I’ve been interested in history for a good part of my life. Besides taking history courses in school and reading on my own, there were also history lessons imbedded in many of my other classes. That’s why I understand that regulations are necessary. There were reasons we have antitrust acts. There were reasons why we regulate food, drugs, and cosmetics. There were reasons we have banking and financial regulations. There were reasons why we have environmental regulations. There were reasons we have building codes, fire regulations, occupational safety regulations, and a host of others. The reasons? Large numbers of very painful lessons that were taught before those regulations came to be.
Over the past few months, federal and state courts have been finding that state bans on marriage equality or recognizing LGBT marriages are unconstitutional. Utah was the first, and it’s since been followed by Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, Kentucky, and New Mexico. While most of these are being appealed, Virginia’s is not, and in Kentucky, the Attorney General has refused to appeal, so an outside counsel will be used. In reaction, several states are attempting “religious freedom” bills to allow people to refuse LGBT’s on the basis of “religious objections.” Arizona, Kansas, and Indiana have all attempted it, with … poor results. Arizona’s governor vetoed the bill after massive backlash, while Kansas and Indiana allowed their bills to die in the legislatures. It’s not unexpected that there is going to be this sort of reaction, particularly in the “Red States,” where Republicans hold control and are acting on their base’s demands.
Recently, the Defense Department announced its plan to reduce military forces, due to the coming end of our involvement in Afghanistan, and reductions in budgets.
“It’s the first budget that’s not a budget based on war footing. We’ve been at war for 13 years constantly, two wars,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “Not unlike after every war the United States has been in, you reset your posture. You reset your assets. You reset your whole enterprise based on the new realities and based on preparing that institution for the challenges of the future. “
Hagel also placed part of the blame for the proposed shifts in spending on Congress.
Quite predictably, the Republicans started to scream about the cuts in forces.
One of the first agricultural techniques, which is still practiced in many parts of the world, is “slash and burn agriculture.” It’s pretty simple:
Slash-and-burn is an agricultural technique that involves cutting and burning of trees and plants in forests or woodlands to create fields. It is subsistence agriculture that typically uses little technology or other tools. It is typically part of shifting cultivation agriculture, and of transhumance livestock herding.
It works by clearing an area, planting crops until the soil is depleted, and then moving on to the next area. Eventually, one may move back to the original area, after a period of allowing regrowth, but that isn’t always possible. Its use as a successful method depends on having a small population and a lot of land to move to. The problem with it is that it’s not a sustainable method of agriculture. Once you reach a certain population density, or have exhausted the land available, it becomes unsustainable. So, what does that have to do with the economy?
The same arguments that were trotted out in 1967 are in vogue today. It’s “too expensive,”and “too burdensome.” It’s short-term thinking, and it’s sad. There was a time when both parties said “enough!,” and thought that rivers shouldn’t catch on fire. They had the will to do it, and it worked. Maybe it worked too well. Maybe if they could still smell the rivers, their constituents were getting sick with water-borne diseases, and they could watch fires on water, they’d realize that there was a problem.
In just the past few months, there have been a number of incidents which have, again, brought up the need for regulation and enforcement. Besides the chemical spill by the ironically named “Freedom Industries,” West Virginia also had a massive coal slurry spill into the rivers from a company called “Patriot Coal.” In North Carolina, a coal ash spill has contaminated the Dan River, which provides drinking water to two states.