Sunday, May 24, 2015

RANDOM THOUGHTS #5 - IRELAND/GAY MARRIAGE, TEXAS/OKLAHOMA/FRACKING & JEB BUSH/ARROGANCE

IRELAND/GAY MARRIAGE
Now that I live in Europe, my sources of news and information have changed drastically. No more television or radio news. PBS, FOX, and NPR were my mainstays. We only subscribed to the weekend editions of our local newspaper, a rag on the way down. Daily, we subscribed to the The Wall Street Journal. As a result, our primary news sources were easily identifiable as being left or right of the political center. It's different now. I'm not always certain of the point of view of a particular source. Take, for instance, the Irish referendum on gay marriage.

I use an app called Flipboard as one of my information sources these days. Flipboard's news board aggregates articles from a wide variety of sources - from FOX to Huffington Post, from the The New York Times to the The Wall Street Journal and more from the States. And from abroad, Al Jazeera, Reuters, BBC and The Guardian all contribute. And I've just finished The Guardian's early analysis of the results of the Irish referendum on gay marriage. And I thought at first that The Guardian must be right of center.And then I read that it's considered left of center. And now I'm confused.

I'm confused because The Guardian emphasized anti-Catholicism due to the abuse scandals, foreign money, and pandering politicians as reasons for the landslide victory of the Yes vote. In fairness, they also pointed out that young, first-time voters played a huge hand. Here's hoping that young voters around the world will continue to express their more hopeful, empathetic nature at the ballot box even when high-profile issues are not at stake. We need their youthful optimism during school board elections just as much as we need them for referendums such as this one.

TEXAS/OKLAHOMA/FRACKING
Texas has thought seriously about secession. Can Oklahoma be far behind? The problem? States Rights. Federal overreach. The Feds just don't understand the importance of local control.

Yet both states' governments have decided that local municipalities don't have the right to ban fracking within their borders. Seismic shifts? Contaminated drinking water? Suck it up. What Big Oil wants, Big Oil gets. That's Texas...and Oklahoma...and...

JEB BUSH/ARROGANCE
"For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant, to be honest with you." Jeb goes on to say, according to CNN, "It's this intellectual arrogance that now you can't have a conversation about it, even. The climate is changing. We need to adapt to that reality."

If that were true, if we could not have a conversation about climate change because of the closed minds of the scientists and the proponents of the scientific consensus, I might agree with Jeb. The problem isn't with the scientists, though. The problem is with the politicians who not only refuse to accept that consensus but who pass laws promoting ignorance on the subject. NASA, the military, the environmental agencies in several states, all under attack for trying to understand the scope of climate change and deal with the effects.

It's as if, during the debate about the safety of cigarettes, Congress had cut funding for NIH lung cancer research. It's bought and paid for, intentional ignorance that's the problem, not arrogance.

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