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Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Sustainable Geometry

Among the other specific topics that I write about  this one is about rebuilding our civilization with a new geometry for land use, transportation, social services, finance, manufacturing, energy production and use, and governance.

We have the convergent conditions of a new millennium, accelerating climate change, the collapse of our global banking and finance systems, and a worldwide population that is fast approaching 7 billion people.

What we have done in the past will not sustain us in the future. That which we have employed up to now has not necessarily been bad, but in light of current events and processes, we cannot permit ourselves the delusion that we need not change.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Solar Parking Lots

While the forces of Fossil Fuels and Alternate Energy battle it out in the public square, there is a quiet revolution going on that is making the change over slow and steady. The complete change over and cessation of fossil fuel usage is still decades away, any new demand can be met by small installations that take the edge off the overall demand and make it possible for the utility companies to not have to build billion dollar plants of their own.

When an electricity user chooses to generate its own electricity with an o-site alternative such as PV solar or wind turbines, they make it possible for the utilities to concentrate elsewhere and sell their electricity to their remaining customers. Their need to invest billions in nuclear plants, or to modernize coal fired plants is greatly diminished.

This example is a plant in Maryland not far out of the NE quadrant of Washington, DC. They covered their employee parking area with PV panels. The primary benefit is electricity. The secondary benefits are the cars no longer bake in the summer sun and the parking area in not covered in deep snow in the winter.

This is not the only installation of this type in the area. Only a mile or so away is this other recent installation of PV panels over the parking lots.

These installations can also be added to the roofs of the buildings, but a bit more Engineering might be necessary due to increased roof loading. There are huge facilities all over the nation that can be fitted with PV panels thereby benefiting both the company and the environment.

Legislation gets the ball rolling in many such changeovers, but the sustaining principles are what will make and keep our energy usage sustainable.

Parking lots and building roofs are not the only land areas that can be "solarized." Aqueducts and long drainage channels can be covered. Aqueducts benefit from lower evaporation of the water while it is flowing to the locations where it will be used. Floating PV installations can cover parts of reservoirs. There are many more such locations.

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Author's Note: The book cover images in the side margins of this blog are my own publications of eBooks available at both Amazon and B&N. Please take a moment and go to the sites and read about them. Then if you like it, buy one or two.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

What Is Community?

Forty-seven years after I left home I have moved a dozen times in three states and have lost track of all those people I used to know from my neighborhoods.  The one thing that remains is the idea in my mind that everywhere I go on a continuing basis, everywhere I live and everywhere along the way in between those end points is my neighborhood.   Instead of trying to ignore the passage of time between start and finish I try to make an interesting trip of getting there.

New Yorkers know about this concept.  When you travel on the sidewalks in an urban place the opportunities abound to interact with people of all character.  New Yorkers are not highly automobile oriented.  Mainly there is the lack of parking spaces.  Secondly there is the level of traffic.  Thirdly there would be the isolation that comes with having to attend to a car and drive alone to ones destination.  People who live in NYC do so for the diversity of people who live nearby, walk the same streets and ride the same subways.  Part of the idea is to reside close to work and not have the commute that suburban dwellers must do to work in the city.

The sidewalk is neighborhood just as are the apartments next door and across the hall, and maybe even more so.  There is wondrous interactions between store owners, cafĂ© waiters and the customers on the street.  You can meet the love of your life, an old acquaintance, a future employer, some guy whose brain spews poetry.  To meet them while driving a car, you’d have to run them down and get out to apologize.  I understand that has been done, but I don’t recommend it.

The train, the plane, even a greyhound bus ride can make for an interesting time if you are not too critical.  After all this is ‘being out in public.’  You get the good and the bad.  It is what you make of the time and the encounters.  I have met some very interesting people on plane, trains and in subways.  I have never met anyone interesting at a highway rest stop.  First they are all too busy getting where they are going and all wrapped up with getting the kids and the dog into  the vehicle and all the accumulated trash out.  For them the highway is a necessary evil to be endured between home and the National Park or Grandma’s house.

What you know about your neighborhood becomes part of your mental geography.  Just like some people can drive around anywhere and remain oriented, others just know how to get from one point to another over sometimes thousands of miles of distance.  Without many years of being accustomed to public mode of travel, many people do not feel comfortable in any other mode than flying to distant airport and taking a taxi to the hotel.  The driver is supposed to know the way and assist with stowing the suitcases in the back. 

Transit oriented travel can be just as easy if the traveler is in tune with the methods.  For example, in my mind is the mental map of the entire trip between my Baltimore home and the house my sister has in Gloucester, Mass.  The transit oriented trip requires 7 segments with 6 inter-modal exchanges.  The automobile oriented flight requires 3 modes with 2 inter-modal exchanges.  The latter travel itinerary costs a $15 taxi ride and the commitment from my sister to drive 2 hours for 100 miles to pick me up at Logan Airport.  The former method utilizes two free shuttle buses, a subway ride and a commuter train ticket to the end of the line in Gloucester.  It ends with a five minute car ride by my sister from the train station to the house.  Going back home is just the same.

To accomplish the transit oriented trip one must know the details of the systems to be used or just be well aware of how such methods work.  One doesn’t have to have ridden a city’s subway before to be aware of how subways work.  One doesn’t have to drive every Interstate highway to know how Interstates work.  It all depends on what you put in your head.

Not everyone is compatible with public transit modes of travel.  To them, I say keep driving.  We would not want reluctant participants being forced to ride a bus or train.  They would mess up our enjoyment of the trip like so many road-ragers do on the highways and streets for motorists. 

The future holds for us that which is inexorable truths.  Fuel to operate our cars will continue to be much more expensive and in lesser supply as globally more people want it.  The roads will become more decayed even as there are more cars and drivers wanting to drive more miles per year.  The demand for “lane-space” will outstrip our ability and our funds to build more.  It takes decades to build any road or fixed-guideway transit project so we better get started.  You are getting older and may one day be denied the privilege of driving on a public thoroughfare because you can’t see well enough, react fast enough or remember where you are going and why.

The following are still truths but we can do something about them. Homes and jobs are getting further apart requiring longer commutes.  Peoples’ incomes are getting smaller so they will be able to afford only less.  Whether it is a big impact or a small one, too much carbon in the atmosphere is going to do damage. 

Communities and neighborhoods are all human settlements, but not all human settlements are neighborhoods and communities.  When people associate with each other by the choice of where they go, their home locations are not communities or neighborhoods.  Families choose several communities for themselves that relate more so to their preferences than their residences.  There is the school community that relates to their children.  There is the church community that relates to their faith.  There is the work community if the adults actually like where they work and want to associate with their co-workers.  Some even have a vacation community where they visit every summer.

The world and this county in particular will change over the next few decades. There will the periodic variations that appear to indicate remission or even a return to earlier times such as when global politics resets lower the price of motor fuel for our automobiles. This will be only a temporary reprieve.

The warmer climate may manifest as cooler summers in one spot of the globe while increasing it in others. Some level of solar activity may dampen the heating of the planet for some period of time, but the trend continues as we force the atmosphere to accept all our exhaust.

Neighborhoods will be splintered in one place while others will be made firmer and more durable. It is for all of us to do what must be done to keep our activities part of a System that functions for a sustainable future.

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Austerity! Austerity! We must have Austerity!

Austerity! Austerity! We must have Austerity!

The concept of Austerity with a capital A is mostly a European invention. It was used during the second War to End All Wars, aka WWII, to bolster popular support for doing without essential commodities so that the Allies could win the war. Germany imposed its brand of austerity but more with the butt of a rifle than with the rhetoric of the Ministry of Food and other governmental bureaucracies. The populace was exhorted to conserve, ration, and do without in order to spread around what supplies remained available so that everyone had something.

During WWI and WWII the shortages were due to Germany's armies attacking the supply ships and resource producing capacities. Today the austerity stems from government inaction, willful refusal to raise the necessary financial revenues that the economy needs and the unfunded growth in living population that requires support.

In America we call it "cutting entitlements" while the rest of the world calls for Austerity. In the US the Conservatives disparage the poor, low-wage employees, the lazy, and moochers for the state of deficit and growth of spending. The reality is that the greatest growth in public spending is military, increased cost of pharmaceuticals and other medical costs, the cost for each additional American who reaches retirement age and tried to start collecting his/her pensions and Social Security. Public welfare costs are the smallest portion of the total costs.

In the US a sizable portion of the retired and soon-to-be retired population has privately funded and employer paid pensions. In the European economic sector most people are expecting to receive publically funded pensions. Here in the US, Republican-led legislatures are gutting the public pension sectors in advance of accelerated retirement of our "baby boom" population that is 59 million strong. The people who were in charge of making sure that the revenue collections and investment returns were adequate to the task failed to perform. Now they seek to pin the blame of too many "welfare queens", moochers and Union Thug attitudes that gift big pensions to public sector union employees at taxpayer expense.

On both sided of the Atlantic the underlying causes of national debt and budget deficits are the aging population and the failure to assess and collect taxes on business profits. In Greece the businesses just don't pay and nobody has the juice to pursue the deadbeats. In the US the corporations and wealthy families sequester their wealth in off-shore nations where the US Treasury cannot yet touch them. The estimate of domestic profits of US companies sequestered abroad range from 2 to 6 Trillion Dollars. Sometimes these same Dollars are the ones that were used to buy the foreign and US national debt bonds. The difference between the investments and the funds paid as taxes is that the bond funds generate interest while the taxes don't.

The Three Things That Money Will Get You

The idea that money will get an investor even more money via interest and capital appreciation is only the first and simplest of the benefits of having lots of spare money. Even a few percentage points on a billion dollars is a huge return. Even just 2% is $20 million per year.

The second benefit of lots of money is the ability to leverage an investment. $100 Million as matching can leverage another $900 million and build a lot of asset property that will generate annual income and possibly appreciate in capital value for later sale.

The third benefit of lots of money is power over other peoples' lives. When someone owes you money they owe you allegiance as well. This is the most seductive of the three uses for the entity that has the money. It is also the one that gets the lender the biggest potential reward.

Making a loan that is paid back on time has an arithmetic maximum value. That 2% interest is good for $20 million a year for maybe 10 years. So the value is limited to $200 million. If the borrower is late, the interest amount paid goes up.

If the borrower becomes less than AAA rated, the lender may require additional collateral to be signed over to protect the balance. That total collateral may actually exceed the original loan balance and might appreciate during the loan term.

Lastly, if the borrower defaults the lender may acquire valuable assets that he had his eye on all along.  Such is the urban Real Estate game in some neighborhoods in some cities. What the borrower wanted was title to all the properties within a contiguous area. Over lending on the property, employing low introductory adjustable rates and helping a neighborhood to decay assures that it is only a matter of time before everyone defaults and walks away from their homes. Then the urban redevelopment is designed and built.

In the case of major lending to governments, even though the loans are not expressly collateralized, when a default and a bankruptcy occurs, all public assets are placed on the table to be haggled over by the parties and the court.

The world saw that exact practice employed in South American countries in the 1970s when Venezuela, Chili, Argentina, and other countries were forced into submission with debt and austerity that left the populace unable to resist the fire sale deals their US installed military Dictators signed with multinational corporations. Prior to the privatization process, the countries' governments owned all of the major businesses and resources: Gas and oil rights, water distribution, telecommunications companies, roads and bridges, dams, and electric generation capacity. Afterwards most of those assets were owned by the likes of ITT, Goldman Sachs, et al.

Later the same maneuvers were applied to Eastern Europe, Asia and Russia.     

Austerity is one of the methods that Naomi Klein describes in detail in her book "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism". Cut the revenue stream i.e. don't actually collect taxes, slash all public spending, raise prices, and lend money to "balance" budgets then collect. Currency becomes worthless, banks are closed. Then the government sells all its public assets (schools, water distribution, sewage systems, telecom, natural resources at fire sale prices of Cents on the Dollar.) Does all this sound familiar about Greece? It should!
. . .
This is a practice invented by the Milton Friedman devotees and employed widely in South America in the 1970s. They used it to privatize much of the economy by multinational corporations.

Greece is now in jeopardy of defaulting on billions in national debt that was provided by lenders outside of Greece. The German government finance people brokered the original loans and convinced the backers of the International Monitory Fund (IMF) to lend the funds. Those backers used German peoples' pension funds to make those loans and now Germany is loath to forgive any amounts because Germans would have to feel the pressure of the loss of their money. It goes around and around and can be described by the Domino Model as described in the Principle of Imminent Collapse. One weak link in the financial chain can bring down a host of other money funds that are dependent on the music not stopping in the Game of Musical Chairs.

The USA can issue additional dollars any time it wants to to bolster and stabilize its currency and have sufficient funds for people to continue to do business and pay their bills. As part of the Eurozone, Greece cannot do that. They cannot devalue their currency relative to other nations because it is Euros and they don't control that. With Drachmas they could. But with an exit of the Eurozone at this troubling time chaos would surely follow. This is not to say that an orderly exit after becoming stable again, Greece won't choose to leave.

The bigger worry in the world is the debt to GDP ratio that must be maintained in order for people to not revolt must be kept in order. Every Western nation and in Asia is on the same track to bankruptcy in they do not do something about their lack of government revenues needed to pay their debts. In this scenario, Greece is merely the Canary in the mineshaft and I've seen the canary.

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Austerity and Cuts to Entitlements

Here are some selective readings on where we have gotten in the world today. The global issues with which we are faced are not simple and straight forward. If the solutions were easy we would have done them by now and this conversation would not be necessary (nor would all the commentary that passes for intelligent discourse - you know which you are.)

Each of these sections are Blogspot blogs and contain far more than is listed in this short list. Well considered comments are invited, but moderated.

I know that I am an "idiot", "moron" and numerous other descriptions, so you should endeavor to refrain from pointing that out. Resorting to ad hominem attacks is the sign of having nothing more to contribute. If you want silly bugger content there is for that.

Sustainable Geometry

Sustainable Geometry

Invest Versus Spend

In Praise of The Nanny State

Its No Wonder That The Economy Sucks

Dear Tea Party Members (An Open letter)

Sustainable Unemployment

Vulnerable Geometry

You Say You Don't Like Giving People Welfare

Wall-Street: An Abusive Parent

Attack On The Middleclass

Its All Tuna!

Debt And Tax Breaks

Sacking The Treasury

Political Concepts of Wealth and Taxation

Principle of Imminent Collapse

The Domino Model

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Military Bases: Can't Live With Them – Can't Live Without Them

It just goes to show ya how entrenched in the economy that the US military is. This is not a good versus evil, conflict profiteering rant about defense contractors getting billions of dollars from the taxpayers. Well it is just a little bit.

The bigger economic issue is that military bases are good for the local economy even if the soldiers are deployed for immoral money profiteering purposes. The businesses just outside the gate definitely earn a significant amount of their revenues from the service men and women who are stationed there. All one needs to do is drive along the highways that lead to the guard gates and see the number of liquor stores, automobile dealers, pawn shops and gun stores, convenience stores, check cashing/payday loan signs that line the road on both side of the pavement until the actual base displaces one side of the strip or the other.

Civilian workers also draw their paychecks from the military bases and spend some of it locally. Restaurants, supermarkets, drive-thru banks, doctor offices and clinics proliferate in the region. Motels and schools are also part of the local economy that is driven by the presence of the bases. The bases provide a reason for the community to exist. The foregoing description doesn't intend to characterize which type of businesses that either military personnel or civilians might choose or need to patronize.  

Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC)

JeffersonCounty, N.Y. Fort Drum. Is an example of the boom and bust cycles that military spending and budget cuts creates and destroys. The military version of the Tire Plant or Automobile Plant closing similarly leaves communities bereft of the employer-base that make the location viable for people to live.

When the military economy is booming, houses get built, hotel space and all the amenities of a thriving human settlement materialize through the auspices of the private enterprise sector. Many times the local government which is itching to promote development give tax breaks and incentives for investors to invest. But then comes the inevitable downturn that kills so many military base communities. A base like Fort drum can station several hundred thousand soldiers and civilian employees making it larger than all small towns in the US. (under 25,000 is small, regions under 50,000 can be labeled rural). During a reduction in force, a base may lose 10,000 to 50,000 people when family members are considered. They constitute 1 or 2 small towns in size.

The military budget consists of three parts: 1) munitions and expendable hardware, 2) personnel, and 3) mobilization.  Personnel salaries are about 10% of the total annual budget so reduction is force have only a small impact on the overall budget. It is, however, the easiest to reduce. Soldiers have no lobbyist clout or unions to boost for them at time of reductions.

The massive defense contractors do have the ears of the Congress. Once Congress approves a budget and the military brass sign a contract for hardware and munitions, there is little chance of "walking it back." The multi-year, sometimes multi-decade, procurements rarely get curtailed as being "good money after bad" when a weapon system fails to materialize as contracted. It is extremely difficult to stop a procurement.

Defense contractors have a home too and their communities are loathe to lose their bread and butter either.

Mobilization costs can be curtailed the easiest by just not deploying soldiers and materials. The problem is that a tank that is sitting in formation at a military base cost nearly as much to keep it ready when it is not going to be used as it does to use it. An aircraft carrier devoid of purpose and a regular complement of crew still needs human attention. The closing of a base doesn't stop the expenditures that it incurs while fully commissioned. The Defense Department is loath to ever sell off any bases that ever were built in the first place.

With all due consideration, not too many private developers would even want the land on which a military base ever existed. Most structures were built at a time that paint and pipe were common, asbestos insulation was common and all sorts of chemicals and munitions were summarily "disposed of" on site just like coal fired electric and nuclear power plants also do.

So it costs taxpayers money to have a military base open and it costs money to close one and keep an eye on it while preserving as much of it as possible for the day when it would be reopened.

The Reason to Exist for a community must remain or it will become a ghost town. The difference is that the military base ghost towns will remain guarded forever.

"I am the midnight watchman down at Miller's Tool and Die.
I watch the metal rusting, I watch the time go by." ~ Harry Chapin

The creation of human settlements rarely involve more than one reason to exist. Cities may be the exception as in when the city is at the head of river navigation and serves as the transfer point to overland transport. The city of Pittsburgh was founded on iron and steel production, but branched out in to a major corporate headquarters city. The city almost died as the steel industry evaporated and the corporations consolidated, moved or themselves evaporated. But Pittsburgh found a new reason to exist with lighter industry and high-tech enterprises that now drive a far cleaner economy.

Base Realignment and Closure studies need to brainstorm new purposes for the community or just be prepared to say the entire location is being given up for dead. There are two sides of a base closure. One side is the military personnel who can be helped to relocate to another site. The other side is the hole that those people leave in the local economy when they depart.

American backroads are littered with the detritus of towns that bloomed in the sun then died on the vine. This process is a manifestation of the capital economy we embrace. Unfortunately, people get left behind when they cannot or will not leave with the rest of the place. For them is the future of haunting the skeletons of their former communities.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Fiction of Traditional Marriage.

Christians opposed to marriage equality are just another example of Christians trying to control everyone else's lives.  "They can't even run their own lives I'll be damned if they'll run mine" as was said in the song lyric. It is an attempt to assert dominion over the rights of people of other faiths or of no faith at all. After all this is what the Church does. It is what the Church is for. They have a long history of doing just that. This is why the first colonists braved the open sea for weeks to get here and away from the actual persecution of the Church. Those people eschewed the authority of religion over their lives and fought a war of independence from England to make it permanent.

So today we have a people who claim the rights of definition of what "marriage" is and shall be. They claim that anything less than their interpretation sullies the notion of Traditional Marriage by extending it to two people of the same gender. It was not so long ago that people of the same ilk objected to inter-racial marriages, specifically between Caucasians and the other races. Black and Asian marriages were not so big a deal it seems. 

The claim that allowing marriages between two men or two women is spurious in its contention that it somehow denigrates the value of "traditional marriages." Where is their fierce objections to divorces and remarriages? Where is their ire when Hindus and Buddhists claim that their adherents are married and did not invoke the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in their ceremonies and subsequent lives? And how about the atheist couple who seek a marriage license from the county clerk? Has any clerk, judge or cake baker ever refused to provide their services to people in any of these above examples? No? Maybe it is because, first their State Legislature didn't explicitly set out to discriminate based on Christian assumptions of superiority. Second, they don't a have ready-made profile to identify people as with a same gender application. Third, no one has cranked them up and told them to not do it

No religion has a lock on such definitions as who is GOD, what is marriage, who can marry, at what age, in in which configurations, who goes to heaven, who goes to hell or who "is all dressed up with nowhere to go." No religion completely agrees on that is okay to do and what is sinful. While there is agreement on many thing, actual practice appears to be largely a matter of personal interpretation and local denominational discretion. Christian sects even killed other Christian sects over the matter of the relationship among the Father, Son and Holy Ghost (excuse me, Spirit.) The other Abrahamic religions have similar disagreements, as do religions which were founded centuries before Abraham.

So here we have a social authority that has been updated to be more inclusive and less discriminatory. We the People call it the U.S. Constitution. Its defenders and protectors have informs Us the People that we are going to go in a different direction now.  Like it or not, marriage confers two distinct classes of rights. One, it confers the right to be "of one flesh" in the eyes of a god. This aspect may easily be denied by clergy of any religion. Two, it confers a multitude of legal benefits and responsibilities too numerous to discuss here. These are the domain of the U.S. Congress as upheld or rescinded by the Supreme Court of the entire country. There was a time that traditional Christian marriage made a woman into a slave and property of a man and entailed a multitude of egregious conditions that we no longer accept in America. We did away with THAT notion a long time ago. Let's not revisit that any time soon. 

Captive virgins, polygamy and sex slaves: What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible      by 

Here is just a little something to think about while pounding the Good Book and spewing vitriol.

"He can't even run his own life I'll be damned if he'll run mine" ~ Sunshine by Jonathan Edwards (1971)

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Rebuttal: 10 Reasons Why Homosexual “Marriage” is Harmful and Must be Opposed

Rebuttal: 10 Reasons Why Homosexual “Marriage” is Harmful and Must be Opposed

This rebuttal is prepared from the original text on the website at:

The text from the site is normal font and my comments are in-line Bold and [bracketed]. Not every paragraph has been included here or commented.

1. It Is Not Marriage

Calling something marriage does not make it marriage [correct: saying you're married makes you married irrespective of any overarching authority. Those authorities do not have to recognize it though.]. Marriage has always been a covenant between a man and a woman [which is a false statement. Biblical descriptions of valid marriages between many partners consenting or not may be found in Scriptures.] which is by its nature ordered toward the procreation and education of children and the unity and wellbeing of the spouses [this has never been true in biblical times and not any time since until the 20th century. Children were property as have been wives for many centuries. While the church has always wanted to control people's lives and behaviors, it has rarely been concerned with anything than what inures to itself.]

Marriage may facilitate a religious purpose but it also serves a legal purpose that is completely aside from sex and procreation. Men and women have never been denied marriage even when both partners are in excess of child bearing age.

Two entirely different things cannot be considered the same thing. [this is incorrect since for a marriage to be legal in the USA it must pass the municipal test of possessing a properly file and recorded piece of paper that is duly signed and witnessed by a state authorized agent. States usually permit clergy to act in this role. Indeed two married people do not need the church or clergy at all. Think atheists. ]

2. It Violates Natural Law

Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It is a relationship rooted in human nature and thus governed by natural law. [These two statements are correct but assume the meaning of "Natural Law". Homosexuality is common enough in both human and other species to demonstrate that it is indeed natural. Love is something we ascribe only to the human species (we could be wrong) and has no dependency on gender or reproductive organs. Human nature appears to include instance of homosexuality.]

3. It Always Denies a Child Either a Father or a Mother

It is in the child’s best interests that he be raised under the influence of his natural father and mother. [This statement is patently wrong. It is best that a child be raised by one or two abusive "natural fathers or mothers?" Is it in the best interest of a child to be raised by drug or alcohol addicted parents?] This rule is confirmed by the evident difficulties faced by the many children who are orphans or are raised by a single parent, a relative, or a foster parent. [Many of the difficulties of children raised in single parent, foster parent or by a relative stem from the prior conditions that child endured with his or her "natural family". Foster care children are predominantly those children who were removed from their living conditions for their protection. In some cases the foster or alternate home is just as abusive or damaging.]

Same-sex “marriage” ignores a child’s best interests. [The instances of same-sex parenting are still so rare that making the above statement is pulling an opinion out of a dark place and labeling it a fact.]

4. It Validates and Promotes the Homosexual Lifestyle

In the name of the “family,” same-sex “marriage” serves to validate not only such unions but the whole homosexual lifestyle in all its bisexual and transgender variants. [This is correct except for the cryptic implied meaning of "whole homosexual lifestyle". There are many behaviors that two people may engage in prior to becoming married and wanting to raise a family. Those things are part of the lifestyle on both side of the "I do vow." After marriage there is no "bisexuality" practiced or it is no different than heterosexual infidelity.]

Civil laws are structuring principles of man's life in society. As such, they play a very important and sometimes decisive role in influencing patterns of thought and behavior. They externally shape the life of society, but also profoundly modify everyone’s perception and evaluation of forms of behavior. [Civil laws are just what the marriage equality movement is all about. They govern inheritance, parental rights, property ownership, survivor rights, medical decisions, and a whole lot more. Civil law is governed by the Constitution and is periodically modified to meet societies needs.]

Legal recognition of same-sex “marriage” would necessarily obscure certain basic moral values, devalue traditional marriage, and weaken public morality. [So you say. I call BS on this one entirely. This statement needs examples.]

5. It Turns a Moral Wrong into a Civil Right

Homosexual activists argue that same-sex “marriage” is a civil rights issue similar to the struggle for racial equality in the 1960s.

This is false. [The statement and the assertion that it is false are both false. The struggle for marriage equality is not one of who has sex with whom or how. If is a struggle to have legal rights to all the other benefits of marriage that man-woman couples enjoy. Things like joint income tax filing, survivor Social Security benefits, pension claims, employer paid family health insurance coverage and many other things. Marriage has had to be expressly allowed between people of different genetic races. In that respect it became a civil rights issue, but only because some group of people opposed it or their own reasons.]

6. It Does Not Create a Family but a Naturally Sterile Union

Traditional marriage is usually so fecund that those who would frustrate its end must do violence to nature to prevent the birth of children by using contraception. It naturally tends to create families. [The assertion that many families are purely the result of fecundity belies the fact that married couples of higher income and higher education tend to make a plan for a family rather than relying on unrestrained copulation.]

On the contrary, same-sex “marriage” is intrinsically sterile. If the “spouses” want a child, they must circumvent nature by costly and artificial means or employ surrogates. [or they adopt a child who needs a family. In any case, the cost of making a family is a cost of love rather than an accidental new mouth to feed.] The natural tendency of such a union is not to create families. [Some same-sex couples want children and some don't. The now former prohibition on marriage did not result in two other heterosexual unions that did create a family. Many newly permitted couples have waited decades to have the state recognize what is in their hearts.]

Therefore, we cannot call a same-sex union marriage and give it the benefits of true marriage. [Call it anything you want to, but be polite about it. Now it does get the same benefits as do ALL marriages.]

7. It Defeats the State’s Purpose of Benefiting Marriage

One of the main reasons why the State bestows numerous benefits on marriage is that by its very nature and design, marriage provides the normal conditions for a stable, affectionate, and moral atmosphere that is beneficial to the upbringing of children—all fruit of the mutual affection of the parents. This aids in perpetuating the nation and strengthening society, an evident interest of the State. [While this is mostly true, adoption of children in need of parents also meets this goal and removes from the public welfare system children who otherwise would be a burden on the State.]

8. It Imposes Its Acceptance on All Society

By legalizing same-sex “marriage,” the State becomes its official and active promoter. The State calls on public officials to officiate at the new civil ceremony, orders public schools to teach its acceptability to children, and punishes any state employee who expresses disapproval. [The State also calls murder and rape crimes even if a person's religion says it's okay. The State forces all citizen to adhere to the morality of not murdering or raping.]

In the private sphere, objecting parents will see their children exposed more than ever to this new “morality,” businesses offering wedding services will be forced to provide them for same-sex unions, and rental property owners will have to agree to accept same-sex couples as tenants. [The marriage and family relationships of people buying cakes and renting homes are no business of the business owners. The same battles were fought in the 1960s over segregation and inter-racial marriages.]

In every situation where marriage affects society, the State will expect Christians and all people of good will to betray their consciences by condoning, through silence or act, an attack on the natural order and Christian morality. [Then a Christian must resist serving murderers, rapists, pedophiles, usurers, divorced people, remarried people, heterosexual married sodomites, con artists and thieves too unless they want to be complicit and enabling of those lifestyles.]  

9. It Is the Cutting Edge of the Sexual Revolution

In the 1960s, society was pressured to accept all kinds of immoral sexual relationships between men and women. Today we are seeing a new sexual revolution where society is being asked to accept sodomy and same-sex “marriage.” [I hesitate to point out that there are tens of thousands more heterosexual married sodomites than homosexual ones. Bakers better make sure that are not frosting a cake for two of THEM.]

If homosexual “marriage” is universally accepted as the present step in sexual “freedom,” what logical arguments can be used to stop the next steps of incest, pedophilia, bestiality, and other forms of unnatural behavior? Indeed, radical elements of certain “avant garde” subcultures are already advocating such aberrations. [First, marriage equality is not all about sex, on which many opponents seem fixated. Incest, pedophilia, bestiality, and other forms of unnatural behavior(?) are not specific to homosexuals. Statistically, most people who do such things are heterosexual. At least the population statistics would support that statement.]

10. It Offends God

This is the most important reason. [Says you.] Whenever one violates the natural moral order established by God, one sins and offends God. [Let God speak for himself. Don't rely on a contradictory text written centuries ago and modified by dozens of religious zealots of their times.] Same-sex “marriage” does just this. Accordingly, anyone who professes to love God must be opposed to it. [Unless of course, God spoke to their hearts and says Love is Love.]

Friday, May 1, 2015

Long and Short Carbon Cycles

Author's Note: The book cover images in the side margins of this blog are my own publications of eBooks available at both Amazon and B&N. Please take a moment and go to the sites and read about them. Then if you like it, buy one or two.
Burning carbon-based fuels that produce CO2 is not in and of itself a bad thing. It is not inherently a detrimental process for our environment or a net produced of greenhouse gases. The difference in a 'good' process and a 'bad' process is just where the carbon comes from.

Biological processes of photosynthesis sequester carbon in plant material that is withdrawn from the atmosphere. An acre of corn or wheat does it in one year. A tree does it in a couple of decades. Our human bodies do it in a life-expectancy of about 76 years. On the other hand entire forests that have been left unattended for millenniums will sequester carbon over millions of years. The removal of the carbon was good and planet Earth cooled to the pleasant level it is today.

The three Fires of Life: metabolism, rust and fire, all release carbon that has been tied up in the molecules of proteins, amino acids and the cellular strings of life. The amount of carbon released by one of these fires is not dependent on the speed of the process, only on the amount of carbon available.

You can burn a tree to heat a house and return the tree's carbon to the environment within the same century that it was removed. You can burn wheat or corn and return the carbon from earlier in the same year.

The problem arises when you burn coal and natural gas that contains carbon that was removed from the environment over a period of millions of years. What took millions of years to remove, we have been putting back in less than a century. Whereas burning the fossil fuels adds huge quantities of carbon to the surface of the Earth an its atmosphere, burning present-day biomass adds ZERO carbon.

As yet, the processes may not be the most efficient nor the most cost effective, but they don't degrade the atmosphere as does any form of fossil fuel, no matter how "Clean" and "Green" it claims to be. It's the carbon that makes it dirty.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Build Alternative Energy First

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It amazes me that legislative shills for the gas and oil industry all cry about how America needs to drill the arctic, Gulf and Atlantic coasts to get oil and drill and frack every community on the continent to get gas to protect our "national security." They label people as terrorist who want clean water and air, a stable environment and a biosphere safe for all species.

All over the earth venture capitalists fund the exploration (isn't that a nice word) for gas and oil. That phrase ought to be "exploitation for gas and oil" for that it what it truly is.

One of the old saws in defense of the fossil fuel industry, that includes coal, is that everyone decries the pollution, the CO2, the damage to the land until the tap runs dry. It is then they will really demand the fuel.

This assertion is also promulgated by the nuclear reactor industry who wants to continue to build new reactors and get them commissioned even as they still cannot manage the spent fuel debacle that they already have.

There is no need to be without the power that the public needs and demands. The phase out of fossil fuel and nuclear power plants would go virtually unnoticed if we would design and construct the alternative methods for power generation first. Ask any ordinary American how their electricity is generated, and unless they live near a plant, most people could not reliably tell you how it is done.

If we build the alternative generating capacity first, then there would be no shortages to worry about. There would be no national security issues to trumpet on about. Indeed, America would become independent of external energy suppliers AND we would not be destroying our only biosphere to do it. Ordinary citizens who want to breathe clean air, drink clean water and eat food that has not been contaminated with industrial wastes would not be protesting and getting labeled as terrorists.

On top of all that, the investors who put up the money seeking a return on investment would still benefit.

Author's Note: The book cover images in the side margins of this blog are my own publications of eBooks available at both Amazon and B&N. Please take a moment and go to the sites and read about them. Then if you like it, buy one or two.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The 11 Billionth Mouth

I was chowing down on a small plate of enchiladas, the kind with green and red chilies on the side and spicy rice beneath. As I stuffed my mouth and reveled in the flavors that pleased my pallet I had a thought about the 11 billionth mouth on this planet that would want to eat too. The emergence of that 11 billionth mouth is reasonably possible within my lifetime. The current population of the world increased by 2% each year would yield that mouth sometime in the year 2034. My nephews and nieces will potentially see 23 billion mouths in their lifetimes. Of course all of those projections suppose that some major catastrophe doesn't emerge and limit the population.

My mind raced ahead with thoughts about how impossible those numbers seem to be. We are already seeing the impacts of human population size on the environment with mineral extraction, waste heat and waste CO2 in the atmosphere. At the risk of being a bit too crude, the 7 billion inhabitants of the world already contribute 319 million tons of feces to the environment every year.

The oceans are already being depleted of the fish that are there to take. Arable land is already being stressed to its limits in most parts of the world. Fresh water is a commodity that will spawn armed conflicts by its scarcity. We have assumed that current production levels of food and water is sufficient to support our 7 billion person population. What if it is not?

The story, Soylent Green, with its iconic scream, "Soylent Green is people," is only one small part of the plot and the story. There is a far more frightening and sinister aspect to that story.

There is a book. It is Soylent Corporation's Oceanic Survey. It says that the oceans are dying and are mostly already dead. The bigger conspiracy is not that people are being recycled for food, but that they need to be recycled as food because there are no other sources remaining. The senior executive who is murdered just submits as the hired killer kills him. He would rather die than live with the knowledge of what the future holds for the billions of people who are in fact doomed but don't realize it.

So back to reality! Are we in a death spiral that cannot be stopped? Have we passed that point of no return on a the slippery slope?

My Related Post --

In doing research for an article I came across this webpage. While I realize the author is trying to tell the world that abortions are terrible, the most shocking counter is the one in the top right corner that showed total annual abortions. I took away a completely different POV. Without abortions, the world population today (2013) might be as high as 8.3 Billion mouths. And this doesn't include all the mouths that the non-aborted ones would also have had.

2034 and the 11 billionth mouth is not that far away. If we as a species do not act to self regulate, the environment will do it for us with a great deal of pain and suffering. Starvation and social unrest will plague us until a New Equilibrium is established. The New Equilibrium will not include all of us. The Culling of Man may not take place until there are 11, 17 or 23 billion people or more, but all nature needs to do is reduce food production by as little as 10% and we collapse as a species. Three consecutive years of reduced food production is major catastrophe. Not necessarily an extinction level event but one where billions of people suffer and die.

So what would it take for Nature to stabilize the human population? All the earthquakes, even the largest ones ever known hasn't done the job. All the volcanoes have failed that assignment too. Unless a virus becomes exceptionally potent, we cannot rely on that vector either. A meteor and asteroid might be able to accomplish the task, but we cannot reply on it happening any time soon. A geologic event is not likely to be the bearer of the New Equilibrium unless it is really a monster like never before seen.

A few conspiracy theorists have postulated that there are already plans in the works to manufacture the vectors of population control. All of these conjectures are predicated on there being an elite group who will sacrifice others to save themselves. The conjectures also presuppose that there is a need to do something before it is too late. If they would have to do anything, it is already too late.

As of now, 7 billion people seem to be in some level of equilibrium. The 11 billionth and beyond, constitute the problem that needs to be addressed. Where exactly the tipping point resides is up for debate. We are able to use our brains to change technologies to produce usable energies and fresh water in greater abundance without further polluting our sealed bell jar biosphere. Can we produce edible proteins enough for 11, 15 or 23 billion people? And where and how would we and should we stop?

Radon - Leave it in the Ground

Author's Note: The book cover images in the side margins of this blog are my own publications of eBooks available at both Amazon and B&N. Please take a moment and go to the sites and read about them. Then if you like it, buy one or two.

A lot of the stuff we bring up out of the ground ought to be left there where it can exist at its highest level of safety. Humans have the propensity for picking up whatever we find as useful and using it without considering what dangers are associated with that stuff. Probably the first example of such a use-danger couple is that of lead. It was soft and easily formed into plates and bowls for serving and eating of food. It was easily flattened into sheets then rolled into long tubes for the transport of water that we drank. All the while we had no idea of the toxic nature of our exposure to lead.

We went even further with lead and mixed small quantities of the metal with glass to make exquisitely clear crystal glassware. Tin mixed with lead created the first alloys of pewter that was also popular in the preparation and consumption of food and drink. Early "tin" cans were soldered along the seams with lead and even until the latter part of the 20th century we were still soldering copper water pipes with lead. It took a lot of legislation to stop corporations from using lead in house paint and as an anti-knock additive to our gasoline.

We dig coal of varying grades out of the earth and burn it with great abandon. Although we have eliminated the burning of coal for residential heat in our urban areas, we still burn millions of tons of it for the generation of electricity. The fourfold negative impacts of using coal for energy are the waste heat that must be dissipated by dilution in the environment, CO2 which contribute to atmospheric heat retention and oceanic acidification, the coal leaves behind tons of ash that contains all the impurities that had been laid down with the vegetation hundreds of millions of years ago, and lastly, the mines leach their toxins into waterways that we depend on for potable water.

Oil is also one of those items that today ought to be left in the ground. When the first commercial oil well was drilled in 1850 in Oil City, Pennsylvania there were no cross country roads and only a few novel automobiles on the roads. The need for oil was minuscule by comparison to today but the legacy of death and damage done by our close association with the crude is long and storied. Referring to Oil City:

"The city was partially destroyed by flood in 1865 and by both flood and fire in 1866 and again in 1892; on this last occasion, several oil tanks that were struck by lightning gave way, and Oil Creek carried a mass of burning oil into the city, where some 60 lives were lost and property valued at more than $1 million was destroyed." ~,_Pennsylvania
The energy paradigm of the 20th century cannot carry us through this 21st century. The billions of barrels of oil used each year add CO2 to the environment at a faster rate than other natural process can neutralize it. The atmosphere stores heat and the oceans warn and acidify. The well sites are dirty, toxic and prone to failures of a magnitude far beyond our meager human means to fix the damage.

Natural gas also presents its dangers. The biggest acute dangers appear to be in the transmission lines that send large volumes of extremely highly pressurize gas through the country side, our towns and cities leaving everyone who is nearby at risk for incineration not much different than those 60 people in oil City in 1892. The methods of extracting the gas from the ground brings up all sorts of toxic substances that lay long buried. Mercury, lead, arsenic, and radon all emerge from the well bore during the natural and properly operated drilling process. The newer horizontal drilling with the hydraulic fracturing have added a new layer of risk and damage as the result of the gas production process.

The deep rock layers are shattered in order to get the gas to flow more freely. While this is great for the backers of the gas well, each of those fractures also make it possible for methane and radon to leak more freely to the surface outside the purview of the drilling company. While radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, its presence is exacerbated by the drilling and fracturing processes. It is one of those negatives that cannot be mitigated by more sophisticated drilling and fracturing.

Even our most "modern" electricity generation method, nuclear reactors, pose the huge problem of what to do with the spent fuel. First we dug the Uranium out of the ground. Then we concentrated it to make it fissionable. It in turn created massive amounts of even higher radioactive elements that we will have to store somewhere on the order of 10,000 years. I suspect that every rational scientist says, at least to himself, "The way we are going we won't be around long enough to have to worry about THAT."

In this 21st Century we have developed energy technologies that were not possible even a decade or two ago. Dozens of wind turbine systems exist today. Tidal energy capture, PV solar panels and heat concentrating methods make the sun a viable source of energy. It is possible to stop just finding resources somewhere in the ground and devise methods of creating what we need.

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Riding The Wind

Author's Note: The book cover images in the side margins of this blog are my own publications of eBooks available at both Amazon and B&N. Please take a moment and go to the sites and read about them. Then if you like it, buy one or two.

The next car I buy will be an electric car due to the fact that I want to do some little part toward not loading the environment with the exhaust gases which are unburned hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide. For most people who make the commitment to an electric car the decision they make only shifts the pollution from the road to some remote site where coal, gas or nuclear steam is used to make the electricity they use to move their car.

 There is a way to avoid that situation. Many residential customers are able to select alternative energy suppliers through their usual electric utility company. For instance they can choose a solar sourced supplier who sells their capacity to the consumer and uses the legacy utility company to provide the wires and the billing.

 In my case, I already buy all of my electricity from a wind-sourced provider. When I buy the next car and it is an electric one, I will be literally "riding the wind."

Resources to research:

Wind Energy Foundation  also at Twitter: WINDenergyFDN

Union of Concerned Scientists  also on Twitter: USCUSA

WGL Energy

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