Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Obama, Japan, Libya

I'm surprised that Kanye West has not accused Obama of hating the Japanese.

Obama's days since Japan was hit by a devastating tsunami have been filled with activity. These include being filmed while filling out his NCAA brackets for ESPN camera crews. For most of the past few years, I've found myself too busy this time of year to fill mine out. Oh to have the spare time of a president.

Obama also has a strange reaction to natural disasters and death. During the Icelandic volcano and the funeral of the president of Poland, Obama could be found on the links, working on his golf game. He has been filmed recently, again, playing golf. One pundit counted up sixty-one times that the president has played golf since he became president.

When he took office, and these quotes come from the leftist blog "Red, Green, and Blue," Obama promised a new era of responsibility and accused Bush of ineptitude over his response to Katrina. Bush's main mistake lay in choosing to do what he could as president to stem the crisis, i.e. making sure that oil supplies around the world remained stable as the Gulf wells went offline. He did not "appear" to care enough. Obama ignored the Gulf oil spill until his poll numbers started dropping. He also did not learn from the harsh public reaction to his yawn over the tragic death of the Polish president that foreign crises matter too. The president's response to Libya has also raised eyebrows. Obama does not haveto tour the rubble himself, but at the very least he could go without golf for a little while and do some work. Of course he has his next vacation to plan for, so....

Dwight D. Eisenhower also golfed a lot, but his World War II experience assured many Americans that he was on task. Warren Harding loved to golf as well. His inexperience and lazy attitude towards the office of president got him into trouble. I wonder which of the preceding presidents makes us think more of the current administration?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Time to Change the Conversation About Nuclear Power

As I write, yet another nuclear power station in Japan has started having potentially deadly problems. Over 180,000 have evacuated the northern part of the country, fearing nuclear meltdowns. Nature has reminded us yet again that we cannot just build anything that we want, anywhere that we want.

California currently has two nuclear power stations in dangerous areas. One is just south of Los Angeles, the other about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Both are on the coastline. We have just seen that nuclear power stations on the coastline and in earthquake zones might be a bad idea. You would have thought that someone would have considered this when these stations were built.

Over the long term, we need to evaluate where these plants are located. Do they operate in potentially dangerous areas (like the California coast?) If so, we must consider removing them in the long term. No one prepares for earthquakes and tsunamis like Japan and they have come very close to serious disaster.

A full nuclear meltdown would have disastrous effects for hundreds of miles. We must be prepared for the worst.

Monday, March 14, 2011

American Professor Kidnapped in Mexico

Dr. Veronica Perez Rodriguez, an anthropology professor at Northern Arizona University has been added to the growing list of Americans victimized by violent crime in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Ciudad Juarez has seen the death of thirty-nine Americans in the past year. Dr. Rodriguez was kidnapped by armed gunmen while visiting her mother. Americans are under threat around the globe as criminal cartels act with increasing boldness.

It's time that we start changing our approach to non governmental threats. Pirates in the Indian Ocean are captured and put on trial. We can spend a lot of money to put them on trial and keep them in prison when we could expend much less to simply blast them into perdition. We do it to ideologically driven terrorists, why not pirates?

The Mexican border area has gotten a lot more dangerous over the last few years. Drug cartels control Ciudad Juarez and large sections of the borderland near the border. That violence is targeting Americans on both sides of the border. With Mexico's system approaching collapse, our border control must reflect the changing scenario. Rule of law in Mexico has degenerated into rule of violence and corruption.

Mexico's problems are also ours. Dr. Rodriguez was a daughter and an academic, not a drug runner. The fact that she was targeted and taken is an outrage. It is past time to send in the Central Intelligence Agency and the Special Forces to break down and break up these criminal organizations. Americans on either side of the border should not have to live or travel in the atmosphere of fear spawned by these drug cartels anymore.