Tobacco is back in the news again, with the $375 million pledge by billionaires Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg to help curb smoking. In my lifetime — I am now 96 — the story of tobacco has undergone a profound change. At one time, the smoke-filled room was an ever-present mark of social and political gatherings. Nicotine was imbibed in many ways in addition to smoking. It was chewed in the form of gum. It was inhaled and called “snuff.”
Right now, in scholarly circles, there is a search for the true author of what has come to be known as the “Serenity Prayer.” The prayer reads, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
From a multitude of sources comes the disturbing news that far too many of our soldiers are committing suicide upon return to the United States from Iraq, or while still in country. We ought to ask why.
In order to kick-start the sluggish economy, the federal government has decided to spend billions of dollars on tax rebates — that is, giving out cash to the public. The expectation was that with their newly found dollars, families would start buying things at the stores, putting money into circulation and stirring companies to hire more and produce more. This was supposed to give the economy a badly needed boost. But it is not happening. Why?