Recently it occurred to me that every day I go through a commentary on the news with close friends. An edited version of that might be a nice starting point for a regular blog post.
It ends up being an indirect look at the news and often focuses on details which rarely make it to the front page.
I spend a lot of time on our back decks whether I am in Roanoke or on the coast of North Carolina, The one in Roanoke overlooks the town of Roanoke while our Carteret County home has a view of the White Oak River.
Both places tend to prepare my mind for a critical look at the days' event. I don't have an agenda other than to understand what is going on around me. So here is my first shot at commenting on the top five things that interest me each day.
- The number one thing on my mind and that of many Americans is the Gulf Oil Spill. A while back I heard the assertion that the well was not equipped with a remote control shut off valve. This morning I decided to search again for an article that could shed some light on the situation. I found one in the WSJ article, Leaking Oil Well Lacked Safeguard Device. It turns out that in 2003 lobbyists convinced the regulatory folks that they did not need this switch. We will never know whether the switch would stopped the oil, but it is interesting to note that some companies use the switch even without being required. It is not unusual that government regulators are something like foxes guarding the hen house.
- Next I caught a very interesting article by Dana Milbank in the Washington Post. The article, Through oil-fouled water, big government looks better and better, was published May 4th, but I did not see it until doing some research on the oil blowout. It is amusing that all the little government conservatives now want to the federal government to step up and rescue them. You cannot have it both ways, you cannot have a small government which all of sudden becomes big when you need it. I get the biggest kick out of the suggestion that the military fix the problem. When I did a search for deep sea submersibles, all the results coming up were very old. I wonder if research for that was cut in the last decade.
- And this is my last thought on the oil spill. I saw some information suggesting that Sarah Palin thinks Obama is in the back pocket of the oil industry because of campaign donations. That one brought a good chuckle to me. It just happened that my Happy Valley friend, Russ, sent me a link to a Ruth Marcus article, Sarah Palin's fact-free commentary on Paul and BP. It turns out the Palin-McCain campaign got $2.4M compared to Obama's $900K. I guess we know now who got the most money from big oil. Then there is Haliburton which I wish would just go away.
- I came across an interesting Canadian article, STOP THE UNILINGUAPHOBIA!. This brings back memories of a fight I had with the minister of education in the province of New Brunswick when we were farming in late seventies and early eighties. It was clear even then that if you wanted a really good government job in Canada, you needed to be bi-lingual even if you never ran into someone who spoke your second language. When they announced that the local school where our daughter attended was going to drop some of the French language training, we organized the community and started fighting the government's (school board's) decision. We ended up debating the issues in letters to the editor in the local paper. Eventually the minister of education said we should not expect a good education if we lived in the country instead of the city. That was the end of his career as minister of education. I know that the school board with help from the provincial government agreed to do some modernization at the local school to help with the language training. Whether they followed through or not is another question. I joined Apple Computer not longer after, and we moved away.
- If you judge from the commercials on television, Apple is serious about the iPad becoming the next thing we cannot live without. Having worked at Apple for nearly twenty years, I am always a little leery when Steve decides that I need something. It usually means it is incompatible with what I had before, and I have to buy all new stuff and applications. While it might look good on the surface, there are always trade-offs when you buy Apple equipment, just ask the iPhone users who are suffering with AT&T service. Anyway, I was pleased to see this iPad alternative, the Pandigital Novel, pop up yesterday. It is smaller and less expensive than the iPad and comes with software that gives it easy access to Barnes & Noble's large number of ebooks. It is built on the Android operating system, comes with a mini-USB port, and is full color. The price point of $199 is very attractive. If I am going to buy a gadget that I don't need, getting a cheaper ones saves some money. I have some more thoughts on the iPad in this article, Some iPad Feedback.
That is it for today from the Crystal Coast where the driveway is still wet and the clouds are still hanging with us, but tomorrow looks great. I am ready for another beach walk and some serious fishing.
If time permits, I will try another run at another post like tomorrow. Fishing could get me to skip a day. Any feedback would be appreciated.
Fortunately American Idol is about to end for the year so I will not have to demonstrate my lack of musical analysis. I will say that last night I voted three times for Crystal Bowersock. That covers my wife and I and one for good measure. I think Crystal's performance last night was deserving of a win.