India Wants to Tackle Climate Change with the Risk of Increased Nuclear Power?

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A few days after President Trump announced that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the Paris agreement on climate change, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a state visit to France where he emphasized India’s continued commitment to the 2015 accord by saying “we will work and walk together with others to leave a gift for future generations.”1

The article continues to describe India’s desire to make its “Made in India” campaign realized partially through its development of nuclear power.  The nation is behind in its ability to produce nuclear power as it is still recovering from the 32-year ban the world placed on India prohibiting it from buying nuclear fuel and technology for civilian purposes.  The ban was initiated as a result of its testing a nuclear weapon in 1974.

Putting all of the political reasons and climate change theories aside, there should be one monumental question overriding everything in this issue:  Why is a densely populated country like India willing to gamble with a potentially cataclysmic accident?  Or has the world forgotten Chernobyl?

The  Distressing  Data  from  Chernobyl

April 26, 1986 Chernobyl:  The nuclear power disaster killed 30 workers at the time of the explosion or those who died within months due to radiation exposure.  The World Health Organization projects 9,000 total deaths as a result of this calamity if it parallels the results of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in 1945.  Greenpeace suggests it could go as high as 90,000.  Three hundred fifty thousand people were impacted by the initial evacuation and resettlement.About 1,000 square miles continue to be restricted areas.3  High levels of radiation are expected to make the area uninhabitable anywhere from 180 to 320 years.  Birth defects in Belarus and Ukraine near Chernobyl have been significantly higher.Cleanup of the site is scheduled for 2065.5

If  This  Happened  in  India

The nuclear power plant in Hazira is running at about 20% capacity.1  It is not India’s biggest plant, but let’s supposed a ramped up Hazira has a Chernobyl misfortune.

The city of Hazira is only 65 square miles, so we need to look at its Surat district within the state of Gujarat to compare for population density.  This district is 4,418 square kilometers in size or roughly 1,700 square miles (or close enough to use for similarity).  Its population density is 1,376 per square kilometer6  or about 3,564 people per square mile.

If this plant were to contaminate a Chernobyl-sized area of 1,000 square miles, at least 3-1/2 million people (approx. the combined populations of Chicago and San Francisco)7 would be displaced in addition to the thousands of deaths and life-changing impacts on many more in surrounding areas.  Is nuclear power really the best option for India’s in its attempt to show its resolve in addressing climate change?

 

1 – “India’s Nuclear Industry Needs a Jolt,” edited by Cristina Lindblad, Bloomberg Businessweek, 6/12-18/2017.

2 – “Chernobyl: 30 Years Later, By The Numbers,” by the Associated Press, https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2016-04-25/a-look-at-the-1986-chernobyl-nuclear-disaster-in-numbers, 4/25/2016.

3 –  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_Exclusion_Zone

4 – “Area around Chernobyl remains uninhabitable 25 years later,” by Doug Saunders, The Globe and Mail,https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/area-around-chernobyl-remains-uninhabitable-25-years-later/article4266317/, published 3/15/2011, last updated 8/23/2012.

5https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_Nuclear_Power_Plant

6https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surat_district

7 – July 1, 2014 estimated populations. https://www.infoplease.com/us/us-cities/top-50-cities-us-population-and-rank

The Press Protects the Obama Administration With Subtle Tactics, Too

Blatant favoritism for the President is not the sole strategy of his friends in journalism.  The pro-Obama segment of the press (i.e. the majority) seems to know that when the mistruths are too obvious, they can establish instant battle lines which are less likely to hoodwink the unsuspecting.  Conversely, the subtle may accomplish more toward the news media’s goal of projecting a creatively positive image for an Administration whose actions are anything but admirable.

Key issues can be simply ignored or, better yet, printed where they are less likely to be seen.  In that way, it can be said that the story was reported – even though it was essentially invisible.

A recent case occurred in the Kentucky Enquirer (sister to the Cincinnati Enquirer).  The Benghazi hearings began on May 8th with the expected party line split regarding its anticipation.  Those in favor of the Administration were trying to minimize any expectation that serious wrong-doing would be exposed.  Meanwhile, their opponents were convinced that evidence of willful, or at least negligent, fatal decisions would finally come out.

The ramifications of this issue are important enough to warrant everyone’s attention.  The nation must know definitively whether or not those in positions of authority were doing the right things both on 9/11/2012 and the months leading up to it.  Accountability is the key to preventing future tragedies.

So what was the headline on the front page of the May 9th edition of the Kentucky Enquirer?  — none other than “Feeling Stressed Today?” with colorful red and white emphasis.1  The sub-heading mentioned that “Kentucky has all the ingredients that can lead up to a nice raging case of stress,” but that the area “makes for a really, really, really, good place to retire. [Page A6]”  That’s nice.

Where was the article on the Benghazi hearings?2 … On the bottom of Page A3 — and next to two small ads, one about used cars and the other on replacement windows.  Everyone knows that topics of great importance are to be placed next to cosmetic surgery and male enhancement ads.

 

1 – The Enquirer changed its format two months ago to include “more bold graphics.”  (in order to distract readers of its reduced emphasis on covering issues of substance?)
2 – “Ex-diplomat tells of Benghazi attack,” by Donna Cassata of the Associated Press, Kentucky Enquirer, 5/9/2013

A Common Currency (Euro) is Europe’s Real Problem, Not Germany’s Trade Surplus

Background

David Wessel’s 3/7/2013 article in The Wall Street Journal, “A Chinese Lesson for Germany,” compared China’s dealing with its trade surplus to the track Germany has taken.  It began with the surprising statistic that Germany’s trade surplus as a percentage of GDP is 6.4% compared to China’s 2.6% down from its peak of 10% in 2007.  The purpose of his writing was to say that China’s monetary policy was more beneficial to its economy, with a side benefit to the rest of the world, while Germany’s stubborn goal of significant trade surpluses was hurting Europe as a whole.

Does  a  Stagnant  World  Economy  Mean  Some  Virtues  Are  to  be  Discouraged? 

Mr. Wessel acknowledged that at any given time there will be both net importing and net exporting countries.  However, his main concern was that in this particular economy which “is starved for demand,” a non-growing global economy means “a strong economy (Germany’s) that runs a big trade surplus is taking away someone else’s lunch.”  He went on to say that this problem “is particularly acute in Europe” because “Southern Europe is struggling to increase exports and use the proceeds to pay debts.”  So, is this to suggest that Germany is the bad guy because its disciplined economy does not have to pay the pied piper as other countries must?

“Every decrease in the trade deficits of Portugal, Spain and Italy has to be matched by a decrease in someone else’s trade surplus.”  True, but why must it be Germany’s?  Is it the main exporting opportunity for these countries?

“China  Gets  It”

Oh, really?  After years of not allowing its currency to seek its true value in the world market, now they are to be praised?  “It has allowed its currency to rise against those of its trading partners, which makes its exports less attractive.  It has spent heavily on investing in everything from steel mills to airports.It is allowing labor shortages to push up wages, which gives consumers more spending power.2… China’s leadership preaches the virtues of enhancing people’s ability to consume.3   And the yuan hasn’t been replace with a common currency either.

Germany’s  Approach

The writer didn’t hide his slant with: “The rigid German business model dates back to the 1950s… Germans saved a lot, and spent less.  Producers relied more on selling to foreigners.”  He should have respectfully called it a “disciplined” business model, but he couldn’t with the Chinese “virtues” just mentioned.  And, in the U.S. we have the problem of not saving.  Do we have any experience with excessive saving?

How  the  Euro,  or  Any  Common  Currency,  Restricts  Natural  Market  Forces

As the writer recounts the normal activity of an unrestrained currency: “A period of strong exports and growing trade surpluses would push up the deutsche mark.  The rise in the currency would curb exports.  That would increase unemployment, and laid-off workers rarely moved to other industries.  That, in turn, would provoke a burst of productivity that restored international competitiveness; exports would rise again.”  Wouldn’t the decrease in exports also see the rise of imports, increasing some jobs at least?

Anyway, the writer “gets it here.”  He says, “The advent of the euro disrupted the usual equilibrating move in exchange rates.  If Germany still had the mark, the currency would be soaring, diminishing exports.  But the mark has given way to the euro, and the Continent’s woes restrain the currency from climbing.”  So, even though the problem is caused by the common currency, we see him blaming the German people for being industrious with: “So Germany enjoys an export boom.  Its advice to the rest of Europe: We made our manufacturers more competitive.  We cut our budget deficit.  You should, too.”  Is he mocking those who reap the benefits of honest hard work.  Just a moment, did President Obama write this?

Must  the  Euro  Be  Saved?

That seems to be Mr. Wessel’s point.  He went on: “That approach (Adam Posen’s statement that Germany sees export success as a goal rather than a means to an end4), though, threatens the viability of the euro.  It threatens the prospects that Southern Europe will be able to pay back the loans that Germany’s savers, banks and governments have made to them.  It hurts the global economy.”  But, it appears that by eliminating the euro and the deutsche mark would correct the situation.  

And  Keynes  to  the  Rescue!

“Keynesian textbooks prescribe more government spending and bigger budget deficits for Germany, but that’s not going to happen.”  Perhaps, because the Germans have seen what unbridles Keynesian economics has done for the U.S. and others?

He adds, “A surge in business investment would be welcome, but companies aren’t so inclined.”  Even if they are as selfish as this article implies, German businesses will be smart enough to reinvest to keep their implied greed satisfied.  Believe me.  They didn’t achieve this success, in the midst of irresponsible countries everywhere, by being stupid.

Concluding  Remarks

“Reducing a trade surplus to zero essentially means a society consumes as much as it produces.  The notion that consuming what you produce is punishment is uniquely German.”  He closed with, “Perhaps Germany could learn a little something from China.”  For what?  For being successful while maintaining a free society?

This article is uniquely socialist in its indignity.  The German people have no need to apologize.  And with that, no further questioning, I rest my case.

1 – and major pollution, but that’s another story (see “Beijing Pollution Hits Highs,” by Wayne Ma, The Wall Street Journal, 1/14/2013 and “Japan seeks cooperation with China on smog problem,” by Elaine Kurtenbach (Associated Press), Cincinnati Enquirer, 2/10/2013)
2 – until inflation sets in, of course
3 – “China, virtue and consume” in the same sentence?  Who would have thought?  Baby Boomers and their parents getting dizzy about now?
4 – Adam Posen of Washington’s Peterson Institute for International Economics

Whence Wall Street’s Recent Optimism? (Or Is That a Bubble on the Horizon?)

If one can have a detached position on the economy, then watching the Dow Jones can be an amusing sport.  As a rule, many on Wall Street have a compulsion to find reasons to be tentative or depressed.1  They seem to view each calendar year as an Olympic cyclist and his strategy.  The plan is to be very cautious, stay very close to the competition then put on a frantic burst of speed just prior to the finish line to pull out a win.  The main difference with the Stocks and Bonds “cyclists” (pun intended) is that their burst to victory for the year doesn’t have to happen in the fourth quarter.  It could be a day when a “triple-witching Friday”2 occurs three days before Company XX announces its earnings for the quarter AND if those earnings are at least 2.5% over projections AND if consumer confidence is above the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate by a factor of at least 4-1/2, AND if…  (I’m making some of this up, but you get the point.)

Indicators  Causing  Optimism

Since those who watch the Dow and its cousins tend to be negative when the real world seems rather positive, you can understand my concern over their budding exuberance when things are still not looking good for average citizens.  Last Friday, it was reported that the Dow Jones and S&P 500 were off to their best starts in 24 and 16 years respectively.  This “January barometer” coupled with the Yale Hirsch expression, “As the S&P goes in January, so goes the year” explains why many view 2013’s outlook with optimism.3

One of January’s market drivers was that “the so-called ‘fiscal cliff” of tax increases and automatic spending cuts was avoided and the debt ceiling debate has put on hold until May.So, we have a whole three months to kick up our heels and enjoy the good times?  Hmm.

Currency  Markets

So, what else is out there which we can use to gauge the financial (mis)fortunes of 2013?  Maybe there are sources of optimism that we’ve overlooked.  The yen continues to be at its 2-1/2 year low against the U.S. dollar  🙂  , but the Euro hit a 14-month high against the dollar  😦  .4    The price of gold remains at $1,650+ per ounce and considering it took until 2006 for the yearly average price to top $500, the dollar has quite a retracing to do if we are to look for strengthening.Oh, well.

Labor  Statistics

The official unemployment rate is steady at 7.9%. Yes!  But, of course, that statistic is aided by the fact that more workers are no longer looking for work, thus aren’t part of the number.  Therefore, the “true” unemployment rate is 11.8% by one estimate.6  Crud.  There are many underemployed workers as well.  37% of college graduates who are working are in jobs not requiring more than a high school diploma. More crud.  And that’s bad for those without college degrees, too.  Forget this category.

Food  Prices

OK, let’s look at other factors, maybe we’ll find a reason for rising optimism.   Ah, food.  The price of wheat is starting to drop toward more normal levels after spiking last July-November thanks to the last year’s severe drought.8

-Grain-

But the overall picture, while not as bad as it appeared in August of last year still is not pretty according to the following: “yields and production of many field crops, particularly corn and soybeans, remain far below levels that would have been expected under more normal growing conditions. What had started out as a promising year for U.S. crop production, with favorable planting conditions supporting over the high planted acreage and expectations of record or near-record production, is seeing some of the driest and most unfavorable growing conditions in decades.”Not only that but, “’Corn is important,’ said Bill Lapp, president of Advanced Economic Solutions, a commodity and economics consultancy in Omaha. ‘In a normal year, corn is more than half of all the corps we produce in the U.S. So when we have a bad corn crops it affects virtually all food products that the average American consumes… next year, the price of vegetable oil will most likely increase. So will the price of wheat, rice, oat and barley.'”10   Rice is a major grain and it’s facing uncertainty because of an unexpectedly big increase in imports by China for which there are conflicting explanations.11,12  Moving right along.

-Beef-

Global beef prices may hit record highs this year due to a “lethargic world economy” and because beef production has been flat for the last six years.  We won’t be immune to rising prices in the U.S. because last year’s drought caused ranchers to reduce their herds which may have helped the supply last year, but means less beef this year.  If a summer drought returns, then we’ll expect more of the same.  However, even if more normal rainfall occurs, we’ll still be looking at up to 9% less beef production. Drought conditions still impact cattle feeding regions and heifers may be held back to help replenish downsized herds.13… Next

-Fish-

The New England Fishery Management Council agreed last week to “decreasing the overall quota of Gulf of Maine cod by 77 percent, and by 61 percent for Georges Bank cod, for fishing years 2013 to 2015…The cuts will take effect May 1.”  The 2012 interim action which reduced catch limits by 22% expires April 30.  The National Marine Fisheries Service denied a request for another.14  This is not to say that the outlook is necessarily bad for fish everywhere.  However, this won’t help.

Energy

Our gasoline price situation might be looking better for a while.  Canada is having trouble with the Keystone project as noted by:  “a 730-mile line called the Northern Gateway that would carry crude from landlocked Alberta to the Pacific port of Kitimat—is mired in political and public opposition, focused in the province of British Columbia.” However, we also have the following:  “The U.S., the destination for over 98% of Canadian crude exports, has been boosting its own output, making America’s future appetite for Canadian oil less certain.”15   So, we should be producing more of our own oil after all, which may help prices.  Of course, before we become elated, let’s remember that Iran continues its misbehaving.  That, plus the on-going Arab Spring (or Summer, Fall…) throws the uncertainty card into the mix which keeps Wall Street awake at night.

Natural gas production continues its increase.  November 2012’s total was 49.8% above that of September 2005, which was the low point over the last 16 years.16  The consensus seems to be that the increase will continue, helping our economic situation some.

Banks  and  Taxes

Banks are supposedly going to be more helpful in the lending markets.  This is essential for a recovery.  They also took some criticism at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland recently.17  While the focus was on many international banks; the pain has a way of spreading to people worldwide.

Meanwhile, President Obama has nominated Jacob (Jack) Lew to be Secretary of the Treasury.  He had the unfortunate task of taking over Citigroup’s Alternative Investments unit (CAI) in January 2008.  While he didn’t create the mess, many are wondering if he did anything at all to help.  The terrible mortgage bets at CAI and others parts of Citigroup led to a $45 billion bail-out.  “The greatest irony is that given Mr. Lew’s crisis-era resume, he bears a remarkable resemblance to the bankers who President Obama says created the financial crisis and deserve federal investigating.”18 

The new estimate for ten years of Obamacare is now $1,165 billion.  Add to that are the expected $45 billion in payment penalties by uninsured citizens and $130 billion in penalties paid by employers.19  Not included in this is the effect of any significant alien amnesty program.

Conclusion

I’ll start with this rosy outlook: “With Europe sliding into a recession and China’s economy slowing to a 7-8% GDP rate, the U.S. economy may be the strongest engine during the mid-cycle transition due to expanding domestic natural gas resources, manufacturing strength, available workers, easier credit and improving consumer confidence.”20

“Available workers” is a category no one will question.  The issue is how soon will they reap the benefits of this news: “Strong earnings reports…helped push the Dow Jones Industrial average to its eighth gain in nine sessions…DuPont, Verizon and Travelers Cos., three of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow, closed higher after reporting their financial results for the final quarter of 2012… Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago, said traders have been encouraged… ‘Granted, we have diminished expectations, but companies are doing a decent job beating on the profit side…The U.S. has been pulling this wagon by itself for the last couple years, and now we’re facing some austerity measures.’”21  Tell us about austerity measures!

Improving consumer confidence?  Then where did this come from: “The (Consumer Confidence) Index now stands at 58.6 (1985=100), down from 66.7 in December. The Expectations Index declined to 59.5 from 68.1.22

All of us certainly hope Wall Street’s optimism will be vindicated somehow.  It’s just a little difficult when analyzing these factors.  And we also have the ominous reminder that as more money keeps being printed and if the economy does pick up some day, we have to be cognizant that inflation is waiting in this wings… Did that bubble just get bigger?

1 – Of course, not all qualify for medication.  Sensible companies look at the overall picture and don’t micromanage themselves into a frenzy.  Pioneer Investments issued a guide early in the last decade which examined the previous 73 years and gave one “good” reason per year which suggested investors should be wary and avoid the market.  Yet, its portfolio had outlasted all of the ups and downs occurring in those ensuing decades.
2– “Definition of ‘Triple Witching’
An event that occurs when the contracts for stock index futures, stock index options and stock options all expire on the same day. Triple witching days happen four times a year on the third Friday of March, June, September and December.
This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as “freaky Friday”.
Investopedia explains ‘Triple Witching’
The final trading hour for that Friday is the hour known as triple witching. The markets are quite volatile in this final hour, as traders quickly offset their option/futures orders before the closing bell. If you are a long-term investor, triple witching will have a minimal impact on you.  (www.investopedia.com)
3 – Adam Shell, USA Today, as reported in the Cincinnati Enquirer, 2/1/2013.  The article also gave comments from the CEO of U.S. Global Investors and a strategist at UBS.
4 – Daniel Bases and Wanfeng Zhou, Reuters, 2/1/2013
5http://www.nma.org
6 – Markos Kaminis, Seeking Alpha web site, 2/4/2013
7 – Annalyn Kurtz, www.economy.money.cnn.com, 1/28/2013
8www.futures.tradingcharts.com
9 – “U.S. Drought 2012: Farm and Food Impacts,” from www.ers.usda.gov
10 – Abby Elin, “New USDA Crop Report: Production Estimates Bad for Corn, www.abcnews.go.com, 8/10/2012
11 – This increase in spite of the claim by Concepcion Calpe, senior economist with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN in Rome, “The country does not appear to be facing rice shortages, as China’s production has been growing uninterruptedly since 2003, reaching levels above estimated consumption and resulting in bulging stocks.”  She said (lower) prices were the main reason for China’s increased imports. (www.ft.com, 11/27/2012)
12 – “Some analysts believe the buying spree is being driven by soaring demand from Chinese consumers.  They say that even though China has bolstered production for nine years in a row, it isn’t enough to feed its population… this could spark worries about whether there is enough of the staple to go around, keeping prices elevated.” (Carolyn Cui, Wall Street Journal, 1/8/2013)  Note:  According to the WSJ graph, China’s rice in storage is about 40% less than it was in 2002-03.  So, what is it? Lower prices [which will change], not enough for their people, or something up their sleeves?
13 – Annalyn Kurtz, quoting Rabobank which is a Dutch financial firm which focuses on agriculture , www.economy.money.cnn.com, 12/14/2012
14 – Jennifer Keefe, www.fosters.com (a service of the Foster Democrat), 2/3/2013
15 – Paul Vieira, “Canada Pipeline Hits Slippery Patch,” Wall Street Journal, 1/9/2013
16 – www.eia.gov
17 – “There have been plenty of negative headlines and investigations over the last year that show banking in a far harsher light… HSBC has been fined for allowing money-laundering and Standard Chartered has been penalized for dealing with Iran.  Even (CEO) Dimon’s own bank (JPMorgan Chase) has suffered an embarrassing $6 billion trading loss on complex derivatives.” (David McHugh, AP, Cincinnati Enquirer, 1/24/2013)
18Wall Street Journal, “Review and Outlook: Treasury Gets a Citibanker”, 1/28/2013
19 —  Alex Rogers, www.swampland.time.con, 2/5/2012
20 – TCW Funds 2012 Annual Report for TCW Relative Value Large Cap Fund, Management Discussions section.  In its discussion of TCW Value Opportunities Fund,  it said, “”According to economists at UBS, domestic energy production and price developments from sustained shale gas extraction could begin to boost U.S. annual real GDP growth by around 0.5% per annum over the next five years.  By way of comparison, economists have estimated that the information technology boom boosted U.S. annualized real growth by 1.6% per annum in the second half of the 1990’s.”
21 – Daniel Wagner, Associated Press, Cincinnati Enquirer, 1/23/2013
22www.conference-board.org, 1/29/2013

Milwaukee County Sheriff Speaks Common Sense

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Jr. released a 30-second commercial where he offered encouragement and solidarity to local citizens in the light of last year’s budget cuts which caused 48 deputies to be laid off.1

His key comments were, “I need you in the game.  With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option.”  He adds, “You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. … Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there.”

Of course, Sheriff Clarke has his detractors.  Roy Felber, president of the Milwaukee Deputy Sherriffs Association said, “That doesn’t sound too smart.  People have the right to defend themselves, but they don’t have the right to take the law into their own hands.”  The AP article indicated he said it sounded like a call to vigilantism.  [If he had listened, the Sheriff didn’t suggest anyone take the law into his own hands, just to buy some time until the professionals arrive.]

Incidentally, “vigilante” is defined as “a member of a volunteer committee organized to suppress and punish crime summarily (as when the processes of law are viewed as inadequate); broadly: a self-appointed doer of justice.”Is someone acting in self-defense, while waiting for the police to arrive, a “vigilante?”

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s office released a satirical comment: “Apparently Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie.”1  [Juvenile humor indicates the lack of a case against you, Sheriff Clarke!]

The AP article also said that Clarke believes self-defense isn’t for everyone, but he wants citizens to know what their options are.  He added, “I’m not telling you to `Hey, pick up a gun and blast away.’ … People need to know what they are doing if they chose that method — to defend themselves.”1

Jeni Bonavia, executive director of Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, brought up the George Zimmerman case and added, “I feel like this is such an irresponsible thing for our chief public safety officer of a county to do.  I think he owes this community an apology. And if he really believes that he’s not capable of providing for our public safety he should get a different job.”

Two responses to this:  1)  if I’m ever threatened by an armed assailant, the last thing I’ll be saying is “let’s be non-violent about this so I won’t be hurt”  2) if she thinks the Sheriff’s comment indicates a lack of confidence in his ability, then how does she feel about doctors who make suggestions on preventing disease and steps to treat symptoms if affected?

Enough of my thoughts.  We’ve heard of numerous accounts of individuals who protected themselves while waiting for authorities to arrive and secure the safety of the victims.  And it’s not just adults who are threatened.  There’s the story of the 12-year old girl in Bryan County, Oklahomaand the 14-year old boy in Phoenix who protected himself and his three younger siblings.Both had happy endings because they subscribed to Sheriff Clarke type of self-defense.

Perhaps Sheriff David Clarke, Jr. is making sense.

1 – Associated Press article, 1/27/2013, posted on www.foxnews.com  Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/01/26/wis-sheriff-urges-residents-to-get-gun-training/#ixzz2JJK2eIja
2www.merriam-webster.com
3 – “…a young 12-year old girl in Bryan County, Oklahoma was able to protect her life when an intruder kicked in her back door and entered her house. Frantically, she called her mother who advised her to grab their household gun, hide in the closet, and call 911. The intruder made his way through the house, and as he was opening the door of the closet, the young girl shot him through the closet door. The intruder left the house and the girl was found unharmed. The police arrived and took the man into custody.”  (Celia Bigelow, www.townhall.com, 10/20/2012)
4 – “A 14-year-old boy shot and almost killed an intruder who broke into his house and pulled a gun on him while he was babysitting his younger siblings on Friday.  The teenager and his three siblings, aged 8, 10 and 12, were alone at their Phoenix, Arizona, home when a woman the children didn’t recognise rang the doorbell at around 4.30pm.  Having been taught not to open the door to strangers, the kids, who have not been named, didn’t answer but after they heard a loud bang on the door, the boy rushed his siblings upstairs and grabbed a handgun from his parent’s bedroom.  As he got to the top of the stairs, he saw a man breaking in through the front door holding a rifle, which he proceeded to point at the boy. The teenager shot the 37-year-old intruder, then the four children ran to a neighbour’s home where they called police and their father.  The man, who didn’t get a shot off, was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center where he underwent surgery.  He remains in critical condition but is expected to survive and be booked into jail within the week, at which point his name will be released.  Police Officer James Holmes said the intruder would face aggravated assault and burglary charges.  The woman who rang the home’s doorbell got away, police said.” (from www.dailymail.co.uk, 6/23/2012) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2163785/Phoenix-boy-14-shoots-intruder-pulled-gun-babysitting-siblings.html

After Further Review, I Must Apologize to Senior Voters

In the article I posted the day after the November 6 election, I chastised several “voting blocs” for their short-sighted support of President Obama which resulted in his successful re-election.  I was on the mark with all of the groups – except the “over 65” voters.

On that downcast morning, Florida’s outcome was still uncertain.  I assumed that a continuation of seniors’ wavering pre-election support for Mitt Romney was the reason for the eventual victory by the President in the Sunshine State.  Incorrect, according to sacbee.com which reported the Associated Press’ findings!  Not only did exit poll data show Romney with a 56-44 advantage nationwide among seniors, but he took the “over 65” vote by a 58-41 margin in Florida (as well as by 55-45 in my home state of Ohio which also went, embarrassingly, to Obama as well).

The President won Florida because his 61-38 lead in the under-40 voters (even though representing just 30% of that state’s votes) was just enough to beat Romney’s 54-45 lead in the 40-and over groups.  You can do the math as I did with weighting the averages of the AP’s data.  The conclusion is that I erred on November 7.  Lesson learned.

Therefore, I ask forgiveness from the senior Florida voters.  At the same time, I will chide the voters in my age group (50-64) for not having the wisdom of the 65+ crowd which, in retrospect, could have done better, too.  And I’m not accepting the notion that the older voters have significantly more experience than those of us in the 50-64 age range.  With an ounce of common sense and well-formed consciences, the group of voters over 50 should have shown at least a 70-30 split in favor of Romney.  As for the “under 40s,” may desire for wisdom replace your admiration for moral relativism before it’s too late!