Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Big Oil Gouges Bib

The Senate continues the unconsionable tax breaks for big oil. Last quarter profits for Exxon of $10.7 billion and 30 billion for 2010 are apparently not enough to keep them in business! The Big 5 gouged us for $35 billion in the first quarter.
The political power of oil makes a mockery of democracy! I am pleased that Michigan's Senators voted against continuing the tax breaks.
And Big Oil is using high prices to exploit the environment by lobbying for permission to drill off shore, etc. all in the face of the recent blowout in the Gulf.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Immigration Policy

Baldemar Velasquez, president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, receiving an honorary degree from MSU, set my mind to work on immigration policy. He argued that all illegal immigrants living in the U.S. should be given the right to stay. "But, wouldn't that reward people for breaking the law?" Velasquez points out that we pardon law breakers all the time. He gave examples of Pres Nixon and the Watergate operatives. So why not Mexicans?
He argues further that if we believe in open markets for goods, why not for people. I don't have a good answer, so I am going with him, at least up to a certain number per year, so as not to overload facilities. I recall that Switzerland accepts a certain number of foreign immigrants per year and requires every local government to provide for a certain number. This spreads immigrants around rather than having them all in a few places putting a great strain on social services, and facilitating integration, etc.

Catastrophe- Part 7 of series-- Mississippi floods

After weeks of rain, the Mississippi River crested at Cairo, Illinois—an all-time high, exceeding the 1937 record by two feet. The Army Corps of Engineers breeched a levee to reduce the level at Cairo. The water has to go somewhere, flooding the town of Pinhook, Missouri and acres of farm land, a kind of triage. The same thing was done in 1937. Cairo is probably the most poorly situated city in the country on a narrow strip of land between the Mississippi and the Ohio Rivers. As Isabel Wilkerson writing for the New York Times in 1993 pointed out, “For generations, some farmers figured floods and droughts into the cost of doing business. But then the country’s big plumbing system of levees and dams, made better after every flood, was supposed to keep the rivers in their place and maintain the comfortable paradox of living on a floodplain.”
Just because our ancestors ignored nature and put a city in harm’s way does not mean we need to perpetuate the mistake. There will be heavy rains and hurricanes, and the flood waters will reclaim their own ancestral haunts. The truth of floods is that despite huge investments in flood control, the long term damage is unchanged. Why? Because we keep adding people and structures to the flood plain so that when the protections inevitably fail, the damage is higher.

Monday, May 2, 2011

"World A Safer Place" ??

I'm sorry Mr. Obama, the world is not a safer place with the implementation of your order to kill Ben Laden. You have fallen into the same trap as your predecessor who thought winning military battles would make the world safer. How many more years of evidence do you need to see that it is not true? The death of Ben Laden will only further energize terrorists. Terror breeds terror.