Saturday, April 19, 2008
It has been brought to our attention that some of our readers think that the Clarion Content only takes note of bad news. Horrors, we hope not. Surely, we want to debate and analyze the important issues and the inane trivia of our day, but we don't want to spread the negativity. This space isn't supposed to be only the rants, we want to share the raves, too.
To that end, the Clarion has three bits of good news, feel good stories as it were.
There is no theme connecting these three items, other than the attempt in the deluge of despairing news to share a little sunshine, to remind folks that good things happen every day, from the grand to the small.
In scale, by sheer literal size, this first note might seem the most significant, but we will let you, dear readers, be the judge. A newly discovered oil field off the coast of Brazil may hold as many as 33 billion barrels of crude. In an era of over $100 barrel oil, with gas prices rapidly approaching $4 gallon in America, and an endless low intensity conflict in the state with the world's second largest oil reserves, this is a relief. Brazil is on a very short list of states that the current administration has not alienated. While the Bush administration's South American policy (or lack there of, other than chemically defoliating the rain forests of Columbia,) has been an abysmal failure, relations have not gotten as toxic with Brazil as they have with Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia etc. Of course, the reactionaries and race-baiters in Congress who want to build a wall to keep immigrants out of America have certainly not helped America to puts its best face southward. The Iraq War and the unipolar approach of "Allies, we don't need no stinkin' allies" has come off just as rancidly in Latin America as in Europe. This oil is good news for the world. Hopefully, Brazil will not be virulently anti-American by the time this field is being tapped.
Good news item number two may seem writ smaller than 33 billion barrels of oil, but it sure was important to the individuals involved. An 11 year old Clevelander stopped a runaway bus and saved himself and his classmates from a much more severe accident. The bus driver in contravention of state law and school policy had stopped for gas and a break. He left the children alone on the bus and apparently the emergency brake was not on, nightmarishly the bus began to roll out of the station. Parked across from the Cleveland Indians stadium downtown, the bus rolled out of the gas station and into the city streets. The quick thinking, eleven year old with the brass huevos, jumped behind the wheel and tried to pull the emergency brake. When that didn't work he took the wheel and steered the bus into a pillar which though it brought it to a crashing a halt, but prevented it from flipping over as the runaway bus approached a sharp turn down the street. 15 children were treated for minor injuries, fire department spokesmen said it could have been much worse.
Finally, a bit good news of the incremental sort, as in it might not have been all one would have hoped for, but at least it something, Wal-Mart changed it's gun sales policy. Pressure applied by New York Mayor, Mike Bloomberg and his group Mayors Against Illegal Guns convinced Wal-Mart to make some changes. Sure, it is still like being able to go to the supermarket and buy a gun, but at least Wal-Mart will now more closely scrutinize multiple gun purchasers and track weapons purchased in its stores that have been used to commit crimes. The chain has agreed to run background checks on the employees who sell guns and videotape all gun sales. Wal-Mart has a troubling history of weapons sales, in California, the state discovered Wal-Mart committed thousands of violations of gun safety laws. The Californian Justice Department found 2,891 violations over a three-year period in five randomly chosen Wal-Mart stores, including selling guns to 23 people who were outright banned from buying them, and a further 36 sales to prohibited buyers through relatives or friends.