Daily Archives: Oct. 24, 2007

California wildfires evidence of climate change

Climate change is fueling mega-wildfires such as the ones scorching Southern California this week, according to one of the world’s foremost experts on fire ecology, professor Tom Swetnam of the University of Arizona.
He told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that climate change has raised temperatures by about one degree in the West, creating drier conditions and sparking a fourfold increase in wildfires.
Here’s a shocker: He predicts that the fires could destroy a majority of the West’s forests in coming decades.
Tom Boatner, the chief of fire operations for the federal government, said that climate change was driving unstoppable mega-fires that are 10 times the size of those he’s seen in the past.
As for climate change skeptics, “You won’t find them on the fire line in the American West anymore,” Boatner told “60 Minutes.”
We’re getting a glimpse of our climate change future out West. It isn’t pretty.
Posted by Randy Scholfield

Due diligence on library site

The Wichita City Council was right to call Tuesday for a final look at potential library sites before approving one.
While the six-acre Watkins Steel site at Second and McLean appears to best meet the stated priorities for a new library, including parking for 500-plus cars and a high-visibility core location, it makes sense to make a final call for other proposals. Besides, the city might improve its negotiating leverage if other good sites turn up.
This is a big decision, and warrants due diligence.
“I just want to make sure that there’s nothing else out there,” said Mayor Carl Brewer.
Look twice, buy once. That’s a prudent approach.
Posted by Randy Scholfield

Open thread 10/24

Romney gets his foes confused

If this was a strategic slip of Mitt Romney’s tongue, it was a beaut:
“Just look at Osam . . . Barack Obama said just yesterday. Barack Obama calling on, on radicals, jihadists of all different types to come together in Iraq,” Romney said Tuesday during a speech in Greenwood, S.C. More than once, he also said “Barack Obama” when he was talking about Osama bin Laden.
His campaign later called it “just a brief mix-up,” but it called to mind the shot of Romney posing in July with a supporter holding a sign reading, “No to Obama, Osama and Chelsea’s Moma.”
Posted by Rhonda Holman

Does it matter that Dumbledore is gay?

Author J.K. Rowling surprised and shocked fans last week when she revealed that Harry Potter’s mentor, beloved master wizard Albus Dumbledore, is gay.
You have to wonder: Why this bombshell revelation now? If Dumbledore’s sexuality is important to understanding his character, why didn’t Rowling overtly make it part of the story line, or even suggest it between the lines?
Is she just out to tweak the noses of social conservatives who still disapprove of the wildly popular fantasy series?
Most fans, of course, won’t care a bit.
Still, Rowling’s outing of Dumbledore, while it doesn’t seem like crucial information, does reinforce a major theme of the books: celebration of individuality and tolerance of those who are different.
Posted by Randy Scholfield

Obama trips up on gay rights

Barack Obama’s musical tastes are getting him in trouble with gay activists. Obama’s “Forty Days of Faith and Family” tour is to culminate this weekend with a gospel concert in South Carolina, featuring singer Donnie McClurkin, a Pentecostal minister who believes homosexuality is a lifestyle that can be corrected. Obama’s choice has been blasted called “shameless and reprehensible.”
In effort to avoid ostracizing conservative Southerners, Obama has kept McClurkin on the program, saying, “I strongly disagree with Rev. McClurkin’s views and will continue to fight for these rights.”
Many liberals are unconvinced.
Posted by Kristin Mehler

Mandated tutoring must help more kids

The Wichita school board seemingly had no choice Monday but to approve a $1.37æmillion patchwork of private tutoring, without regard to whether that was the best way to help lagging students in Title I schools. It’s unfortunate that the No Child Left Behind law left the district no discretion.
As district critics would point out, if USD 259 had not been listed as “needing improvement,” it wouldn’t be in this position. But raising assessment scores is the highest of district priorities. Now, officials also must do everything possible to see that more than the projected 20 percent of eligible students participate in the private tutoring.
Posted by Rhonda Holman

Rockies getting boost from above?

The Colorado Rockies are in the World Series for the first time, after coming back on a 21-1 game run. They clinched a spot in the playoffs on a whisper of a play and proceeded to sweep the division and league titles.
It leaves people wondering if Colorado isn’t getting a little boost from above.
General manager Dan O’Dowd acknowledges that he tries to populate his organization with players with integrity and values, regardless of religious preference. The team holds weekly chapel and Bible study, and adheres to what’s been described as a “Christian-based code of conduct.”
O’Dowd stopped short of saying that God put his unlikely team in the World Series, but says that if it were any other organization, “I would not be here.”
Posted by Kristin Mehler