June 29, 2010

A changed landscape

The death of Senator Robert C. Byrd was a loss in many ways for many people. His life was a vivid testimony to the fact that people can keep changing and growing throughout their lives. It's an example and a challenge that will be tough to live up to.

The timing of his death was unfortunate in itself as the nation gears up for debate on energy and climate change issues. Byrd was the only West Virginia leader to take a strong, studied and independent stand on these issues and his voice and vote would have been crucial in making the next steps.

It's sad to say--and I'd really like to be wrong about this--but the great majority of state political leaders are likely, however unintentionally, to work diligently to block and obstruct any effort to seriously deal with climate change, an effort which, if successful, will help to ensure a dismal future for humanity. Coal controversies here are likely to get uglier and uglier without the voice of someone of his stature calling for a reasoned approach.

He leaves a void that is unlikely to be filled.

MORE ON BYRD. Here's Ken Ward's look back at Senator Byrd's changing position on coal and climate over the years. And here's the NY Times obituary.

RECESSION OR DEPRESSION? If it's the latter, blame a failure of public policy.

A CASE IN POINT is made in this op-ed by yours truly about the failure of the Senate to address unemployment and aid to states.

IT'S NOT ALL BAD. It looks like the nation is rethinking its approach to crime and punishment (the real thing, not the novel).

WANDERING MINDS may not be a bad thing.


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