ENVIRONMENT | PRIORITIES | COMMENTARY
COMMENTARY | NATIONAL PRIORITIES | THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM.
This picture and quote is from Sploid Magazine:
“We’re not preparing to fight the aliens. This isn’t a scene from Independence Day 2. It’s just a throwback photo of 25—yes, twenty five—Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk black stealth fighter jets celebrating its 25th anniversary back in 2006. What a beautifully intimidating celebration of power it was.
According to The Aviationist, the jets flew over Heritage Park at Holloman Air Force Base. Code One Magazine recently put up the photo taken by Denny Lombard for Lockheed Martin on its Facebook page.”
Then I wondered…
How much this display of airpower cost? Exactly what does a stealth bomber go for these days? So I turned to everyone’s favorite information resource, Wikipedia. Wikipedia reveals the cost of the Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk to be a cool $112 million dollars average cost, not including weapons payload or fuel costs…
|Role||Stealth attack aircraft|
|National origin||United States|
|First flight||18 June 1981|
|Retired||22 April 2008|
|Primary user||United States Air Force|
|Number built||64 (5 YF-117As, 59 F-117As)|
|Unit cost||US$42.6 million (flyaway cost)
US$111.2 million (average cost)
|Developed from||Lockheed Have Blue|
 Aronstein and Piccirillo 1997, p. 267.
From the same Wikipedia article we see this nice picture of some OTHER F-117A Nighthawks on the ground in 1983 give or take…
What you are seeing is an average of $27 billion dollars flying overhead. Another $27 billion or so sitting on the ground, and let’s just overlook research and development costs (I could probably find it, but it would certainly be VERY expensive and not necessary for you to get my point.)
Gets your patriotism fires burning, doesn’t it?
Now let’s merge this with another news article and see if your patriotism is still stoked…
From the Atlantic Magazine 2014 - Here’s Exactly How Much the Government Would Have to Spend to Make Public College Tuition-Free:
“A mere $62.6 billion dollars!
According to new Department of Education data, that’s how much tuition public colleges collected from undergraduates in 2012 across the entire United States. And I’m not being facetious with the word mere, either. The New America Foundation says that the federal government spent a whole $69 billion in 2013 on its hodgepodge of financial aid programs, such as Pell Grants for low-income students, tax breaks, work study funding. And that doesn’t even include loans.
If we were we scrapping our current system and starting from scratch, Washington could make public college tuition free with the money it sets aside its scattershot attempts to make college affordable today.”
Update—Friday Jan. 3, 3:45 PM: Just to clarify, because some readers have asked, making tuition free in 2012 would have required $62.6 billion on top of what state and local governments already spend subsidizing public colleges, as well as some of the federal spending that doesn’t go towards financial aid. Again, you can find a detailed breakdown of how our colleges are funded in theDepartment of Education’s data.
For anybody interested in reading more about the idea of making public college tuition free, and the vast array of economic considerations that would entail, here’s a lengthy piece I wrote last year.
Update—Friday Jan. 3, 4:31 PM: One more update to answer another good question I’ve received. Technically, you could say the additional cost of making college tuition free would be even cheaper than $62.6 billion. How come? Because most Pell Grant money is already spent at public colleges. In 2011 – 2012, state school students received $21.8 billion in grants. So, if you subtract that from the total needed to completely eliminate tuition, it the sum would be closer to $40 billion. (Apologies for not teasing that point out earlier. I’d noted it in a previous article and didn’t think to repeat it.)
So what have we learned?
For the cost of 50 stealth bombers, we could send every American who wanted it to college for no expense to the student! Imagine what we could do with the rest of the military industrial complex’s expense budget…Remember, these bombers aren’t the only thing the military produces.
Still feeling patriotic or just kind of dirty…
We used to say Death was Nature’s way of telling you to slow down. But no more. People have just about slowed to a crawl these days. Now we sit around avoiding life, hiding in our homes with our media systems, tablets, smartphones and social media sites. We have our food delivered, our books downloaded and we make friends online in video games. We schedule meetings and outings by text and then flake when our social anxiety from meeting actual people flares up and we stay home promising we’ll go out next time. (But we never do.)
Death. You cannot escape it. (There, I said it. Now you can’t say you weren’t told.)
I write about it in my fiction all the time. Some of my favorite pieces revolve around the Grim Reaper, his agents, his occupation, his perspective, his inexorable tread into the lives of mortal men. Sometimes I am even obsessed with it. But not the way you might think. My obsession with Death, (and when I am speaking of the metaphysical potential, the larger than life presence of the entity of Death, I capitalize it as a way of paying respect to something larger than us all) is because I was not expected to survive my childhood.
Sickly, I struggled with allergies and asthma. Small and a bit scrawny coming up, I was the subject of humiliation and abuse both by family and enemies in the schoolyard. Living in the South Bronx during the 1970s, the lifespan of a child from those neighborhoods said 1 in 4 of us would not make it to 18. 1 in 6 of us wouldn’t make it to 25. Most of the people I grew up with are already imprisoned, on drugs or dead. More than a few of my relatives and childhood friends are already dead. My mother and stepfather died from cancer very early, relatively speaking, both were in their late 50s. Some of my close military friends have died as well.
I have a very close relationship with Death. I have seen Him up close and personal at several junctions in my life. I have fallen out of a third story window as a child and people have marveled at my survival in a terrible motorcycle accident where I broke a significant number of bones (all have healed nicely, thank you). I decided the reason I think I survived, is because I had nothing to lose. Having lost so many friends and loved ones, I was able to see myself dying and being okay with it.
But I didn’t die. And I am okay with that, too. The incident changed my view of living and dying. I accept it is the natural order of things and now I am intent on maximizing the time I have left. I intend to draw it out, too.
I intend to make Death chase me across the globe, make Him hike up mountain trails and inhabit pumas I intend to outrun, make him take on the shape of ticks with lyme disease, I plan to outfox him by wearing high socks and taping off my pants legs. I may look strange but I won’t have tick bites. I plan to go scuba diving in places with sharks and tease him with the chance to bite me.
I plan to live dangerously. Otherwise what is the point?
I could hide in my apartment with safety furniture and still slip in the bathtub. (More people die in the tub than you realize, if you don’t have a rubber safety mat and a support rail in your shower, you are taking your life in your hands, you fool! Safety experts say a slip in the bathtub is six times more likely to kill the average American than a storm…)
Death, the cessation of all things in the Universe, (sometimes called Entropy by those accursed scientists) will claim all things, all life, even that which might claim immortality because ultimately, energy is necessary for life, without energy, there is no life. (At least not as we understand it, I may write a story about a creature who attempts to live without the use of energy as a means of surviving the end of the Universe.)
Death will claim the stars, the galaxies, the quasars, the supermassive black holes hiding in the center of galaxies, invisible to the naked eye. Death and the loss of energy will eventually claim even the dark matter and dark energy, the hidden 95% of our Universe will too exhaust itself.
Then only Death and the stinking, rotting corpse of our Universe shall remain.
As Death closes the door on the Universe, will it look back at the past at all the Lives which have come into existence, thrived for a short while (from His perspective) and then faded away? Will it feel remorse at our passing? Will the energy and the essence of our having lived matter to him/her/it in any way? Or will it be a question of how well we lived before we died that mattered? Is our contribution to the Universe our ability to make profit until we can’t breathe the air, drink the water or eat the food?
I suspect Death would not weigh in on this subject since, in the job description, probably right in the top line, would be: Seeking candidate with the ability to be completely passionate about their work, but maintaining an objective perspective on the critical nature of the job. If this image moves you, you probably won’t get the job:
I suspect the description might continue: Not seeking glory hounds nor shirkers; this job isn’t a good fit for the shy and retiring and the candidate has to be willing to travel 100% of the time while on duty. Perks of the job include, meeting interesting entities from all walks of life and from everywhere, (unfortunately, killing them shortly afterward) travel across the known Universe, all expenses paid travel, and deluxe accommodations. Death has to be an Every-guy or girl, no pretense, no false modesty. Able to walk with kings and still keeping the Common touch. Able to deliver bad news with aplomb, and still know how to party (many cultures celebrate the death of a friend or relative) and Death would have to be able to hold their liquor.
What’s funny to me is that as I get older, I become more like the being I am describing as Death. I am more willing to do things I once said I would never do. I have lost my shyness, speaking up on subjects I have always been passionate about, and having done my research feel good in speaking on the topics. I have learned to be completely passionate about whatever I am doing but maintain the ability to be objective. Getting closer to dying has made me prioritize things, people, ideas, and given me a new perspective on how much SHIT I am willing to put up with from anyone.
In case you were wondering, that is NONE. Zero, zilch, nada, zip! Nunca más.
Life is too short for that. I am committed to living as full and a satisfying life in the time I have left. I plan to sing in the streets, dance in the rain, yodel in the mountains, run with scissors, demand respect from my fellow citizens, participate in my society and consider the legacy I plan to leave on Earth. When I found this quote from Caitlin Moran, I was moved because it is why I don’t do religion.
I don’t need God to make me behave in a moral fashion. As far as I am concerned, if you do, if you are suggesting that the only way for a person to be moral is through religion, you are painting a picture of a lesser kind of human. True humans help their fellow man, stand up for what’s right, acknowledge when things are being done that are wrong or have wronged people and they do this because it is the right thing to do, not because a mystical force which is believed to have created the Universe says so.
It’s that simple. As far as I am concerned, you should live your life as if you only have one. And that every minute should be filled with life-altering choices of significance. You know, paper or plastic, ice cream or cake, birth control or viagra, Superman or Batman, Life or Death.
Because if it isn’t you’re not doing it right.
LIVE, INTENSELY. (Not with drama but with significance. If you are fighting over why you lock your phone to your girlfriend, that is drama, NOT significance. Get a new girlfriend or boyfriend who is not going to have that petty behavior and get back to living your life with significance. If you aren’t sure what it means to live a life of significance, then I guess we’ll have to refer you to a different essay.)
Live, so that when people die, they are affected by your passing.
Live, so that your enemies cheer your death and then quietly toast your demise recognizing they will never see your like again.
Live so that your allies mourn you and wonder what they will do without you by their side. Then they remember you prepared them for the day when you wouldn’t be.
Live, so that when you die, you can tell everyone: I did what I wanted in a fashion that made the world a better place than when I found it.
That is how I live now. I realize it has been how I have always lived.
When I die, I want it written on my tombstone: I LEFT THE WORLD BETTER THAN I FOUND IT.
I’ll insist they add in small letters: Don’t fuck it up. I know how I left things…
Enjoy the visual poetry that is Zen Pencils interpretation of Caitlin Moran’s musings.
Art by Zen Pencils artist Gavin Aung Than, 2013
Quote by Caitlin Moran
“The real problem here is that we’re all dying. All of us. Every day the cells weaken and the fibres stretch and the heart gets closer to its last beat. The real cost of living is dying, and we’re spending days like millionaires: a week here, a month there, casually spunked until all you have left are the two pennies on your eyes.
Personally, I like the fact we’re going to die. There’s nothing more exhilarating than waking up every morning and going ‘WOW! THIS IS IT! THIS IS REALLY IT!’ It focuses the mind wonderfully. It makes you love vividly, work intensely, and realise that, in the scheme of things, you really don’t have time to sit on the sofa in your pants watching Homes Under the Hammer.
Death is not a release, but an incentive. The more focused you are on your death, the more righteously you live your life. My traditional closing-time rant – after the one where I cry that they closed that amazing chippy on Tollington Road; the one that did the pickled eggs – is that humans still believe in an afterlife. I genuinely think it’s the biggest philosophical problem the earth faces. Even avowedly non-religious people think they’ll be meeting up with nana and their dead dog, Crackers, when they finally keel over. Everyone thinks they’re getting a harp.
But believing in an afterlife totally negates your current existence. It’s like an insidious and destabilizing mental illness. Underneath every day – every action, every word – you think it doesn’t really matter if you screw up this time around because you can just sort it all out in paradise. You make it up with your parents, and become a better person and lose that final stone in heaven. And learn how to speak French. You’ll have time, after all! It’s eternity! And you’ll have wings, and it’ll be sunny! So, really, who cares what you do now? This is really just some lacklustre waiting room you’re only going to be in for 20 minutes, during which you will have no wings at all, and are forced to walk around, on your feet, like pigs do.
If we wonder why people are so apathetic and casual about every eminently avoidable horror in the world – famine, war, disease, the seas gradually turning piss-yellow and filling with ringpulls and shattered fax machines – it’s right there. Heaven. The biggest waste of our time we ever invented, outside of jigsaws.
Only when the majority of the people on this planet believe – absolutely – that they are dying, minute by minute, will we actually start behaving like fully sentient, rational and compassionate beings. For whilst the appeal of ‘being good’ is strong, the terror of hurtling, unstoppably, into unending nullity is a lot more effective. I’m really holding out for us all to get The Fear. The Fear is my Second Coming. When everyone in the world admits they’re going to die, we’ll really start getting some stuff done.”
Normally I avoid advertising like Typhoid Mary serving a side order of fries with bubonic plague. So you understand my surprise when I watched this video designed to both inform and entertain. Now if all commercials were done so well, perhaps I might have more fries with my meals. Brilliant choreography, amazing levels of diversity of music, of actors, and skilled writing. In case you were wondering, this is what good advertising, good education, and reaching your audience where they are looks like. Well done, Virgin!
[And no, I don't get paid for promoting this ad, I just wanted people to see you can make good advertising that doesn't insult people's intelligence, turn their stomach or prostitute anyone on the set.]
The Youtube data associated with the video
Published on Oct 29, 2013
Buckle up to get down. We’ve enlisted the help of Virgin Produced, Director Jon M. Chu, Choreographers Jamal Sims and Christopher Scott, Composer/Producer Jean-yves “Jeeve” Ducornet, Virgin America teammates, and dance stars like Todrick Hall and Madd Chadd to give our safety video a new song and dance — literally. From the exit doors to the oxygen masks, no seat belt was left unbuckled.
I know it has been fashionable and even acceptable since Time magazine (pay-walled article) made it okay, but it is time to stop hating on the Millennials.
As a social group, they have enough issues without the socially acceptable, yet completely reprehensible treatment they receive in the media, particularly from the conservative side. But no one treats them particularly well, no matter which side of the fence you find yourself perched.
As an employer I have never had any issues working with them, understanding their expectations from work, or dealing with their often peculiar work ethic. I tried to treat them the way I would like to be treated with the understanding, their job was not the center of the Universe. And given how the workplace environment often treated them, I could completely relate to their viewpoint.
The Trickle Down Theory: The principle that the poor, who must subsist on the table scraps dropped by the rich, can best be served by giving the rich, bigger meals. –William Blum
Seeing how I don’t happen to agree with that happily Reaganesque mindset either, enjoy playing a wide array of video games, like leaving work on time (screw unpaid overtime), focusing my time for things and people I enjoy like skateboarding, hang-gliding, pub-crawling, playing with my son and utilizing social media technology, in some ways, even though there are a few decades between our ages, I am completely in sync with their viewpoint.
The Boomer generation which currently rules the economic world and is giving themselves the best of executive pay, exotic homes and off-shore bank accounts seems completely dickish by complaining about a social group that starts with so little all things considered and expected to handle the worst of the Boomer excesses while starting off in debt, with poor credit, with criminalized poverty, no homes, no cars and little in the way of effective training in “How to Screw Over Your Fellow Workers While You Dine, Shark-like, on Their Inner Organs.”
Lately, I have been questioning the wisdom of indenturing out children with the idea they should have to pay for an education. I recognize we are a profit-driven society, but I believe paying for education should be something society does for our children, not the other way around. We invest in them so they can, return that investment in the development, improvement and effective management of the Commons. In countries like Sweden, Finland and places where reason is still a facet of their social consciousness, they recognize investment in youth, improving their lifestyles in the future. They look at us with nothing but contempt. I secretly sneer with them…
This should be a no-brainer. Instead, someone decided they should not only pay for education, but it should cost them as much as a home in the Midwestern United States. Anywhere from $30,000 to $250,ooo ended up seeming like a reasonable amount of money to pay for an education.
But wait, there’s more. We have also told them they should leave college in great debt, bearing great responsibility (paraphrasing Spider-Man) and do it with minimum wage pay. When you do the math, using the debt they leave college with and assuming minimum wage pay, it will take nearly as long as a 30 year mortgage to pay off and cost double the amount of the starting debt.
We have told our children that they have to save the world while being handicapped with major debt while starting off poorly socialized. Consumer technologically literate and hyper-connected but only interested in things which promote their internet meme of choice and assorted cat videos. Cursed with short attention-spans and the entire bulk of the world’s knowledge at their fingertips, they flit from info-bit to info-bit, full of memes and fury, signifying nothing.
So, how about we get off their backs, give them some tools, get away from our partisan political bickering, stop putting wealth and profit before streets, sewers, bridges and opportunity to participate in what was once one of the greatest economies in the world and find a way to help them with the long, damned list of things that have been screwed up under our watch during the era of Saint Reagan and the Greed Over People party. And no, I won’t give the Democrats a pass because they did their share of dirt too. They just appeared to care a bit more (and seemed more emotionally disturbed when they were caught doing dirt) while they were doing it.
The Millennials with our help will have to tackle a long list of issues. What issues? Here is a quick and dirty list:
- reasonable and affordable health care,
- a collapsing economic structure that needs a complete retooling,
- reducing military interactions in foreign countries,
- feeding and caring for the disenfranchised members of our societies,
- our failing education system and improving its quality,
- economic disparity between the rich and poor,
- the digital divide all over the world and in all layers of economic strata,
- effective socio-economic relationships with other sovereign nations,
- global climate control and management,
- toxic waste and overall waste management,
- desertification of our food producing areas on our planet,
- destruction of our planet’s rain forests at 20 square miles a day,
- eradication of cancer,
- HIV, AIDS, and management of growing list of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria,
- renewable energy development,
- loss of fossil fuels and what that means to our lifestyles,
- failing infrastructures of power and roads and
- corporate malfeasance just to name the few I could think of in about 30 seconds.
Can we stop worrying about Millennials yet? We have so many other, more important things to deal with…
Don’t get me started on Instagram…
To all representatives of state governments and to the Congressmen of the United States:
In the coming years, despite your protestations to the contrary, the climate crisis will continue to accelerate. To keep the science simple, our atmosphere is an energy sink where heat delivered from the sun irradiates the Earth and is now trapped in our atmosphere.
When cool water or cooler ground temperatures interact with that warm air, atmospheric disturbances such as tornadoes and hurricanes are the inevitable result. For some places, they will experience an improvement in their weather. They will be the exception.
Most places which had temperate climates will now become sites of extreme climate activity. Warm will become HOT, dry may become flooded, seasonal snow may become a temporary ice age. Places which have never known seasons may now experience violent transformations in their weather patterns. 2012 was a year showing extreme variations in climate across the entire planet with long freezes in places that barely knew rain, now having snow and ice. You may think the climate crisis may be making weather better because a few people had a milder winter but I assure it what its doing is making our weather more extreme.
Parts of the United States were already known for extreme weather phenomena due to our varied terrain. The Midwest is known for its tornadoes, for example. As the climate crisis accelerates we can expect larger thunderstorms with more extreme effects. Larger transfers of water because warmer air holds more moisture.
We can expect larger and more dangerous hailstorms, where we once were annoyed by dime-sized hail we can now routinely see hail the size of baseballs (far more than annoying, they can destroy an automobile, damage homes, kill wildlife and if caught unaware, injure or kill human beings as well. The most terrible effect of these new larger and more energetic thunderstorms are the tornadoes generated from them.
They will form more quickly. What used to take hours to form, may now happen in only minutes as the recent Moore, Oklahoma tornado did. It went from a thunderstorm to an EF-5 tornado with winds in excess of three hundred miles an hour in a single hour. It proceeded to last for an hour, spreading to nearly two and a half miles wide and carving a swath across the landscape for thirty miles. While the lost of life was relatively low, the damage to homes and lives was catastrophic. Any home that was struck was completely destroyed. This is the future of anyplace where tornadoes form. They will be fast-forming, fast-moving, completely capable of destroying everything in their path. A home that is even partially affected can be made unlivable, harming families, livelihoods and educational opportunities for its residents.
If you need a visual, think of an EF-5 tornado like you would a mobile atomic weapon, distributing damage across a path of destruction. The damage will be comparable each time one of these super-tornadoes strikes. Most tornadoes fortunately will not be EF-5. There are only seven or eight of those on record. But there are over one hundred EF-4 tornadoes and the damage from those is almost indistinguishable from an EF-5. This threat is not one to be taken lightly.
Tornadoes are a result of heat exchange between the Earth and the sky and while they are devastating when they occur, there are other effects from the heating atmosphere which also affect the human way of life.
The constant rise of the planet’s overall temperature, whether you care to acknowledge, CO2/methane interactions as the cause can no longer be denied. This means:
- Rising ocean levels – as global ice caps continue to melt, our oceans are rising slowly threatening every land mass that uses ports or has cities on its coasts.
- As the oceans rise, they are heating as well, increasing their ability to hold carbon dioxide causing acidification. Rising carbon dioxide is destroying plant and animal balances, killing wildlife and destroying coral reefs. The food chain in the ocean is being disrupted and nearly 50% of the world’s population depends on food from the seas. The oceans are rapidly becoming unable to support life.
- Coastline flooding – hundreds of millions of people worldwide live on coastlines
- Threats to island nations including their complete erasure as rising tides and storms destroy their coastlines or simply batter the island structures into rubble. Displacement of entire nations will eventually be the cause.
At this point many of you are thinking this isn’t a problem for America. I would like you to think again.
- The Port of Los Angeles, one of the nation’s busiest port cities would be directly affected as the ocean levels rise, potentially affecting three million jobs in the United States. This port is one of our nation’s largest import/export sites. San Francisco’s ports would also be affect. The New York Stock Exchange is also located on the coast of the United States on the island of Manhattan which is barely above sea level today.
- Millions of people in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, New York, Washington DC, Miami, Newport News, Savannah, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, hhiladelphia, Boston, New Orleans Houston and San Diego would all be affected. These people could be permanently displaced as their city infrastructures, which are already nearly one hundred years old, could not hope to cope with encroaching waters from the ocean.
- Where will these displaced Americans go? Inland? Where insufficient resources or infrastructure exists to support such a mass migration. Infrastructure away from most coastal regions currently barely supports the people living on it. Nor have any contingencies for such population density increases even been considered or planned.
- Such mass migrations are already occurring all over the planet, disrupting trade, manufacturing and tourism.
Let’s just mention in passing some of the ecological disasters coming soon to a state near you:
- Super-hurricanes: large storms which form off the coast of nearly every nation on Earth, hurricanes whose water content, wind speed, storm swells and size will continue to increase in number and ferocity in the coming decades. Hurricanes are not like tornadoes which limit their destruction to a swath, five to forty miles long and perhaps two miles wide. Hurricanes bring regional flooding, torrential rains, winds capable of reaching one hundred fifty to two hundred miles an hour for sustained periods of six to thirty hours as they move inland.
- The damage from hurricanes is comparable to tornadoes; homes are destroyed, flooded out, roofs removed, vehicles lost, schools, medical facilities destroyed or well over capacity during the event. Lives lost can be minimized with sufficient warning and evacuations but property damage can reach the tens of billions with a modest size storm. With one the size of Hurricane Katrina, costs reached 80 billion dollars. Storms that size will become the norm, not the exception.
- With all the wrangling for disaster-relief funds, there will come a time when the entire nation will be covered in ecological disasters. Is that what it will take for the people who are embroiled in scandal chasing for political benefit? When there isn’t any funding or when we have to prioritize which type of disaster is the one that will get precedence?
Will it take:
- Fires sweeping across the West and the food belt as record temperatures and high winds whip firestorms destroying hundreds of acres of woodland, farmland and residential areas? Try this interactive fire map to see what fire season looks like right now, near you.
- Destruction of other residential areas as failing infrastructure is unable to deal with flash-floods as storms increase during the raining seasons?
- Decimation of our food crops and the continued rising costs as food becomes more scarce across the planet. Temperatures across the nation’s food producing regions reached record temperatures of 110-120 degrees for three weeks last year, sufficient to destroy one third of the food production capacity of the nation. Another three or four summers like this and the nation may face REAL shortages which won’t be able to be made up by trade imports. The same event is happening world-wide.
- Super-storms as I have outlined earlier?
- Destruction of habitable areas for wildlife and food producing regions of the ocean?
- Reducing air quality as carbon levels increase and ocean phyto-plankton, which account for one quarter of the Earth’s atmospheric oxygen production continue to die in the oceans, which will also affect oxygen levels for underwater dwelling species humans rely on. Granted we are already over-fishing most of those food sources but this will ensure they will not recover, even if we realize our error and stop tomorrow.
- Or how about the idea that economically the catastrophe sweeping the nation as these disasters are enacted are a tremendous risk to national security. I don’t care how large your army or police force are, once the people become hungry, there won’t be enough bullets to quell them. Yes, I know the government is flush with ammunition at the moment, but if you have to kill the patient to save him, then what exactly is the point of having you in office?
And the irony shouldn’t be lost on you. You will end up killing the people you were elected to serve. This is a completely avoidable situation. Take your heads out of your asses, get out of corporate pockets who have already proven they are completely willing to burn the country to the ground as long as they can make a buck and travel to a different country to spend it. This is a problem affecting the entire planet.
There is no place left to run. We are at the same crossroads as the people living in Moore, Oklahoma or anyplace else hit by fire, flooding, wind, hurricane, tornado or other unexpected natural disaster. Don’t confuse the idea that having money will keep you safe. It won’t.
A natural disaster is coming soon to a city near you. If not the one you live in, one your constituents live in. And eventually coming to all of us in one way or another, whether we have to leave our homes due to disaster or economic collapse or the simple inability to put food on the table because THERE ISN’T ANY, it will be on the heads of the government who did nothing to curb the suicidal and sociopathic corporate destruction of our environment for profit.
Personally, I don’t think you will do anything that matters except continue to take money from the corporations who own you. I don’t depend on your better natures, you obviously don’t have any.
I depend on your sense of self-preservation, that you can hear the sound of a tornado bearing down on you and make the right decision to get out of the way. Most of these people are depending on you. I’m not. I know you are pathologically unable to make a good decision to save your life, or the lives of people depending on you.
So this goes to the Unrepresented People of the United States
Find your representative. Get their name using this web tool. Then do your research and find out if your representative believes in our climate crisis. If they don’t, send them my letter. Cut, copy, paste. Get your friends to do it. If not consider the following:
Find someone who does not believe magic will save us. Find a person for office who believes WE ARE THE ARCHITECTS OF OUR DESTRUCTION. Find someone who is willing to say to corporations, we have had enough of your shit. Sit down and put all of that brainpower you have spend destroying the environment into saving it, because otherwise, the next one hundred years will be HELL ON EARTH.
I promise you we have only just begun to see what is coming. It’s darkest just before it goes completely BLACK.
Vote for someone, anyone who recognizes an Extinction Level Event when they see one. Or everyone you know, everything you hold dear, your friends, your family, your children, your way of life WILL BE OVER.
My woman says this document was too strident, too raw, too angry, too much like a lecture or a rebuke.
“IF YOU AREN’T ANGRY, YOU HAVEN’T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION.”
Call it whatever you like as long as you are doing something about it. I can tell from my personal experiences, no matter what the media tells me, my summers are getting hotter, the fires ARE more numerous, the tornadoes more deadly, the hurricanes more powerful and numerous, the natural disasters grow more expensive every year. How long will I have to put up with political correctness before we start to acknowledge what we are all seeing?
Don’t believe me? Good, do the research, follow the money and decide for yourself.
Find out which states are getting disaster relief and why. Find out which states spend more money on infrastructure and why. Find out which governors support disaster relief and which don’t. The answers will surely surprise you.
Don’t take my word for anything.
DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH.
Yes, there will be people out there who will tell you there is no climate crisis. FOLLOW THE MONEY. Who pays them to say this. 99% of the scientist agree, our climate is changing. So if you want to sit there and let EXXON and whatever other corporate agency who benefits from your ignorance tell you everything is fine. You are free to do so. Just stay out of my way.
I believe what my experience is telling me. It’s telling me we have to do something different, while we are still able. I put my name on this document because I believe in it. And if I am wrong, I will be the first one to sit there and laugh and call myself a quack or a lunatic. BECAUSE I WILL HAVE THE LUXURY OF BEING WRONG. And we can sit and laugh over a beer as the climate cools and the Earth returns to normal.
Ask yourself, what if I am right? What if all of those scientists are right? Can we afford to do nothing out of fear? Can we let corporations who profit the most from that fear, which they promote so they can continue business as usual, is it more important for them to make money while the rest of us die in the eco-catastrophes that follow?
Is that what a democracy has come to mean? He who dies with the most money wins?
Screw that. I am going to fight on the side of the planet. It’s where I keep all my stuff. And there will never be a place like it for us if we fail to protect it.
Thaddeus Howze – Hayward, California
From The Daily Kos
“So, you may have a question for me,” Whitehouse said. “Why do you care? Why do you, Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, care if we Republicans run off the climate cliff like a bunch of proverbial lemmings and disgrace ourselves? I’ll tell you why. We’re stuck in this together. We are stuck in this together. When cyclones tear up Oklahoma and hurricanes swamp Alabama and wildfires scorch Texas, you come to us, the rest of the country, for billions of dollars to recover. And the damage that your polluters and deniers are doing doesn’t just hit Oklahoma and Alabama and Texas. It hits Rhode Island with floods and storms. It hits Oregon with acidified seas, it hits Montana with dying forests. So, like it or not, we’re in this together.“
The Daily Caller has a bit more from Whitehouse:
“You drag America with you to your fate,” he continued. “So, I want this future: I want a Republican Party that has returned to its senses and is strong and a worthy adversary in a strong America that has done right by its people and the world. That’s what I want. I don’t want this future. I don’t want a Republican Party disgraced, that let its extremists run off the cliff, and an America suffering from grave economic and environmental and diplomatic damage because we failed, because we didn’t wake up and do our duty to our people, and because we didn’t lead the world. I do not want that future. But that’s where we’re headed. So I will keep reaching out and calling out, ever hopeful that you will wake up before it is too late.”
As men, we look at our sons, sometimes without realizing it, and remember all that we want for our sons. We want them to enjoy the feelings of success in sports we, ourselves may never had enjoyed. We want them to enjoy the social success with their peers, we may never been able to fathom when we were their ages.
And so we drive them hard. We drive them to succeed. We push them to catch, to throw, to run, to shoot, to be better at everything at their age, than we were. Like it or not, we admonish them to be better than we were.
But here is the truth. It’s not about you.
It’s not about him being a representation of you. It’s not about your having a second chance to live vicariously through your son. It isn’t.
And that is a hard thing to admit.
Because, if you are lucky, will see yourself again and again in your son. When he goes to bat, when he is on the field somewhere, when he struggles with is homework, when he fails in a spelling bee, when he scrubs out on his brand new bicycle. When he goes to high school, when he stays out late, when he doesn’t get into the college you think he should.
When he defies you and tells you to drop dead.
He is as he should be. When he is a little boy, the man he becomes is directly proportional to the love, support and willingness to let him succeed or fail on his own merits. Teach him to play, teach him to excel, teach him to fail well.
Then step back and let him grow. Be there with him both when he succeeds and more importantly when he fails. Both have lessons he will need to learn and no one will ever teach him better than you.
Except maybe Mom, but we’ll keep that under our hat. He’s not a man yet. And every day you spend with him will make him the man he’s supposed to be. And that’s not you.
And that’s okay. Grow with him.
In my LinkedIn account a member of our writing group asks the question: Is the short story a viable medium today or should people just write novels?
My Answer: The Short Story is very much alive today. (Now, perhaps, more than ever.)
Not only is it alive but it must continue to thrive. There are far too many writers out there who believe that telling stories is about stretching out a tale. They have learned the greatest tricks for embellishing and creating tangents which don’t add to the story, only extend it. The short story forces you to choose. To chose something, anything, and get to the heart of the matter. Telling the story.
Is the medium for stories harder to fit into? Maybe, but I don’t think so. We are living in an age where the issue is not finding someplace that will take our work, but competing against an entire planet of people who have the capacity to place their work into the arena with yours. A battle-royal of literary significance takes place whenever we write now.
Believe it or not this is a good thing. Pretenders will fall by the wayside, even as books such as Twilight get their moment in the sun, that time will pass. Only writers who stay the course, master the craft and connect with reputable distribution methods (whether that be through self publishing, small press, or the Big Six (er…Five)) opportunity waits around every corner.
There are 300 channels on television waiting to have something to be seen there. Internet television is growing at an exponential rate as well. Thousands of magazines, online and print pop into and out of existence each year, like the quantum foam underlying the universe. Blogs, news services, radio programs, movies, all sit waiting for that vital resource that short story writers have: crazed imagination willing to delve into the darkest corners of human experience to find the light (or more darkness, if that is your thing). We live in an age where, if we do our jobs right, force companies to acknowledge the value of the CREATIVE engine, we could conceivably change our world.
Doubt it? Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Ridley Scott thought so. He based his career of off that very short, very strange story. He and Phillip K. Dick altered the consciousness of a society, asking questions we didn’t know we would ever have. There is a future out there for writers, short stories or novels, but only if we are willing to seize the opportunity before another movie producer or television hack decides we should have another variation on Sleeping Beauty or Hansel and Gretel.
Find your niche and fill it.
Create your world, your view of it, populate it with beauty and dysfunction, reflect the world in all of its glory. Then release them again and again until they blot out the sun.
Make your place in the shade.
Veni, Scribo, Vici (“I came, I wrote, I conquered” from the Latin)
Thaddeus Howze @ Hub City Blues