Saturday, December 27, 2008

Quote of the Day

From Jay Bookman in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

...when properly harnessed, greed makes an effective, productive servant.

But it makes a terrible master.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Great Coal Sludge Disaster of 2008

Amazingly, folks have called and emailed from all over the Nation asking about us. We're fine. Whites Creek Gorge faces many threats but this isn't one of them.

We are downstream of the TVA disaster site by 20 miles or so, and the Whites Creek embayment on Watts Bar Lake is large enough that we'll see very little of the effects, even far into the future. The stuff will keep right on going to Chattanooga, or simply settle into the lake bottom, along with vast quantities of other nasty stuff left over from the Atom bomb project. Like megatons of mercury and enough radioactive isotopes to kill everything on the planet several times over.

But would you believe it's in a relatively safe place at the bottom of a huge TVA lake under several meters of mud. The PCB's are the greatest threat and you can just not eat the fish. That's too bad because Watts Bar has produced over forty world record fish.

I'll try to post more later, but you can follow some of the fun at, our local progressive community site.

We are working to house some of the volunteers who have experience helping communities who have felt the impacts of coal and its disasters. I have to force myself not to say "I told you so"...Aw what the Hell..

As I've said before, "Mining coal is one of the stupidest and most self destructive things humans do."



Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Will Bush give Cheney a Pardon that includes Murder?

Claims from the actual people who say they worked to fix elections for the GOP say that Obama actually won the election by maybe seven million or more votes than the final tally says he did. One of my fervent hopes is that election fraud gets investigated in heroic depth. Problem is, the people who know what they did to help Karl Rove steal elections...Well, they are dying.

He told—Connell told Spoonamore that one of the primary reasons why he helped Bush-Cheney steal elections was to save the babies.

Michael Connell was about to testify about Karl Rove's illegal involvement in the 2004 election tampering in Ohio that gave George Bush his second term in the presidency. He was afraid that Bush and Dick Cheney were going to throw him under the bus, but he was wrong. It was an airplane.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, he had asked the Attorney General Mukasey for protective custody, because of threats to him and his wife?

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: He reported threats to his lawyer, Cliff Arnebeck, and Arnebeck—also, Velvet Revolution heard from tipsters, as well, tipsters who also claimed that Connell’s life was at risk. Stephen Spoonamore, the whistleblower who was the first—who was the one to name Connell in the first place, also had an ear to the inside. He’s also very connected. And all these people were saying Rove is making threats, the White House is very worried about this case.

Republican IT Specialist Dies in Plane Crash

America Now

The price of freedom is eternal vigilence.


Sunday, December 21, 2008


"History will be very kind to me. I intend to write it." ...Winston Churchill

There is some kind of Bush legacy project going on. It must be that conservatives worry that people will look back onthe Bush regime and realize that giving total control to a manifestly selfserving political party is not good for the long term survival of our nation. "Can't have voters realizing we're all crooks, we gotta lie about what happened," must be the whisper going through republican inner circles.

President Bush has yet to take responsibility for one single uncomfortable thing that happened while he was president. "All the decisions that were made" that precipitated the housing crisis? "Made before I got here." It's possible that he believes that, but more likely he's simply lying. The New York Times has done a little study that shows very plainly that the responsibility for the subprime meltdown lies with George W. Bush, who blocked every effort to prevent it from happening. It's like they really really believe that what ever is good for their short term bank accounts is good for the entire country.

Save money? Don't be silly. "Borrow and spend" has been the mantra of the engineers driving the train right of a cliff. "Sensible regulations?" Why that's big government! They are against big government, for deregulation, and letting people who commit constitutional crimes go...Right after we give them medals.

The whole thing is laid out here.

As we head into this season of renewal, let us not forget who the bad guys are and what we need to do. It is a large task. But as my friend says, when you have to eat a whole elephant the only way to do it is one bite at a time.



Thursday, December 18, 2008

Indecent Exposure

I feel as if a white hot spotlight has flashed on with both of our national political parties caught in the glare.

Nothing in my memory exposes the hypocrisy of the Republican Party more than the debate on the monetary bailout of our financial institutions and our lack of a monetray bailout of our auto industry. At the same time, nothing exposes the spinelessness of the Democratic party more, either.

It appears that the GOP is run by very effective managers suffering from moral bankrupcy, while the Democratic party is run by...well, nobody.

A couple of facts intrude...Financial institutions, like the ones we just bailed out with three quarter of a TRILLION freaking dollars, used their bailout money to pay dividends to stockholders and bonuses to their executives, and, to allow the healthier ones to buy up weaker ones, and we still have no credit.

Salaries make up 60-70 percent of the cost of doing business at financial institutions.

My junior senator, Bob Corker, voted for that one.

My junior senator, Bob Corker, is leading the charge to break the United Auto Workers union because the cost of building an American car includes 10-15% labor. Only it actually only includes less than 10% labor, the rest is pensions and healthcare costs for retired workers...Old people who fulfilled their part of a contract and Bob says screw 'em.

(While actively working to undercut America's big three, Corker is squarely behind the $577 million dollar subsidy the state of Tennessee is providing foreign car maker Volkswagen, by the way.)

So Bob...It's the right thing to help an industry with 60% labor costs and a bad thing to help an idustry with 10% labor costs unless the workers agree to work for half what they're getting now?

The Democratic Party will never get a more clear cut delineation between between the two political parties as to which one stands for people and which one stands for corporations. There is a clear line between good and evil here.

It is time for the National Democratic Party to say it loud.




Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Help Plug a Leak in the Ark

I'll be danged...There're my friends right there in the latest issue of National Geographic!
One of my favorite do-gooder projects is the small work I get to do with the folks at Conservation Fisheries, located across the street from the Knoxville campus of Pellissippi State College. These folks toil away, for salaries a teacher wouldn't work for, in relative obscurity doing the work they love and feel called to do...Saving fish species.

It's fascinating to walk around their facility and realize that for some of the most beautiful creatures in our world, this is their last best hope for survival. It may seem to the unknowing that losing a species is no big deal. There's lots of others, right? Well, no. There are fewer and fewer species on this planet and it's our fault. We never know which one is the critical straw that will crash an ecosystem by it's disappearance. Nor do we know which species holds the cure for a dread disease, or even, as one day may be the case, the key to humankind's survival.

The Fish species that Conservation Fisheries Inc. (CFI) work with live in Tennessee's streams and rivers, and they are having a tough time getting by. Of the 4,000 or so Boulder Darters left in the whole world, 15% of them are given life by the aquariums of CFI in Knoxville. Of the less than 6000 Yellowfin Madtoms, a fascinating tiny catfish looking beastie, about the same percentage survive in the tanks that are painstakingly maintained in the ordinary looking building that houses Conservation Fisheries Inc. and the interns and scientists who function as a dating service and nannies to breed and rear thousands of young of these and many more fish species. It looks like an old steel building but it is really an ARK.

Here's your chance to help Noah, by going to the Conservation Fisheries website and donating a few bucks. You'll feel really good about yourself.



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

President-elect Obama’s transition team LISTENED!

From Renee Hoyos at Tennessee Clean Water Network

Understanding the Big Damned Mess We're In

Conservatives, Republicans, Libertarians, whatever, have no business being anything other than a minority player in the scheme of a democracy. The very idea of letting them gain control of our press and media has had devastating results on this country, as any honest observer must admit.

When a platform is given to a nut job vice presidential candidate who prayed on TV for god to bless her efforts to get federal money for the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere", and then not be laughed off the national stage as she doggedly repeated the obvious lie, "I told them Thanks, but no thanks", it becomes obvious that something is wrong with our truth detectors at the national press.

I watched with rising anger as President Bush said he regretted that his intelligence was so bad prior to his starting the Iraq war, even though his offices went so far as committing treason and a host of lessor offenses as they gamed the
CIA into doing their bidding and ruined the careers of people who pointed out the lies.

Frankly I think all of our national problems flow from an ineffective press. It was the Pamphleteers, after all, that drove the outrage at British injustice that created this nation. Without them, we are destined for mediocraty or just plain failure.

One of our Nobel Laureates in Economics lays out the big mistakes in our recent history that allowed forces to congeal into the sorry state of the nation as it sits today. He factors in the consolidation of our media as one of the five biggies.

Here's an overview.

Every step we take in rebuilding our country has to reverse these mistakes at every turn.



Friday, December 05, 2008

Quote of the Day

"...(Obama) says we only have one president at a time," (Congressman Barney) Frank said.

"I'm afraid that overstates the number of presidents we have..."


Grackles and Broadwing

Yesterday morning...

I sat at the breakfast table with the morning light on my back. I felt, more than saw, the shadow near the back of my head. There was a loud smack, I uttered an expletive and ducked reflexively. Turning to look, there was a broadwing hawk recovering itself in mid air, just three feet from my face, and just on the other side of the window. This was the second time the hawk had slammed into it after missing a dove perched on top of the feeder.

So I have to find a new location for it. I can't continue to rely on the screen on the outside of the window to save the hawks life and keep the glass from crashing in on my head. They seem much larger when they are three feet from my face, flapping wildly to keep from falling to the ground. Striking and beautiful, the striped tail stands out in my mind after the hawk glides through the branches of the white oak and off into the woods.

A few minutes later, a gazillion grackles take over this side of Whites Creek Gorge. I tell my wife that it's at least TWO gazillion but I'm going with the more conservative figure for this account. It's way more than a shitload, for sure. The grackles are everywhere, on every branch, constantly moving, boiling three dimensionally to the ground, to the trees, from branch to branch, descending on any tree where one of them looks like it has found something to eat. Suddenly the ground is swarming, suddenly it has only a few birds in it but the trees have grown black leaves everywhere, and a few brown ones. It is like the noisiest locust swarm ever, oozing through the forest, boiling almost. For a half hour I watch them, erratic in their motion but moving, nonetheless, in one direction as a whole, up the creek, and eventually it is still and the noise gets more distant.

The cat is in shock, hiding under my car in the driveway. She is still under there 45 minutes later when I come out to leave for town. Normally she swaggers out to receive adulation but this morning she bolts around the house and under the porch where the dogs have taken refuge. They have gathered closely together to await their fate, the whim of a gazillion grackles.