Sunday, September 23, 2012

25th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol

Climate Progress (9-21-12) reports that it is 25 years since we saved the ozone layer by signing the Montreal Protocol. If we can save the ozone layer, then we can save the climate:

Climate change is not the first planetary pollution crisis we have faced.  That distinction belongs to the depletion of the earth’s protective ozone layer.
This Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the world’s most successful environmental treaty, the Montreal Protocol.  That’s the treaty that saved the ozone layer, saved millions of lives, and avoided a global catastrophe. [Full story.]

Sluts Vote!

The Washington Post (9-19-12) has published a great article about how the Republicans are antagonizing Virginia's women voters:

In a presidential campaign where women’s issues have taken a more prominent role than many expected, the crucial swing state of Virginia is becoming the Grand Canyon of gender gaps.

A new Washington Post survey indicates that President Obama holds a 19-percentage-point lead (58 to 39 percent) among female likely voters in the commonwealth yet is running six points behind Republican nominee Mitt Romney among men who are likely to vote (50 to 44 percent). That support from women is the reason the president now holds an eight-point advantage overall in Virginia. [Read the whole article.]

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Arsonist Targets Lac Courte Oreilles Ojbwe Reservation in Wisconsin

“This was no different than the firebombing of a church.”---Lac Courte Oreilles Ojbwe tribal member Dianne Sullivan

Indian Country Today (7-23-12) reports:

A series of six suspicious fires over the July 14-15 weekend destroyed three important traditional ceremonial structures on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojbwe Reservation near Hayward, Wisconsin. The Ceremonial Lodge, housed in a historic log cabin and used for generations of Big Drum ceremonies was a total loss; a Big Drum dance ring in a separate location was also severely damaged.
Additionally, two private community sweat lodges were destroyed. Two buildings behind the Trading Post owned by longtime local journalist and publisher of News From Indian Country Paul DeMain were severely damaged. Finally, the speaker's stand at the long running Honor the Earth Powwow grounds received minor damage from a fire started there. The traditional powwow, described by the Hayward Chamber of Commerce as the largest in North America, was scheduled to begin the following weekend.
LCO tribal member Chris Grover, 37, has been arrested and jailed as a person of interest in connection with the fires that are considered to be criminal in nature according to a press release from the Lac Courte Oreilles and Sawyer County Sheriff Departments...
In an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio, Paul DeMain observed that the traditional communities were clearly targets of the fires.
Many members of the community agree and noted that the perpetrator(s) had to possess intimate knowledge of the community as well as the structures’ remote locations. “The Ceremony House, Dance Ring and sweat lodges are not marked or easily visible from the road,” noted White.
“You have to have been shown where they are,” she said.
“These fires hit at the heart and soul of the Ojibwe people and our way of life,” observed LCO tribal member Dianne Sullivan.
She noted that many people in the community want the perpetrator(s) to be charged with a hate crime.
“This was no different than the firebombing of a church,” she said.
White noted that the resilience of Ojibwe people and their traditional spirituality was apparent in the arsons. Although the suspect(s) tried to repeatedly run over the Dance Ring with a heavy vehicle after fire failed to destroy it, the foundation of the ring was still standing.
“I think that’s a testament to the strength of our ways,” she said.

Paul DeMain, the editor of News from Indian Country reports that the suspect seems to be a disturbed person with a history of drug dealing. According to an article titled "Investigation into 6 arson fires at Lac Courte Oreilles continues" (July 2012):
LCO Tribal Council Chairman, also known as the Reverend Gordon Thayer of the Overcomer’s Ministry, Inc reports that he met with the suspect’s parents on Sunday afternoon July 15 regarding their son, and that he later attended the arrest of 37 year-old Chris Grover, a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Tribe and allegedly his nephew.

Thayer, a controversial figure because of his devotion to God, then left town without issuing any further statements.

Thayer has been highlighted in “recovery,” “born again” and “saved” theology blogs online as saying that he has been tormented by “traditional shamanistic spirits” that he was only able to overcome by his conversion and being “saved by God,” because the creator thru “Jesus has more power,” according to the website

According to Thayer, a Vietnam Veteran in his testimonials, he says he is now in a spiritual war rather then a physical war that God saved him from in Vietnam.  

Grover was known to be a former drug dealer in the LCO community of cocaine and marijuana along with his step-father Jeff Crone and Thayer's former communications director Joe Morey, all participants in Thayer’s /recover church group at times, according to local community members who asked to remain anonymous because of fear for their lives.

The community and inter-denominational members gathered and held 4-day pre-feast before their annual pow wow was held at the Honor The Earth Pow wow Grounds at noon July 17th bringing a broad inter-denomination community together and to prepare for the 39th Annual Honor The Earth Pow wow and Celebration praying the worst was over.

During the event, Grover’s step-father, Jeff Crone who had approached Paul DeMain and personally apologized for the events that endangered his life on July 16th,  stepped forward again on July 17th to the entire community and apologized for the conduct of his son.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ambassador Nathaniel Davis: A Long Walk to Church: A Contemporary History of Russian Orthodoxy

Ambassador Nathaniel Davis's excellent history, A Long Walk to Church: A Contemporary History of Russian Orthodoxy, has been posted online by the Holy Trinity Mission. Read Ambassador Davis's obituary in the New York Times (5-22-2011).

The Bolsheviks purged churches by withdrawing their registration. Often, it was claimed that the buildings did not meet safety codes; and they were "deregistered," padlocked, and left to fall into disrepair and ruin.

The Soviet media typically depicted the forced closings of churches as the result of "objective" socioeconomic processes: believers were "voluntarily" closing their own churches. On other occasions, officials were more truthful. An August 15, 1965 article in Komsomolskaya pravda by G. Kelt acknowledged that "storm tactics" were not making believers into atheists:

Today, we a deceiving ourselves again: "Many believers in our country have left the church and religion." This is self-delusion. It is true that there are no churches and no ministers in a large part of the Soviet Union. But there are believers. If they are not Orthodox, then they are members of one or another of the multitude of finely-differentiated sects.  Where do they come from? From the ranks of those who leave the church...For, as has been said in official statements, closing a parish does not make atheists of believers.  On the contrary, it strengthens the attraction of religion for people and it embitters their hearts besides.

Today, Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is also using bogus health and safety codes to purge abortion clinics.  These regulations are called TRAP laws or Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers. [See another article about TRAP.] Even if you do not agree with abortion, do the ends justify the means? Does anyone think that closing abortion clinics will stop abortions? The Supreme Court has ruled that abortion is legal, and bogus regulations should not be used to circumvent the law. If you don't like abortion, don't have one!

If Cuccinelli is willing to abuse health and safety regulations to close abortion clinics, perhaps he will target other organizations he doesn't like with bogus health and safety regulations. Perhaps he will purge teachers and schools that teach students about climate change. The Vatican says that climate change is endangering mankind. "Choose life" isn't just about abortion.  Even science teachers in Catholic schools teach students that climate change is happening.

If Cuccinelli is such an outstanding Catholic, why does he persecute famous college professors who are telling us about climate change? The reason is because Cuccinelli gets money from the fossil-fuel interests. He's not choosing life when he persecutes scientists who are warning us about the dangers of climate change for world civilization. He is a political gangster who is choosing power and wealth. 

Catholic women have abortions at the same rate as non-Catholic women, according to Catholics for Choice. The best way to avoid the misfortune of an abortion is to use birth control--religiously! The overwhelming number of adult Catholic women use birth control, in spite of what the Church teaches. They don't want to have to have an abortion like their ancestors generations ago. I agree with Hilary Clinton: Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. 

The Board of Health only voted Cuccinelli's way in a 13-2 vote because he threatened them that he would not defend them from any lawsuits arising out of their decision. Perhaps they should have all resigned instead of rubber-stamping Cuccinelli's dictat if they could not risk a ruinous lawsuit. Instead, they caved and passed the burden on to young or poor women. Two Board of Health member were brave, according to (9-14-12):

Board member James H. Edmondson Jr. of McLean unsuccessfully tried to persuade his colleagues to stick with their previous position, saying they have an obligation to base their decisions based on sound medical and scientific evidence — none of which supports the strict building standards, he said...Edmondson, who along with H. Anna Jeng of Norfolk voted against the regulations, said he and his colleagues "were thrown into a totally political situation and we didn't cope very well." He expressed frustration at what he said is a mixed message from the General Assembly.

"On one hand they say be a regulatory body — you are independent," Edmonson said. "On the other hand, 'Do as we say.'"

Edmondson and Jeng are among the five board members appointed by former Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat. The other 10 were appointed by McDonnell.

"Please, don't be cowed by an assertion that you don't have the authority to do what our job is to do," he said.

I was really distressed to see the Catholic Bishops supporting Cuccinelli's outrageous abuse of the law. The ends do not justify the means. During communism, the Catholic Church in the Soviet Union was a bastion of Western legal tradition and spoke out loudly against the abuse of health and safety laws to deregister churches. Sooner or later, the Church will probably change. After all, the Catholic Church includes the mothers  and fathers in the pews, not just the unmarried, all-male clergy in the pulpit. Probably, some of these mothers and fathers leave the Church because they are sick of sitting there respectfully with their mouths closed while unmarried, male priests harp on birth control and abortion.

Married and single women of all social classes frequently got abortions during the 100 years that abortion was legal. They went to their doctors if they were affluent. If they were poor, they went to some untrained abortionist or took home remedies that sometimes were fatal. Today, we have excellent birth control; and if women have access to birth control, abortion could be rare. Making access to abortion difficult will only take us back to those times when poor women often died of an abortion. Is that "choose life"?  

Yesterday, Think Progress (9-14-12) reported that Cuccinelli's crew also ignored dissenting opinion:

Officials barred testimonies by doctors and advocates opposed to the regulations today, a move that further enraged pro-choice activists. In a statement, the Virginia Health Coalition said, “If passed, the regulations may end access to legal abortion in Virginia, creating the most restrictive state abortion regulations in the country and ending access to critical cancer screenings and annual care for thousands of Virginia women.”

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Mitt Romney Ridicules President Obama for Wanting to Stop the Oceans from Rising

"President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family."---Mitt Romney

The Republican candidate for President Mitt Romney ridiculed President Obama for his concerns about climate change and rising seas. 

Mocking President Obama for his supposed hubris, Mitt Romney made this really sick, insensitive "joke" just at a time when Americans are being ruined by droughts, derechos, and Hurricane Isaac:

President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.

The persecuted climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann (8-31-12) observed:

How sad it is to witness such fallacious logic from a major party candidate for president...If we do not take the necessary actions to combat climate change now, we will of course be leaving our children and grandchildren the legacy of a degraded planet.

Four years ago, I voted Republican, but I think that Obama has done a good job with the financial mess he inherited from the Republicans. I am going to vote for President Obama and the Democrats because the President wants to protect our planet so we can continue to live on it. Twit Romney and the Republican party are nothing but mouthpieces of the fossil fuel interests. How I despise them!

It's funny that the "religious" Romney mocks President Obama for promising to slow the rise of the oceans.  After all, according to the Bible, Moses rolled back the sea and the Israelites escaped from Pharaoh's army. I don't really believe in magic, but perhaps the prophet Moses knew a few things about geography, and that's why he saved his people. Romney just told the whole world that he is no Moses and that he can't roll back the rising seas. I think I am going to vote for President Obama because he has some scientific ideas about how we might slow the rise of the seas and save our people.