Gongol.com > Food for Thought > November 2004
Gongol.com Archives: November 2004

Business and Finance (11.16.2004)
Discount Carrier RyanAir Likes Competition
Says it makes "them get up in the morning". Related: Rule requiring solvent airlines to honor tickets from their failed competitors renewed for a year. United, USAir, and Delta are all in serious trouble. United's in such bad shape that it's being allowed to burn bondholders.

Socialism Doesn't Work (11.16.2004)
Proposal Floated to Ban Smoking Almost Everywhere in England
Health Secretary: "In a free society, men and women ultimately have the right within the law to choose their own lifestyle, even when it may damage their own health. But people do not have the right to damage the health of others, or to impose an intolerable degree of inconvenience or nuisance on others."

What the Secretary misses is that a free society involves choices -- the choice to work in a smoking or non-smoking environment. The choice to eat in a smoking or non-smoking restaurant. The choice to associate with smokers or non-smokers in the bars. A pub chain spokesperson says, "The majority of people don't like to be around smoky areas. We think it will bring a lot more people back into pubs long-term." If they really believed that, they'd offer non-smoking pubs. Smoking bans don't seem to have much impact on revenues in either direction.

Smoking is a filthy, disgusting habit. But it shouldn't be an excuse to make people more comfortable with government intrusions in their lives. Smoking ban proposals are everywhere, not just in England.

Threats to Western Civilization (11.16.2004)
More Over-Zealous Nationalism Leading to Murder in Ivory Coast
Big exodus among the 15,000 French citizens living in the African nation. Don't expect the UN to fix anything -- they let Saddam Hussein steal billions from the oil-for-food program.

Threats to Western Civilization (11.16.2004)
Too Much "Respect" for Other Cultures?
German newsmagazine cover story says Germany's post-WWII reluctance to criticize religious practices may be leaving thousands of Muslim women there subject to domestic abuse

Aviation News (11.16.2004)
New Jet Speed Record Set
It hit just short of the intended Mach 10 mark

Socialism Doesn't Work (11.16.2004)
Did North Korea's Dictator Kick the Bucket?
Some news reports say his picture is being taken down from public places. Then again, Kim Jong Il is probably mentally ill, so it's difficult to know what's happening. There's some discussion of rebellion (from eDodo.org)

Aviation News (11.16.2004)
Parachute Fails; Officer Survives 3,000-Foot Fall
British platoon commander on third-ever jump crashes through corrugated metal roof in Kenya. He cracked a couple of vertebrae, but survived.

Business and Finance (11.16.2004)
The Need for "Brand Poland"
When people in the US pooh-pooh the idea of "Brand America", they're doing it at their own peril. Nations need brands just like products need brands. Part of it's tourism, but part of it is reductio ad absurdum: Create a simple, reflexive response to the thought of your country. Though the proposed baby bison might not be the most solid identity for the Poles to choose.

Weather and Disasters (11.16.2004)
Power Outage for More than 100,000 Homes in Nova Scotia
Damage from a November winter storm knocked out power for days. More reason to consider distributed generation of electricity.

We All Need a Little Humor (11.16.2004)
James Earl Jones on the 40th Anniversary of "Dr. Strangelove"
A couple of musings from being on the set, and thoughts on how the times influenced him

Election 2008 (11.16.2004)
Early Betting: Hillary Clinton to Get Democratic Presidential Nod in 2008
The other leaders are a bunch of also-rans: Sen. Kerry, VP Gore, Sen. Edwards. A relatively strong showing for Indiana's Sen. Bayh.

Threats to Western Civilization (11.16.2004)
British Leader: Al Qaeda's "On Our Doorstep"
"People don't want to have us with very good systems of picking their bodies up. They want us to have very good systems of protecting their lives." Head of the Home Office said it on the BBC's Politics Show. Australia also looks like a likely target.

We All Need a Little Humor (11.16.2004)
Life Insurance Nightmare: Roller-Coaster Inspector
Someone has to climb the track every morning to press a safety button certifying that the 250-foot-high track is safe
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