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Fracking and foreign affairs
Arguments about fracking are usually cast in economic vs. environmental terms, but there are enormous potential benefits to our international relations, which have received less attention. Energy independence will allow us to be consistent about our values and to protect our allies.
For example, our need for Saudi oil has made us almost mute about human relations in Saudi Arabia. We project the values of democracy and equal rights in very powerful ways around the world, yet quite hypocritically, the force with which we promote those issues in Saudi Arabia is greatly attenuated. The place of women in Saudi society is especially problematic. If we were not dependent on Saudi oil, we could be consistent in our international push for democratic ideals and human rights.
Again using Saudi Arabia as an example, the Saudis require that we sell them large quantities of advanced weaponry. When the Arab awakening comes to Saudi Arabia, the new leadership may threaten Israel with some of our best military hardware. Energy independence would allow us to say no to such sales.
Our American values and our commitments to our ally Israel would both be well served by energy independence, and fracking will help us achieve that goal. These benefits must be added to the economic ones when weighing the advantages of fracking against the disadvantage of the environmental risk.
The challenges to the RPD
When incidents of police brutality occur, many in the Rochester activist community foolishly condemn the entire Rochester Police Department. I can only guess how dismayed the "good cops" feel when they are called "pig" or "thugs" after laying their lives on the line every day for me and all Rochester Citizens
As a Neighborhood Watch Captain on the northwest side of Rochester, I had the opportunity to work closely with the RPD as well as with church and community leaders. The cop-haters can curse me if they want, but I have nothing but good things to say about the RPD personnel with whom I worked during that time.
When some cops betray the uniform they wear and the oath they've taken, certainly justice needs to be done. An effective and empowered community police review board should be created to participate as an equal partner with the RPD, City Council, the Monroe County district attorney, and the state attorney general in removing uniformed criminals from the ranks of honest and dedicated police officers
Chief Sheppard has as his mission the protection of his personnel as well as the preservation of law and order in the City of Rochester.
It is downright dangerous for a police officer to tolerate disrespect in the street. He or she must at all times command all situations, especially ones that may turn dangerous. If a mentally ill individual reaches into his coat for a crucifix upon an officer's "freeze!" command, he is likely to be shot by the officer. The alternative for the officer is to hesitate and risk making his wife a widow.
Let's take care not paint all RPD officers with the same broad brush that we use on uniformed criminals who do not deserve to be called police officers.