61st Annual Macon County Fair :: September 17-20 @ Wayne Proffitt Agricultural Center - 441 South, Franklin, NC

- published 8/21 (Larry) old link: http://www1.cfnc.org/applications/NC_Community_College/apply.html?application_id=1527

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Opinion

The “Tragedy of the Commons” is an environmental term coined by ecologist Garett Hardin back in 1968. The basic premise and dilemma is that when a resource is shared, or held in common, it can lead to depletion, since those utilizing it have a greater incentive to profit from its use rather than to conserve the resource.

A similar dilemma seems to be in place when it comes to government spending. With the national debt north of $15 trillion and climbing, there doesn't appear to be any serious effort to change the mindset that the wealth of the country is a “commons” that can be strip mined at will. Tapping into government money is like a communal ATM machine if you have the right pin number.

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Initially, I lacked interest even reading about the current Chickfil- A controversy, let alone writing about it. However, as the headlines kept popping up and I heard more people discuss it, it became apparent that this story has (chicken) legs to it. Also, it's a good test of the adage that “all publicity is good publicity.”

Recent published remarks by Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy supporting “traditional” marriage has triggered a media feeding frenzy, pitting gay rights activists against conservative and religious activists. The situation is perplexing. There is nothing particularity newsworthy about Cathy's stated views. As a devout Southern Baptist, why would remarks opposing gay marriage be a surprise? It would be headline material if he took the opposite position.

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Under the blazing Arizona sun stands an encampment of military tents filled with some 2,000 people. They battle the heat by positioning themselves in front of a few large fans, but they are of little use when temperatures reach 145 degrees. Stun fences surround the perimeter, with four Sky Watch Towers bearing down on the occupants. Facial recognition software and K-9 units keep track of the people moving about.

For the residents of Tent City Jail, their time behind bars is an exercise in humiliation: They are forced to dress in pink underwear, they “work seven days a week, are fed only twice a day, get no coffee, no cigarettes, no salt, pepper or ketchup and no organized recreation.” They work on chain gangs, and have to pay ten bucks when they want to see a nurse. This draconian treatment is not reserved for hardened criminals. In fact, most inmates in Tent City are imprisoned for less than a year for minor crimes, or are simply awaiting trial.

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“In a world gushing blood day and night, you never stop mopping up pain.” ? Aberjhani, The River of Winged Dreams

“Violence is as American as cherry pie.” ? H.R. Schiffman

The fact that 24-year-old neuroscience student James Holmes had the wherewithal to turn himself into a lethal killing machine is tragic but far from surprising. Frankly, I’m almost surprised it doesn’t happen more often, given that we’re not only raising young people on a diet of violence but indoctrinating them into a worldview that sees violence as a means to an end, whether it’s a SWAT team crashing through a door or the Avengers taking on invading alien armies. By the time a child reaches 18, it is estimated that he or she will have witnessed 200,000 acts of violence, including 40,000 murders on television.

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