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A couple of topics in today’s Wall Street Journal caught my eye. The first is that the DoD is forecasting disastrous consequences if the Pentagon undergoes a $52B sequestration budget cut. Yet in an AP article, according to Todd Harrison of the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, the Pentagon will still maintain a total annual budget, adjusted for inflation, of well over $500 billion a year for the rest of the decade.
On another subject in today’s WSJ was an article written by Erica Phillips and Ann Zimmerman that featured some of the following statistics. In 1991 the US Forest Service and Interior Department Agencies spent a combined $206m for fire suppression; $953m in 2001 and $1.7b in 2011. And yet funding for the Forest Service’s hazardous-fuels program will be cut to $201m from $301m and the Interior Department’s budget would drop to $96b from $145. This may be a cheap shot, OK, it is, but I wonder how that makes the families and friends of the 19 fallen fire fighters feel.
I’m reminded of the 1993 movie, DAVE, where Kevin Kline stars as an ersatz POTUS and gathers his cabinet around a conference table in order to balance the budget (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZARAldXlSyA). Sure, it’s a movie, but would it be too much to ask our acrimonious Congress to do something similar? And could the Pentagon get by with just a little less to help out the Forest Service and Department of the Interior?
FLM.TV on the Front Page of Austin American Statesman Movies section talking about Video Services
This is not a screed against childhood obesity in America. It is more of reminiscence. As a baby boomer who grew up in northern West Virginia in the 50’s, we had access to three television channels — two in Pittsburgh and one in Steubenville, Ohio (a plug for Dean Martin’s home town). School after hours were spent with my younger brother and my two cousins running through the woods, swinging from grape vines, engaging in may apple battles (look it up on Wikipedia) from our self improvised forts and trying not to get in trouble before dinner was served at 6 pm sharp.
After dinner, which usually consisted of one meat dish and three vegetables with mom and dad, we did our homework, and after that we watched Red Skelton, Tennessee Ernie Ford, George Gobel, Lucy and Life of Riley, et al. Lawrence Welk was a stretch, but Saturday night was reserved for Gunsmoke. Of course, early Saturday mornings included westerns Sky King, Cisco Kid, Lone Ranger and Annie Oakley. Howdy Doody was in there somewhere, too. As for the TV remote for my dad, well, that was me. “Son, get up there and change that to Channel 2.” In bed by 9:30 pm.
(That’s not us, but close.)
Both parents worked, but we had breakfast every morning that consisted of oatmeal or Cream of Wheat and eggs or cereal always with milk. Last week I went to the local McDonald’s and watched kids from the local area high school ordering a breakfast treat and a giant soda. Nothing against Mickey D’s, but what does this say about parenting.
I can only imagine what the bone density of these kids will be when they are about twenty years old if they continue to include a Coke or Dr. Pepper for breakfast. A recent autopsy of a 19-year old traffic victim revealed the early onset of osteoporosis.
Am I being too nostalgic, or should parents encourage activities that do not just involve multiple thumb inputs on a gaming console? I’m all for modern conveniences such as microwaves, ATMs, smartphones, tablets and the Internet, but I do have two recommendations. Make PE class mandatory, if only 3x week and reintroduce health classes that focus on food and nutrition.
Now, I feel much better.