Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hubris plus

I assume you've heard the punch line, courtesy of Star Trek, that goes "Beam me up, Scottie, there's no intelligent life down here." If you hadn't, you have now. I found use for it while stuck in traffic this afternoon, listening to Minnesota Public Radio share a National Public Radio story about several urban Colorado communities in which the residents were seriously contemplating signing mineral rights over to fracking companies so they could explore for gas in high density residential areas. What could possibly go wrong, since some state official assured all of them, and us, that the state has stringent regulations that will prevent any accident? Just like mine tailings and coal ash basins, I guess. Am I the only one in the country that remembers the Challenger and its crew of seven were tragically destroyed because a $0.30 or $0.35 piece failed?

yellow mushrooms
Photo by J. Harrington

Meanwhile, here in Minnesota we've got grain shipment backups caused by oil shipments going through areas not ideal for shipping hazardous materials. Add to that a project that Congress has authorized but not appropriated funds for seems as if it could turn the Fargo-Moorhead area into another New Orleans come Katrina time. Why is it that politicians are too often ready to build new infrastructure without adequate sources of ongoing maintenance funding locked in? No ribbon cutting for maintenances? At least we've got that global warming / climate change thingy under control.

red mushrooms
Photo by J. Harrington

Other than demonstrating general grumpiness by the writer, there is a point to all of this. This is the same governance structure, operated by the same fallible human beings, we're being asked to believe is capable of assuring ongoing treatment of polluted water from a proposed Polymet Mine for 200 to 500 years. The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Six years from now will be 500 400 years since they landed there. In 1514 Henry VIII was on England's throne. We don't even have the same government we had 500 years ago. It was only a few decades after COlumbus discovered North America. I'm feeling like one of those mushrooms, being kept in the dark and having BS shoveled on me at the suggestion that a corporation will treat water for 500 years, if necessary.

Mushrooms

By Charles Tomlinson 
                     for Jon and Jill 
Eyeing the grass for mushrooms, you will find
A stone or stain, a dandelion puff
Deceive your eyes—their colour is enough
To plump the image out to mushroom size
And lead you through illusion to a rind
That's true—flint, fleck or feather. With no haste
Scent-out the earthy musk, the firm moist white,
And, played-with rather than deluded, waste
None of the sleights of seeing: taste the sight
You gaze unsure of—a resemblance, too,
Is real and all its likes and links stay true
To the weft of seeing. You, to begin with,
May be taken in, taken beyond, that is,
This place of chiaroscuro that seemed clear,
For realer than a myth of clarities
Are the meanings that you read and are not there:
Soon, in the twilight coolness, you will come
To the circle that you seek and, one by one,
Stooping into their fragrance, break and gather,
Your way a winding where the rest lead on
Like stepping stones across a grass of water. 


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