Saturday, January 26, 2013

Notes from the Road

     When you travel away from home, you get a slightly different perspective on the world. For one thing, there's ... the traffic! It's not just rush hour, when you'd expect it. It's all day long. Doesn't anyone ever stay home anymore, even for a few minutes?

     But what made me think of how the world looks different is reading USA Today -- the nation's second largest newspaper by circulation (behind the Wall Street Journal), even though it seems the only place you can get it is in an airport, a railway station, or for free in your hotel.

     According to USA Today, the most noteworthy event that occurred in the past few days was Beyonce possibly lip synching the national anthem at the inauguration. The nerve! The outrage! Like no one ever lip synched in public before.

     Golfer Phil Mickelson said he might leave California because state and local taxes are too high. Then he apologized profusely, because it was insensitive for him to say that, it was a dumb mistake . .. and, oh, right, it was politically incorrect. But how is he different from the thousands, perhaps millions of other people who have left California for lower tax, lower cost states like Arizona?

     There was also an article detailing how states are looking for ways to increase revenues to fund their schools and build out their infrastructure. But just last week I saw a chart showing that state and local taxes as a percentage of GDP have been going up year after year, decade after decade, since at least World War II (while federal taxes outside of Medicare and Social Security have actually gone down.) I'm sure there are many explanations for this. But doesn't it seem like we're forever paying more, but getting less?

     And then there's the headline:  "Te'o is sorry but he insists he didn't lie." I'd like to know how many women out there know what, or who, Te'o is? (I confess, I did not.)

     Speaking of women, USA Today reports that now women will be able to serve in front-line combat positions along with men. This is billed as a major step forward in women's rights. I have no objection to that, I guess. I just thought that women had more sense than that. I 'm puzzled why anyone would want to stand up there and get shot at, and I'd think if anyone enjoyed an exemption, they'd be happy for it. In my day, I knew quite a few people who went to great lengths to avoid being sent to Vietnam to get shot at. Two of our presidents had enough sense to avoid being sent to Vietnam to get shot at.

     And finally -- and now, here's something important -- there is apparently a great controversy over the movie version of Les Miserables. A lot of people like it. Some people love it. But the critics hate it. It's one of those movies that audiences love, but critics hate. And the report sums up: "The only thing critics hate more than Les Mis? Being ignored."

     One critic gave it the ultimate in negative response. He said the movie put him to sleep. Well, it so happens that I have some expertise in this area. I saw Les Mis. I, too, fell asleep for a few minutes. But I fall asleep at almost every movie I go to. In my book, the movie wasn't that bad at all.


Olga said...

I also thought that the ruling allowing women into combat was not all that much of an advancement for society. I know it has something to do with opening up opportunitie for career advancement, but I would much prefer to be reading about an end to armed conflicts worldwide.

MerCyn said...

Maybe it is a relief to know that the most pressing news is whether or not Beyonce lip-sinched...I read the reviews, still saw the movie and loved Les Mis.

Barb said...

All critics can't hate Le Mis-its nominated for like eight oscars and won the golden globe for best picture in a category. It has an eighty percent rating at rotten tomatoes.

Being able to serve in combat positions is about career advancement-its difficult to advance without combat experience. More importantly lots of so called non combatant jobs these days involve getting shot at. Spoken as someone who served in the military and aknowledges that it can be a career choice.

Stephen Hayes said...

Women have been serving in combat for a long time. This change just means they;ll now be rewarded for their efforts instead of being denied promotions and pay because woman aren't technically supposed to be doing these things.

Linda Myers said...

No one should be turned down for a job because of their gender (or other things). Of our eight children, only one daughter served in the military. She did it for the education.

I support the decision, but I'm not sure how I'd feel if women are required to register for the draft. I'm not very consistent that way.

schmidleysscribblins, said...

Oh sure, like I'm going to see a movie that put you to sleep. As for Phil M. he should try VA. Many folks have migrated here from NY where taxes are out of sight...apparently. Dianne

Bob Lowry said...

Phil M. is a graduate of Arizona State University and lived in Scottsdale for years until the heat got to be too much for him. Who knows, he may come back.

With no state income tax Texas or Florida are probably good bets if he can't struggle by on $20 million a year, give or take.

I agree with the comment that if lip-synching is the top story the world must have calmed down abit. Relish it while we can.