The Styrofoam Curse

Kish bought a present for a friend from a mail order catalog retailer, and the present came in a box filled with those Styrofoam curlicues — the worst, most pernicious, packaging material ever devised by Satan.

Who else but Beelzebub would come up with packaging materials so lightweight, and so charged with static electricity, that they adhere to every surface and can never be easily discarded?  Had Dante lived in the modern world, he would have written of a lowest level of hell filled with these little man-made peanuts that cling to your skin and, if inadvertently rubbed together, emit an annoying high-pitched shriek calculated to drive even the hardened sinner to gibbering insanity.

Once spilled on the floor, these devilish objects will be with you always — a constant reminder that you should never again make a mail-order purchase.

Santorum And Satan

I’ve been hearing Rick Santorum ads over the past few days.  It’s clear that his focus — and the means by which he attempts to distinguish himself from his Republican rivals — is “social issues.” Even his economic plans are couched as a way of “helping families,” by which he clearly means traditional, married, husband-and-wife led families.

I don’t subscribe to Santorum’s ultra-traditional views of how life should be lived or families should be structured.  I’m also concerned by the overt nature of his religious beliefs.  I heard clips of a speech he gave some time ago in which he talked about “Satan” targeting and attacking the United States and its institutions, and it made me very uncomfortable.  When was the last time we had a presidential candidate talking openly about “Satan”?  If a random guy at the airport was talking about “Satan” in the way Santorum did in that speech, wouldn’t most of us give that guy a very wide berth?

Santorum is of course entitled to his views, but his emphasis on religion and issues like gay marriage and contraception are a problem for me.  I’m not quite a libertarian, because I do think there is a limited, appropriate role for government under certain circumstances, but I don’t think the government should be lecturing us or or directing us or judging us so long as we live lawfully.  I suspect that any government led by Santorum would be as intrusive and overreaching into our daily lives as the Obama Administration has been — just in a different way and with a different focus.

In my view, we don’t need a President who fancies himself a spiritual leader.  We need a President who will roll up his sleeves and deal effectively with our enormous, structural deficit and debt problems.  Achieving that goal requires someone who can bring people together, not someone whose forays into “social” issues — and ruminations about the latest nefarious activities of Old Scratch — push people apart and prevent us from achieving the consensus necessary to do the job.