Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to $3.00 a can. That's almost $21.00 in dog money.

~ Joe Weinstein

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I have meant what I have done. Or--I have often meant what I have done. Or--I have sometimes meant what I have done. Or--I have tried to mean what I was doing.

~ Jasper Johns

Monday, March 29, 2010

From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.

~ Dr. Seuss
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." - Jimi Hendrix

A Closing of the Conservative Mind

From the NY Times article I read today discussing David Frum and the American Enterprise Institute - the conservative "think tank" he was fired from because he publicly lamented the party of no strategy and the permanent Klu Klux Klanning of the Republican party - the following quote from the article laments "...a closing of the conservative mind."

My response:

By definition a conservative has a closed mind so where is the big surprise here - they charmed their way in with aww shucks Regan and ruled against precedent to shoe horn Bush "W" in with a supreme court ruling that in and of itself said - don't ever reference this ruling again.

They had their big moment (several decades)and put their theories into place.

The end result is that they undid thoughtful regulation, got their precious tax cuts, and went out on international reckless cowboy adventurism the first chance they got - and destroyed - I repeat destroyed the economy and the middle class.

If they had maybe shared the tax cut with the middle class and small business they wouldn't have been so bad off but not understanding or forgetting rather the impact of macro-economics, economies of scale, and factors of magnitude they protected, enhanced and incentivised only the few 1% of the actual popultaion.

Nothing trickled down except stagnant wages and human nature was again proven to be its own worst enemy as everything was hoarded at the top and jobs were moved to cheaper labor markets. They didn't pull the rest of the world up as they lavishly envisioned but dragged America down. Their irrational exuberance to dogma as opposed to common sense practicality destroyed and continues to destroy them as a political party.

That they dragged the whole country down with them and put real hard working, educated and honest families out on the street is the crime.

Because in the end it was all about power - the power to go into Iraq and secure the oil fields, the power to manipulate the media by actually owning it, the power of consolidation of industries including the insurance industry, big oil, telecommunications and big finance chocking off competition and creating too big to fail.

A closed conservative mind and their is no other - rejects diversity - while a liberal mind embraces it - a healthy nurtured diversity is the life blood of co-existence and the life blood of the markets. Greed, power and ego will always be the three heads of the apocalypse. Consolidation defeats competition and promotes monopolies but kills the market like incest kills everything - so in the end it is no good to anyone.

If it was about governing instead of power and swinging as much capital, pork and benefits to their friends the Conservatives "might" have a chance of being good stewards of our democracy. But even still as long as they think capitalism and democracy are the same thing they are doomed to fail - just like the unfettered, unregulated, bubble economies they literally worship.

I recommend taking the evangelicalism out of political and economic theory and getting back to the brass tacks that have actually proven to work, and governing instead of ruling.

Paul Burke
Author- Journey Home

Sunday, March 28, 2010

WILDLIFE CONSERVATION REPORT CARD reviews both House and Senate votes on key conservation issues, providing a clear assessment of how well members of Congress are doing to protect wildlife and wild lands for future generations
On March 28, 1979, America's worst commercial nuclear accident occurred inside the Unit Two reactor at the Three Mile Island plant near Middletown, Pa.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Things do not change; we change.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A pessimist makes difficulties of one's opportunities and an optimist makes opportunities of one's difficulties. -- Winston Churchill
Art is the essence of awareness.

~ Louise Nevelson

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.

~ The Dalai Lama

Monday, March 22, 2010

What is reading but silent conversation?

~ Walter Savage Landor

Friday, March 19, 2010

If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.

~ Albert Einstein

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What's Up Doc - Movie Review

I just saw this movie last night. The fact that I'm already posting something about this should tell you how much it was enjoyed. Originally released when I was a kid back in the 70's I might have tuned in for some of the mad cap scenes, but now sitting down as an adult well I think it was the mad cap scenes I still love. Actually the whole movie is goofball comedy. If you like 30 Rock you'll get a bang out of this. Having worked with researchers I howled at their portrayal in this wonderful farce.

Peter Bogdanovich out did himself. Buck Henry is the screen writer so you know you are getting fast paced dialogue and bananas type scenarios. Barbara Streisand plays it beautifully. I'm not a huge fan of Barbara's at all. The woman can flat out sing and I'm more a fan of her politics than her pictures. But I'm going to have to check that because she was fantastic.

The movie's a hoot there's a whole host of character actors you will recognize even if you do not know their names. And Ryan O'Neil and Madeline Kahn are just fun to watch in their off beat roles. Although for Madeline I'm not sure she ever toned it down for any of her movies.

Funny, silly, lighthearted, researchers competing for grant money, chase scenes and surprise entrances, classic mix ups, and fast delivery all the elements are here for an updated Marx Brothers movie. I guffawed at the slapstick timing and shots. This movie is a welcome relief from the overwrought, over the top, banal the industry keeps churning out year after year.

Classic, Classic Movie!
Add it to your Net Flix Queue - a five star recommendation!

One chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz.

~ Lou Reed
Africa’s Largest Wind Project Advances -
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

~ Aesop’s Fables
3 times -- is how much faster health care premiums are rising compared to wages.
Urge Sec. Salazar to Stop the Misguided Rush to Drill Virginia.
Solar Projects Begin to Light Up Haiti -
every six dollars in the U.S. economy is spent on health care today.
Tell President Obama to keep dangerous mining waste out of America’s waters
Solar Energy Foes Try to 'Block' Sun

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What lies behind us and what lies before us, is nothing compared to what lies within us - Emerson

Monday, March 15, 2010

I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.

~ Mother Teresa

Saturday, March 13, 2010

“Sixty minutes of daily unstructured free play is essential to children’s physical and mental health.”

~American Academy of Pediatrics, 2008
Animals can communicate quite well. And they do. And generally speaking, they are ignored.

~ Alice Walker

Friday, March 12, 2010

The three biggest myths on health care reform
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.

~ Mahatma Gandhi
82 percent of Americans want the government to clamp down more strongly on Wall Street excesses,
Wall Street Bonuses Said to Rise 17% in 2009
The comment section at this link is telling -
Health Care for America Now
And, if you're uninsured, you will be able to purchase insurance you can afford. In all, 30 million uninsured will get good coverage, saving an estimated 30,000 lives per year
they will no longer be able to cap your benefits, and your out-of-pocket costs will be limited - severely reducing their profits and bad practices.4
Insurance companies will no longer be able to sell junk insurance. If you're buying insurance on your own, insurers will have to offer plans with a standard comprehensive benefit package, they will be required to spend 85% of your premium dollars on your medical care,
Preventative care will be free and young people can stay on their parent's insurance policy until they are 26.
If you get sick, your insurance company won't be able to cancel your insurance retroactively like they do today.
If you lose your coverage or need to buy insurance on your own for any reason, insurance companies won't be able to deny you coverage and they can't charge you more because you're sick or because you're a woman.
If you have insurance, you can keep it. But insurance companies won't be allowed to spike premiums every year and will have their profits and administrative expenses subject to federal and state scrutiny.2
41 leading economists including three Nobel Prize winners sent a letter to President Obama and Congress yesterday urging the swift passage of comprehensive health insurance reform to curb skyrocketing health care costs.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Sanctity of Life

I heard back from one of my twit delegates. Apparently I spoke up about our State House of Delegates switching funding from a license plate dedicated to Planned Parenthood who solicited and got the License Plate approved for their non-profit to another unrelated group. That's right they just arbitrarily diverted the funds. You can get the whole backwater politics scandal from the local paper in the link above.

The delegate wrote to me in highbrow language about the "sanctity of life" his words. I could almost see his Sunday robes flowing. Look in this country you are free to believe what you want to believe and worship whatever and whenever you want if at all.

That "believers" of a religion any religion quote their attitudes as if they are scientific fact is harrowing. Religion is myth and guess what I believe in some of those myths.

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

However I don't need a "story" about a guy walking on water to convince me this world is special and the Earth and all that is in it should be revered. I didn't put all this here, and whatever did has got some serious chops.

All that being said the "believers" of whatever myth religion they choose run around and quote their particular myth system as if it is science a.k.a. knowable fact.

Religion is not science and religion makes a lousy system for governing. A one size fits all world we are not.

Governing needs to be done from a practical point of view. Reality has to be dealt with realistically. Well meaning myth related responses to actual civic problems sometimes make the situation on the ground worse.

And in case you didn't notice we are on the ground, on a planet and our collective behavior of greed, war, and lawlessness doesn't exactly reflect the myth of heaven.

Man is the problem and continues to be. So what did I tell this pin head who had the audacity to claim the moral high ground because he believes in a myth based dogma of contradictory legends. Has anybody actually read the Bible?

It's not all bunny rabbits and butterfly's. I told this kool-aid swallowing political office seeker that his phrase "sanctity of life" was a religious view.

That he probably supported the death penalty and supported shooting wolves from helicopters (so much for the sanctity of life). That he probably underfunded education and didn't hold polluters accountable (so much for the sanctity of life), that he didn't support health care for all, and supported a lawless market system that ripped of grandmas retirement money (so much for the sanctity of life), that he probably supported resource wars in Iraq, and didn't think twice about the innocent civilians blasted to smithereens by our military presence both bases and men in their countries(so much for the santity of life).

I called this twit out on being a hypocrite and that his religion would look the other way if his teenage daughter got pregnant or his 50 year old wife.

I told him Freedom of Choice is an American Value born through wars and the fight for Independence. That a Theocracy State and how he governed equaled Tehran. That a secular state equals America.

I told him that he should govern in a secular fashion and to try being practical and recognize teenagers get pregnant, and that teenagers make lousy parents, and lousy parents make lousy citizens who might end up on death row - at which time then it is okay to kill them in his world view.

I told him families should be planned and that god the creator whatever you want to call the unknown creative force that put all of everything here in front of our eyes also gave us brains to make choices, suffering for consequences, elation for joy, and free will to exercise.

We are not zombies switching off our brains and just to obey some specious, mythical, story telling, and submit willing to and fund other men dressed up as if they are somehow not just men in robes lighting candles.

Self appointed communicators with god are heretics in the truest sense of the word. God speaks to everyone. Its called your conscience.

I told him he doesn't have the moral high ground that he thinks he has and until he practices the golden rule - do unto others as you would have them do unto you (or your panicked, distraught, teenage daughter) then he doesn't have a clue. And that it would be best if he didn't try to legislate his religious myth based hypocrisy onto the whole entire fabric of our State let alone Country. Unless of course he wants armed insurrection because that is always what happens when you enslave men in chains of theocracy or steel.

People do not want to be told what to do by the State. They want the State to protect them from people who would dictate to everyone.

And from planned parenthood who makes room for everyone's "beliefs" to provide safe and accurate care and information so that each individual can make an informed choice based on their own beliefs, circumstances, needs, desires, judgment and situation(s) as varied as the wind:

"Our mission is to ensure that individuals and families have the freedom, information, and ability to make their own informed reproductive choices. We believe that each individual has a basic right to control his/her reproductive life. Individual control will lead to a better quality of life and stronger families and communities. Reproductive health decisions must be voluntary and private".

Now that's what I call the sanctity of "LIFE" - my fine fellow delegate should be so wise of an American.

I often thought that before they get sworn in no matter local, state or federal that all politicians go through an american history and civics class where they are required to actually read the Federalist Papers. Maybe then they won't be so easily corrupted and given over to ideas and political footballs just to get elected.

Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, and Hamilton try to remember those guys when governing.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

In your heart, you already know.

~ Zen saying
God not only plays dice with the universe, but he cheats.

Stephen Hawking

Sunday, March 07, 2010

It takes a long time to understand nothing.

Edward Dahlberg

Saturday, March 06, 2010

You can judge a man's true character by the way he treats his fellow animals.

~ Paul McCartney

Friday, March 05, 2010

Things are only impossible until they're not.

~Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation

Health Care Reform is Easy

The republicans have used reconciliation on health care before plenty of times - heck they created the whole CHIP program - via reconciliation. Dear lord stop swallowing the kool-aid - this isn't a sporting event my side versus your side (do you think the status quo might be aware of the concept of divide and conquer - don't be such dupes)

People, people, people - this is about getting our dollars back from the richest 1% that hoard them at the top (there is no such thing as trickle down) or For Profit insurance wouldn't be killing the middle class, driving people with health insurance into bankruptcy, and tying a dead weight around small business and even the bigger national corporations - this has to get done - our politicians are playing games to get elected....

they are not "governing" but manipulating voter sentiment to whip up turn out to try and win elections - not based on any specific philosophy of governing but for plain old self interest.

Actual governing takes a huge back seat to "will I get re-elected" - the easiest way to solve the health care debacle of for profit health care is simple - but handing a success to the other party - isn't how the political "game" is played.

Unfortunately our lives are caught in the cross fire of their STUPID GAME. And because of game playing we deregulated everything and created the global financial meltdown - ooppps - maybe proper management would have prevented that - but politics has never been about properly managing our resources - its about GETTING RE-ELECTED.

Healthcare is easy - here's how -

“Use Senate reconciliation and expand Medicare via the Senate’s buy-in provisions. The CBO has already signed off on this as a means of saving money.

More importantly, if more Americans can do a buy-in with Medicare, it creates more cost control (because there’s a genuine competitor to for-profit healthcare).

It also helps to solve the problems of pre-existing conditions, because Medicare does not deny coverage on this basis.

Allowing a Medicare buy-in to Americans under 65 would give people a genuine alternative to private insurance and thereby render the pre-existing question moot.

It would also lower Medicare costs by expanding the risk pool of patients (the great bulk of medical expenses are accounted for by a small number of people, mostly the elderly, requiring very expensive treatment).

And it would substantially enhance the global competitiveness of American corporations. After all, in what other country in the world is health care a marginal cost of production for business?” - Roosevelt Institute Marshall Auerback

Now get out there tell your neighbors, your friends, pick up the phone and email your representatives - because whether you like it or not we are all in this together - and it's us versus the politicians - not each other.

Paul Burke
Author Journey Home
Democracy For America

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.

~ Roger Caras
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

Lao Tzu
"Without enough wilderness America will change. Democracy, with its myriad personalities and increasing sophistication, must be fibred and vitalized by regular contact with outdoor growths – animals, trees, sun warmth and free skies – or it will dwindle and pale."

–Walt Whitman

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Hunting as Recreation

There is a lack of reverence for nature by a few. There has to be a mind set change a slight one. The whole romantic idea of rugged individualism the frontiersman hunting his own food, supporting his family and defending his ranch is fine, but when it morphs into hunting as a hobby whether its a wolf or any other animal then it becomes recreation.

And sorry Ted Nugent unless you are eating every last morsel of what you hunt and turning hides into clothing at your for profit ranch ($7500 just to hang out with Ted - really - yep you got the American dream licked all right cha ching $$$!) you are a complete hypocrite. Unless you are eating every morsel Ted, and using every inch of hide and those hunting with you too Mr. Madman you are nothing but a bunch of hot air and hypocrites. There is no rah, rah USA rugged individualism at the benignly named sunrize acres. Just a bunch of yahoos with high powered guns getting their rocks off.

Once it becomes recreation and/or it involves alcohol then it ceases to be rugged individualism and survival of the fittest, and just something to do to pass the time. At that point we all need to recalibrate.

No ones right to recreate trumps sustainability. On another level it would be nice if we all were extremely aware of and realize this world and all of us and everything in it are gods creation. Man created none of this. We are mere residents, tenants subject to our own demise through our own devices whether its commerce, vice or stupidity. Put here by some unknown creative power (ourselves included) we need to pause from learned behavior and see how we are applying that behavior.

I am not an anti culling person. Proper management of ALL our resources will insure long term sustainability not only for our four legged friends but our two legged ones as well.

We need to live in balance with the world as presented to us. It can be done and if done well a sustainable ecosystem leads to a sustainable economy and a sustainable world for all.

Reckless abandonment applied to any habit, hobby, practice, or lifestyle is mind numbingly short sighted. Heck even too much exercise can ruin you, as well as overeating, drinking, and smoking. Too much television can turn your brain to mush and make you a zombie for someone else's ideas and a mark and pawn for the advertising of product and ideas reduced to sound bites. That's not very smart is it to accept everything coming off the tube as gospel, and to invite those crooks and liars into your living room - every night - and to just sit there passively like its a time share presentation. D'oh I'll take two.

Too much hunting has a domino effect, like too much pollution.

Now we don't have enough bees to pollinate? That seems insignificant right bees (ha, ha) those little annoying stingers good riddance right - WRONG - they directly impact our food supply and play a more than vital role in our food chain. They are responsible for the pollination of approximately one third of the United States' crop species, including such species as almonds, peaches, soybeans, apples, pears, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers and strawberries. Their demise would wreck havoc and be an economic nightmare to our whole economy.

Ignorance is not bliss and being stupid is definitely not cool.

Lack of moderation is making a wreck of the world, our country, our mountains and valleys, our water, our air, our people, and our soil and food.

So as an old friend told me long ago - EVERYTHING IN MODERATION. Those old sayings pack a lot of wisdom and quite frankly if applied across the board even into politics we would all be living a better life in a better world.

Paul Burke
Author-Journey Home
Defender of Wildlife

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they will never cease to be amused.

~ Anonymous
Public health is also an issue with mountaintop removal mining - do you really need to be told that - no - but you need to tell your politicians who's ears are stuffed with cash.
high concentrations of selenium can cause reproductive failure and birth defects.
Selenium levels in fish caught in some of West Virginia's rivers are more than twice what is considered safe for human consumption
Once in the aquatic environment, waterborne selenium can enter the food chain and reach levels that are toxic to fish and wildlife
newly hatched fish have crooked spines and deformed heads due to high levels of selenium
High levels of selenium threaten fish survival and reproduction.
Toxic levels of selenium were found in 73 of 78 stream samples.
Over the past two decades, mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia has buried more than 1,000 miles of streams.
Conservative Sen. Lindsey Graham, said "Six months ago, my biggest worry was that an emissions deal would make American business less competitive compared to China. Now my concern is that every day we delay ... is a day China uses to dominate the green economy." China gets it; there is no such thing as clean coal.
Carbon capture and storage will be expensive and hasn't proved to work on a large scale. But it will raise the cost of coalfired power by 40 percent to 80 percent depending on the plant's location and the capture and transport methods.
Smokestack scrubbing attempts to capture these same elements after they are burned but
doesn't capture CO2.
The techniques for cleaning coal are not effective. Coal washing leaves a slurry of sulfur, mercury, cadmium and arsenic that often ends up in rivers, streams and drinking supplies.
A coal-fired power plant is at most 43 percent efficient, not including all the devastation from
mountaintop removal.
Help SAVE Twilight -
SAVE Twilight - SAVE Twilight - Twilight is under attack - learn more here
Actual pictures of alleged reclamation projects - from Mountain Top Removal. Click on the links directly under the billboard picture.
Lying to the American Public by major media outlets and politicians funded by big coal and dirty energy has become routine but they are all still lies and misinformation - don't trust corporate media.
The fact is, to the mining industry the only good mountain in Appalachia is a flattened one. Once it's ravaged, the vast majority of those profits benefit out-of-state coal companies while the folks in the affected communities are left a legacy of pollution and poverty.
Even with reclamation, mining has led to forest fragmentation, loss of wildlife habitat, increased flood potential, and reduced carbon sequestration (and some reclaimed areas do not differ from lands where reclamation wasn’t carried out).
Coal companies have failed to reclaim mine sites. Unreclaimed mine lands increased from 184,000 acres in January 1990 to 245,000 acres in July 2008, an annual increase of about 2.2 percent.
Despite increased Mountain top surface mining, the counties involved remain among the poorest in the nation. In Knott County, 18% of the land area has been surface-mined, yet 32% of residents still live below the poverty line.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Whether you respond to life or react to life determines how far you're gonna go in life.

~ Unknown
Every day we dump 90 million tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere, as if it were an open sewer.