Category Archives: Emerging Issues in the World

Information garnered from periodicals, both in America and from every corner of the globe.

END OF NOVELS?

During the first quarter century of my life, reading novels was an important component of my intellectual growth. I devoured novels from not only America, but France, Germany, England, Russia, Italy, Japan and a host of other areas. Novels offered me insights into the human condition and enabled my mind to think and feel emotions from various cultures and times. There were giants in the land–Camus, Sartre, Hemingway, Wolfe, Mailer, Silone, and dozens of others who explored the human psyche and entered into the total breadth of the human experience. Lee Siegel, writing in The New York Observer, argues “for about a million reasons, fiction has now become a museum-place genre and for better or worse, the greatest storytellers of our time are non-fiction writers.”

I regret to agree with Mr. Siegel. We have come a long way in writing from great Russian writers when we now hold up Stephen King as a master storyteller. Sorry, Harry Potter is a wonderful series for youth, but when compared to Albert Camus…..

Are Aliens Harmful To Humans?

Noted British scientist Stephen Hawking warned the world that seeking contact with alien life forms could be dangerous to our health. He compared arrival of aliens on Earth to Columbus wandering into the Western Hemisphere and spreading death and destruction. “If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn our well for Native Americans.” He believes advanced life form “would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach.” He did add, “the real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.”

As a visitor from the planet of Xul, I take umbrage at the remarks of this noted human scientist. Together with my fellow Xulians we are simply here to observe the madness of human life forms and already have informed the Planetary Council that no human should be allowed to pass into outer space. Who would want these savage, war crazed life forms on their planet. Sorry, Mr. Hawking, it is YOU HUMANS who are the monsters, not we alien life forms.

Is It Illegal To Sell Legal Drugs?

The world of drugs is among the most fascinating in that one never knows what or which drug will create problems for society. About 10% of pharmacies in the United Kingdom have discovered a new way to make money from the drugs they sell to patients–just sell it to patients in other parts of the world! Theoretically, some drugs are only supposed to be sold in the UK, but some pharmacies have uncovered a loophole which allows them to sell to anyone, including people in other nations. Actually, the law says certain drugs should only be sold in Great Britain. For example, a month’s supply of Ferma sells for about $110 in England, but some pharmacies are offering this product abroad for about $150.

A woman in Hertfordshire was informed by her druggist that he had no Ferma, then said he could get a few tablets, but the women really could not tell her body to get along with a few rather than the amount required. Ah, the world of drugs and making money.

What Happened at Copenhagen Climate Conference?

There increasingly are stories in the world press concerning mistakes made by scientists about global warming, and one is to assume from those incidents no such thing as global warming is occurring. We are expected to assume it is OK to proceed as usual and in the end, the world will not be impacted by the myth of global warming. A secret report from China indicates its representatives to the Copenhagn climate meeting encountered repeated examples of European Union attempts to placate the United States by refusing to impose strict emissions limits on wealthy nations. The Chinese memo noted that Canada, which had signed the Kyoto Agreement, wanted a 3% emissions goal for 2020 instead of the 5% of Kyoto, and a major factor was to avoid antagonizing the American delegation.

The Chinese came away from the meeting convinced richer nations were focusing on their own needs and had scant regard for poorer nations of the world. There is something sad when the United States of America has to be placated as though it were an oppressed country rather than a leader of the world.

India Offers Talk, Pakistan Offers Toughness

The government of India has offered to engage in discussions with Pakistan over issues that currently create antagonism between the nations. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, said his nation was more than ready to have discussions and his nation would present their own ideas as well as listen to those of India. Undoubtedly, they will discuss the ever present issue of Kashmir, water rights and how both can confront terrorism. But, the Pakistani leader made clear his nation would not bow down to the Indian agenda. There are reports both foreign ministers have agreed on an agenda for meetings as well as dates, but these reports are news to Qureshi.

The bottom line is that over 500,000 Pakistan troops face east toward India while about 50,000 face west toward tribal areas where there are terror groups. Until Pakistan and India resolve their conflicts in such a manner as to free up Pakistan forces to head west and deal with the problem that Pakistan faces today, not tomorrow.

Death In China Of A Disturbed Human

He was a man who had difficulty in dealing with life issues and most probably never dreamed his life would some day become a center of world wide controversy. Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a strong condemnation of the execution of Akmail Shaikh, a fifty three year old emotionally disturbed man who was killed for possession of drugs while entering China. In an emotional meeting at the Foreign Office with Chinese Ambassador Fu Ying, the British government expressed its horror at what transpired in China. “It’s a depressing day for anyone with a modicum of compassion or commitment to justice” said a UK spokesman. Brown even called China’s premier Wen Jiabao but to no avail since the Chinese response is always the same, “unreasonable criticism” will impair relations with China.

The Chinese insist there was no medical history of Mr. Shaikh having mental problems and court procedures were fair. In fact, the Chinese boast, “out of humanitarian consideration, visas were granted to two cousins of Mr. Shaikh” so they could see him just before being led to his death. According to his relatives Chinese legal officials said Mr. Saikh should have produced his own evidence of being mentally unstable.

The Chinese invariably resort to blaming the world anytime they violate human rights and cite the argument that Western nations for decades interfered with their internal affairs and this will not happen again. There is something sad in this story only the sad part if the behavior of well educated Chinese who can sanction death for carrying drugs into a country.

Get Below On December 21, 2012 Or Else!

We trust you have not planned anything extensive for December 21, 2012 because there is a strong chance there will not be a December 22, 2012. Next month a new Hollywood film, “2012″ opens which describes horrible events on that day which marks the end of the Mayan calendar. The Mayan civilization which thrived from 300 A.D. to 900 A.D. had its own calendar. The Mayan calendar begins in 3114 B.C. and marks periods of time in 394 year chunks known as Baktuns. The number 13 was sacred to Mayans and their calendar, in effect, culminates in the 13th Baktun which occurs on December 21, 2012. Hollywood predicts on that day there will be tornadoes and hurricanes and turmoil and disaster with the entire planet coming close to its ultimate climax.

Once every 25,800 years the sun lines up with the center of the Milky Way and is the lowest spot in the horizon. Guess what, that will happen on December 22, 2012.

I assume Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and company will blame Barack Obama for the coming calamity. See what happens when you elect a Kenya born black man as president. Now, if we had a nice white conservative woman like Sarah Palin the apocalypse will not occur. So, head to the voting booth in November, 2012 and cast your ballot for Sarah if you want to save civilization from liberal disaster!

Great Ivy League Debate-About Felix-Cat!

British historian Niall Ferguson has initiated the great debate in the Ivy League over the relationship between Felix the Cat and President Obama. The Harvard educator in a debate with Princeton’s Nobel Prize economist, Paul Krugman, made a reference that connected Felix the Cat to President Obama. “Felix was not only black. he was always very, very, lucky. And that pretty much sums up the 44th President of the U.S.” Krugman went on the attack about the connection which led Ferguson to respond that while Felix was black, he was not African American. In fact, Ferguson enlisted the support of fellow Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates, who made clear that “Felix’s blackness, like Mickey and Minny Mouse’s was like a suit of clothes, not a skin color.”

Wow! Aren’t readers relieved to know that Felix the cat was not an African American! To those who have never taught college, I regret to inform you this is typical college conflict. College professors argue about trivia. If you seek to enjoy a good college discussion, attend a meeting of any college faculty when they discuss parking spaces. As former Harvard Professor Henry Kissinger stated many years ago, “the reason for the passion of college discussions is the subject is so trivial.”

Just think some readers are paying Ivy League tuition so their children can take courses from people who want to argue about Felix the Cat.!!

Pay To Read On Internet?

Rupert Murdoch has decided enough is enough when it comes to allowing readers free access to his online newspaper empire. After his global media empire suffered large income losses, he has announced that starting in the coming weeks those seeking access to the British Times, The Sun, and News of the World will have to pay a fee. “Qualify journalism is not cheap,” announced the man who publishes high quality newspapers like The New York Post. “The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive distribution channels, but it has not made content free. We intend to charge for all our news websites.”

The issue of charging for reading online has been debated for years. However, with recent dramatic declines in revenue on the part of leading newspaper, the issue is front center. Will people pay to read their daily newspaper that they will not purchase at the newstand? Actually, no one knows the answer to the question.

It will be interesting as to how many will pay for publications such as The New York Post whose level of journalism is a step above pornography even though the sports section of the paper is first class.

Is Gambling A Problem More Than Doping?

It is difficult these days to pick up a newspaper or watch a sports program on television without encountering some issue related to the use of steroids by athletes. However, the British Gambling Commission has uncovered a greater concern than whether or not athletes use drugs– gambling! It has uncovered at least 47 cases of alleged match-fixing and illegal betting on British sporting events. One official commented “football, rugby and cricket don’t have a doping problem, but they know they have serious gambling problems. A spokesperson for the Gambling Commission says that horse racing, football and snooker accounted for most of the illegal fixing.

In the era of gambling occurring across the world on the same match, it becomes increasingly difficult to uncover fixing schemes that originate outside the jurisdictional lines of a particular police force. Athletes come and go from one nation to another and lack the old intense loyalty to a team or community. The money has risen to astronomical heights and it is difficult to ensure that every athlete is honest.