Sunday, February 12, 2017

Facts? Rules? We don't need no stinkin'...

A politician I know once told me "if you don't like the results, argue process; if you don't like the process, argue results." I suspect that's but a variation on Carl Sandberg's wonderful piece of advice
 “If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”
Unfortunately, neither of those rules of thumb seem particularly helpful when faced with lies, alternate facts, misinformation and/or disinformation coupled with a lack of respect for process and law.

we protect investments, jobs, air and water quality through rules
we protect investments, jobs, air and water quality through rules
Photo by J. Harrington

I wish I could blame all of my fussing and fuming on the usual suspects, but this time a certain Democratic governor has, according to the Sierra Club, "announced his intention to sign, legislation that exempts Xcel Energy from the long-standing authority of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to evaluate whether new power generation is in the public interest. Instead, this bill would give Xcel Energy sole discretion whether to build a new 786-Megawatt gas plant in Becker, Minnesota." This disregard for established precedent and process puts a Democratic governor distressingly close to those Republican legislators who have, according to Friends of the Mississippi River, introduced HF 551, a bill to eliminate rulemaking authority for Minnesota’s chief environmental agencies. The bill seeks to strip the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) of the ability to create new rules as well as sunsets or retires current environmental regulations pending legislative review and intervention. Fortunately, there is not yet a Senate companion to HF 551, nor has the Governor announced an intent to sign it.

If you're wondering why there seem to be so many protests these days, it seems to me we've ended up with inmates in charge of the asylums at state and federal levels. That leaves us our best response, with the fact of not being listened to by law(makers) against us, to "pound on the table and yell like hell." See you in the streets?

The Totality of Facts


By Allan Peterson


The laughing gull that flew behind the fencepost
and never came out was the beginning
and then a hand smaller than my hand covered Wisconsin
with a gesture for explanation.
In the afternoon there are pauses between the words
through which commas can grow like daisy fleabane.
A fish with an osprey in its back emerges from the Sound
and nothing can be learned by more analysis.
The book of her hair opens to its binding and I leaf through
the glorious pages of appreciation and that’s not all.
We could not have turned fast enough to catch
light and leftovers from so much of what happened:
the swift figures behind you like a planet’s dark
companion, ships entering and leaving the hall closet
the real and imagined between which is no difference.


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