How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

Mission Possible: How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

The insidious 'New Normal' is everywhere

Lately I can't watch the news or a sporting event, pick up a newspaper or drive my car without getting really upset. I'm having trouble accepting the rapidly invading "new normal."

I'm blown away by the completely over-the-top reprehensible responses to the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris by a number of the Republican candidates, including the front-runners. Outlandish responses have included arming all of us with guns, closing mosques in the United States, bombing, not letting even a 5-year-old orphan into this country from Syria and banning all Muslims from entering the U.S.

The majority of Republican candidates are willing to say anything to appeal to primary voters. Under the "new normal" it is OK to say things that are outrageous racist.

Not too long ago, in the wake of the kind of violence that occurred in Paris, all of the candidates for president would have indicated that we will never ever give in to fear and that we will never ever panic and trample on the rights of our citizens or others out of fear.

Mayor Rudy Giuliani got it right when, in a speech before the United Nations General Assembly three weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he said, "We do not let fear make our decisions for us." Nowadays the new normal is to foam at the mouth and hyperbolize about how forceful your response to terror would be.    

I realize that troops may have to be put on the ground in Syria. But it's anti-American to condemn all Muslims because of the actions of one or two radical groups.

Elsewhere, the injection of politics into various local school board elections is another troubling "new normal" trend. With school board elections now being held in November, the same time as general elections, we are seeing it become normal for elected officials to endorse candidates in school board races. I'd favor a prohibition against these endorsements as I feel it will lead to further polarization. School boards are not supposed to be political.

In my home town, West Windsor, we have for a while operated under a Town Council form of government, in which the mayor is not required to attend council meetings. Council President Bryan Maher constantly criticizes Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh for not attend council meetings, just as the governor and the president do not sit through legislative sessions. I hope that with Maher departing council, the other members of council will get off this hobbyhorse.

Also close to home, traffic jams are becoming all too normal in our region. A glaring example is the dangerous bottleneck that has been created at the previous site of the old Mrs. G store on Route 1 in Lawrenceville. Traffic now funnels onto Bakers Basin Road from behind the new McDonald's and Wawa. The traffic pattern is akin to a circuitous cornfield maze. There will, no doubt, be many traffic accidents in this ill-conceived new intersection. I have barely avoided two traffic accidents myself. Corrective action needs to be taken.

Sports also have found their way to a "new normal," specifically the horrendous clock management skills of too many coaches in the National Football League. Up until recently, prior to the candidacy of the Dr. Ben Carson, I would have said you don't have to be a brain surgeon to be an NFL coach, but given Dr. Carson's performance, I no longer think that occupation is the gold standard for competency.

Take, for example, New York Giants Coach Tom Caughlin's decision not to run the ball with 2 minutes and 6 second left on the clock and the ball on the one yard line against the New England Patriots.

The "one and done" strategy used by University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari and others to lure the nation's top high school All-Americans to their programs to spend a year, win a national championship, and leave for the NBA has become another "new normal."  

If a high school player is good enough, and wants to play in the NBA out of high school, he should be allowed to do so. Basketball should adopt the long-time "normal" approach used by major league baseball which allows teams to draft players out of high school directly or leave them until their junior year in college.

As winter approaches, the early warnings about upcoming "weather events" on television is already becoming silly. If I hear another weather maven pontificate about a potentially treacherous conditions posed by the upcoming weather event, I'll scream. Weather hyperbole is the "new normal." If every potential storm is described in horrific terms we will be unable to distinguish the really bad ones from the not so bad ones.

Lastly, I'm getting agita from the bizarre buzz in political circles about the possibility of former Sen. Bob Torricelli being a possible replacement for Sen. Robert Menendez if he resigns because of his legal problems. Why is it increasingly acceptable to replace disgraced senators with former senators who stepped down? When it comes to the "new normal" sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same.