AS THE WORLD TURNS by News Weekly
, November 26, 2011
The European project is now sustained by coup
In Athens and in Rome, elected prime ministers have been toppled in favour of Eurocrats — respectively a former vice-president of the European Central Bank and a former European Commissioner. Both countries now have what are called “national governments”, though they have been put together for the sole purpose of implementing policies that would be rejected in a general election.
Italy and Greece are satrapies of Brussels, just as surely as Bosnia or Kosovo. In its Balkan protectorates, the EU overtly favours technocracy as the antidote to “populism” (i.e., democracy)....
What’s terrifying is that these “technocrats” caused the disaster in the first place. They decided that the survival of the euro mattered more than the prosperity of its constituent members; they presided over the rise in spending and debt; they deliberately overlooked the debt criteria when the euro was launched so as to admit Italy and Greece.
Extract from Daniel Hannan, “The European project is now sustained by coup”, The Telegraph (UK), November 14, 2011.
Generational wealth gap
A recent census report disclosed that the wealth gap between seniors and younger Americans is at an all-time high. Those over 65 have accumulated US$170,494 in total assets, while those between 25-34 had a net worth of $3,662 — a difference of 47-to-1.
One of the most important generational differences has to do with home ownership.
Those who bought in at the height of the market in the mid-2000s have seen the value of their homes decline by an average of 30 per cent. It’s not their fault, the liberal media tells us, that they’re underwater and behind on their mortgages. They are the victims of the worst housing market in 50 years.
Many homeowners now find themselves underwater … because they purchased a more expensive home than they could afford, and because they borrowed against its value as home prices increased.
They bought beyond their means, often after submitting fraudulent loan applications, and then they borrowed more as the value of the property peaked. They were the victims not of bad timing but of their own bad judgment.
Extract from Jeffrey Folks, “Generational wealth gap”, American Thinker, November 15, 2011.
What the Boomers as a generation missed (there were, of course and thankfully, many honourable individual exceptions) was the core set of values that every generation must discover to make a successful transition to real adulthood: maturity.
Boomer spouses dropped families because relationships with spouses or children or mortgage payments no longer “fulfilled” them; Boomer society tolerated the most selfish and immature behaviour in its public and cultural leaders out of the classically youthful and immature belief that intolerance and hypocrisy are greater sins than the dereliction of duty.
That the greatest and most effective political leader the Baby Boom produced was William Jefferson Clinton tells you all you need to know.
We are the generation that failed to protect its children from a tide of filth and debasing popular entertainment without parallel in the history of the world.
We are a generation that deliberately and cynically passed the cost of its retirement down to its children. We are a generation that preferred and rewarded financial engineering over business construction.
We embraced a free trade agenda that accelerated the hollowing out of manufacturing and took no thought about what to build in place of the industrial economy we condemned. We shopped until we dropped, and then we got up and shopped some more.
Extract from Walter Russell Mead, “Listen up, boomers: The backlash has begun”, The American Interest, November 13, 2011.
Obesity fuels custody fights
Family-law practitioners and legal experts [in the U.S.] say mothers and fathers in custody lawsuits are increasingly hurling accusations at each other about the nutrition and obesity of their children, largely in attempts to persuade judges that their kids are getting less-than-optimal care in the hands of ex- and soon-to-be-ex-spouses.
“It’s come up quite a bit in the last couple of years,” said Douglas Gardner, a family-law practitioner in Tempe, Ariz. “Typically, one parent is accusing the other of putting a child at risk of developing diabetes or heart disease — or saying that the child is miserable because he’s getting made fun of at school.”
“It used to be constantly and consistently about smoking,” said Jeff Wittenbrink, a family-law specialist in Baton Rouge, La. “It’s only been recently where one parent thinks their kid’s not active enough, is gaining weight and eating sugary food.”
Extract from Ashby Jones and Shirley S. Wang, “Obesity fuels custody fights”, Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2011.
Video games’ impact on teenagers’ brains
Teenagers who spend hours playing video games may have a similar brain structure to gambling addicts, research suggests.
In a study of 14-year-olds, those who played frequently had a larger “reward centre” in their brains than those who played less often.
The researchers do not know whether gaming causes the brain to change, or whether people are born with this brain structure which makes them want to spend hours playing.
But they say it is a crucial first step in understanding whether video games could be addictive.
This study, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, is the first to connect frequent video gaming with differences in both brain structure and activity.
Extract from Tamara Cohen, “Teenage video game players have brains ‘like gambling addicts’”, Daily Mail (UK), November 15, 2011.