Why Wait?

Ticking Clock

Hillary Clinton said during the debate last week that “if this president does not get us out of Iraq, when I am president, I will.” Other Democrats have said something similar.

Why wait? If it’s urgent enough that it would be the first item on the agenda for a new president, shouldn’t they be doing everything — and I mean up to and including impeachment — to bring the war to an end? Or are they just mouthing the words?

Explosion, Fire, Melted Steel

I have no real hope of it, but I sincerely wish that the gasoline-fueled fire that melted the structural steel and led to the failure of the freeway interchange in San Francisco will similarly collapse the 9/11 conspiracy theorists who have been claiming that a fire in the World Trade Center could never have weakened the structure there.

David Reinhard: Weathervane In a Hurricane

Just two months ago, after Multnomah County prosecutors cut a deal with three Lincoln High School drug dealers, columnist David Reinhard bravely stood up for the prosecutors when people questioned the wisdom of letting them off scot-free and wondered if the lack of prosecution for their drug-dealing was related to economic status and political connections of the father of one of the students.

This month, Reinhard’s all puffed out because a different Lincoln High School drug dealer was allowed to attend the prom by school officials because they stuck to the letter of administration policy and the crime wasn’t school-related. “What kind of message did all this send? That drug dealing is not serious business?” says Reinhard, waving his arms in the air, in my imagination.

Funny, I was asking the same question when the prosecutors decided not to prosecute the other guys. Only I was thinking they should go to jail, not be barred from the prom. Harsh.

Pity the Rich

From the Oregonian, followed by a letter:

Suniya S. Luthar, a psychology and education professor at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, says her studies indicate drug and alcohol use is clearly higher among affluent kids, for reasons beyond having more money.

With wealth comes a different kind of pressure to achieve and fit in.

Luthar has spent a decade studying teenagers at both wealthy suburban middle and high schools and poorer, inner-city schools. She’s found that boys in the wealthier environments tie popularity directly to heavy drinking and drug use.

Wealthier teens of both genders have significantly greater anxiety than their poorer counterparts, which turns them to drugs as self-medication. Girls from more affluent schools were three times more likely to report depression. Nearly half of seventh-graders in upscale neighborhoods were regularly left unsupervised after school.

It’s not an unmitigated blessing to be smart, to be well-educated, to be committed to doing your job well,” Luthar said. “We’re talking oftentimes about parents with extremely demanding, high-pressure careers who have to make difficult and painful decisions. And these kids do get busy with activities. Sometimes parents and families have to work hard to spend some calm time together.”

The assumptions of researcher Suniya Luthar, quoted in the story on Lincoln High School’s drug abuse problem are simply unbelievable.

“Wealthier teens” have more anxiety than poor teens? Sure, because poor teens are some sort of lesser species, right? They couldn’t possible have the same types of feelings as rich kids. And what do poor kids have to worry about? Sure, they might not live in the nicest house (or apartment) or in the safest neighborhood, they might get picked on for having second-hand clothes, and even if they got into a decent college there might not be any way their parents could pay for it, but what’s that to the “kind of pressure to achieve and fit in” that wealthy kids face?

Girls from “affluent schools” are more likely to “report depression”? Some people might think that would be because affluent schools had more counselors and better communication between faculty and students but the affluence probably doesn’t exhibit itself that way.

And there’s no possible way that a kid from a non-wealthy, non-affluent background could possibly be smart, well-educated, or committed to doing their job well. It seems inconceivable.

Apparently the wealthy have genetically diverged to become more refined in their emotions, even as children. I guess the rich really are different from the rest of us.

Prince Valiant Bucks

Really, in this day and age, when referring to a bunch of African males, is “young bucks” the first term you reach for?