Playing Catch-Up: The Week in Review, Somewhat

The following are sidebars to some of the issues in which I have been interested.  Keep in mind that current events are not usually put to rest within a convenient media cycle.  Thus, these issues will take weeks, months, even years, to reach their conclusions.

France was the first of the coalition forces to enter Libyan air space with their planes.  The U.S. announced at that time that we would not be “leading” the invasion, but would definitely add our two cents.  Within two hours of France’s foray into Libya, we were firing cruise missiles into Gaddafi’s territory.  It took only two hours.

Furthermore, President Obama promised that we would not, ever, send in ground troops to back up the establishment of a no-fly zone.  No boots on the ground.  My worries were that Gaddafi’s forces would continue to kill civilians despite the successful establishment of a no-fly zone.  Bingo.  That seems to be the case.  I certainly acknowledge my naiveté about politics in general and military operations specifically.  I tend to believe things people say; I trust.  Silly me.  When I wrote my last post on Libya, I hadn’t realized that despite Mr. Obama’s pledge of a short military action with the express goal of protecting Libyan civilians, that of course, his tacit intention was the removal of Gaddafi.  Also, his unspoken strategy was to arm the rebels so they could fight back.  As for his statement that the U.S. would not take the lead in this action, with no ground troops sent in, that remains to be seen.

Another loose end.  This one has to do with my concern about spent nuclear waste and the fact that we have no containment facility.  Of course, the phrase “nuclear containment” just might be an oxymoron, an impossibility.  Sho’ nuff, on the front page of the New York Times today there is an article about the increasing concern about this vast hole in our nuclear energy policy.  I know that the risks of nuclear power must be weighed against the rewards (Oh really now?), and this article does an excellent job of hitting all the specifics.  Another article, an Op-Ed in the New York Times today, is terrific in explaining how the U.S. can learn from the nuclear disaster in Japan.  It is a concise column, recognizing the absolute need to have a firm, regulatory arm in charge of the safety at nuclear power plants while also admitting the advantage these plants have in the use of clean energy.  What?  Clean energy?  There is no more toxic, longer-lasting lethal substance in our arsenal of energy options than nuclear fuel.

Finally, political motivation has invaded the arts, which are very dear to me.  There is a beautiful, three-year-old, 36 foot wide, 11 panelled mural in Maine’s Department of Labor in the capital of Augusta.  It depicts a plethora of Maine workers.  The state’s Governor, Paul LePage, has ordered the removal of this mural because he believes it gives an unfair advantage to unions.  Go soak your head, Governor.  And while you are at it, grow up and give kudos where kudos is due: to the hard-working citizens of your state.  The arts should not be used as a political tool, given and taken back as an expression of the current elected’s opinion.  The arts are much bigger than that; they supersede any current political position.

In line with all the defiance against unions and benefits, Jon Stewart has a great piece addressing the hypocrisy of this issue.  You all have probably seen this video already, but I had to include it.  Pity the teachers.  Love Jon Stewart.

So much for cleaning up my loose ends.  I daresay that the unrest in the Mideast, the unfolding events at the nuclear plants in Japan, and the endless manipulation of politicians into areas, such as the arts, will be slow to be remedied.  That is the nature of life: uncertainty.

Stay tuned here, as I hope to have more photos from my Maine.


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