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Updated: 2/25/2003; 4:41:24 PM.


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Saturday, February 08, 2003

Coble Opposed Reparations for WWII Internment

According to a report by Jim Schlosser in today's News & Record, Howard Coble opposed reparations for Japanese-Americans interned by the US government during WWII. "Upon entering Congress in the mid-1980s, he said, he was assigned to lead the Republican opposition to a bill to compensate Japanese Americans who were interned. Coble told fellow House members then he thought compensation would set a bad precedent and open the way for other groups who were wronged in the past to ask for money." He lost that battle.

Coble is saying that he won't apologize unless someone can show him that he was wrong to state that internment was done in part for the protection of Japanese-Americans. Eric Muller has faxed a lengthy argument of the facts to Coble's office, which facts are detailed on Muller's site. Coble can now pull a Clinton and argue himself into a corner, or he can do the right thing and say he misunderstood history and said something wrong last week. We're waiting, Howard.

SUVs and Conspicuous Consumption

With criticism of SUVs reaching a crescendo, I went back to a column I wrote almost three years ago that attempted to explain why people drive these road hogs. My analysis didn't mention Jesus or Arianna Huffington. Instead, it drew on the idea of "conspicuous consumption," first advanced by Thorstein Veblen in 1899's Theory of the Leisure Class:  

"The SUV is the perfect vehicle for the modern conspicuous consumer...What the SUV allows its driver to consume are the truly rare commodities of today: space in a crowded environment, attention in an anonymous culture, freedom in a regulated world.

"Not that these thoughts are percolating at a conscious level for the average road-hog buyer, but that's the bottom line on SUV status. I will use more gas than I need, I will fill the line of sight at intersections, I will shrink this parking lot just by driving into it: I am somebody. Likewise, people don't say to themselves that social responsibility is a dead concept and so personal pleasure always trumps communal benefit, they just act that way."

9:48:52 AM   comment []  

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