Of Swamps and Water Hazards

28 May

Image result for president trump golfing

So far in the almost 2 1/2 years of his presidency, President Trump’s golf habit has cost American taxpayers 102 million dollars in extra travel and security expenses, and soon he will achieve a new milestone: a seven-figure presidential visit to another country so he can play at his own course…over there.

According to recent non-partisan studies, U.S. taxpayers have spent 81 million dollars for the president’s two dozen trips to Florida,  17 million dollars for his 15 trips to New Jersey, another $1 million so he could visit his resort in Los Angeles and at least $3 million for his two days in Scotland last summer ― $1.3 million of which went just for rental cars for the entourage that accompanies a president abroad.

And according to the Irish media and government sources, the White House has done preliminary work for The President’s visit to his  resort on the west coast of Ireland next month even though no official meeting with Irish leaders is planned while there.

And should we mention that the 102 million total dollars to date spent on his presidential golfing represents 255 times the annual presidential salary he volunteered not to take?!

And should we mention that It is 3 times more more than the cost of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that he continually complains about being such an incredible waste of money…

And should we add that It would also fund the Special Olympics program that his proposed budget had originally cut in order to save the government money… for the next 6 years!

And should we dare to mention that President Trump, who was a frequent critic of former President Barack Obama for his “disgraceful” golf outings,  has spent more than twice as many days on the links, to date, as President Obama did at the same point in his first term…and at a cost of more than 3 times as much by the same point in President Obama’s term?

And because Our President only plays at golf courses that he owns, most of that tax payer money being spent on his golfing habit…goes to him! In fact, A U.S. recent GAO report (Government Accountability Office) found that Mar-a-Lago received approximately $60,000 in just the four visits it studied…and he’s made 24!

And all of this is from the president who promised that he would be too busy draining the wasteful, do-nothing, incompetent government swamp to be able to play any golf, should he ever be elected President of the United States. Then candidate Trump repeatedly promised that golf would never make it onto a President Trump schedule.

“I love golf, but if I were in the White House, I don’t think I’d ever see Turnberry again. I don’t think I’d ever see Doral again,” he told a rally audience in February of 2016.  “I don’t ever think I’d see anything. I just want to stay in the White House and work my ass off.”

President Trump reneged on that pledge within two weeks, and since then he has spent a total of 61 days on his Florida courses, 58 at Bedminster in New Jersey, one at Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles and two at Trump Turnberry, for a golfing average of 1 in every 5th day of his presidency on the gold course.

That’s a lie of 5 over par! Or as our President would characterize it: “A hole in 1!”

Nice work if you can get it…and boy are we getting it! Fore!!!!!

 

 

America’s Racoonteurs?

14 May

Here is a post that I recently saw on Facebook. It was posted by a supporter of President Trump and then copied and pasted by other loyal Trump supporters to their own Facebook pages to help explain to all other Americans why Donald Trump is the best man for the job of President of the United States.

In Summary: They, President Trump supporters, just want to get rid of the damn raccoons that have been infesting America. And that is the… one and only thing… that they care about. And President Trump is the one and only guy who understands what they want and who will do what they want… because the raccoons have got to go!

The best way to tell that what you believe in is wrong is when you know that you can’t say it out loud. When you rant and rave and preach and proclaim about what it is that makes you so angry but then when it comes time to name that one thing that makes you so mad you have to say “raccoon”  rather that what you really mean.

So who are the “raccoons” that 40% of American voters hate so much? Anyone care to guess…or say it out loud?

 

 

Plenty more fish in the sea: the remarkable conservation success in the Gulf of California.

2 May

Thought this was a great post about conservation and our planet’s and our future!

Swift Science

Biodiversity is flourishing the the Gulf of California since a conservation programme started.

Fish consumption has more than doubled in the last 50 years, leading to the over-fishing of a third of the worlds stocks. As a result, 90 species are at risk from extinction, including 40% of sharks and rays, which are important in ecosystem functioning.

It is easy to forget that fishing is not farming, it is hunting. On land, any animal that has ever been hunted for food has gone extinct. Luckily, the ocean is humongous and relatively inaccessible, so we still have a chance to protect our fishy friends from the same fate.

In the Gulf of California, Cabo Pulmo National Park was set up in 1995 and enforced a community based ‘no take’ zone, banning all fishing. Scientist Aburto-Oropeza studied the fish community in 1995, 1999 and then again in 2009.

After the first check…

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Carefree Highway

26 Apr

Photo of a busy highway/interstate

It’s Earth week and I’ve been repeating/updating some of my Earth Day blogs from previous years and here is one that I wrote 4 years ago…Every now and then when I go on long highway drives I have a revelation. I’m Not sure if they are in any way prescient or prophetic…hopefully not, but here is my revelatory story from a sojourn across the state of New Jersey not too long ago…

As I was driving down the highway at 75 MPH I noticed, while glancing into my rear-view mirror, an angry old man flashing his lights and gesturing for me to get out of the way. I was already traveling at 10 miles per hour more than the legal speed limit but I also noticed that as far as the rest of the traffic was concerned, I was a slacker! So I pulled out of his way only to find myself in front of a young woman talking on her cell phone who was rapidly gaining on me and looked as though she was prepared to go right through me if she had to.

Yikes! I was now pushing 80 MPH and still cars were passing me and weaving in and out of the traffic created by other motorists who thought that traveling in the 70’s was pretty damn fast…

And speaking of the 70’s I remember living and driving in the 1970s when the speed limit of the land was 55 MPH and set there as a way to save gas and oil and curb our need of foreign oil. And we were also concerned about pollution back then (remember those days?)  and the ecology and the ecosystems of our planet, or at least we said we were. We seemed to be trying. And we had hostages in Iran, and OPEC was ruling the day and we needed to change our dependence on oil and fossil fuels…

And now here we are in 2019, having finished 1 long and grueling war in the Middle East, engaged in another and continuing a third that’s already lasted 18 years!! And yet we are still held hostage by the fear of terrorist groups cutting off our oil supplies. So we now bust open every inch of the earth on our own homeland in an endless search for more fossil fuels for us to waste on our highways, in our wars and with our modern devices of leisure and convenience…while the vast majority of us no longer even believe that any of this is doing any great harm to our world. And even if some of us do, it does not seem to affect our participation in the madness of it all.

Traveling at 80 MPH, it would only take us about 3 hours to reach the end of Earth’s atmosphere…all around our planet… about the distance from North Jersey to Washington D.C…that’s it. 3 hours of air and then you would be driving off into space and hoping that your car’s air conditioning would save you while you try to turn around. Of course it wouldn’t because the guy behind you would be flashing his lights and honking his horn while yelling at you to get out of the damn way…plus the air conditioning thing wouldn’t work…but you knew that, right?

But I digress, because I believe my true revelation was that we all now live in a truly material world… and have no intention of going quietly into that good night…Unless some scientists come up with a way to save the planet from ourselves and then get the dumb asses in Congress to believe them, rather than take Big Corporate’s money and continue to commit global suicide, I fear none of the rest of us will care nor take the time to pay any attention to what’s going on around us to see our own end approaching.

Our planet is alone and finite…an island in a sea of endless space, with only about 240 miles of surrounding air for us all to breathe… The Earth is Over 7 billion humans strong, living and breathing and polluting each and every day, with still many, many more polluters to come… And a mere 56 billion polluting land animals are killed every year to sustain us.

So who needs a “Green New Deal” when our president is growing more popular and killing it every day with cow fart jokes at his pep rallies? Sooner or later this planet is going to shake us all off like a bad cold…or not. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…that is if any of us plan on paying attention at that time…

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Happy Belated B-Earth Day

24 Apr

via Happy Belated B-Earth Day

Mercy, Mercy…Us

23 Apr

Image result for global warming

It’s the day after Earth day, 2019. Earth Day has become an annual event, celebrated every April 22, when events are held to demonstrate the support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.

In 1971 Marvin Gaye wrote a song entitled Mercy, Mercy Me and subtitled (The Ecology Song) in which he sang about the sad state of affairs that the Earth and the human condition found themselves in and how, on the Earth of 1971, “Things ain’t what they used to be”.

That was 48 years ago and after 50 Earth Day observances in which the world has come together to support and rally for environmental protection across the planet… how is the Earth doing?

In his song Marvin Gaye asked the question: Where did all the blue skies go? Today in China the sun hardly even shines and in its largest cities the morning sunrise is broadcast over giant televisions in efforts to cheer the population as they begin another workday. Smog alerts and air quality announcements are common in all major cities throughout the world and who among us can say that allergies and breathing ailments are not known to exist within ourselves or our families.

Mr. Gaye next lamented the oil slicks that could be found in the oceans of 1971 along with the fish contaminated with mercury. Today, in 2019, oil slicks and oil spills are still a common occurrence and when they occur they occur in amounts greater and greater each time and 49 years later we are still using oil and fossil fuels in increasing, not decreasing, amounts, while new and more imaginative ways for digging, sucking and fracking these substances from the planet’s very core are being pioneered each year and even as debate continues over whether or not we should invade our national parks and coastlines in the search for more and more.

As for fish and the oceans? Temperatures are rising, corral reefs are dieing, the ice caps are melting and fish are disappearing while plastic debris and garbage is replacing plankton within the fish food chain. Mercury continues to be a problem contaminant and tuna, perhaps the world’s most famous fish, are so contaminated with mercury that the FDA recommends no more than 1 can be ingested per person each week. And now many scientists predict that the oceans may be without fish all together by the middle of this century.

Radiation and air, water and ground contamination from nuclear power plants was a worry and concern back in the 70s and the subject of Mercy Mercy Me‘s next refrain, but back then the nuclear industry was promising safer standards and designs and yet years after this song was produced the very real scare of a melt down at 3 Mile Island occurred in 1979 in Pennsylvania. Then a real melt down happened at Chernobyl in the Ukraine in 1986 and then again in Fukashima, Japan in 2011. Radioactive debris from that disaster is still in our oceans today yet many of our politicians are still championing nuclear energy as the panacea for our future…and safer… energy needs.

Mr. Gaye then concluded his song with lyrics that discussed the over population of the world in 1971, a year that would see the greatest percentage of population increase in the world’s history, and the great strain that mankind was putting on the planet Earth with a world population of almost 3 billion 800 million inhabitants… Today, we have more than doubled that number and the Earth now has Over 7 billion 700 million human residents with a total world population of 12 billion predicted by 2050…we should reach 8 billion by 2022.

So, what have we accomplished with our 48 Earth Day celebrations since the debut of Marvin Gaye’s ecology anthem, almost 5 decades ago? Have these Earth Days been rallies to help raise awareness of the Earth’s plight and our complicity in its demise along with the sharing of a process for us to change our ways… or have they simply been a series of going away parties? A way to pay lip service to ourselves and our late, great planet Earth while we continue to pursue our ever more increasingly decadent and deadly ways?

Well, the only thing we can say for sure is that the most prophetic line of Mr. Gaye’s song was it’s first and it still rings true for each and every year that passes into the next…

Things sure ain’t what they used to be!

In fact, they are decidedly worse…In 2017, President Trump disbanded a federal climate panel whose task was to evaluate the National Climate Assessment. In 2018, he created a wildlife protection panel composed mostly of trophy hunters and politically connected donors to hunting groups. And the Trump administration has rewritten the mission statement of Department of the Interior, and has promoted the deregulation of fossil fuels through the Environmental Protection Agency.

But just to brighten your spirits, I will leave you with a bit of 1971 trivia that is perhaps even more prophetic and of greater irony than Marvin Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me, the Hot Soul Number 1 Single on Billboard’s charts that summer… for what song did it replace at the top of the charts?…And you climate change deniers will just love this…

James Brown’s… Hot Pants!

Hey-uh!                                                                                                                                                      Ooooh! Bring it home!
One more! Hit me! Aaay!
Bring it home! Bring it home!
Oh uh! Bring it on home
Bring it on home…

Hot Pants!

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What Happened to Earth Day?

23 Apr

Image result for earth day 2019

 

via What Happened to Earth Day?

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