Archive for May, 2012

POLLUTER BORN EVERY MINUTE reprise

May 29, 2012
Rising Tide.

WAYS TO REDUCE CARBON FOOTPRINTS:ACTION: (Measure: Lifetime carbon dioxide saved in Metric Tons)

Recycle newspaper, magazines, glass, plastic, and aluminum cans – 17

Replace old refrigerator with energy-efficient model – 19

Replace 10 incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient ones – 36

Replace single-glazed windows with energy-efficient windows – 21

Reduce miles driven from 231 to 155 per week – 147

Increase car’s fuel economy from 20 miles per gallon to 30 – 148

REDUCE NUMBER OF CHILDREN BY ONE  – 9,441 tons    (The only way to logically and democratically  achieve this would be through a process of sex education and health care, with emphasis upon the consequences of human overpopulation. Of course right wing churches would go nuts).

Data from U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s personal emissions calculator and calculations by OSU statistics professor Paul Murtaugh.  Annual totals based on lifespan of 80 (female expectancy U.S.)  Source: Paul Murtaugh.

Under current conditions, each child in the U.S. adds about 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the parents’ carbon legacy during his lifetime.  That’s 5.7 times more than the average childless person.

A child born in China has a fifth of the impact of a child born in the U.S.

The carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of having a child is almost 20 times more important than other ecologically minded lifestyle choices like driving a fuel-efficient car, recycling or being energy-efficient.

The same conclusions roughly apply to fresh water consumption.

Many children are born to people who are not ready or willing to raise them.

Many parents are less ecologically responsible out of convenience, e.g. using disposable instead of cloth diapers; buying an SUV instead of a compact (“The family is so much safer.”  Not in the long run, Mom, bad choice).

Abstracted: “Not So Carbon Friendly” Jennifer Anderson, Portland Tribune.  Sound Off – Comment: www.portlandtribune.com

EARLY REACTIONS:

Hysterical right-wingers and Christian fundamentalist whack jobs already label the above findings as a call for euthanasia.

“See, I told you so!  Obama wants to kill your previously brainwashed children!”

We might consider a tax penalty (disincentive) for having more than two children – no exemption for more.  However, we want to take care of the children; they are in extremis through no fault or will of their own. Maybe the parents should go to jail for child abuse, if they can’t responsibly control themselves or use protection. They create a child victim if they cannot take care of it, and that seems like a criminal act to me. The fact that they are the parents and it was just an “oopsy, we were so in love,” doesn’t cut it. No more obscene Octi-Mom Baby Bank careerists.  We really must resolve this issue to the best of all concerned.

Right wing nuts pressure congress to exclude reproductive health care, including abortion, and want to limit a woman’s ability to choose a health care provider.  Women deserve full access to health care without outrageous ignorant moralistic religious impositions on the national law and health of American citizens.  Make these superstitious fanatics take their filthy claws off American women.  Separate church and state.  Millions of women rely on community health care to provide the full range of services to those who desperately need it.

Women’s basic health care is a priority; women must not be worse off under health care reform.  Health care reform should INCREASE access, not DECREASE it.  Health care should include reliable practical information on birth control, and explain the real consequences of human overpopulation.  We must resist the control freak loonies who distort our national dialog and cause countless deaths and untold misery to serve an archaic, nihilistic and arguably suicidal ideological madness.

BACK STORY:

I first became a genuine environmentalist while in the Navy.  I did some South Seas reef diving and became a bogus shell collector, proud to take only “live” shells, boiling them clean when I got home, thinking that the conchs smelled like particularly good seafood.  The conchs taught me what I needed to know.  I found one lying on the sandy bottom, spotted more, and soon harvested five.  Score!  I took them home, and while they were boiling, did the research – which strikes me as humanity’s general approach to nature, learning about it after we’ve shot, stabbed, strangled and/or overbuilt it.  On this occasion I learned that conchs eat the brittle star, which eats live coral, exposing the reef to erosion, which exposes the island to the waves.  I had helped to destroy the balance, enabling one species to overwhelm another, breaking the co-dependent chain that sustains all.  My ignorance gave the planet deeper grief than could be guessed.  Multiplied by a legion of ignorantly indifferent shell collectors, the islands were doomed.  Adding greed and superstition to the equation, which institutionalizes and exalts ignorance, we have the entire human race’s approach to the planet today.

Global warming, global dimming, and overpopulation beset us.  We are overheating the planet, interfering with its rainfall, changing the ocean currents, destroying the bottom of the food chain, and breeding like rabbits.  But, not to worry, it’s all in some cockamamie book or other; written by ancient nomadic desert dwellers that knew nothing about science, who maintained – unreasonably – that’s it’s all out of our control.  Some supreme invisible sky being is “planning” everything for us and in the end, if you believe this drivel, all will come out just hunky-dory.  It’s all for the best, just ask Pat Robertson, or any other cockamamie right wing true believer.

The rich who benefit most from natural destruction, and all who help them, are intentionally committing high crimes and misdemeanors against life on this planet; they would be felonies if committed against human beings – “but we gotta kill those forests to feed all those babies” (lining fat pockets).  Until it ends. The numbskulls are corrupting our laws and tossing aside every value other than material profit and individual power, still subdividing farmland, planting high-rise condos on our waterfronts, eating the spoils of the global holocaust, and taking immense pride in their ability to waste gas and ruin the air in a Hummer.

Many people care more about some bastard’s paternity on the Maury Show, than the planet’s survival.  Money, sex, drugs, and cheap thrills prevail – as commodity, as constant pastime, as life pursuit.  It’s obvious that we’re much too stupid as a species to prevent our own extinction; it’s just too bad we have to take most other species with us when we go – bad sports us.

Alas, it was such a beautiful planet.  Now, it’s on its way to becoming a lifeless and barren husk.  Don’t think of it as desert, think of it as Palm Springs after all the water runs out.  Mars is us.

According to the best science, we’ve got ten years left to take this issue on seriously and save our butts.  It may well be less, no one can accurately predict the rate of decay.  It will take most of us to accomplish any earthly salvation – a genuine World War II worldwide effort – but if we don’t confront and dispose of our garbage: including religion; overpopulation; short-term economic self-interest; and our ostrich-like tendency to duck and cover in order to avoid seeing our approaching doom, we’re screwed.

We must stop over consumption, kick capitalism into a servant’s status in our democratic life, and curb the excesses of individual and tribal (read also national) self-interest.  Impossible, you say?  That’s my point: good luck and the spin of prayer is about all we seem willing to invest in our own survival.

Homo sapiens, man the “wise,” we called ourselves; Homo sapiens sapiens, man the “doubly wise” some scientists call us now.  Yeah, right. If so, there’s only one way out of this – not some external savior superman, God or alien – it is each one:

“Act.  There may be no result in your lifetime, but without action, there will be no result at all.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

GET INVOLVED AND INFORMED (helpful and informative links):

http://www.wunderground.com/

Weather Underground is committed to delivering the most reliable, accurate weather information possible. Our state-of-the-art technology monitors conditions and forecasts for locations across the world, so you’ll always find the weather information that you need.

http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/

The Newseum displays these daily newspaper front pages in their original, unedited form. Some front pages may contain material that is objectionable to some visitors. Viewer discretion is advised.

http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock.swf

World Clock: time, and real-time statistics: population, death, illness, environment, energy, us crimes, food, more.

http://www.nrdc.org/

The Natural Resources Defense Council works to protect wildlife and wild places and to ensure a healthy environment for all life on earth.

http://www.sierraclub.org/

Since 1892, the Sierra Club has been working to protect communities, wild places, and the planet itself. We are the oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States.

http://www.wecansolveit.org/

WE are 2,313, 499 people determined to Solve the Climate Crisis and Repower America with 100% clean electricity within 10 years.”  The We Campaign is a project of The Alliance for Climate Protection— a nonprofit, nonpartisan effort founded by Nobel laureate and former Vice President Al Gore.  The goal of the Alliance is to build a movement that creates the political will to solve the climate crisis — in part through repowering America with 100 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources within 10 years.  Our economy, national security, and climate can’t afford to wait.

http://www.defenders.org/index.php

Founded in 1947, Defenders of Wildlife is one of the country’s leaders in science-based, results-oriented wildlife conservation. We stand out in our commitment to saving imperiled wildlife and championing the Endangered Species Act, the landmark law that protects them.

Light at the End of the Tunnel.

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WHAT IS DEMOCRACY?

May 25, 2012

What is Democracy?

What is democracy?  In the narrowest definition it is popular self-government.  It is political, it involves many people, and it requires tallying judgments to record popular decisions.  Elections are the crucial element, with the rule that majorities can never eliminate minorities from the electoral process.  However, voting is not enough.  To make political participation effective citizens need information and public associations to give them access to the system, and they need elected officials to respond.

Democracy is not everything all the time anywhere.  It doesn’t favor capitalism, socialism, or any other -ism.  It does not mean two-party politics, constitutions, a vigorous press, or voluntary associations.  Democracy does not contain cures for cruelty or oppression.  It has no exclusive claim to compassion or social responsiveness.  It has affinity with liberty, equality and fairness, but it doesn’t give reliable support for any of these.  Democracy, as Robert Wiebe writes, “reveals our humanity not our salvation.  We may not like it.”

The risks of the modern world make us realize that a collective life defines democratic citizens. Democracy can’t rely on private interests and private rights.  It is about shared purpose, community and public lives and duties.  As we realize limits to growth, we begin to understand that IT must go in SOMEONE’S backyard. “Democracy,” Robert Hiskes writes, “presumes a set of ideas about what it takes to accomplish things together and voluntarily as a matter of faithfulness and engagement – not out of force.”

The way we understand ourselves as a public is our most critical issue today.  There is widespread frustration that money rules, not citizens.  Has our American public become a myth? Our democracy was formed during colonial days when people decided what to do about common problems and acted together to implement their solutions. Citizens are powerful when they act collectively.  While we may despair of the national picture, we still act locally.  When citizens do, they are willing to act at a higher level.

Of course, local interests can be unrelentingly selfish.  Well-intentioned leaders, self-styled as “the public’s agents,” can be very contemptuous of people.  It may be because they see the “big picture” and the public through a lens of idealism, which blinds them to community interests. Yet, no argument for self-rule is as compelling as what people experience and how they cooperate with those who hold different values within local communities.  If we want democracy to flourish, we need to encourage people to grow where they were planted.

“Society in every state is a blessing,” Tom Paine wrote in Common Sense, “but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer…our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”   Functioning as private consumers and private property owners, rather than as public citizens with common or community interests would seem to make his point.  The state or a few of its leaders do not exercise public reason.  It can only occur through deliberative action, and deliberation is a joint social activity.  Thus, in the fullness of its meaning, democracy is we the people, acting together to reform or improve our shared public sphere.  Increasing participation is its indispensable goal.  As Langston Hughes wrote:

“O’ yes,

I say it plain,

America never was America to me,

And yet I swear this oath –

America will be!”

John Legry, Executive Director, Multnomah County [Oregon] Citizen Involvement Committee (ret)

Remember?

CHIFFON WRINKLES TOO EASILY reprise

May 5, 2012

FUNNY STUFF:

From The Original Hollywood Squares TV Show – Peter Marshall host. Questions and answers from the days when game show responses were spontaneous and not scripted.

Q: Do female frogs croak?  A: Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water long enough.

Q: If you’re going to make a parachute jump, you should be at least how high?  A: Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.

Q: True or false…a pea can last as long as 5,000 years.  A: George Gobel: Boy it sure seems that way sometimes.

Q: You’ve been having trouble going to sleep. Are you a man or a woman?  A: Don Knotts: That’s what’s been keeping me awake.

Q: According to Cosmo, if you meet a stranger at a party and you think he’s really attractive, is it okay to come out directly and ask him if he’s married?  A: Rose Marie: No, wait until morning.

Q: Which of your five senses tends to diminish, as you get older?  A: Charley Weaver: My sense of decency.

Q: In Hawaiian, does it take more than three words to say, “I love you”?  A: Vincent Price: No, you can say it with a pineapple and a twenty.

Q: What are “Do It”, “I Can Help” and “Can’t Get Enough”?  A: George Gobel: I don’t know but it’s coming from the next apartment.

Q: As you grow older, do you tend to gesture more or less with your hands while you are talking?  A: Rose Marie: You ask me one more growing older question, Peter, and I’ll give you a gesture you’ll never forget!

Q: Paul, why do Hell’s Angels wear leather?  A: Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily

Q: Charley, you’ve just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during your first year?  A: Charley Weaver: Of course not, Peter. I’m too busy growing strawberries!

Q: In bowling, what’s a perfect score?  A: Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy.

Q: It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps.  One is politics. What is the other? A: Paul Lynde: Tape measures.

Q: During a tornado, are you safer in the bedroom or in the closet?  A: Rose Marie: Unfortunately, Peter, I’m always safe in the bedroom.

Q: Can boys join the Camp Fire Girls?  A: Marty Allen: Only after lights out.

Q: When you pat a dog on its head he will usually wag his tail. What will a goose do? A: Paul Lynde: Make him bark.

Q: If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?  A: Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark.

Q: According to Ann Landers, is there anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people?  A: Charley Weaver: It got me out of the army!

Q: While visiting China, your tour guide starts shouting “Poo! Poo! Poo!” what does that mean?  A: George Goebel: Cattle crossing.

Q: It is the most abused and neglected part of your body – what is it?  A: Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused but it certainly isn’t neglected!

Q: Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do?  A: George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.

Q: Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant?  A: Paul Lynde: Who told you about my elephant?

Q: When a couple has a baby, who is responsible for its sex?  A: Charley Weaver: I’ll lend him the car. The rest is up to him.

Q: James Stewart did it over 20 years ago, when he was 41 years old. Now he says it was “one of the best things I ever did.” What was it?  A: Marty Allen: Rhonda Fleming.

Q: Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they? A: Charley Weaver: His feet.

RELATED, but maybe not so funny:

Hillary Clinton was mocked for correctly stating that there is a “vast rightwing conspiracy in America.”  We keep dancing all around the edges, but I think we have to take this thing head-on. READ MORE: ; ;

Uncle Sam Lost

ABOUT WAR:

Impression of Alexander the Great addressing his men when they refused to go on:

“Men, I don’t know why the gods set us on this great course, and what may be incomprehensible to me, must be doubly so for you.  And that’s why we have to go on, land after land, obstacle after obstacle, killing everyone who stands in our way, until the gods finally reveal their very great purpose to us.”

His men thought:

1:  Here we have one more useless heroic gesture from the parapet.

2:  It’s done to boost confidence/morale: cast admiring glances, swell with pride, rush/thrill with excitement, ache for the bittersweet glory of battle.

3.  Battle sucks, he’s a putz; and I hope they shoot his ass off before they get mine.

For some reason, his guys bought it; or maybe it was the execution of all the chief dissenters that encouraged the survivors’ understanding and will to carry on.

The troops who march off to war singing generally return silently if they return at all.  There is no sport in war, no winners, everybody loses, and the end result is disaster for some, and lifetime wounds for the rest – invisible, or not, we’re all disabled, dehumanized, and diminished by it, even non-combatants.  Even so, there are always those who yearn for Armageddon, who work for and revel in it, a giant I-told-you-so and a thumb in the eye for all the rest of us who must be made to suffer for ignoring them, I suppose.

The foolish gestures of war; the real heroism clichéd and trite, so prosaic, so real, is desperate stuff – what we console ourselves with as we face or lie dying, contemplate the dead, justify the holocaust. Innocence, forever startled. There is no glory, no promise, and no hope in warfare. Just blood. READ MORE: ; ALEXANDER THE GREAT

“Where Books Are Burned, In The End People Will Burn.”Heinrich Heine

Due to the circus, led by the hateful loonies of Dove Outreach, Dr. Muqtedar Khan counsels fellow-Muslims, if they see Qurans burning, to “recognize this provocation for what it is,” to “let Terry Jones enjoy the monopoly on barbarity,” to heed the Quran: “Forgive them and overlook their misdeeds, for Allah loves those who are kind.” The Nazis, he suggests, taught us all we need to know.

“Books are repositories of histories, of identities, of values. They are the soul of civilization. A society must abandon basic decencies to burn books as a celebratory act. Once it starts burning the souls of civilization, human souls will not be left behind.”

LIFE’S SWEET MYSTERY: Winding Down.

The overall point of the exploration – from my perspective – is to know.  I’ve found that keeping the goal simple is best.  Persons benefiting from robberies, rapes and murders do not care about patterns or predictable outcomes.  As long as they profit in some wise, their behavior goes unchecked.  The rest of us generally seem to suffer in silence until the pain becomes too great.  Cassandra predicted the fall of Troy, while the other Trojans gossiped about Paris and Helen’s big “celebrity sex scandal.”  Thus,

Taoists advise, Go with the flow.

Buddha says, Go forth in joyful participation in the sorrows of the world.

Joseph Campbell counsels, Follow your bliss.

Jacques Cousteau confesses, “I hope for the best, although I can’t say why.”

Gandhi directs, “Act. Without action there will be no result. You may not see it in your lifetime, but without the action there will be no result at all.”

FatLemon encourages, “Keep on keepin’ on, and don’t forget to salute the Man in the Moon.”

Our blessing and our curse is that we are able to see so much, and are still so nearly blind.

Loyd Blankfein, CEO Goldman Sachs. Just say, “Yes!”