Earth to Bush: “Goals aren’t enough and never will be” – An introduction to the tactics of smart energy policy

At the end of this week’s White House-sponsored Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change, President Bush said “We will set a long-term goal for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. By setting this goal, we acknowledge there is a problem. And by setting this goal, we commit ourselves to doing something about it.” Let’s talk a little about how goals work in the real world, starting with an example. Continue reading

VerseDay: in praise of transcendent poetry and good poetry teachers

In fall of 1987 I was in my first semester of an English MA program at Iowa State, and was taking a seminar in contemporary American poets. The class was an eye-opener for me, as I’d not read many poets later than Dylan Thomas, and if you’re going to be a real writer it’s always helpful to know a thing or two about the present day, right?

One of the writers we were reading was Charles Wright, a fellow Southerner who’s won a lot of awards and prizes, up to and including the Pulitzer. I have come to regard him as our finest living poet (although I have to admit that since I still don’t read as many contemporaries as I should, there may be somebody out there better that I just haven’t found yet).

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Blackwater: gettin’ rich while the troops try dyin’

As you know, Blackwater killed a bunch of Iraqi civilians a short time ago. They didn’t apologize – that’s a sign of weakness, as Captain Nathan Brittles tells his young officer corps in John Ford’s classic paean to American arrogance and “manifest destiny” She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, even though the Iraqi “government” tried to revoke their contractor license and expel them from the country. They just kept their own counsel, had Condi Rice apologize for them, and now they’re back doing what they do best – running amok in Iraq while being paid millions and millions and millions of American taxpayers’ dollars.

Oh, come now, you say. Lots of contractors are getting rich in Iraq, you say. Why pick on Blackwater? Continue reading