The news keeps pressing two stories that mean nothing to me or most Americans. A voluntarily unemployed person who runs nothing and is running for nothing decided to take a summer road trip with some of her family members and it’s being covered at the top of every news show. Apparently it is really important. The other story is that a representative may or may not have sent a lewd picture of himself or someone to one of his twitter followers. There are other stories…
What about the arrest of a man who was an international fugitive for 16 years? A man who is accused of murdering 8,000 plus Muslim boys and men in Serbia will be tried in the Hague.
What about news regarding immigration reform? New York state has withdrawn from Secure Communities Immigration Enforcement Program, Arizona’s law that outlines strict punishments for companies that hire undocumented immigrants is upheld in the US Supreme Court and Maryland passed it’s own Dream Act.
What about climate volatility? Tornadoes have been wreaking some considerable havoc in areas where they are common and uncommon. Tornado alley Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama and the focus of the worst damage so far is Joplin, Missouri destroyed and 134 dead. 4 dead in Massachusetts while there were tornado watches in Minneapolis, New York and New Jersey. Whereas federal funding for disaster relief for Americans is usually a given, Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader says that relief efforts won’t be funded unless we cut some other government spending. [Note: This is the same cynical legislative brinkmanship the GOP has used with unemployment benefit extensions in past years and now raising the debt ceiling.] Meanwhile, as it seems to go with energy and dealing with climate realities, we are behind.
With regards to climate responsive civil engineering and energy, who is doing things we should be emulating? As far as building communities near flood prone river basins and deltas, the Dutch seem to be on the leading edge:
Complementing Room for the River are two corollary policies: “Retain, Store, Drain” and “Living With Water.” They encourage neighborhoods to retain water where it falls, using cisterns, green roofs and flood-able parks. Living With Water demands that urban planners and water managers create communities wherein water is a cherished asset and not something to fear and keep out of sight.
These efforts have not come without controversy. The Netherlands is the world’s third-most-densely populated country. Intensive land use is common. Forgoing hard-won reclaimed land is politically difficult. But the disastrous floods of the ’90s provided fertile political ground to start a process involving all stakeholders: citizens, businesses and local governments.
And oh yea, we are fighting 3 wars in 4 countries! Memorial Day comes and goes and so does our willingness to focus on the wars they fight on our behalf. We are due to reduce troop levels in Afghanistan in July 2011. What happens when troops come home? In addition to an atrophied job market, due to increased protective equipment for soldiers, more of our veterans are returning with serious brain injuries. In Libya, NATO (aka the US, UK and friends) has extended the campaign beyond the days and weeks Obama promised. We still haven’t placed any troops in the country, and Gaddafi is hemorrhaging ministers and top commanders, but has maintained a stalemate throughout. The NATO position:
NATO officials say their decision to keep the rebels at arm’s length was deliberate.
“For us, it’s all about not wanting to contravene or jeopardize the U.N. mandate that we’re following,” said a NATO official in the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, speaking under NATO ground rules that he not be named. The U.N. resolution authorizing military action in Libya speaks only of protecting civilians from attacks by Gaddafi’s forces, he said.
“We cannot be [the rebels’] air power,” the official said. “This was a popular public uprising, and it has to unfold that way, in a natural way. It’s not for us to do any more in terms of support.”
Meanwhile Pakistan’s ISI and military continue to be infiltrated by elements of the Taliban and Al Qaeda even as the government continues to cooperate with our campaign in that region and continues their own diplomatic efforts.