Friday, October 29, 2010

Remember These 12 Facts November 2nd

12 Environmental Facts to Keep in Mind on Election Day
389 – The concentration in parts per million of carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas, in the earth's atmosphere today.
38 – Percent increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration since the industrial revolution.
18 – Number of countries that have set all-time heat records so far in 2010.
82 – Percent decline in U.S. corn, cotton, and soybean production possible under current warming scenarios.
1 – Rank of 2010 so far as the hottest year on record (tied with 1998).
16 – Estimated number of Exxon Valdez-sized spills it would take to equal the amount of oil spilled into the Gulf after the BP Blowout.
4,342 – Total number of oiled birds collected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Gulf Coast region.
$68.5 million – Amount spent by Big Oil and its special interests allies this year on TV ads designed to elect pro-polluter candidates.
$514 million – Amount spent on lobbying and advertising by big polluters to stop the Senate from passing global warming legislation.
23,000 – Number of Americans whose lives will be saved in 2010 alone because of the Clean Air Act, according to EPA estimates.
232 – Number of toxic chemicals found in the umbilical cord of tested newborn babies in the U.S.
1 – The number of votes it takes to decide a close election. 
Please remember to vote on November 2, and please – vote your planet!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I received a communication from the education union for the state and thought that the message was actually appropriate to probably most, if not all, Tea Party candidates across the nation.


If elected,( FILL IN THE NAME OF YOUR TEA PARTY CANDIDATE)  may attempt to silence the ( YOUR LOCAL EDUCATIONAL UNIONS) but then, who will defend public education?
It will not be the Wall Street corporations, who put profit ahead of student learning in charter schools. Not the anti-government Libertarians, who want to let "gifted" and wealthy students succeed while the others fall by the wayside. Not the politicians who waffle in the breeze and adopt every new, generally worthless reform.
Who would advocate for students? Not the Tea Party partisans, who would turn the clock back to 1960 and save money by increasing class sizes, ignoring special needs children, and using out-of-date text books.
Who will be there to defend educators? Who would step up when a bus driver is fired because he complained about bus safety? Who would defend an excellent teacher who is fired to give a school board member's niece a job?
Who will fight the legal battles for a teacher who is fired because of her race, religion, or ethnicity? Who will protect teacher retirement programs and health insurance plans from the attacks that are sure to come in the 125th Maine Legislature?(PUT IN YOUR OWN STATE DATA)
James Madison's gift to this nation was the concept of checks and balances in our government. It is the foundation of our democracy and it works equally well in education

Friday, October 22, 2010


Our Coming Mega-Drought

| Fri Oct. 22, 2010 3:00 AM PDT
Here are a few recent data points for you: (1) The New York Times reports that "skepticism and outright denial of global warming are among the articles of faith of the Tea Party movement." (2) In the National Journal, Ron Brownstein notes that "The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones....Of the 20 serious GOP Senate challengers who have taken a position, 19 have declared that the science of climate change is inconclusive or flat-out incorrect." (3) It's not just Senate candidates. ThinkProgress notes that an analysis by Wonk Room "finds that 22 of the 37 Republican candidates for governor this November are deniers of the scientific consensus on global warming pollution." (4) The Wall Street Journal reports that "extreme drought" has taken hold in parts of nine states stretching from the Southeast to the lower Midwest.


Sunday, October 17, 2010


Neither Maine nor the nation needs the Paul LePage’s of the world. Time to dump the Tea Party into the harbor. Maine has a long tradition of independence but it also cares for its people. LePage, and it seems all Tea Party minded candidates, would return us to an era of survival of the fittest. Under the guise of less spending and reduced regulations, their ideas do nothing but give big business free reign to continue to rape and plunder the middle class.

Maine’s unemployment is around 50, 000. LePage wants to layoff 6-7,000 teachers. That’s a real economic benefit. Just what we need, more people searching for scarce jobs, more lost homes and higher welfare needs.  But wait, they also want to cut welfare and put the ‘lazy bums’ back to work. Where? Yes, there are abusers of the welfare system and programs to get rid of ‘welfare lifers’ who could otherwise work makes sense. But, there are many with legitimate needs and in Maine, we used to care for those who need help. But I suppose it is easy to pick on the poor! What is totally illogical is that LePage wants to cut support for the University system, Community Colleges, and K-12. Stop that train. How will reductions in the very systems that are needed for an intelligent work force going to attract jobs? LePage further wants to abolish the State Department of Education thereby cutting off access to millions of dollars. Hang that phone up, Mr. LePage. Those are my tax dollars coming back to Maine. Why would I want them going to who knows where?

While mouthing support for alternative and renewable energy, LePage and the Tea Party are big supporters of more offshore oil drilling and nuclear power. Just what the Gulf of Maine needs, oil rigs run by the likes of BP and nuclear power that produces radioactive waste good for at least several hundred thousand years. Hell, the U.S can’t safely dispose of the waste it has now, what sense is it to add to the problem?

Everyone likes to hear phrases like reduce government spending, give tax cuts, fight the bureaucrats, and get government off our backs. If history is any indicator, the tax cuts benefit the wealthiest; reduced regulation means let’s not worry about oil spills; and, getting government off our backs means let the large corporations do what they want. And to date, what they want is to send their jobs overseas and pay slave wages.

What will really attract jobs to Maine? A clean environment, an educated work force, quality services, modern infrastructure and fewer damn potholes will help bring jobs to Maine. These things cost money and to think you will have them by just cutting taxes, dumping on government workers, and firing teachers is ludicrous! These same people don’t want to extend unemployment benefits, deny retirees benefit increases, take free choice away from women and slam the poor and unemployed because they got shafted by big business. This is not what Maine is about and it is not what America is about. Do we need changes and improvements and politicians who do not placate themselves to the rich and powerful? Of course! But we don’t need politicians who claim to be for the middle class but whose policies would continue to destroy the very people they hope will vote for them. No ‘tea’ for me, no tea for Maine and no tea for the nation. We are a country of coffee drinkers and hopefully the electorate is bright enough to understand that.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Wednesday, October 13, 2010
A Maine Christmas Carol - a modern version of the fairy tale

Philip Harris' A Christmas Carol Maine, a modern take on the story of Charles Dickens' 'Christmas past, present and future in a middle class setting is a New England vacation experience for readers of all ages. The spirit of the original story is refined into a story the best, but also unravels the sad experiences of a contemporary Scrooge destroyed the name of Thomas, as he "sees" Christmas with his spirit guide.

The development of the classic life of a beleaguered and very poor young spirit in the face of the consequences of their selfish actions is sent with messages for the socially irresponsible of our life and times are layered. A Maine Christmas Carol is a powerful parable of the evils of advanced society should not be controlled and kept inexplicable.

through the eyes of the mind, Thomas sees that he is indeed responsible for the happiness of others, his actions did not deeply affect those who come into contact with him. By the owner of the shop of her sister's eight years, his actions have a deep and lasting mark. Even more critical is to note that the influence of the wave of the tsunami, like his acts, facts, and the lack of success, he will never meet. What did with his life is as important as what he had done his first 16 years.

In Harris' A Christmas Carol Maine, a new family tradition was born. The writing style simple conversation, the logical course of history,and turn the original story, this book is a new classic that will go on the shelf right next morality original Dickens' story. Harris has done an excellent job of weaving Thomas profound experience of redemption with the underlying issues of social justice and poverty.

A Maine Christmas Carol is the explicit proof of the relationship of the privileged class in our country that fails to address the social problems of our society. Philip Harris has clearly and clearly a different and allegory that redefines the meaning of Christmas, a new generation of readers.

A Maine Christmas Carol

Philip F. Harris

Released: Cambridge Books 2007




I'm glad that others are seeing the real truth with regard to Sam Harris and his objective morality. If there is one truth in science it is that the observer and observed are one. It is totally subjective; what you look for is what you find. For some reason, Sam Harris ignores this fundamental truth as it, a priori, totally destroys his entire argument. The universe is subjective-plain and simple. And while his take on traditional religion is, to me, correct, he obviously has no understanding of mysticism or spirituality. If he did, he would see that science, is in fact, proven what the ancients knew thousand of years ago-We are one and we create our reality. Kudos to John Horgan!


Be wary of the righteous rationalist: We should reject Sam Harris's claim that science can be a moral guidepost

Oct 11, 2010 09:00 AM
Say what you will about Sam Harris, the man's got guts. In The End of Faith (W. W. Norton, 2005) and Letter to a Christian Nation (Knopf, 2006), Harris, a neuroscientist, rejects the notion that science and religion can coexist. We can't believe in science, Harris says, and still believe in supernatural beings that part seas, resurrect dead people and keep tabs on our naughtiness and niceness.
Harris slams nonbelieving apologists for religion such as the late biologist Stephen Jay Gould. With typical rhetorical grandiosity, Gould proposed that science and religion need not conflict because they are "nonoverlapping magisteria" that address separate realms of existence. Science tells us what is, religion what should be. Given all the crimes committed in religion's name, Harris retorts, why would anyone look to it for moral guidance?
I'm with Harris up to this point. I part company with him when he argues in his new book The Moral Landscape (Free Press, 2010)—which comes fortified with blurbs from Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins and other antireligious scientific luminaries—that science can take religion's place as the supreme arbiter of moral "truth". "There are right and wrong answers to moral questions," Harris asserts, "just as there are right and wrong answers to questions of physics." Questions about morality, he explains, are really questions about human happiness or "well-being," and these questions can be empirically resolved, just as questions about diet and disease can be.
One can raise all sorts of philosophical objections to this position, and the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah does just that in a New York Times review ironically titled "Science Knows Best". My concerns about Harris's proposal are simpler: I just look at the harm—historical and recent—wreaked by scientists supposedly concerned with humanity's well-being. Some examples:
—From 1946 to 1948, physicians funded by the National Institutes of Health deliberately infected nearly 700 Guatemalan prisoners, mental-hospital patients and soldiers with syphilis to test their responses to antibiotics. The leader of this research, John C. Cutler, was also involved in the infamous Tuskegee studies, in which scientists withheld antibiotics from black American males naturally infected with syphilis. "It's ironic—no, it's worse than that, it's appalling—that, at the same time as the United States was prosecuting Nazi doctors for crimes against humanity, the U.S. government was supporting research that placed human subjects at enormous risk," the bioethicist Mark Siegler told The New York Times.
—In the 1950s and 1960s researchers at leading universities embedded electrodes in the brains of mental patients to test whether minds and bodies can be manipulated via electrical stimulation of neural tissue. In 1969 the Yale physiologist Jose Delgado (whom I profiled in Scientific American in 2005), extolled the benefits of brain implants in his book Physical Control of the Mind: Toward a Psychocivilized Society (Harper & Row, 1971). Delgado declared that brain implants could help create "a less cruel, happier and better man." In 1970 Frank Ervin and Vernon Mark, two brain-implant researchers at Harvard University with whom Delgado had collaborated, proposed in their book Violence and the Brain (HarperCollins, 1970) that brain implants and psychosurgery might quell violent crime and rioting in inner cities.
—In recent decades prescriptions of drugs for children, including infants, supposedly suffering from psychiatric illness have skyrocketed. Some 500,000 U.S. children and adolescents are now taking antipsychotic drugs, Duff Wilson reported recently in The New York Times, even though some experts believe the drugs "may pose grave risks to development of both their fast-growing brains and their bodies." In another Times article Wilson details how psychiatrists who tout the benefits of antipsychotics receive grants, vacations, meals and other gifts from drug manufacturers. The Harvard physician Joseph Biederman, whose research helped spur a 40-fold increase in diagnoses of bipolar disorders in children between 1994 and 2003, received $1.6 million, "from companies including makers of antipsychotic drugs prescribed for some children who might have bipolar disorder," according to Wilson.
Some will complain that it is unfair to hold science accountable for the misdeeds of a minority. It is not only fair, it is essential, especially when scientists as prominent as Harris are talking about creating a universal, scientifically validated morality. Moreover, Harris blames Islam and Catholicism for the actions of suicide bombers and pedophilic priests, so why should science be exempt from this same treatment?
Clearly, some bad scientists are just greedy opportunists who care about only their own well-being. But those who fervently believe their own rhetoric about saving humanity may be even more dangerous. Consider the harm done in the name of Marxism and eugenics, pseudoscientific (not religious) ideologies that inspired two of the most lethal regimes in history—Stalin's U.S.S.R. and Nazi Germany.
Harris asserts in Moral Landscape that ignorance and humility are inversely proportional to each other; whereas religious know-nothings are often arrogant, scientists tend to be humble, because they know enough to know their limitations. "Arrogance is about as common at a scientific conference as nudity," Harris states. Yet he is anything but humble in his opus. He castigates not only religious believers but even nonbelieving scientists and philosophers who don't share his hostility toward religion.
Harris further shows his arrogance when he claims that neuroscience, his own field, is best positioned to help us achieve a universal morality. "The more we understand ourselves at the level of the brain, the more we will see that there are right and wrong answers to questions of human values." Neuroscience can't even tell me how I can know the big, black, hairy thing on my couch is my dog Merlin. And we're going to trust neuroscience to tell us how we should resolve debates over the morality of abortion, euthanasia and armed intervention in other nations' affairs?
I suspect Harris wants to rely on brain scans to measure "well-being" because he doesn't trust people to simply say what makes them happy. If a Muslim girl says that she likes wearing a veil, as many do, she doesn't know what's good for her, Harris might say. Maybe she doesn't, but magnetic resonance imaging won't help us resolve these sorts of issues.
When scientists venture into the moral realm, they should not claim that their investigations of what is yield special insights into what should be. I realize I'm asking a lot of scientists—and secularists—to be humble when religious and political zealots like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are so bloated with self-righteousness. This asymmetry recalls Yeats's famous line from his poem "The Second Coming": "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." But if we all become zealots, we're really in trouble.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Here is a story from NPR that has also appeared in many other news outlets.

"With well over a million homes being repossessed, 2010 is shaping up to be a record year for foreclosures in the U.S. But there are serious questions about the way many have been carried out, and now prosecutors are investigating whether some of the country's largest banks committed fraud.
— GMAC Mortgage, Chase and Bank of America — in written statements basically say that the underlying facts behind these foreclosures were sound, and that they weren't taking people's homes for no reason. 

So, is this just a problem of the banks being sloppy and too casual with the paperwork? Attorney General Cordray thinks not.
"That's not what we have here," he says. "What we have here is lying under oath. The facts may or may not be correct. And this seems to have been an industry-wide practice, where the companies encouraged this and required it of their employees — to commit deliberate fraud on the court in case after case after case."

The financial interests involved here are the same that finance those who say they are for America's working class. Now it seems to me that since we gave these institutions billions of our tax dollars so they could continue to make record profits, why are they so hastily and so illegally trying to quickly foreclose on millions of homes? How is that being for the American worker? 

The article goes on to say, "We (Ohio) have filed a lawsuit against GMAC Mortgage and their parent company, Ally, and we consider each separate incident of a false affidavit filed in a case warranting full penalties of $25,000 per incident," he says.
That's $25,000 per homeowner, and there have been millions of foreclosures. This isn't just another shoe dropping for the mortgage industry.
"That is so much bigger than a shoe," Cordray exclaims.

I suggest that for every home foreclosed in this manner, that they be forced to pay the $25K per incident, and that those funds be used to help homeowners keep their homes. Now that would be a true economic stimulus.

Legislation that would have allowed lenders more flexibility in signing court documents and speeding up foreclosures had been sent to President Obama, but he's using a rare "pocket veto" to essential kill it. ( )

When you vote in just a few short weeks ask yourself who will work in your best interest? Those who would take your home, or those who at least are trying to really help? Clearly, the Democrats have been a disappointment. The financial interests have long arms. But their fundamental motives are more in tune with what is needed.

When will we say enough is enough?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Screw me twice, shame on me. There can be little doubt those that control and dominate the American and world economy have had it pretty easy. Any time they get into trouble they simply cry 'too big to fail'and their puppet politicians simply take money from what was once a middle class and bail them out. The most recent being around $800 billion. And, while these 'too big to fail' companies make usurious profits and pay absurd bonuses for failure, they create no new jobs under the protection of the 'consumers aren't buying' mantra. Could it be because they have all of our money? But there has been so much said and written on this topic it is not worth repeating the list of corporate atrocities committed upon the consumers of the world. The bail out was the first, or rather the most recent and obvious, screwing. Shame on them.

These same corporate entities are now trying to screw us again, and if they are successful, shame on us. Hopefully, you all know that mid-term Congressional elections are coming up in November. The current mantra of these forces tends, on the surface, to sound appealing. Sound bites "cut the size of government, reduce government spending, keep tax cuts, fire the teachers, we can't afford to address climate change, reduce regulations, etc.," does have some appeal in a troubled economy. But what is really behind these corporate funded attacks? Of course they want the size of government reduced. If there a fewer food inspectors, environmental regulators, health and safety employees, they get more free rein to do as they please. Reducing government spending allows them to make more profit as they will be taxed less. Keep tax cuts helps the rich to stay rich. The poor don't pay many taxes anyway so it's not like tax breaks are very useful for the increasing numbers of people falling into poverty. They are not there because of taxes but because they have lost their jobs and banks are taking their homes.

Did you notice that just when people began to take climate change seriously that we had an economic crisis? How many times do we have to listen to the idea that increasing mpg will raise the price of cars and no one could afford them? Hell, we can't afford the cars they are making now. But we know that the technology exists for non-polluting/high mpg cars. But that means less money for the oil cartels. Spending money of safe and environmentally oil exploration would decrease the corporate bottom line. Corporations claim that such regulations cost jobs and raise the cost of energy so we can;t do that. How many people want to listen to 'save the environment' when they have a hard time putting food on the table?

Reducing the size of government, firing teachers to save money and massive public employee layoffs will not help the economy. If no jobs are being created, where will these people work? If we go on a benefit cutting spree, then how would all of these people live? Is there room for reform and efficiency improvement? Of course, but a wanton and reckless loss of government jobs will do nothing to help the economy. Although, it will allow the banks to take more homes away. Clearly, right-winged financed political campaigns against everything means that they are for themselves, not for us. Look at the resistance to the extension of unemployment benefits; efforts to take away Social Security benefits; the lack of interest in feeding hungry people; the unwillingness to help us get affordable health care and the basic disdain to human suffering and ask how these actions could benefit you.

There is no question that we need improved efficiencies and abuse of programs needs to end. But the demonetization of government workers, the poor, the middle class and efforts to create a sustainable and peaceful world serves only the interests of those that have a lot and not the interests of the majority of people. If you buy into the corporate financed propaganda, shame on you!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A 3 Step Process to Transform a Crisis or Change from the Inside Out

How To Let Go of Negative Self-Judgments by Ronald A. Alexander, Ph.D.
Adapted from Dr. Ronald Alexander’s new book, Wise Mind, Open Mind: Finding Purpose and Meaning in Times of Crisis, Loss, and Change (New Harbinger Publications, 2009).

Many people cling to the myth that those who are successful inevitably feel good about themselves and are free from self-doubt and insecurities. I’ve worked with many clients whose résumés, personal achievements, and reputations garner the deepest respect and admiration, yet their negative self-talk is often utterly brutal. Despite their low opinion of themselves, they’ve managed to fashion lives that many would envy. Yet the disconnection between their inner feelings about themselves and their outer success causes them to hold back from making changes that would lead to far greater fulfillment and peace of mind. They’ll remain in a stagnant situation until change is thrust upon them, and then feel overwhelmed by any crises that occur.

The Destructive Power of Negative Self-Judgments
No matter how accomplished we are, no matter how happy we may seem, we all hold on to negative self-judgments, and they hold on to us. They prevent us from discovering our power to change our lives for the better.  When we switch to more positive thought patterns, crisis stops being overwhelming, and it’s far easier to let go of resistance, tune in to our passions and inner resources, and move forward with confidence.
Positive thinking is indeed powerful, but don’t hold yourself to unrealistic standards and expect to quickly transform what are often lifelong thinking habits. The object is to stop assigning meaning to these self-judgments, because once you start to give them weight, they begin to weigh you down. Through the practice of mindfulness, you can learn to notice when you are tearing yourself down and begin to change your habit of self-criticism.

The Stories the Mind Spins
Often, the rational mind will string together a series of distortions. Instead of simply noticing “I am shy,” the mind will generate the thought, “I’m shy, which is why I’ll never find a romantic partner; my shyness makes me unattractive.” Another example might be someone who is out going spinning a disempowering story: “I’m an extrovert. My mother never liked that about me, and it seemed to embarrass my siblings. I probably made a fool of myself many times. I am too eager to connect to other people, who look down on me for being emotionally needy.” You may not even be fully aware that you’re embellishing your self-judgments in an unwholesome way.

Reframe Your Negative Self-Judgments
Through mindfulness practice and self-inquiry, you can render any negative self-judgments neutral and even see them in a far different light. To be “self-centered,” focused on resolving inner conflicts, can be perceived as negative, but it’s very important at times to direct your attention to yourself and your needs. If you feel that you are “callous,” you might reframe that quality as “courageous” or “bold.” If you see yourself as “weak,” consider thinking of yourself as someone who is sensitive to others’ feelings.
Here are some steps to help you mindfully reframe an unwholesome self-judgment that you know is of no use to you and that causes you anguish. It is beneficial to use a journal to work through each step.
1.    Identity and label the judgment. Give it a simple name or theme, such as “inadequate provider,” “insincere,” or “people pleaser.”
2.    Discover the quality of the judgment. Ask yourself, “What is this self-judgment causing me to think or feel about myself in this moment?” Does it make you feel ashamed, angry, or guilty, for example? Notice whether the feeling is wholesome and supportive of your well-being, or unwholesome, making it difficult for you to enter a state of spaciousness, openness, and trust.
3.    Find a remedy for the unwholesome thought or feeling. Ask yourself, “Would I like to think or feel something different? What thought or feeling could I generate to shift myself out of this unwholesome state?”
4.    Formulate a new thought, image, or feeling, and begin to hold on to it firmly. Experience it in your mind’s eye and in your body. Feel a wholesome sensation, such as relaxation, excitement, or expansiveness.
5.    Assess whether you’ve shifted. Ask yourself, “Have I shifted out of the feeling, state, or thought that was unwholesome and let go of my negative self-judgment?” If you have, then enjoy the new sensations, feelings, and thoughts you’ve generated as a remedy. If not, go back and repeat steps 1 through 4.
You may never totally rid yourself of your unwholesome self-judgments. However, you can alter their quality, learn from them, and either let them go or transform them so that they no longer block you from a sense of well-being, a feeling of spaciousness, and openness to new possibilities. Hidden gold will appear when you let go of your negative-judgments. The aspects of yourself you’ve been overlooking will ascend to your consciousness. Through mindfulness, you can discover these forgotten qualities that will inspire and vitalize you, and carry you through the rough waters of criticism to more placid waters.

Ronald Alexander, Ph.D. is the author of the widely acclaimed  book, Wise Mind, Open Mind: Finding Purpose and Meaning in Times of Crisis, Loss, and Change. He is the director of the OpenMind Training® Institute, practices mindfulness-based mind-body psychotherapy and leadership coaching in Santa Monica, CA, for individuals and corporate clients. He has taught personal and clinical training groups for professionals in Integral Psychotherapy, Ericksonian mind-body healing therapies, mindfulness meditation, and positive psychology nationally and internationally since 1970. ( For full details about the Wise Mind, Open Mind virtual blog tour, visit