Precious Poison..

A long way from Colorado, far baNeil1ck in Ontario Canada, there’s an area called Kawartha Lakes. It’s basically a semi rural farming area dotted with little towns and lakes, great fishing in the summer, and it’s where I was born and raised. My home town was called Bobcaygeon. It used to have a population of eight hundred or so and swelled to quite a few more in the summer tourist season. Down the road about fifteen miles, there was another picturesque little place called Omemee Ontario. You can gather from the sound of these names that they’re pretty heavily influenced by the local Indian populations. Once again, Omemee is  just a wide spot in the road with a population around thirteen hundred where another kid with wild music dreams grew up. His name is Neal Young. We’ve never met although I would certainly welcome the opportunity and as far as I know, our musical pathways have never crossed.

It seems a little odd to me that we’ve gone all these many years and many miles without meeting, and in some ways our music tastes are miles apart. Yet, in listening to his music and all the articles I’ve read, there are areas where he and I are in total agreement and could not be more aligned. One of them is our mutual distaste for what is taking place in northernNeil2 Alberta and the development of the Canadian Tar Sands.

The Alberta Tar Sands is one of the largest oil deposits in the world. According to some, it runs third behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Where it is number one though, is that it is the most highly acidic, toxic goop you could ever pull out of the ground and it’s toxicity is the stuff legends are made of.

Because of its physical makeup, Tar Sand soil has to be “cooked” in order to liquify the tar and separate if from the sand. This is done by forcing super heated steam into the ground to soften up and “liquify” the tar. Part of the fruit of this is that warm air rises and “acid rain” results. This is nature at it’s deadliest and it can devastate the environment for thousands of square miles. The result of the “cooking” is a huge 7500 square mile area with increased levels of mercury contamination and underground oil leaks which as yet can not be stopped and are contaminating the soil, the water, the wildlife, and everything in between. Indeed, the contamination has polluted the lakes and killed migrating birds. It has also run off the caribou herds and any other wildlife that could escape which means that the whole area has become one super large “deadzone.” So much for my memories of “The Great White North!”

A week ago I wondered aloud why so many politicians were all for this Keystone Pipeline project when it appears to be nothing more than a monster health hazard for anyone who gets near it.  A little reading brought some answers. Probably not all, but enough to get you started. Here’s a little something from Bloomberg.

“Giant oil companies across the United States are currently investing in Canada’s tar sands as part of their role in the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil from Alberta all the way to Texas. The pipeline would double imports of tar sands oil into the United States and transport it to refineries on the Gulf Coast and ports for international export. The oil sands industry itself is undergoing a major expansion, powered by $19 billion a year in investments, according to Bloomberg News”.

10632721_865062853512236_5332405563553364071_n$19 billion? Well, that might be part of your answer! Politicians who are bought and paid for by big oil and don’t give a damn about your health or mine or the environment, are the same ones supporting this boondoggle! They have sold their souls to the highest bidder and that bidder happens to be big OIL.

No wonder the Lakota Sioux tribe says “No way” to Keystone. They’ve figured it out and got it right! Bless their hearts for it!

Meanwhile, Canada, the land that gave Neal Young and me our start, goes from being the wonderful pristine, uncorrupted land that we knew as kids, into a greasy brown wreck and one of the dirtiest, most contaminated places on earth. They did it all for the sake of their Precious Poison, OIL.

Please send me your comments and critiques. I’ll be sure to read them all and use them if I can.

Thanks and have a great week everybody.

Rod

They’re At It Again!!

elect2Prior to the midterm elections a few days ago, any discussion of the Keystone Pipeline had calmed down to a mere mumble and grumble of some disgruntled conservatives who were saying “If Obama goes over our heads on this one, we should impeach him! That’s not the only thing they’d like to impeach him for, hell, if he goes to the bathroom and forgets to wash his hands, they’ll want to impeach him!

Then we had the midterms where all the Democrats ran for the hills with the opening bell and the inevitable bloodbath followed. Soon, the ground was covered with Democratic scalps as Republicans gained even more seats in the house and the surrendering Democrats threw in the Senate as an added bonus prize. Not only for scaring the crap out of them, but still allowing them to come to the Capitol and stand around looking as though the “D” behind their names actually meant something.

Even though it’s a brand new day in Republicanville, the agenda is pretty much the same. Keystone Pipeline or repeal Obamacare, take your pick. McConnell and his cronies continue the lie about energy independence without giving a damn about pollution or the environment and saying Keystone will create thousands of jobs. What he doesoilpipebreakn’t say is that those jobs are for the construction phase only. Once that pipe is laid in the ground, everything else disappears and all that’s left is a handful of maintenance jobs and a huge scar across our land as a reminder that we are carrying the most highly toxic, highly sulfuric, goop ever to come out of the Canadian Tar Sands down to Houston to be refined. Energy independence has nothing to do with it. Once that crude is refined into something salable, it will be marketed to offshore countries who have no environmental laws to protect them and all we’ll get is Boehner’s one finger salute! Not one drop of that oil is for our consumption! The way prices are coming down, the market may be gone by the time it gets built, and we’ll be stuck with another useless eyesore of absolutely no value!

Ask yourself this. Who is making the money or stands to benefit from this deal? Who’s getting paid? Is it the everyday working folks of the USA? Hell no! Is it the government? We don’t know. Is it the politicians? We don’t know. Do you think politicians stand to profit for making this happen? If they’re not, they’re pushing awfully hard for no reason and I’ve never known a politician yet who would do anything that didn’t stand to profit them one way or anther! Alberta has been averaging two spills per day of one type or another every day for the last 37 years! Anyone who thinks that this pipeline will be problem free is smoking some stuff that definitely should not be allowed!

I’ll touch on the Obamacare repeal another day. Right now, what has me interested is the mining industry. Mining, whether it’s for coal or anything else, is big, dangerous, and heavily subsidized in states like Kentucky and West Virginia. The fact that countries like Germany have largely said goodbye to it and moved on to renewable energies to power their country, tells us where the quest for energy is heading and leaves the USA which is politically mired in old obsolete industries, wistfully looking on. In order to make mining more palatable to the public, we’ve gone to practices like chopping the tops off mountains, ripping up the earth for the coal, polluted the rivers and lakes and when we’re finished, asked the government for additional billions to make it look all nice and green again.

This week, President Obama made a trip to China and it’s pretty revealing that the air in Beijing China is so polluted that for the sake of appearances, they had to shut major industries down during his visit. It was a nice surprise that these two men actually formed an agreement to reduce pollution and clean up the environment. It’s a little late to hope that either John Boehner or Mitch McConnell will ever have an epiphany which would cause them to move away from polluting, antiquated industries that cost our country billions and make us non-competitive in world markets, but sometimes miracles happen.

Please send your comments and critiques. I’ll be sure to read them all and use them if I can.

Thanks and have a great week everybody.

Rod

If You Want a Friend in Washington DC…Get A Dog!!

dog1 Harry Truman wasn’t just a President, he was a prophet! As of this week, President Barack Obama has good reason to take Truman’s words seriously and remember them well! Also, the Democratic party which ran away from him like a bunch of scared rabbits could use a heapin’ helpin’ of Truman’s courage to live by, because no President ever got abandoned by his party to a greater degree than President Obama did during this massacre! I’ll bet he knows how Custer felt and the term “divide and conquer” was never truer, more evident, or more sad to watch if you believe in an equal shake for all! Defense of women’s reproductive health issues was abandoned, the Republicans split the Democratic candidates away from their president along with everything they fought to achieve, then, they picked them off like ducks in a shooting gallery!

I’m not going to say it was wrong, I think there’s a perverse justice in there somewhere, and a huge lesson to be learned! In a way, the voters who could vote or spend a little money and didn’t, got what they deserve, NOTHING! The folks working for minimum wages got what the Republicans wanted to give them. Will the Koch brothers see a big financial return on their mammoth investment? We’ll just have to wait and see!

Maybe it’s time to write about something more on the positive side of the ledger.

As most of you who have read previous entries of this blog already know, I have a friend named Carol “CJ” Johnson. She is the lady who runs the “Senior Assistance Center” at 44th Ave and Federal Blvd. here in the city. Senior Assistance Center is a “food bank” where low income folks can come by and pick up food essentials to help put meals on the table when they have too much month left at the end of the money! On top of this, she is doing a phenomenal job in the neighborhoods delivering food in trucks to families in large, low income developments who may have no transportation and are basically landlocked because of their handicap. CJ sees a growing need here, and is building the food delivery side of her enterprise as much as limited finances will allow. If you’re in the neighborhood, drop by and donate a few bucks! I’m sure it will be appreciated, and she’ll find a home for it in a hurry!

Here’s a part of the story that will warm your heart! Recently, CJ told me about a special little seven year old boy named Henry. It seems thathenry Henry is learning to play the accordion and recently he was asked to play for a dinner at his church. In payment for his service, the folks at the church asked Henry where he would like them to make a donation in payment for his work.

The story goes like this and in case you can’t make out this very blurry copy of Henry’s Mom’s letter on the right hand side, here it is;

Hello!

My name is Carolyn Cline and I’m writing to tell you the story of this check.  My son, Henry, is 7 years old and is learning to play the accordion.  A group at our church asked him to be the entertainment for their dinner.  In honor of his playing, they offered to make a donation to the charity of his choice.

I asked him if he were a really rich man who he would like to help.  He said he “wanted to help old people” 🙂 We found your center by searching online and thought this is where he could help.

We hope this check helps in some small way with the amazing work that you do.  Thank you so much for your dedication and service!
 Blessings to you.
 Carolyn Cline
and
HENRY
WOW! If only we could ship Henry’s wonderful attitude to Washington DC! Think of the changes we could make, and the uplifting that could be done…it is sorely needed!
Please send me your comments and critiques. I’ll be sure to read them all and use them if I can.
Have a great week everybody!
Rod

Spring Ahead – Fall Back!

daysav2So here we go again, one of my least favorite weekends of the whole year! Yep, it’s that time when we turn our clocks back one hour so that we can sit in the dark half the time and freeze the other half! I suppose I ought to be grateful that all things considered, there will be a spring to pray for, but unless you’re someone who likes rolling around in the snow (which I’m not,) wintertime is one slow, cold, freezing, plodding day after day followed by Valentines, followed by income tax day, followed by Easter, and then VOILA! SPRINGTIME AGAIN!

Who invented daylight saving time? Does anyone really know? I heard once that daylight saving time was some kind of a government device they came up with so that farmers would have more time between sunup and sundown to do their endless chores. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but as someone who was raised a farm kid, it should tell you a little something about farming as an occupation!

In addition to all my doom and gloom, as though we didn’t need another reminder that we’re looking at a good many short days and long nights before we can wear thongs and cutoffs again, we’re also up against my other least favorite time of year, midterm elections.

Somehow, I’ve always felt that midterm elections are something of a second chance for loser politicians although you’d never know it by the obscene amount of money being spent on TV ads. To me, it’s kind of a consolation prize for those who couldn’t cut it the first time to get a second shot at the brass ring! That would seem to be obvious since politicians, once they’ve been elected, spend a great deal of their time trying to keep us in the dark while they go about the business of collecting their own personal trophies and trying to get themselves re-elected! It kind of reminds you of someone going to the drag races and asking for a hundred yard free head start!

daysav3Next on my list of personal political peeves is the seemingly endless war on women and women’s health issues. Let us not forget that this is a country that still pays women .87 cents on average for every dollar a man makes and let us also not forget that these same women are the ones who almost without exception, do the cooking, cleaning, laundry, food shopping, child raising and almost everything else around the house of any importance including getting his fat behind up, fed, and off to work in the morning! I would submit that if a woman is smart enough to handle everything else it takes to make your house run smoothly and do it all while being treated like a second class citizen, then she’s damn sure smart enough to know what’s best for her when it comes to personal health and family planning issues. That should be reason enough to elect a WOMAN PRESIDENT in 2016. SO MR. POLITICIAN, THANK YOU VERY MUCH and KINDLY BUTT OUT!

Elections, especially midterm elections always seem to have a “Wizard of Oz” quality to them that I can never quite shake off. From what I’ve seen on TV and read, the current governor of Florida has invested well over 25 million of his own personal wealth in order to come out on top in this campaign. There’s a reason this money is being spent and I don’t believe it’s economic stimulation! Think about it folks. That’s twenty five million dollars spent in order to buy a job that pays lots of grief and $130,000 per year! Do you see anything wrong with this picture? Kind of makes you wonder who or what is hiding behind the curtain doesn’t it? It also makes you wonder if he wins, what’s coming next?

Enough said. If you haven’t done it already, get out and vote and while you’re at it say a prayer for a little sanity. It’s a long time ’til spring!

Send me your critiques and comments. I’ll be sure to read them and use them if I can.

Have a great week everybody!

Rod