Thursday, April 23, 2009

Another Child's Suicide - Bullying is Deadly

How many more children, women, men, animals have to die because someone has to have power over them? How long will this be allowed, and even encouraged? When will parents teach their children not to abuse by setting a better example of how to behave with respect towards each other, their children and pets? When will government leaders and workplace managers lead by example, by following the rule of law to both respect and defend the human rights of all people? Human trafficking, rape, abuse, bullying, greed, a culture of youth and beauty, a patriarchal society, a sense of entitlement, and a lack of enforcement of laws and protective regulations are all symptoms of a complete and utter lack of respect for others. All of these also dangerously combine with a lack of personal responsiblity and the absence of prosecution of those who abuse human rights to create the society and world in which we live. As long as we, and I truly mean we, as we are each and every one of us responsible, tolerate this, nothing will change.

Trillions of dollars are spent on war, while only a miniscule fraction of this is spent upon peace education, the teaching of mediation, ethics, and the rights of all sentient beings to basic rights; not just for men, straight people, or people of a certain religion, class, or level of educational attainment. Since you do get what you pay for, we have both unfortunately and obviously gotten all of our money's worth!

A patriarchal society, by definition, deprives women of equal rights over those of men. Maybe we should begin there. Religions that deprive women of equal rights are also guilty of promoting a culture of power over others, along with the accompanying abuse, rape, trafficking, etc. that power over others engenders.

Equality and respect for all should be the foundation of any society, culture and religion. When one group is given power over another, there is always someone who will abuse the power. Tolerance and respect for others, instead of inequality, should be expected, regulated and enforced with very real consequences. When we change our expectations, and put our money towards educating all people about human rights and peace, instead of war, things will begin to change for the better.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Palmer's Dream

As I was going to the Las Vegas Aids Walk yesterday, I saw this wild brain institute building, fronted by a Palmer sign and framed by a Mardi Gras mask. I thought, "Am I dreaming?" Talk about deja-vu and goosebumps!

I've been doing the AIDS Walk here, on and off, for about 10 years. My dad was HIV positive, so, for me, this is an important cause. After having a heart attck, a local surgeon refused to perform surgery on my dad, due to his HIV status. He was afraid of contamination of the heart-lung bypass machine, plus probably himself. He mentioned contamination and my father's age as his "reasons for refusal." Due to his prejudice and refusal to perform surgery, my father had multiple heart attacks afterwards, resulting in major permanent damage to his heart. Another cardiothoracic surgeon finally, and successfully, performed the surgery. Thank you to this doctor, and shame on the first! My father died a few years ago, partly because of this and its affect on his COPD.

My dad had always been interested in the workings of the human mind, and had also gone to (pre-Katrina) New Orleans with a couple of his dear friends, before all of this. He absolutely loved his New Orleans trip. When he passed, I decided to use a Mardi Gras theme for his memorial service. My dad was always up for a party, loved cooking, music and travel. He would have loved this! People came together in a true celebration of his life, with zydeco music playing, masks, food, and joy.

So, when I approached this scene, I totally got goosebumps! Okay, Dad, I know you're here! I love you!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Anybody Interested in Stopping the Proposed Oil and Gas Leasing of the Outer Continental Shelf?

Is anybody out there interested in stopping the proposed 2010-2015 Oil and Gas Leasing in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)? The US Department of the Interior's (DOI) Secretary Ken Salazar has already held 2, and will be holding 2 more public hearings around the US. If you cannot atttend, you can watch the meeting via live webcast. The next 2 meetings will be held this coming Tuesday in Anchorage, and Thursday in New Orleans, so please spread the word quickly!

The DOI is accepting public comment via e-mail, postal and personal delivery. This is a direct quote from them:
"The MMS is seeking comment on all aspects of the new program including energy development and economic and environmental issues in the OCS areas. Comments are also requested on the specific subjects of size, timing, and location of sales and on the issues of buffer zones, revenue-sharing, and the use of unitization to limit the number of structures. The public comment period is open until September 21, 2009, pursuant to Secretary Salazar’s announcement on February 10, 2009."

You can watch videos and see Power Point presentations of the 2 already-concluded meetings, as well as get contact information from their website:

So, all bloggers, please write or go to the meetings to oppose this proposed program! You can send e-comments here:
You are required to state your name, address and e-mail. If you want your name and/or addresses removed from public record, you need to state this at the beginning of your comment (limitations may apply, so read their rules). Here is my comment and you're welcome to copy any or all of this:


My name is _______________, United States citizen, and I am writing to oppose off-shore drilling and exploration, in the person of the 2010-2015 Oil and Gas Leasing in the Outer Continental Shelf proposed program. The original reasons for prohibiting offshore drilling (not to mention drilling in ANWR) have not changed. Think about tourism, real estate values, pollution that destroys ecosystems, our climate, and the security of our food supply. Now, put all of this in the same thoughts as offshore drilling and spills. (Spills can be caused by equipment breakdowns; natural disasters like hurricanes; deliberate acts such as terrorism, vandalism, illegal dumping, or war; and just plain, old accidents.) Obviously, they are not compatible.

Remember the Exxon Valdez disaster, anyone? This ship ran aground in March of 1989, spilling 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound. This spill killed tens of thousands of wildlife and fouled approximately 1,300 miles of beaches and surface water. It only took this one accident to create the worst environmental disaster in history. Fishermen have lost everything, homeowners have polluted land, and many Native Americans have lost their traditional way of life. All the while, the 20-year-old class-action lawsuit against wealthy Exxon is still being dragged through the courts, postponed indefinitely by Exxon Corp.’s expensive legal maneuvers to avoid settlement payments. Valdez, Alaska is still recovering. Are we really now willing to risk yet another accident?

Offshore drilling will also not magically solve the oil crisis, but it will forever change an ecosystem. Experts state the oil will not reach the market for approximately 10 years. This, obviously, will not help us now. Also, let’s not forget that oil companies have untapped reserves. Think about why they're not tapping into what they already have readily available, yet are asking us to open up yet more avenues for them to increase their profits!

As for this offshore oil helping to reduce oil prices, that’s absolutely ridiculous. The United States has only 4% of the world’s oil. Any person, company, or country that owns or controls 4% of anything, has no real power to change prices or policies. Whatever happened to common sense? The United States of America does NOT set oil prices. OPEC member nations set oil prices. The USA is not a member of OPEC, so we do NOT have any influence in setting oil prices.

Instead of spending all this time and energy on oil and gas, why aren’t we pursuing clean, renewable and sustainable energy? Could the answer possibly be the ecosystem-destroying, climate-changing, lethal combination of billions of oil and gas company product defense dollars and political influence and corruption? Hopefully, American citizens are smart enough to not be duped by the public relations of product defense that is full of lies meant to benefit and sustain the incredibly rich and powerful energy industries. Big Oil and Gas will simply do whatever it takes to keep their wealth and power.

In conclusion, I absolutely oppose the continuation of a business-as-usual energy policy, found in the current guise of the 2010-2015 Oil and Gas Leasing in the Outer Continental Shelf proposed program, that will negatively impact marine ecosystems and the environment (by indirectly increasing both greenhouse gases and the rate of climate change), and threaten the security of our food supply. Thank you for your consideration.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Late-Bloomer or Early Achiever?

Were you an early achiever, or are you a late bloomer? Please share your story.

Here's mine...
I am a late bloomer. I only began warming up in the later years of high school and college, due to illness, family and monetary problems. I had always wanted to take some type of music lessons, join the Girl Scouts, etc., but lack of money prevented me from following these dreams. Due to a long-term childhood illness, I was restricted from physical activity. So, a friend of my mom's gave me her old guitar, and I taught myself how to play chords. Another friend of hers paid for art lessons at a local museum. I was also allowed to join the percussion section of the elementary school orchestra, even though I couldn't read music. It was there I began to learn how to read music. Then, I had an awesome music teacher in 7th grade, but we moved across country 3/4 through the school year.

When in my new digs, I didn't have the same opportunities in either art or music until high school, although I did have a brief and unremarkable stint as a cheerleader in eighth grade. During freshman year, I joined the church choir and the school glee club. I learned quite a bit from the music director at school, who had no problem challenging us to sing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, or various a capella pieces while expecting us to stay on key throughout each piece. I became fairly proficient at sight-singing and singing harmony, even improvising a bit. Once in a while, when improvising at home, I used to sing off-key purposefully just to razz my mom.

Once I started college, though, aside from music theory, and a course each in sight singing, voice and piano, I was still essentially a beginner in all. I had also been extremely busy working all through both high school and college to pay for my tuition, holding down two part-time jobs during the semester and one full-time and one part-time job during summer vacation. There was no extra time or money for more music lessons.

As for art, I took classes in drawing, graphic design and photography at college. I worked hard to develop both my eye and visual thinking, and continued taking classes long after I got my degree. I graduated in 3-1/2 years with honors. However, music went by the wayside for decades, as did art after I moved away from my second home-town.

Now, I expend most of my energy just to get through my workday. I still have grand aspirations to buy camera equipment and learn a new instrument, along with taking music lessons in guitar, piano and voice. Of course, money is an issue, as well as my draining job. When I do have energy after work, I write poetry, essays, and this blog, as writing takes little physical energy. So, now I want to work on art, music and writing. I wish humans didn't need sleep, as this would solve the time issue, at least.

I feel like I'm ready to soar creatively, and hope to use my summer vacation to work on my creative pursuits. There are so many wonderful connections among all the arts, that maybe I'll create multi-media pieces and use them to create positive change. All of this, of course, can make someone crazy. Yet I just read the following quote today on, posted by Roland Garrison: "Sanity is the refuge of those who have chosen not to exceed their limits. Use it as a launch point, not a goal." He is so right! So, I say to all late bloomers: we're not crazy! We're simply, finally, reaching for our dreams...better late, than never!

So, now, what's your story?