The Press-Dispatch

October 9, 2019

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A-10 Wednesday, October 9, 2019 The Press-Dispatch OPINION Submit Letters to the Editor: Letters must be signed and received by noon on Mondays. Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg SOMETHING NEWSWORTHY? Let us know at 812-354-8500! Points to Ponder by Rev. Ford Bond Beyond tough love My Point of View by Dr. H. K. Fenol, Jr., M.D. A story as big as Alaska, the final chapter Minority View by Walter E. Williams Who cares about you? Continued on page 11 Continued on page 11 Continued on page 11 During my student days at a UCL A economics department fac- ulty/graduate student coffee hour in the 1960s, I was chatting with Professor Armen Alchian, prob- ably the greatest microeconomic theory economist of the 20th cen- tury. I was trying to impress Al- chian with my knowledge of sta- tistical type I and type II errors. I explained that unlike my wife, who assumed that everyone was her friend until they prove dif- ferently, my assumption was ev- eryone was an enemy until they proved otherwise. The result: My wife's vision maximized the num- ber of her friends but maximized her chances of betrayal. My vision minimized my chances of betrayal at a cost of minimizing the number of my friends. Alchian, donning a mischievous smile asked, "Williams, have you considered a third alternative, namely, that people don't give a damn about you one way or an- other? " Initially, I felt a bit insult- ed, and our conversation didn't go much further, but that was typical of Alchian — saying something profound, perhaps controversial, without much comment and let- ting you think it out. Years later, I gave Alchian's third alternative considerable thought and concluded that he was right. The most reliable assumption, in terms of the conduct of one's life, is to assume that people don't care about you one way or another. It's an error to generalize that peo- ple are friends or en- emies, or that people are out to either help you or hurt you. To put it more crudely, as Al- chian did, people don't give a damn about you one way or another. Let's apply this ar- gument to issues of race. Listening to some people, one might think that white people are engaged in an ongoing secret conspiracy to undermine the achievement and well-being of black people. Their evidence is low black academ- ic achievement and high rates of black poverty, unemployment and incarceration. For some, racism is the root cause of most black prob- lems including the unprecedented- ly high black illegitimacy rate and family breakdown. Are white people obsessed with and engaged in a conspiracy against black people? Here's an ex- periment. Walk up to the average white person and ask, "How ma- ny minutes today have you been thinking about black people? " If the person isn't a Klansman or a gushing do-gooder liberal, his an- swer would probably be zero min- utes. If you asked him whether he's a part of a conspiracy to under- mine the achievement and well-being of black people, he'd probably look at you as if you were crazy. By the same token, if a per- son asked me: "Wil- liams, how many min- utes today have you been thinking about white people? " My an- swer would probably be, "Not even a nanosecond." Because people don't care about you one way or an- other doesn't mean they wish you good will, ill will or no will. They just don't give a damn. What are the implications of the people-don't-care vision of how the world works? A major implica- tion is that one's destiny, for the most part, is in one's hands. How you make it in this world depends more on what you do as opposed to whether people like or dislike you. Black politicians, civil rights lead- ers and white liberals have ped- dled victimhood to black people, teaching them that racism is per- vasive and no amount of individu- al effort can overcome racist bar- riers. Peddling victimhood is not new. Booker T. Washington said: "There is a class of colored peo- Christopher Columbus: A liar? Short-term spending bill will create a headache for the military Lucid Moments By Bart Stinson This will be the last story tell- ing of my recent Alaska Cruise. I'm ending the journey because I'm getting a little sea sick. So here's my list of favorites. I liked the room we stayed in, it was spacious and well designed consid- ering space is premium in a cruise ship. I was surprised there was not as much movement as I was expecting. I expected traveling on sea would be wavy and noisy. Except for a few hours of feeling the mild and real brief rocking of the ship, it was quite smooth and quiet. At night though you would hear some squeaking noises and the shifting of the clothes hangers inside the cabinets as the boat gen- tly rocked occasionally. Next, the restaurants and snack bars. Food was super abundant and I felt some guilt about the fact that half of the world is hungry. Here we are, I did not even know where to start my gourmet selections because there were so many sections to go to, based on your flavor preference and how hungry your eyes are. Anywhere some- where in the ship, there was food available and drinks like coffee, tea, water, beverages and spirits were always accessible. Next- there was always some- thing to do. There were games, great live shows, swimming pools and saunas, bingo, music, karaoke, shopping areas, decks to sit or lie down and watch the ocean and watch peo- ple. And snooze. For the adventurous, there were activities for the bold and brave. Rip- cord by IFly, North- Star elevator etc, etc were quite an experi- ence according to our companions. I was always debat- ing if I should try them or just \ go to the food outlets. They were very tough decisions. Bionic bar was a favorite, robotics would pre- pare your requested spirit bever- age and according to those who President Donald Trump and Congress did what they had to do to get out of town for Congress' two-week recess recently, agree- ing on a continuing resolution that is a symbol of Congress' inability to finish work on its primary re- sponsibility: to "pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States." In the real world, when you fall behind on a task at work, you work longer and harder to catch up. In Washington, decisions are punted into the future, but vacation begins promptly on schedule. Operating under a continuing resolution means the defense bud- get will stay at 2019 levels at least until Nov. 21, by which time pre- sumably Congress can pass full- year appropriations bills. Furthermore, because the res- olution was not agreed upon until the last day of the fiscal year, the Department of Defense as well as the other departments had to is- sue instructions on how to oper- ate in case of a shutdown, which means a substantial waste of time and resources went to preparing plans and making provisions for a shutdown of unknown duration. In the meantime, the Depart- ment of Defense will have to live with substantial limitations on what it can do and how it can re- shape its programs to meet the needs outlined by the still-new Na- tional Defense Strategy. Continuing resolutions have be- come the rule in recent years, and they continue to impose substan- tial costs on the military in terms of lost time for training, budget ex- ecution, and wasteful duplicative work. Losses in time for training and maintenance cannot be recouped with money, and the uncertainty of not having full-year appropria- tions in place mean training must be scaled back into the following year. A continuing resolution also crunches the timeline for new equipment programs, since it does not allow systems that were not in last year's budget to begin. A proj- ect scheduled to start in October can't begin if funding into the new year is uncertain. These projects literally start behind schedule. The Pentagon has identified three projects—all high priorities in its efforts to modernize the mili- tary—that will be damaged by this irresponsible approach to spend- ing legislation. Hypersonic weapons, which De- fense Department leaders will be key for prevailing in great power competition, will be hurt by the in- ability to make the long lead-time purchases necessary to keep the program on track. Helicopter training will be set back because the 32 training he- licopters needed to replace the TH-57 Sea Ranger Fleet, which has been training naval officers since the 1970s, will have delayed delivery. B-52 bombers, many of which date from 1960 or earlier and op- erate with some of their original components, will have to wait to have GPS interfaces installed. These giant planes are still heavily used and expected to be operational until the 2050s. The GPS interfaces are critical to their readiness and capabilities. Lack of a full-year appropriations bill means assembly will delayed and the program will have to wait to be upgraded. "Every day that we have a CR means it's a day that … everything is impaired," Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said of the damage do- ne by continuing resolutions. "Not only if this drags on for weeks, months, but it could [end] up being a year-long continuing resolution. That is devastating to our military readiness." Let's hope Congress gets this message when it returns on Oct. Who are Progressives more ea- ger to discredit: the guy who want- ed to make America great again, or the guy who just wanted to make it to America? Christopher Columbus wasn't actually looking for America, of course. He was looking for Japan, China or India. He was inspired in part by reading Marco Polo's ac- count of Asian travels and riches, written while the famous travel- er was jailed in Columbus's native Genoa. Columbus did some shady stuff. There's no disputing that. But Pro- gressive college professors and ethnic hostiles just can't help gild- ing the lily. For example, Columbus is rou- tinely accused of an elaborate on- going deception of his crewmen about the daily pace, the distanc- es covered, on the first voyage of discovery. Professional seamen in that time, contrary to legend, were not afraid of falling off the edge of the Earth. A fter a 12-day shakedown cruise to the Canary Islands be- fore the Atlantic crossing, there were zero desertions from the crew during 25 days ashore. That doesn't suggest terrified supersti- tious men. They noticed they could see shores sooner from the top of the mast than from the deck below. They noticed that approaching ships were visible first at the top, then lower. Of course the world was round. What they feared was traveling so far that they might never catch favorable winds to get back home. And indeed, if Columbus had de- parted across the Atlantic from the A zores instead of the Canary Is- lands, that would have been a real possibility. Bartolome de Las Ca- sas, a priest and Columbus fami- ly acquaintance, was almost cer- tainly aware of the men's concern. He was a methodical archivist. In fact, his 194-page abstract is all that survives of the diary that Co- lumbus kept during the 1492 voy- age. He noticed from his careful reading that Columbus kept two sets of daily numbers about the estimated distance covered. Columbus only told his crew the second number, the smaller num- ber. Las Casas concluded that he lied to his men to avoid alarming them with the true distances, to deprive them of any occasion for mutiny. Las Casas was an honest man and a conscientious historian. But he was no mariner. His theory has been undermined in modern times by one of his work's two main Eng- lish translators, James E. Kelley. The larger number, Kelley wrote in 1983, was based on units of palms or "spans," the distance between an outstretched thumb and pinky finger. Columbus divid- ed his caravan's estimated distanc- es in 5,000 -palm miles by four to get Roman miles (he was Italian, after all). This intermediate number, he multiplied by 5/6 to produce Por- tuguese maritime leagues. The number was smaller, but it de- scribed the same distance as the larger number. Is a 72-inch fresh- man taller than a six-foot sopho- more? All seagoing Iberian (Spanish or Portuguese) men in 1492 under- stood what a Portuguese maritime league was. So Columbus was re- formatting his reports for clarity and transparency, not lying to gull- ible and excitable subordinates. I say bravo, 527 years later. Hap- py Columbus Day. Without argument, recreation- al drug use has exploded and ma- ny states are decriminalizing mar- ijuana. The Marion County pros- ecutor [Indianapolis] announced recently his office will no longer pursue minor marijuana viola- tions, claiming it is a waste of time and resources. However, there is a downside to this. What is lost in the discussion of drug use is the typical user [and public at large] do not realize that substance abuse can "rewire your brain." Drug use and deaths are at ep- idemic proportions. For example, in Franklin County, Ohio, 10 peo- ple died from drug overdoses in just 26 hours over the last week- end of September. The brain is a delicate organ and a young person ingesting her- oin, cocaine, meth, and/or alcohol just one time can mess up his/her brain forever. Many recovering ad- dicts can attest that their addiction began with the first "hit" or drink. A letter is making the rounds on the internet and Facebook from "Stephanie," a young woman who writes to her family and friends about four years before she died from substance abuse. It is pre- sumed the letter is genuine; if not, it is for someone. The grammar is not smooth, but take it as written by some- one in pain. "To My family and Friends: I'm sorry that I'm such a Mess, I deserve all the evil words spoken to me, and all the time I've been disappointed. I don't know what to even say. I hope that I'll change and once again be okay. I do all the things I say I won't do, my dreams & goals ( YEAH). I threw them away too. I always claim that I'm a Mother, when in reality I act like a child, and con- stantly chase "ONE MORE" an- other. Every time I look into Savan- nah's eyes, my heartbreaks more because of all the lies, I hate the person that I have become, run- ning from life and wanting to be numb. I ask myself over and over what will it take, I can't keep liv- ing this way, not only for me but for my daughter's sake. "Mommy was a drug addict and that why she is Dead" my daughter will say, along with broken memories of me in her head. She'll go & visit my grave and constantly question just why I couldn't behave. Didn't I love her, wasn't that enough making her feelings and trying to be tough. The holi- day will come year af- ter year & pass after I die all because I was selfish & wanted to get high. My parents will raise her and try to do it right, they'll try their hardest & put up a good fight. All sorts of emotions my mother will feel, and at time ask herself can this be real? Everyday she'll feel anger and sorrow, trying to reassure my daughter there's always tomorrow. My father would probably be filled with regret, and do things with Sa- vannah he didn't do with me, un- til all his goals are met. My sis- ter would be disappointed & cry, she'd pray to God for the answers to Why? My brother-in-law would be the backbone, and hold his fam- ily when they sob & they moan. I'm so ashamed to even claim I'm a Mother, all I'm really wor- ried about is can I get "ANOTH- Continued on page 11 Heritage Viewpoint By Frederico Bartels

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