Blog Archives

I’m not happy with the World…

…but I can’t do anything about it on a scale that would change anything.

Listening to politicians on the morning news babble at each other that they will not do anything about jobs or or education or ANYTHING unless the debt is reduced (which most economists will tell you is a false concern in relationship to income)… and then seeing that they do NOTHING while they are in session to work with each other or the President, and ignore the wishes of the voters.

Then I see the report on Global Biodiversity which shows that we are gobbling up the Earths resources at an unreplaceable rate (we are “outstripping the Earth’s resources by 50 percent — essentially using the resources of one and a half Earths every year, according to the 2012 Living Planet Report, produced by conservation agency the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)”

Natural resources — and the rate at which humans burn through them — rarely appear on policymakers’ balance sheets.

- Emily McKenzie, the director of the WWF’s Natural Capital Program

Tie all this in with the ignoring of Global Warming which is leading us further down the path to an unliveable planet.

The fact that we are still at war in the Middle East and are committed there for at least a dozen more years with billions of tax dollars being spent and no budget cuts to aid the economy is frightening. In my lifetime there have been relatively few years when we were not at war with SOMEONE… and the claims that this would all lead to peace are now nothing but laughable.

So my thoughts come back again to “what can we do?”

Elly and I have replaced all our light bulbs with the energy controlled ones and, even then, we sit in the dark most of the time to keep electricity down. We are growing our own food now (and buying and trading with local farmers.) We are planning to add chickens.

I am working with groups like Sustainable Shepherdstown to promote local job growth and development of our  local and regional small businesses.

I am campaigning against Monsanto, Dow and the rest for poisoning our foods and making it more difficult to get organic seeds in the market… yet they are taking over the food industry at rates that are more than alarming (for instance, Kellogg buying out Kashi has removed the latter from the organic food makers and now fills their products with GMO grains.)

But I wake up every morning more depressed than the day before… worried about the future for my children and my grandchildren (currently four of them).

Do you worry about all of this as well? Do you try to do anything about it, or just throw your hands up and resign yourself to it?

Let me know.

 

(Stupid) Quote of the Day

Climate Change is…

“an absolute travesty of scientific research that was motivated by those who, in my opinion, saw this as an opportunity to create a panic and a crisis for government to be able to step in and even more greatly control your life…

“When you have a worldview that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth; by things that frankly are just not scientifically proven, for example, the politicization of the whole global warming debate — this is all an attempt to, you know, to centralize power and to give more power to the government.”

-Rick Santorum speaking in Colorado

In his article in TPM on Santorum’s little speech, Sahil Kapur also put this in:

But lest you believe Santorum’s thinking is hitherto unseen in the GOP. Rep. John Shimkus, in a 2009 congressional hearing, cited the Book of Genesis as evidence that climate change is a hoax, pointing out that God promised Noah that man won’t destroy the Earth. Shimkus was subsequently rewarded with the Chairmanship of the powerful Energy & Commerce subcommittee on the environment.

Don’t you love the Religious Right? Isn’t the Book of Genesis the one that never explains where all the other people beyond Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel come from? And there’s a talking snake.

The Newt in the Moon…

While he makes the budget balanced as President, Newt Gingrich has now promised to put a US base on the moon… by the end of his second term!

The two problems with this are 1.) the cost would blow us even deeper into debt, and 2.) we have to elect Newt for Two Terms!

Now we know he was angling for the NASA vote on the “Space Coast”, but doesn’t Newtie realize that the whole nation is watching (and laughing)?

Happy Solstice… It’s the longest night of the year tonight…

They peg the Winter Solstice to this evening. As that great Alaskan blog, The Mudflats, pointed out:

This is one of those holidays that exists objectively, whether we want it or not. Every culture marked it, and every human has noticed it since the beginning of time. And nobody will change it to Monday so we get a long weekend, or combine it with another event and call it “Celestial Day.” It is what it is – simple, scientific, magical and beautiful.

So if you Celebrate the Solstice have a great night… and we can proceed onward to next Summer.

…and here’s a song from one of my favorite musicals, Rogers and Hart’s The Boys from Syracuse, “The Shortest Day of the Year:

Change To Win

I spend most of my time on this blog, lately, pointing out the growing number of things that are destroying our economy, our community, our health and, ultimately, our existence. I’m not sure who listens or believes what is proven over and over. I know many are putting their faith is religion, in second comings, in waiting to be lifted to heaven as the Devil takes over the Earth

Come back to reality, folks. Most of the solutions are fairly clear and require us to put in a great deal of work. We have all got to be ready for it.

I haven’t run one of these videos in some time… but I feel like upping everyone’s will to win:

Got it? I hope so.

The Longest Day of the Year…

Summer Solstice… today. Sunshine from early morning to early evening… the longest stretch of the year. We began the morning with rain, but the sun is out now (although there is a 60% chance that the rain will return later in the day or overnight. Great for the gardens, though.

I spent most of the morning at the dentist having a replacement tooth installed after a root canal. On the way home I stopped in the new local pharmacy to get my dentist’s prescription filled and ran into Delegate Doyle, our representative at the State legislature and a frequent visitor to the radio show. We exchanged some pleasantries and, later, the pharmacist said Doyle was checking out the new store… so he’s showing interest in his District.

I’m back at home now watching the Senate on C-Span2 as they debate Leon Panetta‘s nomination for Defense Secretary and whether or not to pull out of Pakistan, or Afghanistan, or Libya. Doesn’t look like we’re going to really get out anytime soon, although Obama is supposed to be presenting a partial Afghanistan withdrawal tomorrow (I don’t expect the percentage to be a big one or the time it takes to do it to be very fast.)

Meanwhile we move forward into the muck of the future..

OK…Harold Camping got it wrong… but he has a new date for the Rapture…

I guess he didn’t raise enough to add to his blessed $72 million bucks. better get in line with him now  and send in your money) so you make it up to heaven when it really happens. But do it before October 21st.

Here are his comments:

Got it? Now get back to work.

I just joined The Other 98%… you should, too

Here are their stats:

We are…

Hard-working Americans who are tired of seeing CEOs and lobbyists hijack our democracy to serve themselves at the expense of everyone else.

Middle class Americans who for decades have dutifully paid our taxes while watching the biggest corporations and very wealthiest Americans pay a smaller and smaller share (50% less since 1950).

Citizens tired of borrowing trillions from China, mortgaging our children’s futures in order to give handouts to the wealthiest 2%.

Citizens tired of being ignored amidst the media fascination with the antics and misinformation of the Tea Party, a fringe 2% which distracts us from solving the very real problems facing America.

Disenfranchised Tea Partiers outraged about Wall Street bailouts and the unfairness of a system that gives massive tax breaks to global corporations and the very rich while leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab.

We are all of us…

No matter what creed, color, religion or trade, we’re all in this together. Everyone — from the single mom just scraping by to the richest man on the hill — share a common interest in keeping America the best country on Earth.

We are often too busy to be heard, but we are everywhere. And we are hopeful.

Join us.

I found them when I saw this comparison of George Soros with the Koch Brothers at The Political Carnival:

Bill O’Reilly gets back to God and the Tides…

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. O’Reilly in proving the existence of God made the statement that there must be a deity because we don’t know what causes the tides. Many of us jumped in with the scientifically known fact that the gravitational pull of the moon is what causes the tides. Nuff said.

Not enough for Bill, though. Here is his update comment:

HuffPo made a fine rebuttal comment:

In fact, prevailing scientific theory is that the Moon formed as the result of a massive impact with Earth; Mars has two moons; etc, etc. Bad Astronomy has an exceedingly thorough examination of just how wrong O’Reilly is for those interested in the gory details.

Thus the score remains O’Reilly – Zero, Science – Infinity.

This, of course, will not make the followers of O’Rielly come around to scientific truth. If it could, there would be few things that Billo says that would cause folks to follow him… instead they are as uneducated as he is.

What? I’m not a Gemini any more?

Gemini Symbol

Gemini... the Twins

I was born on May 24 and for the entirety of my near 65 years on this Earth I have known that my Zodiacal Sign was Gemini (The Twins.) Now the Minnesota Planetarium Society’s Parke Kunkle claims that, due to a celestial accident in the Zodiac Chart made possible by millenia of small shifts in the planets annual Solar Rotation, the signs we all cast our futures by must be changed.

The new list:

Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16.
Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11.
Pisces: March 11-April 18.
Aries: April 18-May 13.
Taurus: May 13-June 21.
Gemini: June 21-July 20.
Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10.
Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16.
Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30.
Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23.
Scorpio: Nov. 23-29.
Ophiuchus*: Nov. 29-Dec. 17.
Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20.

(* Discarded by the Babylonians because they wanted 12 signs per year.)

So I am now a Taurus?

Bull!

What if I want to remain a Gemini (think of all the symbolic tie clips and cufflinks that need to be changed worldwide… not to mention the framed fabric creation my late Grandmother made that hangs on my wall.) At least my wife gets to remain a Sagittarius (her fabric creation by my Grandmother can survive intact.)

And who the hell is Ophiuchus (the Serpent Bearer)?

It’s the 21st! Good Morning.

It was beautiful…instead of going black the eclipsed moon turned a dark amber red. At 3:00 AM I stood at my window and watched it in all it’s glory, just off Orion’s upper right quadrant. The sky was wonderfully clear and, through my binoculars, I could see the shadowed craters in a dark red-grey surrounded by red highlights.

Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, and it’s the last day of Zappadan. Today is the 70th anniversary of Frank’s birth. So here’s some morning music to celebrate – Baby Snakes (recorded live in Munich):

Tonight is a Night of Astronomical Wonder…

Three Hundred and Seventy Two years ago was the last time that the Winter Solstice (which makes tomorrow the shortest day of the year) and a total eclipse of the Moon happened at the same time. I don’t know what you were doing then, but I wasn’t around.

I’m planning on jumping out of bed around 2:30 AM, putting my snuggies on, and going outside to see the major event (and note, there may be some leftovers from the Geminids meteor shower that peaked a couple of days ago, to catch our attention.) What a great sky gazing night!

Here’s what you need to know in order to see everything. From NASA:

The eclipse begins on Tuesday morning, Dec. 21st, at 1:33 am EST (Monday, Dec. 20th, at 10:33 pm PST). At that time, Earth’s shadow will appear as a dark-red bite at the edge of the lunar disk. It takes about an hour for the “bite” to expand and swallow the entire Moon. Totality commences at 02:41 am EST (11:41 pm PST) and lasts for 72 minutes.

If you’re planning to dash out for only one quick look -­ it is December, after all -­ choose this moment: 03:17 am EST (17 minutes past midnight PST). That’s when the Moon will be in deepest shadow, displaying the most fantastic shades of coppery red.

Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory inspected a list of eclipses going back 2000 years:

“Since Year 1, I can only find one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is 1638 DEC 21. Fortunately we won’t have to wait 372 years for the next one…that will be on 2094 DEC 21.”

Here’s the “best view” map from NASA… looks like the USA has got it this time:… Click Here: OH2010-Fig04

According to the Weather Bureau, we should be mostly clear tonite in our area (with temperatures down to 20° –  Brrrr) so we should have a clear view of it.

It’s Jupiter!

I just took my dogs out on their last walk for the evening and looked up at the sky to see a beautiful full moon. To the right of the moon was a bright shining star (?)… no, too big. Has to be a planet.

When I came back in I checked with Sky and Telescope to see what the star or planet was and… it’s Jupiter! A wonderful sight on a clear night.

Considering the distance Jupiter is from the Earth (between 390,682,810 miles at its closest and 576,682,810 miles at its most distant… and I guess we are in the closer mode now) it gives you an idea of how big a planet it must be, to reflect that much sun via the naked eye. The stars in the sky, even the closest, seem so much smaller, although they must be many times the size of Jupiter and, therefore, much, much farther away from us.

Wow!

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