Penny-wise, pound-foolish with fire protection

I have noted repeatedly over the years how all eyes are focused on the budget and none on the actual leading to incredibly stupid decisions at the government level. The Dallas Morning News (09.15.2011) reports that the state Forest Service budget was underfunded by some $10 million so as to ensure that the “budget” was balanced. Continue reading

Snow day

Back home and we are being blessed by a light dusting of snow. Hard to believe we were paddling in the warm sunshine less than two weeks ago and now we are looking out on a -5C day. What is there about snow that is so attractive? The white blanket makes the world look quite magical. Ours is less than 1/2 inch deep but it is enough to create an illusion of real snow. As I type, a black kitty with a patch of white on his chest is running across our white lawn and the contrast is almost like the races in My Fair Lady. It is all just magic.

Tax free services

Dallas had a record snow fall this month — an unheard of 12 inches — which caused huge destruction of trees everywhere in the city. Everywhere one goes in the city one sees piles of debris stacked high on the sidewalk. Who is going to pick this stuff up? And who is going to pay for it? Everyone from the most conservative Republican to the most progressive Democrat has simply dumped their brush wood on the street expecting that someone else will come along and pick it up. The much maligned guv’mint perhaps or maybe the tooth fairy? I’ve yet to hear anyone suggest that we should pay a special levy to have this trash collected. Some amorphous “other” will pick it all up — apparently for free — why should we pay. (Yes we did pay taxes but those don’t cover the costs of a record breaking snow fall. That was NOT in the city’s budget. Picking up all this extra trash will mean that someone will get laid off next year or some program will be underfunded. But, that’s not our problem.) I think it is emblematic of much that ails our society today.

Our air-conditioning went out yesterday

I talk a big story about being environmentally conscious, drive a small car etc and etc but two days ago our air-conditioning went out. As temperatures outside rose into the 90’s, the temperature inside soared into the 80’s – and I wilted. I realized as the day went by and I got nothing done partly because of the heat and largely because I had been unable to sleep because of the heat that I simply could not live where I do were it not for air-conditioning. I am as much a child of my age as any of those folks driving their big SUV’s that I like to criticize. If we are to get serious about climate change then we all need to change our lifestyles dramatically – me as much as they. Continue reading