Tag Archives: The US Senate

The Midterm Elections and Some Issues Beyond

This is the day before election day.  I have a lot to try and discuss here although it my second post on this election. The first can be seen just here and has some useful links and a guide to the constitutional amendments. But this election has a context and this post is part of my effort to provide some context for this post.

In less than twenty four hours the polls will open in Louisiana. This is after a week of early voting which for us closes a week before election day itself. The election will matter for certain.  I feel that my own life is very much in a mode where I know that anything I choose to write is simply  a small chance of expressing some concerns and trying to discuss what is of interest to readers. There is no longer a great chance that I will exercise any kind of direct influence over the offices or issues I discuss in the way that some people thought I might when I was younger.

I do feel that as we vote in the Senate election there are some issues related to the current news which are worth mentioning. We feel in many parts of this country and the world that America is losing its step and has lost some of its path. Most Americans do not feel that the country is heading in the right direction. I am writing this post amid a number of relatively serious problems related to the act of posting itself. This has been a perpetual part of my life for as long as I can remember — there have been major obstacles which involved technically executing a task which tend to overshadow any problems with whatever plan or program I might be discussing or proposing. I have had good functionality with the blog but today it is bad as it ever was in its worst days — and perhaps it was never as bad as today. But by the time I post it those issues may be resolved. The world changes fast and those elected tomorrow may not know what the greatest issues facing them will be. Nor do those in the Senate know who will be President for the majority of the term to which they are being elected.

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

 

There are issues related to space in the news today and over the last few days. Space in my opinion as important an issue as there is and you can touch on some of my views on the subject here, here, and here. However, space flights have always been risky.  One of the bigger risks is how much space is not an issue in this election.  That alone could indicate to me where we are going in terms of dealing with the real challenges of the human species and global civilization heading into the future. I am sure some Senate races are dealing with space but Louisiana’s is not much if at all concerned with it. Louisiana’s race may yet come to great prominence. Some are predicting this and granting its likely place in the national conversation.

NASA stock footage loose in the world reminds us of where we can go.

NASA stock footage loose in the world reminds us of where we can go.

“All politics are local” the old saying goes. On that basis we may understand why Ebola, the issues rocking Ferguson, Missouri and the issues related to water management in the Western United States do not feature prominently here. We have a new pipeline based oil spill. We have ruins in old flood zones by the acre.  We have issues with higher and other public education funding. Louisiana’s race does deal with the Obama Presidency, the issues of Medicare, the AHCA  (or Obamacare), the records of the candidates and how each candidate reacts to immigration issues.  There is discussion of the economy which is national.

Familiar Greenbacks

America is used to paper money as a great symbol of National unity as well as the tangible form of our unifying preoccupation.

They are not much discussing Britany Maynard’s suicide, the violence perpetrated by professional athletes, the rise of ISIS or other issues that provide a context for what all of us here them saying. I think that the US system has some real benefits it derives from a system where the President and Vice President are truly elected  in a national contest which involves states only as means to that national goal and a legislature which really is composed of state elected officials. Of course there are costs to this system as well. But each member of both houses is likely to know something about the State that elects them or within which they are elected.

Maness, Landrieu and Cassidy all have to show that they connect with past challenges. They have to show that they can lead in future crises. But it is hard to say if the national political realities will eclipse some of these memories. Memories of storms and oil spills and their legacies.

A flotilla of shrimp boats adapted for skimming oil.

A flotilla of shrimp boats adapted for skimming oil.

The news is bleak on many aspects of foreign affairs and that will certainly hurt Landrieu who is closely tied to the President. There is recent new from Syria that is very bad indeed as seen here but may in reality be even worse news. Louisiana has paid a good share of the cost for all these wars in that region in the lives and time of the military personnel and their families.  But we remember the National Guard elsewhere as well. The struggle to defend our coasts is endless.

National Guard fights a different battle

National Guard fights a different battle

Whoever comes to power there will be issues related to sex, the sanctity of life, quality of life, racial harmony and constitutional reform. The truth is that few Americans are optimistic that those they elect will effectively deal with these challenges. But I hope all who read me and can vote will do so. I hope that in voting they will know that writing to congress, local elections, civic participation and good citizenship will all be required as follow-up. I am in favor of larger changes but also of working hard to make the best of what we have and trying to make it work.  We really do need a government. People have shown themselves unhappy with their government for a long time but it is becoming a very serious issue now. This poll is the best indication yet of  what people are feeling.

BP Begins Static Kill of Well: Stage Two

I have occasionally offered links to a BP site but not really given them the primary spot on anything as long as their oil was continuing to spew ever more death into the Gulf of Mexico. However, they now claim that they have initiated static kill and are also trying to remain engaged in clean-up and recovery. So I thought this was the time after many other posts to allow them the principal and premiere position to describe their situation and operations. Here is that link:  http://bp.concerts.com/gom/houma_command_center_update_073110.htm

In addition to all that we have to address from this spill and ongoing challenges we have to face the fact the human and political challenges are ongoing and very serious as well. There is no limit to the  amount of confusion and conflict which can bedevil our efforts to find the right way forward.  Already we see the Senate shying away from the onerous aspects of the process we must undergo to find resolution: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0810/40597.html

I am regarding all these more than one hundred days of activity as the first phase. Today we enter the second phase. It will be interesting to see how ell we can handle it in this world of flawed and busy people working in flawed and busy systems. But for now we can hope for the best.

Finding the Way Forward

I am having one of those days where some small problems seem intractable. I have a library book that seems to have gotten misfiled. It is iritating and problematic and not likely to be resolved quickly in a great way — although it might. Then I heard from several friends of old friends recently and yet seem not much closer to getting in touch with those friends with whom I have fallen out of touch. There are lots of little glitches, obstacles and delays in any life.

Political life is like that too. Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman is discussing joining the Republican filibuster to block passage of the Public Option version of the Healthcare Reform legislation. He is just another person who is making it hard for the Obama administration to pass its agenda.