I found this pretty funny. The government (US) is gonna ban the diet
supplement Ephedra starting next year because it has been linked to 155
Smoking kills 400,000 Americans each year.
Am I missing something?
Yea...I am listening to the NPR discussion on this even as I
type. It feels to me that this is one of several things.
1) it is a "high profile" problem, in that someone famous
has died because of it. Like several other laws based on events
that are so unusual as to be statistically meaningless, it is
a "feel good" thing that politicians can do. It makes it LOOK
like they are trying to "protect" us, but in actual fact it
one affects a vanishingly small number of folks.
2) It is part of the ongoing attempt of government to
take advantage of our formless fears to end up putting us ALL
in "camp X-Ray". As mentioned in passing in the NPR story,
passing a law against ephedra will set a precedent to allow
the FDA and Congress to ban OTHER "dangrous" products. We,
the sleeping citizenry, allow this because, each slice is
only a TINY sliver of freedom of choice gone.
However...before we know it...instead of rolling miles
of unfettered movement...we are in a box too small to lay down
I think that the Feds would do far more to "protect"
us by implementing the following policies:
1) Not allowing driver's licenses for folks under
the age of 19.
2) Mandatory driver's education.
3) As with Israel and some other countries, 2 years
service in the military after high school.
It would not make America perfect, but, I suspect it
would produce a citizen that was a lot stronger of will and
would produce much safer roads for all of us (which would
cut down noticeably on the traffic problems).
However, it ain't gonna happen, because it is
too painful for the politicians to actually change anything
substantual, and, too many American parents would whine
too loudly at having to take such a larger part in their
By the by...in case you were wondering...yes...
Swift's "A Modest Proposal" IS one of my favorite readings.
For you folks who have come through the American educational
system...and likely have never heard of this:
On Tue, 30 Dec 2003 23:32:16 GMT, email@example.com (Dave Mundt) wrote:
Including collision avoidance and bad weather driving. No bad weather
permit, no bad weather privileges, just like a private pilot's
While we're at it, how about banning _hand held_ cell phone use?
Useless to marginally useful at best. What I've noticed about yacking on a
cell phone is the major distraction is the diversion of brain cycles to
solving whatever the business or home crisis of the moment is. IMO the
hands / hands-free has little to do with the real distraction.
Yes, I drink coffee, change radio stations, smoke & gnaw on a Big Mac from
time to time while driving. (Not all at the same time, usually. <g>) IMO
none of these are as distracting as having my mind transported to the
client's setup problem or the clogged kitchen sink.
I'll agree, plenty of diversion even with hands free. But if you're
that distracted, you really should pull over for deepconversations.
However, with hands free you can still turn your head to look in the
next lane, shift and steer the car when on a not so deep conversation.
I've personally been nearly dusted by someone who couldn't hold the
wheel and the phone at the same time.
Having the hands free cradle in the company car makes me a much safer
driver than in my personal rides that don't have the cradle.
I had to admire a guy in a SUV on the Washington DC beltway one day. He
managed to pass me at about 80 mph, cell phone in one hand, flashing the
international symbol of disrespect at me with the other. He was probably
steering with his knee but I'll be he thought he was steering with his ____
Another time traffic was moving in all 4 lanes but basically all were moving
at the same average rate. I was behind a lady who was apparently late for
something. After a few miles of her driving I wanted *so bad* to force her
off the road and ask what the old record for lane changes was. <g> Unlike
many others I've observed, at least she used the turning signals. However,
they weren't signals "asking permission," they were indicators of impending
action no matter what was happening in the other lanes. ;-) It was very
interesting to watch.
... and you don't see *that* as chipping away at freedom? What would
occur in that 2 years? Seems like a perfect opportunity to instill a
little "discipline" and acceptance of government control of one's
Better for 3) would be to re-institute the study of civics as a
required course in all high schools where:
a) All students were fully educated on the formulation of the US
government as a republic and what that means in a practical sense in
terms of limiting the strength of the federal government,
b) That the constitution was intended to be a document limiting
the powers and scope of the federal government, not a document to
describe its powers, and, most importantly:
c) Exactly how our government is structured, with three branches
of government and the prescribed scope of each branch. Surveys of high
school and college students with questions regarding this topic show
them to be woefully ignorant of how our government is supposed to work
and the very basic details of its structure. That this is such a
widespread phenomena indicates it isn't that these kids are stupid, they
are just not being taught something that is a fundamental part of why
they have the freedom they do.
I don't think so. It may be that a working lifetime (23 years now) in the
military gets someone to accept doctrine without question, though I'm inclined
to doubt even that. Most lifers I've known are ultimate cynics. But AFAICT,
almost all short-termers in the military reject most of the acceptance of
control, while maintaining a reasonably strong self discipline, after a couple
years on the outside." Some don't take that long. I do think doctrinaire
thinking is more prevalent in the officer corps of the various services than in
the enlisted ranks, but even that is a long, long ways from 100%.
But I can't argue at all with your idea that a good civics course with an
accurate presentation of the Constitution and the rationales used in forming
our government is sorely needed. Whether or not it will do any good, it should
"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave
it to. " Dorothy Parker
Greetings and Salutations....
On 31 Dec 2003 20:09:27 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Charlie Self)
That has been my thought too. I suspect that the folks that
are going to get 'brainwashed' into buying the party line would do so
whether or not they HAD the military experience.
Hear, Hear! I agree completely that the schools probably
SHOULD get back to a more basic focus on their job, and, that more
Americans should be exposed to the principles that founded the
country. And...spending a bit of time in the military might
well help that.
On Fri, 02 Jan 2004 19:55:53 +0000, Dave Mundt wrote:
The current administration would never reinstate the draft for fear of
getting beat about the head and shoulders of the opposition, and the
opposition would never reinstate the draft as the 4 or 5 or 10 fold
increase in personnel and the facilities and equipment required would
consume way too much moolah that could be used for social programs.
... unless they make *it* a social program. You'll note that a lot of
proponents of this kind of plan don't call it 2 years of military
service, but "2 years of service". The opposition could leverage off of
this idea very easily, making it a "clean up the inner cities, cure
cancer, clean up the air, clean up the water" kind of plan.
Very simply, Ephedra is a drug, tobacco is not. FDA would like tobacco to
be a drug so they can regulate it, but since tobacco has been around prior
to the drug laws, it can not be regulated unless a specific law is enacted
by congress to declare it a drug.
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