American Values by Larry Kirby

Larry Kirby, a WWII veteran, aged 91 years, was on NPR’s OnPoint with Tom Ashbrook program on May 26, 2016. I luckily was able to hear that program and heard Mr. Kirby give an eloquent talk on American values and how things have changed, in his eyes, since WWII. It was the most meaningful essay I have heard in my lifetime. Mr. Kirby has shown the spotlight on what ails our society in a most honest way. I agree with and applaud Mr. Kirby’s address. I recommend you take about 6 minutes and listen to Larry Kirby’s speech yourself.

You can see the NPR article with pictures at OnpointRadio.

You can read the full essay at Foreign Policy.

Perhaps the audio will get through the WordPress filters here. Click this link, then click the red box in the next screen to make it play.

//embed.wbur.org/player/onpoint/2016/05/26/wwii-vet-larry-kirby

Click here to get your own copy of the MP3 file from my Dropbox file. Please bypass the Dropbox sign-in advert.


“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin.

“Be yourself; everybody else is already taken.” – anonymous


RIP San Clemente Dam

Dam3

The San Clemente Dam in Monterey County, California has been removed, aka destroyed. It was built in 1921 and was intended to serve the Monterey Peninsula. I am one of the folks around town that are very unhappy with what happened to the dam. But it is done and gone. This post is intended to just be a simple record of passing.

The reasons for the removal of the dam are complex and politically charged. The main excuses given were that sediment had built up and was dangerous, the dam was near a fault line, and steelhead trout and red-legged frogs were endangered.

The California American Water company has been in charge of the dam and did nothing to remove the sediment.

All I can say is that I hope someone actually counts the trout and frogs now that the dam is gone. After 92 years, I presume the fish and frogs have been pining away, waiting for this day. The humans left behind on the Monterey Peninsula have to try and find water by building a very expensive and experimental desalination plant.

Cal Am is a subsidiary of American Water Works Company, Inc. NYSE: AWK, which is headquartered in Voorhees, New Jersey. As a Utility company goes, it might be a good investment for the long haul. But I’m not recommending it. As you can tell, I voted to convert to public ownership of the water system in Monterey, but that initiative failed.

Maybe I’ll go out to dinner tonight and eat trout or frog legs. Presumably they will be discounted.

“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” by J.K.Rowling

Plastic Problems

We all know that plastics have become a major problem for the birds in the air and the fishes in the sea.  Plastics never deteriorate and tend to be colorful and attractive.  There are many sites around the planet where you can find lots more information about the negative aspects of plastics.  Following are my personal plastic pet peeves. 4 ps 🙂

A few years ago, I was walking on the Coast Guard Pier in Monterey and I saw a sea gull all tangled in some plastic wrapping, string-like stuff, possibly fishing line or soft-drink container material.  The bird could not get out of the stuff, it was behind a locked fence, and every time I tried to get close, it moved away.  There was nothing I could do, except feel sick.

I vowed to always cut any circles I find in plastics I use, to always pickup any loose fishing line I run into, and to never forget that image.

Time marches on.  One day two of my grand-daughters were visiting and we went out to lunch.  The waiter brought straws.  They had a fit, and said “No straws please”.  They reminded me that we only use straws once and then they get thrown away.  Most straws produced these days are plastic!  The lesson I learned from them is that things we use only one time should not be made of plastic!  And if they are, we should refuse to use them.  Here are a few of those items.


If the straws are made of paper, fine, use them. If made of plastic, speak up and say no.

plastic_straws


I love Starbucks coffee. But those damned stoppers are really just a one-time use, live-forever, kind of thing. What is even worse, if you get a coffee at the drive up window and the stopper is already in and you tell them to remove it, they will toss it in the garbage can! Please say “No stopper” when you order.

plastic_stopper


Milk cartons have two types of opening: all carton, or with a plastic opener. Guess what — the plastic opener has a little pull-tab that has a ring on it. Small birds can get caught in that ring! Cut the thing.

plastic_milk1
plastic_milk22


The other day, I bought a jar of relish. I wasn’t paying attention and grabbed the cheapest item on the shelf. When I got home, I realized the jar was made of plastic. Damn. I made a mental note to always buy the glass jars! They might cost a bit more, but so what. The savings just isn’t worth the potential harm the plastic jar will cause.

plastic_jar


Trophy Hunting

A dentist was recently in the news for killing Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe. The problem is that this dentist isn’t the first and probably won’t be the last. Trophy killing seems to be in our nature.

A study published in Science 21 August 2015 titled “The unique ecology of human predators” suggest that

humans function as an unsustainable “super predator”, which – unless additionally constrained by managers – will continue to alter ecological and evolutionary processes globally.

We are the only known predator to regularly kill the largest of our prey, which, in the long run, is not sustainable. The largest are the breeding population — kill the parents and you kill their future offspring.

As Science Insights said about this study:

There are three key insights. First, the hunting of large prey is deeply embedded in our identity and remains a powerful ecological and evolutionary force. Second, the ability to target mostly adult individuals across marine and terrestrial prey groups makes us unique among all other predators. And third, we have the unusual ability to analyze and consciously adjust our behavior to minimize deleterious consequences. This final point, I believe, will prove critical for our continued coexistence with viable wildlife population on land and in the sea.

Do us all a favor. If you have a need to hunt, just hunt for food, and target only juveniles. Let the “big buck” go so he can continue to generate the species. No more trophies, no more bodies mounted on the walls. Our cave-man days should be in the past.

The Papal Environmental Encyclical Is Online

On Care For Our Common Home

Today Pope Francis officially released his Encyclical that is concerned with the environment and how we are not taking care of the earth as requested.  The point of this post is to help you find a copy, not to argue the points.  Yes, I agree with most of what he has said, but we’ll leave that for another day.

All of the encyclicals are online.  They can be found here: www.papalencyclicals.net

This unique paper, I call it the “warning encyclical” can be located directly by clicking here

I pulled a PDF copy of the 184 page document from the above site (by clicking on the small PDF icon in the first page of the document) and emailed it to myself, and then opened it in my iPad which then allowed me to save it to my iBooks on the iPad so I can read it fully at my leisure. I also saved a copy here to make it easier for you to get a copy. Download the PDF by clicking here

Of course, I wouldn’t be me without tossing out a few zingers from the document:

43. Human beings too are creatures of this world, enjoying a right to life and happiness, and endowed with unique dignity. So we cannot fail to consider the effects on people’s lives of environmental deterioration, current models of development and the throwaway culture.

and

53. These situations have caused sister earth, along with all the abandoned of our world, to cry out, pleading that we take another course. Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years. Yet we are called to be instruments of God our Father, so that our planet might be what he desired when he created it and correspond with his plan for peace, beauty and fullness. The problem is that we still lack the culture needed to confront this crisis. We lack leadership capable of striking out on new paths and meeting the needs of the present with concern for all and without prejudice towards coming generations. The establishment of a legal framework which can set clear boundaries and ensure the protection of ecosystems has become indispensable; otherwise, the new power structures based on the techno-economic paradigm may overwhelm not only our politics but also freedom and justice.

Before you let the political pundits and the fossil fuel industry tell you what you should think about it, why not give it a chance and read it for yourself. A quick scan won’t hurt, and it might help us all.

Start Research On Climate Engineering

From Nature Magazine – 5 Feb 2015

Climate engineering — cooling Earth intentionally by modifying its radiation balance — worries many people. We know little about the effectiveness of these technologies or their side effects. The unintended consequences could be profound.

As the consequences of climate change become starker, public calls for interventions may grow. Governments or companies may try climate engineering to reduce the severe impacts predicted by 2050.

The article recommends that government agencies and scientists should begin climate-engineering research now.  You can read the full article through the above link. The line that woke me up is “public calls for interventions may grow.”  My grandkids will be part of the “public” in 2050.

I finally see how this climate change issue may play out.  The fossil fuels lobbies will continue to use mass mind control to obfuscate the issues (disinformation) until the weather itself convinces the populace that something must be done.  It will be too late to stop major catastrophes, and we will want to “engineer” our way out of the mess.  Finally, the public calls for interventions will grow.  

We need to help our Congress understand that we should act now so we don’t have to wait for the above scenario to happen.


Fossil fuels lobby” is the umbrella term used to name the paid representatives of large fossil fuel (oil, gas, coal) and electric utilities corporations who attempt to influence governmental policy. So-called Big Oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Total S.A., Koch Industries, Chevron Corporation, and ConocoPhillips are amongst the largest corporations associated with the energy lobby. General Electric, Southern Co., First Energy, and the Edison Electric Institute are among the influential electric utilities corporations. Both electric companies and big oil and gas companies are consistently among the ten highest-spending industrial lobbyists.