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Old 06-07-2008, 12:30 PM   #21
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We are entering the Soap Box zone, which is ok with me:

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Originally Posted by lsbcal View Post
What's better now then in the 1970's:
1) I can fill up the tank of a much nicer, safer car then I could in the 70's.

Oh, how I loved my 1970 Ford Maverick! And I could do simple repairs myself.

2) I live in a house that is probably at least 4x better then my parents

Come to think of it, so do I, even though instead of a two bedroom house with basement, I now live in a studio apt.

3) My tax rates are a lot lower then people's were in the 70s

? I didn't work often enough to worry about taxes.


I can invest in inflation proof bonds that did not exist in the 70's

OK, I do that.

5) So far no major riots in the streets or campuses

In the spring of '70 I was tear-gassed out of my college office by noon every day; it was tough because I both believed in the cause and was paid by the hour. Here's my soap box comment: In mid-August 1970 my memory of "shock and awe" was the look of the crater where Sterling Hall had stood the day before. What we have done to Iraq is a million times worse, our media is inadequate and kids are too busy whining on the internet to take to the streets.


6) Can watch the news whiners on my big screen TV

Haven't popped for a big screen yet, and have never heard Cramer & Co..

7) Can buy wonderful food at the market that wasn't available in 70's

Yeah! and I've moved closer to the source.

Oh yes, and ...
8) I can whine (or not) on the internet about all this stuff

P.S. And I'm pissed off about gas prices and the Middle East too.

I'm not pissed about gas prices yet; many countries pay much much more.
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Old 06-07-2008, 12:38 PM   #22
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Let's bring back the Misery Index so we can all keep score!
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Old 06-07-2008, 01:09 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by BoutDone View Post
Let's bring back the Misery Index so we can all keep score!
I had forgotten about the Misery Index, and Jimmy Carter beating Gerald Ford up with it during the 1976 campaign. Of course that all came back to kick Jimmy in the teeth when the index reached its all-time peak during his thankfully brief tenure.

Current times are pure bliss compared to the 70's. Dinner was beans and cornbread most nights, using the same ham hocks from Sunday all the way through the next weekend. The only other meat we saw was the soy & meat product that A&P sold. Bleeccch!

Now I'm probably going to have nightmares of soy burgers, beans, gas-lines, dressing like an Eskimo in the house, and a 22% prime interest rate. And let's not forget the sweaters and disco!

Edit: The Misery Index never went away: The United States Misery Index

Most recent index rating is for April: 8.94%
Compared to low of 2.97 in July 1953 and a high of 21.98 June 1980.

For you kids born in the late 70's and early 80's, it's been sub-10% for most of your lives, and in recent years has been in the 8-9% range. Yep, 2008 ain't got nothing on the 70s when it almost never got below 16-17%.

Man, I feel like one of those old fogies talking about how it was back in the day. I guess I'll have to update my act: I'm just keeping it real, yo!
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Old 06-07-2008, 01:57 PM   #24
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Man, I feel like one of those old fogies talking about how it was back in the day.
I'll bet you weren't only miserable in the 70's, but you walked 5 miles to school, barefoot, in the snow, uphill both ways...
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Old 06-07-2008, 02:05 PM   #25
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I'll bet you weren't only miserable in the 70's, but you walked 5 miles to school, barefoot, in the snow, uphill both ways...
And one morning I encountered a bear on the walk to school, and killed it with a spiral notebook!

You laugh, but I did walk to and from school every day for the first couple of years until I got a motorcycle to drive. It was hilly (North Georgia), but equally so both ways and only about 3 miles.
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Old 06-07-2008, 02:46 PM   #26
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I'll bet you weren't only miserable in the 70's, but you walked 5 miles to school, barefoot, in the snow, uphill both ways...
I didn't but my dad did but not barefoot. He used to say that about his high school days and we (the kids) all laughed at him. One time when we were at his parents he took us by the school. The main school was uphill from the house and that was where he started the day. The band hall was down the hill and that was where his last period was. He had to walk uphill to the house. It was in Pennsylvania so I'm sure he had a few snow days there.
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Old 06-07-2008, 02:57 PM   #27
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This thread really got me thinking. The houses I lived in when I was a younger were tiny and REAL plain compared to where I live now. I remember crunching up under a school desk to be ready to survive a nuke (LMAO about that one). I was in HS during the rocking late 60s (woohoo). I seemed to lose my student deferment every time I turned around in 1971. It was tough going to school full time and working full time too and supporting a family. My lottery number ended up being the 7th picked at the same time money got real tight and I had to drop out of college. Talk about timing? So I enlisted to go to flight school and Viet Nam. Luckily for me I did not see combat until Just Cause and Desert Storm many tears later. I have gone hungry more than a few times in my life though seeing sick undernourished kids in some places made it seem like I had always been lucky. I have slept in tents and quanset and tropical huts way more nights than I can remember. I was actually thankful for the shelter as I spent some nights sleeping wrapped in a sleeping bag and shelter half in the snow. Moving forward.........Somehow over the last decade FI just seemed to happen though it probably was a result of my LBYM mentality. Looking back at all that my LIFE HAS BEEN VERY GOOD! Life today is surprisingly easy. The folks running the TV networks and cable have a stake in making us THINK times are bad. Quit worrying and get out there and LIVE.
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Old 06-07-2008, 03:08 PM   #28
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This thread is timely since I just got done reading the excerpt in Newseek from Fareed Zakaria's new book:

Excerpt: Zakaria’s ‘The Post-American World’ | Newsweek International | Newsweek.com

He put it into perspective for me, noting the worries that seem to be pervading the US right now:

Americans are glum at the moment. No, I mean really glum. In April, a new poll revealed that 81 percent of the American people believe that the country is on the "wrong track." In the 25 years that pollsters have asked this question, last month's response was by far the most negative. Other polls, asking similar questions, found levels of gloom that were even more alarming, often at 30- and 40-year highs. There are reasons to be pessimistica financial panic and looming recession, a seemingly endless war in Iraq, and the ongoing threat of terrorism. But the facts on the groundunemployment numbers, foreclosure rates, deaths from terror attacksare simply not dire enough to explain the present atmosphere of malaise.
American anxiety springs from something much deeper, a sense that large and disruptive forces are coursing through the world. In almost every industry, in every aspect of life, it feels like the patterns of the past are being scrambled. "Whirl is king, having driven out Zeus," wrote Aristophanes 2,400 years ago. Andfor the first time in living memorythe United States does not seem to be leading the charge. Americans see that a new world is coming into being, but fear it is one being shaped in distant lands and by foreign people.
-----------------------------------------------

He notes that some of this malaise is not warranted:

The post-American world is naturally an unsettling prospect for Americans, but it should not be. This will not be a world defined by the decline of America but rather the rise of everyone else. It is the result of a series of positive trends that have been progressing over the last 20 years, trends that have created an international climate of unprecedented peace and prosperity.
Why do we think we live in scary times? Part of the problem is that as violence has been ebbing, information has been exploding. The last 20 years have produced an information revolution that brings us news and, most crucially, images from around the world all the time. The immediacy of the images and the intensity of the 24-hour news cycle combine to produce constant hype. Every weather disturbance is the "storm of the decade." Every bomb that explodes is BREAKING NEWS. Because the information revolution is so new, wereporters, writers, readers, viewersare all just now figuring out how to put everything in context.
--------------------------------
More broadly, this is America's greatand potentially insurmountablestrength. It remains the most open, flexible society in the world, able to absorb other people, cultures, ideas, goods, and services. The country thrives on the hunger and energy of poor immigrants. Faced with the new technologies of foreign companies, or growing markets overseas, it adapts and adjusts. When you compare this dynamism with the closed and hierarchical nations that were once superpowers, you sense that the United States is different and may not fall into the trap of becoming rich, and fat, and lazy.
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Old 06-07-2008, 03:23 PM   #29
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Culture of fear - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Constructed fear

Among those tending to argue that a Culture of Fear is being deliberately manufactured might be counted linguist Noam Chomsky, sociologist Barry Glassner, politicians such as Tony Benn[1][2], political filmmakers such as Adam Curtis and Michael Moore or reporters such as Judith Miller. The motives offered for such a deliberate programme of scaremongering vary, but hinge on the potential for increased social control that a mistrustful and mutually fearing population might offer to those in power. In these accounts, fears are carefully and repeatedly created and fed by anyone who wishes to create fear, often through the manipulation of words, facts, news, sources or data, in order to induce certain personal behaviors, justify governmental actions or policies (at home or abroad), keep people consuming, elect demagogic politicians, or distract the public's attention from allegedly more urgent social issues like poverty, social security, unemployment, crime or pollution. Such commentators suggest that we consider a range of cultural processes as deliberate techniques for scaremongering. For example:
  • Careful selection and omission of news (some relevant facts are shown and some are not);
  • Distortion of statistics or numbers;
  • Transformation of single events into social epidemics (Salem witch trials);
  • Corruption and distortion of words or terminology according to specific goals;
  • Stigmatization of minorities, especially when associated with criminal acts, degrading behaviour or immigration policies (Yellow Peril, Hispanophobia, Islamophobia, Blood Libel and AIDS once wrongly viewed as a "gay disease");
  • Oversimplification of complex and multifaceted situations;
  • Causal inversion (turning a cause into an effect or vice-versa);
  • Outright fabrication of events or claims.
Amazon.com: The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things: Barry Glassner: Books

Amazon.com
Americans are afraid of many things that shouldn't frighten them, writes Barry Glassner in this book devoted to exploding conventional wisdom. Thanks to opportunistic politicians, single-minded advocacy groups, and unscrupulous TV "newsmagazines," people must unlearn their many misperceptions about the world around them. The youth homicide rate, for instance, has dropped by as much as 30 percent in recent years, says Glassner--and up to three times as many people are struck dead by lightening than die by violence in schools. "False and overdrawn fears only cause hardship," he writes. In fact, one study shows that daughters of women with breast cancer are actually less likely to conduct self-examinations--probably because the campaign to increase awareness of the ailment also inadvertently heightens fears. Although some sections are stronger than others, The Culture of Fear's examination of many nonproblems--such as "road rage," "Internet addiction," and airline safety--is very good. Glassner also has a sharp eye for what causes unnecessary goose bumps: "The use of poignant anecdotes in place of scientific evidence, the christening of isolated incidents as trends, depictions of entire categories of people as innately dangerous," and unknown scholars who masquerade as "experts." Although Glassner rejects the notion that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, he certainly shows we have much less to fear than we think. And isn't that sort of scary? --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Old 06-07-2008, 03:49 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jclarksnakes View Post
I have slept in tents and quanset and tropical huts way more nights than I can remember. I was actually thankful for the shelter as I spent some nights sleeping wrapped in a sleeping bag and shelter half in the snow.
That brought back a lot of memories. I liked the sleeping bags they issued - especially when it snowed. We could wake up and be covered with snow and ice and still be warm. Getting out of them on such mornings was no fun.
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Among those tending to argue that a Culture of Fear is being deliberately manufactured might be counted linguist Noam Chomsky, sociologist Barry Glassner, politicians such as Tony Benn[1][2], political filmmakers such as Adam Curtis and Michael Moore or reporters such as Judith Miller.
I'll reserve judgement on this wiki article until I can look at in depth. The media manipulates fear because it helps them sell advertising. I'm not familiar with Glassner or the Brits on the list, but the only reason I would believe anything the rest said about false information being deliberately manufactured would be on the basis of takes one to know one.
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Old 06-07-2008, 03:56 PM   #31
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That brought back a lot of memories. I liked the sleeping bags they issued - especially when it snowed. We could wake up and be covered with snow and ice and still be warm. Getting out was on such mornings was no fun.I'll reserve judgement on this wiki article until I can look at in depth. The media manipulates fear because it helps them sell advertising. I'm not familiar with Glassner or the Brits on the list, but the only reason I would believe anything the rest said about false information being deliberately manufactured would be on the basis of takes one to know one.

I think the government manipulates us with fear as well, because it makes it easier to control us.
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Old 06-07-2008, 04:20 PM   #32
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I think the government manipulates us with fear as well, because it makes it easier to control us.
So ... are you for more government influence in our lives or less?
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Old 06-07-2008, 04:33 PM   #33
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Depends on the area. There are areas in which the government most definitely has a role to play. There are other areas in which we need to do things ourselves and the government's involvement should be minimal. One cannot make a blanket statement.

I do expect those in power to be honest with the people. I think the current administration has outrageously hyped the threat of terrorism as a way to consolidate and extend its power, in ways that have been and will be extremely damaging to the nation (e.g. the War in Iraq, the Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act etc.). And I blame the Democrats in Congress as well as the White House. I expected Bush and Co. to be warmongering troglodytes. I expect better from Democrats. Congress has proven to be craven cowards when it comes to standing up to the White House. I am sorely disappointed.
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Old 06-07-2008, 05:37 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by tangomonster View Post
This thread is timely since I just got done reading the excerpt in Newseek from Fareed Zakaria's new book:

Excerpt: Zakaria’s ‘The Post-American World’ | Newsweek International | Newsweek.com

He put it into perspective for me, noting the worries that seem to be pervading the US right now:

Americans are glum at the moment. No, I mean really glum. In April, a new poll revealed that 81 percent of the American people believe that the country is on the "wrong track." In the 25 years that pollsters have asked this question, last month's response was by far the most negative. Other polls, asking similar questions, found levels of gloom that were even more alarming, often at 30- and 40-year highs. There are reasons to be pessimistica financial panic and looming recession, a seemingly endless war in Iraq, and the ongoing threat of terrorism. But the facts on the groundunemployment numbers, foreclosure rates, deaths from terror attacksare simply not dire enough to explain the present atmosphere of malaise.
American anxiety springs from something much deeper, a sense that large and disruptive forces are coursing through the world. In almost every industry, in every aspect of life, it feels like the patterns of the past are being scrambled. "Whirl is king, having driven out Zeus," wrote Aristophanes 2,400 years ago. Andfor the first time in living memorythe United States does not seem to be leading the charge. Americans see that a new world is coming into being, but fear it is one being shaped in distant lands and by foreign people.
-----------------------------------------------

He notes that some of this malaise is not warranted:

The post-American world is naturally an unsettling prospect for Americans, but it should not be. This will not be a world defined by the decline of America but rather the rise of everyone else. It is the result of a series of positive trends that have been progressing over the last 20 years, trends that have created an international climate of unprecedented peace and prosperity.
Why do we think we live in scary times? Part of the problem is that as violence has been ebbing, information has been exploding. The last 20 years have produced an information revolution that brings us news and, most crucially, images from around the world all the time. The immediacy of the images and the intensity of the 24-hour news cycle combine to produce constant hype. Every weather disturbance is the "storm of the decade." Every bomb that explodes is BREAKING NEWS. Because the information revolution is so new, wereporters, writers, readers, viewersare all just now figuring out how to put everything in context.
--------------------------------
More broadly, this is America's greatand potentially insurmountablestrength. It remains the most open, flexible society in the world, able to absorb other people, cultures, ideas, goods, and services. The country thrives on the hunger and energy of poor immigrants. Faced with the new technologies of foreign companies, or growing markets overseas, it adapts and adjusts. When you compare this dynamism with the closed and hierarchical nations that were once superpowers, you sense that the United States is different and may not fall into the trap of becoming rich, and fat, and lazy.
In summary, when my Dad got out(1946) and got a good factory job - within a year or so no more waking up Grandma for the flashlight escort walk to the outhouse out back.

Neighbor pulled the outhouse over with his tractor, us kids chased each other with the last poop on sticks, after a suitible number of beers, the adults took turns trying out the 'new' indoor plumbing.

Life has been uphill ever since - although my Parents always worried about a return of The Great Depression no matter how good things got.

'God Looks After Drunkards, Fools and The United States of America.'

heh heh heh - .
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:40 PM   #35
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Y'all do remember Y2K? Killer Bees? Peak Oil? Dot Com Bust? Bees or was it butterflies are dying? Steroids and baseball players? Global Cooling? It's Un-American if you ain't worried.

Don't worry, Be Happy


Oh, Did anybody tell you it's been a tad hot here in Texas? It's time for the news report about how we're above normal. Wait-a-second, that's been done.
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Old 06-07-2008, 09:05 PM   #36
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Part could be all the media telling people being in debt and living pay check to pay check is normal. I see messages on some message boards where people say thing like I live pay check to pay check just like everyone else or I have car payment just like everyone else or I have credit card debt just like everyone else, you can't afford to live if you don't charge things because prices are too high. Some have totally decided they will never be able to retire because they can't save money due to something that isn't their fault.
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Old 06-07-2008, 09:17 PM   #37
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There is clearly some pain out there but as many here have pointed out, we've lost our sense of perspective. 5.5% unemployment is NOT a depression. It may not even technically qualify as a recession. It wasn't too long ago that 6% unemployment was considered the "Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment" . . . also known as "full employment". Now days we have a monthly job loss of 49K (a statistically insignificant 0.03% of the labor force) and all hell breaks loose. It occurs to me that we have become a nation of sissies.

That may, in part, be due to the 24/7 news cycle that feeds on death, destruction and despair. But I fear it may also be due to the fact that so many more people are choosing to live closer to the edge then before. A persistent negative savings rate must have consequences. One of those consequences is undoubtedly that a large portion of the population has no financial cushion whatsoever.

I read a story the other day where a self-described "middle class" woman was "forced" to a charity food pantry to help feed her kids. The story was naturally sympathetic but never probed the oxymoron of a "middle class" person who is unable to feed their family. I'm guessing the reality is that the woman so ladened herself with fixed costs (a large home, a couple of nice cars, etc. etc.) that when a financial set back came, she was unable to cope.

The good news is that situation is fixable. Not pain free, of course, but definitely fixable. And, with any luck, some folks will learn the virtue of thrift along the way.
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