Saturday November 01, 2014
Archive - 2014
In the Middle Ages, the call for a crusade to conquer the Holy Land was met with cries of "Deus vult!" - God wills it. But did the crusaders really know what God wanted? Given how the venture turned out, apparently not.
Even if Africa's Ebola emergency never mutates into a global catastrophe, those of us who live in the world's most fortunate country ought to consider what this fearsome virus can teach us. The lessons are quite obvious at this point -- and contain implications that are political in the most urgent sense.
As I write this column, two health care workers in Dallas have come down with Ebola after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, who traveled from West Africa and died from the disease. By the time you read it, there will most likely be more cases.
The story is told of three professors - a chemist, a physicist and an economist - who find themselves shipwrecked with a large supply of canned food but no way to open the cans. The chemist proposes a solvent made from native plant oils. The physicist suggests climbing a tree to just the right height, then dropping the cans on some rocks below.
OK, that’s it. No more Mr. Nice Guy. The avarice of corporate power is getting personal.
I’m talking about beer, the nourishing nectar of a civilized society. Since my teen years, I’ve done extensive consumer research on the brewer’s art, from the full array of ales to the most substantial of stouts.
If you are worried about contracting Ebola, I have two suggestions. First, stop. Second, get a flu shot.
On the first: If you live in the United States, your chances of getting Ebola are vanishingly small -- even if you are a health care worker, or a journalist who travels to Africa to report on the epidemic.
An early indication of the paucity of prospective Republican presidential candidates for 2016 is the recent boomlet for Mitt Romney, the loser in 2012. His reputation for defending big business while being tone-deaf to the needs of the middle class undid him two years ago.
An editor with multiple graduate degrees once called me up with a story idea hatched among fellow trend-sniffers in Manhattan.
"Indians," he said, with practiced urgency. "Something's going on with American Indians. Look into it and tell me what you think."