Pithy vacation items


I'm embedded for the next 10 days in a southern mountain town, with every intention of ignoring the news. That’s the purpose of a vacation. I can’t get with the kind of vacation that Al Pacino had in the film where he played a CBS workaholic who stood in the ocean screaming into his cellphone...OK, Pacino is always screaming, but you get my point. In these mountains I can barely get my cellphone to work, which is fine by me.

Still, I'll undoubtedly write from time to time. Mostly small items and allegedly pithy musings.

The usual verbosity will return next Friday, Sept. 4.

Speaking of small items...

A respected survey firm, Public Policy Polling, has unearthed a statistic that gives us yet another dimension on the ignorance that pervades our nation. The pollsters have been probing the "birther" phenomenon, the refusal of so many Americans to believe that Barack Obama was born on American soil. They solved part of the mystery the other day. Get ready for this one:

Ten percent of Americans don't know that Hawaii is a state.

You read that right. According to PPP, six percent believe that Hawaii is not part of the United States, and four percent are unsure.

Well, that probably explains some of the birthers; these would be the people who acknowledge that Obama was born in Hawaii, but apparently think that Hawaii is some exotic foreign land.

Seriously, 10 percent of Americans don't know that Hawaii has been in the fold for the past 50 years? There are 230 million adults in this country, which means that roughly 23 million of them wouldn't be able to pass a basic civics test. Ponder that one for awhile.