Thought For The OPEN Mind - Humor From American Culture!
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*UNC is the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.Specializing in a wide range of degree programs including:B.A. A.H.F.(Advanced Hamburger Flipping), A.P.E., B.R.C.(Bar Room Conversations), etc. Institution was founded in 1898for sons/daughters of local Chapel Still politicians that wereunable to qualify for the more prestigious institutions of higherlearning such as Duke, Wake Forest, and N.C. State.
Sam and Edith were 85 years old, and had been married for sixty years. Though they were far from rich, they managed to get by because they watchedtheir pennies. Though not young, they were both in very good health, largelydue to the wife's insistence on healthy foods and exercise for the lastdecade. One day, their good health didn't help when they went on a rarevacation and their plane crashed, sending them off to Heaven. They reachedthe pearly gates, and there an escort was waiting to show them inside. He took them to a beautiful mansion, furnished in gold and fine silks, witha fully stocked kitchen and a waterfall in the master bath And theirfavorite clothes hanging in the closet. They gasped in astonishment when hesaid, "Welcome to Heaven. This will be your home now." Sam asked how much all this was going to cost. "Why, nothing," their companion replied, "Remember, this is your reward inHeaven." Sam looked out the window and right there he saw a championship golf course,finer and more beautiful than any ever-built on Earth. "What are the greensfees?" grumbled the old man. "This is heaven," the companion replied. "You can play for free, every day" Next they went to the clubhouse and saw the lavish buffet lunch, with everyimaginable cuisine laid out before them, from seafood to steaks to exoticdesserts, free flowing beverages. "Don't even ask," said their companion toSam. "This is Heaven, it is all free for you to enjoy." The old man looked around and glanced nervously at Edith. "Well, where arethe low fat and low cholesterol foods, and the decaffeinated tea?" he asked. "That's the best part," the companion replied. "You can eat and drink asmuch as you like of whatever you like, and you will never get fat or sick.This is Heaven!" Sam pushed, "No gym to work out at?" "Not unless you want to," was the answer. "No testing my sugar or blood pressure or..." "Never again. All you do here is enjoy yourself." Sam glared at Edith and said, "You and your lousy bran muffins. We couldhave been here 15 years ago..
The March 1863 Enrollment Act permitted wealthy men to legally dodge the Civil War draft by paying a $300 commutation fee to the U.S. Government. This controversial loophole fueled public perception of a “rich man’s war, but a poor man’s fight.” The sight of well-dressed men during the 1863 New York City draft riots prompted angry crowds to derisively call out, “There goes a $300-man.” It is, therefore, somewhat odd that Al Gore has ventured to become a latter-day $300-man in his crusade against global warming, especially since he touts himself as courageously leading the charge for wide-spread personal sacrifice. At the end of Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” viewers are asked, “Are you ready to change the way you live”? Following this line of thinking, the movie’s web site suggests many ways that you can “reduce your impact at home,” including using less heating and air conditioning, buying expensive fluorescent light bulbs, using less hot water, using a clothesline rather than a dryer, carpooling, flying less and buying cost-inefficient hybrid cars. Given that Gore calls the fight against global warming a “moral imperative” in the movie, you might reasonably think that he practices what his movie’s web site preaches. But you’d be wrong.In the wake of the movie winning an Oscar last month, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research reported that Gore’s Nashville mansion consumed more than 20 times the electricity than the national average. Last August, the Gore mansion burned more than twice the electricity in a single month as the average American family uses in an entire year. Gore’s heated pool house alone uses more than $500 in electricity every month. These latest revelations are reason enough to rent the movie just to see Gore standing before an enormous bar-graph comparison of individual carbon emissions by nationality while sanctimoniously tut-tutting about how the average American’s energy use is greedily off the charts.A Gore spokesman tried to deflect the charges of “do as I say, not as I do” by stating that the Gores “purchase offsets for their carbon emissions to bring their carbon footprint down to zero.” Gore himself has been very public about this approach to carbon neutrality, but not only is this claim not exactly true, it’s quite meaningless in terms of global warming. First, Al Gore doesn’t purchase carbon offsets out of his own pocket and the actual economic cost, if any, to him is unknown. The actual offset purchaser is a London-based investment firm, Generation Investment Management (GIM), that Al Gore co-founded with former Goldman Sachs executive David Blood and others in 2004. GIM supposedly purchases carbon offsets for all 23 of its employees to cover their personal energy use, according to a March 7 CNSNews.com report. These offsets, then, would be provided to Gore more as an employee benefit, thus requiring very little sacrifice on his or his family's part. Trading and or purchasing carbon offsets is an emerging business, and CNSNews is also pursuing an investigative story into whether Gore or his company are making money from these offsets. It’s quite possible, for example, that GIM’s offsets actually produce financial benefits for the Gores either through tax deductions or even business profits. A Gore spokesman refused to shed light on the personal net financial impacts to Gore, instead telling CNSNews that Mr. Gore, "as a private citizen, does not release his private income.” Financial matters aside, what are the environmental impacts of Gore’s offsets? I was surprised to find that even a leading advocate of carbon offsets acknowledge that they have no impact on global climate. The Carbon Neutral Company – one of the two vendors that sell offsets to GIM – says that offset purchases “will be unable to reduce greenhouse gas emissions… in the short term.” Instead, they merely: (1) demonstrate commitment to taking action on climate change; (2) add an economic component to climate change; (3) help engage and educate the public; and (4) may provide local social and environmental benefits that help to encourage the use of low-carbon technologies. The real design behind offsetting, then, is to impact the public debate, not to avert the dreaded global warming. This purpose is consistent with what I heard Al Gore say about the Kyoto Protocol following a private presentation of his climate slide show I attended at the Americans for Tax Reform offices in January, 2006. “Did we think Kyoto would [reduce global warming] when we signed it [in 1997]?… Hell no!” said Gore. He then explained that the actual point of Kyoto was to demonstrate that international support could be mustered for action on environmental issues. But it’s the carbon offset purchases through which Gore really validates application of the $300-man epithet to him. His company buys the offsets for their employees. There’s no cost to him. He benefits politically – and perhaps financially, as well – from them. He then advocates that the rest of us who cannot so easily offset are carbon production suffer myriad personal sacrifices. While Gore relaxes in his posh pool house and heated pool, you should be taking shorter and colder showers, and hanging your laundry outside to dry. As Gore jets around the world in first-class comfort to hob-nob with society’s elites about his self-declared “moral imperative”, you should travel less and bike to work. You should use less electricity while Al and his wife, Tipper, use 20 times the national average. Now that’s a real carbon offset. “Are you ready to change the way you live?” Gore literally meant you – and only you. Steven Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and CSRWatch.com. He is a junk science expert, and advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
RUSH: Hey, folks, before I get out of here for the weekend, I have to tell you I watched “Amazing Grace” last night. I don't know if you've heard about this. It is really a fine movie, and it's a movie that is just unlike stuff made in Hollywood today. The whole family can watch this. It is properly refined. It's clean and pure right down the middle, but it has an amazing story. It's about William Wilberforce. William Wilberforce abolished the slave trade in Eighteenth Century Great Britain. If there's a theme in this movie, it focuses on his time in the House of Commons, where his efforts to abolish the slave trade -- by the way, 50 years prior to anybody else doing so, because his efforts led to the abolition of slavery throughout much of the world. He faced a number of pressures in the movie and in life. He wanted to not go to the House of Commons. He didn't want to be elected. He wanted to work on all of his humanitarian efforts outside of government. He was persuade by his friend William Pitt, the youngest prime minister in British history, to do it from inside the House of Commons -- and he ran into all kinds of problems inside the House of Commons because of course there were people opposed to him, and he was urged to be bipartisan.He was urged, “Come on, William! You gotta back off of this. You understand a lot of people are making a lot of money off this slave trade. You've gotta learn to get along in here. You've gotta learn there's only so much you can do," and he refused to even consider bipartisan as a way of solving the problem of one man being able to own another. It's a typically British movie. A couple friends of mine are listed as producers on it, Patricia Heaton from “Everybody Loves Raymond” and her husband, David Hunt. He played McCarthy on “24” this year, who was running around securing the nuclear triggers for the bad guy, Fayed. He's a great guy.Patricia and Dave are a great couple. Dave's even in the movie for a couple of cameos in a bar scene. But if you haven't seen this movie and don't want something full of computer graphics and so forth, and if you want to take a message out of it: bipartisanship is not the way to deal with your principles, is what this movie is all about. You don't compromise your principles in the interests of bipartisanship to get anything done, and William Wilberforce didn't. He was an amazing character. I had never heard of him until I started hearing about this movie. It's called “Amazing Grace,” and it's out now.
For the Sake of the Planet?Anti-Natalism in AmericaMarch 9, 2007Joan Blades describes herself as, among other things, a "nature lover" and a "mother." She is also a co-founder of the liberal activist group MoveOn.org and a regular contributor to the liberal blog The Huffington Post.In a recent post, Blades wrote about an article she read in her local paper. It described a group that supports the kind of measures Blades expected liberals like Huffington Post readers to support: health care for children, "fair wages," and flexible work schedules for moms.What Blades found surprising were some of the comments that came into the paper's website. One person "reasoned" that if he has to pay $25 for a dog license, why should parents expect help when they "choose" to have kids. Another commenter simply wrote, "Can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."Of course, this is the Internet we're talking about. Still, Blades felt compelled to refute the erroneous assumption underlying those comments, that "choosing to have a child is purely an individual act" and not "a contribution to society as a whole."Their response to Blades's response was—what else?—more of the same. A "chunk of the replies" objected "to contributing to the wellbeing of children" because they did not want to "reward or encourage" "indiscriminate breeders."To be fair, many of the replies were supportive of Blades's views. Still, there were enough people using terms like breed and critters, terms normally associated with animals, to prompt Blades to write another article.This anti-natalism is not limited to liberals. A few years ago, at a dinner I attended, a conservative Christian advocated sterilizing poor women as a solution to welfare dependency. And today, leading immigration-reform groups have links to zero-population growth advocates.The divide is not between Republican and Democrats or liberals and conservatives—it's between those who regard children as a blessing and those who view them as, at best, a burden.While Blades is right when she says that plain selfishness accounts for some of the hostility to families with children, there is something else at work here as well. As Catholic writer Erin Manning says, the belief that growth in human population should be controlled is "an important tenet of mainstream environmentalism."Environmentalists agree that "there are too many people on the earth," and that repairing environmental damage requires "aggressive measures to limit and restrict human population."In contrast to the Christian idea of stewardship, which "wishes to conserve and protect the natural resources of the planet for the sake of future generations," this viewpoint "wishes to eliminate future generations for the sake of the planet."This is only one example of the cultural message today driven home to Americans: that is, that large, or even medium-sized, families are an impediment to the good life. Even if the kids are not yours, their existence will have a negative impact on you—whether it's higher taxes or global warming.Blades was rightly disturbed by the sentiments expressed, but she should not have been surprised—not in a culture where being a "nature lover" and a "mom" is viewed as a contradiction in terms.This is part three in a three-part series. Get links to further information on today's topic For printer-friendly version, simply visit www.breakpoint.org and click on Today's Commentary. The printer-friendly link is on the left-hand column.
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