Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Pessimists Went to New York


        When the Nazis came to power in Germany, things became increasingly difficult for the Jews. It began with restrictions on daily activities, then vandalism, then beatings, then, well, we all know what 'then' was.
        Anyway, up until the last possible moment, opinion was divided between the optimists, who believed that this was just a passing phase, and the pessimists, who were not so sure.
        Eventually we learned which opinion was correct and,  "The pessimists went to New York. The optimists went to Auschwitz." became part of the world's lexicon.
        And now we have Iran and the Iranian nuclear...'agreement?' And again there is a difference of opinion about what the future will bring. Only this time, it's not just the opinion of the Jews that matters, 'Death to Israel.' This time we have company, 'Death to America.'
        And if we go ahead with this, 'American diplomatic triumph', and unfreeze Iran's 150 billion dollars to use as they see fit, allow them to import ballistic missile technology in 8 years and purify uranium to the level necessary to build a bomb in 10 or 15 years, what then?
        Will the moderates in Iran gradually change the nature of the regime as the optimists believe they will? Will it really be Atoms for Peace? Hummus not Hamas? Or will the question one day be,
        "Where did everyone go when there no longer was a New York?"

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Law of the Land



        It's no secret that the U.S. Constitution has been subject to much (mis?)interpretation over the years. Maybe it's too long, too complicated, not complicated enough, who knows? If I were rewriting it, I'd try,
                                           United States Constitution
                                                   We the people.
                                                         The end.
                                                            ***
"What?! What is that supposed to be?"
       "It's the constitution. Why, you don't like it? Did you read the whole thing?"
"But, but, but...there's nothing there. Everything's missing."
       "Well, it's a little short but easy to read."     
"But, it doesn't say anything, doesn't answer any questions."
        "Give me a question that my constitution won't answer for you."
"Ok. What if two gay people want to get married. Can they?"
        "You sure you read the whole thing? Look, right after the 'e' in 'we', you see where it says
         that the constitution guarantees the right to marriage? And if the constitution guarantees
          the right to marriage, gay people also have the right to marry. Simple."
"Wait a minute! I don't see any of that stuff in there. Where are you reading?"
        "Hmm, do you see the stuff about the right to privacy, the right to an abortion, the right
         to make everyone buy health insurance or pay a penalty?"
"No, I don't see any of that stuff."
        "Just as I suspected. You're an originalist."
"Doc, no! Am I going to die?"
        "An 'originalist' is someone who reads the constitution and interprets it the way it was
         written. They are often referred to as The Sensible Ones. Others claim that the
         constitution is a 'living document' and has to be interpreted differently, no matter what  
         it says or how clearly it's written, because it was written for 'a different time.' They are 
         often referred to as New York Times Editorial Writers."   
"But that's crazy! Something can mean one thing today and something completely
  different tomorrow. Depends on who's on the Court. What a way to run a country."
        "So, who's perfect?"
"And if The Constitution is a 'living document' and can mean different things on different
  days, then what about the Penal Code, the Commercial Code, the..."
        "Sh-h-h, don't give them any ideas."

Monday, June 8, 2015

50 Million Climate Scientists Can't Be Wrong


        Try casually mentioning that you think 'climate change' or 'global warming', as it was called before Al Gore was making The Speech one day and it started snowing on his head, is no big deal and you will be informed that 97% of climate scientists think it's a very big deal, is dangerous, and is going to destroy the planet if we don't do something about it right away and that you are a fool and should just go away and stick your head in the troposphere.
        Whew! Scary stuff but is that really what all those scientists believe? Really?
        Well, climate scientists do overwhelmingly agree that the planet has been in a warming trend for about the last 150 years but, so what? The Little Ice Age was a time of unusually cold temperatures which ended in 1850. Since then, the planet has been warming. Warm, cold, warm, cold...It's the way climate has naturally fluctuated since the Earth was formed billions of years ago. (By the way, since 1850 Earth's temperature has gone up approximately one degree and the seas have risen...8 inches.)
         The important question is whether this warming is dangerous and there is nowhere near 97% agreement on that, with scientific opinions being all over the map, unless, of course, you survey only the 'scientists' in Hollywood,
         "Now, when you hear the loud crack, let's see those brows furrow. A glacier is coming apart because of global warming and climate change. We're talking the end of the world here, people. Furrow, furrow!"
         "You mean like they taught us in Actor's Studio?"
         "Exactly!"
        Remember, movies are make believe. Playing a brilliant scientist isn't the same as actually being one.  
        And in 2012 Hurricane Sandy had barely gone off to hurricane heaven when the usual suspects, the ones who should know better, started going on about how it was all because of climate change.
        Anyone remember the Galveston Flood of 1900? Category 4 hurricane, winds of 145 miles per hour, 15 foot storm surge flooding the city, over 8,000 dead. What was that all about? Maybe it was pre-global warming or pre-climate change. Pre-Al Gore are you listening?!