Over the past few months, Americans have learned a lot about the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline - the oil industry's scheme to pad their profits and expand development in Canada's pristine northern forests.
Recently, President Obama announced that his Administration will expedite pipeline permits including the southern leg of Keystone XL, which runs from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast.
The decision is both incredibly frustrating, considering Keystone's huge threat to wildlife and public health, and confusing - as it comes after months of White House promises to thoroughly review the project before making any decisions.
Tar sands pipelines are dirty, dangerous, and inadequately regulated, as proven by catastrophic spills in the Kalamazoo and Yellowstone rivers. Cleanup crews are still struggling to restore those ecosystems.
Keystone XL is just the tip of the iceberg and Big Oil has big plans for more tar sands pipelines and more exports. President Obama's wrong turn on pipeline safety will have big consequences for Americans and does nothing to address gas prices or employment.
Education needs help from home
There is a story of a boy holding the tiller of a small boat and listening the stories of an old sailor. Being quite absorbed in the tales, he begins veering off course. The old sailor warns him to be more careful steering. He replies. "But the following wind is favorable." The old sailor says. "It is just for that reason that the danger of going off course is so great."
The story illustrates the dilemma we face in education today. The politician (the boy) steering the boat and absorbed in the stories of good old days, when American schools were the best in the world, are trying for the easy solution to improve poor school performance. They believes that testing and evaluating teachers is the way to better school results.
Following favorable wind "public opinion" can have disastrous results on the boat and its crew. Teachers (old sailor) are warning them not to follow the wind but to chart a course for the future. Where more parental involvement and more freedom in curriculum are needed for our destination. It will be tougher but we'll get there safely.
Where are the postmasters?
Years ago cities, villages and towns Post Offices had drops for local mail. Delivery was quick and efficient. We now send all mail to William Street to be sorted by cities, villages and towns and returned to cities, villages and towns.
The proposal now is to send all mail to Rochester to be sorted by cities, villages and towns returned in two to three days, maybe four.
When returned to the cities, villages and towns they have to be sorted again. The postmasters are not doing their job.