Friday, September 23

Poverty is not an excuse for stupidity

Practical and theoretical applications aside, Robertson has much to large of a big mouth. Of course, the media is only happy to serve as a bullhorn for his mouth-offs. Like I said before, who needs TeleSur when you have CNN en Español.

The only bigger fools are the Venezuelan underclass that supports Chavez and have undermined the rule of law. Then again, perhaps corruption played a part. Nevertheless, poverty is not an excuse for stupidity. In today's world, information is always readily available even to the poor. Looking back to American history, even in the old days of the American Revolution, people stayed informed one way or the other, and made moral,intelligentt choices. Again, poverty must stop being an excuse for anarchy, crime, corruption, and the many other ills the world faces. We do the underclass injustice by giving them a way out of their own personal responsability.

Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan president may very well have made a new best friend
in television evangelist Pat Robertson.With Robertson's astonishing and controversial call for the left-wing leader's assassination, "I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it...We have the ability to take him out."

Robertson will now have surely made Chavez an even more popular anti-American
icon in Latin America and around the world.Not unlike Fidel Castro of Cuba, Chavez thrives on threats from the United States, whether they are real or perceived. He has long accused the U.S. of plotting for his demise and this summer had armed civilians training with the military in order to be prepared for what he says is an imminent U.S. invasion in Venezuela.This threat by Robertson then, might just be what Chavez needs to keep his approval ratings soaring as high as the price of the Venezuelan oil he controls. In the hemisphere, this is the largest crude reserve.Venezuela remains the fourth largest foreign oil supplier and Chavez holds cards that make remarks such as the one made by evangelist Robertson all the more incendiary on the streets of Latin America.


It is frustrating. I hurt for those that suffer, but no one is going to ever solve world poverty--except the poor themselves! Chairities abound, and generosity is like a flood in countries like Africa. Millions are being poured out to help AIDS victims, famine victims, and so many other sufferings, and yet it seems like it does NOTHING! I don't understand how socialist power-hungry liars--fools really--can gain so much popular support. Forgive me, perhaps I still have some amount of idealism and faith in common sense.

Until the world stops making excuses for others, and starts helping with strong accountability, only until then willpeople be able to help themselves. And yes, some will never come out of poverty--but at that point, it will be their own choice.

Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity

South Africa is enchanting. I just got back from visiting a small private game reserve in the outsides of Durban, and just the landscape is amazing. It feels like you are live on the set of Lion King. The diversity in the culture, the richness of languages, and the history--both good and bad--is quite evident all around me. I do hope I have the opportunity to return some day soon.

I had some time, so I thought I would check in and post some thoughts. I was doing some of my regular reading, and I came across this interesting book by Phillip Longman on birthrates and its effect on global economy. The book is called "The Empty Cradle:How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity" and it is next on my must-read list.

This is interesting when you consider the traditional Hispanic family has much more children than most other cultures. I wonder what this is going to mean as far as helping Latinos move forward economically, in societies that are largely ignoring the problem of falling birthrates, despite government's best efforts. Here is an interesting excerpt from an article by Candice Watters, editor of Boundless.org, refering to Longman's book. She is undoubtedly my favorite author on the issue of being single and getting married. If you are a young single man or woman, you need to read her stuff.

Severing the link between marriage and children is a modern concept, born of material wealth, political freedom and technological advancements. But just because we can do something doesn't mean we should. God has not revoked His charge to the first couple, Adam and Eve, to be fruitful and multiply. (And contrary to public opinion, we're in dire need of more, not fewer, people on this earth.) When we marry and choose not to have children, we violate our very design and disobey our God. (We've talked at length about this on Boundless, including articles by J. Budziszewski and Matt Kaufman.)

But this is not simply an issue of faith or Biblical teachings. As I said before, there are serious economic consequences. The Dallas Morning News had an interesting article, which at the end, focuses on the main issue at hand--people delaying marriage and child bearing until it is much to late!
Bad timing

"People, particularly in Europe, aren't producing as many children as they would like to have. The economy is asking them to do more and more in their best reproductive years. They're expected to get educated, get a job, find a nice neighborhood, etc. By the time they do that, they've missed their best years for reproduction. Basically, our societies have put a tax on nurture. Parents create value, but they get little of it."

I asked how the nurture tax could be measured.

"Parents are effectively taxed in several ways. They pay the same Social Security taxes as others. But at the same time, they produce the children that will secure the future of Social Security. And children are an enormous investment. The government estimates it's about $200,000 in direct expenses. "There's also an enormous opportunity cost - the forgone wages. Even if the wife doesn't stay home full time, the part-time work is an opportunity cost."

The Empty Cradle captures a lost truth: There's more to life than investments. And there's more to investments than money.
Here is what Peter Peterson, author and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, had to say.
"A must read for all who care about their own and our nation's financial future. It shows conclusively that the strength of America's financial institutions ultimately depends on the strength and fertility of American families."

Wednesday, September 21

The Beauty and Contrast of South Africa

Just wanted to take a quick second to say helo. South Africa is beautifull, and yet, in contrast with the poverty and suffering, very sad. This entire continent has so much resources.

I will have to make the effort to return some day just for fun. I am still welcoming guest blogs--please refer to previous posts to get an idea of what I want.

Best Regards,

JMS

Sunday, September 18

Not So Common Sense: the Amazing Story of a Hurricane Survivor

Adam Graham of Adam's Blog has this guest post. I wonder what makes this man different from the rest of the survirvors? Survival instinct? Sure, but I would suspect there is a lot more to this man than a desire to survive.

***

MSNBC has the amazing story of a hurricane survivor:

Day after day, for more than two weeks, the 76-year-old man sat trapped and alone in his attic, sipping from a dwindling supply of water until it ran out. No food. No way out of a house ringed by foul floodwaters.

Without ever leaving home, Gerald Martin lived out one of the most remarkable survival stories of Hurricane Katrina. Rescuers who found him Friday, as they searched his neighborhood by boat, were astounded at his good spirits and resiliency after 18 days without food or human contact.
This is an amazing story, but it wasn't by chance that he survived. He lived to be 76 and continue to survive through common sense which isn't too common.

The man had a water supply that last him 17 days. Now, not having food wasn't a good idea, but you can survive for 40 days without food if you've got a good supply of water. What killed so many in Louisiana wasn't necessarily slow response time by the government, but the lack
of a plan. Now, his plan wasn't perfect but he's alive because he had a supply of water.

We have to be focused on being prepared in case of another disaster. The Department of Homeland Security has some pretty solid suggestions for an Emergency kit:
    1. A change of clothes
    2. Sleeping bags
    3. Food and water.
    4. A gallon of water per person per day should be enough.
    5. Canned and dried foods are easy to store and prepare.
Now the question is how many days to plan for. That's going to depend on your area, but being prepared could save your life.

-Adam Graham of Adam's Blog (http://www.adamsweb.us/blog)

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