Friday, February 03, 2006

Swing and a Miss

My earlier post on the SOTU speech addressed how President Bush wants us to fight our energy dependence one-handed. Addiction metaphor aside, he had a chance to hit that one out of the park. [Metaphor adjustment: Instead, he was like a baseball coach hitting fungoes and missing his own toss... Three times in row.] Whiffing on energy conservation, the environment and their connection to our future economic security wasn’t the only strikeout, as my friend vented immediately after the speech:

It might be important to note some things George Bush did not mention in his speech tonight: New Orleans and remedies needed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, as well as prevention of future disasters, which seem to have been abandoned by Bush and his administration; avian influenza, or bird flu; and the tax-cut-depleted public health and safety infrastructure of our country. Domestic public health and safety are not on his radar screen, except as they intersect with terrorism issues.

He's not just some disaffected liberal looking for additional places he can take potshots. He's an epidemiologist at a major university who's reached a point in his career where he can worry about the country more than about his job. So if he's concerned, I'm concerned.

Although my friend didn’t say so, pollution, hurricanes and bird flu have a greater probable impact on our nation than will terrorist attacks. Just look at the Katrina clean-up progress versus the Twin Towers, the dispersal of the population and the future value of the real estate in both places. But as the president has already shown us, there’s far more political hay to be made from being tough on terror than for taking on Mother Nature.

There’s another reason for this oversight, perhaps. The environment, weather and disease, of course, are viewed as the purview of God, not man, by Mr. Bush. So why shouldn't he address them with faith, hope and prayer, rather than planning, taxpayer investment and scientific problem-solving?

[Note: The second post for yesterday is from Lars. We're working to fix the code so one writer doesn't override another's byline.]

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