Several discussions I had with fellow travelers on my way to and from Kansas City last week:
THE MISERY OF LIFE IN AMERICA:
I sat next to a lawyer on the plane I got stuck on trying to fly out of DC for the first time. He was absolutely convinced that the quality of life in America was far more miserable than at any point in our history. When I asked him why he thought so in an age of increasing lifespans, higher levels of wealth and technology, less work hours, and improved living conditions for virtually everyone he gave his response:
"We have longer commutes than ever before. How can anyone be happy with that?"
I asked him where he lived and he said Denver. I asked why he didn't move if he was so miserable, he couldn't give a good reply.
The same lawyer was absolutely convinced that climate change was destroying the world. He thought we should sacrifice the economic growth of two generations of Americans to "solve" the problem. When I asked him what his evidence was for the level of danger, he said to watch "An Inconvenient Truth"...
One my way back from Kansas City, I sat next to a meteorologist who works for NOAA and asked him what his thoughts were on climate change. He said it is very uncertain whether or not human activity is contributing to global temperature increases and that any increase is more likely to be due to natural causes. He said that volcanic erruptions often produce far more carbon emissions into the atmosphere than many years of human activity. I'll put my stock in a trained meterologist trained in climatology rather than in a lawyer who happened to see "An Inconvenient Truth".
The meteorologist also said we should do things that are good for the environment regardless of the impact on global warming because it's the right thing to do. I agree.
After my flight leaving DC got cancelled, I was standing in line behind a soldier who had been serving in Iraq and was planning on going back in a few weeks. I asked him what he and other troops thought of the war. He said that most of them don't know what they're fighting for anymore. Many are disillusioned and their morale is very low. He was supposed to be home for Christmas last year and had his stay extended 3 months beyond what he had been promised. Many other troops have experienced the same.
Regardless of what you think of the war, this is no way for the the troops to be treated. This makes me sad.