Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Oil spills, oil schmills

So the Cons have announced they're raising the penalty for offshore oil spills - from $161 million to $2 billion ($400 million for the actual offence, the rest for environmental damage). It's not just they're not kidding anyone. It's that they made the announcement on the East Coast where the risk is way less than a spill on the West Coast -- where tar sands oil would be headed, the higher sulphur content would mean greater damage.

If Exxon and British Petroleum were willing to pony up for damages to the Alaska and Gulf coasts, respectively, why should anyone here get off the hook for the same or worse the costs borne by the taxpayer? Corporate responsibility relies partly on governments setting tough rules, especially here when endangered and threatened species may be on the line, not to mention the livelihoods of those who make a living off the sea.

This is just another ticket to ride. The penalties have to be way stronger than this.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Arkansas sees the light; who next?

Four states in the South (via the courts) have now recognized gay marriage: Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma ... and now Arkansas. The latter three are actually quite conservative, which is one thing; but what makes the Arkansas ruling interesting is that the court didn't use "strict scrutiny" to strike down the law, instead it used the "rational relation" test which in civil rights cases is a much easier burden for states which want to uphold a law. Judge Chris Piazza said there was no rational basis for the provision in the state constitution that banned the practice.

Of course not.  There is no rational basis for banning gay marriage, period. And it's way past time to get the issue before the Supreme Court so they can rule if it's legal for all in America. SCOTUS struck down DOMA and Prop 8 last year so it I think it isn't a stretch how they'd rule now. The will of the people is rising on this one. Just get it done so there can be "equal justice for all".