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Saturday, January 2, 2010

What If?

Sometimes it helps us to accept the reality of a situation by contemplating a different outcome. In doing so, we open our minds to change and we may even follow new directions. Most of us feel as if our opinion is one small sound lost in an ocean of mass uproar. Members of the so-called "silent majority" are so used to being pummeled with spins and twists created by the media that these people become uncaring receptacles of news. Thinking can be very personally liberating, and, believe it or not, even minutely educational.

Some Considerations For Thought

If the U.S. soldiers so brutally murdered at Fort Hood would have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan and killed there, their names would not have made the front pages of American newspapers.

If a National Counterterrorism Center analyst would have punched “Nigerian, Abdulmutallab, Yemen, visa, plot” into the system, a mistake labeled "a systemic failure" by President Obama would never have occurred, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man accused of trying to blow a hole in the side of Northwest Flight 253 would have been arrested before ever stepping foot on the plane.

If you were mildly telegenic and could do a few trills and then you, too, could be on American Idol like Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Jordin Sparks and Taylor Hicks in this, the day of the corporate sound control and the musical zombie.

If Tiger Woods, with his estimated net worth of $600 million, would have chosen to reveal publicly his infidelities and mistakes related to his now-historic Thanksgiving night car crash and fight with his wife Elin Nordegren, he would have been forgiven by his adoring public.

If federal benefits are extended to same-sex couples, Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act -- H.R. 2517 will cost taxpayers $898 million over the next nine years, according to an analysis of "domestic partnership" legislation released last by the Congressional Budget Office.

If it's hot now or cold now, many in the scientific community label it "detrimental global climate change" and claim it threatens “the stability of most nations” in the most doom-laden terms.

If literature is censored as obscene or heretical in nature without sufficient, open evidence, freedom of expression is denied as a basic tenant to a free society.

"If there were only three bees in America, the air would be more crowded with bees than space is with stars," says George Will of the Chicago Tribune. But there is much more space than there is stuff in space and much stuff besides stars whizzing around, and 65 million years ago -- the day before yesterday on the calendar of the 14 billion-year-old universe -- big bits of stuff entered Earth's atmosphere traveling faster than a high-caliber rifle bullet.

If the human rights organization Impunity Watch is correct, Kim Jong-il of North Korea, whose new constitution mysteriously dropped all reference to "communism" but gave him the new title of "supreme leader, has a regime that holds 154,000 political prisoners. Yet, a North Korean official told the United Nations Human Rights Council the actual number is zero. Kim Jong-il commands the 4th largest standing army in the world.

If the University of San Diego Trans-border Institiute of Analysis is correct, 9,903 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since the start of 2007, shortly after Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war on drug traffickers. At this time, the Mexican gang "Sinaloa Cartel" is the largest trafficker of drugs into the United States.

If environmental officials are correct, the only sure way to stop Asian bighead and silver carp — and whatever other invasive species are waiting — from wiping out the eco-system of the Great Lakes is to close the canal and again separate the Mississippi and Great Lakes watersheds. That would be hugely costly and politically difficult, given the importance of shipping to the region.

If a decision by the Ohio Supreme Court leads the way for privacy rights, other states will follow their ruling that the police need a warrant to search a cellphone. The court recognized that cellphones today are a lot more than just telephones, that they hold a wealth of personal information and that the privacy interest in them is considerable. This was the first such ruling from a state supreme court, a possible model for other courts to follow.

If California Representative Anna Eshoo has her way, a bill will be passed to lower the volume on loud TV ads by making the peak volume of commercials match the peak volume of the segment airing just before it. The bill was recently passed by the House, and an identical bill now goes to the Senate. Eshoo is confident the Senate version will pass quickly. The Progress and Freedom Foundation doesn't want control by the FCC, but instead by self-regulation and new sound reduction equipment being developed.

If you want to pay $4.99 a can, you can buy Sean O'Connor's Batter Blaster, an organic pancake-and-waffle mix in a pressurized can with a point-and-shoot nozzle. Available in 13,000 outlets nationwide, Batter Blaster's annual revenues hit $15 million in 2008. O'Connor expects the total for 2009 to surpass $19.5 million. Evidently, it sells incredibly well. It's a convenience item and great for the elderly, who make single servings, along with parents, single people and campers.

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