New tradition. The onslaught of terrible news, certainly not a new trend but one into which I’m newly tuned, started to murder my morale. So Saturday will feature a unique weekend-review mission: to identify the bright side of the darker stories of the week. These are specific headliners that dragged me down with their revelations of dishonesty and general badness. The weather’s doing its summer dance, people are generally happier, and why should the news do its best to battle that? Answer: because the world is full of reckless, ignorant, and greedy people. But I’ll do what I can to tread the air above the din for at least one day of the week. Here we go.
- The Deepwater Horizon Oil Hemorrhage : Costs are expected to surpass those generated by the Exxon-Valdez spill, a probable ecological nightmare has become inevitable, and fears are mounting that the 210,000 gallon per day flow will increase soon. Recent memories of Katrina are surging back again, putting pressure on a White House than once again waited too long to leap to Louisiana’s aid.
- Silver Lining: An Obama-mandated cessation of offshore drilling and a possible leveraging tool in the impending climate bill debate. The clumsy, slow, and ineffective response by both BP and the government sounded alarms about just how reckless drilling can be. If the Gulf Coast wetlands get hit the way ecologists expect, this will be one hell of a bargaining chip for the forces of good against the forces of profit.
- The Arizona Immigration Law : Great guns, y’all. When did anyone see legislated racism making a resurgence? Despite studies denying any correlation between illegal immigrants and crime rates, Gov. Jan Brewer embraced racial profiling and bought into the pettiest of sentiments last Friday. Tidbit: controversial and shady signings almost always happen at the end of Friday in the hopes that tempers cool after the weekend. Word is that most economic downturns features a lot of blame thrown at illegal laborers that scoop up a lot of unskilled jobs, but never like this. How can you recognize illegal immigrants by anything other than their racial appearance? Plus, legal immigrants (or residents, it’s not like the cops will be able to tell the difference) now have to carry proper documentation or risk arrest. It isn’t so terrific a leap for the protesters that are reminded of the pre-Holocaust patches that Jews wore.
- Silver Lining: Those protesters are uniting and lending a voice to a much maligned part of this country. The statement by a Los Angeles Cardinal that “Everyone in God’s eyes is legal” kills it. The lack of Federal legislation addressing immigration is absurd, and this Arizona overstep should earn plenty of backlash. I don’t know what the resolution will be. It’s a polarizing argument and there’s no money in it for the Mexicans, which gives an uphill battle in Congress. But it should at least be immediately clear that the Arizona route is wrong and damn near every level.
- Oklahoma and the Unborn : Great Caesar’s Ghost! The state legislature passed a law, by high margin, instituting a number of downright cruel attempts to dissuade women considering an abortion. First, the lesser evil in the bill: the potential mother has to get an ultrasound and receive a detailed explanation of the images produced – the idea being that in that moment the fetus becomes less abstract and more human. This is a law, mind you, that grants no exceptions for incest or rape. So that fetus, a product of a horrific and damaging assault, won’t be aborted until the woman feels good and guilty about it. Round 2: doctors are legally protected should they decide to lie to the woman about the health of the baby. Any birth defect observed may be disclosed only at the discretion of the physician. Meaning that the words “the baby looks fine” could be legally endorsed lie. It’s not a joke. It’s an actual law. A mother wrote a piece for CNN that expresses the outrage and the sentiment of this law not being anti-abortion but instead anti-mother and anti-medicine far better than I could.
- Silver Lining: As potential mothers flee this law and seek states not run by demons that allow a Christian agenda to legitimize torture, the population of Oklahoma will dwindle. Hellions will breed hellions and the lack of a diverse pool will lead to inbreeding BUT this law prevents abortion or fetal diagnosis and unfortunate humans are birthed. The cycle continues until Oklahoma has wiped itself from the map. ….. I’m sorry. I really struggled to see anything positive in this one. But let’s hope there’s some great backlash against this insanity.
- Greece Slips further into Oblivion : Greece spent years misreporting its income and its assets to the rest of Europe, practicing an unsustainable style of generating debt and imagining income. When the global market lost its mind, the Greek recklessness was blown wide open. Recent reports have focused on just how little its citizens have been taxed, the frequency of total evasion, and speculated that 25% of its economy is off the books. That against less than 8% for America’s shadow economy. The IMF bailout is about to turn the drachma (Euro, actually) on its head, hitting an affluent lifestyle hard.
- Silver Lining: It’s been overdue, really. Speculative earnings, misrepresentation, that’s all just bad. It’s easy to understand Angela Merkel’s reluctance to bail out Greece since they were digging their own grave and calling it a swimming pool. Real bonus: it’s so cheap there right now, and tourism prices won’t rebound for years. Good news for me and the Greek girl I’ve been into for a few years.
- Goldman Sachs : I (and Lee) have written enough about this already. Recent news reveals the possibility of a criminal trial against their fraudulent and damaging policies. This, unfortunately, continues to rattle the stock market and hurt the economy, but so what? The deeper I understand their activities, the more fundamentally despicable it all becomes. My concern, though, is that however hard Goldman falls on its knife, it won’t change the system for the better. C’est la guerre, right? Nonetheless, it’s disheartening that it ever reached this level.
- Silver Lining: Kind of built into the news, which isn’t all bad unless you work for Goldman Sachs. The market may become a little more honest, even if its just for a while, and it’s further leverage for Obama to push through financial regulations. Plus, a decidedly evil entity is watching its reputation crumble and the trust it relies on to dupe investors is ebbing away.
Coming soon: The Vatican. I’m about to dig deep into that twisted network of lies and abuse and evaluate the Pope’s responses to the revelations of sin in his own house.
On a side note: I started this blog to encourage my own writing and to force a deeper understanding of the news. My hope has been that a public forum will lead to my own edification and that I can get schooled on a daily basis. I’m grateful to anyone that comments or talks to me about where I’ve been misled, what’s missing, and especially things I get wrong. Thanks. Especially to ol’ lbej for offering original posts that I’d never be able to write.