As the year draws to a close, nothing really changes and the latest in foreign affairs may get us distracted from our own economic woes. So with that in mind here are a few tidbits to think about:
- Hamas and the Israelis (New York Times) – Well they are at it again. Hamas has been dropping rockets (up to eighty a day) from Gaza into Israel on a fairly continuous basis and now the Israelis are responding. The UN is going to meet and call for a cessation of hostilities and around and around we go. Now I will give you that the Israelis have been bad actors and their settlements in disputed territory are an abomination, but does anybody get the continued launching of rockets is a terrorist activity? If you want to end this, it is time to settle it and the Israelis have taken the first step. The only way that Hamas with their sworn destruction of Israel strategy will stop their ceaseless violence is for the people to finally reject their terrorist acts. If each time you launch a strike, you pay dearly, after awhile maybe the population will put a stop to tolerating these rocket attacks. What should catch your attention is that Hamas must keep the conflict going with Israel or they would actually have to deal with the problems in Gaza created by themselves and the Palestinians. It is time for the UN to take a side and end this madness.
- India and Pakistan (New York Times) – The Pakistanis are moving troops out of the Taliban controlled areas so they can confront the Indians. Once again they are playing right into the terrorists hands. The whole idea was to stir up trouble between India and Pakistan so that the pressure would be off their tribal areas. Both this and the Hamas/Israeli problem remind me of Shakespeare’s Henry V. Henry knew that a war with the French would distract his own citizens from their own injustices and focus them on an external foe. So instead of dealing with your own issues it is so much easier to stir up trouble with someone else and then get your citizens to rally around the flag. Remind anyone of George Bush?
- Healthcare – I see where Tom Daschle, as Barack Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, in his first major speech since being asked to head President-elect Barack Obama’s healthcare reform effort, on Friday announced a nationwide campaign this month to solicit public input on improving the nation’s healthcare system. I find this a little strange and time wasting to tell you the truth. As a friend expressed it to me the other day, people who think they have healthcare only have to get sick to find out they don’t. We have a system based on profit and as such incentivizes denying care and only insuring healthy people. All the problems arise from this basic flaw. But what is most troubling about this fact finding is that it ought to be around the world, not the United States. If you look at England, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, and Taiwan, you would find completely different implementations of single payer plans, and you do like the Taiwanese did, design you system to take advantages of the best of each of these systems. But no, we have to reinvent the wheel. We are an arrogant bunch aren’t we? No wonder we are falling behind the rest of the world.
- Energy Efficient Houses (New York Times) – I read an interesting article about how in Europe they have gone back to building extremely “tight” homes to reduce or eliminate heating costs and have solved the problem of indoor pollution by using extremely efficient heat exchanges so that fresh air brought in from outside is preheated. In another article I saw where the hope in California for the economy is the rebirth of the housing industry. See the connection? Why are we still building houses with yesterday’s technology? Why aren’t we requiring that new houses meet extremely stringent energy standards so that our energy needs in the future would be greatly reduced? Oh, I forgot, that would be government interference with the marketplace so we can continue to do stupid and short sighted things.
- Caroline Kennedy – Oh can we get over this soap opera? Governor’s can appoint who ever the hell they want to. The voters will eventually get their say. Governor Patterson is no fool and he will appoint someone who he thinks can bring home the bacon for New York. For those of you who are afraid of a dynasty, then why the hell did you vote for George Bush after his dad? If Governor Patterson thinks Caroline works, and she doesn’t, you will get your chance to have your say on the re-election of both of them. In the meantime the media needs to get a life.
- Man Shoots Talker in Movie Theater (CNN) – Apparently a family that kept talking during a movie so enraged a gentleman that he shot the father. I would have to say that if I was on the jury I could not convict. I could be in his shoes, but my wife won’t let me take a gun to the movie.
It is always heart warming to know that after another year we have learned nothing.