Archive for July, 2012

Legal, Just, and Fair Aren’t Always the Same

July 30, 2012

“It’s perfectly legal” is a phrase that can be maddening.  You just got screwed by some organization and that’s their come back. And when you investigate, the odds are very high that they were right. That’s because too  often the laws aren’t written to protect you. They are written, in my view, too often to protect the people who spent the money via campaign contributions or in other ways to influence the people who write  the laws.

Once when I was in Washington covering representatives from the Columbus area, I was amazed at the throngs of men in black suits carrying briefcases walking up and down the corridors of the Capitol building.  Turns out they were lobbyists.  It also turns out  that they often either write or influence the writing of those laws that affect their vested interest. When I asked one congressman about that, he pointed out that there was no one better qualified to write the laws than the people who are engaged in the organization who know all about the subject.  That may be, but it boils down to “putting the rabbits in charge of the lettuce” as my friend retired South Carolina state legislator, appeals court judge, and college president Alex Sanders use to say.

What can be done about it?  For one thing, stop voting against your own self interest by putting the sold-out legislators in office.  How do you know that your man or woman is a political whore? Now, that’s not easy. It’s takes dedicated watchdog media types to find out. They appear to be in short supply.  Why?  Simple. Media corporations have to be willing to employ skilled watchdog reporters. Some few do. Why don’t others? What do you  think?

Sometimes political rivals will blow the whistle on a political hooker when it’s suits their purposes. But, you can’t count on that.

By all means, when you vote tomorrow, let me urge you to vote in favor of limiting lobbyists’ gifts to Georgia legislators to $100. We can thank state Sen. Josh McKoon for getting that on that on the Republican and Democratic primary ballots.  It won’t  become law but it will tell Georgia state legislators that’s what the people want.

Advertisements

The Horror in Aurora Raises the Question Again on the Effects of Movie Violence on Behavior

July 23, 2012

Movies do influence the way people think.  That’s not to say that the latest Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises caused James Holmes to commit the horrible act  of mass murder in an Aurora, Colorado theater that has stunned the nation, and  a lot of the world.  But, they are very influential, in my view.  And since he died his hair a lurid red, reportedly telling police he was a Batman comics villain, The Joker, and since a Batman mask was reportedly found in his apartment there does seem to be some reason to believe that he was influenced by the Batman story. 

I know that movies have had a big effect on me, especially when I was a child and teenager.  For instance,  anti-racial  and anti-ethnic prejudice  films helped shape my world view in those areas. I recall such films as Gentlemen’s Agreement, The Boy with Green Hair, To Kill a Mockingbird, Pinky, and Imitation of Life. And I remember the tremendous influence of World War II propaganda movies.  

Then there was the other side. The first film epic, the milestone, great silent box office blockbuster Birth of a Nation, produced and directed by D. W. Griffith, was a racist film.  It glorified the Ku Klux Klan.   It caused such a row by organizations such as the NAACP. that Griffith made another even more expensive epic called Intolerance  to show that he was not a racist.  It bombed at the box office. Griffith lost a ton of money on it because it was the most expensive movie made at that  time.

Many movies, maybe most, are extremely violent.  There has been a debate for a long time about whether that causes movie goers to be violent.  A number of studies have presented evidence that violent movies do influence children to be more violent.  I just read there have been 500 over the years. However, not everyone agrees with that claim. I supposed you  would have to say the jury is still out on that one.

In my view, movies definitely affect us emotionally.  In years past, Hollywood showed a lot of  violent crime, but the bad guys always got their just deserts in the end. That did not stop the villans, though, from often being the most interesting characters in the movies.  And, eventually, Hollywood became more realistic, and sometimes the bad guy did and does get away with it.

When we try to blame the Batman film with influencing James Holmes actions, we do have to reflect on the fact that of all the thousands who saw that Movie over the weekend, only one opened fire in a crowded theater. 

Arrival of Space Shuttle Nozzle Signals Museum Status for the Coca-Cola Space Science Center

July 22, 2012

Just as we told you it would in the previous post, the space shuttle nozzle arrived Friday at the Coca-Cola Space Science Center. 

A police escort announced the arrival at the Coca-Cola Space Science Center by activating a siren.   Center staff members, who had earlier in the day participated in a presentation ceremony at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center at Huntsville, Alabama,  rode on the trailer that carried the shuttle nozzle when it pulled into the Science Center.  They actually rode in a CSU bus to Huntsville and back. 

There was a big welcoming ceremony under a tent that featured a number of speakers, including Congressman Sanford Bishop who got a huge hand for his role in making the acquisition of the nozzle possible.

Dr. Shawn Cruzen, Director of the Coca-Cola Space Science Center said the learning Center is now taking on the role of also being a museum. That $15 million nozzle is a good start.

$15 Million NASA Artifact to Arrive in Columbus Friday

July 17, 2012

NEWS RELEASE FROM COLUMBUS STATE UNIVERSITY

A part of space exploration history is about to make Columbus, Georgia its home. The Space Shuttle’s main engine nozzle arrives here Friday in preparation of being placed on permanent display downtown at Columbus State University’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center.

To celebrate the arrival of the $15 million artifact, two free public ceremonies will take place as the nozzle travels by trailer Friday morning from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in HuntsvilleAla., to Columbus. You can check out the nozzle at the following locations:

            Phenix City Intermediate School, 2401 South Railroad Street, Phenix City, AL

            6:30 p.m. – Nozzle arrival, ceremony, and photo opportunities

            Coca-Cola Space Science Center, 701 Front Avenue, Columbus, GA 31901
            7:00 p.m. – Outdoor entertainment & refreshments
            7:45 p.m. – Nozzle arrival, ceremony, & photo opportunities

That the nozzle – designated as an artifact for CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center – reaches Columbus on July 20 is not by accident. It was scheduled that day to coincide with the 43rd anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon. 

“Just as Apollo 11 marked the beginning of a new era of exploration, Friday’s NASA artifact transfer marks an important paradigm shift for the Space Science Center,” said Mary Johnson, assistant director of the center. “With the arrival of these historical additions to the center, the center’s tourism value, the impact within the Columbus community, throughout the region and state, will be significantly enhanced, as will the center’s ability to continue to provide innovative and unique opportunities for inquiry-based STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education.”

The artifact to be on display has flown to space nine times and on all four of the shuttles in service during its lifetime – Atlantis (3), Discovery (2), Endeavour (1) and Columbia (3). It was involved in 39 total engine starts – 24 for development and testing, three for engine certification, and 12 actual launch-pad firings, including a flight readiness firing before Endeavour’s maiden voyage and two launch-pad aborts.  The overall engine burn time on this nozzle is more than five hours and 16 minutes, a “truly phenomenal statistic considering it only takes the shuttle about 8 minutes to get to space,” said Shawn Cruzen, director of theCoca-Cola Space Science Center and a CSU professor of astronomy.

The nozzle is the largest of CSU’s Space Science Center’s nearly $20 million in artifacts.

Making America’s Olympic Team Uniforms in China Highlights Extent of Outsourcing Dilemma

July 14, 2012

WE NEED MORE STORES THAT SELL ONLY GOODS MADE IN AMERICA

Maybe the news that uniforms for America’s Olympic team were made in China will help American shoppers understand that  they hold the key to stopping the flow of  jobs to incredibly cheap labor countries.

A story in the AARP magazine gives hope. There are stores springing up that only stock American made products. One is Norton’s U.S.A  in Barrington, Illinois. Another is Made in America in Alma, New York.  Business keeps getting better for them. 

A Perception Research International survey shows that consumers “50 through 64 say ‘Made in the USA’ labels influence their purchases.” 81 percent of people 50 through 64 buy American because they believe it helps the economy.

Let’s hope many more stores that sell only American made products go into business. I don’t know of any in the  Columbus-Phenix City area. If there are some that you know about, let me know.  However, you can still buy American online at sites such as AmericanAisle.com and MadeinUSA.com.

So maybe some of the American made items cost a little more because some companies pay their employees a living wage.  Henry Ford paid his assembly line workers well because he wanted them to be able to buy his cars. People have to make money in order to be able to spend it on goods and services.

It may be hard to find things made in America because businesses are not in business to create jobs, but to make a profit. They will pay attention, though, if you go next door because that store sells stuff made right here in the good old U.S. of A.