We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It is a depressed place made up of terrified people, clinging to the solutions of another era. The idea that the electorate could even consider electing Jerry Brown in 2010 attests to that. At least you can understand the union workers — who are desperate to maintain their unsustainable pensions — supporting him, but the rest of the populace? You are dealing with a form of habituation so deep reality has no place in the equation.
California now is the state of the childishly threatened.
Second-hand (aka Environmental) tobacco smoke -
The evidence, or lack thereof, does not matter: since smokers number only about twenty percent of population, the majority can (and alas will) rule.
I can, however, remember two that I could agree with. Well, sort of.
One city in the Far East (Shanghai? Hong Kong?) banned smoking on its sidewalks - if you are walking. Stand in place, no problem. It was not the smoke that was banned, but the possibility that the live coal could accidentally damage another walker's clothes, or the ash get into eyes (especially of infants in strollers), that sort-of justified the [partial] ban.
The other was a study in California that sought to show, by use of asthmatic twins raised separately, how much environmental tobacco smoke aggravated the condition - which really sounded like a slam-dunk. After two years, the evidence showed no difference in support of the hypothesis. But I still regard it as positive - because the researchers, inadvertently to be sure, found a very strong indication that asthma is genetically linked. While suspected before, this was the strongest actual evidence until then.
I agree with everything he said about business (that's easy, who am I to disagree?), but I disagree with him on SS. If he feels he doesn't need his monthly check, he can do what Hugh Downs did (does?) and give it back to the giverment or donate it to a charity like the Salvation Army, but the evolution of SS from an "insurance" program to a welfare program has gone too far already. Means testing it would help solidify that and the mentality that some are entitled to what others earn - as long as the some have maneuvered their life to need it (obviously not all of the "some" are responsible for their lot, but I believe those that aren't are a slim minority).
So many things in this post to feel down about, but I'll pick one topic for focus.
I don't know for sure if homosexual attraction is innate, acquired or learned. I know that I did not look to develop a taste for girls and women, but I found I have one. Since I cann't fathom sexual attraction to a man, I think that's good evidence that sexual attraction is basically innate.
Now most people are also innately attracted to many people. It is our choice to act on that attraction, which leads to promiscuity or adultery, or to choose to be faithful. I think fidelity is a better choice for many reasons. A person chooses to act on homosexual attraction or not to.
Do I think homosexual people, innately drawn for sex to their own gender, should choose to be celibate? No. I think that, in itself, homosexual activity is harmless. Most of the pathologies linked to homosexual conduct seem to relate more to the often promiscuous nature of homosexual lifestyles than to the activity itself.
If God is genuinely angry about homosexual activity, then I'm wrong. Since I think God is okay with it, I can only wish for happy lives for our brethren and sisters who are gay.