Where's Ron?


I had already submitted my previous column when I learned Ron Barnes's column would no longer be carried. My personal impression is that there were three reasons. One: this paper is predominantly conservative, and a large population of those with different views therefore don't subscribe. I suspect key people in the paper get their feedback primarily from their conservative circles and from current subscribers, so they continue to lean the paper that way, and it becomes a self-fulfilling cycle. Two: our culture worships youth at the expense of the considerable gifts the gray-hairs have to offer. Three: Ron was hitting on an idea many would many would just as soon not have brought up a living wage.


Of the syndicated replacement columnists one has so far had two cutesy columns on topics such as hangover cures, and two about traveling with Howard Dean, but with nothing more to say than what he ate on the plane.


Whether you agreed with Ron's views or not, not having his voice in this forum is a considerable loss and diminishes this paper.


* In my last column I pointed out that Bush wanted to invade Iraq even before 9/11. Now Paul O'Neill, a former member of the cabinet, in an interview with CBS News, confirms that that was indeed the case. Documents were also made available showing that in the beginning of 2001 Bush was already determined to invade Iraq and was just looking for a rationale that could be put forth for doing so.


* One of the things Schwarzenegger wants to do to fix the California budget is get concessions from unions. So apparently, in his mind, raising taxes hurts the economy because it takes money from people, but taking money from employees doesn't hurt because it's only taking money from certain people? Very telling about his idea of a healthy economy.


* Speaking of selective economies, new unemployment figures were down even though the economy generated pitifully few new jobs, and even though just keeping up with population growth requires a lot of new jobs. It would seem the official unemployment figure is a totally meaningless number that shouldn't be given credence anymore.


* You may have seen a report this week confirming my recent column on mass extinction of species. If you only gave it a cursory look, though, it may have been misleading. It started out discussing the possible extinction of merely (merely?) hundreds of species. The report went on to clarify that this only applied to the area of the study, and that if this is projected to a global scale it could involve the loss of a million species, a quarter of all of them, by 2050. The study from the University of Leeds is described as "the largest collaboration of scientists ever to apply themselves to this problem...". They made three estimates one for best case, one for worst case, and a middle-ground, most-likely scenario. The results are for their "most likely" scenario.