Day 365 – End of year one…

I never would have thought a year ago on May the 8th that this blog would have made it this far. For most of my adult life I tried to develop the journal habit and failed. So when I started this collection of almost daily musings, I had no real expectation that it would last any longer than the many journals I have collecting dust on bookshelves and in drawers around this old house of ours.

When I started this blog I blamed it on Fred First whom I hadn’t at that time “met”, though I had already acquired a copy of his book. In the past year we have become friends (at least I like to think so) and we still haven’t “met”. I hope to get the opportunity this summer to wander down Goose Creek and photograph the most photographed barn in Floyd County.

I have “met” others on this journey and hope they consider me a friend the same as I consider them.

Life has a way of keeping you on your toes, and if you don’t pay attention, it’ll pop you on the back of the head to get you to open your eyes…And, that’s where I am at today.

So thank you to all of you who wander by…Special thanks to those of you who keep coming back…

Sunday Thoughts

If my posting slows down a bit in the coming weeks, chances are it’s due to a bit of a family crisis coming to a head. Nothing life threatening (at least for now), just parental control running up against teenaged thoughts of adulthood. Youngest daughter has taken the opportunity of her 17th birthday to remove herself from the family household. Seems in Texas even though the law says children don’t become adults until 18, the police do not consider them runaways at 17 unless you suspect foul play. So now we wait to see where this goes…

On a more positive note, it appears the question of what’s happening to the bees is moving into everyday Americans living rooms this week. I heard on the TV this morning that the prime time evening news is making the disappearance the “Disaster of the Week”. That will either move it into the attention span of the average American or make it old news before anyone even has a clue as o what is causing the problem. I must say the possibilities I have seen so far seem a bit far fetched but anything is possible.

The only news out of the Republican “Debate” that really caught by eye was that three of the candidates actually did raise their hands when asked how many did not believe in evolution…How do you feel about these three controlling the budgets for the different departments scientific research? The Department of Education? Just asking…

I better get up and do something…Even if it’s not “the” right thing.

A Beautiful Mine – New York Times

It seems that the time has come for the American public to have to come to grips with what their unceasing  need for electricity is doing to one of the oldest and most diverse ecologies on the planet.

When it comes to mountaintop removal, a certain fatalism seems to take hold in Appalachia — the coal companies are too powerful, the politicians are corrupt, the regulators won’t regulate and the news media don’t care. But we cannot give up on rehabilitating Appalachia. While most efforts to reclaim the land destroyed by strip-mining have done little to restore the landscape or improve the region’s economy, one effort holds out special promise. It is a three-year-old program within the United States Office of Surface Mining called the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, and it is based on decades of research.

Later in the op-ed Erik Reece speaks of the current state of affairs in Appalachia and his hopes for a future…

Appalachia’s land is dying. Its fractured communities show the typical symptoms of hopelessness, including OxyContin abuse rates higher than anywhere in the country. Meanwhile, 22 states power houses and businesses with Kentucky coal. The people of central and southern Appalachia have relinquished much of their natural wealth to the rest of the country and have received next to nothing in return.

To right these wrongs, first we need federal legislation that will halt the decapitation of mountains and bring accountability to an industry that is out of control. Then we need a New Deal for Appalachia that would expand the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, or create a similar program, to finally return some of the region’s lost wealth in the form of jobs and trees, rebuilt topsoil and resuscitated communities. Financing should come from a carbon tax on Appalachian coal bought and burned by utility companies across the country — a tax that would also discourage the wasteful emissions of greenhouse gases. Such a project would educate and employ an entire generation of foresters and forest managers, who would be followed by locally owned wood-product industries and craftsmen like Patrick Angel’s brother Mike, who makes much sought-after hardwood chairs just like ones his grandfather fashioned.

Let’s hope that America comes to it’s senses soon. If nothing else, the internet has given a voice to those who live and love the Appalachia that the coal companies would destroy. This virtual voice is beginning to get the word out to the rest of America and it wont be very long before America answers back.

Lord help the coal companies and forgive them their destruction…I don’t think I can or will until they fix their mess.

Source: A Beautiful Mine – New York Times

From "Decider" to "Commander Guy"…

Where did all of the phone booths go? What’s a super president supposed to do?

President Bush now says that even after “success” in Iraq — after more American and Iraqi deaths — there will still be sectarian violence and there will still be suicide bombers killing innocent civilians. Which is the situation right now. So why stay in Iraq even one more day, except to validate the unwise decisions of our ineloquent Commander Guy?

Source: Eugene Robinson – Lost in the Fog With Commander Guy –

That’s all I have for today…Home troubles brewing. Later.

Again with the Thursday Morning Muses

The night was filled with distant rumbles of thunder…Well, it was the time I woke up, anyway. The steps outside the back door show signs of rain having fallen, just not very much. The weather prognosticators on the evening rumor and propaganda shows were literally glowing over the possibility of rolling masses of thunderous precipitation, both overnight and throughout the unsunny, cloud covered, non-night hours today…We shall wait to be convinced.

Just for the record, outside it is a springlike 65 degrees this pre-daybreak am. The interesting number, and the one that keeps the skin so smooth here in SE Texas is the 96% humidity. One would think, with those kind of numbers, one could look out the window and see fish swimming or at least some foggy type of water droplets floating around. One would be mistaken, this is one of the clearest mornings of the past couple of weeks…

I see in the NY Times they are all ado about Alberto…They can’t seem to come to a conclusion about what to do about the affair of the President’s shield though (does the AG carry a brass shield like a police officer?). Some are of the opinion he should be impeached for lying to congress. Personally, I think this whole administration has reached the point of tragic comedy. No one in their worst nightmare would wish this kind of incompetence on the country. I thought this quote said it very well…

Changes in the occupant of the White House should not affect the way justice is administered. If the Gonzales mess ends up giving us an apolitical Department of Justice, the American people will be well served.

Arnold I. Burns was the deputy attorney general in the second Reagan administration.

See ya down the road…

Virtual Environments

Kate, over on Cider Press Hill has a post on “Virtual Environments” where she makes some interesting points. Which really got me to thinking about what our virtual workplaces must look like. That led me to this post where I want to share my virtual desktop at work…

Keep in mind that this is a dual monitor setup where I work on highly graphic intensive programs. I also spend at least nine hours a day in front of these screens, so when I minimize the working projects I really am “North Carolina Mountain Dreaming” with a bit of Virginia thrown in.

Where do you spend your day? Post a link in the comments and let’s visit each others virtual environment…

Spring – It was nice to have met you.

Well, it’s official summer has arrived to SE Texas. The temperature when I came into the kitchen for coffee this morning is at 70 degrees and the humidity is above 90%. By my definition, summer has slunk in and it wont be leaving for a while. Luckily for us, we are just south of the storm line that has been dumping rain, lightning, and street flooding on the folks just a county or two away. For two days now heavy rains have fallen just a bit north of where we live here without a drop falling at our house.

I see from the morning emails that Tom Poston has died at the age of 85. I never really thought a whole lot about Tom but when I read the announcement his image immediately popped into my mind from the old Newhart Show. There are a lot of actors out there whose name I know but who I couldn’t picture on a dare, so I guess Tom made an impact o me at some level. Rest in Peace, Tom.

The President made this comment yesterday after he Vetoed the Iraq War Funding Bill…”Many Democrats saw this bill as an opportunity to make a political statement about their opposition to the war. They’ve sent their message.”

I suppose the real question is, did he hear the message and understand that it came from the American people and not just their Democratic representatives in Congress? I really doubt it.

While David Ignatius’ column is about Paul Wolfowitz, I think his insight is valid. Though I don’t know that it’s totally about the “we know best” as much as it’s about “you don’t know nothing”.

This disdain for career staff officers — whether at the Pentagon, the CIA, the Justice Department or an international agency such as the World Bank — is a defining characteristic of the Bush administration and a big reason for its undoing. Administration officials are arrogant — no other way to put it. They ignore the advice of the professionals, whom they regard as obstacles to their agenda of transformation. In their impetuous self-confidence, they become wreckers.

This hubris recurs again and again. We saw it in Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s high-handed management style, in Vice President Cheney’s continuous pressure on CIA analysts to bolster the administration’s message on Iraq, in CIA Director Porter Goss’s purge of agency officers suspected of disloyalty, in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s treatment of career attorneys at Justice.

Or maybe they are accomplishing exactly what they set out to do…

Source: David Ignatius – The Price Of ‘We Know Best’ –

Time to run…later

Stormy Evening

This photo was taken last evening just after sunset as storms moved by to the north. The sky was impressive…

Scandals and Rumors of Scandals

And who said they were going to change the tone in Washington?

Putting industry insiders in charge of the agencies that govern and regulate the very industries they worked for is a good idea…Why?

Oversight of government is a bad idea…Says who?

“The Department of Education has been run as a wholly owned subsidiary of the loan industry under this administration,” said Barmak Nassirian, a longtime advocate for industry reform at the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. “They are running the federal loan program for the profit of their friends and not for the benefit of students and taxpayers.”

All it took to open this administration up to the light of day was for someone to ask a question, any question.

What will the next scandal be?

Source: Warnings On Student Lenders Unheeded –