What really impresses me about this three-minute video (thanks, Mel), where a young pilot in an emergency situation lands his harrier jet on a “stool,” is not the landing itself but that someone had the foresight to design and deploy such stools in the first place.  Because, when you think about it, was this emergency any more foreseeable — or potentially devastating — than, say, the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster that spewed tens of millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf?  Could a consortium of the giant off-shore oil drillers not have pre-deployed one or two containment domes as a sort of cheap insurance policy against just such a disaster?  One day’s transport time from any rig in the Gulf instead of the 87 days it took to cap the BP spill? Have any such been made and pre-deployed even now?

Indeed, isn’t it generally smarter and cheaper to deal with foreseeable catastrophes in advance — like repairing or replacing decrepit bridges before they collapse?  Or mitigating climate change before most of the world’s major cities have to be moved?

How do we persuade the Republicans in Congress to stop blocking the American Jobs Act that would put so many people back to work repairing our crumbling infrastructure?  How do we persuade them to replace the climate deniers who chair the Senate* and House** science committees with people who actually “believe in” science?

The President’s State of the Union proposals make so much common sense.  For the common good.  But for the party that rejects them, priority #1 — as this Tom Toles cartoon reminds us — is enriching the already best off.


*” . . . ‘God’s still up there [says James Inhofe]. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.'”  (Click here for more Inhofe quotes juxtaposed with science-based rebuttals.)

**”Smith . . . has worked to undermine climate science in his position as chairman of the committee. He’s investigated National Science Foundation grants to researchers working on climate change on the premise that those grants aren’t in the ‘national interest.’  Nor does he seem particularly interested in finding out more about climate science. His committee has held more hearings on aliens than they have on climate science . . .



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