Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Regaining our balance

First things first. About a week ago, we mentioned, based on information in the Star Tribune, that a Superior Silica Sands (SSS) operation in Wisconsin had been shut down for operating without a permit. Today's issue of the Strib notes such information was and is incorrect. It appears that the county regulators in Wisconsin should have cited a local firm, Cameron Rail Site, instead of SSS. We're happy to correct our small part of the record here on My Minnesota. For those of you particularly interested in frac sand issues in Minnesota and Wisconsin, you could try: The Frac Sand Weekly. We just discovered it today so can't speak to its quality or currency.

Second, have you ever seen Autumn colors, especially in oak trees, as gorgeous as this year's?

red oak leaves; from a "red oak?"
Photo by J. Harrington

That taken care of, there's disturbing information in today's paper on the rapidly changing status of Ebola protocols and responses, a suicide in the Koochiching County jail and a report on the secrecy our Pentagon maintained about Iraq's chemical weapons, that, added to all of the damn, stupid, ugly political ads coming from both parties over public airwaves makes me wonder what the hell we're doing to ourselves? Since when did a scorched earth policy become acceptable as a governance or communications philosophy in this country? It's not as if we don't know any better but it seems as if our values and priorities have become sadly, self-destructively, distorted. Almost as bad is my fear that, if we don't play a rigged game, the 1% wins by default. We're being conditioned to not believe anyone about anything anymore. Here's an example:

Several days after reading something to the effect that "there must have been a breach of protocol," we read:
"What happened there (in Dallas), regardless of the reason, is not acceptable. It shouldn't have happened," Anthony Fauci, director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of NIH, said on MSNBC Wednesday." We humans seem to be too hard pressed to accept our own limitations and fallibility.

"Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the CDC, has acknowledged that the government wasn't aggressive enough in managing Ebola and containing the virus as it spread from an infected patient to a nurse at a Dallas hospital.

"We could've sent a more robust hospital infection control team and been more hands-on with the hospital from day one about exactly how this should be managed," he said Tuesday."
Meanwhile, the Star Tribune today  is reporting that:

Lots of politicians and businesses claim that there are too many regulations and that cost business too much to meet. I think, based on recent reports of oil train explosions, and oil pipeline leaks that have major, negative consequences to the environment and its inhabitants, including people, and, maybe in the Ebola protocols, we're seeing some chickens come home to roost. We might not have to have so many regulations if we had the right regulations to begin with, but we seem to think we can be penny-wise without being pound-foolish.

mixed deciduous and conifer colors
Photo by J. Harrington

Nature has worked out ecological governance over millions of years of evolution. I don't think she worries about being first to market or next quarter's profits. She focuses on trying to get it right for life. I have no idea why, other than through hubris, we think we can do better. So the issue is, can we correct our own governance systems before we run out of time to correct and extend our record? Think about that between now and November 4. It isn't which politician promises the cheapest, fastest governance, but how do we get the job done best. None of our major or minor parties seem to "get it," so we, for now, have to pick the least, worst alternative or lose by default, or, we could vote for whoever runs the least negative campaign, regardless of party, to reward those who want to offer hope for the future rather than scorched earth today.

Negative

By Kevin Young 
Wake to find everything black
what was white, all the vice
versa—white maids on TV, black

sitcoms that star white dwarfs
cute as pearl buttons. Black Presidents,
Black Houses. White horse

candidates. All bleach burns
clothes black. Drive roads
white as you are, white songs

on the radio stolen by black bands
like secret pancake recipes, white back-up
singers, ball-players & boxers all

white as tar. Feathers on chickens
dark as everything, boiling in the pot
that called the kettle honky. Even

whites of the eye turn dark, pupils
clear & changing as a cat's.
Is this what we've wanted

& waited for? to see snow
covering everything black
as Christmas, dark pages written

white upon? All our eclipses bright,
dark stars shooting across pale
sky, glowing like ash in fire, shower

every skin. Only money keeps
green, still grows & burns like grass
under dark daylight.


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