Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Archive for January 12th, 2009

A parenting lesson for the 21st century

Posted by sanityinjection on January 12, 2009

Susannah Cahalan of the New York Post brings us a postmodern parenting fairy tale. It seems that California father Greg Hardesty was more than a little shocked when he got the monthly statement for his teenage daughter Reina’s cell phone and discovered that she had registered 14,528 text messages in one month. The statement was 440 pages long.

Fortunately for Hardesty’s cardiac health, he has an unlimited texting plan, so the massive amount of text traffic did not blow out his bank account. Nevertheless, like any father, he wanted to know what all this texting was about. So he asked his daughter in a way that was sure to get a response – He texted her.

It turns out that Reina has a core group of four friends and they all text each other constantly. The girls know they have unlimited plans so they are not being careless with their parents’ money.

So nobody got hurt – and yet, Hardesty and his wife have imposed soem restrictions on Reina’s cell phone usage as a result. Why? If no damage was done (financial or otherwsie), why inhibit the girl’s texting? It’s natural for young girls to want to chit-chat with each other at lengths that seem unbelievable to adults. Even Dad sends a fair amount of text messages on his own phone.

The answer is that Hardesty correctly recognized that his daughter’s behavior has reached obsessive levels. In order to reach the total listed above, Reina had to send on average one message every two minutes every hour that she was awake – even during classes and mealtimes. She texted about 14 times as much as the average for a teen her age. During her birthday party, Reina spent much of the time texting her best friend – who was sitting right next to her.

In other words, Reina’s texting was getting to the point where it was preventing her from fully experiencing the rest of her world. By setting reasonable limits on her usage of the phone, Reina’s parents aren’t punishing her. They’re parenting her.

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Posted in Current Events, Domestic News | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

2008 post-election analysis and the future of the GOP

Posted by sanityinjection on January 12, 2009

RealClearPolitics, in discussing the concept of “permanent majorities” and the cycle of party dominance in American politics, gives us this interesting look back at the 2008 election:

We see that McCain’s lead over Obama holds until Lehman Brothers and AIG collapse. McCain’s numbers drop again after he suspends his campaign, and Obama’s start to rise as the Dow later starts to fall. By the time the stock market bottoms out around 8,500, Obama had the 8-point lead that he would hold through Election Day.

Without the collapse, the campaign dynamic could have been quite different. For instance, how would the country have reacted had the Obama campaign been forced to go sharply negative, rather than employing the kind of “Rose Garden strategy” it was able to employ? If one accepts that the financial collapse hurt Republicans by even a couple of points, then Norm Coleman, Ted Stevens, and Gordon Smith would have stood a much better chance of holding their seats, and Republican House losses might have been quite reduced. In other words, were it not for the timing of an event that was out of the campaigns’ control, the election could have been different.

This is significant as it pertains to the current soul-searching going on in the Republican party. Viewed in this light, 2008 does not represent any kind of wholesale rejection of Republican policies or values. What it does indicate is that the electorate lost confidence in the GOP’s ability to manage the economy, which is significant. If the Republicans want to remold themselves in response to the elections, the key to doing that would seem to be to regain the high ground on economic issues by returning to a policy of fiscal discipline. Under the Bush Administration, Republicans in Congress passed spending increase after spending increase and Bush vetoed none of them. They called for tax cuts, but without corresponding cuts in spending voters may well have wondered where those tax breaks were going to come from.

It’s true that a significant portion of the spending increase was in the defense sector. But if that is to be justified (and I think it can be), then it has to be accompanied by reductions in other areas. Instead, Bush and the GOP horse-traded away fiscal responsibility to the Democrats in return for the latter party’s support of the war funding.

Republicans are beginning the process of arguing themselves into apoplexy over whether the party should become more or less socially conservative. This argument is pointless and needlessly divisive. To borrow a phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »