Monday, May 31, 2010

Hawaii again

Some days are better than others.

I've been in Hawaii the last week. The weather is, for the most part, beautiful. It's not hot and certainly not cold this time of year. The ocean is still beautiful, with crystal clear water.

Why be depressed?

Really, Hawaii is a depressing place. Its beauty makes it even more so.

Young kids just getting out of school don't have a lot of options here, in terms of career growth - unless you consider waiting tables and other tourist-based industries careers of choice. These jobs come with low pay and no benefits - certainly a package that isn't sought by many.

But, that's all there is.

As folks get older, they move into the homeless business. Obviously, everyone doesn't become homeless - families are still strong here and locals help each other. Still, the number of homeless folks on the street in Honolulu is staggering.

If you're paying attention, you're immersed in the problem. Folks sleeping on the streets, in doorways, in planter boxes - everywhere. Some beg and some scrounge to survive and that's really all they get - survival.

As they sit there waiting for sleep to come, they watch folks walking by who spent more money on their "aloha wear" than these folks had for dinner this month. My tropical shirt doesn't seem so happy now.

I'm one of the folks with "tropical wear" and often walking for my exercise so I can go eat my $20 dinner.

Does that make me (and others) bad? I don't think so. But, it does make me sad.

I'm smart enough not to just hand someone a wad of money. It could, with rampant drug abuse, alcoholism, and violence, make things worse rather than better. But, it's tempting to settle for a smaller meal or just invite one of them to eat with me. I'll be on the lookout for a good group or maybe just buy someone a sandwich.

I have to do something. It's only human.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rand Paul a closet Democrat

I'm sure it's true - Rand Paul is really a Democrat.

How can I say that? Consider the facts.

First there's the issue of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In an earlier post, I explained how his stand/lack of stand provided conclusive proof that he is either a racist or an idiot...perhaps both.

But the hits just keep coming!

Now, he calls the president of the United States un-American while defending British Petroleum.

He dodged a question on his states minimum wage while canceling an appearance on "Meet the Press."

He even dismissed a mining accident in his own state, saying "accidents happen."

Kids, I'm not fooled. No Republican could make that many mistakes in such a short time. He makes Bush look wise. He's an eye surgeon. How stupid can he really be?

Rand Paul is a closet Democrat. He's trying to make the Republicans look stupid and he's doing a great job.

For one patient's opinion on Paul's competence, we turn to his surgery known as Patch...

More on Paul...go here.

The oil spill - British Petroleum has the answer?

I admit it...I'm bitter. After all the BS and lies, it simply turns out that British Petroleum hasn't got a clue how to stop the oil spill. Morons like Flush Limburger (Rush Limbaugh) say it's no big deal. A serious number of Americans are still in favor of offshore drilling. Even the president that I worked so hard to elect hasn't gotten indignant about it.

Are we all really that stupid?

People who say we should continue drilling all point out the dependence upon foreign oil as the rationale. Cleverly, they fail to acknowledge that even if we drilled enough to make the Alaskan Barbie orgasmic, we wouldn't dent our dependence. Never let the facts get in the way of a good knee-jerk reaction.

The same idiots who talk about the economy don't discuss the twenty+ billion dollars Florida will lose in the tourist industry this year. Twenty billion dollars in one year and one state and only in one industry. What about tourism losses in the other Gulf of Mexico states? Add them all together and you get..well...the biggest negative impact on the economy since the election of George Bush.

Ah, but we're just getting started. This tourism doesn't just create creates jobs. When folks who work in the tourism business get paid, they buy things from the grocery stores, purchase homes, and even buy cars. So, the "ripple effect" (not to be confused with the drinking of cheap wine) begins. Naturally, the people they (folks in the tourism business) start is passed to their vendors who pass it to their vendors, and so on.

Of course, tourism isn't the only industry affected. Fishing is still a major economic factor in these areas. Fishermen contribute huge amounts of money to the economy as well.

It's starting to be depressing - as in depression.

"Guestimates" of the damages normally talk about periods of time up to a year. It will take years to clean up this disaster. Nice work! We not just screwed now; we're screwed for the next five or more years.

Still, after we destroy our coastlines and the economies that depend upon them, what are we doing about dependence upon foreign oil?

Guess what - the only way to solve that dependence is to use less oil (and gas). That means cars need to be smaller and more fuel efficient and we need to drive less.

There go those inconvenient truths again (thanks Al).

But there could be hope.

Millions of overweight, out-of-shape Americans could start walking and riding bicycles more. We could develop more mass transit options that work. We could require fuel economy improvements on a major scale.

Or, we could just order another KFC Double-down sandwich while we watch our planet die. After all, legacies are overrated and to hell with our children and grandchildren. We've got priorities.

For more on the spill, look here and here.

For someone else's take on BP's efforts, check out Carl Hiaasen's column here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tea Bagger - Tea Party candidate waffles on racism

Rand Paul, the recently annointed Republican Tea Bagger Party nominee, has issues with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. When first asked if he would have supported it, he wouldn't give a direct answer. He did say that he was opposed to the section that required businesses to give equal access to all people, regardless of their race.

The next day, under a political firestorm, he finally said he would have supported it, even though he still disagrees with that one premise.

I'm not saying Rand Paul is a racist. I don't have the ability to look into his heart and mind. But, if he's not a racist, he's extremely ignorant.

The reason for equal access is simple. When the act was passed, white people owned virtually all of the businesses. Really.

There was no fact, the only African-Americans on TV played stereotypic roles. Black people were kept out of better neighborhoods and couldn't get into many colleges and universities.

Saying businesses could refuse to serve black people often meant there were no restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, etc for black people to shop.

That provision of the law opened up opportunities to begin the changes that finally led to - yes, our first African-American president. If you told someone in 1964 that, less than 100 years later, we would have come this far, they would have laughed at you.

Is Rand Paul that poor of a student of history or does he just not care. With his Texas roots, surely he knows about Jim Crow laws.

Is the mask finally coming off the candidates and their true side being revealed?

Again, I don't know if he's a racist or an idiot but either should disqualify him from public office - even in Kentucky.

Want to read more about the Tea Baggers? Click here, here, and here or just search for Tea Baggers or Palin.

Can't see the links on Facebook? Go to

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Eat to starve cancer

Cancer is terrifying. Most of us know multiple folks who have died from it. Here, Dr. William Li presents findings on eating to reduce the likelihood of having cancer. Fascinating!

Avalanche safety when snowboarding

For those of us who ride backcountry and sidecountry, avalanches are our biggest fear...or should be. We're living on borrowed time. Training helps reduce the chance of avi but nothing eliminates it.

Beacons make it easier to be found, but being found dead is little consolation.

Inflatable bags are the best solution on the market today. Here's a fascinating story and product test of the BCA Float 30. Because it uses compressed air instead of gas, it can be packed into your carry-on. That's huge. It is expensive ($700) but what's your life worth?

Monday, May 17, 2010

International toilet instruction

Whatever your language, these signs are here to help. While I disagree with the one about standing to pee, I admire it's directness.

For more toilet guidance, look here.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Conservation is profitable and healthy coral is good for everyone

The stories keep coming in - it pays real money to take care of the environment. A 12-year study on coral preservation showed that fishermen, over the long haul, made more money when coral is protected. Who knew that protecting the fish and their habitat would mean more fish?

There are also obvious advantages for tourism, diving, and more. While those have an obvious economic benefit, they were not taken into effect in this study. 

The next time someone says we can't afford to be green, challenge them. They're probably wrong.

Read the whole story here.

Here's another hopeful bit of information about the oceans.

Violent people and guns

Some people say it's because we aren't a religious nation any longer. Perhaps, but I suspect it's because religions are failing us.

They teach hate. I hate that guy, the other side, the other race, etc. Religions, instead of teaching love and respect for folks that we disagree with, teach intolerance and hate. Sometimes they preach it from the pulpit.

So, many folks give up on religion. Others thrive in the atmosphere of fear and distrust that shrouds many religions.

The net effect - the nation and world fall apart and people die.

In Chicago, a man recently shot and killed another man...because the other man's dog peed in his lawn. Here's the link.

Imagine taking another person's life just because of your lawn. What's your religion?

Guns too play a role. Without easy access, this kind of violence is far less likely.  It's quick and easy to shoot people. I know all the right-to-bear arms folks are upset about this but how many people need to die and how many lives need to be destroyed before we ask what matters most - a questionable Constitutional interpretation or human life?

True Christianity would quickly say the human life matters most. Buddhism always puts human life first. Those are the religions I know best but I also know that Judaism and Moslem religions also value human life.

After you kll someone, try explaining to God that it was your Constitutional right. Try ignoring the karma that comes because of your action...because the law was on your side.

What are we really thinking?

For more on guns and their role in society, click here.

Support Matthew Snyder and stop Fred Phelps

Something those on the right and left can agree upon:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Laura Bush endorses gay marriage

She said so on the Larry King Show.

At first, I thought this was kind of cool. It meant someone with some sense was in the White House during the 8 years of ignorance.

Then I thought about it.

This is an important issue. It involves suppressing people because other people don't like them. That's really all the issue is about. Nothing more.

When seen that way, opponents look even meaner spirited than they do at first glance. Just because you personnally don't believe something is good, you don't ban it for everyone. If we made that our operating policy, smoking, drinking, most sex, dancing, bikinis, and lots of other things would be banned.

America is supposed to be a land of freedom.

So, when all of that is considered, Laura Bush's eight years of silence is horrific. She did not say whether she believed women should be seen but not heard but her actions indicate that she did. We all maintain silence for our spouse's career but not on moral issues.

Shame on you. People are suffering because folks won't challenge the haters.

It's time for all of us to stand up.

See the story here.

For a related story on stopping hate, go here. For a specific story about discrimination at a high school prom, go here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Offshore drilling for oil costs jobs

It just doesn't work well. No matter how well you decorate it, it doesn't work. The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon off the coast of Louisiana threatens the entire Gulf Coast.

Who cares and why?

Obviously, there's a huge loss of recreation. That means fishermen and women can't fish, sunbathers can't tan, surfers can't surf, sailors can't sail, etc. Is that important? It matters, not only to the folks deprived of their stress relief but to millions of folks directly and indirectly dependent upon tourism for their income.

Naturally, the rich bounty that is harvested from the Gulf is also threatened. More thousands of people become unemployed.

Then there's the damage to the marine estuaries. This is where baby fish are hatched. So, the loss of jobs isn't for a season - it's for years.

Just how much oil could we have gotten from that platform and how many jobs did it produce?

For more on this, check out Carl Hiaasen's column in the Miami Herald here.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jack Johnson surfing - the perfect music video

His music and his surfing are both incredible. Here's what a music video should be!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lord Jesus Christ run over in Massachusetts

I don't make this stuff up.

A man whose legal name is Lord Jesus Christ was run over by a woman in Mass. She was ticketed. He received minor facial lacerations and lots of publicity for his name...something he probably felt was long overdue.

Many might see that name as a handicap. It's hard to register for hotel rooms and rental cars, I would think. However, as a bill collector or telemarketer, he could be compelling.

See the story here.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Food safety issues

More lettuce recalled. We need a Food Safety bill. Folks are getting sick and sometimes dying from eating food that should be healthy. It's time to act. See the whole story here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hope for the oceans

With the toxic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, we can easily surmise that it's all over. Truthfully, the damage done and that will be done is horrendous. Clearly, we need to stop offshore oil drilling. Anyone who's lived on the coast for any time and is thinking knows that. Far more money will be lost trying to restore the ocean than that well ever produced.

However, there is hope. Mike deGruy (filmaker and oceanographer) tells a great story here, along with some amazing footage of octopus. Check it out!