Game Over?

We have real problems in this country but I fear we don’t have a culture equipped to solve them.

Exhibit A – The state of New York is in a legal battle over whether the citizens of New York City have a right to drink large sodas.

Exhibit B – The state legislature of Maryland is seeking to introduce a bill to prevent suspension of students for silly reasons.  Like when a student was recently suspended for nibbling on a Pop Tart until it took the shape of a gun.

“A Maryland lawmaker, who is among those who think that Park Elementary School may have doled out too harsh a punishment, has now introduced a bill to stop students who chew Pop-Tarts, or other not-ordinarily-dangerous materials, into the shape of a gun — or who merely hold their fingers into the shape of a gun — from being suspended again.”

Exhibit C – We spent the last two months wringing our hands and gnashing our teeth over the Sequester Cuts that are only 2% of the projected 2013 spending for our Federal Government.

Exhibit D – Ashley Judd (D) is being mentioned as a serious candidate for US senate in Kentucky.

Exhibit E – A Michigan teacher confiscated a 3rd grader’s cupcakes because they had army men on them.

Exhibit F – No matter how many countless AGW cult predictions fail regarding Earth’s climate, the State Run Media sill give these liars a microphone.

There used to be a time when the culture of the US focused on real problems and the can-do attitude of the American people could solve any problem.  It might have taken us a while and it was surely painful but we could always be counted on to remain focused and work the problem instead of being distracted by straw men arguments.

That is not the case now and I fear it will be our downfall.  The majority of the US citizens lack common sense and this is very dangerous.  Our enemies won’t need to attack us directly; they only need to wait for our inattentiveness to the real problems to consume us.  Our demise will not be from a foreign attack but from implosion.

Unless we change the culture quickly, this will be our end game.

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7 Responses to Game Over?

  1. Way to go, Cosmo! We were both thinking along similar lines, to be sure…

    But it’s true: we’ve got problems with people not only NOT being taught how to think critically, they aren’t being taught how to think at ALL.
    Rather, they’re being programmed: Guns=scary; God=bad; Gov’t=fair; etc.,…

    I’ve long compared our current situation to ‘1984’, but the similarities are almost becoming too obvious.
    And as I’m sure you recall, that book doesn’t end well.

  2. blaine says:

    I was a media executive in TV and Radio for over 25 years and saw the birth and growth of satellites, multiple cable channels, network radio, and the internet. I have also witnessed the decline of newspapers and weekly news magazines.

    We live in a big country. There have always been crazies and crazy stories. The big problem today is that there is so much media, they all compete to cover the craziest story in the most sensational and slanted way possible to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

    Yellow journalism is nothing new. Read any biography of Thomas Jefferson and his dealings with the press.

    You have to be careful about “confirmation bias:” Looking for stories that confirm your own point of view.

    I have a lot to say about Bloomberg’s ban on large sugared drinks but it is too long for this post. Basically, it’s a good thing because the evidence now coming in is that the over consumption of sugar is just as bad, (maybe worse) for the nations health and attendant costs then smoking ever was. It will bankrupt this country if someone doesn’t bring this matter to the nation’s attention in a big way.

    Remember the outcry over bans on smoking? In retrospect, Bloomberg was right on smoking and he is right on sugar now. I

  3. abcinsc says:

    It’s like a magic show – “Watch my hand… watch my hand… look over here… nothing! Presto… change-o… fundamentally transformed! Should have watched the hand behind my back.”

  4. Biltrix says:

    “I fear we don’t have a culture equipped to solve them.” That, my friend, IS the problem. It’s a sin to drink a large drink in NYC, but we can give abortifacient drugs to 12 year old girls at school w/o their parents’ permission. And there’s no outrage about this. It’s not even on most people’s minds, because “They say” that the use of these drugs has reduced teenage pregnancy and abortion in the city — really? Where’s the proof? Most people just believe that because it says so in the New York Times. Meanwhile, Gov. Cuomo is on a mission to make NY the most abortion friendly, gay friendly state in the nation, as he ramps up his run for the presidency. I don’t think that New Yorkers are really in favor of all this. I think they are just too complacent. You are right. Our culture is no longer equipped to deal with the real problem anymore.

  5. blaine says:

    Cosmo,

    I had a little time and wanted to expand on why I think Bloomberg’s ban on large sugar drinks is a good thing and your opposition to it as a matter of infringing on personal freedom is wrong.

    This is a subject I am passionate about. I may have some information here that you have never considered.

    First, even though Coca-Cola never really contained cocaine in anything but trace amounts, do you think it is a good thing that the government has the power to ban cocaine from being in Coke? For that matter, the Bayer Company once sold heroin as a cure for morphine addiction. Should the government have the power to regulate heroin?

    What if the health effects of consuming too much sugar can be scientifically demonstrated to be as bad as cocaine and heroin? Let me make that case.

    We all know that there is an obesity and diabetic epidemic in the US. Three out of four adults are either overweight or obese. Over consumption of sugar along with inactivity are the principle reasons. (Less than 3% of Americans meet the minimum recommendation of 150 minutes of exercise a week)

    According to a report from the 2001-04 NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) database showed that Americans consume 84.4 pounds of sugar a year, (22.2 teaspoons of sugar a day). A 20 oz cup of coke which Bloomberg was trying to ban contains the equivalent of 17.5 teaspoons of sugar and that’s before free refills. A 16 oz cup, which is the largest that would be sold under Bloomberg’s proposal, contains 15 teaspoons of sugar.)

    The principle source for over consumption of sugar is soda but sugar is everywhere!

    A recent study conducted by Barry Popkin at the University of North Carolina found that 68% of all processed foods sold in America have sugar added to them. We are drowning in a sugar Tsunami. Sugar is killing us in large numbers but even worse, it is going to cost trillions of dollars to treat us for our sugar addiction before we die.

    Most Americans have no idea of the true scope of the problem and its real costs. The ADA estimates that 40% of all Americans over 20 years old are either diabetic or pre-diabetic and the incidence increases to 75% for people over 65. This means there are over 100 million people in America today that already have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

    A 2010 study by the UnitedHealth Group estimates that more than 50% of Americans could have diabetes or pre-diabetes by 2020.

    Almost 80% of heart disease, diabetes and strokes are completely preventable by cutting out sugar and exercising. This is completely analogous to avoiding lung cancer by not smoking.

    The reason sugar is added to so many products is simple. Sugar makes food taste good, it stimulates the same brain receptors that narcotics do and it’s cheap. The commodity price of sugar was 19 cents a pound in December 2012. High Fructose Corn Syrup, (HFCS), is even cheaper. This means that the 84 pounds of sugar the average American consumes every year costs manufacturers less than $16 dollars. Sugar is the cheapest addiction with the biggest bang for the buck ever invented!

    It is not an accident that the wealthiest investor in America has invested in sugar in a big way. The single biggest investment of Waren Buffet’s Bershire Hathaway Company is Coca-Cola. Buffet’s third largest investment is Johnson and Johnson, the makers of Splenda. (Buffet literally hedged his bets). It’s also not surprising that Dairy Queen, with 6,000 stores, and See’s Candies are both wholly owned subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway.

    Like the tobacco industry before it, the food and sugar industries have an economic self interest in continuing to minimize the dangers of consuming sugar. Big Pharma is no better as they profit from the drugs they sell to treat the diseases sugar makes worse. Even the American Diabetes Association takes $400,000 a year in “National Strategic Partnership” money from the ASR group, the world’s largest producer of cane sugar, to promote their “C&H Sugar” and “Domino Sugar” light brands of sugar blended with stevia. The American Diabetes website states, “The American Diabetes Association salutes our National Strategic Partners and the important ways in which these companies have joined us in the fight to stop diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.”

    “We perceive it to be in our interest to see as low a per-capita sweetener consumption estimate as possible,” Jack Roney, director of economics and policy analysis at the American Sugar Alliance, March 30, 2011.

    Top 10 sources for added sugar:
    1 Soda/energy/sports drinks
    2 Grain-based desserts
    3 Fruit drinks
    4 Dairy desserts
    5 Candy
    6 Ready-to-eat cereals
    7 Sugars/honey
    8 Tea
    9 Yeast breads
    10 Syrups/toppings
    Source: CDC National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-06

    • cosmoscon says:

      I always appreciate your comments Blaine because you lay out your point clearly and with facts. You should really start a blog and if you ever do, let me know so I can follow it.

      Sugar is bad and believe me, Diabetes is something I’m passionate about too. I plan to write a blog post about it in the coming weeks but I’m not prepared yet. Know that someone can go their whole life and not eat sweets or partake in many of the top ten lists above and still get type 2 diabetes.

      I’d rather educate the public about it and let them make their own choices about it. Smoking is a little different because 2nd hand smoke hurts people who don’t smoke. If I stand next to someone who drinks a 20 oz Coke then that person’s poor choice won’t affect me.

      I am a big proponent of educating people to live a healthier lifestyle and with Obamacare coming, the best thing you can do is take care of your health. When the Government takes over Healthcare don’t expect them to care about you!

      I guess I have more of a Libertarian philosophy regarding this. I’m even ok with legalizing pot, cocaine, heroine, etc. and tax the heck out of it. But this would only work if we have a robust education about the dangers and we have a culture where people use common sense. I fear we’ve lost the culture where people think critically and use common sense.

      I’ll have more to say on this, especially regarding Diabetes, in a forthcoming post.

      Thanks always Blaine for your comment that get me thinking.

      • blaine says:

        Cosmo,

        One of the things I appreciate about your blog is the open mind you bring to it.

        I too am inclined towards libertarianism, especially on social issues. The only problem is it is never going to happen.

        You have children. If motorists were chronically driving down the street you live on at twice the speed limit; on the street where your children play, what would you do?

        Are speed bumps.a viable option or a violation of libertarian principles?

        I can remember buying cigarettes when I was a young teen from vending machines. My children couldn’t do that because Cigarette vending machines were banned but my children could and did buy 32 oz Cokes with free refills when I was not around.

        I can remember when you could only buy Coke and 7UP in 12oz cans and bottles or smaller. I remember getting excited because Bubble Up came in 16 oz bottles for the same price.

        I couldn’t believe it when High Fructose Corn Syrup came on the market and Coke made it so you could go back for as many refills as you wanted. What a deal!

        I’ve been in fast food places and seen teenagers on their own go back for multiple refills of 20z and larger cups of Coca-Cola and Mountain dew.

        It used to be called adult onset diabetes. Not anymore because teenagers now get adult onset diabetes by the thousands along with the lifetime of medical bills that you and I will pay for as long as we pay taxes.

        I’m for educating people but I think we also need some speed bumps.

        Do we impose a sugar tax like they are doing in Europe and you contemplate if drugs were legalized? Good luck getting that one passed with all the lobbyists for Coke and all the major food manufactures that add sugar to 68% of the processed foods they sell. A tax on sugar will never get past the Sugar pushers and Norville Norquist.

        It’s just not true when you stand next to someone drinking a 20oz Coke that that person’s poor choice won’t affect you.

        We have a budget crisis that you understand better than most. Medicare, Medicaid and CHIPs are completely out of control. It’s 21% of the federal budget now and if something isn’t done, it will be 30% sooner than anyone is predicting.

        Obama is adding 30 million people to Medicaid who don’t have insurance. Most of them drink full sugar 20oz Cokes with free refills. They are not paying for their healthcare, why should they care. Heathcare for them is free!

        75% of Medicare dollars go to caring for the sickest 10%. And guess what? A huge percentage of the sickest 10% wouldn’t be the sickest 10% if they didn’t consume 200 pounds of sugar every year and took better care of themselves. But a lot of this isn’t their fault. I make a concerted effort and it’s almost impossible to completely get away from sugar if you eat in restaurants and buy manufactured food products.

        It’s time for speed bumps. Bloomberg was right to push this topic to center stage.

        I’m looking forward to reading what you have to say about diabetes.

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