Friday, April 30, 2010

Oil Vision

Today my Facebook feed featured an interesting conversation about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The conversations addressed the fact that (1) this was a freak accident; and (2) asked what I thought we should be using for fuel other than oil. Let me address both of these points in turn:

1. Yes, this is a freak accident. Oil platforms aren't exploding all over the place.  But freak accidents don't mean we shouldn't still reduce offshore oil drilling. An accident like this could cost billions of dollars to clean up, destroy industries (i.e. fishing), and obliterate an ecosystem. The problem with the assertion that this is a freak occurrence and should not discourage continued offshore drilling efforts is that there is still something wrong with the drilling process. As drilling expands, the probability of accidents happening increases.

2. Oil is of course the main source of energy we currently use, but that does not mean its primacy should continue. A concentrated effort on using and developing alternative energy (solar, wind, and hydro) would reduce our dependence on oil. And in addition, if we enhance public transportation systems, we can easily reduce the use of oil.

It is easy for us Midwesterners to feel far away from this problem, but for a moment, imagine what an oil spill would do to Lake Michigan, and see if your perspective changes.

edited by John O'Connor

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The F?

After receiving hundreds -nay, thousands of emails over the past few weeks wondering where the posts have been on the O-blog, well, you've been heard. We've all had broken legs, been sick, had to work, our cars broke down, and our computers died temporarily. I, in particular, have been riding my motorcycle for the past 3 weeks straight, and when I tried to write a post, my desktop fell off the handlebars, which I guess was for the best since my LAN had a horrible internet connection anyway.

So what will this post be about, anxious reader(s)? I guess you'll just have to wait until tomorrow, but here's a hint: the best comment will determine the subject!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Walrus Wonders: WTF were the Eagles thinking?!?

Ohr Ohr!

So my Walrus Wonders question about McNabb was answered this weekend by . . . The Redskins?!? An Eagles intradivisional opponent?!? Let's try to wrap our heads around this whole thing, and see who got the better end of this deal:

Eagles Got: 2010 2nd round pick; and either 3rd or 4th round pick in 2011

The Eagles received 2 picks early picks for an aging quarterback.  They clearly think Kevin Kolb is McNabb's heir-apparent. But the Eagles could still use some immediate help -- They've got free agents leaving and their team isn't as young as it used to be. At first glance, this trade seemed like a ridiculous idea to me, but it's possible they got just enough from the Redskins to make things work.

I also heard in the posted clip that the Eagles wanted to trade McNabb to a destination where he felt comfortable. That, my friends, is classy. There really aren't many organizations that care enough about player trade demands to honor them.  I'm thoroughly pleased the Eagles did what they could to take Donovan McNabb's wishes into account here.

Redskins Got: Donovan McNabb

The Redskins gave up two early round draft picks to bring another QB into the mix. Looking at the Redskins' roster, they now have 3 All-Pro RBs and 2 All-Pro QBs. Not even Mike Shanahan is going to be able to fix this train wreck Snyder's created. Unless  Washington plans to run some kind of super-wildcat offense, I think  the Redskins may have gotten worse in an effort to improve.

So to me, it seems that the Eagles, in releasing McNabb, may just have been a very, very smart decision. I'm still not comfortable with intradivision trading, but great move Philly!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Danger of Words

Throughout the health care fight, Republicans have used increasingly sharp rhetoric.  Conservative party members have thrown about emotionally charged terms to energize their base against progressive health care reform. But inflammatory rhetoric, including references to reloading instead of "retreating", and the passage of health care reform as being tantamount to armageddon, has caused some rather frightening results. Threats of violence against Democractic leaders might have been expected, but now even Republicans seem to be at risk. This week, Senator Eric Cantor (R -Virginia) announced that an anonymous shooter fired a shot through a window at his Richmond, Virginia campaign office.

I was not surprised to see so many Democrats receive death threats, nor was I surprised by the fact that people vandalized Democratic Congressional offices in these first days following the passage of healthcare legislation. But what I think Republicans do not understand is that when conservatives ratchet up their rhetoric to the point where listeners begin inferring an endorsement for violence, crazies on both the left and right will answer the call.  I'm by no means trying to imply that all Republicans have inferred that a violent reaction is an appropriate reaction in this case.  John Boehner (R - Ohio) has decried the violence and threats against members of Congress.  But I am saying that there is a great irony in the fact that those on the Right have implicitly encouraged violence and threats through their rhetoric, regardless of their public position regarding the results engendered by their words.

It is the responsibility of all elected officials to represent their entire district, state, and country, not just the sector they think is most likely to reelect them.  But how can conservative members of Congress members claim to be responsible when they don't speak out against violence and threats until after inciting these acts?

Edited by John O'Connor