I love chocolate cake, with its sweet, spongy consistency. Too bad about its off-putting color, which I tend to ignore. That reminds me. Remember those reports issued to NJ's new governor by that transition team last month? I’ve just had a few moments to look it over. Sometimes it takes me a while to soak in new information, so bear with me…I’ve got a few questions. The first report I cracked open was the one written by the Department of Environmental Protection subcommittee, chaired by former Sen. Marcia Karrow (R-Hunterdon). The report kicks off with a healthy dose of skepticism about whether or not the DEP will even survive.
"The department has failed to fulfill its own mission statement of protecting our state's vital natural resources while taking into consideration economic vitality."
Does that mean the DEP has failed to protect our natural resources? Should I stop typing and call an ambulance? I am feeling a little woozy, which usually happens after I eat all this chocolate cake. But now I’m thinking it’s the arsenic I just washed it down with. Hang on. I just read the second half of that quote. Apparently, the DEP's mission statement emphasizes considering our economic vitality. Maybe the report means that the DEP has failed to consider what protecting our natural resources would do to our economic vitality. Well, that makes me feel better. The report continues:
"As policy makers, it is important to realize that baselines have shifted."
Is that true? It’s a good thing that pitchers and catchers are reporting this week. They still have time to strategize about base-runners who might be meandering all over the place. But really, I’m concerned all this has something to do with putting our economic vitality ahead of our environment. Woozy again. I’ll pass on that third helping of arsenic and old cake. And read on:
"The department has driven economic investment out of this state often with policies that, ironically, provide little or no environmental benefit."
Is that true too? DOE policies have provided little or no environmental benefit? That stinks! Was I a fool all this time to think that DOE employees, my fellow NJ citizens, friends, and neighbors, were working every day to keep my surface water quality and freshwater wetlands safe? Weren’t they out there implementing requirements for transporting solid waste and for controlling air pollution from diesel-powered vehicles? I’d hoped DOE policies were protecting me from catastrophic accidents that could cause death or permanent disability beyond property boundaries of the scores of chemical plants and refineries that operate happily around me! I’ve long harbored panicky thoughts of hydrogen fluoride silently hitching a ride on the northeast breeze and wiping out my town. Are my fears justified? Anyway, those things I used to believe in a few minutes ago are a smattering of policies recently adopted or re-adopted, according to the DOE website. But until they get their economic priorities straight, why should I trust them? I don’t really understand half of the stuff in those policies anyway, so now I have to go with the Governor’s transition team and scrap the whole thing in favor of allowing open containers of other peoples' solid chocolate waste to rumble through my backyard, as long as it means more jobs for my neighbors and more grease for my local bürgermeister’s palm.
Next, I guess it’s time to explore the transition team’s recommendation regarding the transfer of our only public media outlet (or, as 101.5FM listeners think of it, that taxpayer-funded, state-owned propaganda machine) into the hands of some enterprising Murdochian who could turn a fair and balanced profit. Think NJN, Inc. Corporations have the same rights as individuals now, so there’s a whole new road to consider. Informed citizenry be damned! It would require a gutsy business model, and some creative writing and acting, to abandon in-depth, fact-based news, public affairs, and education programming in favor of an infotainment empire that has the power to fund elections, to change the nation, to be more in line with what people are watching on commercial channels. And if it’s done Right, viewer/citizens will never even notice the difference.