Category Archives: coffee muses

Photo Friday – Wet

This is what my front yard has looked like on way too many days this summer.

This week’s challenge: ‘Wet‘.

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Web wandering on a Thursday morning…

This story caught my interest the other day.

A Factory Farm Near You – New York Times

Once upon a time, only a decade or so, it wasn’t hard to know where factory hog farms were because they were nearly all in North Carolina. But since those days, the practice of crowding together huge concentrations of animals — hogs, poultry, dairy cows, beef cattle — in the interests of supposed efficiency has spread around the country.Wherever it appears, factory farming has two notable effects. It threatens the environment, because of huge concentrations of animal manure and lax regulation. And it threatens local political control. Residents who want a say over whether and where factory farms, whose stench can be overwhelming, can be built find their voices drowned out by the industry’s cash and lobbying clout.

These farms are spreading so rapidly that it’s been hard to get an accurate, up-to-date picture of where they all are. A research and advocacy group called Food and Water Watch has released an interactive map — www.factoryfarmmap.org — that allows users to track the proliferation of factory farms by state and county, number of farms, type of operation and even number of animals. The only thing that would make this map more useful — and we hope it will be an ongoing project — is the ability to track changes over time, showing how rapid and pervasive the growth of factory farming has been.

Whenever the supposed efficiencies of the factory are applied to non-manufacturing pursuits, trouble seems to ensue. This appears to be particularly true in the field of agriculture. Unfortunately, we have yet to understand the full effects of what has been wrought as a result of the past 50 years of “Agricultural Progress”.

When the data is all in, if it ever is, I have a feeling that a lot of the health problems in this country will end up being laid at the feet of two industries for very similar reasons. Industrial Ag and the Pharmaceuticals both seem to think the unintentional results of their business practices are not their fault. Both industries are filling the bodies of Americans with chemical’s whose longterm consequences have not been tested. As a member of the lucky generation who has been used as a guinea pig by these industries in the name of higher profits, I am not amused. America’s obesity problem, along with many other ailments, keeps being blamed on lifestyle. They are right and wrong. The lifestyle that is killing America is the lifestyle of the CEO’s from those two industries. Their profit driven, cut costs, speeding up of the process is what has brought about the health problems. The constant use of hormones and antibiotics both by Doctors and animal raisers has to have unintended effects on the bodies of Americans. Add in all of the industrial byproducts we now live in and there is no telling what the consequences might be.

For further information see also:

On other matters, I had a Molly Ivins’ moment reading a story in the Houston Chronicle today…

Students must remember ‘God’ in Texas pledge | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Texas students will have four more words to remember when they head back to class this month and begin reciting the state’s pledge of allegiance.This year’s Legislature added the phrase “one state under God” to the pledge, which is part of a required morning ritual in Texas public schools along with the pledge to the U.S. flag and a moment of silence.

State Rep. Debbie Riddle, who sponsored the bill, said it had always bothered her that God was omitted in the state’s pledge.

“Personally, I felt like the Texas pledge had a big old hole in it, and it occurred to me, ‘You know what? We need to fix that,’ ” said Riddle, R-Tomball. “Our Texas pledge is perfectly OK like it is with the exception of acknowledging that just as we are one nation under God, we are one state under God as well.”

Don’t you just love when you walk into someone else’s “big old hole” and they think they have to “fix it” for everyone? Hell, I grew up here and I love my Texas history. But…I could not quote you the Texas pledge if my life depended on it. I know I never had to say any such thing in school. Back in my day they had enough trouble just trying to get everyone to say the Pledge to the US Flag. There was this little trouble in SE Asia that had all the young men approaching graduation just a bit unsettled back in the early 70’s…Oh, but then I read it has only been in the last five years that they have requires students to stand at attention and pledge to both the country and the state.

Is it just me? Doesn’t that seem just a bit presumptuous in this era of mobility, when families move around the country at will, to expect allegiance to a state?

Makes me “proud” to be a Texan…Yes it does. Molly would be so proud of them. They’ve raised the bar again on governing in Texas.

Finally… Astrologically speaking…This weeks horoscope for any other Aquarians out there.

Free Will Astrology : Aquarius Horoscope

It’s the Season of Burning, Churning Yearning. Here are three of the most important things I’ve ever told you about how to get what you need. (1) If you don’t precisely articulate your conscious desires, your unconscious patterns will come true instead. (2) If you want your conscious desires to trump your unconscious patterns, speak or write your conscious desires every day. (3) It’s better to have three huge, soaring, potent desires than 25 puny, scrabbling, half-assed desires.

I can never be sure what it is about Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology, but every week he comes up with some gut checking advice. Does it really have anything to do with Astrology? Does it matter?

Later…

North Carolina Mountain Dreams

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The End…Today will mark the end of my worship at the nuclear medicine shrine…

After this afternoons session, my sacrifices on the alter of the atomic spheres comes to an end…The number for the day is 35…of 35. An ending and a beginning, even though I am yet to be thru this journey I am embarked upon.

In the news today on the weather front…From NASA

EO News: Atlantic Hurricane Frequency Doubles – July 29, 2007

July 29, 2007FREQUENCY OF ATLANTIC HURRICANES DOUBLED OVER LAST CENTURY; CLIMATE CHANGE SUSPECTED

About twice as many Atlantic hurricanes form each year on average than a century ago, according to a new statistical analysis of hurricanes and tropical storms in the north Atlantic. The study concludes that warmer sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and altered wind patterns associated with global climate change are fueling much of the increase.

The study, by Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Peter Webster of Georgia Institute of Technology, will be published online July 30 in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London.

“These numbers are a strong indication that climate change is a major factor in the increasing number of Atlantic hurricanes,” says Holland.

I am sure we will shortly be told that this release was in error…But the money quote was at the end…

The 2006 hurricane season was far less active than the two preceding years, in part because of the emergence of an El Nino event in the Pacific Ocean. However, that year, which was not included in the study, would have ranked above average a century ago, with five hurricanes and four other named storms.

“Even a quiet year by today’s standards would be considered normal or slightly active compared to an average year in the early part of the 20th century,” Holland says.

And so it goes, we are told we can’t trust the conclusions drawn from the data by the very government making the conclusions. More truth and trust issues don’t you think…

Leon Hale speaks of the silence of the lonely country…

The things you hear in the lonely country silence | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

WINEDALE — On the front porch again at the old country house in Washington County, on a quiet and calm day that’s not as hot as the calendar says it ought to be.It’s midafternoon and the feed-store thermometer hanging on a rusty nail by the front door hasn’t reached 90 degrees yet. So it’s 88 and that’s hot, but it’s nothing against the heat we usually get as we move into August.

No wind again. This entire year of weather, so far, has seemed calm to me. Even when we were having all that rain, we didn’t get a lot of wind with it.

Right now I can’t find a leaf moving in the woods that surround this old house. In what I think of as normal times, the wind produces the predominant noise here in the country. Breezes stirring the trees. Branches scraping on the tin roof. Metal gates popping against their latches.

When those sounds are missing, their places are taken by minor ones I don’t notice on windy days. I can hear the wing clutter of a cardinal out at the bird feeder. The zoom of a hummingbird at the far end of the porch.

I think we have all heard the loudness of a silent day, I know I have. It is loudest when we  pay attention to what we don’t hear. I can remember many an afternoon on the front porch of my Grandparent’s small “ranch” in the South Texas brush country. The two hundred acres of brush, cactus, and cultivated fields were just a county or two from the border farms of my Grandfather’s childhood. The still heat of a summer afternoon whiled away on the old church pew there with a glass of iced tea and a good book while Grandpa took his after lunch siesta…The cicadas in the mesquite, the collared lizards basking under the edge of the porch, even the buzzards riding the thermals above all seemed to be awaiting the return of the wind with the afternoons winding down…There was a quietness on those long, hot, dry afternoons that seemed to shout out loud.

When the heat would begin to get the best of me, I’d take myself down to the tank and find that layer of water about three feet under the surface where the temperature seemed to stay 6o° all year round. Our south Texas place had two tanks on it, the larger about a quarter mile from the house through the brush was where I spent many an afternoon staying cool that summer and fall. The year was 1971. Life was good.

A lot of what I am today comes from that summer and fall as I helped move my Grandparents from the upper coast down to the brush country where Grandpa had acquired his dream place for deer hunting. That fall was also my introduction to deer hunting for myself. I followed that family tradition of and on for the next six or seven years before giving up the gun and using a camera to hunt with. I am sure my success rate was terrible. I only remember less than a handful of actual deer put in the freezer. Grandma herself did better, and she hunted from the front window of the ranch house…

Enough for today…Time to go get radiated…

End of July, Twenty O’Seven

Today’s number is 34…Only one more day to go.

As I was rambling through the news today, reading the stories out of Washington, and the comments from readers, I was struck with a wild and crazy idea. My idea was to give the veto power to the people. In addition to allowing the President to veto bills and Congress to then override his veto, let’s put every law signed by the President, every Executive Order issued by the President, and every law passed but vetoed by the President on the ballot each year in November. Allow the people to decide if the outcome of the past year’s political game playing was worth it or if they need to be sent back to the locker room.

Each law passed or vetoed will be given the chance to appeal directly to the American voter, the real rulers of this country. If a special interest group manages to pass a law and get it signed but it doesn’t live up to the hype or doesn’t help to solve a problem for a large enough constituency, they can vote it out. If a vetoed bill appeals to a majority of American’s they can overrule the President.

We elect leaders not regents, but, lately our “leaders” have been forgetting their place. They keep misconstruing their leadership position with rulership. A President is not a King. He is a man. And men are subject to being wrong. When leaders can no longer see their own mistakes, it’s time to remind them of who and what they are…The servants of the people. It’s time for we the people to remind our servants whom they work for…It’s time to take the power back…Again.

The more I watch the political dance play out in Washington, the madder I get. Too many of the leaders in Washington have forgotten what it was they pledged to do when they took their oath of office. There is one thing required above all others in public service, sadly it seems to be going out of style…That one requirement is honesty. Without honesty there can be no trust and without trust there can be no democracy. The argument can be made in both directions. But a failure at any point, causes the others to be mute. Honesty, trust, democracy…The backbone of America. And today in Washington there is no trust…When cabinet officials can be dishonest, when presidential advisors can be dishonest, when the word of the President himself is not trusted we no longer have a democracy. To put off the constitutional remedy because it is hard, to wait out the term of office of any government official rather than call them to account for their words, their actions, their inactions in the face of duty…That my friends is the constitutional crisis we now face. If our leaders cannot or will not do their constitutional duty they should face the same fate as those whose malfeasance has put this Republic in this state.

Call me partisan, call me liberal, call me what you will, but this administration has stepped over the line…Time and time again there actions have pushed the boundaries of legality. While they proclaim themselves to be strict constitutionalists they follow an interpretation of the constitution not evident from the writings and discussions recorded by the framers. It is time to remind them they are subjects of the same laws as the rest of us.

If you’ve made it this far through this rant, I thank you for the indulgence and your time. I am finding it harder to continue to keep quiet about the injustices this government continues to foist on the American People. While I make no promises, I will try to refrain from making these types of posts on a regular basis.