How Sex, Politics, Money and Religion are Killing Planet Earth

Sunday, May 30, 2010


The surface area of the earth is 510 million square kilometers (1). The Gulf of Mexico has a surface area of 1.5 million square miles (2). This means the Gulf of Mexico, irreparably harmed by crude oil, at least within our human lifetimes, represents 0.3% of the earth’s surface decimated by human beings in one single act of stupidity.

If we multiply 0.3 times 333.33 etc, we get 100. Given the innumerable acts of stupidity already perpetrated upon the earth, who is willing to bet we can’t risk 333 more? We only have one planet.


1- From the world wide web at:

2- From the world wide web at:

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rewriting History

On Friday, May 21, 2010, by a 9 to 5 vote along political party lines, the Texas State Board of Education voted to rewrite history. Citing a liberal bias in the existing History curriculum, the Board approved changes that will affect the learning of young, impressionable minds.

The rewrite will include a complete makeover with a positive spin on all things conservative. For example, the activities of Senator Joe McCarthy will now be viewed in a positive light even though history categorically condemns the late Senator’s witch hunt-like tactics that jailed countless innocent Americans based on suspicions of communist sympathies.

The Board will falsely rewrite History books to conclude that our founding fathers did not really intend for a complete separation of church and state, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. The fact that the law of our land, the Constitution, deliberately excludes the word “God” from within its pages, seems inconsequential to the Texas Board, and the iterations by countless founding fathers including Jefferson, Madison Addams and others of their deliberate intention to separate church and state are completely ignored.

Meanwhile, Ronald Reagan’s presidency and the rise of the conservative movement in the 1980’s will be rewritten in a fully positive light, ignoring the sticky little problems of the Iran-Contra debacle or the huge budgetary deficits rung up the great “conservative” president.

While conservatism gets a face lift, other historical movements will be de-emphasized or outright demonized. The New Deal and the Great Society which heralded in America’s most prosperous era will be called into question as will the Civil Rights Movement with an added lesson on the negative impacts of Affirmative Action. The life and accomplishments of Teddy Kennedy will be deleted along with the accomplishments of civil rights leaders, environmental activists and other great liberal minds of the late 20th century.

Sadly, the Texas State Board of Education has taken it upon itself to rewrite the history the innocent children of Texas will be forced to absorb without consulting a single educator or historian.

The facts of the past have always been a sticky issue for those who would seek to control the minds of the public in ways that are inconsistent with history. Our largely Unitarian, irreligious and Deist founding fathers were men of the Enlightenment who worshipped reason over dogma, and they pose a problem for those insisting the United States is a “Christian” nation. The unprecedented era of prosperity that followed the New Deal is a slap in the face for those who contend that governmental regulation of industry, minimum wages and social welfare are a pariah on the economy. And, the bumbling ineptitude of Ronald Regan and the deregulation of industry that followed, which ultimately led to the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression does not bode well for neoliberal economic theory. Rewriting history in Texas can hide these realities but cannot change them.

History has been beset by powers that would seek to manipulate the historical record to further their own agenda. The Texas Board of Education are in good company with the Holocaust deniers, the Soviet Communist regime, the perpetrators of the Armenian genocide and Adolf Hitler, who coined the concept of the “big lie,” to control the minds and souls of the populace.

How do we want our children to be educated? Do we want to raise the next generation to be independent, thinking individuals who are able to seek truth from a variety of sources? Or do we want our children to be unquestioning vessels of whatever propaganda the powerful would inflict upon them? Free thinking, questioning individuals form the basis of the democracy our founding fathers envisioned. While indoctrinated, unquestioning populations are the dream of totalitarians.

Unfortunately, some innocent Texas school children’s minds will be sacrificed on the alter of historical revisionism, but history also teaches us that for all the manipulations of autocrats throughout time, the truth most often prevails. And more often than not, the political pendulum swings sharply in the opposite direction as a response. I predict a Texas full of angry young people in a decade’s time who will change that red state to blue.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Drip, Drip, Drip

“The supreme good is like water, which nourishes all things without trying to (Lao Tsu, The Water Way)”

A key is turned in an ignition, a switch is flipped, a cord from a whining weed whacker is pulled, a fishing boat chug, chug, chugs down a murky river, a family stays warm, a farmer plows a dusty field, a plastic bag floats on the wind. For almost every seemingly innocuous occurrence, drops in a bucket added up to 18.7 million barrels of crude oil every single day (1) in the United States of America.

The average life in America is entirely dependant upon crude oil for the simplest of daily chores. We have abandoned our city centers and settled in suburbs that were once agricultural belts, our migration necessitating both long commutes into said cities for work each day and transportation of food stuffs from agricultural lands further afield. Liquid fossil fuels heat our homes, power our tools and enable our leisure activities of choice. Our manufacturing sector is powered by oil, and much of what is produced is a manipulation of the versatile chain of carbon atoms that form the black elixir. Plastics, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers and a broad array of chemical compounds are cleverly crafted from the coveted black gold.

In what was probably the only intelligent sentence uttered from the former president Bush II’s mouth, he stated, “America is addicted to oil (2).” On that single point, President Bush was correct.

Just as a drug provides its user with an instantaneous feel-good fix to a multiplicity of perceived woes, crude oil supplies the quick and easy energetic rush American’s crave in their economy and daily lives. In our frenetic hurry of the day to day American reality, there is no time to walk to work, plant a garden or even remember to carry a reusable shopping bag to the grocery store. Crude enables our adrenalin-pumped existence. Oil is like crack cocaine, and like addicts, we are in denial about the consequences of our abuse, while the ecosystems of earth are crashing down around us.

Unlike the water of Lao Tsu, crude oil is a black cancer. Every aspect of its harvest and use causes harm. Each drop of oil we consume has myriad consequences that remain completely ignored or conveniently beyond the intellectual grasp of the average citizen. Then, disaster strikes, and we all point fingers at our government and private corporations for their complicity and neglect in the resultant quagmire, while simultaneously denying our own culpability. We continue to drive our SUV’s to work every day, cruise through the corner fast food drive through on our way home and chill out in front of our wide screen TVs with a brewsky, while we suck our teeth in judgment of those we deem to be responsible.

The rapidly unfolding calamity in the Gulf of Mexico is potentially an environmental catastrophe unparalleled in human history. An ecosystem that predates the human organism lays in ruin at our guilty feet.

300 million years ago, as continental plates shifted, the Gulf of Mexico formed as the North American continental plate pulled apart from what is now Africa. As the continents separated, terrestrial crust settled under sediments sinking deeper and deeper underwater until a body of water, the earth’s 9th largest, formed. The contemporary Gulf has a surface area of 1.5 million square kilometers with 27,000 linear miles of U.S. Shoreline. The Gulf is not just a homogenous body of water. Along its continental borders, vital shallow wetland estuaries teem with birds, shrimp, oysters and a plethora of diverse flora and fauna, providing a livelihood to creature and human alike. Sandy beaches form the heart of a vibrant tourism industry across several state lines. At the geographical center, the Gulf plunges to depths of up to 5,000 meters, with sapphire waters lapping above yet to be discovered mysteries of the deep (3). All is in peril.

Sadly, the Gulf of Mexico is not alone in its demise in the name of our energetic drug of choice. Prudhoe Bay, Prince William Sound, The Bay of Campeche, The fragile desert sands of Kuwait, The Scilly Islands, Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts, Stavanger, Norway, Genoa, Italy and numerous other localities across the globe have been permanently altered as a result of crude oil spills. 20 years after the Exxon Valdez catastrophe, toxic crude oil persists in the fragile ecosystems of the Alaskan coastline, and experts believe the area will be poisoned for hundreds of years to come (4). Each of these ecological losses is another drop in a finite bucket. The drops are adding up.

A drop here, a drop there, and Americans keep sucking down the fix while choosing to be oblivious to the environmental cataclysm they are perpetrating. Now our spigot of excess and destruction has taken on a form that can no longer be ignored. One of earth’s richest ecosystems, home to myriad marine mammals, seabirds, rare sea turtles, mollusks and fishes is poisoned and dying in effigy for our addiction. The multitude of innocent organism bystanders, who gained nothing from our oil gluttony, have now lost everything. The Gulf, mere resource to Homo sapiens, was their only home, providing nurturance, sustenance, spawning and nesting areas and shelter. As the grim, slicked casualties wash up on the shores, their death tolls mounting at alarming rates, we can blame BP for this colossal mess, but in truth, we are all to blame.

Crude oil will never become a clean, beneficial source of energy. We can continue to indulge our addiction, live in denial and sacrifice the earth one drop at a time, or we can go through rehab, suffer the pangs of withdrawal and begin new, more meaningful lives with clean energy that like water, will nourish rather than destroy.

1- U.S. Energy Information Administration, April 6, 2010. Short Term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook. On the world wide web at:

2- George W. Bush, January 31st, 2006. State of the Union Address.

3- Gulf Coast Preservation Society on the world wide web at

4- The Washington Post at