Paula Deen's newest recipe: Strange Fruit Cocktail
It's a common belief we can compare "dirty coal" with "somewhat cleaner natural gas" by looking at the end products. For coal, we need to add up the effects on worker's health, cost of extraction and shipping the product. For NG, big trucks tearing up the land to get to a fracking site, methane leaks at the wellhead, water consumption in fracking, effects of waste water disposal on the sewer and/or water treatment systems and ultimately distribution of the gas all count.
Nuclear energy seems wonderful if you do not have to count the cost of disposal of spent fuel for 100,000 years.
To early man, fire seemed to be a miracle. It was not until much later we found burning all the trees made the air unbreathable and the soil unstable.
All extractive industries have hidden costs. The best approaches include (most often overlooked) conservation with wind, water and solar power. Finally, we all need to ask ourselves if our level of consumption is necessary. Selfishness takes many forms.
@patriot1: There is no argument individuality is quashed in the military IN THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR DUTIES, hence the scorn onto the Abu Graiab reporter. But individuality outside of gang activity or hate crime activity is not so constrained. When on liberty and especially with alcoholic disinhibition involved, individuality reasserts itself mightily.
@patriot1: Sorry, people in the military are people first and military members second. I worry about people who do not interact--we call them sociopaths and I don't want them in my military, thank you. "Social experiments" from integration of the armed forces at Truman's direction to elimination of DADT and soon fair and appropriate prosecution for crimes including rape all serve a single-minded military goal: to get the best contributions to the mission from each and every serving military member. Furthermore, a larger benefit accrues to society when an exemplar exists showing minorities do good things (think, Tuskegee Airmen), women make contributions and deserve respect and worlds do not explode when gays coexist with straights.
Sadly, the Bangladeshi collapse is but the latest in an ongoing saga of exploitation of one group by another which was most memorably foretold over 600 years ago in the Canterbury Tales:
"Radix malorum est cupiditas" (The root of evil is greed)
The list is long and includes such items as:
The Bangladeshi collapse
The child soldiers of Africa
Migrant farm labor ("The Harvest of Shame")
Slavery from 1700's to the present day
The Triangle Shirtwaist fire
Construction of the pyramids of Egypt
Whether done by a CEO, a warlord, an emperor or a pharaoh, the use of power for profit never comes out well.
The real issue is not the lamentation of yet another tragedy--there will always be more--but what we do about it individually and collectively. If we are stuck with production of goods through exploitation, how do we act? After gloating over a $10 shirt, do we send $1 to an effective NGO or a local food bank to lessen the time these workers might be at risk? Or do we just whistle in the dark?
Congress seems fixated on the concern the GTMO detainees will "return to the battlefield" but forgets the detention itself makes more terrorists more effectively than they could ever be if released save such clearly evil people as KSM.
Others still believe these detainees have some valuable secrets. Information is valuable when fresh and useless when old. Gee, they might be able if so inclined to tell us Bin Laden is in Tora Bora. True then, false now and clearly valueless.
It's past time to close the facility, release the chaff and move the wheat to one of the nameless prisons in the Federal system.
Ok, the guns are safe. The children, not so much.
It's the laws that shape a civilization, not who has the biggest stick. The great Paul Scofield says it best: http://youtu.be/PDBiLT3LASk
@WWWTW: "latent enmity" only because Saddam's thumb suppressed the conflict between these two arms of Islam.
Before we ever go to war, we need to have a clear understanding of what victory would be. Our rationale for war in Iraq was manufactured and was itself a shape-shifter: secure oil (the first Pentagon term for the war was to have been Operation Iraqi Liberation until someone wrote out the short version, O-I-L), find WMD, regime change/remove Saddam, bring democracy to the people of the region, etc...
Iraq was and is a hodgepodge of tribal loyalties, created by the arbitrary lines drawn by a British surveyor in the early years of the last century. "Countries" were defined by lines, not people or their histories. Kurds were chopped up between Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey, for example, creating now restive minorities in each country. The elusive stability of the country of Iraq was created by the installation of an autocrat, Saddam, whom everyone feared. We removed him all right, but unleashed the latent enmity between Shi'a and Sunni.
Listening to the punditocracy, it seems we have not learned from this lesson in history, even with a $3T price tag.
@joneses et al.: Forgetting for the purpose of discussion the large impact of caravans of heavy trucks tearing up the land, huge quantities of water used for the process and the resultant noise and air pollution at the wellheads (some of the most polluted air in the US is found at fracking sites in rural western states), the trouble with fracking is that no one knows what goes down the hole. Toluene and benzene have been used (both flammable and toxic). A truly unscrupulous operator could use the well as an opportunity to get money on the side for the dumping of PCBs, radionuclides, dioxins or whatever down the wells.
One thing I have learned is simple: if you think you can "throw something away" you are wrong. There is no "away" anymore. Everything is interconnected and sooner or later we will reap what we sow.
Finally, we may need more energy but even if we became hermits and went "off the grid" we would always need water. Water than burns or ignites or is suffused with radioactive elements is not good for human health.