Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Jason Warick reports on how the Cons' decison to gut federal environmental assessments will have a particularly acute effect on Saskatchewan:
The federal government has cancelled nearly 700 environmental assessments in Saskatchewan for oil wells and pipelines, sewage lagoons, hydro projects, a major uranium tailings facility and other operations.

Saskatchewan is by far the province most affected by the cancellation of nearly 3,000 assessments nationwide.

“It’s extremely significant,” said Bram Noble, a University of Saskatchewan geography professor who has years of experience teaching and conducting national environmental assessments.

“It’s a lot to be concerned about. It’s the only tool we have.”

Noble called the decision to scrap the assessments “unprecedented” and “a step backward.”
- Meanwhile, Edward Greenspan and Anthony Doob duly call out the Cons for a dumb-on-crime mindset that's focused solely on marketing rather than public safety or crime reduction. 

- In the wake of Neil Armstrong's passing this weekend, David Atkins contrasts the mindset behind the moon landing against today's utter lack of a sense of greater common purpose:
His walk on the moon was the result of thousands of individuals working tirelessly to bring the impossible to fruition, and the result of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars (in today's money) to make one of humanity's oldest dreams come true. For that reason, we can all share in Neil's accomplishment even if only by proxy. Or at least, those of us who were alive at the time can do so. Of my generation I'm not so certain, though I would state emphatically the blame does not lie with us.

Neil's was an accomplishment undertaken at a time when we still believed we were capable of great things. A time when the common good and furtherance of the human spirit were more important than personal greed. A time when a President could utter the phrase "Ask not what your Country can do for you, but what you can do for your Country" and not be mocked for his optimism.

It was a time before Reagan. Before "Greed is Good." It was a time when a President could truly declare a "War on Poverty" without ridicule. Before the drabness of "Welfare Reform" became the sort of meager and churlish thing the press would hail as forward-thinking and bold.

It was a time when the health and wealth of the nation was seen as bound up in the heights to which our science, learning, and social justice could aspire. It was a time before we allowed our collective health and wealth to be measured by as meaningless, lackluster and empty a symbol as the the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
My generational cohorts and I know nothing but this. This all too petty, all too drab, all too villainous smallness of being. It is time for moral and spiritual rebirth.

So rest in peace, Neil Armstrong. And may my generation begin the process of rebuilding the greatness that took you to such exalted heights, and repairing the damage wrought by the Reagan Devolution. 
- Finally, Ta-Nehisi Coates' commentary on the state of race relations in the U.S. is well worth the (relatively lengthy) read.

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