Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Billions and Billions

How big is one billion?  The best explanation I ever crossed paths with says that if you gave a newborn one dollar for every second it was old would the child be before it reached one billion dollars?  Seven...eight...nine...ten dollars...That child would be 32 years old before it became a billionaire.  This analogy is most useful when trying to comprehend amorphous numbers.  It is particularly useful when my students try to get their heads around government spending.  So it was with particular interest the other day when I read that our government spending on the war in Iraq has now exceeded $500 billion.  
Just imagine even a fraction of that money going to education or health care.  (I vote for both)
Why is it that we can't seem to elect leaders with the political will to spend billions of life affirming institutions; only war.  War is the breakdown of communication, diplomacy, humanity.  It thrives on mythology and fear.  Greed and psycho pathology always hover at the stage door.  They never play bit parts.
Let's engage in a little fantasy.  Imagine how different our lives and futures would be today if the money spent on the war in Iraq didn't go there.  Imagine how the quality of life in the U.S. would change.  Imagine a bright future.  


Alykat said...

Firstly, I really like this post here, and really want to go through your archives!

In response to your comment on my quick Eclipse rant- I really hope that I did not offend you in any way. I was feeling quite frustrated to begin with, but I have also really become irritated with some of the Eclipse awardings over past few years. One has to do with foreign horses that race once in this country, and are awarded the American Eclipse award over a deserving American champion. This is perhaps a bad example because I LOVE Ouija Board, but the fact that she won over Gorella last year pretty much sucked (for lack of the better word!) for Gorella's connections. Ouija Board's racing career around the world, while obviously distinguished, should not have been taken into account for an American award. Gorella raced and won in America all year, and would have been champion had Ouija Board skipped the Breeder’s Cup. Though Ouija Board was amazing, her one race here should not have robbed an American champion. (Gorella, yes, was French-bred, but my point is that she raced in America in 2006.)

Then, of course, we have the awards that seem to depend completely on the Breeder's Cup- the Juvenile races, the sprint division and, in some cases, the turf division. This really does frustrate me when a horse that has won multiple stakes races loses a championship to a horse that was maybe stakes placed, but wins his respective Breeder’s Cup race. I feel that the year end championship should depend on a horses’ performance over the course of the year, not just on one day. I realize that it is called "Breeder's Cup World Thoroughbred Championship Day," and is very important day. However, the Eclipse Awards are titled "Horse of the Year," etc. and I really think the "year" should count for more than a championship "day."

So, this is my rant. And only my opinion, just as a fan of about 19 years. Again, I wasn't trying to attack turf writers by any means- I was pretty much just being sarcastic, which is a bad habit of mine! (And truth be told, I would love to be a turf writer!) Basically, my friends who read my blog know NOTHING about horse racing, and as I was typing quickly during a commercial break, I didn't have time to explain the voting adequately, and chose to write the first voter category that came to mind, never thinking anyone who even knew about my biggest passion in life, horse racing, would ever read that post! Thanks for reading though!

Blues Greene said...
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