I am not prone to writer's block, but every now and then it is as though there is so much going on that is important I don't know where to start. How about the recent not guilty verdict handed down in the George Zimmerman murder trial?
There are two sides, and then some, to this "travesty" as Zimmerman's attorney, West, put it. But just where does the travesty start and end? Should Zimmerman have been following Trayvon Martin in the first place? Was Trayvon Martin up to no good in a community that had seen its share of break-ins and burglaries by young men? Who was it crying for help? Was Martin on top slamming Zimmerman's head into the concrete sidewalk while reaching for Zimmerman's holstered gun? Or, was it Zimmerman on top as one of the callers into 911 said? Zimmerman definitely had injuries to his head and nose, and Martin is definitely dead, but the questions of who pursued whom and why didn't Zimmerman back off as he was told by the 911 operator, and did Martin jump from behind bushes and attack Zimmerman are just a few. Was justice served?
And then we have Eric Snowden, the NSA leaker. The latest reports indicate that Snowden is still in Russia under the protection of Putin who has given asylum to Snowden if he agrees not to release information that is harmful to the U.S. I wonder if Putin will mind if Snowden releases information to him?
And what is it that Snowden has anyway; didn't he give all of the information and computer hard-drives to the Chinese? Don't other nations use NSA surveillance as well? I wonder what Snowden's motive is; he has had his fifteen minutes of fame, the CIA is closing in on him, and eventually he will be tried for treason - maybe in abstention or worse yet, for him, posthumously.
The Farm Bill was defeated in the House with a vote of 216-208. The food stamp subsidy was removed with the Republicans promising to consider this under a different bill or program. However, there is much debate over this issue as well - some say the food stamp subsidy won't be adversely affected, and others swear that children and the elderly will be forced to go hungry now that this provision has been tampered with. The Senate still has a chance to get involved, and the President is swearing that he won't sign anything that takes away food stamps - we'll see if our dysfunctional congress can agree on this hotly debated and much needed support for the farmers.
Let us not forget immigration. Again, we have the voices emanating from both sides of the aisle with only their own personal agendas being considered. We saw President George W. Bush come out this past week and ask that his party reach agreement on meaningful immigration. But the tea party group is holding firm, with heels dug in and fingers pointing; once again a needed policy will be swept aside for political gain.
Governor Perry has agreed to retire, but not without winning his fight on the issue of abortion. Now I may be going out on a limb here since I don't usually agree with Governor Perry, but if my research is correct fetal development happens fairly fast. For instance, by the 22nd day, the heart begins to beat with the baby's own blood, and by week six, brain waves are detectable, and by the eighth week, every organ is in place and bones begin to replace cartilage. There are always exceptions. There are always plausible arguments for and against abortions; but 26 weeks! Women need appropriate healthcare. Children need to be seen as little people, not objects to be tossed aside at the convenience of another. We need to study this issue and think about the consequences, the feelings of the mother and of the baby.
On the home front here in Chautauqua County, we are anxiously awaiting the decision by the New York State Public Service Commission as to whether or not they will accept the proposal of National Grid to rebuild their transmission lines and supply electric power to our region from Pennsylvania and Canada, or if they will allow NRG to build a natural gas dual-cycle plant and continue to do business in Dunkirk. If the PSC turns down NRG's proposal, the City of Dunkirk and the entire Chautauqua County area will feel a devastating effect. Again, however, in this instance we have grandstanding, arm-twisting and narcissism at play - I fear it will come down to who has the deepest pockets and the bigger stick.
Yep, there is a potpourri of issues to be considered today, tomorrow and the days ahead of us. Think about 'em.
Have a great day.
Vicki Westling is a Dunkirk resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org