Hope you are staying warm and safe considering the weather hitting so much of the country. We are definitely staying inside and warm. Single digits--low single digits--for temperatures right now and tomorrow looks colder when those temperatures won't get above what we have now. The weather people are predicting a record setting low well into the negative numbers tomorrow morning. We love the remote start feature of our new-to-us car. But even with that we aren't going anywhere we don't absolutely have to. Mother Nature seems to be reminding us that we really are still a part of and at the mercy of nature not something apart from it and immune from it. That we should have to adjust our lives to natural phenomena is as somewhat alien notion.
I do love how the Onion manages to skewer parts of our society with humor. This post tells the truth about most of our healthcare (or, as a couple of my favorite bloggers calls it, sickcare) industry--it specializes in monetizing illness. It is very effective at removing money from our pockets and putting it in theirs--often with little real, lasting benefit to us.
I notice that our news outlets aren't talking much about the derailed train of oil tankers in West Virginia. The most common response to earlier accidents has been a call for "safer" tanker cars that are more resistant to punctures in case of an accident. But the train that went off the rails in West Virginia was hauling new puncture-resistant cars. If we want the oil (and the products from it that drive our industrial life) we do have to accept a certain amount of risk. After all, the oil and its products do have to be transported and accidents do happen. But the companies involved seem to have little regard for the people living nearby. They resist any attempt to force them to inform anyone of when hazardous materials are going through and they pay as little recompense as they can for the harm they cause. It another case of privatized profits and socialized costs. They don't pay; we do.
I am keeping this in my in-box for a while because I want to read it a couple of times over. I like that phrase "empire of chaos" and the fact that such a thing is ungovernable by definition. It ties into a thought we had yesterday when reading about the Texas judge who has issued an injunction against the Obama administration's executive order on deportations. We weren't terribly surprised because continues a pattern we have noticed over the last couple of decades. We have become an ungovernable nation. Elections don't matter because the losing party will stymie anything the winners want to put in place. Our elected leaders have long mistaken ambition for principle and demonized opponents. When you can't see anything good about the other side, even when they propose your own past positions, means, by definition, you can't compromise. There is no national "we" to do anything any more.
This little piece from Dutch News reinforces the arguments I made about the rail accident above. Fracking in Groningen in the Netherlands has been accompanied by increasing earthquakes and a recent report has ruled that public safety has taken a backseat to profits. Residents have gotten little satisfaction from either the drillers or the national government. Private profits; public risk.