New science articles A Dire Warning

New science articles report the dire warning of scientist from around the world. Humans are well on their way to ruining the planet.

Problems we face include:

  • Climate Change,
  • Access to fresh water,
  • massive deforestation as raging wildfires convert forest to grassland and conversion of forest to agriculture continues unchecked.
  • the number of wild-caught fish (a marker of the health of global fisheries).
  • The number of ocean dead zones has increased.
  • The human population grew by a whopping 2 billion in the last 50 years and the trend is accelerating,
  • The challenge of feeding a growing population
  • the populations of all other mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by nearly 30 percent in 50 years and we are facing the 6th great extinction.

Read more

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A harbinger for things to come?

Today is a historic day with the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States.

Soon after confirmation, the following issues were removed from Whitehouse.gov:

  • Health Care
  • Civil Rights
  • LGBT
  • Immigration
  • Climate Change

The Spanish translation and Accessibility links were removed from the bottom of the page. All of these things may be restored but for now, we don’t know if, when, or what they will look like.

The role of a Progressive in a Trump Administration

Dateline 11/27/16   The sermon today was based on the Golden Rule and how we might respond to a Trump Presidency.

There are two reasonable scenarios for a Trump Presidency:

  1. We know he is a man with a thirst for power and an admiration for the leadership style of strongmen like Putin. Will he push this country toward a police state? We will have to wait and see.
  2. I think it is more likely he will move towards letting the States make the decision as to what is import to them. In which case, Progressives will have to be well organized and work hard to maintain the values they believe in.  Effective local political action will be vital.

What state you live in is going to have a profound effect on your life.  In the south, we could easily see the return of Jim Crow and the privatization of the public school system.

The Golden Rule is a fundamental belief in nearly all religions. We have to continue to base our action on our values and on our beliefs.

With Republicans controlling the Congress, Judiciary and the Presidency, lobbying the Federal Government is probably a waste of time. Mr. Trump will eliminate Federal support for anything that interferes with unrestricted business. He will privatize our school system, defund the Office of Environmental Quality, Commercialize our National Parks and make the Forest Service business first. In short, President Trump will undo everything I have worked all my life for.

We must continue to work for the community we believe in at the local level in our State and County Governments, and we must do so without expecting help from the Federal Government. That could have major impacts on Hawaii where one-third of our economy depends on the Federal Government.

In a world of uncertainty, we must be prepared to take care of ourselves and our families. Think about what could happen and how likely it is to happen. How bad will it be when it does happen. Now, plan to respond.

In all things, we must live by our values. Values guide our conscience. Our values form our character. Values are the Golden Rule and the 10 Commandments, Our values are things like honesty, loyalty, helping others, or our values may be making money, winning, destroying you opposition and cheating the sucker. Values guide how we live and how we relate to others. If you value helping others and you have a job selling cigarettes, you need to find another job.

Ever notice how people with common values seem to share common interests? You will follow your Pastor. Church leaders teach values, so it would make sense that the Churches followers would have common values. Don’t be afraid to share your values. Sure, some people will be turned off by you. That is OK. They are people who you don’t have anything in common with anyway.

In business, you want to attract a following. These people are your customers and potential customers. Your job is to make them your friends. Friends buy from friends and friends recommend friends. It works the other way too. You are friends with people who share your values. Associate with people who have accomplished what you want to accomplish and learn from them how you can live your dreams.

Illegal Bed and Breakfasts

Illegal Bed and Breakfasts

Illegal short-term vacation rentals are a growing problem in Hawaii.

They degrade residential neighborhoods, create shortages of long-term rentals and force up the rent on those properties still on the long-term rental market.

Thank you to everyone who submitted testimony to oppose HB1850! 84 people submitted testimony opposing the bill because illegal vacation rentals destroy affordable housing and our neighborhoods. The House Finance Committee hearing was heavily attended by people opposing the bill. Despite that, HB1850 passed with amendments. Once again, our politicians aren’t listening to us.

I OPPOSE HB1850 because:

  • it would allow companies like Airbnb to collect and remit taxes without any way of verifying that the amount they remit is anywhere near what the vacation rental owners owe;
  • it doesn’t hold companies like Airbnb responsible for making sure these vacation rental listings are legal or illegal;

Illegal vacation rentals are a growing problem in our state, and this bill does nothing to fix it. They’re a problem not just because they aren’t paying their fair share of taxes, but also because:

  • Illegal vacation rentals take away affordable housing for local people;
  • Illegal vacation rentals hurt our economy by directly competing with full-service hotels that provide good, local jobs;
  • Illegal vacation rentals are essentially illegal hotel operations in our own backyards. This impacts safety, parking, and the overall character of our neighborhoods.
 We can still kill HB1850 and its companion bill SB2693 SD 1. You can help:
  • Contact your State Representative and Senator and tell them you OPPOSE HB1850 and SB2693 SD1.
    • To find out who your Representative and Senator, visit the State Capitol website: http://capitol.hawaii.gov/. On the top-right corner, enter your street name next to “Find Your Legislator.”
  • Contact these legislators as well and tell them you OPPOSE HB1850 and SB2693 SD1:
  • You can still submit late testimony! To submit testimony, sign in at capitol.hawaii.gov, click on Submit Testimony and enter the bill number (HB1850 and SB2693). You can submit full written testimony or fill out the web form with comments.

To submit testimony, sign in at capitol.hawaii.gov, click on Submit Testimony and enter the bill number (HB1850). You can submit full written testimony, fill out the web form with comments, or testify in person. Don’t have an account? Email FINtestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov with your support.

Nothing has changed. We still treat our veterans abysmally.

Tommy

by Rudyard Kipling  (1865– 1936)

I went into a public-‘ouse to get a pint o’beer,
The publican ‘e up an’ sez, “We serve no red-coats here.”
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:

O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it’s “Thank you, Mr. Atkins,” when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls,
But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!

For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, wait outside”;
But it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide,
The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
O it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide.

Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.

Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy how’s yer soul?”
But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.

We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints:
Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;

While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, fall be’ind,”
But it’s “Please to walk in front, sir,” when there’s trouble in the wind,
There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
O it’s “Please to walk in front, sir,” when there’s trouble in the wind.

You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires an’ all:
We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.

For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country,” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
But Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool – you bet that Tommy sees!

 

!Notes

“Tommy Atkins,” or just “Tommy,” is the name popularly given to the typical British soldier.
red-coat — an old fashioned term for a soldier (they used to wear red coats)
public-house — a pub, drinking house
publican — the pub owner
stalls — best seats near the stage
blackguards — ruffians (pronounced “blaggards”)
the Widow — here – Queen Victoria

Are more guns the answer?

In an August 6, 2012 Newsweek article titled “What a Killer Thinks” the author, Dave Cullen, identifies three types of mass murderers:
1. The delusional
2. The psychopaths
3. You suicidal depressed
Psychopaths seem to be born with no capacity for empathy and complete disregard for the suffering of others. Psychopaths kill for their own enjoyment.  Psychopaths are extremely difficult to spot, because they are master manipulators and often very charismatic.

Psychotics are driven to slaughter to extinguish their torment. The term psychotic covers to broad spectrum of mental illnesses including schizophrenia and paranoia.  Very few psychotics deteriorate to the point of murder and the triggers that cause them to do so are not well understood.

The suicidally depressed may be the most difficult to understand. Most blame others for their depression and begin focusing their hate on their girlfriend, boss or schoolmates.  They kill for revenge.

So, will background checks prevent mass murder? I doubt it. Most mass killers do not have a criminal record.  Most did not received medical treatment.  In fact, if they had received mental health treatment they may not have descended into mass murder. There are many ways we can improve our mental health system, but even so, it is far better than many other countries with a far lower murder rate.

Are more guns the answered? The NRA would have us think so. But, more guns are only practical if you want to return to the days of the wild West where the quick draw was the arbiter of justice. Stand your ground laws are taking us back to the days of the quick draw.

Around the world, you can draw a direct correlation between the murder rate and availability of guns. In Japan, the country with the toughest gun laws in the world, their gun murder rate is close to zero.

We cannot put an armed guard in every location where people congregate. We cannot identify all mass murderers in advance.  Our choice seems to be for all our citizens to carry or to make it more difficult for deranged people to have a gun.

When a neighbor, high on meth, came to my door with a gun in his hand intending to kill the person spying on him from my backyard (my daughter), I would have much preferred to have a gun than having to face him down with words and bare hands, but logically, I have to say the only solution to gun violence is less guns.