Wednesday, May 26, 2010

BP should restore the Gulf to pristine condition

For over 30 years, the annual Rainbow Gathering has constructed a city in pristine wilderness for up to 30,000 to occupy.  The city is constructed using fallen timber lashed together, rocks and mud, all found right at the site.  By the end of the Gathering, new roads, footpaths, pit toilets, and trash are to be found everywhere.  For the next month, a team of dedicated volunteers comb the area and carefully pick up every candy wrapper and cigarette butt until no trash can be found.  Teams of naturalists loosen the soil along all newly trodden areas and painstakingly transplant the same natural flora that can be found in the untouched areas.  By 3 years later, it is impossible to have known that there was a city of 30,000 people on that spot.  The pristine condition of each wilderness area is meticulously restored. 

I would like to see BP, Exxon, and other oil drilling companies held to the same standard as the Rainbow Family of Living Light.  First of all, the government that issues the drilling licenses must keep a bond for each oil well equal to the estimated cost of cleaning up a spill.  In the case of a 5ft pipe tapping into a well the size of the Gulf of Mexico, that bond would be several hundred billion dollars. 

Next, BP will need to not only remove 98% of the oil from the water, coast, sand, and coral reefs, but also restock the Gulf with all the natural species that were there before they started drilling.  That would necessitate a complete study of the flora and fauna of the drilling area before a drilling license can be issued.  In the case of the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe, that would mean cleaning all the sand on the floor of the entire Gulf, all the coral reefs, restoring the pH of the water, removing all toxic dispersant chemicals from the water, re-oxygenating the water, and restocking fish and wildlife from manatees to coral to plankton. 

BP has set off a catastrophe that threatens all life on Earth; no amount of money or effort will be able to restore the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea back to pristine condition.  Since this process is virtually impossible, then all offshore drilling should be permanently banned. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

We Have No Seeker to Close the Crack in the Earth

I am a fan of a TV series called, The Legend of the Seeker.  One of the major themes in the series is that the Seeker has to close a crack in the Earth from which the Keeper (the master of the underworld) is sending up creatures of death to destroy mankind.   

The petroleum catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico reminds me of the rift from which the baylings spew forth on the TV series.  The Seeker’s evil brother, Darken Rahl, hungry for power and in league with the Keeper, seeks to outwit the Seeker and unleash the End of the World.  To me Darken Rahl represents the petroleum companies.  The Sisters of the Dark remind me of the Republicans, and the equally devious Sisters of the Light remind me of the Democrats.  The series is rife with power hungry double dealers and intrigue; you never know whom to trust.   

Unfortunately, today’s world has no honest Seeker accompanied by a Wizard and a Mother Confessor to close the rift.  There is no hero that’s gonna pull us out of this one.  The oil companies have let the genie out of the bottle and all life on Earth will pay the price.  A total ban on offshore drilling is overdue.  Call your members of Congress and tell them to BAN OFF SHORE DRILLING! 

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Desolate in Broward County

November 8, 2004
Greetings from south Florida,

I just came from a birthday dinner celebrating my mother's 88th birthday.  Much of the discussion around the table was about last week's election. 
My mother was too distrustful of the system in Florida to vote by absentee ballot.  She stood on line a total of 5 1/2 hours over 2 days to finally cast her vote.  She was sure to press the review button to make sure all her votes were correct before she pressed the vote button.  Everyone she spoke to on line for those many hours was voting for Kerry.  My mom lives in Broward County
Aunt Rita said that her friend pressed the review button and found a straight Republican ticket.  Her friend called the election monitor who cancelled the ballot and allowed her to vote again.  The second time, the review was correct.  And then she pressed the vote button.  My mom's friend Henny didn't review her ballot.  My nieces were volunteer lawyers at the polls.  They reported that the Republicans at their polls were very calm and courteous.  They suspected the calmness of the Republicans in face of the fact that all the people on line were talking about voting for Kerry was due to the pre-arranged victory of Bush in Florida.  The Republicans were acting like they had nothing to worry about. 
We discussed the investigations currently being mounted by various organizations like
.  My mother, who is often wise and has seen much in her 88 years, said there's no use in investigating it.  She said the investigations will go on for a while, and then they will disappear, and no one will mention it anymore.  Like when Senator Kerry was investigating the elder Bush's involvement with illegal drug trade during the Iran-Contra Affair, and suddenly it disappeared inconclusive.  My mom said she is so sick with the results of the election and the outright rampant corruption of the Republicans and the impotency of the Democrats, that she can't even watch the news anymore.  She is totally burnt out on the one party system our government has evolved into.  She just wants to live out her remaining years. 
I feel utterly desolate in Broward County

Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur.
"The world desires to be deceived; therefore it is deceived. "
(Attributed to Petronius)

Friday, May 07, 2010

An Open Letter to California Assembly Speaker John PĂ©rez

Honorable John Perez,

I heard that you are considering cutting funding for In Home Support Services.  I strongly hope you retain funding for IHSS. 

I am a Credentialed School Nurse with a Masters Degree in Nursing.  I have been laid off my school nurse job and replaced with an unqualified, inexperienced nurse because with my level of education and experience, I am too expensive for school.  All other school nurse positions within 100 miles have either been filled by a neophyte nurse, or not filled at all.  School districts around California no longer can afford to comply with CA Ed. Code or Federal IDEA laws or American Disabilities Act laws regarding school nurses. 

Therefore, my main bread and butter right now is IHSS.  I took a pay cut from $5000/mo as a nurse to $1200/mo as an IHSS worker.  The SEIU also provides me with medical insurance, but will not insure my 2 sons, who are currently uninsured.  My job with IHSS pays most of my mortgage.  Thanks to this job, we have a roof over our heads. 

In addition, thousands of seniors and disabled people are living cheaper in their own homes with the help of IHSS rather than moving to nursing homes and board & care institutions.  There are not enough beds in nursing homes and board & care institutions to accommodate all these people.  I assure you, I have searched far and wide to find a placement for the disabled Korean War veteran that I take care of, but either they can't take a person who needs his level of care, or it is beyond the veteran's meager budget. 

Thanks to the SEIU, IHSS workers earn $9.90/hr.  The SEIU worked hard for several years to raise this rate up to where it is now.  The previous rate, and even the current rate, is not a living wage.  All IHSS workers have to have several jobs in order to live.  I took this job because the previous IHSS workers of this Korean War veteran would steal his stuff and sell it, pilfer his pockets for forgotten money, and steal his credit cards.  The previous IHSS immediately before me racked up $4500 in credit card debt for the disabled veteran in a period of 7 weeks paying her cell phone, PO box, 4 new tires for her car, personal skin care products for herself, magazine subscriptions, and daily restaurants for dinner.  She didn't cook.  It was elder abuse. 

Low wages for IHSS workers leads to elder abuse.  Discontinuing IHSS altogether will overload the system with indigent seniors and disabled people with no beds available in our current institutions. 

If your aim is to stimulate free enterprise by dumping the impoverished seniors and disabled on to the streets hoping to stimulate private investment in beds for people who can't afford to pay for them, you are very, very mistaken. 

IHSS is part of the social safety net that our government is designed to promote for the general welfare of the people as is stated in the preamble to the Constitution of the United States.  In addition, God commands us in the Bible to provide for the sick, elderly and disabled in our communities.  Since the state of California no longer values the education or health of our children and has followed a course decades long of cutting public education and public health, it obviously has higher priorities than serving our youth, jobs, and future industry.  Now the state of California wants to cut off funding for IHSS which keeps the elderly and disabled safe and cared-for in their own homes. 

The state of California sounds like it is in a suicidal, self-destructive course, yet continued paying a decade worth of cutthroat rates for energy based on fraudulent contracts signed with ENRON in 2001.  It seems OK to violate the social contract the elected leaders have with the electorate to serve the Common Good, but it is not alright to violate the fraudulent contracts made with ENRON.  I think the budget priorities of the state of California are very mixed up. 

The state has already cut me down to my knees by cutting funds to public education.  Don't cut me down to the ground by cutting funds to IHSS, my main income and the only way my Korean War veteran boss can continue to live at home on a small fixed income. 


Thursday, May 06, 2010

Bush turns his greatest failure into his greatest victory - old post

Having suppressed and ignored good intelligence, having fired the agents who provided it, having sent the air defense teams to Canada to do “exercises” so that they were unavailable on 9/11, and having sat dumbfounded in a classroom in Florida allowing 3 more planes to be highjacked after hearing the news, George W. Bush turned his greatest failure into his greatest victory by declaring himself the “War President” and carrying out a retaliatory vendetta in the Middle East.  With a little spin, Bush will turn each of his monumental failures into a glorified victory which will require even more suppression of civil rights, more job losses, more vendettas abroad, and more debt for our unborn grandchildren to shoulder.  It is truly amazing how Bush’s spin masters can keep the wool pulled over the eyes of America.