Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Friday random thoughts

• This begins with a sad memorial, first to my cousin, Becky Visser, who died Wednesday at the age of 21. And second, my condolences and thoughts go out to the family and friends of Michael Ucci, who was killed Saturday night in a car accident, and to the families and friends of Marie Ucci, Justin Baker and Bret Clifton, who were all seriously injured.

• Happy trails to columnist Molly Ivins, who also died Wednesday. The columnist (who I enjoyed reading very much) was famous for her quick wit, effortless turns of phrase and poignant critiques of the nation's most powerful, and her voice will be sorely missed. Her passing leaves a hole in the Tracy Press editorial pages, where her syndicated columns frequently appeared.

• Denial isn't so hot: An authoritative climate study concluded Thursday that it is 90 percent certain that humans are to cause for global warming. Watch the global warming naysayers to seize on that 10 percent uncertainty as "proof" that scientists aren't certain. But think of it this way: If a doctor said he was 90 percent sure you had a form of life-threatening cancer, would you start trying to make yourself better right away, or would you wait until there was 100 percent certainty and you might not have the time necessary to recover?

• We give a lot of grief to the education system when kids fail, but give individual students the credit when they succeed. So while Tracy High's adacemic decathletes surely deserve a round of applause, so do the educators and school system that make their success possible and give their ambition fertile soil to grow from.

• Our local representative, Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, has signed on to a bill that would pull all U.S. troops out of Iraq in six months. It might not be the best plan for the country's stability, but it's nice to see that at least a few in Congress are listening to the overwhelming public sentiment that the war needs to end quickly.

• A California lawmaker wants to make it illegal for residents of the state to buy and use traditional lightbulbs in favor of energy-efficient models. Is this the type of novel idea we need to clean the environment and reduce dependence on foreign oil, or is it one more step on the road toward an authoritarian government?

• Vice President Dick Cheney said Wolf Blitzer was "over the line" questioning him about how he feels regarding his lesbian daughter's pregnancy. I beg to differ Mr. Vice President. Cheney and the administration he is a part of have a record of benefitting politically from vehement opposition — even hate — of gay and lesbian individuals. That administration has even tried to make it unconstitutional for gays and lesbians to enjoy rights heterosexuals take for granted. So, Mr. Cheney, how about it? How can you profit from hatred of lesbians and gays politically and then say questions about your lesbian daughter are over the line?

• My weekly shout-out goes to the Los Angeles Loyolan, the entirely student-run newspaper of Loyola Marymount University (where I served as editor in chief for the 2004-05 school year). They're gearing up for the fifth-annual "First Amendment Education Week" and are inviting conservative blogger Michelle Malkin and liberal blogger Ariana Huffington to a friendly debate. Last year's event featured Ann Coulter and James Carville. Major props to the Loyolan and current EiC Natalie Nordseth for making this the type of event its founders envisioned and for keeping First Amendment issues alive on college campuses.

• Once I've read the final "Harry Potter" book, due out in July, how will I get my magic fix? If I start going to conventions, a-la Trekkies and Star Wars devotees, please kick me in the groin.

• My colleague, Christopher H. Roberts, wrote a thoughtful piece about last weekend's crash that killed a West High student. I recommend reading it here if you have time.

• This week's randomest thought, experienced firsthand during my recent vacation: There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want to.

••• This is the second installment of what I hope to make a weekly tradition. If you have any noteworthy, interesting or offbeat quotes or news items, please send them along to jmendelson@tracypress.com and look for your name to appear in this space. (See, instant fame!). •••

1 comment:

jenny p said...

When I hear the arguement that Global Warming is just a natural phase of the eart and we can look in history and see the earth has natural warming/cooling cycles. Yet has the world ever been so polluted. This is a completely different time from say the dinosaurs were alive. Everyone in 10 years is going to ask themselves why didnt we pay more attention to Global Warming?