Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ben Breedlove: Ben BRED Love

--Another life ends too soon. Ben Breedlove
died on December 25th, 2011, after opening his
Christmas gifts. Just 18, his inspirational
You Tube videos moved millions....

including me, as I suddenly realized he fulfilled
the promise of his name, as if it were a command:
"Ben, breed love." And he did. Can anything be
finer than that?

May angels sing thee to thy rest, as Shakespeare
so peerlessly said. May we all examine our names
for higher meanings, moving us to act accordingly.

The U.S. and Iran: Exports vs. "Experts"

******TRY to be Responsible--BACK OFF******

--How about some sanity and concern for the New Year?
Mr. Obama deserves to lose his re-election bid if
he takes the advice certain "experts" in his circle are
giving regarding sanctioning/embargoing Iran's oil exports.

(1) Stop the "superpower" bluster, USA. We haven't won
any major wars since WWII--that's right, look it up:

Some may wish to consider Grenada and the First Gulf
War as meaningful victories; I don't. (At least we employed
rare admirable restraint in those instances.) We lost in
Korea, that peninsula is technically STILL AT WAR.
Afghanistan is STILL replete with warlords, the Taliban,
corrupt government, etc., after NINE YEARS. Why did we
think we could succeed where Russia and others failed?

We lost 55,000 American soldiers and Vietnam to the
Communists, where U.S. tourists travel today. Let's not
dwell overmuch on Iraq, the ill-intentioned, incompetent
governments at home and abroad which occasioned great loss
of U.S. blood, treasure and time, not forgetting the many
thousands of civilian Iraqi deaths. Other "brushfire"
skirmishes, involvements in the Arab Spring, etc., don't
qualify the U.S. as a superpower. We only reign supreme in
agribusiness and nuclear bombs. Our influence HAS its limits
as well as its consequences. WHO doesn't know that?
--Most of the current crop of 2012 U.S. presidential
candidates, that's who.

(2) It's rank folly to underestimate Iran, a cradle of civilization,
a nation far older than ours, a survivor of many wars and
invasions. Would we go to WWIII over the stupid oil question in
the Strait of Hormuz, whether the putative Iranian blockade would
stop 20 or 40% of the world's oil? (The media has used both of
these percentages.)

We in the West may look with suspicion and disapproval at any
Theocracy, but like it or not, THAT IS IRAN. By the way,
they haven't forgotten the CIA's 1953 meddling which toppled
their government, or the USA's friendship with Shah Reza Pahlavi,
who used electric shock on dissidents while we looked the other
way. --Superpower or super bully? Isn't that what we called the
Soviets?

Iran is more dangerous than some other countries because public
and international opinion matter very little there. Bearing this
in mind, do we really want to pointlessly provoke a dangerous
denouement with Iran?

America and Iran: the world is watching, back off. We will not
forget or forgive any major missteps at this critical moment in
the global economy.

Friday, December 23, 2011

"Grinchy" Knuckled Down by Public Shame

I got MY Christmas present, in spades.
John Boehner,"fearless" U.S. House Speaker,
wrapped the DC year up in a squeaker.
I should have suspected an eventual cave,
as he did cry in public months back. There's
no shame in male tears, but that shows
me the man IS vulnerable to emotion and
others' opinions--too bad he's often
impervious to logic and good sense. The
surprise was Sen. Mitch McConnell, who
recovered his mental acuity long enough
to advise Rep. B. to herd his cats into
temporary submission.

The American worker gets some well-deserved
holiday relief. But expect the Winter of
our Discontent just after the New Year....

I guess I'm the Grinch now.

[P.S.: Please check out my comment under
the immediately preceding post for a bit
more about the "$40 a week" mass media
blast. Best Hopes for 2012, y'all.]

Thursday, December 22, 2011

DC Drama: Who Stole Christmas?--Not the Grinch

The wearing of carefully understated suits and
being seated around a conference table does NOT,
U.S. House Rep. Speaker Boehner, prove you and
yours are able and willing to get down to work.
Intransigence on so many important fronts just
shows how utterly bankrupt, morally/ethically/
practically our "democratic" political process
really is.

The skulking actors driving this embarrassing
farce are Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor, Grover
Norquist and Speaker Boehner. Their only true
concerns are maintaining their lofty positions
and defeating Mr. Obama in 2012. Meanwhile,
all but the super rich are held hostage, as
respect for our vaunted process continues to
spiral downward. Somehow this recalls the
New York Teapot Dome scandal to me, in the
arrant stink of it, if in nothing else.

So as we all try to make the best of this
largely dispiriting holiday season, we're
sure the Grinch didn't steal Christmas.
If Dr. Seuss were writing today, the creature
would look like Speaker Boehner.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Technology IS NOT Enough, Virginia Tech!

I fail to understand or even be amused by all
the students and the president at Virginia
Tech who today stated their confidence in their
campus wide "alert system", which consists of
email blasts and texts to students' cells. Er,
excuse me, but many people STILL resist keeping
a cell turned on and in their hands at all times.
In ADDITION to these worthy-enough electronic
methods, there must be police in cars with electronic
megaphones driving around all the main campus drags,
warning people to seek shelter, lock doors, lay low,
etc.--the MOMENT any campus official ascertains a
gunman is loose there.

Cells fail, run out of minutes, lose battery charge. PCs
freeze, get hacked, attacked by worms, bagels, etc.
I have a PC, have a cell. They are extremely useful, even
fun to have. But:

Personally, I trust in God and my own wits. Those
have saved me in many a dangerous situation, including
my own kidnapping (gun involved) 30+ years ago....

Technology is NOT enough, everybody.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grover Norquist and the Right Ear of God

We've all seen the cartoon image of everyone's
conscience at work, an angel on one shoulder,
the devil on the other. Why not one for God?
(Maybe that's been done, but I haven't seen it.)

Picture God in the usual manner, with a cruelly
conservative little devil on the right and a pretty
multi-colored angel on the left. (Sure, such an image
is extremely, simplistically polarizing, but I'll
risk it just this once for Grover Norquist.)

If Mr. Norquist were drawing this cartoon he'd
make the devil much larger and God's face would be
smiling. Ol' Grover is that confident of his
power over events, which so far has proven an
accurate notion. He really needs to broaden
his own perspective's informational base....
reading President Hoover's entire oeuvre,to the
exclusion of much else, if true, doesn't give
anyone an emancipated view of the world.

In spite of Hoover's disastrous approach to
the oncoming Great Depression, I too admire
Hoover for a few of his qualities. He was
an outstanding engineer, deserved to have
our huge hydroelectric miracle called the
Hoover Dam. I suppose Mr. Norquist bristles
whenever he reads critiques/criticisms of
Hoover, but he needn't. No U.S. president,
politician or person possesses perfection,
INCLUDING Grover. (-Say, was he named after
Grover Cleveland?)

The appalling pledge that every DC republican
office holder purportedly has signed just
takes my breath away. But I do understand:
in Mr. Norquist's cartoon drawing, God's face
would be his.

Monday, November 21, 2011

U.S. Congressman Joel Walsh Is Wrong--AGAIN --Insult our vets?

Just because someone has a bully pulpit
doesn't mean they should use it. Some of
the current crop of Republican office holders
put the whole history of the party, and its
voters, to shame. Former office holders
like Lugar, Hagel and Percy must be annoyed,
embarrassed, frustrated. WHY doesn't Joel
Walsh just keep STILL and do a LOT more
reading and thinking BEFORE opening the
maw he calls his mouth??

If I ever encounter him at some public
function, I'll "give him the benefit of
my views":

(1) "Have you no shame sir, none at all?"
I'd be SHOCKED if he'd grasp the timeliness
or historical significance of that world famous
quote.

(2) "Have you smoothed out your OWN financial
improprieties/injustices??" (--I can just hear
the tinny, tiny cog wheels, er, 'twirling'
in his little mind: "Well, gee, ya always
hurt the ones you love(d), waddn't that a top
40 tune way back? Duddn't 'at validat( ) me" ?
[Even when this guy thinks, he can't spell right.]

Ranter running away now, but this guy is a
dangerous, hopeless embarrassment to my state,
Illinois. Can he be so high on his ego fumes
that he doesn't see his own shabby, shameless
hypocrisy, or rank disjunct between his public
and private persona?

How he can attempt to sway public opinion
away from more sane reflections by insulting
our VETS--that's QUITE beyond me. Yes,
the nation's (and world's) "Occupy" movement
folks deserve some criticism; some individuals
SHOULD go to jail--but not the whole of the many
thousands, and ESPECIALLY....

Respect our VETS, and our police. Yes, there
are bad ones, but they inevitably stand out,
sooner or later. Chicago retired policeman
Burge has been formally outted as the sick,
sadistic soul he is/was. Justice occurs,
occasionally.

But don't expect fairness from Rep. Walsh.
All he wants is to see his pretty face
plastered all over the media for a few
more years. What ELSE, I'd like to know,
DOES the man have to offer?

You know, I might like to have seen Walsh,
Bachmann and Palin in the movies or on
TV. But since they depart from even the
simplest rational scripts, I'll
only accept their presence in the funny
papers.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hey, 99%ers: Time to Take the "Occupy" Movement to the 2012 Elections

I feel sad and angry, probably much like the
99%ers occupying NYC, Chicago, Portland and
elsewhere. Inexperienced or incompetent or brutal
police have upped the ante, (along with demonstrators);
blood's been spilled and hundreds are arrested.
Intransigence will now, predictably, harden,
and much of the righteous moral message/
outrage will be obscured by the grim street
theater. There is a real danger that public
perception/approval will start shifting away
from the "Occupy" folks.

A few of the many complex aspects of these issues
swirling around the phenomenon occupy ME right
about now:

(1) This U.S. recession and wretched capitalist
excess does NOT equal the Arab Spring, although I'm
certain that has inspired many of the young
"Occupiers". Neither is it a new idea; "Hooverville"
was a DC tent city which sprang up when Hoover didn't pay
veterans long-promised bonuses which were needed
during the desperate depression era of the 1930s.
The campers were evicted by troops/police; if
the bonuses were EVER paid, I'd be extremely surprised.

(2) There are few who understand/respect the
concept of public or private outdoor spaces
or places. I knew it would all roll downhill
when the tents went up and people didn't leave
at around 10 P.M. every night. Twelve hours
every day, from 10 A.M. to 10 P.M., is STILL
a powerful statement, but noooooo....

(3) There is less than a year to influence
Congress and the state legislators to heed
the better angels of their natures. It's
STILL possible, why not try it?? I have, and
I think I succeeded, at least temporarily.
Changing the laws, i.e., the system, is where
the rubber meets the road, make no mistake.
Not all advances toward civilization have
occurred via violence or revolution, although
many did.

I'll be happier when the "Occupy" leadership
circles tackle this tactic, which has a better
chance to make an impact....

If only I could get more people to believe it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Republican Field: Wide but not Deep

--So many candidates, so little time! The Republicans
should surely be able to produce better candidates
than the likes of Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain.
As to Mr. Cain, it is disheartening to see him still
at the top of Republican voter polls--what DOES it take
to knock this rich ignoramus off of his top perch?
Maybe all he has to do is keep talking; after awhile,
even the most blinkered among his supporters will have
to notice the big foot he keeps in his mouth. Republican
women won't be able to blithely ignore four or more
separate sexual harassment complaints forever.

Eight or more candidates, none of which seems particularly
promising, line up for debates these days. I predict Romney
and Gingrich ending up as the top contenders for the nomination.
Gingrich should have bowed out of the limelight years ago,
his Contract with America having proven an ill-advised failure,
many of his true believers in Congress having been summarily
turned out when voters came to their senses.

--And Romney? Well, he seems a bit improved since 2008. Still,
none of these guys are getting my vote. I'll go with Mr. O,
or a Green Party candidate, depending on who that is.
Where are the distinguished Republicans of yore? You know,
Percy, Lugar, Hagel, etc., intelligent, thoughtful moderates
that served in the Senate.

Since we've all been immersed in football lore lately,
I'll steal one of its metaphors; the republican field:
wide but not deep.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

PSU, P.U.! Paterno Scapegoating Backfires: Everyone Who Knew Should Go

I'm not particularly a football fan, even though
I was a fairly good athlete in high school. This
latest scandal, though, has hit my last nerve.
Top officials at Pennsylvania State, attempting
to shift the spotlight's glare away from themselves
by excoriating old Joe Paterno have ironically
emphasized their OWN legal as well as moral
culpability instead.

According to the Redeye, a "sib of the Trib"
(-Chicago Tribune), Joe Paterno followed state
law by notifying his superior when Mike McQueary
came to him with his horrifying eye witness report
of abuse. However, after PSU ignored the charge, Paterno
didn't inform police, as both he and Mike McQueary
should have done if they cared about children's welfare
more than their jobs or friendships. These two did the
legal minimum, nothing more. How they could continue
their employment with a PSU administration which allowed
the Sandusky outrage to go on for God knows how long
quite escapes me.

I have often quit jobs where unfair practices occurred.
It didn't matter whether I, my supervisors, or my clients
were being badly treated: if I couldn't stop it, I left,
period. I never had a savings account or cushion to land
on, but some things MUST take priority over one's personal
needs/concerns. I survived taking these risky stands, even
though surely paying a price--well worth it.

I'd love to see a federal law be enacted that mandates if
any adult witnesses a serious crime, particularly against
minors, but fails to report it, such a witness becomes
legally liable (-something on the order of accessory after
the fact). Some states do have such statutes, but why not
all 50? Meanwhile, moral compasses must be relied
upon, and many are defective or non-existent, sadly.
--Update: Mike McQueary is still on staff after the firing
of Paterno and crew. Shouldn't EVERYONE who knew but
sat on their hands have been fired? --Years ago??

Scapegoating Joe Paterno didn't protect PSU's reputation.
It's now obvious just how bankrupt the sports culture there
has become, where children are sacrificed to protect image
and friendship.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Weakening the Moral Argument: Bad Behavior

The moment someone crosses that invisible line,
any cause is seriously compromised. Whoever
piggybacked onto the peaceful "Occupy Oakland"
demonstrations really doesn't care about positive
outcomes or whether criminal actions harm the
movement. There is a strong element of irrationality
here as well: in a down economy, why would anyone want
to cause taxpayers, AHEM, the 99%ers, to shell out
more money to clean up/repair Oakland's downtown
damage?

The "Occupy" demonstrators all around the U.S. really
should decamp at 10PM every night, to shower, sleep,
leave the parks and public areas relatively pristine,
again saving taxpayers precious monies for upkeep
and any extra police. Defying the park closing laws
isn't logically or morally supportable.

Meanwhile, in pursuing the lofty goal of justice for
everyman, we'd best be careful not to sink to
objectionable methods or actions.

When we aren't, people will stop listening.
Who wants to follow anybody uncomfortably
similar to the bad guys?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Class Warfare? Always There

Lately the media has sounded various warnings
about the dangers of inciting class warfare, as if
it hasn't constantly existed for thousands of years.
--Disingenuous, to say the least!

Why shouldn't the 99% be very upset about the fact
that the 1% control 40% or so of the nation's finances?
How is that just, or even tenable, long term? Following
the money yields disturbing practices, all illegal, special
exemptions/exceptions not available to the rest of us, etc.
What these rich, self-involved yahoos miss is, eventually
their bad decisions will redound back to THEM.

I'd applaud such poetic justice if it didn't require the
rest of us to be dragged down with them.

--Class warfare? Always there, always unfair.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Great Panic of 1837: Required Reading

--Especially for those who would lead us. But what ARE
our politicians and financiers reading? Not American
history, certainly. Anyone acquainted with Andrew Jackson's
witless deregulation of the banks or his dismantling of
the Central Bank can recall what came next--rampant
speculation and a recession--er, a depression, ah, NO,
an actual economic panic, one of the two or three worst
in U.S. history.

Fast forward to the late 1920's, ANOTHER largely deregulated
era in the U.S., wild speculation, and--the Great Depression
of the 1930's. Franklin Roosevelt luckily heeded his gifted
advisers, enacting the two key banking acts of 1933 and 1934,
otherwise known as Glass-Steagall. These regs remained in force
until the end of Clinton's term, when Sen. Phil Gramm and his
cohorts persuaded the starry-eyed greedy in Congress to allow
Glass-Steagall to expire, citing modern times, a different, new
economic reality, what could go wrong, etc. Exotic financial
"instruments" grew like irradiated dandelions gone wild, and
voila, the Great Recession of 2008-20--.

It's deeply dispiriting, to see that, basically, people never
learn, or at best, do not permanently retain valuable lessons.
How then, will civilization ever evolve or even survive? Are
humans just like silly deer overpopulating and overeating in
the forest, oblivious of the consequences to tomorrow?

Sans the required reading, and heeding, I fear we are.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Smart Strength: What We Need NOW

--Gloom and Doom, just in time for the advent of Fall!
Sure, the market tanked today by 3+%, but panic is NOT
advised. We should always remember the market is MOSTLY
a psychological artifact, which has both positive and
negative aspects. Adopting attitudes around positive practices
right now can move the world economy eventually into the
black, despite dispiriting, real, seemingly intractable problems.

RESOLVE NUMBER ONE:
"We can fix this; we WILL fix this." Just such a simple
determination is what has gotten humanity through every
other major crisis in its history, a lesson we should
NEVER forget. All further actions and policies must flow
from that resolve.

RESOLVE NUMBER TWO:
"We can't give up." No further explication required.

RESOLVE NUMBER THREE:
"DON'T panic." Again, self-explanatory.

RESOLVE NUMBER FOUR:
"Get organized with a step-by step plan." But,
aren't the world's toffs ALREADY doing/implementing
same? I would say....NO. I subscribe to an economics
newsletter put out by a former IMF Chief Economist,
consult other sources, which lead me to conclude,
sadly, there is precious little cogent leadership, be it
corporate, political, or academic. Instead I find fear,
greed, inaccuracy, denial, dithering, not getting down
to brass tacks, sharply partisan politics, etc. Surely
you can supply any lacks I've overlooked.

Smart strength: what we need right now--Let's find some.

Friday, September 2, 2011

"A Sign from God", All Right

Allowing Michelle Bachmann to stick her foot in
her mouth recently was an inspired move from on high,
in my opinion. After her tasteless "joke" that God
sent DC a message via climate upheaval went public,
many on both sides of the political divide excoriated
her, and rightly so. Some things just aren't funny,
a concept Ms. Bachmann plainly doesn't get....

--But she'll get it now, I predict. After 40 lost
lives and billions in damages to be paid by the
taxpayers, whatever support she's enjoyed should
drop off sharply; even conservatives have pity for
disaster victims and destruction.

"A Sign from God"?--yeah, Michelle. Did you get it
yet?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Nuclear Plant Operators, A Timely Reminder: Earthquakes Happen

A Colorado quake shook the Richter Scale above 5
today, and just a few hours later, another quake
tipped too close to 6 on the East Coast. No reports
of fatalities so far, thankfully. These events were
scarcely expected, especially along the Eastern Seaboard;
monuments in DC were affected, the full extent yet to be
determined.

Two Nuclear Plants in Virginia were shut down; no
radiation escaped the plant, we're told. But depending
on random luck, which IS what we're doing, operating
many aging plants, is courting disaster. Any reactors
along either coasts is subject to a Fukushima-type quake
and tsunami scenario. Even without a tsunami, a quake could
disrupt the coolant water supply, leading to a meltdown.

Here's hoping saner minds prevail among the powerful,
deciding to scale back this technology, eventually
shuttering it in the U.S. for good.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Constitution: Corrections Long Overdue

Our Constitution, much lauded and copied
worldwide, nevertheless is far from perfect.
I can think of several of its stipulations
which should land in the dustbin of history:

(1) In Article One, the granting of marque
and reprisal, essentially permitting piracy,
we need this why?

(2) Wherever African Americans are referred to
in there as "3/5ths of all other persons..."
well, THAT'S got to go. Subsequent amendments
following Emancipation and the Civil War do not
specifically redress/address this arrogantly inhuman,
inaccurate language. The 14th Amendment does change
the basis for electing members of the House, without,
however, apologizing to Native or African Americans.

(3) The Second Amendment should be further clarified,
as the part regarding "a well-regulated militia" seems
to have entirely skipped over too many people's feeble
understanding. AK47s and their ilk should be completely
outlawed except for wartime use, and only licensed 22s
and 38s allowed WITHIN THE HOME for protection. Hunting,
already regulated, may not require much modification.

The Founders themselves publicly admitted they were only
human, recognized the future would necessitate/create
changes to our founding document. Addressing these three
items here would go a long way to elevate, and humanize,
an America now rushing to a deplorable bottom.

Such corrections, logical and humane, are long overdue.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Time for TIFs to go

Since they've become little more than sources
of municipal corruption which deprive schools and
other vital entities of needed funds, TIFs should
be outlawed at the federal level. The original helpful
notion, promulgated by Rep. Jack Kemp, has morphed into a
grotesque way to keep tax monies from the public good
but easily available to the politicians. Since when is
Chicago's LaSalle Street, with its Federal Reserve Bank,
etc., a "blighted area"?? (Yeah, blighted by large numbers
of the uncaring rich, maybe.) When former Mayor Daley
crated the LaSalle Street TIF, the proof was in that the
fix was in. No other information necessary to the point.
According to The Reader's Ben Joravsky, Chicago has 160 of
these, relatively few in truly economically depressed areas.

But it gets worse: TIF funds, which were originally intended
to boost economic development in poor neighborhoods, are now
subsidizing large corporations blackmailing the city, the CME
being one. "We'll leave the city unless you fork over millions..."

So LEAVE, already. The fewer thieves left in Chicago, the better.

TIFs: initially an innovative idea perverted by the greedy, now
deserve the ax. --And soon!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Let's Do It: Vote Out all the Incumbents

Hi ho there, congressmen! I foolishly expected
you to do your job....wow, was I ever disappointed.
But I DO have a strategy, which I will advertise
widely--vote out all the incumbents in 2012.

It's simple: why reward incompetence? The only
thing these nincompoops understand is a threat
to their power and position, simple enough to carry
out by voting in ANYBODY else.

After all, how could anybody else do a worse job?

Time to Execute, Mr. Executive

Yep, leadership is required--from the President.
If Congress can't get it together to raise the
debt ceiling, which should be a stand-alone
proposition, shorn of tax and spend considerations,
then HE should avail himself of the mechanism which
allows him to do so. What's he waiting for, Christmas?
If so, most of those serving in Congress and the White
House will be gone in 2012. Nothing like starvation
and other serious economic loss to galvanize the
population into political retribution.

Mr. Obama, haven't you heard of the saying,"just do it"?
Well, damn it, just DO IT. Save us from the double-dip,
from endangering the entire world economy. etc., etc.

With a stroke of your pen, just do it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Politicians, Beware: 2012 Waits for You

The August 2nd debt ceiling deadline debacle rockets
ever closer. Solve it NOW, or see your legislative
careers end abruptly. Who will vote you back in office
if such a negative historic marker occurs, all just
because of politics? There IS enough money in this nation
to pay our damn outstanding debt, count on it. Why
should the super-rich remain untouched while everyone else
suffers? They're simply holding on to their kale, not
hiring, which would be the ONLY reason not to dun them
as they deserve. They made their fortunes here, let their
taxes reflect that. If this is the greatest country in the
world, let them contribute to it, not merely themselves.

If there IS waste, fraud and abuse, let that be exposed
and expunged, along with the massive incompetence which
ruins us by the hour. Both prongs of attack, raising revenues
and cutting any improvident spending, would resolve the debt
mess fairly quickly. But:

Lingering too long on extremist, ideologue positions while the
calendar marches on to August WILL have consequences.

To you.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Declare Your Independence from Ignorance

Shocking news: 24% of adult Americans are unsure
as to exactly when, and from whom, we declared our
independence. Recent polls describe the country's
woeful ignorance, a continuing embarrassment.
--The greatest country in the world? Maybe, maybe
not, but possibly the most ignorant. Santayana said
those ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it,
a caution it's wise to remember. While there's little
danger of Great Britain reasserting its authority
over the U.S., other dangers loom, most fueled by
careless attention to relevant facts.

Truth, Justice, the American Way, isn't that what
we're celebrating this Fourth of July? It's time,
however, for a new declaration: Independence from
Ignorance.

Let's do it today, there's not a moment to lose.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Meeting the Moderates: an Illinois Inspiration

Articles written in even well-respected publications
often lead the reader to erroneous conclusions/
generalizations, to wit, all republicans are right-wing
intransigents, it's useless to attempt a meaningful dialogue
on important issues. A similar scenario attends reportage
about democrats, they're all over-spending quasi-socialists.
TV, radio and the web are also happy to exaggerate/
sensationalize, fearing the audience disappears otherwise.
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times said so quite clearly
in his regular column just last week.

But here's hope: why not meet the legislators? In Illinois, they
are far more accessible, willing to entertain a notion,
than one might think. Out of 59 state senators, at least four
are moderate republicans. Recently I've met with them, discussing
my energy concerns. They've thanked me and my friends, listened
to us, seemed to appreciate getting the material we brought them.
Two bills that were worrying were tabled because of these
approaches. This is an amazing lesson in political engagement
and reaching out to those beyond one's comfort zone....a positive
one.

Each of us has more power than we might be prepared to
believe. Take that gamble, reach out to those you ordinarily
assume won't be interested in your positions.

You just might be glad you did, to say nothing of the rest
of us.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

BLOGGER, RETURN MY FOLLOWERS!!

Watcher, Cletis, Underground Politics,
Heather, Chili Pepper's Mom, Ms. Klasing,
Kit James, and a few newer ones, please
continue to comment even though Blogger
has removed your photo links to the function.
I wish you all well.
Amber

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day: Let's Be Worthy of Their Ultimate Sacrifice

Why, exactly, did all our service men and women die?
To preserve our way of life, our freedoms, so the usual
cant goes. But:

(1) ARE we "free"? Not quite to the level we enjoyed
before 911; witness the Patriot Act and the cavalier
disregard of the FISA court's stipulations. Librarians
must "give up" titles of checked-out books, ditto sellers
their lists of books bought by credit cards or online. Then
there's the Rapiscan (Rapescan) intrusion at our major
airports, which Mr. Chertoff promoted WHILE employed as Bush
II's Homeland honcho. You can recall other outrages, I'm sure.

(2) Our "Way of Life"? --What's that, exactly? A rush to the
bottom which has continued for decades, exploited/promoted
by canny NYC Madison Ave. ad types, always and everywhere
inserting "you" and "yours", as if each of us is the only
important thing on the planet, instead of the "greatest good
for the greatest number". (That U.S. number is now way TOO big,
some 309 millions worth, thanks to "too much fun".)

(3) What about willful, dangerous denial of all inconvenient
truths?
(a) Nah, nuclear reactors aren't dangerous, the triple tragedy
in Japan can't happen here, OUR technology is better than theirs.
(HEY, Theirs ARE OURS, we sold the design specs to them.
GE Mark Is are there AND here.)
(b) Our Exceptionalism is ruining our relationships worldwide, as
many in the other 199 nations simply know better. We DO have
"healthy" nuclear weapons, more than anywhere else; "MAD"
is dead. We also boast the largest agribusiness combines on Earth,
but brutality to animals by factory farm workers has been
documented via video. We also pollute more than most,
due to our NOT-retrofitted factories, utilities, car engines.
Other occurrences abound, but best to limit the verbiage.

On Memorial Day I mourn and laud those who put others before
themselves, our brave service men and women. But there's a lot
of re-examination and personal revamping to be done before we'll
be worthy of them and their noble, ultimate sacrifice.

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's the Society, Stupid

After reading yet another article explaining the
arbitrary, unjust practices/philosophies of the current
corporate world's hiring, I became angry yet again.
Here are THE "NEW RULES" as designed by these people,
the very people keeping the U.S. unemployed at a
historic nine plus percent:

(1) Don't be old. This means you even if you're only
49. This is probably based on marketing's prime
consumer age range, 18-49. Retail generally considers
everyone else zombies, or at least unimportant.
This number was arrived at long ago, should have been
modified more recently in the interest of reality.
(But what's logic got to do with it, or even noticing
change, cause and effect? How about "rules" for that?)

(2) Don't be unemployed long term. Have these CEOs or
HR heads heard of the Great Recession of 2008-2011??
Do they understand that middle class college grads
can't leap at any "opportunity" of getting even low
wage jobs, for two very key reasons:
(a) employers don't want to hire them, feeling/knowing
they will leave as soon as a better job presents itself;
(b) middle class college grads understandably would
like to stay in their accustomed lane; moreover, need
to, as foreclosures and auto repossessions loom.

There were more "rules", but best to stop here.
Very few things still seem sensible in the U.S.
of 2011. The different parts which must fit together
in order to have a great society simply DON'T.
Yes, it was ever thus, let's look back at Shakespeare,
"the times, they are disjoint". But it's worse now,
if several recent decades are compared with this one.

Character issues abound; overall morality has definitely
declined. Hard-headed equals being practical, profitable.
Social mobility formerly meant upward, now mostly means
downward. Where's the blame? It's the economy, stupid.
Underlying that, far more troubling:

It's the society, stupid.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Reform's" Many Forms: Nothing New

I'm turning Biblical, start running now. One of
the more interesting books in the Old Testament
says all is vanity, nothing new under the Sun.
(Except for the clothes and gadgets, that is.)
But we are encouraged to enjoy the fruits of our
labor nonetheless. In Chicago, the political scene
is largely about vanity, not reform, ambition, not
the greater good.

Heralded all over local Chicagoland media is our
"new day", because the City Council and the Mayor
are sporting new faces. Yet the "dreams", problems
and goals are the same compelling ones that have
preoccupied us for many decades. Who is OPPOSED to
better education, no/low crime, balanced budgets, etc.?
Rahm Emanuel emphasized these during his swearing in
today down by the lake. Chicago's Mayor will not likely
fix these matters. The causes are cultural, economic,
endemic and long standing:

(1) EDUCATION: Most kids (and their parents) simply
lack gravitas, meaning, in America it's practically
a federal offense to basically be a serious, goal-oriented
person. The never-ending search for gratification and
novelty often sidelines serious research, serious productivity,
serious problem-solving. (By the way, I hate fun, and you
can quote me.) Recalling the high rate of substance abuse,
divorce, crime, etc., it's very hard to be optimistic.
Whatever "reforms" are enacted, given this cultural context,
how are we going to make the kids do their job, which is to study?
Tackle THAT one, Rahmster Monster.

(2) BUDGET WOES: Who will be stiffed, left out, victimized
by benign neglect? Will pensions be funded? Are certain
unions really expecting too much? Should teachers be required
to keep up since their students are? (-Don't worry, many more
questions could be inserted here, but I'll refrain....) Then
there's the ugly phenomenon of NIMBY, i.e., you won't be making
me sacrifice in MY backyard, noooo....

Time to recur once again to the Good Book. I'm hoping to
escape all the hackneyed phrases and promises designed to
soothe our troubled minds, but I doubt it; humanity hasn't
changed markedly in 2,000 years.

When God or Jesus speak I see sense.
And you can quote me.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sarah Palin's "Spudnut Moment" (-!)

--Finally! Is Sarah P the new Mrs. Potato Head?
There is no disrespect intended toward the little
shop in Washington State she referred to in an
endearing "small business, the heart of America"
lengthy, hectoring aside. She seemed to misread
President Obama's inspirational intentions and the
history of Spudnuts.

While making these mistakes, she included erroneous
summaries of the Cold War and the Soviet Union's end.
Nothing like being on a roll....

Tsk, tsk. She may be pretty, but all I see is
Mrs. Potato Head, also usually shown smiling.

P.S.: This further foray into coining new words
and punning didn't float: Sputnik vs. Spudnut?
At best, a spurious alliteration. (Hey, Sarah,
it's not "Spudnik", if that's what you're going
for....)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What's Logic Got to do With It? Logic, a Secondhand "Emotion"

Tina Turner's hit often comes to mind when watching
the antics, policies,and justifications of governments
around the world, ours included. If logic, cause and
effect considerations WERE the rule of the day, every
day, well, there would still be volcanoes, but far
less violence, tragedy, wasted time and material
destruction.

Please, I'm pleading for specificity, deeper research,
more thought before speech, all those virtues bespeaking
of demonstrable intelligence. All else reduces into
rabble/babble, eventually. Venting is ideal when we
feel more "air" than "heat", see the light.

Consider the logic; consider our common humanity.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Trump Retools, Trumped by his Own Tool

Donald Trump, he of the most ridiculous "hairdo"
for a "hair's done" male in America, has himself
been forced back to the drawing board. Not a natty
draftsman, but a batty one, his "forcing Obama
to reveal his long form birth certificate" has
in turn forced The Donald back to the political
drafting table for a new tool. (He really should
have taken up Physics, where he would have learned
about action/reaction pairs.)

The latest attempt to "legally" discredit the sitting
president involves highly dubious ruminations regarding
Mr. Obama's college transcripts. What a weak tool Trump
now employs! He must have forgotten/not known what
a drunken, poor student Bush II was, that he got into
Yale on a "legacy" provision, that other U.S. presidents
such as Lincoln and Truman couldn't boast of formal, stellar
scholarship....which didn't make them poor presidents any
more than his Princeton background made Wilson a great one.

President Obama, of course, didn't help himself either,
earlier on. Back in the heady days of Campaign 2008, he
should have released the long form. To have delayed on
such a serious constitutional challenge was not politically
sound; every scurrilous aspersion/attack need not be
answered, but the important ones MUST be.

Meanwhile, Trump should trash his current, crude attack
on the president. Pursuant to his First Amendment privileges,
The Donald can critique away. The best tool of all
would be a relevant fact; finding one is just too hard
for the Trumpster.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ashamed to be a Woman, Again

--Not again! A woman killed herself and her children
because her idiot husband cheated on her? Why involve the
kids? An insult to this female's womanhood comes
before the children's welfare? The pathetic story has
now been told by the intrepid ten year old sibling who
saved himself at the last moment.

Of course it's happened before. Who ARE these low-class
females? --Cases of arrested development, period, oh so
high school. No man is THAT important. How desperate, crazy
and stupid must any woman be to kill kids as some misplaced
revenge ("--I'll show HIM, hah!"). I'm betting that as he's
the stepfather, this cheater is less than destroyed over such
a needless tragedy.

Sometimes I'm sorely tempted to propose legislation that adults
must be psychologically tested as fit before being permitted to
bring others into this world.

Meanwhile, in addition to being embarrassed to be a human,
I'm ashamed to be a woman, AGAIN.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Knaves

The Big Lie is alive, well and kicking, while
an urgent deadline's clock is ticking. The
current stumbling block to passing a bill
to continue funding the federal government
is IDEOLOGICAL, period. Who are Congessional
Republicans and Democrats kidding?

If our national debt total is about 14 trillion,
how is killing Planned Parenthood, Head Start
and a few other programs going to resolve that
debt? The agreed-upon amount of cuts now totals
an unimpressive amount, far less than 100 billion.
Rep. Boehner's "principled digging in" represents
nothing more than appealing to his base. --What??
Can't the rep and/or his supporters add? Actually,
they don't care to. It's one set of sacred cows
against another set. Republicans, though, would
rather increase U.S. debt by funding sexy technology
(new nukes and warplanes) and only very slightly
decrease it by slashing programs to the poor.

The USA's GDP is about the same amount as the debt;
economists used to say that average, more or less
solvent Americans carried debt equal to one year's
income. So why all the horrified howls now?

How about an honest exploration/explanation of
the issues, NOW? If it's really just simple ignorance,
head back to grammar school math class.

If not, it's obfuscating orotund blather out of the
mouths of knaves.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Real Civilization Built on More Than Pride, Prejudice and Profit

Certain words get tossed about with surprising impunity.
One of these is "civilization". Has anybody ever SEEN one?
Please don't belabor/berate the obvious: if you think
wealth and impresive architecture inevitably denote
civilization, you and I will surely move on to a stiff
debate.

Since most of the imperialistic colonizers were unable
to control overpopulating their original homelands, how
did they become masters of the universe? Why, by the tried
and true methods effective for thousands of years: explora-
tions, military "adventures", conquests, occupations, etc.
"Oh, was this your country? Sorry, it's OURS now." (Usually
there's no apology tendered, though. After all, if I want
something, it's my right to get/have, no??)

--NO!! Civilization to ME means being kind and non-exploitative,
among many other fine qualities I rarely see exhibited among the
Western nations guilty of the lion's share of colonialism. I do
see one annoyingly stupid quality expressed time after time;
public statement of "innocent" dismay and confusion, to wit:
"Why do so many other countries hate us?"

Gee, let me get this, lemme! What reaction can anyone expect
when strangers come in, kill, change your way of life, and start
sucking your natural resources dry?--Hugs, thanks and kisses?

So again: a real civilization must be built on more than
pride, prejudice and profit. When it isn't, I call it
"the victor took the spoils", again.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

React Now: Review ALL GE Mark I's and Mark II's

Japan's triple tragedy suggests important
warnings for the United States and any other
nation with GE Mark I nuclear reactors online.
Japan's failing reactors in Fukushima Prefecture
are mostly Mark I's.

The GE Mark I has long been known as relatively
poor engineering. In 1986, Harold Denton, formerly of
the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), said the
GE Mark I's small reactor vessel and suppression pool
problems make this a poor design. Dr. Michio Kaku,a
theoretical physicist, author and science popularizer,
had other reservations about the Mark I's even
earlier in that decade.

Here in Illinois four of our eleven nuclear reactors
online are Mark I's; ours went online only a few
years before Japan's, in the mid 1970s. Even though
our earthquake faultline is less frequently, dramatically
active than those in Japan, still, we DO have one, the
New Madrid Fault, running under Missouri and Illinois.

200 years ago the New Madrid really kicked up, heaving
great devastation throughout the Midwest....when is the
next big one? Disturbingly, no seismologist can predict the
timing of any such large scale event, or smaller quakes
either; Chicagoland felt two tiny ones in recent months.

What's to be done? Here are some suggestions for now:

(1) Review ALL 23 GE Mark I's in the U.S., SOON.
While they're at it, throw in inspections of Mark II's
as well. Around the world, inspect them all.

(2) Send GE's nuclear reactor engineers to Japan immediately.
These designs were not great technology on a good day; now,
after a BAD day, GE should stand behind its products AND its customers.

It's the right thing to do. But to avoid future shock, please:

(3) Establish a U.S. federal moratorium on new nuclear plant
projects, effective immediately. Then, when theorizing potential
worst-case scenarios, be constructively more "negative"; experts
here and abroad "didn't expect quakes this severe, beyond 8.0",
etc. Why not?? Why not a TWELVE, someday? It IS possible if not
likely.

Reacting sensibly now could avoid a world of pain later.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Kicking the Can Down the Road: As Good As it Gets

After mature reflection, I've come to a daunting realization:
No reform, program, policy or philosophy, however well-thought
out, however reality-based, will likely stand forever.
You can recall many important pieces of legislation which
were effective and long-lasting, yet have joined the heaping
ever-higher pile in the dustbin of history, at least for the
foreseeable future.

Glass-Steagall, the two banking acts from the '30s, were
created by two men who understood that greed gone wild is
not good. Consequently, the ensuing recessions were not
nearly as serious as the Great Recession of 2008-2010. G-S
was ended by Phil Gramm and crew ten years earlier; with
G-S still the law, the Great Recession might have been much
more of a yawn.

Being America requires the regular reinventing of our laws,
the very basis for what we believe is the greatest good for
the greatest number. Social Security, just one example, has
been under attack ever since it was enacted. Yet what would
certain conservatives have the elderly and their not-rich
families do? It ISN'T always a case of the grasshopper vs.
the ants: sometimes illness, recessions, mergers, business
failures, etc. conspire to leave the old without investments
or savings.

Administrations comes and go, programs and policies do the
same. Regarding those controversial, problematic programs,
saving THEM means kicking the can down the road 'til next
time, always arguing the points as if these are brand new issues.

Check your world history books. Kicking the can down the road
is as good as it ever gets.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

REFUTE NEWT, 2012: Stop Showboating, Scapegoating

Let us reflect, return to yesteryear, so as to
inform those younger or more forgetful Americans
about this disappointing product of Georgia Tech.:

Newt Gingrich was the man of the hour in the mid '90s
behind, beside and fronting The Contract with America.
He and his "new" Conservative Revolution succeeded in
(temporarily) capturing the U.S. House. However, as
more and more realized what was/would be in the fine
print of that contract, the tide of opinion turned;
he and his (along with those deceptively intellectual
idiots, the Tofflers) enjoyed a really short revolution,
the next two votes ('96 and '98) shoving most of those
extremists right through the revolving door, out of power.

This so-called conservatism is nothing new, going back
to kings, dictators and their ministers. Laissez Faire
only works for a few; it was ever thus. For millenia there
was no middle class, mark THAT, those who would bring back
two classes: what makes some of you think YOU'D be entitled
to vault to the top rank??

It's getting very wearing, these attacks on the lower and
middle classes. Having a continuum of economic strata,
if you will, merely means such a society recognizes that
people and circumstances vary, there can't be all indians
and no chiefs, or all chiefs, no indians, or even indians and
chiefs, nobody else. Who doesn't understand that?? I marvel
in horror and disgust.

Some of these super right wingers surely must have grandparents
living on Social Security, close relatives in unionized jobs. Do
they honestly think family will forgive being reduced to dire
straits by their "courageously philosophical" relatives? Worse,
do they just not care?

Beware, Newt. The scapegoats you roast today may become you
and your thoughtlessly less-studious political friends tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Entangling Alliances, Strangling Alliances

The title says it all, almost, about our current
world economic situation; but really, for any truly
thinking American adult, this should be old news.
For me, I was warned back in high school, (about
50 years ago, yikes!) when we students read
George Washington's writings, particularly
his Farewell Address. Published on the anniversary
of the Constitution in 1796, it is as if written
today, with every major potential and actual
international reality/problem discussed in its
few, pointed pages:

(1) Disagree with our excessive commitment to Israel?
Yep, he covered that: "The nation which
indulges toward another an habitual hatred or
an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave.
It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection,
either of which is sufficient to lead it astray
from its duty and its interest."

(2) Worried about the Tea Party when it rattles
AK 47s, yet "preaches" piety? G.W. mentions
that too: "Observe good faith and justice toward
all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.
Religion and morality enjoin this conduct."
"Can it be that Providence has not connected the
permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue?"

(3) Concerned about atavistic isolationism?
Don't be, George Washington didn't recommend
it: "...in extending our commercial relations
to have with them as little POLITICAL connection
as possible..." Yet: "...let me not be understood
as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing
engagements." "Harmony, liberal intercourse with
all nations are recommended by policy, humanity
and interest."

(4) Wishing we were willing, ready and able to
switch from hostage-to-oil status to home-grown
renewables? Here Washington shines as a realist:
"But even our commercial policy should hold an equal
and impartial hand, neither seeking nor granting
exclusive favors or preferences;...constantly keeping
in view that it is folly in one nation to look for
disinterested favors from another; that it must pay
with a portion of its independence for whatever it
may accept under that character." (At $4.00+ per gallon,
we're paying, we're paying....) By entering into trade
agreements for absurdly lengthy periods, making them
quasi-permanent, we forgot Honest George's lessons,
particularly with one precariously precious, politically-
affected commodity, oil.

Lastly, the most memorable moment in the speech:
"Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of
any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity
in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest,
humor, or caprice? It is our true policy to steer
clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the
foreign world..." Thomas Jefferson seemed to admire
this notion so much, he poached from this 1796 speech
for one of his own five years later, coining a short,
snappy saying, "entangling alliances". (Of course
Jefferson, in his highly partisan fondness for the
French, managed to ignore another caution in the
Farewell Address, overlooking the murderous excesses
during their revolution.)

Strangling alliances are now what we have; Nixon and
Clinton should have their academic history credits withdrawn,
not having heeding Washington, a far greater president than
either of THEM.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

George Washington, Still Right and Upright

It's George Washington's birthday again,
the father of our country, a term he
richly deserves. All in all, he was our
best President, even above Lincoln and
FDR. (Did you know his will directed
wife Martha to free their slaves, while
Jefferson did no such thing?) He comported
himself admirably, always aware he was
setting precedent, an Enlightenment exponent
if there ever was one, even besting the
wordier Benjamin Franklin in certain respects.

Washington thought highly of Alexander Hamilton's
intelligence and authorship, having Hamilton
write many of his speeches. But the essay
warning of "entangling alliances" was Washington
at his most experienced and heartfelt best.
What has history shown since? That trade,
travel and imperialism gone wild has given
the U.S. and the rest of Earth a world of trouble.

Examples abound, but currently, the U.K. is seriously
rethinking its ties to Libya, as Libya has just killed
a number of its own protesters. (Moamar Ghaddafi isn't
as kind as other dictators in his region.) Pirates
recently killed four Americans on their yacht near
Oman. Three years ago, the news was awash with reports
that our "friend/trading partner" China sent us
contaminated baby bibs, pet food,wood, ad infinitum.
Every instance of these negative international interactions
reminds me of Honest George and his farewell speech.
There's a sensible balance between isolationism and
world travel/babble run amok. Looking toward a more
sane world, it behooves us to find it.

George Washington: still right, ever upright, an
example all in public life should periodically
recur to.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Egypt's Heroes: Hope for Humanity

Hooray for the "ordinary" citizens who've linked arms
and saved their main museum from low-life looters,
thoughtless destroyers of irreplaceable, tangible history.
The Egyptian Army deserves kudos as well, of course.
THESE are the outstanding people in all the last ten
days' Egyptian fury, NOT:

(1) Mr. Obama, who, while being the somewhat tepid
"voice of reason", actually COULD have been more effective.
(--How about this: "If you don't step down now, Mr.
Mubarak, we will withhold our annual gift of one
plus billion dollars to Egypt.") Before anyone rejects
such a notion out of hand, allow me to remind you
that the U.S. thinks nothing of issuing and enforcing
sanctions/blockades when it deems it appropriate;

(2) Mr. Mubarak, who, while giving the U.S. and Israel
what is wanted/needed, has "served" in a thirty-year
dictatorship with massive corruption at every level of
Egyptian life, including university professor-doled
"good grades". Here's more that's unsupportable: extremely
high unemployment, expensive/scarce foodstuffs, shocking
percentages of illiteracy. Oh Mr. M., everybody knows
you're 82, even though the dark dye hair job is pretty
convincing. You're no Sadat, which you amply proved after
just a few years "in office". (--What's with not allowing
a vice-president until now? --Think you're immortal?)
Yes, we've had our "imperial" public servants too, like
Strom Thurmond, who never gave up his senate post,
as he should have done decades sooner.

I could list many more actors on the current stage,
but it's obvious that much in human life occurs as
a "top down" phenomenon.

Meanwhile, the rational, regular citizens have broken
the conventional mold and are providing inspiration
from the "bottom up". Here are Egypt's heroes,
nothing ordinary about THEM.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

High Stakes Energy: Our Lives, Our Fortunes

*******An Open Letter to President Obama*******
******* Congress, the 50 Statehouses: *******

(Updated several times since January, 2011)

It's been bruited about that many of you are
considering endorsing a "Clean Energy Standard"
which includes the expansion of nuclear power
and "clean" coal.

I beg you to reconsider:

There is nothing "clean" about nuclear power. Every
nuclear facility releases toxic radiation into our
air and water on a routine basis. Nuclear reactors
generate highly toxic radioactive waste for hundreds
of thousands to millions of years, depending on the
isotope. They pose a constant threat of catastrophic
meltdown, particularly as they age, due to reactor
embrittlement fracture (Neutrons hitting the primary
containment metal vessel wall, weakening it over time).
Also, as we've seen, partial core melts have happened
around the world because of design flaws and human error.

Yucca Mountain is NOT a geologically stable permanent
radwaste repository: it sits atop an earthquake fault,
Bow Ridge, active within the past ten years, eight other
faults exist nearby; a significant Richter Scale quake
occurred during the 2002 Congressional summer session
deliberating about Yucca Mt. Around the same time, proposed
security escorts for so many shipments from 104 reactors was
taken off Congress's agenda: too expensive.

Three Mile Island (1979) and Chornobyl (1986) are
not the only serious nuclear technology accidents
the world and the U.S. have experienced. There were
Windscale in England (1957), and the Kyshtym nuclear
chemicals fire in the Russian Ural Mountains,
also 1957. Both of these involved large releases of
radionuclides requiring mass destruction of contaminated
animal and plant life, predating the even more serious
Chornobyl disaster. Detroit Fermi's core partially melted,
its plant now decommissioned/recommissioned. Other
examples exist here and abroad, of course....Japan's loss
of secondary containment at its Daiichi reactor complex
in Fukushima Prefecture, along with several core melts is
beyond our worst nightmares coming true.

The world seems to forget that Russia and the United
States both have nuclear powered submarines sunk deep
in the oceans, their sailors permanently entombed. Salt water
is corrosive; over time, these submarine reactors will leak.

"Clean" coal is an oxymoron. Even if carbon could be
captured, which is by no means clear, burning coal
still releases Mercury, generates poisonous coal ash,
and entails destructive mountain top removal.

Carbon is not the only pollutant we must be concerned
about; low carbon doesn't mean "clean". Nuclear power
is far less effective than renewable energy, energy
efficiency and 21st century technologies such as
smart grids and distributed generation at reducing
carbon emissions. In fact, carbon emissions associated
with the nuclear fuel chain are two to six times higher
per kw of electricity produced than solar and wind
power.

Nuclear power is NOT cost effective; even Wall Street
has refused to back nuclear power expansion, the upper
Northwest's WPPSS financial collapse in the 1980's is
just one example. The Price Anderson Act insures
nuclear reactor operators/owners with a laughably
small amount in the event of a meltdown or other
accident.

Perhaps you haven't yet made final decisions on these
critical issues. If not, please do not endorse a
"Clean Energy Standard" that includes expanding nuclear
power and coal in 2011 and beyond. Please take the time to
examine these issues more closely. If you do, you will
find that nuclear power and coal do not merit the United
States' further, future support.

Best Regards,
Best Wishes,
Amber Ladeira
Forest Park, IL

P.S.: Some of the above-stated language, especially the
carbon and coal-related remarks, was suggested by
NIRS in Takoma Park, MD and NEIS in Chicago. I added
whole paragraphs and paraphrased certain sentences. My
thanks to them and other groups around the country for their
unflagging energy and devotion to working toward
a safer, greener world worthy of leaving to our
children.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Cherry Picking" Among the Sour Grapes

Shakespeare, even before Emerson, noted that
convention and consistency (custom, tradition)
is often the enemy of sense, sensibility and
solutions. They and others validate a part of my
philosophy: I "Cherry Pick".

At times, when that becomes obvious during a
conversation, those who practice it often earn
opprobium,being accused of yes, cherry picking.
But why NOT pick and choose? Must a theory,
practice or expert's "wisdom" be adopted whole
cloth? There are flaws in everyone's logical
ability, to say nothing of accurate, factual
knowledge, so pick out the best and leave the rest.

After all, in every vineyard, some of the grapes
are bound to be sour.