Unfazed by the gloom-mongers

By Krista Kafer (krista555@msn.com) A big home improvement project monopolized my time for weeks. As I tiled, painted, sawed and plumbed, emails and phone messages piled up. Newspapers and magazines went unread. Today I’m catching up and regretting it.

Thanks to the Denver Post I’ve learned that teens have been charged in the brutal slaying of one teen’s mother, conflict has erupted over the use of water, Democrats in the state’s General Assembly are pushing for gay adoption and voter rights for convicts on parole, and Iraqi terrorists have killed more civilians.

Not to be outdone, the Rocky Mountain News, features on-line pictures of tornado-wrought destruction, an article about another school shooting, and a tale about a counterfeiter who bought Girl Scout cookies with bogus bills (not a bad use in my estimation).

Captain America is dead according to CNN and a bunch of disgruntled Vermonters want to impeach the president says Time Magazine. Now that’s newsworthy.

In U.S. News and World Report I can read articles about the high cost of college, hard feelings in Chechnya, a new faux-documentary disproving Christianity, and an article lauding Hillary Clinton (usually it’s Barack Obama). Last week’s edition, as of yet unread, features “America’s Worst Presidents.” Maybe I’ll skip straight to the articles about nuclear war.

On Newsweek online I can be preached at by John Edwards chastising America who thinks Jesus would be disappointed with the US for not helping the world’s poor. When exploiting religion, don’t let the facts get in the way, John. Americans give away more money per person than any other country.

I’m four editions behind in the Economist. Which one should I start with, the edition with the stealth bomber “Next Stop Iran” or the one about global warming “The Greening of America”? The unread World Magazine is about modern slavery. That looks more promising.

It’s a good thing I started off today with National Geographic, my favorite magazine. I’m only two behind there. According to short article (sadly not available online) called “By the Numbers” Americans are substantially better off today than in 1915 and 1967, the two comparison years.

We live longer. The life expectancy in 1915 was 54.5 years. It was 70.5 in 1967. Today it is 77.8. We earn more. In 1915, Americans earned on average $687 ($13,284 adjusted for inflation) compared to today – $34,926. On top of that, we have more earning power. An American in 1915 paid an equivalent of $5.01 in today’s dollars for a gallon of gasoline and the equivalent of $7.22 for a gallon of milk.

Reading this was like discovering a tiny rose in a sea of thorns.

Are Americans so addicted to bad news that news outlets can’t afford to headline good news? It’s depressing. Moreover, bad news fuels duplicitous political dialogue as politicians capitalize on fears.

Al Gore preaches catastrophic global warming from his mansion, an energy black hole, to listeners apparently eager to hear it. Edwards evokes religion to pan American selfishness. Even though the economy is booming, politicians paint a dire picture to support more income redistribution, pork projects, tax and spend proposals, and regulatory command and control policies.

I’m done. The magazines are going back in the rack. I’m going to make a latte from my $3.25 gallon of milk.