John Andrist: Executive Orders and Other Stuff

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters while signing an executive order at the White House in Washington January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Executive orders issued by the president are mostly efforts by a sitting president to effect policy without consent of the Congress, our law making body.

Poor policy. But the order to cancel the “Waters of the U.S.” executive order promulgated by President Obama’s EPA should bring a sigh of relief in North Dakota.

I can’t imagine why it mostly flew under the radar of public consciousness, because in one fell swoop it would have put every prairie pot hole under federal control.

There are tens of thousands of them in our state. That’s why we are the largest duck breeding factory in the nation.

The order also represented a huge threat to our mining sector, and possibly to our oil drilling industry. It’s hard to imagine what the EPA hoped to stop when they issued the order, although it seems pretty likely they thought it was a good tool to stop fossil fuel production.

But from the perspective of a farmer, can you imagine a world where you had to apply for a federal permit to hay one of the thousands of potholes that provide our cattle feed? Or to hay a roadside ditch that held water?

Dumb idea .  .  . or stupid?

Scientists tell us there really is no such thing as cold; rather, it is simply an absence of heat. Likewise, dark isn’t really dark. It’s an absence of light.

So I’m wondering, since we seem so fond of labeling people as dumb, if what we really mean is absence of intellect?

This is a bit academic, because the word is mostly misused anyway, because what it really means is “unable to speak.” Just about everybody called dumb is far from speechless. We are more inclined to label people as dumb because of the words they speak, rather than silence.

Stupid is a term that is just as demeaning, but at least it’s what most of us mean when we say dumb.

Stupid is a term that is just as demeaning, but at least it’s what most of us mean when we say dumb.

The globe really is warming

I’m not a global warming denier. I believe what scientists tell us that average temperatures have risen between one and two degrees in the past 30 or 40 years.

It also fits my logic, that with some eight billion of us breathing, heating and cooling our abodes, and driving a gazillion automobiles, CO2 must be rising.

That’s almost four times as many as were living on this planet when I was a boy. My logic also tells me it is strange that temperatures and CO2 levels have not risen much more dramatically, but I’m not very smart about understanding such things as where CO2 ends up when it goes away.

Where my skepticism lies is I don’t think science really has a clue about our ability to change climate.

They have tried for years to increase rain or suppress hail by cloud seeding, but most folks don’t really believe it works.

Reaching all the objectives climate scientists have set for us will at best reduce CO2 by only a small fraction of all that is up there.

That seems like trying to lower the ocean with a teacup.

Yet I do have faith in the ability of science to solve problems, and if this warming thing isn’t resolved by nature we will find the solution.

Information in virtually every field is growing exponentially. Who knows what science will come up with in the next 50 years?

There is even a possibility that we will start cooling again, as those scientists said we were doing back in the Jimmy Carter years when we were worrying about freezing in the dark.

If God created this place he will not likely abandon it. Usually he gives us the ability to find solutions for our problems. He just likes to throw rocks in our roadway.

Like cancer. Remember? At one time we feared leprosy, small pox and polio. Then he helped us figure it out.

We needed desperately to find ways to grow more food. God and our farmers have figured that out.

Communication in an interdependent world became necessary. Then he helped us figure out telephones and telegraphs and electricity and radio and television.

We’ve figured out how to stop most city smog, and how to clean up polluted rivers and streams. One hundred years ago the Erie Canal was called a sewer. No more.

Look how far we have come since Henry Ford invented the Model T.

Someday we may have this computer thing figured out so well that even somebody as stupid as me can  handle it.

Worth a laugh

A  friend of mine has two tickets for the 2018 super bowl, both great seats. He paid $2,500 for each ticket.

But he recently proposed marriage and inadvertently set the wedding date on the same day as the super bowl.

If you are interested, he is looking for someone to take his place! It’s at the Lutheran Church in Maple Grove, 3 p.m. Her name is Judy McNeill. She is 5’1”, about 120 pounds. She’s a good cook too, and she will be the one in the white dress.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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