Gongol.com Archives: August 2011
Brian Gongol

August 2, 2011

Threats and Hazards Somalia's famine is a dreadful story
People are braving awful violence just to try to get food

News Hugo Chavez wants OPEC to let Venezuela pump more oil
It's hilarious to watch a socialist have to deal with the consequences of economics in the real world. Chavez has been running Venezuela's economy into the ground, but it's being buoyed by oil prices. But he also participates in OPEC, which seeks to raise world oil prices by constricting supply. But since he's trying to stay in power, he needs an economic boost that socialism can't provide, so he wants permission to pump more oil. Countries endowed with an abundance of natural resources run a very serious risk of mistaking their resource abundance for a signal that their economic policies are working. Natural resources, especially in the hand of an authoritarian government, can become a serious curse -- enriching the powerful elite who proceed to impoverish the rest of the country because they remain hungry for power and control.

Iowa Kids' lemonade stands were shut down during RAGBRAI
If the stories being told are true, then police were taking a sledgehammer approach to applying the permitting ordinance around the event

Agriculture Terrible story about a detasseling tragedy
Two young girls were electrocuted while detasseling corn -- highlighting the risk involved in that dangerous line of work. In an ideal world, all dangerous work would be done by machines (like detasseling equipment), rather than by people.

News Why everyone should know self-defense: Case study #4
A bunch of thugs beat up a pair of drinkers in a Quad Cities bar the other day, using what look like pipes and wrenches. Who knows whether there was a deeper story involved, but it certainly looks unprovoked in the raw surveillance footage. One never knows what's going to set off a thug in a public place, so it's best to know how to respond...ideally in a way that will cause the attacker some serious and lasting regret.

Humor and Good News A history of root beer

Water News $4 million in damage caused by flash flooding in Dubuque