New York, New York

While I certainly found myself moved by watching the results from the New York State House last night, I am also oddly unsettled. I do believe that a celebration is in order; I also believe that there is much work to do.

The last 150 years have shown us that each time a minority group takes a step forward, there is inevitably someone waiting to push them back. Of course, when I say ‘them’ I really mean ‘us‘. As much as the majority group likes to rage about ‘taking the country back’ and about the ‘moral decay of society’, at some point we have to realize that freedom is not a zero-sum game. Giving freedom to others (and I’ll get to that phrase straight on) does not diminish our own. There is a tremendous difference between freedom and power. Yes, just like those players who are studs at  6-man find out once they hit college, the more people you bring into the game, the less time you get to spend with the ball. However, when you have a larger team, you also have more people to carry the load and not every member has to be a stud on every game day.

Now, as to giving others freedom…is that really ours to give? Since when are we the cosmic gatekeepers? Arguably the most famous sentence in American History states:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

Now, I don’t really want to parse the word “men”, and I ain’t about to get into an argument over the word ‘Creator’. I’ll be happy to leave that up to each individual’s conscience, as the Founders did. But I’m fair certain that ‘Liberty’ has a standard, acceptable, black and white, no-grey-areas-here, dictionary definition on which all parties can agree. And even if we will never agree on who or what that Creator is or isn’t, if we’ve established such that that entity endowed us all, then why does anyone have to be given freedom by mere mortals? Why does anyone have to “fight for their rights“?

According to TJ, we’re born with all the rights we’ll ever need. I’d like all of mine right now, please. No, you say? Well, why not? In my mind, it always goes back to power. If we all are instantaneously granted all of our rights, all of our freedoms, all of our Liberty, what then happens to the power that controls us? Or if we really want to dig, the question becomes, “Why does anyone feel the need to exercise such power?”

So yes, I’m happy that marriage equality is moving forward. But the real work lies ahead. We must convince those that shout the loudest about freedom that it’s high time everyone got to enjoy it.



Water from Icebergs?

In a recent Time Magazine article, “Just Thaw and Serve”, 23 May 2011, researchers have shown the viability, via 3-D modelling, of tugging icebergs southward to alleviate European water shortages.

The work, conducted by French engineer, Georges Mougin, over the last 40 years, would indicate that one could tow a multi-ton iceberg, one of 15,000 that calve off of Greenland each year, as far as the Canary Islands, while losing an acceptable amount to melting, and make it fuel-efficient by using ocean currents as power.

This sounds like an ingenious way to solve the water shortage, but at what cost? I’m no scientist, but if we remove the bergs, doesn’t that result in warmer water around Greenland? Thus resulting in more loss of the ice shelf? Thus warming the seas more, resulting in even more calving, all leading to the disastrous rise in ocean levels that we’ve been warned about for decades?

The article addresses none of this, and until we have those answers, I’d say lets hold off the celebration…

‘Graceland is safe. And we would charge hell with a water pistol to keep it that way, and I’d be willing to lead the charge.’–Bob Nations, Jr., director of the Shelby County office of Preparedness in Tennessee, regarding the near-record flooding in and around Memphis from the swollen Mississippi River. Quoted in Time Magazine, 23 May 2011.

Public Servant of the Day

Tornadoes and Torpedoes

It’s been an odd Spring as we head into Summer. Killer tornadoes all over, and I do mean ALL over, the country. And, as if the natural disasters weren’t enough, powerful men seem intent on destroying themselves.

Why do we insist on living where we do?

I see these comments on all the news sites, you know the ones: ‘well THOSE people insist on living there, they get what they ask for’…I think this week’s tornadoes in Massachusetts put the lie to that theory. There is literally no corner of this country that does not live with the threat of geo- or meteorological events of an unbecoming nature, as well as the actual ramifications thereof.

Likewise, it seems there’s not one corner of the globe where powerful men don’t think themselves above the laws of nature, what some call ethics or morality. As I have been nowhere near DSK, John Edwards or Ratko Mladic (or even Anthony Weiner for that matter), I cannot possibly speak to their guilt or innocence (and yes, by all means, I DO realize that Mladic is in a category beyond compare to the others).

All I can do is offer one simple observation: Men with even a little power sure do seem to find themselves in these situations with alarming frequency. Why is that? Is it as inevitable as it seems? Is this some force of nature which has yet to be classified and studied properly? I realize that this phenomenon is not exclusive to men, but for women, it’s like that tornado in Massachusetts: something that logically you know is possible, but your eyes are always gonna be on the Midwest anyway…Peace.