Friday, April 30, 2010

My music wasn't written by Mozart, Beethoven, Bach or Schubert. It's written by God and me. They go "a one and a two and up." We start on the downbeat. Bam! And that's where we got them.

~ James Brown
We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.

~ M. Acklam

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Open Letter To the President - Gulf Oil Spill

Dear President Obama,
Please do not be blind to what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico. As a man of faith you have got to see the timing of this and the magnitude of this oil spill for what it is. I truly believe this is a universal moment, a sign post, an exclamation point that NOW without a doubt is the time to move away from dirty energy sources and not continue to subsidies them with enormous amounts of tax payer money.

The clean energy economy is where we need to go and the real powers that be are delivering their message loud and clear. Not only with the recent coal mining disaster which also took lives but with this our Nations and perhaps the Worlds worst oil spill ever. Please do not be stubborn.

When this oil washes up on the beaches the economy you have cobbled back together is going to take another drastic hit. The real long term success of our economy across the board depends on the real long term success of our environment.

Don't loose site of that fact even when playing politics.

Good luck,

Paul Burke
Author-Journey Home

Please write your own letter to OUR President - click here

Solar World Round Up Earth Day Edition - 4/29/10

Why in god's name is Earth Day one day? Our little school back home used to have Earth Week. Some people get all wrapped up with it's my birthday week but the Earth gets one day. In the name of all that is holy - Earth Day is Every Day. That's not just a slogan or a great bumper sticker but it has to become a mindset. Cigarette tossing on the curb has got to stop. It's a daily occurrence and if people were more conscious of this ground we walk on is a planet without whom we would not exist maybe we wouldn't be so collectively clueless.

Oil spills creep toward the beaches of Florida and the Gulf Coast and we continue to crank out toothless regulation that just fattens the wallets of those we are trying to regulate. Lets take a pause and remember the great guru in the sky, the collective consciousness, the third eye not blind, the creative energy that is creation itself, present in all of us, around every corner, and in everything, thought, word and deed.

Nice timing on the oil spill god, but I still think you better manifest yourself physically and beat some heads against the wall. The status quo's world view as John Cusack once put it is, "depressing, corrupt, unlawful, and tragically absurd"

Here's what the solar guys are up to
And as always YOU need to take action - today - click here to get started.


First Solar to acquire NextLight for $245 million

The Agua Caliente project under way has already been permitted and is approved to use either thermal solar or photovoltaic solar. PG&E also signed a deal to ...

Kender Energy Expands Global Distribution Network
The company has developed a new solar technology, where the thermal and light's energy of the sun are used together to spin helium in a closed circuit. ...

Adam Capital, Solar Solutions Close $500k Renewable Energy Loan Agreement
Adam Capital offers collateralized loans between $250000 and $3 million to commercial scale renewable energy developers of Solar, solar Thermal, Wind, ...

Department of Energy grants announced for hydropower, other renewables
$125 million will go toward solar photovoltaic manufacturing-related projects over five years. A further $40 million will be available for solar ...

NTU team unveils 'zero-energy building'

The 13-square-meter building, which was constructed using thermal insulation and high-efficiency environmental control technologies as well as solar energy ...

Concentrated Solar Power Installations Increased 37% in 2009 ...

WASHINGTON, DC – The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) just released the 2009 US Solar Industry Year in Review, finding 2009 to be another year of strong growth despite the economic recession. Overall US solar electric ... Growth in added solar electric and solar thermal capacity. • Solar electric capacity growth (including both photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies) for 2009 was 37 percent more than 2008. • Solar water heating grew by 10 ...

ThermalSoul to build Austin's first solar thermal energy plant
Austin-based ThermalSoul , a wholesale provider of renewable thermal power, plans to break ground within 60 to 90 days on a renewable solar thermal energy ...

Solar Energy Development on Public Lands (2010) | Global Solar ...
The United States has great potential for solar thermal energy use. In order to operate CSP Plants need 5-10 acres of land per MW. ...

GreenFix floats solar island proposal
GreenFix's proposed floating islands use solar thermal devices in conjunction with ocean thermal energy conversion technology. The latter takes advantage of ...

And.....This is What I Have Been Waiting For...if the Status Quo Senses Competition or Money to be Made They'll Push The Envelope Faster.

Strange Bedfellows -Oil Conglomerate and Renewable Energy Company ...
By Tracey A. Smith
Chevron Qatar Energy Technology QSTP-B, an affiliate of Chevron Corporation, and GreenGulf Inc. QSTP-B (GreenGulf), a Qatar-based renewable energy and clean technology company, have announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding ...


We have to stop selling oil - electric cars - solar panels goodbye oil - come on people when the first Model T's rolled off the assembly line they were electric. When oil was found to run them cheaper we went with that. But now oil is costing us billions in two wars and billions in damage to our environment, and tourist dollars. The price is way too high and we can and must do better than this:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Big Oil Fought Off New Safety Rules Before Louisiana Oil Rig Explosion - The Spill is the Size of Rhode Island and Growing

This is a repost from the Hines Farm blog - link above. From the president on down they are trying to sweep this under the rug - don't let them. Spread the word and take action here!
Big Oil Fought Off New Safety Rules Before Rig Explosion
Louisiana Oil Rig

Oil Leak from Damaged Well in Gulf of Mexico
Click here for large image

As families mourn the 11 workers thrown overboard in the worst oil rig disaster in decades and as the resulting spill continues to spread through the Gulf of Mexico, new questions are being raised about the training of the drill operators and about the oil company's commitment to safety.

Deepwater Horizon, the giant technically-advanced rig which exploded on April 20 and sank two days later, is leaking an estimated 42,000 gallons per day through a pipe about 5,000 feet below the surface. The spill has spread across 1,800 square miles -- an area larger than Rhode Island -- according to satellite images, oozing its way toward the Louisiana coast and posing a threat to wildlife, including a sperm whale spotted in the oil sheen.

The massive $600 million rig, which holds the record for boring the deepest oil and gas well in the world -- at 35,050 feet - had passed three recent federal inspections, the most recent on April 1, since it moved to its current location in January. The cause of the explosion has not been determined.

Yet relatives of workers who are presumed dead claim that the oil behemoth BP and rig owner TransOcean violated "numerous statutes and regulations" issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard, according to a lawsuit filed by Natalie Roshto, whose husband Shane, a deck floor hand, was thrown overboard by the force of the explosion and whose body has not yet been located.

Both companies failed to provide a competent crew, failed to properly supervise its employees and failed to provide Rushto with a safe place to work, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The lawsuit also names oil-services giant Halliburton as a defendant, claiming that the company "prior to the explosion, was engaged in cementing operations of the well and well cap and, upon information and belief, improperly and negligently performed these duties, which was a cause of the explosion."

BP and TransOcean have also aggressively opposed new safety regulations proposed last year by a federal agency that oversees offshore drilling -- which were prompted by a study that found many accidents in the industry.

There were 41 deaths and 302 injuries out of 1,443 incidents from 2001 to 2007, according to the study conducted by the Minerals and Management Service of the Interior Department. In addition, the agency issued 150 reports over incidents of non-compliant production and drilling operations and determined there was "no discernible improvement by industry over the past 7 years."

As a result, the agency proposed taking a more proactive stance by requiring operators to have their safety program audited at least once every three years -- previously, the industry's self-managed safety program was voluntary for operators. The agency estimated that the proposed rule, which has yet to take effect, would cost operators about $4.59 million in startup costs and $8 million in annual recurring costs.

The industry has launched a coordinated campaign to attack those regulations, with over 100 letters objecting to the regulations -- in a September 14, 2009 letter to MMS, BP vice president for Gulf of Mexico production, Richard Morrison, wrote that "we are not supportive of the extensive, prescriptive regulations as proposed in this rule," arguing that the voluntary programs "have been and continue to be very successful," along with a list of very specific objections to the wording of the proposed regulations.

The next day, the American Petroleum Institute and the Offshore Operators Committee, in a joint letter to MMS, emphasized their preference for voluntary programs with "enough flexibility to suit the corporate culture of each company." Both trade groups also claimed that the industry's safety and environmental record has improved, citing MMS data to show that the number of lost workdays fell "from a 3.39 rate in 1996 to 0.64 in 2008, a reduction of over 80%."

The Offshore Operators Committee also submitted to MMS a September 2, 2009 PowerPoint presentation asking in bold letters, "What Do HURRICANES and New Rules Have in Common?" against a backdrop of hurricane activity in the Gulf of Mexico. On the next page, the answer appears: "Both are disruptive to Operations And are costly to Recover From".

The presentation also included the following statements:

"We are disappointed...
• MMS fails to understand that as operators, we can place expectations on contractors, but we cannot do the planning for them
• MMS adds a lot of prescriptive record keeping and documentation that does
nothing to keep people safe"

In addition, TransOcean accountant George Frazer, without identifying his affiliation with the company, submitted a public comment on the proposed regulations stating, "I strongly disagree that a mandated program as proposed is needed," arguing that the proposed action "is a major paperwork-intensive, rulemaking that will significantly impact our business, both operationally and financially," calling it an "unnecessary burden."

"It does appear to be have been an orchestrated effort among most of major oil companies and drilling operators," says Defenders of Wildlife senior policy adviser Richard Charter.

"This event has called attention to fact that there is a long-standing safety problem in offshore industry," he says, noting that he gets phone calls from whistleblowers working on rigs who complain about the work conditions and the environmental damage caused by such operations."

Brian Beckom, a personal-injury attorney who has sued TransOcean several times on behalf of workers, says that "the industry preaches safety, that's what comes out of their corporate mouths, but I know for a fact that is not always the way things go," though he concedes that the company is better than most in the industry, especially some of the smaller "fly-by-night operators". With newer expensive rigs -- BP was paying $500,000 a day to use Deepwater Horizon -- Beckom says "there is tremendous pressure to put production first" and safety issues fall by the wayside.

Industry officials seem to be aware of safety concerns -- in the minutes of a July 2009 meeting of the Health Safety Environment Committee of the International Association of Drilling Contractors trade group, one section is titled, "Stuck on the Plateau." At the meeting, members discussed the difficulty of lowering the number of safety incidents, how to "rock over from the incident plateau" especially in light of a shrinking workforce.

In the current case, the spill's damage has been exacerbated by the depth of the drilling, causing the oil to spread across a wider area and impeding clean-up efforts. On Monday morning, response teams failed to seal off the wellhead with a remote vehicle about a mile under the surface of the water -- an effort akin to "putting a lid on a peanut jar from thousands of feet away," explains Charter.

That threatens to make the spill the most damaging since the Exxon Valdez accident off the coast of Alaska in 1989. It is already the worst oil rig disaster since a blowout on the Union Oil platform off the coast of California in 1969 -- the public outrage over that 11-day oil spill helped spawn the modern environmental movement.

Additional information here and here

Posted by Monte at Tuesday, April 27, 2010
We are a bunch of short sighted profit whores with no real understanding of our place in the universe or earth - despicable.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.

~ Elton Trueblood
At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.

~ Jean Houston
If you want your dreams to come true, don't oversleep.

~ Yiddish Proverb
Dance is the movement of the universe concentrated in an individual.

~ Isadora Duncan
Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.

~ Charles Schulz

Monday, April 26, 2010

Allman Brothers Museum Opening & Show

We just got back from Macon Georgia. We spent three days in town went to the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Big House Museum and saw a spirited show Friday night. It was the first time the Allman Brothers Band had been in Macon in nearly twenty years.

The recession stalled a revival it was going through and there has been some disappointment with the two previous mayors. There are panhandlers downtown and some dicey areas of town but that is true of any city. However, there is a lot of positives about Macon and I would recommend the city develop its water front as a destination tied together to the museum district and downtown area. The antebellum homes on college street are stunning and they have a strong arts community. We took advantage of the art exhibit "Fired Works" in the city park but missed the farmers market. The infrastructure is in place, and with a little more TLC and a rebound in the economy Macon is positioned to be a little "Savannah" but they have to watch the small town politics, think big and pull in the same direction.

The Trip:
We had a blast and everywhere we went the people were just terrific. I would like to mention Mike Falduti the owner of the Red Tomato for his outstanding welcome, hospitality and cooking. The best meal by far we had in our brief stay. The Red Tomato is out in Bolingbroke a half hour north of the city. It is beyond being well worth the drive. High end dinning in a casual atmosphere in an historic farm home with a large front porch for dinning. Mike outdid himself.

The Allman Brothers Band:

I've been meaning to get to Macon to pay my respects to Duane and Berry Oakley since the days they died. I'm not kidding. I spent ten years on public radio promoting their music when no one cared. The 1980s were a lost decade for the band but the fans kept the music alive. When I heard about the Big House Museum finally opening and that they were getting aligned with the Smithsonian I was even more anxious to go. Then they announced their concert. Within minutes I got tickets, and arranged the trip.

We had three gorgeous days of sun shine and nothing but great vibes all around. We got a chance to say hi to Butch Trucks as he was filming a documentary around town and visited the Big House Museum three times. I had a guitar shipped to me from guitar affair which was easy breezy, and the Big House staff welcomed me to play on the front porch of the Big House.

We even got a little jam session of our own going and I thought while playing, "this is what it is all about...getting together...making music and having fun".

Of course a tree branch clattered high out of an old tree in the front yard while I was going through this and accentuated the thought in a very loud and wonderful way. The spirits were definitely with us big time!

We felt some strange and beautiful vibes in that home and show stopping chills ran down our backs. All that memorabilia and history collected from around the world re-assembled and re-concentrated back in that home is bound to be a vector of positive and creative energy.

We had two very legitimate poltergeist experiences too personal to mention and lost in translation but all the same legit and physical manifestations. You have to be open to it.

E.J. Devokatis the curator and archivist did an outstanding job. I have a ton of pictures from the trip and museum that I'll post up on Journey Home MySpace and Facebook plus a short video I'll post on YouTube in the next few days.

Make the Trip to Macon to visit The Allman Brother Museum it's well worth it and flights in and out of Atlanta are cheap because it is a major hub.

I recommend the following places to dine:
The above mentioned Red Tomato
The Back Burner Restaurant
The Downtown Grill
Richie and Richard made the night extra special with their hospitality and service. For casual fun on the water the Fish n' Pig has several big decks overlooking a lake.

The Georgia Music Hall of Fame is worth the visit and of course Rose Hill Cemetery. Besides being the site of Duane and Berry's graves it is a wonderful historic cemetery with a huge plot dedicated to the soldiers of the Civil War. Be respectful of all who lay there and to those who visit otherwise know you just don't get it at all.

The Ribbon Cutting:

This was a major event CNN, Wall Street Journal, CBS, and all the local stations were in attendance. I haven't been to too many ribbon cuttings but was anxious to spend a few non-concert moments with the band. It was a small gathering on a beautiful day and we got in tight for some great photos and some choice moments. Gregg, Butch, Jaimoe, Warren Haynes and Berry Oakley's son were all there. Everybody is just blown away by the Museum. They have done an outstanding job and visiting it is reason enough to go to Macon. People from all over the globe were there. We bonded with Jack from Mexico and made way so our Japanese friends could get pictures. Germany, England and Scandinavia were all represented.

The Show:
Well Macon really lets you enjoy a concert. Gone were the usher bullies clearing the isle, looking for dope to confiscate and hippies to pound. On Friday nights it's like New Orleans you can walk the center city district with open containers and the venue the Macon City Auditorium is ornate, comfortable and intimate.

The first set was blistering. Derek Trucks apparently broke his ankle shooting hoops that morning but was otherworldly in the first set. We all fell out quipping about the pharmaceuticals he must be on, but the second set was too much for him and I think the percocets finally did him in - seriously. The band was pretty cute checking on Derek to see if he was alright and Oteil was stunned and laughing at the blistering fret work by Derek. Latter in the second set it was obvious the poor guy was out of gas and done in by big pharma and no one even blinked when he didn't return after the brief bass and drum break.

Warren was of course strong and dialed in and Jack Pearson was in town. Jack is a phenomenal guitar player and actually was in the band for a while, and filled in admirably.

It was a relaxed party atmosphere for friends and family and a great vibe and show. There's a set list below. The second set stumbled along a bit because Derek was struggling with his medication. I bet he cut his doses down for the next show but it was a biblical first set.

That's all for now enjoy the pictures repost at will.

The vibe in town was extremely positive for this mini reunion. Although the Band was only in town for 24 hours they were out and about everywhere.

Set List

Local News Broadcast of the Event (lots of video clips)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Why do "slow down" and "slow up" mean the same thing? Why is the third hand on the watch called the second hand?

George Carlin

Friday, April 16, 2010

The SEC says Goldman failed to disclose "vital information" that one of its clients, Paulson & Co, helped choose which securities were packaged into the mortgage portfolio.

These securities were sold to investors in 2007.

But Goldman did not disclose that Paulson, one of the world's largest hedge funds, had bet that the value of the securities would fall.

oh that's just such dirty pool - unbelievable - whatever we do don't regulate the markets because corporations are our friends (deep sarcasm)
People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have the things about us.

~ Iris Murdoch
"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Nuclear Power Has Never Turned A Profit

I read with an open mind an article blasting solar thermal and solar energy. It complained about cost, profit and concluded that green technology cost jobs. Someone from a Tea Party site was trying to resurrect the old jobs versus the environment argument. The article linked here had some glaring ommisions. Here is my response:

...the glaring fact that nuclear, oil, coal and timber are all heavily subsidized by tax payers for half a century now - didn't merit a mention. Nuclear power has never turned a profit even with zero percent interest and loan guarantees from the tax payers through OUR government. That's why they (nuclear power plants)haven't been built.

Nuclear waste - well I guess we just ignore that and it will go away.

The fact of the matter is that we have to try everything including conservation, retrofitting for high efficiency, updating the power grid for better monitoring and efficiency and create new market models where we consume less.

You cry about cleaning off the (solar)lens is labor intensive - hello that equals job creation.

When they rolled the model T's off the assembly line did they envision the cars we have on the road today or the next generation vehicles? When the Wright Brothers launched their plane at Kitty Hawk did they envision orbiting space stations powered by the sun and solar sails? When they built the first computer occupying full warehouse sized rooms - did they envision you could have one in your phone?

It has to be done, it has to be figured out and reading some of these reviewer comments - it looks like a lot of people are calling you out for propaganda and old data.

The funny part is whether that is true or not doesn't even really matter. Because your solution seems to be - don't try to invent, don't fund research, shrug your shoulders, quit, and stick your head in the sand. But staying with the current technology, consumption and waste as is (the status quo) is totally unacceptable.

I'll tell you another thing - the tax payers do not want to fund an Exxon Mobil that doesn't pay taxes - they rake in enormous subsidies based on lobbying not merit.

The tax payers do not want to fund nuclear disasters waiting to happen, the tax payers do not want to fund mountain top removal and the despoiling of our water and food supply. But the tax payers do want to fund research and development for clean energy and the clean up of our environment, and the advancement of medical procedures, technologies and the cure from our environmentally generated cancers. We want not only clean energy but clean food free from pesticides and herbicides that have been linked to diseases such as Parkinson's and the run off contaminating our food and fisheries.

We know (the tax payers) that we have to live sustainably upon this Earth and that attitudes like yours won't move the ball forward one inch and that the status quo is not only no longer acceptable it's no longer doable.

Paul Burke
Author-Journey Home

Get involved make a difference - here

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission - to be of service to them whenever they require it.

~ St. Francis of Assisi

Monday, April 12, 2010

The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.

~ Abraham Lincoln
The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.

~ Paul Cezanne

Spill Baby Spill - Off Shore Drilling is Safe and Coal is Clean - LOL

The disinformation is at a fevered pitch as we start to pull a sliver of control and direction away from the status quo. The very same status quo that has driven the nation off the proverbial cliff. To add insult to injury the big telecommunication companies want to own the internet and do away with net neutrality. By controlling content and information you can control power, mold opinion and plow ahead with your personal agenda. Unfortunately that just leads to violent insurrection as people who are stiffed, marginalized and disenfranchised go beyond frustration. With no real outlet to express themselves and no part whatsoever to play or participate in the political process they pick up arms. This is what has happened throughout history. I hope the powers that be aren't that delusional to recreate the Soviet Union, Poland and the Middle East for the good old USA.

They claim drilling is safe because people are still making money off of drilling, processing and selling oil but they just keep spilling it all over the place.

In the past few months we have tankers running aground, oil rigs catching on fire and now this spill in the gulf. Between, the Chinese Tanker, The Australian Oil Rig and the American Spill in the Gulf it just makes me sick. Not that the greedy are prone to over-reaching and creating disaster they have always done that. But that the spills and fires do not get the national press coverage or generate the outrage a Tiger Woods sex scandal creates. Purposeful distraction by corporate media protecting their sponsors, investments, and the powers that be or willful ignorance? Sadly it's a combination of both. I'm sure FOX NEWS is NOT devoting any significant time at all if any in covering these events. All we hear from Fox News is the inane cry of a politician and corporate Goliath seeking to regain power and the phrase drill baby drill. Stupid baby stupid.

Louisiana Oil Spill Highlights Continued Safety Concerns
by Ryan Scholl, Environment America‚ Apr. 09‚ 2010

Early Tuesday morning, 18000 gallons of oil spilled from a Chevron-operated pipeline into a sensitive wildlife refuge on the coast of Louisiana. The oil has so far spread to an area of about 160 square miles, covering wetlands of the Delta National Wildlife Refuge, and the Gulf of Mexico. The refuge is the wintering home to hundreds of thousands of migratory birds as well as many other critters, including already threatened species such as the America alligator and the brown pelican.

The area of the spill is so remote that cleanup crews were not immediately able to get to it. Currently, local and state officials and crews from the oil company are on the scene driving the cleanup efforts. Updates on wildlife harmed by the oil are not yet in. Given the size and location of the spill, injured wildlife may not have been found or reported yet.

This spill is just one of many in recent memory. In January, an oil tanker headed for an Exxon Mobil refinery in Beaumont, TX spilled 462,000 gallons into the Gulf of Mexico after it collided with a tugboat. Last year off the Australian coast, millions of gallons gushed out of a deep water drilling rig after an explosion in an underwater pipe. That rig was state of the art, just two years old. The oil, which continued leaking for weeks, was said to have spread across more than 9000 square miles. And there are hundreds of other examples of recent spills.

Comparatively, this week’s spill off the Louisiana coast seems almost small. But with all that’s at stake, even a little bit of oil can do tremendous harm. That’s one reason why Environment America opposes President Obama’s recent announcement of plans to expand oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Southeastern Atlantic, and in Northern Alaska. Despite claims by drilling supporters about the safety of modern drilling equipment and oil transportation techniques, there are no perfectly safe methods. Spills will continue to happen as long as we drill for oil.

And spills, of course, will continue to have disastrous impacts on wildlife, the tourism industry and our beaches. Though it’s difficult to estimate the true cost of an oil spill, a 2009 report by Environment America showed the economic value of sustainable ocean activities nationwide to be about $197 billion, compared to $164 billion for the value of nonrenewable oil and gas extraction. Even if your primary concern is the bottom line, the financial benefits alone of a clean offshore environment are worth supporting over the expansion of drilling.

We also oppose new drilling off our coasts because we just don’t need to do it. At best, new offshore drilling would meet only a tiny fraction of our current oil usage. In addition and more importantly, we have real options to reduce our dependence significantly, through using cleaner cars and increasing funding for public transportation. Recently announced increases in the national fuel economy standards will reduce gasoline consumption by as much as 11.6 billion gallons per year in 2016.

With irrefutable evidence of the dangers of oil drilling on the environment, plus the impact these threats have on coastal communities and the abundance and accessibility of cleaner and safer alternatives, it’s clear we should be moving away from using more oil and toward a cleaner, safer and more efficient future. Spills like the one this week in the Louisiana wildlife refuge are just the most recent reminder that we must do more to save our shores.

Take action and participate in YOUR democracy while you still can here and here

Saturday, April 10, 2010

For decades the middle class has been getting effed over. Yes, it's our patriotic duty to pay our taxes -- for things like firemen, roads, schools, safe drinking water -- and we're happy to do that, but everybody's got to pony up. For instance: Exxon paid no taxes in '09. The wealthiest 5% have been paying less and less and less over the last 40 years.
Obama passed 25 separate tax cuts, and Obama's stimulus package included $300 billion in middle class tax cuts, one of the largest in history.
95% of Americans received a tax cut from Obama. How come only 12% of us know it?
Stunning Statistic of the Week:

* Total amount spent on federal elections in the 2008 election cycle: $5.285 billion
* The amount spent on cigarette advertising and promotion by the five largest cigarette companies in the United States in 2006: $33.4 billion
The true miracle is not walking on water or walking in air, but simply walking on this earth.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, April 09, 2010

I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.

Alan Watts
"What a country chooses to save is what a country chooses to say about itself."

–Mollie Beattie, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1993-1996

Thoughts on Religion

Religion is a belief not a science or a truth. It has done more to drive people apart than bring them together. It's an attempt to codify law on behalf of civilization and worse a system to consolidate power and money.

The Bible in and of itself has some pretty dubious parts and plenty of them. Not everyone needs a man walking on water story to realize this planet and all that exists is amazing. But how curious that a guy walks on water and we don't have one artifact - not the bowl he ate out of - not his sandals - not a lock of his hair ...when we have Michael Jackson's Glove and all he did was walk backwards.

Believe what you want but when you preach it as the truth - you are wrong - it's unprovable and that makes it a myth or theory. Some passages in the Bible are flat out horrifying - 1 Peter 2:13-17 Submit to your dictator; 18-21 Slaves, submit and respect your owners, most of all if he is harsh. How about the passage in the Old Testament (one of the books in the Torah) where a man had house guests and a mob outside the house demanded they be released, but the man released his virgin daughters instead? Or the woman who got her father drunk and then slept with him to get pregnant. And this lovely unforgiving quote,"He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD."--Dt.23:1 -Nice-(from the link above). I'm sorry those aren't codes of behavior I can endorse no matter what you call it and recognizing this doesn't make you a heathen.

I would caution anyone that just because you say you have seen the light doesn't mean nobody "sold" you or - if you are self aggrandizing for profit and fame you are worse than evil.

Believe what you want to believe but know that we are all big boys and girls and have a responsibility and a right to think for ourselves. Don't expect others to fall in line to validate your choices, assumptions and/or lack of research. If you are comfortable with the contradictions rock on with yourself, but you don't have the moral high ground you think you have to relentlessly promote it for self gain and/or validation. The fact of the matter is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is the only law, rule, religion any of us need. If we all followed that simple turn of the phrase we would find utopia. It's been here all along waiting, and waiting, and waiting for us all to evolve.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Hunting is not a sport. In a sport, both sides should know they're in the game.

~ Paul Rodriguez
Top Corporate Air Polluters Named; Costs of Dirty Air Borne by Us All -
Since last year, the Wall Street banking behemoths have spent more than $500 million trying to derail reform. That's $1.4 million per day they've invested in continuing to pull mega-bonuses and continuing the deceitful practices that wrecked the economy.
Pop quiz: what do all of these problems have in common?

* Wildly volatile food and energy prices
* The failure of AIG, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns
* The collapse of our financial markets
* The loss of trillions of dollars of wealth by investors

Give up? They can all be traced to unregulated, non-transparent "derivatives" markets on Wall Street.

Health Care Plan Works For Real People

Watch the cynicism, and the hate and the stupidity! I know the health care plan isn't what I wanted. I wanted Medicare lowered to 55 and a buy in option for everyone else. That is the simple solution I pleaded for and that simple approach would have pumped money back into the system. I also STILL WANT the repeal of the anti-trust protection the insurance industry STILL enjoys. We need to make a helluva a lot of noise about that soon!

All that being said I wanted to pass this letter via the American Cancer Society on to you all:

From: Amy Wilhite
Date: April 1, 2010
Subject: What it means for us


Last week, the future changed for cancer patients -- and for my daughter Taylor.

Three years ago, Taylor was diagnosed with leukemia. She was only 8 years old. After a bone marrow transplant and three rounds of chemo, we discovered alarming news about our insurance plan. We’d just about reached Taylor’s lifetime limit for coverage and the insurance company would soon stop paying her medical bills.

My husband worked. We had health insurance. But we still faced losing our life savings and barely being able to support our other three children due to Taylor’s mounting and future medical bills.

But, thanks to you, all that changed last week when Congress passed meaningful health care reform.

No longer will insurance companies be allowed to put a price on the cost of saving a life. No longer will people with pre-existing conditions like cancer be denied coverage. No longer will there be arbitrary limits on annual and lifetime benefits.

Taylor’s cancer is in remission, but she’s still fighting the side effects from her medication and needs a hip replacement. I won’t have to make the heartbreaking choice: to spend the money for the surgery that will help her have a more comfortable life, or save the money in case the cancer comes back.

My family is living proof of the real effect legislation can have on the lives of cancer patients.

With deep gratitude from Taylor and our family,

Amy Wilhite

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Sometimes I think I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

~ Diana Britt
" can tell a lot about a society by the way it treats the most unfortunate of its members, how it handles its resources and how it regards the nature and abundance it has been provided." Paul Burke
Exxon Mobil Paid No Income Tax in 2009 -
Texas Oil Companies Funding California Ballot Initiative
Poisoning from prescription drugs is now the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S. surpassing motor vehicle crashes.

Massey and the Evangelical from Hell - Blankenship

Blankenship is a zealot, a freak, a creep, who uses the political cover of conservatism to justify his ignorant, selfish, self serving loathsome behavior where he regards his employees and all that serve him as chattel. Blankenship thinks all politicians are chumps and his competitors morons. He's a cold hearted prick without any real sense of the world and planet we live on. He thinks his profit margin is his get out of jail free card for all of his atrocities to those in his immediate circle, those that work for him and those he doesn't know or care to know. He's Mr. Capitalism. Like a religion he champions an economic theory never separating out fact from fiction. Theory and myth somehow are reality capitalism and democracy somehow the same thing. In the face of science he denies all but his precious profit margin. I can't decide what's worse the ramifications of his actions on those he doesn't know or the ramification of his actions on those that trusted him enough to be employees, family members, business associates and acquaintances.

Blankenship and those like him, those justifying his corporate bravado, taking his money, justifying his arrogance and mischief, those people will be the demise of this Country. They always have been and always will be.

Bottom line if corporate america and transnational corporations don't want regulations they can clean up their act and stop acting like outlaws or as if they live in a vacuum. Until that day comes - if it ever comes- not only is it our right to protect our workers, environment, neighborhood, air, water, eco-system, and food supply, but it is our duty not only to god and each other but to ourselves, and we will find the politicians with the right stuff to legislate in context of our necessary global sustainability because our very health and well being depends on it any other course of action is not only foolhardy but just plain STUPID!

Corporations do not exist in a vacuum - markets do not exist in a vacuum. Every thought, deed and action has a ripple affect on the entire planet, and all the markets, and all that live here on this planet. A short sighted mentality is not rugged individualism, it is not romantic and it is not grudgingly admired. It is ignorant and destructive even to the CEO's themselves. It's the kind of thinking that will be the ruin of not only the Blankenship's and Massey's of the world but of us all.

When confronted by such people it is up to all of us (their wives, their children, their business associates, competitors, politicians and the public) to tell them they are wrong. If they do not take into consideration their actions in context of the entire macro-economic reality of the world and what exists outside of their office door their precious little deals netting them and them alone millions, and the societies we co-exist in - if they don't adjust accordingly then we will create laws to correct their ignorant behavior.

In other words as stated before if you don't want regulation corporate america and transnational corporations then clean up your act. Until that happens expect laws, regulation and law suits to correct your selfish short sighted screw you I'm making a deal and money so get out of my big projects way - attitude.

Self serving pricks do not have the right to run rough shod over the rest of us trying to peacefully co-exist with each other and our environment. That living within our means environmentally is vital to our survival is something any third grader can tell you is drastically important. Corporate self serving whores hiding behind the political theory of conservatism espousing oversight and the rule of law is wrong so they can get away with irresponsibility, corruption and malfeasance ARE THE PROBLEM.

Take Action HERE!
The income of the 400 richest Americans rose 637% over fifteen years, to the average $345 million mark. During that same period, their effective tax rate declined by over one-third, from a peak tax rate of 30% to 16.6%."..... YOUR tax rate is much HIGHER.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.

~ James Thurber

Thoughts on Hunting Sarah Palin

Because she defied the voters in Alaska twice regarding the outlawing and unsportsmanship of running wolves down with a helicopter, and then blasting them when they finally got tired. For going into pup dens and blasting the young pups. Because she left the "Great State of Alaska's" finances and debt worse by a large factor than when she started to govern. Because she knows nothing about our history or what the Constitution even says or how we have arrived at our place in history. Because she never read the Federalist Papers - which is required reading for anyone who claims to know what they are talking about when it comes to this Country.

There is absolutely nothing, macho, sporting, resembling hunting, or having an ounce of integrity with shooting animals from a helicopter.

That is just a plain lazy practice. Big game hunters never use the whole animal they want them as trophies to announce their machismo and feed their ego. If the Palin's of the world were like the early Native Americans and thanked spirit for the gift of the animal who's life they had taken and for the nourishment and utility the whole animal provided then environmentalist would have no problem with the culling of the herd. There are important considerations in culling both to the health of the entire herd, our health, and the ecosystem we all occupy.

Getting plastered on beer sitting in the woods to bag a trophy is just plain ignorant. That's why everyone is okay with Ted Nuggent if he really does respect and use the whole animal and actually gives thanks to the creator for its life and body as a necessary resource. I have my doubts about Ted and those that hunt with him. Not only because he charges so much money, but because I seriously doubt they use the whole animal.

In the end you can tell a lot about a society by the way it treats the most unfortunate of its members, how it handles its resources and how it regards the nature and abundance it has been provided. Americans rip through these god given resources with zero respect like spoiled children on Christmas morning - yes and extending the metaphor even farther - leaving trash everywhere for someone else to clean up. Irresponsible and flat out immature. If you want to feel like a man act like a man with wisdom, integrity and responsibility for your own actions. Life can be fun but it's no joke.

Quite frankly there is a large section of of the population that doesn't get it and deserves the derision they get for being an ignorant, arrogant, pompous bunch of jack asses who think they have some sort of entitlement to act like clueless yahoos, the ugly American. I think most of these people have severe self esteem issues based on economics, politics, fear of anyone different from them, or someone thinking differently than them. If someone believes in something other than what they believe in well that sharply brings into question their own beliefs. Examining their assumed belief system is not something they want to do - like considering your own mortality. The resulting knee jerk reaction when confronted with someone who thinks differently than them leads to an us against them paradigm that solves nothing.

Ignorance is not bliss - no matter how many silver bullets you load up on.

I recommend learning about Tarra and Bella - here, here, and here.

and watching this movie for a refresher course on being a human being.

"You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly." Sam Keen

Monday, April 05, 2010

The true miracle is not walking on water or walking in air, but simply walking on this earth.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh
It is the "try" that is the more often counted as righteousness, and not the success or failure. Failure to anyone should be as a stepping-stone and not as a millstone.

Edgar Cayce Reading 931-1
When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

~ Helen Keller

Saturday, April 03, 2010

"Better active today than radioactive tomorrow"
The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.

~ Andy Rooney

Friday, April 02, 2010

You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.

~ Robert Louis Stevenson
The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, April 01, 2010

EPA Stop Toxic Farming! Action Alert Click Here:
Take a Stand Against Offshore Drilling! Action alert!
"This is a proposal that would only worsen our addiction to oil and put off needed investments in clean, renewable energy. It's not the kind of change that the American people are looking for." Barack Obama, 6/8/08 (had it right the first time bub)
Billed as Big Oil's "SAFE" new technology. A rig installed in 2007 leaked more than a million gallons of oil off Australia...short term economic gains from drilling will be wiped out in one spill. Playing dice with the universe - not smart.
A recent Shell pipeline spill in the Gulf of Mexico covered 80 square miles of Gulf waters with oil sheen. It was one of two spills in waters off Florida’s coastline and seven spills in U.S. waters this year.
Almost one million gallons of oil enter the oceans of North America every year through extraction activities alone.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Opposing Offshore Oil Drilling

This is a repost of a thoughtful statement - bottom line the risk reward factor is way off. We are talking about jeopardizing a huge economic engine - our coastal economies for a three year supply of oil and short term money from the sale of the leases.

This isn't jobs versus the environment. Every honest broker knows a healthy environment is a healthy, diversified and vibrant economy. One oil spill like the one in Australia last summer wipes out whatever short term gains are made by drilling for the 2% of the worlds supply we "might" have. We are spinning our wheels here and should be investing in solar thermal and wind.

In other words any sane management team would put windmills up in the ocean not oil rigs.

Here's the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Statement
Drilling for natural gas often results in oil discoveries which lead to further oil drilling. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation strongly opposes oil and gas drilling off the shores of Virginia and Maryland. The coastline of Virginia represents the largest, most intact coastal wilderness on the East Coast and has been designated as a UN International Biosphere Reserve, a U.S. Department of the Interior National Natural Landmark, and a National Science Foundation Long Term Ecological Research Site.

The offshore proximate waters of the Atlantic Ocean are as much a part of the Chesapeake Bay system as the great rivers such as the Susquehanna, Potomac, and James. Impacts off shore are impacts to the Bay as sea water floods in twice daily with the tides. Furthermore, numerous Bay species use off shore waters during their lives. The Bay's iconic blue crab, for instance, floats off shore within a few centimeters of the surface during its larval stage when it is unable to swim away from any type of surface contamination.

Last year, President Obama identified the Chesapeake Bay as one of this nation’s priority waters that need immediate restoration. His May 2009 Executive Order called for a national strategy to significantly ramp up pollution reductions from all pollution sources. Off shore drilling creates a new pollution source, one capable of significant, even devastating environmental damage from drilling, transportation,storage, or refinement. Taken together, the totality of the potential harm is too great a risk for the Chesapeake Bay, which EPA already officially lists as impaired.

The ocean’s waters off Virginia are critical to the Bay system. Just as fresh waters from rivers and streams feed the Chesapeake, ocean water flushes it with salt water. It is this mixing of fresh and salt water that makes an estuary like the Chesapeake. And because far more salt water enters the Bay than fresh water, potential contamination of ocean waters could cause significant harm.

The Chesapeake is an economic engine to this region. Much of that is through its many living resources like rockfish, crabs, and menhaden. Each of these lives part of their lives in the Bay and another part in the ocean. A perfect storm spill could destroy an entire year class of blue crabs. The economic impact from any spill could be significant, hurting commercial watermen livelihoods, recreational fishing, and tourism. 

President Obama has said he wants this nation to be a leader in clean energy. That means a new way of thinking – renewable, sustainable energy sources that are readily available like wind and sun. Offshore wind energy, for example, is a more sustainable and environmentally sensitive practice than oil and gas drilling, and it creates the jobs of the future. 

Drilling off Virginia’s shore is business as usual. Big Oil gets the bucks while citizens get the bill.  

We need leadership today for a new green tomorrow. Our economy needs this leadership and so does the Chesapeake Bay.

They'll never recover in oil (estimated at best as a three year supply) in what one oil spill will wipe out for the coastal economies. The risk reward factor on a macroeconomic scale isn't even equivalent.
“Drilling our coasts will doing nothing to lower gas prices or create energy independence. It will only jeopardize beaches, marine life, and coastal tourist economies, all so the oil industry can make a short-term profit.” Michael Brune, Sierra Club.