The kids are out of school, Congress is on hiatus, and there is a break in Republican campaigning. Although everything is somewhat on the low down when politics takes a break, stuff still happens. Here are some of the things we’ve been dealing with and hearing about this week.
Whitney Houston’s funeral set the tone for a week long discussion of the terrible toll that drugs and drinking have taken on our musicians (not to mention movie stars). We have lost so many who were so young and so talented, and we have no clue how to end this repetitive tragedy. However, for this moment, we are grieving the loss of Whitney and we are remembering how difficult it has been to watch her as she fought and gave in to her addictions. People tried to intervene; she had the support of friends and family, but this addiction is so powerful, often we must helplessly watch the self-destruction. Let’s hope that this is a scourge the music and the entertainment industry will soon outgrow.
Rick Santorum gave us a rant against contraception in the wake of Obama’s insistence that birth control, which is covered for employees who do not work for a Catholic employer must also be provided by Catholic employers who hire non-Catholics. Obama changed his ruling to say that birth control coverage must be made available, but not necessarily in the employer’s insurance plan. Rick Santorum would solve the whole issue because he believes contraception to be a tool of Satan; he would ban it. Don’t throw out those wire coat hangers yet (sorry that was crude, but since the earth is blessed with 7 billion people I don’t think outlawing contraception is the right move.)
Three journalists died near or in Syria this week. Anthony Shadid of the New York Times, died of an asthma attack. He probably knew the risks to his respiratory system from travelling in that area, but perhaps he didn’t realize that such extreme conditions could kill him. Marie Colvin, an American who wrote for the Sunday Times of London was killed along with the French photojournalist, Remi Ochlik. Our journalists are certainly an intrepid breed. They are even more attracted to places when someone forbids them to go and we owe a lot to their bravery (or stubbornness) because they shed light on the world’s dark places.
If the Republicans are opposed to contraception (as the majority seem to be), they will be even more opposed to the newest “advance” that allows us to test genetic differences in fetuses without amniocentesis. A simple (possibly expensive) blood test will now do the trick. I am sure the GOP pro-lifers are already counting up the abortions this could lead to. But that is not really the point. The test will allow parents who choose to continue a pregnancy to prepare and make sure they find the best plan to help their child develop whatever talents they are born with.
Someone has written something upbeat and optimistic about the world we live in. Peter H. Diamandis and Steve Kotler have written a book called Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think. They say: “Take health care: over the past century, child-mortality rates have dropped by 9 percent, while the human lifespan has doubled. Take poverty, which has dropped more in the past 50 years than it did in the previous 500.” These two encourage us to take a longer view if we want to see the progress we have made. It’s a 400+ page book. There is plenty more optimism in there to make your day. We could use a little. There is a review of the book in The Daily Beast at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/21/the-world-is-getting-better-argues-new-book-abundance.html
The President can invite anyone he wants to come to the White House to give a concert. Last night he invited Mick Jagger and bluesmen B. B. King and Buddy Guy. He also was persuaded to sing. If you were President who would you invite?
Image via Wikipedia
Corporations say they can’t hire until we spend and we can’t spend until they hire.
Right now the Republican candidates are focused on each other, after the primary they will focus, laser-like, on dissing Obama – be afraid, be very afraid.
6.4 million “children” in their 20’s and 30’s have had to move home with their parents because they can’t get jobs that will support them.
The Stock Market is making me dizzy. Are they trying to invent drama or are they really this clueless. Investors are reminding me of sandpipers at the edge of the waves. (Psst – it’s the only game in town.)
The 2nd X Factor broadcast was a big waste of time. It’s beginning to look like a rescue mission. There was one excellent singer from Buffalo, NY and a few others with promise, but Miami and Dallas looked like “slim pickin’s”.
I found out I am too old to take a job at Pier 1 because there is a lot of lifting involved and you have to climb up and down tall ladders to lower large objects from very high shelves. This job contains an element of physical danger. It is a very vertical store.
Poverty level for a family of 4 is $22,000. There are no official government levels for what constitutes a middle class level or a level for the rich. However a family of 4 making $44,000 is still eligible for some types of government aid. Many people feel the poverty limit is set too low.