March 23rd, 2008

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Hoppy Easter!!

The moon is a gift in the sky this morning, an egg for the fog to nestle under like grass in a basket.

The Easter bunny has come and eggs are scattered inside and out.

It is a day of resurrection, of celebration, of birth.   Enjoy the footprints and leaping hops of spring!

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The Iraq War -

It is important today to remember the Iraq war.  Nicholas D. Kristoff points out today in his column that he war is costing $5000 a second.  $5000 a second, and it would be one thing if we actually had the money, but we are borrowing it. 

Here is the end of the column.

Moreover, the Bush administration has financed this war in a way that undermines our national security — by borrowing. Forty percent of the increased debt will be held by China and other foreign countries.

“This is the first major war in American history where all the additional cost was paid for by borrowing,” Mr. Hormats notes. If the war backers believe that the Iraq war is so essential, then they should be willing to pay for it partly with taxes rather than charging it.

One way or another, now or later, we’ll have to pay the bill. Professor Stiglitz calculates that the eventual total cost of the war will be about $3 trillion. For a family of five like mine, that amounts to a bill of almost $50,000.

I don’t feel that I’m getting my money’s worth.

And that, does not include the loss of lives, and the destruction of families and peace of mind.    Prayers today and every day for ease and awareness of the cost on every side.

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On this day -

Remember the excitement and vision of the space program, the inspiration to educate and explore. 

On March 23, 1965, America's first two-person space flight began as Gemini 3 blasted off from Cape Kennedy with astronauts Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young aboard.

ayer's rock -

Love -

Sonnets from the Portuguese - 14

    - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

If thou must love me, let it be for nought 
Except for love's sake only. Do not say 
'I love her for her smile her look her way 
Of speaking gently, for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought 
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day'
For these things in themselves, Belovèd, may 
Be changed, or change for thee, and love, so wrought, 
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for 
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,
A creature might forget to weep, who bore 
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby! 
But love me for love's sake, that evermore 
Thou mayst love on, through love's eternity.


mt. tam fire lookout

Solutions -

A Green Corps

Bill McKibben


In the forested Northeast, where I live, you occasionally come across big stands of red pine. They're wonderful trees--jigsaw puzzle bark, a gorgeous hue against snow or blue sky--but if you know the history, they have another meaning, too, just as sweet. Red pine are a fairly rare native species in this area, but they were one of the trees of choice for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. They grow straight; they make good phone poles. For whatever set of silvicultural reasons, there are a lot of these groves of 70-year-old trees. Every time I wander through one, I think of Franklin Roosevelt and try to imagine the crews that came out to plant them.

We usually talk about New Deal programs in terms of their effect on the mood of Americans--they restored hope, they gave people back their dignity and so on. Sometimes we talk about how they helped get the economy afloat again. But there was another result: the hundreds of thousands of actual projects that were built in those years. Hiking trails, city halls, bridges, park gazebos, public plazas, dams, and on and on. For my money, that's the kind of work that needs doing now, as we face a crisis even greater than the Depression: the quick unraveling of the planet's climate system in the face of our endless emissions of carbon dioxide.

Many people have used the Apollo Project (or the Manhattan Project) as the template for how we can quickly wean ourselves off fossil fuels and replace them with renewable sources of energy. That's good as far as it goes--we do need new technologies. But in a sense our task is almost the reverse of the Apollo Project. Instead of focusing our resources to land a few people on the moon, we need to spread them out to affect everyone. It's as if we've got to get the whole nation into orbit, and fast. And for that, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the CCC (and the industrial thrust to gear up for World War II) may provide a better analogy.

The people hired by these agencies went out and did things, and did them in large numbers--the CCC planted 3 billion trees (which would be no small help with global warming). Imagine an army of similar size trained to insulate American homes and stick solar photovoltaic panels on their roofs. They could achieve, within a year or two, easily noticeable effects on our energy consumption; our output of carbon dioxide might actually begin to level off. And imagine them laying trolley lines back down in our main cities or helping erect windmills across the plains. All this work would have real payoff--and none of it can be outsourced. You're not sending your house to China so they can stuff it with cellulose.

There are people starting to think along these lines: the Green for All campaign has been pushing for a billion-dollar commitment for a quarter-million green jobs of just this kind, designed to pull people out of poverty. And as the depth of our environmental trouble and the probable recession become clearer, others are more ambitious yet: on the fortieth anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, activists will gather in Memphis for the Dream Reborn, a conference whose organizers argue that were King still alive he'd be fighting to take on the twin scourges of global warming and global inequity with a massive new public works campaign.

The Depression and the war that followed were the last great civilization-challenging events; global warming is the next threat on that scale. It stands to reason we'd turn for instruction to how the challenge was met last time.