By Rich Lowry
The Hendricks County Flyer
Fri Mar 08, 2013, 01:58 PM EST
When progressives talk of government, it is in an alluring can-do spirit. Making the case for more spending, President Barack Obama invokes the 19th century as a heroic age that built government-supported railroads. MSNBC hosts pose in front of monumental 20th-century public-works projects and speak of what all of us can do together.
This is all well and good as nostalgia, but is utterly detached from the spirit and the practices of 21st-century government. We don't excel at building things. We excel at studying things, and putting up obstacles to building them. We delay, cavil and sue. We protest and micromanage. It is not the age of the engineer but of the bureaucrat, the lawyer, and the environmental activist.
Consider the proposed Keystone pipeline to connect the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, with the Gulf Coast. The Obama administration has been happy to keep the nation's foremost shovel-ready project in a state of suspended animation for years, so it can be constantly studied toward no end whatsoever except placating people with a theological objection to pipelines.
For a taste of the 21st-century American attitude toward building things, I direct your attention to Volume 2 - not Volume 1, 3, or 4 - of the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, not to be confused with the three prior environmental studies, including one in August 2011 that was erroneously called the Final Environmental Impact Statement.
Therein is a section considering the pipeline's impact on endangered and potentially endangered animals and plants. It evaluates the effect on everything from the Sprague's Pipit to the blowout penstemon, although special attention is devoted to the American burying beetle. Just like your congressman, the beetle is a "federally protected invertebrate."
It lives in a handful of counties to be traversed by the pipeline in Nebraska and South Dakota. Its habitat could be disrupted. It could be hit by trucks. If the pipeline heats the ground, beetles burrowed into the soil for the winter could be fooled into emerging prematurely. Artificial lighting could expose it to increased predation.
March 3, 2014
February 27, 2014
February 26, 2014
There was a wide array of reactions to Seattle DB Richard Sherman’s post-game “interview” with Erin Andrews following the Seahawks’ NFC title win over San Francisco.
Mine? Laughter, as the shout-down was the most entertaining thing I saw all day.
January 28, 2014
Butler is still a long way from saving its 2013-14 men’s basketball season, but if the Bulldogs turn it around fully and reach the NCAA Tournament, it will have started this past Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
January 21, 2014
A fine season for the Indianapolis Colts ended with a whimper Saturday at New England, but in recent team history, it was far from the most disappointing postseason defeat.
January 14, 2014
The Indianapolis Colts’ miraculous 45-44 wild card victory over Kansas City on Saturday ended just after 8 p.m. After leaving Lucas Oil Stadium, it took until around midnight for the pounding in my head to subside.
January 7, 2014
December 31, 2013
An NPR broadcast examines the question of how communities can better prepare for tornadoes like the one that struck Moore, Okla. on Monday. The broadcast features commentary from Michael Fitzgerald, who reported a five-part disaster series for the CNHI News Service.
May 22, 2013
Part I: Are We Prepared? | Part II: Disaster Dollars Part III: Lessons Learned | Part IV: Warning Signs Part V: The Big One
The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.
April 23, 2014
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