Gas prices and the changing face of summer

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It isn't news that gas costs are cutting into vacation travel this year. A USA Today/Gallup Poll suggests that for about a third of Americans are adjusting their vacation plans In other words, Americans are adjusting. For example, the majority of the USA's 8.2 million RV owners plan to stay closer to home this summer though the majority won't use their RV's less than they did last year.

While this isn't at all good for remote resorts, for most of us it just isn't a tragedy. That's why I found myself wondering what USA writer Judy Keen was really thinking when she ended that lead story with a quote from Chicago bookkeeper, Sheila McConnell, who said that gas prices had prompted her family to cancel a driving vacation to South Dakota. Instead, they would stay closer to home by driving to Wisconsin instead, a savings of at least $200. So what's the problem? McConnell's three kids, "feel cheated." Was Keen sympathetic to McConnell's children?

The summer vacation story ran on page 1A. Flip the page over to 2A and the lead story, "In Burma, not enough aid to go around," is accompanied by a photo of adults and children standing in front of tents. "Roads are lined with people who built makeshift shelters with scraps of wood or palm from their ravaged homes. They stand by the road, reaching out to passing trucks for bits of food or other supplies...Many are walking north; camps in some towns have swelled to 40,000 people."

A recovering alcoholic was once asked by a ten year-old boy why he was the only person at the party who wasn't drinking beer. "When you're born," the man replied, "you're allowed a certain amount of beer in your life. I already drank all mine." Think tax breaks for SUV's. We've already used all ours.

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