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Off the Editor’s Desk – 1-15-2014

I have been going over some e-mails that I received lately and thought there were some that might be of interest to all of you. I do not make any claim of them being factual.

• I was told that to reach inner peace we should always finish things we start, and we all could use more calm in our lives after the hectic Christmas season.

I looked around my house to find things I’d started and hadn’t finished, so I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of Chardonnay, a bodle of Baileys, a butle of wum, tha mainder of Valiuminum scriptins, and a box of chocletz.

Yu haf no idr how fablus I feel rite now.

• Good news for 2014: A domestic energy revolution is underway in the USA. The gains powered by innovative hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) techniques are driving down energy prices nationwide and creating desperately needed jobs at a time when America’s work force participation has shrunk to a 35-year low.

• We are told not to judge all Muslims by the action of a few lunatics. But on the other hand, we are also encouraged to judge all gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics.

• Gun ownership in the United States increased by five percent in the last year. Now 37 percent of households own guns.

• The Food Stamp Program, administrated by the Department of Ag., is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of free Meals and Food Stamps ever, 47.5 million people. Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administrated by the Dept. of the Interior, asks us “Please Do Not Feed the Animals.” Their stated reason for the policy is because “The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.”

• A news release from Lee Hamilton states: the number 12 stands out for him. “It’s the percentage of Americans in a December Quinnipiac poll who said they trust the government in Washington to do what is right most or all the time. It’s a depressingly small number, especially compared to the 41 percent who say they ‘hardly ever’ trust the government. This meshes with recent polls that echo a bleak truth: Trust in government is at historically low levels.

That’s not all. Americans are feeling vulnerable and highly distrustful of both government and private sector prying. More worrisome, a few months ago an AP poll found that: fewer than a third of Americans trust one another. The poll message is clear: Our society is in the midst of a crisis in trust.”

• And finally: All incandescent light bulbs are banned: The light bulbs which have been in use in the United States for more than a century, are on their way out in the new year. The federal government has prohibited their manufacture and import starting January 1st.

The latest ban covers 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs. The 100-watt and 75-watt varieties had already been phased out. The bans were signed in to law by President George W. Bush in 2007 as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act.

Energy efficient experts say the new light bulbs benefit consumers, who will pay more on the front end for the new-generation bulbs but will save money over time because they will last longer, up to 23 years for LED bulbs and about nine years for CFLs. They use about 75 percent less energy, government estimates say, while LEDs use about 85 percent less than incandescent bulbs, but they cost ten times more.

Because of the ban, General Electric closed a factory with 200 employees in Winchester, VA, that was the last major manufacturing facility in the United States. Now the work is going to places such as China, where some of the new compact florescent bulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are made.

Thanks for reading.

— Carlton