estimated population of the U.S. as of November 8, 2014 was 319,049,060.  As of January 1, 2014, the estimated population of the world was 7.1 billion human beings.

Enough already!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

One day

One day, for no visible cause,
 an air of zest passed through his mind,
a bacchic breeze  brought memory
of the goat lust of youth.
Gasping at the loss of it,
He groped the air, as if blind.

In the mirror
the immediate Me observes
the despised You.

I could move on forever.
Take my tools: axe, shovel, saw.
Start a life.  Not a new one,
but another.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Citizens United is dis-uniting and destructive

What is it the wealthy say?  Money is speech.  Or is it: speech is money?
Some say that 'money is free speech' but it certainly isn't free.  It costs millions of dollars to speak that freely.

The problem I have with this wicked affront to common sense is this:  I don't know who is speaking.  The money spent on free speech comes from unknown sources who don't have to reveal identity.

My speech comes with a face and a name.  The millions spent on political campaign speech come out of darkness: no names, no faces.  We don't even know if they are Americans.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ignorance kills another word

Journalists, TV anchors, and editorial writers are hard at work destroying another valuable word.

They are abetted by the badly educated doctors and scientists in charge of the so-called 'Ebola crisis.'

What word?  Protocol.

Dictionaries define the 1st meaning of protocol to be the forms of ceremony and etiquette observed by diplomats and heads of state.
The 2nd meaning is the first copy of a treaty or other document prior to its ratification.
The 3rd (and final) meaning is any preliminary draft or record of a transaction.

There is nothing in those meanings related to responding to  a dangerous disease or  wearing a hazmat suit.

The better word would be "procedures." 

What caused this post is the front page of today's issue of the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel.  A color photograph is headlined "Airport team flies into action."
The photo shows three men in white hazmat suits surrounded by six firemen in varied stages of assistance with the suits.  The caption for the photgraph reads as follows:

"The Fort Lauderdale Fire Department demonstrates its protocols for handling Ebola patients who might arrive on an airplane."


Friday, October 17, 2014

Ebola Czar? How about the Surgeon General?

I have been checking all the media reports on ebola on a daily basis and wondering why we don't hear from or about the Surgeon General of the United States.  I admit that I didn't know his (or her) name so I looked it up on Google.
Guess what?  There is no Surgeon General.  The nominee is "tied up in politics."
What a Congress!  What a President!

But, somehow, all will get together to find an Ebola Czar.  Do I laugh or do I cry?