Archive for July 19th, 2011

Generalizing the travel advice of Rick Steves

| July 19, 2011 | Reply
Generalizing the travel advice of Rick Steves

My daughter and I just returned from a trip to Europe, where travel guru Rick Steves served as our primary guide. We relied heavily on his travel books regarding Berlin, Paris and London. These travel guides are detailed, well-organized and well-written. I highly recommend them to anyone intending to travel to Europe.

What I especially like about Rick Steves, though, is his constant urging to live close to the ground while traveling, to work hard to interact with real people and to avoid expensive travel arrangements that prevent you from interacting with others on their terms. This approach does not come naturally to many Americans. Steves thus works hard to prepare Americans for visiting places that are not America. He doesn’t mince his words. Consider, for example, this passage from his London 2011 book, at page 17:

We travel all the way to Europe to enjoy differences-to become temporary locals. You’ll experience frustrations. Certain truths that we find “God-given” or “self-evident,” such as cold beer, ice in drinks, bottomless cups of coffee, hot showers, and bigger being better, are suddenly not so true. One of the benefits of travel is the eye-opening realization that there are logical, civil, and even better alternatives. Europeans generally like Americans. But if there is a negative aspect to the image the British have of Americans, it’s that we are big, loud, aggressive, impolite, rich, superficially friendly, and a bit naive.

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Catholic clergy still doesn’t get it.

| July 19, 2011 | 3 Replies
Catholic clergy still doesn’t get it.

What? It’s not proper to expose children to priests with a well-documented track record of abusing children? Money quote from MSNBC:

“We would have assumed,” said the grand jury in a report, “by the year 2011, after all the revelations both here and around the world, that the church would not risk its youth by leaving them in the presence of priests subject to substantial evidence of abuse. That is not the case.”

The authorities should throw Justin Rigali into prison for reckless endangerment.

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Republicans saving us from high-efficiency light bulbs

| July 19, 2011 | 6 Replies
Republicans saving us from high-efficiency light bulbs

Think Progress reports on the latest episode of dysfunctionality of the modern Republican Party:

By a voice vote on Friday, the House passed a “light bulb ban” amendment to the 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations Act (HR 2354). The amendment, offered by climate denier Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), prohibits spending to enforce the incandescent lighting efficiency standards in the 2007 energy law signed by President George W. Bush. These standards have already spurred the lighting industry to create innovative new incandescent bulbs that are dramatically more efficient than the century-old design the Tea Party is bent on defending. This amendment will hurt jobs, hurt manufacturing, and hurt the environment — helping instead coal-powered electricity producers who depend on wasteful use of energy. The standards were originally proposed by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who turned his back on better light bulbs in order to curry Tea Party favor and get the chairmanship of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. This is but the latest example of House Republican leaders promoting a right-wing, dirty energy agenda that harms families and businesses rather than investing in innovation, new products, and jobs — even if they came up with the idea in the first place.

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