Friday, June 18, 2010

Ranting and Raving

So many many things to talk about today.....

Let's get the whole small people thing out of the way, first.  My position on the assassination of the Gulf of Mexico has already been made clear - some of the prettiest and most productive shoreline in the world is being altered irreparably and expensively because nobody wondered what might go wrong if safety were sacrificed to profit.  BP's executives should have to explain themselves, to as many Congressional Committees as want to flay them.  Yes, it's an extraordinarily absurd exercise and a vanity showcase for our elected officials to demonstrate their outrage but humiliation is all we've got going for us right now.  The oil keeps gushing into the Gulf, and we're reduced to collecting snippets of hair and shoving them into nylons.  Does anyone even wear nylons anymore?

But, I digress.  BP's chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, was interviewed in the driveway of the White House this week.  He had just left President Obama, and he was smarting from the spanking.  The President had told him stories of lives destroyed by his firm's exploding oil rig, and he obviously wanted to prove that he had been listening.  With what looked like real emotion on his face, he looked at the cameras and told Americans that he would not forget them, that he was concerned with the small people..... at which point all hell broke loose.  He was insulting "real" Americans.  He was tone deaf.  Who did he think he was, setting himself above people who had lost everything because of him?  The outrage led the evening news and Chris Matthews' rant-fest and talk radio the next morning.

I have only one question.  Posit a US company causing an environmental disaster in a foreign country.... perhaps Union Carbide in Bhopal in 1984 .... and the English speaking Chairman of the Board being questioned by reporters in Hindi or Urdu or any of the other languages spoken in India.  Does he understand the questions?  Is he fluent in the language of his interrogators and listeners?  And if he is, as Mr. Svanberg is in English, is he idiomatic?  Mr. Svanberg certainly is not.  To me, that was his only crime.

It seems to me that the media is seizing on a visitor's attempt to speak our language and making him feel uncomfortable about it.  There is enough about which to fume... there's no need to be rude while we're at it.
TBG and I went next door for a Meet the Candidate night on Monday.  While John McCain battles the conservative right wing of his party for the right to run, yet again, to retain his Senate seat, the Democrats' primary has been lost in the ozone.  There are 4 candidates running in the August 24th primary; up until Monday I knew the name of one of them.  Now I know three. Given that my lack of interest in the race for Secretary of State contributed to the fact that Jan Brewer is now my Governor,it behooves me to investigate the situation further.

Rodney Glassman is the candidate I knew about.  He's acquired a JD, PhD, MBA and MPA in his 32 years on the planet, and his entire political career consists of an hour and a half serving on the Tucson City Council, as dysfunctional a body as can be imagined.  I read his website to prepare for this post; I can't say that I disagree with any of his positions, though I wonder where the human touch is hiding.

Monday night I met Randy Parraz, whose political career seems to have begun on April 26, 2010, when he decided to run for the United States Senate.  He's an attractive, well-educated Latino who thinks that SB 1070 is a really, really bad law, that it is hurtful and hateful and that immigration is an issue that needs to be discussed rationally, without rhetoric or vitriol because people are people no matter where they live.  Beyond that, he hadn't a clue.  He may be smart enough to pick up some talking points along the way, but he didn't have any on Monday night. He's asking to be hired to do a job that requires thoughtful analysis of complex issues; it would be nice to know if he's done any of that analysis already.  Getting people to talk to one another is laudable; I'd just like to know what he thinks about the end of the conversation.  What are his goals?

Do I sound old and crotchety?  Who is this young whippersnapper? Has he paid his dues?  I hope I don't, because that's not it at all. I'm insulted on behalf of my state.  He is hoping to win the primary by galvanizing the Hispanic vote, which has been underrepresented on both the registration and the voting rolls.  SB 1070 may well be the catalyst which engages this uninvolved piece of the electorate, and that would be a good thing.  We should all be participants.  But it's pandering rather than campaigning for Parraz to present such a uni-dimensional face.  Hispanics are as concerned as Jews and WASP's about the economy and energy and national defense.  To assume that being against SB 1070 is reason enough to secure their vote is insulting and demeaning to them as citizens and as voters.  It's a separatist message from a prospective Senator, a person who will represent 1/100th of the national self.  Senators don't authorize funds; that bit of housekeeping, of detail, is the purview of the lower body, the House of Representatives.  Senators, in the upper house, are supposed to deal on a loftier plane with meta-issues.  At least that is what Mr. McCarthy taught me in the 6th grade.

I'm not saying that Randy doesn't have ideas, just that he didn't tell me what they were on Monday night.  He wandered in a maze of platitudes when the question was "what will you do."  I think that it's a bad idea to run for the US Senate without giving some thought to issues which are outside your comfort zone.
The National Weather Service has decided to take charge of our monsoon season.  Up until 2008, the monsoon season began after 3 consecutive days with the dew point over 54.  In 2008, the National Weather Service decided that that was too much to deal with, and they set June 15th as the official start date.  Too bad that it's still dry as a bone.  Too bad that their own data shows that the average time for the start of the monsoon by the old standard, the one based on actual facts and science instead of bureaucratic comfort, was sometime in July
It's just another example of our government at work.  The world is going to hell in a handbasket, and they are trying to control the weather.
I'm going to watch Slovenia vs USA tomorrow morning at 6:30am.  Yawn.  NPR interviewed someone on the difference between Slovakia and Slovenia.  I wish I had paid more attention.