THIS N’ THAT

Here are three unrelated items gleaned from the news which may tickle your interest or give you some information you didn’t think you needed.

First is a Cato poll of Americans feelings on expressing political views, followed by an outline on making the right choice to paint your walls and ending with a somewhat hair-brained scheme to split California into three states.

Free Speech in America

A new Cato Institute national poll of 2,300 U.S. adults provides a highly compelling portrait of the state of free speech in America today.

One of the most striking findings is that 58% of Americans say they have political views they feel unable to share in the current political climate.  Further, 71% believe that political correctness has silenced discussions society needs to have.  The survey’s results also show why censoring offensive speech is difficult—Americans can’t agree what speech is offensive or shouldn’t be allowed.  For instance, 82% of Democrats believe it’s hate speech to say unauthorized immigrants should be deported; only 37% of Republicans agree.  But 42% of Republicans think it’s hateful to say the police are racist while only 19% of Democrats agree.

What is deeply offensive to one person may simply be a political opinion to another.  The results also show that if we silence speech that any number of people find offensive, we will shut down a wide variety of important political debates.

Choosing the Right Color to Paint Your Walls

Here is an interesting recommendation from noted interior designer Jonathan Fong to solve this continuing question.

“When I start a decorating job for a client, one of the first questions I’m always asked is, ‘What color should I paint these walls?’

“To determine the perfect hue for a particular room, we need to start with how we want to feel in it.  Do we want to be energized?  Hopeful?  Colors can affect our emotions, so it’s important to understand the psychology of color in the context of home decorating.  Let’s look at some colors and how they can make you feel.

“RED – The color of passion, red is stimulating and energetic.  It’s good for kitchens and dining rooms because it also stimulates the appetite.  However, because it can raise blood pressure and heart rates, try not to use red in bedrooms, where you need your beauty sleep.

“ORANGE – If you like red but are afraid it could be too intense, orange is a good alternative.  Orange conveys enthusiasm and creativity, and also is ideal for kitchens and dining rooms.  Orange is a friendly color, so you will find that many businesses use it in their corporate communications and interiors to suggest a more customer-oriented image.

“YELLOW – The color of sunshine, yellow is joyful and optimistic.  Its welcoming vibe is perfect for entryways and living rooms, but a little goes a long way.  Too much yellow, especially when it’s a brighter shade, can feel oppressive.  It does work well as an accent color, offering a happy contrast to cooler colors such as gray.

“BLUE – A popular choice for bedrooms, blue creates a feeling of serenity and peace.  Light blues are particularly calming but they run the risk of making you sad, or “blue,” if the room receives little natural sunlight.  If that’s the case, try a deeper blue or balance it with some warmer shades.

“GREEN – The most prevalent color in nature, green is another calming color and is very restful for the eyes.  It also helps you concentrate and stay focused, so it is perfect for home offices.  Because it blends the serenity of blue with the cheerfulness of yellow, green works in almost any room.

“BROWN – Another color dominant in nature, brown offers comfort and security.  Both the lighter beige and the darker chocolate shades create warmth.  Even if you choose not to apply brown paint to the walls, you can get a similar effect with wood finishes on furniture and floors.

“PURPLE – It’s no wonder purple is considered the color of royalty.  Especially in its deeper shades, purple evokes luxury and sophistication.  It adds drama to living rooms, even in small doses as an accent color.  And in lighter shades such as lavender, purple creates a calming environment for bedrooms, but with more grandeur than blue or green.’

“PINK – Traditionally stereotyped as feminine, pink has very calming effects.  In fact, researchers have shown that prison cells painted pink resulted in less anger and hostility among inmates.  The University of Iowa even painted its visiting football team’s locker room pink to make the players less aggressive.”

Splitting Up California

California, home to nearly 40 million people, has commonly been ungovernable.  That’s why some people think we should divide it up.

Now, the architect of a previous effort, a tech billionaire named Timothy C. Draper, is back with another idea:  three Californias.  He submitted paperwork to put the question before voters in 2018.

“No one can argue that California’s government is doing a reasonable job governing or educating or building infrastructure for its people,” Mr. Draper said.  “And it doesn’t matter which party is in place.”

The three Californias would have roughly equivalent populations and wealth.  A state of Northern California would include almost the entire upper half of the state, including San Francisco; a Southern California state would contain most of the rest.

A third state, called simply California, would fold in Los Angeles and extend up the coast to Monterey.

The proposal’s odds are extreme.  Even if voters got behind it, the state Legislature would have to approve it, and then the U.S. Congress, which would have to be convinced to let blue California add four additional senators.

Just what we need; something else to clutter up our ballot.

Martin Lewis, a geographer at Stanford University, said Mr. Draper’s plan was striking in its seeming disregard for regional identities.  Monterey, for example, which looks toward San Francisco, would be unlikely to welcome its absorption into a state whose epicenter is Los Angeles.

According to Lewis, in a two-California scenario, putting aside the water issues, it might seem logical to simply separate north and south.

“It’s clear now,” he said, “that the real political divide separates the coastal counties from most of their interior counties.”

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