Smoke Detectors and Vandalism

Am I alone in believing that it seems odd that we have signs in airplane restrooms asking people not to tamper with the smoke detectors?  Who needs a sign for that?  Isn’t it obvious that we shouldn’t be tampering with other people’s property?

What is even more strange, is that the signs actually have caused a decrease in the vandalism of bathroom smoke detectors.  I guess some people DID need a sign to let them know that they should destroy the airlines property.

Nothing is Trickling Down

Any way you look at it, the rich are getting richer and the middle class and poor are getting poorer.  Why do some people continue to believe that wealth is trickling down?

Soaring gas prices don’t impact the wealthy at all.  If you increase their purchases by a few dollars to account for higher shipping costs, you are reducing their disposable income from 90% to 88%; but when you increase the purchases for most of us by a few dollars, you are decreasing our disposable income from 10% to 0%.  We all understand that people have less money to buy luxury items, but we don’t seem competent enough to do the math to show that the rich are unaffected by it.

Poverty and Guns: Do they go well together?

Have you noticed that the conservative right favors loose gun control regulations, and they favor providing weapons and training to millions of strangers around the world?  They also favor policies to transfer other wealth from the poor to the rich.  Ultimately, the poor are left with weapons and little else.  Doesn’t this combination seem a little dangerous?

Success is not an option! Rephrasing the campaign in Iraq

Some Americans claim that we should not give up on Iraq. We should do what is necessary to achieve success.

My opinion is that we have already failed to meet the criteria for success or victory. We did achieve some of our goals, such as removing Saddam Hussein from power and making sure that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, but we did so at the cost of too many lives and too much money. If the best that we could hope for all came true today, if all our troops came home, if Iraq turned peaceful and friendly to the U.S., and if their people settled on a secular democracy, I would still not consider our campaign in Iraq to be a success. The cost was too high!

I am not advocating that we pull our troops out of Iraq. I just think we should choose different terms for what we hope to accomplish in Iraq. We should say that we will reduce our troops as the escalation subsides. Terms like “success” and “victory” are too subjective. Let’s instead say that we will begin troop withdrawals when the number of Iraqis killed averages less than 50 per day for the preceding month. Let’s set measurable goals.

Most of all, let us never call our sojourn to Iraq a victory. It has already cost it far too much to own the aroma of success.

Is this what Osama Bin Laden wanted?

Osama bin Laden believes capitalism is the source of much evil in the world. He hoped to derail the wheels of capitalism by striking the World Trade Center towers in New York in 2001. But perhaps he wanted to do more damage to capitalism than the destruction of a few buildings and a few thousand lives. Perhaps he hoped to cause the U.S. and other capitalist nations to divert trillions of dollars from constructive capitalist efforts into the destructive efforts of war and building war machines.

The U.S. has lost more money and more lives in Iraq than we did in the 9/11 attacks. Did Osama foresee that his prodding act could lead the U.S. to spend so much energy on war rather than peace? Is this why we have heard little from Osama since 9/11? Is it because he is content to let America expend its resources on war? Could he do anything else that would cost the U.S. more resources than we are already expending in Iraq and Afghanistan?