Random musings for a rainy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day everyone. A beautifully sounding April shower is beating down on the outside deck. We have left the door open to feel the cool freshness of rain as it rinses the pollen out of the air.

A few random musings not all related to our Mother Earth.

Another musical genius has left and much too soon at age 57. To me, Prince was frozen in age as he was so youthful in his manner, appearance and style. Like David Bowie, he melded other musical influences into new styles of music. And, like Bowie and Glenn Frey, his body of work influences others still. He also was very clever with lyrics. One that has always struck me as unique in its simplicity is in Raspberry Beret, where he says “she walked in through the out door” to describe her joie de vivre. He will be missed.

I watched a most interesting documentary on “Vice” about the “Future of Energy.” It showed some exciting things occurring in renewables, but also depicted two other areas that will be key parts of our future. The first is improved grid storage where unused electricity can be saved for later usage when the sun goes down or wind does not blow. Elon Musk of Tesla and rocket ship fame, owns a solar energy company and battery storage company that continues to improve on personal and industrial grid storage, which may make utilities less needed.

The second is the terrific progress in nuclear fusion, not the fission which is used now. Fusion is safe, but the challenge has been creating a way to harness the extreme heat at fusion. It is being done on a small-scale in the UK and US, but France has a major plant being built which is ten years away, they think, from the fusion process giving out more energy than it takes in. So, the future is renewables, grid storage and nuclear fusion. Note, fossil fuels was not included in this mix as the supply wanes and environmental costs are more measured and pronounced.

As for Mother Nature, the two earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador remind us we are mere passengers on planet Earth. Terrorism and corruption are things we must deal with, but the larger concerns are treating our Earth better than we do and to better protect ourselves from calamities and the impact of our poor stewardship. We can do little to prevent major earthquakes, but we can do some things.

We can make sure buildings are subject to higher standards to withstand earthquakes, especially in earthquake prone areas. Also, while neither of these two quakes were impacted by this, we need to stop disposing of toxic fracking water beneath the earth, as this tactic has been proven to be causal of small earthquakes. Just check out the earthquake data in Oklahoma and other states where this process is used.

Ending on a positive note, the US Treasury has announced that an American hero named Harriet Tubman will be on the new $20 bill, replacing Andrew Jackson on the front. The courage and conviction she portrayed to help slaves escape and start the women’s movement are exemplary. Jackson will be moved to the reverse side of the bill.

Plus, other female leaders in our history Eleanor Roosevelt, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul and Lucretia Mott as well as Martin Luther King will appear on the reverse side of the $5 and $10 bills. I recognize some have voiced criticism over these changes, but I for one welcome American heroes being recognized.

Let’s make today’s Earth Day one to remember, especially as the Paris Climate Accord is signed today by so many countries.




Manic Monday

Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles defined Monday a little differently for us singing the following lyrics penned by Prince Rogers Nelson (the artist once again known as Prince).

“It’s just another manic Monday
I wish it was Sunday
‘Cause that’s my funday
My I don’t have to runday
It’s just another manic Monday”

With Hoffs’ singing echoing in your mind, here are few thoughts for the week on this “Manic Monday.”

– Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has had a manic few days, but it will only continue as ghosts come out of the past. I am still trying to come to grips with the severity of the issue, but I do know being tried in the press of “gotcha politics” won’t get us to the correct answer. Washington and its pundit followers rarely like to talk about real issues, so we will spend our time over who said what to whom and how. Even though her husband was one of the most effective Presidents we have had in the last fifty years, with his wandering eye and trysts, there is plenty of fodder for this election, so we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

– Speaking of manic, combining the Ferguson report which indicts a police force for extremely poor behavior to African-Americans in the community with the 50th anniversary remembrance of the Selma march, it shows how far we have still to go. The Ferguson report is offensive to many, including the many police officers who try to do their job in the right way, day-in and day-out. And, it is not restricted to Ferguson. On the flip side, I am rather amazed at the lack of attendance of members of the GOP leadership at the Selma and earlier 50th anniversary events remembering various civil rights milestones. This does a disservice to the bi-partisan support that LBJ needed and got from the GOP to get civil rights laws passed. It also shows how the current leaders  of the GOP are scared to show up, so as not to ostracize the extreme members of their party. Counting only House Whip Kevin McCarthy and former President George W. Bush, there were few sightings of others. This is poor form which I hope will be remedied for the next event. Maybe the party would rethink some of the voter suppressive state laws that have been ruled unconstitutional  and are in courts today.

– Then, there is more mania, when we consider the ruffled feathers of North Korea Kim Jong Un, who is declaring war on anyone who does anything that is offensive to his country and pride. While he seems justified to be upset with South Korea and the US doing drills together just south of his country, he does not realize that when you rattle your saber at people over time, you should not be surprised when they prepare for the worst. If I were him, he may want to look at South Korea’s flourishing economy and relationships with buyers and sellers around the globe and say maybe we should emulate that behavior rather than spending more money on weapons. When you make yourself an island, do not be surprised when people don’t come to visit.

– Finally, mania abounds in the Middle East, but at least the fight is being taken to ISIS by several countries, including the US. I have said before, the brutality of ISIS toward Muslims and others has been a tipping point. It helped other Muslims see who the real enemy is. Some have noted it is akin to Christians fighting back against the KKK for hijacking  their religion for evil causes. While ISIS continues to bait westerners to join the fight with ground troops, the consolidated effort is doing more than pushing back on them. I also read where progress is being made against Boko Haram who has aligned itself with ISIS. One thing is for certain. A sure-fire way to slow down recruiting of disenfranchised young people is to show ISIS’ fallibility which is being revealed more and more. People want to join a winner and the more losing ISIS does, the harder it will be for them to be a draw. Yet, as they are cornered more, it is imperative that leaders are more egalitarian and inclusive to ameliorate the causes of disenfranchisement. They need to put on the clothes of Nelson Mandela who showed by example how to govern different people.

I hope everyone’s week is less manic. And, now that I have a few cups of coffee in me, I am ready to go. It just another manic Monday…..