Is it time for legislators to adopt an Animal Bill of Rights in the United States?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Taken at face value, an animal bill of rights sounds like a good, humane, decent idea. Most of us like animals of one kind or another. Most American households have a pet. And if a bill of rights is good for people, shouldn’t it be good for animals too?

My primary reservation about implementing an animal bill of rights is whether all animals found in this country would be included. An animal is defined in simple terms as any living organism that is not a plant. Will this bill of rights include dust mites? Mosquitos? Protozoans? Jellyfish? Earthworms? Probably not, but where do we draw the line? Will society waste time and money with endless debates, lobbying, and lawsuits about which animals will be included in the bill of rights? Continue reading

Should the US work to stop or at least reduce urban sprawl in its major cities? Why or why not?

Cartwright- I’m not sure that is feasible. How are we going to stop urban sprawl? Tell people they can’t move to this city or that city? Tell the people in those cities that you can’t move to the suburbs? We can’t stop development and progress. That’s not productive or logical. Urban sprawl is going to happen, and there’s little we can or should do to stop it. Continue reading

Do large wind farms with huge turbines have a net positive or net negative impact on the environment?

Cartwright-I haven’t done any type of research into wind farms to be able to say whether there’s a net positive or net negative impact. As long as the economics work, I think wind farms have tremendous potential and merit. I have long thought that we should have windmills along the coasts and offshore where you seem to always have a breeze. In addition, I would love to see smaller windmills placed on the roofs of buildings on somewhere on the property to help generate power for the facility. Wind is a great renewable energy source and has been used throughout history. Continue reading

Would capitalism survive if the majority of manufacturers turned away from planned obsolescence and focused on making only the highest-quality, longest-lasting products possible?

Cartwright-There was a day when manufacturers here in the United States made high quality, long lasting products, and it wasn’t that long ago. About three years ago, I renovated a property that was originally built in the early 1970s. When I acquired this property, it still had the original appliances, all of which were in working order and were of good quality. It would be unthinkable that current stoves, ovens, or refrigerators would last over forty years. You’re lucky to get a quarter of that time out of them and that’s if you give it little use. Capitalism seemed to do just fine back in the days when manufacturers made products that would last for forty years in a time when I’m not sure that manufacturers were thinking of planned obsolescence. They were more expensive products, yes, but they were built to last. Continue reading

As concussions in pro sports rise (especially in football), attendance seems to be falling across the board. Will football lose its rank as America’s favorite spectator sport because of the increasing violence and subsequent injuries?

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Even though declining attendance at football games isn’t currently caused by fans not caring to watch an increasingly violent sport which causes too many severe injuries, fan interest may eventually decrease faster because of the injury issue. Because football athletes are bigger, stronger, and faster than ever, it’s a given that injuries will become more frequent and more severe. There is also a growing trend in sports toward more awareness about injuries, especially head injuries like concussions. In the forefront of that awareness is the discovery that many retired footballers from past generations are reporting severe brain issues such as Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Continue reading

According to experts, the US faces a massive infrastructure crisis that will require significant repairs and upgrades to our current infrastructure. How can this be achieved without crippling the economy with severe tax increases?

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-Remember the I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis a few years back? An interstate bridge, something most of us drive over every day, simply…went away. The dead and injured were numerous, and it took months for traffic flow to be restored. Similar disasters are coming, and will become almost a commonplace occurrence if we don’t do something NOW about our crumbling infrastructure. Our rail system is a complete joke, our roads are crumbling and our water, sewer and electric systems are pitifully vulnerable to not only natural disasters but terrorist attack. Continue reading

How should large coastal cities deal with gradually rising sea levels?

Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-Once again, the world has turned to science to solve, or at least provide answers to the elephant in the room. Sea levels are rising and people want to know to what extent did climate change affect the rising levels. Climate change seems to be at the heart of everything.

Especially for large cities situated along the coast, the catastrophe would definitely be immense if these levels continue to rise in the future. What can officials do to allay the anxiety of the people living along these areas? Continue reading

US employment continues to grow while unemployment continues to shrink, but wages have been stagnant for more than a decade. What’s the reason, and is there a solution to the middle-classes declining standard of living?

Sheffield. Jamaica Correspondent-That question has lingered on my mind for years. Sadly, that condition doesn’t only exist in America, but is a global crisis.

Regardless of how the employment figure looks – whether it increases or decreases – wages will remain the same. It all boils down to one word – greed.

Corporations and big businesses are so driven and filled with greed, that they are willing to keep wages stagnant irrespective of how affluent and profitable their business becomes. Continue reading

With political parties seemingly less productive and more gridlocked, and business executives focused primarily on amassing wealth, are there any real and effective leaders anymore? If so, who?

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-I have all but given up on finding leaders from among the ranks of politicos in Washington or in our state houses across the country. Self-dealing, blind party loyalty and rampant self-aggrandizement rule the day, and the few moderates left find themselves buried under partisan shouting and pushed to the periphery. There are a few in the House, like a New Jersey Republican congressman voting against the tax bill because it will hurt New Jerseyans who will no longer be able to deduct their state income taxes, but he’s by far in the minority. Continue reading