Showing posts from March, 2014

Is Better, Better?

I just participated in a short thread on Facebook about childhood diseases prompted by a tweet from Donald Trump and a Mother Jones article.

It got me thinking about how many diseases I contracted as a child (measles, chickenpox, mumps, influenza, mononucleosis, etc.) and how many I was inoculated against (polio, smallpox, tetanus, diphtheria, yellow fever, typhoid, etc.) If one were to listen to modern day experts, I should be dead by now.

It seems that every technological advancement fixes 99% of the problem, but then there pops up an advocacy group to wear us down over the final 1%.

Remember how filthy and stinky our air was back in the 1950s and 1960s from car exhaust? We got rid of almost all of it with catalytic converters and changing gasoline formulation, but now there are still groups that go apoplectic over the last .01% of any tailpipe emissions.

Look at our water quality. Rivers used to catch on fire! So, now, we have rivers so clean you can almost drink out of them, but …

Is Paul Ryan's Report on Poverty Skewed?

My local newspaper recently ran an opinion piece by Paul Krugman concerning Paul Ryan's report on the 50th anniversary of the war on poverty. The Fiscal Times also ran a piece on the same report. In my response, I reference a column by Coby Dillard which is linked here. I wanted to share my response to the newspaper.
Paul Krugman is the undoubtedly the most arrogant pundit to grace your pages. In “The Hammock Fallacy” he criticizes Rep. Paul Ryan’s House Budget Committee’s new poverty report for twisting the conclusions of research cited so voluminously in the report. In spite of, or perhaps because of his Nobel Prize in Economics, Mr. Krugman makes no such citations himself, relying solely on his own unassailable version of facts to rebut the Congressman.
Research properly done produces statistics and figures commonly referred to as facts. Reports, based on these figures, produce opinions. Like the story of the six blind men and the elephant, a set of facts handed to a number of …


At one point on Friday, there was a NINE AND A HALF MILE BACKUP at the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel! To Norview Avenue! NINE AND A HALF MILES!

Every time I hear someone wanting to give the government more power and to let them spend more money on this program or that program, I think about our traffic situation in Hampton Roads.
A backup of that magnitude in our metro area is inexcusable. Highway traffic (especially on our interstates) is the lifeblood of our region. Unless a bomb went off in the tunnel or a ship crashed into one of the bridges, there should NEVER be a tie-up like that.
If you owned a business and someone dropped a big messy jar of something at the only door in and out of your establishment, what would you do? Take four or five hours to clean it up, or would you swoop in, scoop up what you could, mop up the rest, and worry about who to blame afterwards?
NO ONE seems to care about the effect of these government indecisions on "the folks". Whether it is tolls o…

Education: If it ain't working, continue trying the same stuff again and again

Progress is a funny thing. You can walk into a brand new house, or a house that is 50 or 75 years old, and fundamentally, it is the same. You have your electric outlets, pipes for water, drains for the sinks, ducts for the air conditioning and some sort of heat. Lights haven't changed much, Sure, your phone lines feel a little lonely, your TV antenna wires have been replaced with cables and you have a lot more junk that you don't need, but really... thing haven't changed that much in a house.

But think about how your life has changed, how you entertain yourself, how you eat differently, how you communicate and where/how you work. That has changed monumentally, but from the outside it all looks hauntingly familiar.

So, what about education? Lots of change, there. Modern elementary and middle schools look like colleges, staffing levels are through the roof, the cafeteria serves all three meals and school has become as important for its day care function as it has for its edu…