Gongol.com Archives: August 2013
Brian Gongol

August 26, 2013

The United States of America If the government can abridge the First Amendment, there is no functional First Amendment
The whole point of the amendment is to ensure that the sovereign public can keep their government in check. Once that power is thrown into question, the nation is in serious trouble. Not irreversible trouble, but serious trouble nonetheless.

Threats and Hazards Syria's government almost certainly used chemical weapons last week
Here's one way to look at the question of "What's next?": Is the situation such that, if given the choice, you would make a financial contribution to a mercenary armed force in order to intervene and attempt to halt the warfare there? ■ If yes, then what would distinguish that act from funneling money to the rebel groups in Syria (no matter what their motivations might be)? How would one morally distinguish that act from funneling money to what the rest of the world may see as a terrorist group? ■ If no, then is there a financial, moral, or other difference between that act and sending in armed forces under the UN banner or some other alliance? Are costs and choices like that somehow subject to a different kind of scrutiny when public funding is involved, rather than private spending?

Business and Finance Where to live frugally
Kiplinger's analysis (and the Omaha World-Herald's story on the report, which named Omaha #1) called it a list of "Best cities for cheapskates". The Register (of #3-ranked Des Moines) took the more tactful route: "Iowa and Midwest dominate Kiplinger list of affordable cities".

Business and Finance People who grew up poor tend to have adult impulses that (perversely) may keep them poor
A University of Minnesota study indicates that people who grew up poor, when exposed to stressful economic conditions as adults, tend to make shorter-term, higher-risk choices than people who grew up with more financial security. That impulsivity and risk-affinity, perversely, puts them at higher risk of ending up poor as adults, too.

Computers and the Internet Should Interstate highway message boards be used for adult kidnappings?
Present rules seem to generally limit their use to Amber Alerts for child-endangerment cases. But what about abductions of adults? It would seem that the failure to use them for cases in which a person is known to be at serious risk of bodily harm would be a missed opportunity to do good.

Health Introverted, or just narcissistic?

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