Friday, July 30, 2010

Obama to Sportfishermen: F*** You! Comes True

Rember this article from last October?: Obama to Sportfishermen: F*** You! -- Well, it just happened! -- h/t: George Ure, Urban Survival

Obama signs (without the approval of Congress) Executive Order--Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes [attached below]

Feds to 60 Million American Anglers: We don't need you

Via Gateway Pundit -- h/t: Teak

A recently published administration document outlines a structure that could result in closures of sport fishing in salt and freshwater areas across America. The White House created an Interagency Oceans Policy Task Force in June and gave them only 90 days to develop a comprehensive federal policy for all U.S. coastal, ocean and Great Lakes waters. Under the guise of ‘protecting’ these areas, the current second phase of the Task Force direction is to develop zoning which may permanently close vast areas of fishing waters nationwide. This is to be completed by December 9, 2009.

Dave Pfeiffer, President of Shimano American Corporation explained, “In spite of extensive submissions from the recreational fishing community to the Task Force in person and in writing, they failed to include any mention of the over one million jobs or the 60 million anglers which may be affected by the new policies coast to coast. Input from the environmental groups who want to put us off the water was adopted into the report verbatim – the key points we submitted as an industry were ignored.”

Recreational fishing generates a $125 billion annual economy in the United States and supports jobs in every state [including a job that feeds yours truly] according to government figures. Through the Sport Fish Restoration program, anglers have provided more than $5 billion through excise taxes on fishing tackle to fishery conservation and education for decades.

In addition to the economic aspects, anglers lead the nation in volunteer conservation efforts on behalf of improving fish habitat, water quality and related environmental areas. “There was no mention of the fishery conservation efforts which anglers have led for over 50 years in every state – an environmental success story that has no equal in the world”, said Phil Morlock, Director, Environmental Affairs for Shimano. “The Task Force did not make any distinction between the dramatic differences between harmful commercial fishing harvest methods and recreational fishing, even though we spelled it out for them in detail,” added Morlock.

Claiming to be the result of a public consultation process the report states, “Having considered a broad range of public comments, this report reflects the requests and concerns of all interested parties.”

The original White House memo and not surprisingly the Task Force report contains multiple references to developing a national policy where Great Lakes and coastal regions are managed, “consistent with international law, including customary international law as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea” - a 300-page treaty the U.S. has never ratified.

“We question what implications there will be for state authority and jurisdiction in the Great Lakes and coastal regions if the U.S. adopts the U.N. Treaty,” said Pfeiffer. -- ###

F*** you, Obama! -- Gone fishing. - c

~ ~ ~

“Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” -- Plato

~ ~ ~

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

July 19, 2010

Executive Order--Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Purpose. The ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes provide jobs, food, energy resources, ecological services, recreation, and tourism opportunities, and play critical roles in our Nation's transportation, economy, and trade, as well as the global mobility of our Armed Forces and the maintenance of international peace and security. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and resulting environmental crisis is a stark reminder of how vulnerable our marine environments are, and how much communities and the Nation rely on healthy and resilient ocean and coastal ecosystems. America's stewardship of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes is intrinsically linked to environmental sustainability, human health and well-being, national prosperity, adaptation to climate and other environmental changes, social justice, international diplomacy, and national and homeland security.

This order adopts the recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, except where otherwise provided in this order, and directs executive agencies to implement those recommendations under the guidance of a National Ocean Council. Based on those recommendations, this order establishes a national policy to ensure the protection, maintenance, and restoration of the health of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems and resources, enhance the sustainability of ocean and coastal economies, preserve our maritime heritage, support sustainable uses and access, provide for adaptive management to enhance our understanding of and capacity to respond to climate change and ocean acidification, and coordinate with our national security and foreign policy interests.

This order also provides for the development of coastal and marine spatial plans that build upon and improve existing Federal, State, tribal, local, and regional decisionmaking and planning processes. These regional plans will enable a more integrated, comprehensive, ecosystem-based, flexible, and proactive approach to planning and managing sustainable multiple uses across sectors and improve the conservation of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.

Sec. 2. Policy. (a) To achieve an America whose stewardship ensures that the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes are healthy and resilient, safe and productive, and understood and treasured so as to promote the well-being, prosperity, and security of present and future generations, it is the policy of the United States to:

* (i) protect, maintain, and restore the health and biological diversity of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems and resources;
* (ii) improve the resiliency of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems, communities, and economies;
* (iii) bolster the conservation and sustainable uses of land in ways that will improve the health of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems;
* (iv) use the best available science and knowledge to inform decisions affecting the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes, and enhance humanity's capacity to understand, respond, and adapt to a changing global environment;
* (v) support sustainable, safe, secure, and productive access to, and uses of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes;
* (vi) respect and preserve our Nation's maritime heritage, including our social, cultural, recreational, and historical values;
* (vii) exercise rights and jurisdiction and perform duties in accordance with applicable international law, including respect for and preservation of navigational rights and freedoms, which are essential for the global economy and international peace and security;
* (viii) increase scientific understanding of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems as part of the global interconnected systems of air, land, ice, and water, including their relationships to humans and their activities;
* (ix) improve our understanding and awareness of changing environmental conditions, trends, and their causes, and of human activities taking place in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waters; and
* (x) foster a public understanding of the value of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes to build a foundation for improved stewardship.

(b) The United States shall promote this policy by:

* (i) ensuring a comprehensive and collaborative framework for the stewardship of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes that facilitates cohesive actions across the Federal Government, as well as participation of State, tribal, and local authorities, regional governance structures, nongovernmental organizations, the public, and the private sector;
* (ii) cooperating and exercising leadership at the international level;
* (iii) pursuing the United States' accession to the Law of the Sea Convention; and
* (iv) supporting ocean stewardship in a fiscally responsible manner.

Sec. 3. Definitions. As used in this order:

(a) "Final Recommendations" means the Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force that shall be made publicly available and for which a notice of public availability shall be published in the Federal Register.

(b) The term "coastal and marine spatial planning" means a comprehensive, adaptive, integrated, ecosystem-based, and transparent spatial planning process, based on sound science, for analyzing current and anticipated uses of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes areas. Coastal and marine spatial planning identifies areas most suitable for various types or classes of activities in order to reduce conflicts among uses, reduce environmental impacts, facilitate compatible uses, and preserve critical ecosystem services to meet economic, environmental, security, and social objectives. In practical terms, coastal and marine spatial planning provides a public policy process for society to better determine how the ocean, our coasts, and Great Lakes are sustainably used and protected -- now and for future generations.

(c) The term "coastal and marine spatial plans" means the plans that are certified by the National Ocean Council as developed in accordance with the definition, goals, principles, and process described in the Final Recommendations.

Sec. 4. Establishment of National Ocean Council. (a) There is hereby established the National Ocean Council (Council).

(b) The Council shall consist of the following:

* (i) the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, who shall be the Co-Chairs of the Council;
* (ii) the Secretaries of State, Defense, the Interior, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Commerce, Labor, Transportation, Energy, and Homeland Security, the Attorney General, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere (Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the National Science Foundation, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff;
* (iii) the National Security Advisor and the Assistants to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, Domestic Policy, Energy and Climate Change, and Economic Policy;
* (iv) an employee of the Federal Government designated by the Vice President; and
* (v) such other officers or employees of the Federal Government as the Co-Chairs of the Council may from time to time designate.

(c) The Co-Chairs shall invite the participation of the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, to the extent consistent with the Commission's statutory authorities and legal obligations, and may invite the participation of such other independent agencies as the Council deems appropriate.

(d) The Co-Chairs of the Council, in consultation with the National Security Advisor and the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, shall regularly convene and preside at meetings of the Council, determine its agenda, direct its work, and, as appropriate to address particular subject matters, establish and direct committees of the Council that shall consist exclusively of members of the Council.

(e) A member of the Council may designate, to perform committee functions of the member, any person who is within such member's department, agency, or office and who is (i) an officer of the United States appointed by the President, (ii) a member of the Senior Executive Service or the Senior Intelligence Service, (iii) a general officer or flag officer, or (iv) an employee of the Vice President.

(f) Consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations, the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Council on Environmental Quality shall provide the Council with funding, including through the National Science and Technology Council or the Office of Environmental Quality. The Council on Environmental Quality shall, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, provide administrative support necessary to implement this order.

(g) The day-to-day operations of the Council shall be administered by a Director and a Deputy Director, who shall supervise a full-time staff to assist the Co-Chairs in their implementation of this order.

Sec. 5. Functions of the Council. (a) The Council shall have the structure and function and operate as defined in the Final Recommendations. The Council is authorized, after the Council's first year of operation, to make modifications to its structure, function, and operations to improve its effectiveness and efficiency in furthering the policy set forth in section 2 of this order.

(b) To implement the policy set forth in section 2 of this order, the Council shall provide appropriate direction to ensure that executive departments', agencies', or offices' decisions and actions affecting the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes will be guided by the stewardship principles and national priority objectives set forth in the Final Recommendations, to the extent consistent with applicable law. The Council shall base its decisions on the consensus of its members. With respect to those matters in which consensus cannot be reached, the National Security Advisor shall coordinate with the Co-Chairs and, as appropriate, the Assistants to the President for Energy and Climate Change, and Economic Policy, and the employee of the United States designated by the Vice President, subject to the limitations set forth in section 9 of this order, to present the disputed issue or issues for decision by the President.

Sec. 6. Agency Responsibilities. (a) All executive departments, agencies, and offices that are members of the Council and any other executive department, agency, or office whose actions affect the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes shall, to the fullest extent consistent with applicable law:

* (i) take such action as necessary to implement the policy set forth in section 2 of this order and the stewardship principles and national priority objectives as set forth in the Final Recommendations and subsequent guidance from the Council; and
* (ii) participate in the process for coastal and marine spatial planning and comply with Council certified coastal and marine spatial plans, as described in the Final Recommendations and subsequent guidance from the Council.

(b)Each executive department, agency, and office that is required to take actions under this order shall prepare and make publicly available an annual report including a concise description of actions taken by the agency in the previous calendar year to implement the order, a description of written comments by persons or organizations regarding the agency's compliance with this order, and the agency's response to such comments.

(c) Each executive department, agency, and office that is required to take actions under this order shall coordinate and contribute resources, as appropriate, to assist in establishing a common information management system as defined in the Final Recommendations and shall be held accountable for managing its own information assets by keeping them current, easily accessible, and consistent with Federal standards.

(d) To the extent permitted by law, executive departments, agencies, and offices shall provide the Council such information, support, and assistance as the Council, through the Co-Chairs, may request.

Sec. 7. Governance Coordinating Committee. The Council shall establish a Governance Coordinating Committee that shall consist of 18 officials from State, tribal, and local governments in accordance with the Final Recommendations. The Committee may establish subcommittees chaired by representatives of the Governance Coordinating Committee. These subcommittees may include additional representatives from State, tribal, and local governments, as appropriate to provide for greater collaboration and diversity of views.

Sec. 8. Regional Advisory Committees. The lead Federal department, agency, or office for each regional planning body established for the development of regional coastal and marine spatial plans, in consultation with their nonfederal co-lead agencies and membership of their regional planning body, shall establish such advisory committees under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App., as they deem necessary to provide information and to advise the regional planning body on the development of regional coastal and marine spatial plans to promote the policy established in section 2 of this order.

Sec. 9. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order, the establishment of the Council, and the Final Recommendations shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

* (i) authority granted by law to an executive department or agency or the head thereof; or
* (ii) functions assigned by the President to the National Security Council or Homeland Security Council (including subordinate bodies) relating to matters affecting foreign affairs, national security, homeland security, or intelligence.

(b) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(c) In carrying out the provisions of this order and implementing the Final Recommendations, all actions of the Council and the executive departments, agencies, and offices that constitute it shall be consistent with applicable international law, including customary international law, such as that reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention.

(d) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Sec. 10. Revocation. Executive Order 13366 of December 17, 2004, is hereby revoked.



BARACK OBAMA



THE WHITE HOUSE, July 19, 2010.

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NOAA Expands Fishing Closed Area in Gulf of Mexico

High resolution

Fishery Closure Boundary as of June 28, 2010. Closure area may be updated daily as necessary.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Banking Disaster Largely Ignored By Mainstream Media

By Greg Hunter, USAWatchdog.com

Last week, bank failures quietly passed the 100 milestone for the year. I say “quietly” because the bank failure story has gone largely unreported or, at least, under-reported by the mainstream media. Just to give you an idea of how fast the bank insolvency problem is accelerating, last year, at this time, 64 banks had been taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. So far, this year, 103 banks have already been taken over by the FDIC. There is no question the bank failures the FDIC will have to deal with will be greater than the 140 insolvent banks closed last year. At this point, we just don’t know how many more, but dozens more than last year for sure.

One big bank negative I see is the loss of business in the Gulf because of the oil spill catastrophe. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that the loss of revenue from fishing, deep-water oil drilling, tourism and spoiled coastal property will probably have a negative effect on the balance sheet of Gulf Coast banks. Just 2 weeks ago, a Wall Street Journal story documented tail spinning Florida banks asking for a break from federal regulators. It said, “Florida banks—already weakened by the real-estate bust and hit again by customers suffering from the BP PLC oil spill—are asking federal regulators for a reprieve from government-ordered capital raising as they struggle to stay alive.” (Click here for the more on the WSJ story.) There are currently 775 “problem” banks on the FDIC’s list, and I don’t think that list will be shrinking anytime soon.

In order for the FDIC to close the banks, it has to spend cash to make depositors whole. It is also entering into what are called “loss share” agreements. It is a way to keep problem loans and foreclosed property in a banking environment and not become the full responsibility of the government. It also caps the loss for the buying institution. Here’s how the “loss share” basically works. The FDIC writes down the assets to an estimated value. Then, the FDIC covers any potential losses in an 80/20 split, with the FDIC covering 80% of any potential loss. These loss share agreements were used in the S&L crisis in the early 90’s. Since this crisis began, there have been $173.5 billion of loss share agreements through May of 2010. (The total now stands at more than $178 billion.) According to FDIC spokesman David Barr, if loss share agreements were not used, the failed bank assets might sell for “pennies on the dollar.” The idea is to wait and sell the assets in the future when they might be worth more. Barr told me just last week, “As the FDIC turns those losses into real losses when we sell those, then the loss at the failed bank is adjusted accordingly, some go up and some go down.”

If the economy continues to tank, make no mistake, there will be some liability to the FDIC. We just will not know how much until the assets are sold. There might be no future liability at all, but I don’t think that’s likely given the serious and prolonged problems facing the economy. This is probably a multi-billion dollar future write down, but who knows?

The bank closings are also taking a toll on the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund, or DIF. In May, it was reported to be $20.7 billion in the red. Back then, I wrote a post called, “FDIC Insurance Fund Still $20 Billion in the Hole.” I said, “I talked with FDIC spokesman David Barr yesterday about the shortfall in the DIF. He said, “The FDIC is not broke.” It has an additional “$63 billion in cash.” He told me there is about $46 billion in three years of prepaid deposit insurance premiums and an additional $17 billion in cash for a grand total of $63 billion in “liquid resources” to close insolvent banks.

If you subtract the $20.7 billion deficit of the DIF from the roughly $63 billion in “liquid resources,” you end up with a little more than $42 billion. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair was quoted, around the same time, saying the FDIC expects to spend “$40 billion” closing banks in the next year. (Remember, this was before anyone knew how big the Gulf oil spill calamity was going to be.) My math says that would leave a little more than $2 billion in “liquid resources.” According to an email from David Barr yesterday, after that $2 billion is used, there is a “. . . 100 billion line of credit (from the Treasury). The FDIC also has some $35 billion in assets from failed banks that we must sell.”

That means in about a year, the FDIC will be closing banks with borrowed money and what it can get from selling the assets of failed banks. If that doesn’t paint a dire picture of bank insolvency in this country, I don’t know what does. It is amazing to me how little time the mainstream media is spending on this unfolding financial disaster and how much time it is devoting to things like Mel Gibson’s rants.

~ ~ ~

Related: FDIC Bank Watch List

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h/t: Jim Sinclair

Sustainable Shelter

Sustainable Shelter

Webbot Clif High with George Noory on Coast2Coast 7/26/2010

7/26/2010 Webbot Clif High with George Noory on Coast2Coast P 1/3

7/26/2010 Webbot Clif High with George Noory on Coast2Coast P 2/3

7/26/2010 Webbot Clif High with George Noory on Coast2Coast P 3/3

"Within the immediacy data sets there are clear indications of a major [damaging] earthquake on the west coast of america ... by August 3." - clif high

Read more at http://halfpasthuman.com/

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Now That's Livin'

Country Living by Thomas Kinkade.

[Excerpt from newspaper article submitted by George Gillett Keen to The Florida Index, October 6, 1899]

I said in the beginning, that the people lived the best in them days that I ever saw people live in my life -- I am going to explain how it was.

The man made all the corn, fodder; potatoes, rice, sugar and syrup they wanted. They tanned cowhides and deer skins and made their own shoes. From the buds of the palmetto they plaited and made their hats. In connection with all this, they planted one acre in cotton; that was for spinning purposes. That acre of land would yield one thousand pounds of seed cotton. This cotton was ginned on a hand gin, and afterwards was manufactured into cloth and made into clothing by the lady folks.

We have all the bread stuff and clothing that we want. We want salt, coffee, tobacco, ammunition, flour and whiskey. We made no farm produce for market, still we had plenty of money. … Cow hides were worth 25 cents per pound, tallow the same, deer skins and beeswax was 75 cents per pound, and buck horns was worth 50 cents a pair.

Our place of trade them days was Jeffersonton, Ga. Went there twice a year, Spring and Fall, and from seven to ten men would go together at the same time. Each one would carry from two hundred and fifty to three hundred pounds of hides, skins, tallow; beeswax and all the way from fifty to one hundred pairs of buck horns and sell at the prices above stated. They got the money and bought their supplies afterwards.

One barrel flour $3; one sack salt $1.50; 20 lbs of tobacco $5; one pound of powder 50 cents; four bars lead 50 cents; four gallons of whiskey $1. Whiskey was worth all the way from 17 to 25 cents per gallon. Don't you see from these figures that the money multiplied on them.

As to meat, we had beef, venison, turkey and fish the year round. We had chickens, eggs, milk, butter and cheese all the time, and did not pay any taxes either.

~

This and many other fine tales from the age before modern civilization are included in the book Cracker Times and Pioneer Lives: The Florida Reminiscences of George Gillett Keen and Sarah Pamela Williams edited by James M. Denham and Canter Brown, Jr.

~ ~ ~

Related: Making Change in a New Precious Metals Economy

~ ~ ~

Dearest Readers, (especially to you who have emailed me directly or left comments since yesterday)

Thank you for your sweet, kind remarks upon seeing my posts again. It's extremely gratifying to me to know that I make such an impression on your lives, as your words do on mine.

The only sorrow I hold in my heart is to hear how many of you are struggling to stay afloat too. Hopefully you can find some comfort in the fact that, as one dear reader writes, "we are all in it together." Because we are.

A new study released Wednesday estimates that 20% of Americans suffered a significant economic loss last year - the highest level in the past 25 years. story

Further, the true U.S. unemployment rate, according to shadowstats.com, is nearer one in four Americans (22%) than the officially proffered one in ten (10%).

Take heart. Be frugal, help others when you can, and above all, hold fast to the belief that together we will get through this Great Depression 2.0.

I shall continue to post from the county library as time and gas money permit.

All My Best,

covertress

P.S. Save those nickels!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Where Have I Been?

Trinity College Library

Addiction, I've come to realize, is alot about fear; fear of what one's life would be like without that thing.

For me, it was the Internet and like other adicts currently facing difficult financial times, it's loss was not due not to a strength of will to avoid it, but to the lack of money to finance it. Coincidentally, with the Internet went cable television.

At first, I was devistated. I can't continue to post articles? Will my readers desert my blog? Will I have to start all over when I have the Internet again? What if a hurricane is coming and I can't track it's path? What if this rain storm contains a tornado? What were those coin values again? Why didn't I write down that recipe? Where will I go now for the answer to anything?

My somewhat extensive home library only depressed me; it was so lacking.

Library! ... must get to the public library... computers... Internet... DVDs... Salvation. And it was!

Though limited to one hour per day on the Internet, I surprisingly discovered that I often didn't require that much time to scan the news sources to which I had been religiously devoted. After browsing a few blogs and doing a few Google searches I felt good. Checking out free DVDs to replace television, I was complete. The adict satisfied.

Why then did I feel so conflicted? Was I still missing something? Was there a point to my tribulation? A lesson that I'd missed? Yes. The answer was quite literally surrounding me. Books.

In addition to my Internet time and DVD rentals, I began to check out and read books. Here are just a few:

The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T.J. Stiles [all the history I wanted to forget while in grade school but want to know now - the industrial revolution - booms and busts and how fortunes were made in the years leading up the to 19th century - an epic indeed! - exhausting but worthwhile]
George Carlin: Last Words: A Memoir by George Carlin (Author) and Tony Hendra (Contributor) [not as funny as George on stage and frankly more that I wanted to know about him - disappointing, but don't worry, I've included the best parts in my next post]
The Ultimate Basket Book: A Cornucopia of Popular Designs to Make by Lyn Siler [a must-add to my home library - a skill I want to have for when the power goes out]
The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal : A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies by David Hoffman [another must-have - fantastic resource - everything from plant identification to brewing and stocking one's own home pharmacy]
Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter by Alison Hansel [Difficult for the beginning knitter like myself but filled with wonderful patterns - I did learn to cast on and start a scarf! - a must-have]
The Complete Step-By-Step Knitting Book by Elanon Van Zandt [fantastic resource - ugly sweaters! - learned to cast off - another must-have]
Noodling for Flatheads: Moonshine, Monster Catfish, and Other Southern Comforts by Burkhard Bilger [amusing modern anthropology]
The I Ching Plain and Simple: A Guide to Working with the Oracle of Change by Stephen Karcher [superstitious waste of time]
A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes by Stephen W. Hawking [difficult - still can't wrap my mind around Maxwell's Theorem - if quantum mechanics is correct, and particles are waves until we observe them, then doesn't everything travel at the speed of light?]
Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. [confirming - prepare yourselves to read more books]

For those of you who already read, you have my congratulations, you're not an Internet adict. But, for those who wonder after reading this, if you've been missing out by logging on... well... do as Albert Einstein suggested:

Question everything.

I'll sign off today with a tidbit of worthy advice included in my latest read, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan:

~

A shipowner was about to send to sea an emigrant ship. He knew that she was old, and not overwell built at the first; that she had seen many seas and climes, and often had needed repairs. Doubts had been suggested to him that possibly she was not seaworthy. These doubts preyed upon his mind, and made him unhappy; he thought that perhaps he ought to have her thoroughly overhauled and refitted, even though this should put him to great expense. Before the ship sailed, however, he succedded in overcoming these melancholy reflections. He said to himself that she had gone safely through so many voyages and weathered so many storms, that it was idle to suppose that she would not come safely home from this trip also. He would put his trust in Providence, which could hardly fail to protect all these unhappy families that were leaving their fatherland to seek for better times elsewhere. He would dismiss from his mind all ungenerous suspicions about the honesty of builders and contractors. In such ways he acquired a sincere and comfortable conviction that his vessel was thoroughly safe and seaworthy; he watched her departure with a light heart, and benevolent wishes for the success of the exiles in their strange new home that was to be; and got his insurance money when she went down in mid-ocean and told no tales.

What shall we say of him? Surely this, that he was verily guilty of the death of those men. It is admitted that he did sincerely believe in the soundness of his ship; but the sincerity of his conviction can in nowise help him, because he had no right to believe on such evidence as was before him. He had acquired his belief not by honestly earning it in patient investigation, but by stifling his doubts...

William K Clifford, The Ethics of Belief (1874)

~ ~ ~

Don't believe everything you see on the Internet -- read books! - c

George Carlin: Last Words

[You either got him or you didn't. Perhaps I did because I grew up in L.A., surrounded by nut jobs like Carlin. - c]

I Really Like It When A Lot Of People Die

By George Carlin [NSFW Language]

The fate of "I Really Like It When A Lot Of People Die" is a reverse example of why I hate topical humor. A piece based on stuff we see on the news was killed by stuff we saw on the news. [9/11]

At least I didn't have to abandon it. It made it into the next HBO show in 2005, Live Is Worth Losing. That would be about seventeen years after it had first come down the birth canal. But I wasn't taking any chances. I called it "Coast-to-Coast Emergency." It was the finale and the best thing in the show. So -- now I have it, polished, perfect and put on tape. And I'll keep it forever.

The piece had evolved into a narrative of a nationwide cataclysm with small beginnings in L.A. A downtown water main breaks and floods an electrical substation. At the same time, a month-long global-warming heatwave hits. Because everything in L.A. runs on electrical power, including air-conditioning and hospitals, social chaos soon spreads through the city, bringing with it cholera and smallpox and fires that firefighters can't fight with no water, until the entire city is ablaze...

Everybody panics and tries to leave the city at the same time and they trample one another to death in the streets by the thousands and wild dogs eat their corpses and the wild dogs chase the rest of the people down the highway and one by one the dogs pick off the old fucks and the slow people because they're IN THE FAST LANE WHERE THEY DON'T BELONG... And big sparks from the city have lit the suburbs on fire and the suburbs burn uncontrollably and thousands of identical homes have identical fires with identical smoke, killing all the identical soccer moms and their identical kids named JASON and JENIFERRRR...

Now the fires spread out beyond the suburbs to the farmlands...

... and thousands of barns and farmhouses begin to explode from all the hidden METHAMPHETAMINE labs! The meth chemicals run downhill to the rivers where wild animals drink the water and get completely GEEKED on speed. Bears and wolves amped up on crank start roaming the countryside looking for people to eat -- even though they're not REALLY HUNGRY... And now the forests burn furiously and hundreds of elves and fairies and trolls come running out of the woods screaming, "Bambi is dead, Bambi is dead!!" and he is! He is! Finally that FUCKING LITTLE CUNT BAMBI IS DEAD!!

All the regional fires come together into one huge interstate inferno which engulfs the West and Midwest and races through the South, then turns northeast and heads for Washington, D.C. ...

... where George Bush can't decide if it's and EMERGENCY OR NOT... And the fire moved to Philadelphia but it's a weekend and Philadelphia's CLOSED on weekends! So the fires moves to New York City and the people of New York tell the fire TO GO FUCK ITSELF! And while all this is going on Canada burns to the ground but NOBODY NOTICES!...

With the entire North American continent on fire the thermal updraft causes an incendiary cyclonic macrosystem that forms a hemispheric megastorm...

... breaking down the molecular structure of the atmosphere and actually changing the laws of nature. Fire and water combine, burning clouds of flaming rain fall upward, gamma rays and solar winds ignite the ionosphere... and bolts of lightning 20 million miles long begin shooting out of the North Pole. And the sky fills up with GREEN SHIT!

Then suddenly the entire fabric of space-time SPLITS IN TWO! A huge crack in the universe opens and all the dead people from the past begin falling through: Babe Ruth, Groucho Marx, Davy Crocket, Tiny Tim, Porky Pig, Hitler, Janis Joplin, Allen Ludden, my uncle Dave, your uncle Dave, everybody's uncle Dave, an endless stream of dead Uncle Daves...

And all the Uncle Daves gather around a heavenly kitchen table and they light up cigarettes and they begin to talk about how they never got a break, their parents didn't love them and their children were ungrateful and how the Jews own everything and the blacks get special treatment. And their hatred and bitterness forms a big pool of liquid hate and the pool of liquid hate begins to spin, around and around, faster and faster. The faster it spins, the bigger it gets until the whirling pool of hate is bigger than the universe and suddenly it explodes into trillions of tiny stars and every star has a trillion planets and every planet has a trillion Uncle Daves.

And all the Uncle Daves have good jobs, perfect eyesight and shoes that fit. They have great sex lives and free health care. They understand the Internet, their kids think they're cool... And every week without fail Uncle Dave wins the lottery. Forever and ever until the end of time every single Uncle Dave has a winning ticket and UNCLE DAVE IS FINALLY HAPPY... --###

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At One With The Universe

By George Carlin [NSFW Language]

I no longer identify with my species. I haven't for a long time. I identify more with carbon atoms. I don't feel comfortable or safe on this planet. From the standpoint of my work and piece of mind, the safest thing, the thing that gives me most comfort, is to identify with the atoms and the stars and simply contemplate the folly of my fellow species members. I can divorce myself from the pain of it all. Once, if I identified with individuals I felt pain; if I identified with groups I saw people who repelled me. So now I identify with no one. I have no passion anymore for any of them, victims or perpetrators, Right or Left, women or men. I'm still human. I haven't abandoned my humanity, but I have put it in a place that allows my art to function free of entanglements.

My job is to watch the ludicrous dance down here from the humor and entertainment it provides and drop in every now and then to show my former species how fucked up they are.

Years ago I began to recede past Jupiter and its moons, out to the Oort cloud of trillions of comets, beyond the planet formerly known as Pluto, back home with my fellow atoms. All of which originally came from some start or other, and not necessarily the one we're circling.

I believe I am bigger than the universe, smaller than the universe and equal to it. I'm bigger than the universe because I can picture it, define it in my mind and everything that's in it and contain all that in my mind in a single thought. A thought that's not even the only one in there: it's right between "Shit, my ass itches!" and "Why don't we fuck the waitress?"

That thought, with all the others, is inside the twenty-three-inch circumference of my cranium. So I'm bigger than the universe. I'm smaller than it because that's obvious: I'm five foot nine and 150 pounds and the universe is somewhat taller and heavier. I'm equal to it because every atom in me is the same as every atom the universe is made of. I'm part of that protogalaxy five billion light years away and of that cigarette butt in Cleveland. There are no differences, we're equal. Unlike our fake democracy, the democracy of atoms is real.

Depending on my given mood on a given day, I can reflect on one of these three relationships for a moment or two and find comfort in it. And know that I'm really at one with the universe and will return to it on a more fundamental level someday -- my reunion with it -- and all the rest is a journey, a game, a comedy, a parade...

After I die I'd love to be fired into space. That's probably not practical given the crowded nature of the upper atmosphere. So one of the codicils of my will is: "I, George Carlin, being of sound mind, do not wish, upon my demise, to be buried or cremated. I wish to be BLOWN UP!" -- George Carlin (May 1937 - June 2008)

~ ~ ~

"Gee, he was here a moment ago..."

-- (What George wanted on his tombstone -- if he'd had one.)

So You Think You Were Born In The Wrong Time


Title: Pioneer Log cabin, [graphic]; Creator/Contributor: Harris, Barbara; Date: 1890 (issued); Contributing Institution: San Bernadino Public Library


How many times have you fretted over the future, agonized about the present or reflected on the past, concluding that unable to cope with modern life you must have been born in the wrong time?


It's a simple escape, one we have all likely indulged from time to time (pun indended.)


There are just too many restrictions these days. Federal laws, state laws, county laws, local laws, civic club rules, homeowners associations... ah, let me stop right there and add a word of warning.


Before you escape to yesteryear by firing up grandpa's time machine or by dialing in the chevrons on your stargate, you might want to consider that the past was not all so carefree and rosy -- as the following peek through non-tinted glasses proves.

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"Same Olde, Same Olde" by David Martin, Smithsonian, October 2008


Ah, the homeowners association, which dictates everything from the shape of your shrubs to the color of your house. Such meticulously planned communities are generally thought to be a modern phenomenon, but a recent archaeological excavation near England's Hamme-on-Rye unearthed a 14th-century document that suggests otherwise:


A Covenant Set To Hand this Twelfth Day of June in the year of our Lord 1365 between the Manor by the Meadow Association of Freeholders and the owner in fee symple.


Whereas the owner hath entered into thes covenant in order to enjoye the especial liffestyle offered by the Manor and to avoid all unnecessary discord, the owner doth hereby acknowledge and acquiesce to certaine rules to ensure the faithful and serene enjoyment of the properties hereby governed, to witte:


Colour Of Abode In the interests of achieving a pleasing harmony and a clene appearance for the community, the colour of the exterior of each abode shall not be changed without leve. If leve be granted, the abode may then be peynted only with one of the following colours: riverbed clay grey, cow dung brown or farm field burnt umber.


Security A balliff charged with keeping the peace is authorized to settle disputes both publick and domestick. Manor hath further entered into contract with the Guild of Sorcerers to provide 24-hour state-of-the-art security to ward off the predations of trolls, hobgoblins and Frenchmen.


Safety Provisions Each abode shalt be provided with an exterior barrel. Said barrel must be kept full of water to assist in the dousing of fires whether started by the hand of man or mouth of dragon. Barrel water must not be used for drinking, bathing infants or drouning witches.


Lighting Manor hath provided torches throughout the community for the convenience of all. However, all torches must be extinguished by curfew and not reignited until the following dusk so as not to obscure viewing of God's celestial firmament.


Clinic Manor doth operate a clinic at the barbershoppe to provide physic and the healing arts to all residents. Bledeing, leeches and the treatment of excess humours are available upon request. Herbes and medicines will be administered to those possessed of the supplementary potion plan. (Please note that neither exorcism nor treatment for curses is available on site.)


Business Prohibitions No owner is permitted to conduct a pryvat enterprise on the premises, whether as taverne keeper, trader in holy relics or seller of used oxcarts. Exceptions may be made for brewers and alchemists willing to share 30 percent of their production with the Association.


Gardens The owner shalt be permitted a garden wherein the following vegetables may be planted: oynouns, gourdes, garlec, lekes, letys and caboches. In addition, owners may cultivate herbes such as belladonna, nightshade and henbane for personal use - though the sale of such herbes is prohibited, owing to their properties for causing fevered hallucinations of the brain.


Weekly Entertainment Manor shalt provide weekly entertainment at the Commons on behalf of all residents. Forthcoming events include a joust tournament, the Hamme-On-Rye performance of "Punch & Judy Fight in the Crusades," the observational humour of the stand-up Jester, Otto the Corpulent, and an elucidating lecture by Sir Charles Wentworth, founder and co-chair of the Flat Earth Society.


Refuse Removal Refuse shalt be removed on every Tuesday and Thursday. Homeowners should throw any mullok and other unwanted materials out of their windows to the footpath below. Barrels are available near the Commons for the recycling of parchment and chainmail. -- ###

~~~


Time Machine Not Required


Despite the vacation home feel of my neighborhood on the coast, it's still quite rural where I live in northcentral Florida. My street is unpaved; across the road 500,000 acres of federally owned forest line a two lane road that weaves through the pines and winds through tidal wetlands on it's way towards the nearest town six miles to the north.


A thriving tourist attraction nearly 100 years ago due to it's fresh water springs, my tiny town, home to 2,500 residents, has remained unspoiled by chain stores and fast food drive throughs. It's anchored by a grocery store, a liquor store, a bait and convenience store, two fish markets and three eating establishments -- all mom and pop owned.


It's easy to daydream here. Neither the brightness of the summer day nor the cool luxury of the air conditioned room in which I type on my computer can prevent me from closing my eyes an drifting back in time -- 20, 50, 100 years or so -- to when the first settlers eeked out a living in this rugged, alligator and snake infested land -- to a time of true pioneers. - c

~ ~ ~

Recommended reading:

Pioneer Family: Life on Florida's Twentieth-Century Frontier by Michel Oesterreicher

Pioneer Family is based on the recollections of Hugie and Oleta Oesterreicher, who lived in rural northeast Florida in the early decades of the 20th-century. Northeast Florida was frontier country then, and Hugie and Oleta were pioneers. Although the time and setting of their story are particular, the theme of survival during hard times is universal.

Born in a cypress cabin on the edge of the great Durbin Swamp located midway between St. Augustine and Jacksonville, Hugie knew every alligator hole, every bog, every creek; he could dry venison so it lasted without refrigeration for month, build a potato bank that kept potatoes fresh all winter, and put down a well without machinery. He knew how to cope with rattlesnakes and water moccasins.

Early one morning in 1925, Hugie fell in love with a tall, brown-eyed girl as he passed her place on a cattle drive. He courted this girl, Oleta Brown, with no success at first, but finally they were married in 1927. Their daughter retells their story from vivid accounts they gave of their childhood, courtship, early years of marriage and struggles during the Great Depression. The story of their courage, their faith, and their commitment provides a fascinating empathy with a time that has passed -- and a place that has disappeared. [Almost.]

~ ~ ~

Travel. You may find that you're not living in the wrong time afterall, just in the wrong place. - c