at any cost.' It may not have the patriotic ring of
'Fifty-four, forty or fight' or 'Remember Pearl Harbor', but
there probably is no one who would seriously dispute that it
would be the appropriate slogan for what is going on in the
Middle East. Even those who believe President Bush was right
when he sent troops into Iraq and is right in pursuing eventual,
but probably unattainable, victory have to admit that securing
the petroleum pipeline is a prime objective of a bellicose
States consumes more than 20 million barrels of oil a day --
nearly a fifth of the amount used in the world and more than
three times as much as the second most prolific user, China.
There are only 16 other nations where daily consumption is more
than 1 million barrels.
statistic has been cited so often that it fails to incite alarm.
Since the gasoline crisis of 30 years ago, it has been common
wisdom that it behooves us to conserve, to reduce our dependence
on foreign-produced oil, to seek new technologies and alternate
energy sources. Yet progress toward those goals has been moving
at a glacial pace while demand has grown at supersonic speed.
Spikes in the price of gasoline, heating oil and natural gas have pushed the issue to the forefront of public
interest, but only to the extent that most people concede
that we, indeed, will have to get around to resolving it -- one of
comes to seriously considering ways in which it may be solved,
reasons why they are unacceptable far outnumber reasons why they
should be tried. Using nuclear power to generate electricity,
establishing a public transportation system which actually
offers convenience comparable to private travel, and seriously
working toward developing automobiles that run on something
other than petrol are just some of the good ideas that could be
implemented if there were a common will to make them work. With
sufficient commitment, that can be accomplished
without compromising legitimate environmental and other concerns,
but it will require backing away from extremist views and
outshouting their vocal advocates.
are complex questions which defy easy solutions, we are told. So
we stop asking them. A few weeks back folks were wondering why
major oil companies are raking in huge profits while we are
paying exorbitant prices at the pumps. While downplaying the
bottom line, the pundits tell us taxes are to blame or that we
are too unlearned to understand how the economics of petroleum
work. Forget that, when all is said and done, profit equals
price minus the cost of making and selling the product. Even
those who majored in football math can figure out that the
higher the price the greater the profit and that synchronization
works in both directions.
tragedy is not that most of us complain, then shrug and pay. How
long will it be before we wake up to the fact that failure to
demand fundamental change in national energy policy, which is
costing us dollars, is inseparably linked to continuing a flawed
foreign policy, which is costing not only dollars but,
tragically, human lives in a part of the world which has little
impact on any American interest except our insatiable appetite
for the resource lying in its ground.
Connolly, United States attorney for Delaware, recently went on
line and registered on a popular discussion website, using his
correct name and government e.mail address. The next morning his
e.mail included an unsolicited pornographic cartoon. That
experience, he said, demonstrates the danger lurking on the
Internet, especially for children and adolescents but also for
Connolly and his staff have initiated an
effort they're calling 'Project Cyber Safety' to alert the
public to that danger. The are taking the message to a variety
of school and other public groups. The effort is beginning to
attract attention beyond Delaware.
Speaking last week at a Parent-Teacher
Association meeting at Carrcroft Elementary School, Connolly
said parents are either unaware or at a loss to know what to do.
Ordinary common sense, he reasoned, offers a guide. "Parents who
wouldn't think of letting 10-year-olds go to a mall by
themselves let their 10-year-olds go on the Internet without
supervision," he said.
When they do, he added, they are
pedophiles and other predators virtually unrestricted access to
children -- their children. That, he explained, is neither an alarmist view
nor an exaggeration. His office and other law-enforcement
agencies, here and elsewhere, are coming up against an
increasing number of cases involving sexual attack or abuse
which began with casual Internet contact.
One local officer established such contact
and followed through the inevitable request for a face-to-face
meeting. When he arrested the would-be abuser, the suspect
admitted, as if by way of mitigation,
"I thought you were a 14-year-old girl." In another case, also
local, a teenage girl attracted to such a meeting by an offer of
a ride in a flashy car berated the arresting officer for denying
her the opportunity to take the ride.
As with any crime, Connolly said,
law-enforcers are able to catch up with only a part of the
activity. With children, the first line of defense are parents
applying simple rules. He said children should never:
give out personal information without parental consent.
agree to get together with someone they 'meet' online.
respond to messages that make them feel uncomfortable in any
upload pictures of themselves to people they do not personally
download pictures from an unknown source.
He cautioned parents against overreacting.
The value of the Internet as an educational tool and for other
legitimate uses does not have to be compromised. All it takes to
strike a balance is awareness, supervision and a willingness to
talk openly about the topic.
Connolly's message is chilling, but unfortunately
is reaching only a tiny fraction of people it should reach. For
instance, despite considerable advance publicity, only 25
persons showed up for the P.T.A. meeting at
case you hadn't noticed, we've coming off an unusually
warm winter. And, it seems, winters are getting warmer.
That's correct in both cases. According to the U.S. Weather Service, temperatures in December,
January and February -- considered meteorological winter --
above average, in the continental United
States. That is the fifth warmest winter on record. Warmest was 1999-2000 at
36.95°. Others warmer
than this season were
1998-1999, 1991-1992 and
most popular course at Harvard this semester teaches happiness.
The final numbers came back this week: Positive Psychology, a
class whose content resembles that of many a self-help book but
is grounded in serious psychological research, has enrolled 855
students, beating out even Introductory Economics.
matter what they say
about the postal service, we have to admit the mail does manage
to get through most of the time. Over in Iraq, that goes double in spades.
HERE to read
the New York Times article.