BETWEEN THE LINES: Ups and downs with the news

Scanning the recent  headlines, I have come to the conclusion that deriving the truth from them presents a serious challenge. Take global warming, for instance.

A recent report by climatologists says there has been no discernible increase in the world’s temperatures over the past 16 years. Most of the increase occurred from 1980 to 1997 to a small degree, leading to a host of restrictions on fossil fuels and generating a serious interest in green energy along with government subsidies.

Interest groups were enthusiastic in their support of converting corn into ethanol. Perhaps we have been a tad premature in our opposition to fossil fuels. One must keep in mind the majority of the world’s countries that wish to decrease carbon dioxide emissions have ulterior motives, such as reducing our wealth.

Global warming is real, and some of it, no doubt, is caused by carbon dioxide emitted by fossil fuels. But, have we overreacted without all the data?

Changing subjects, a recent ABC/Washington Post survey reported 66 percent of black Americans prefer the word "black" to describe their ethnicity to the term African-American. A decade before, a similar poll showed black Americans favored the term African-American by 48 percent. Personally, I am opposed to hyphenated Americans. It seems to me we are all just American citizens.

The first presidential debate was followed by a plethora of commentary. Even some of President Barack Obama’s most loyal supporters were disappointed in his performance.

In the vice-presidential debate, Joe Biden was determined to take the offensive, but his childish behavior did not impress viewers or commentators.

Even though the vice president is a heartbeat away from the presidency, few voters take that into account when they cast their ballots on Election Day.

Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, made a major speech in London on Oct. 14 defending the central bank’s purchase of $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities per month.  This additional action by the Fed following the quantitative easing of QE1 and QE2 continues the theme of “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.”

The Fed chairman, of course, is going to defend himself from critics. Since most voters have no clue what quantitative easing is, or how it impacts the economy, Bernanke is assured a get-out-of-jail-free card, at least for the time being.

And, lastly, from the gridiron: Fans of the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, Texas Longhorns and Baylor Bears clearly had a miserable time last weekend. It is one thing to lose a game, quite another to do it in an embarrassing fashion.  Such a pathetic effort causes fans to question everything from the player’s efforts to coaching decisions. Being overly optimistic is often a fatal flaw for sports fans. As they say, “The proof is always in the pudding,” which translates into a winning record at the end of the season.

Laughlin is a Christian Libertarian. He is an economist, teacher, father, husband and most recently a grandfather. He has written a weekly column for The Tribune for 15 years. He and his wife Gina reside in Meadowlakes. To contact him, email ablaughlin@nctv.com. He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company.

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