Tuesday, December 30

2008 "Huge year for natural disasters" -CO2 connection clear

Dec. 22 billion-gallon coal ash spill in Harriman, TN. Dam failure caused by heavy rains. Thanks to the Huffington Post (Hopefully this will end the "clean coal" dirty lie.)

From the 12/29/08 BBC:

"It is now very probable that the progressive warming of the atmosphere is due to the greenhouse gases emitted by human activity," said Prof Peter Hoppe, head of Munich Re's Geo Risks Research. (Munich Re is one of the world's largest "reinsurance" firms, the ones who insure retail insurers.)

"The logic is clear: when temperatures increase there is more evaporation and the atmosphere has a greater capacity to absorb water vapour, with the result that its energy content is higher.

"The weather machine runs into top gear, bringing more intense severe weather events with corresponding effects in terms of losses."

The company said world leaders must put in place "effective and binding rules on CO2 emissions" to curb climate change and ensure that "future generations do not have to live with weather scenarios that are difficult to control".

"If we delay too long, it will be very costly for future generations," said Mr Jeworrek (also of Munich Re).

Sunday, December 21

Winter beauty near Boulder

Icicle fallen from edge of the Sun Cave

Spring above South Fall

Tuesday, December 16

Obama says NO to Americans' #1 request

The top 10 questions posed to Obama and his few answers. From http://change.gov/page/content/20081211_openforquestions

978,947 votes on 10,303 questions from 20,468 people

Currently in the lead:

"Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?"
S. Man, Denton

A: President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.
Transition Team, Washington, D.C.

"What will you do as President to restore the Constitutional protections that have been subverted by the Bush Administration and how will you ensure that our system of checks and balances is renewed?"
Kari, Seattle

A: President-elect Obama is deeply committed to restoring the rule of law and respecting constitutional checks and balances.That is why he has pledged to review Bush Administration executive orders. President-elect Obama will also end the abuse of signing statements, and put an end to the politicization that has taken place within the Department of Justice and return that agency to its historic and apolitical mission of fair and impartial administration of justice.
Transition Team, Washington, D.C.

"What will you do to establish transparency and safeguards against waste with the rest of the Wall Street bailout money?"
Diane, New Jersy

A: President-elect Barack Obama does not believe an economic crisis is an excuse for wasteful and unnecessary spending. As our economic teams works with congressional leadership to put together a plan, we will put in place reforms to ensure that your money in invested well. We will also bring Americans back into government by amending executive orders to ensure that communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public. In addition all appointees who lead the executive branch departments and rulemaking agencies will be required to conduct the significant business of the agency in public so that every citizen can see in person or watch on the Internet these debates.
Transition Team, Washington, D.C.

"Will you lift the ban on Stem Cell research in your first 100 days in office?"
James_M, Nashville, TN

A: President-elect Obama is a strong supporter of Federal funding for responsible stem cell research and he has pledged to reverse President Bush's restrictions.
Transition Team, Washington, D.C.

"What will you do to promote science and mathematics education to Elementary and Middle School students?"
JasonWyatt, Raleigh, NC

A: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will put children first by investing in early childhood education, making sure our schools are adequately funded and led by high-quality teachers, and reforming No Child Left Behind. They will recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession and will support efforts to help these teachers learn from professionals in the field. They will also work to ensure that all children have access to a strong science curriculum at all grade levels.
Transition Team, Washington, D.C.

"Will you appoint a Special Prosecutor - ideally Patrick Fitzgerald - to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?"
Bob Fertik, New York City

"13 states have compassionate use programs for medial Marijuana, yet the federal gov't continues to prosecute sick and dying people. Isn't it time for the federal gov't to step out of the way and let doctors and families decide what is appropriate?"
Greg, Minnesota

Did you know the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services got a patent for "cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants" in 2003? More...

"What do you plan to do to our food industry to make it more sustainable? Will there be changes to our farming policies?"
Jentry, Lincoln, NE

"What will you do to end the use of mercenary forces (ie Blackwater) by our military?"
Betsie, Mtn Home, AR

"What will you do first to reduce pollution/waste and incentivize greener behavior across the country?"
Diane, Boston, MA


Monday, December 15

Paper Bird sings down the house at CU-Boulder's Old Main

All 7 of Paper Bird live in the same house and they brought down the house Saturday at Old Main on the CU-Boulder campus. They jammed with Houses, a new band from Denver. How housey is that? Their 2007 debut CD was "Anything Nameless and Joymaking. I met the Birds at my next-door neighbor's party last Spring. Sweet. Opening was John Beacham, followed by Shenandoah.

Paper Bird can be found at PaperBirdBand.com

< jam

John Beacher>

Tuesday, December 9

My Congressman Jared Polis to introduce bill for NATIONAL ballot initiatives!

My longtime friend and new Congressman Jared Polis did more than anyone to turn Colorado from Republican to Democrat. He did this not just by funding Dem campaigns, but by sponsoring two ballot initiatives that brought out Dem voters: Amendment 23 raised K-12 school funding and Amendment 41 forbids lobbyists from giving legislators "gifts." He also helped with Amendment 37, the nation's first renewable energy mandate for electric utilities, and others.

Yesterday, Jared explained on Boulder-Denver KGNU why he will introduce a bill for NATIONAL ballot initiatives. You can listen by starting the video above.

Jared will be one of the youngest Congress members and perhaps the wealthiest and most philanthropic. In spite of his brilliance, he appreciates what Will Rogers said: "You know everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects...It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us into trouble. It's the things we know that just ain't so." (Think of the financial "wizards"!) So he listens to everyone, and wants the NATION to utilize the "Wisdom of Crowds" (title of a best-seller) via ballot initiatives.

Jared is the first male elected to Congress as openly gay. In spite of recent anti-gay ballot initiatives, he sees that initiatives get issues "on the table" for consideration, which relentlessly drives away ignorance. See Newsweek poll shows surge of support for gay marriage. Or this analyis showing gay marriage opponents "losing ground at a rate of slightly less than 2 points per year."

The media mostly dwell on problematic ballot initiatives, presumably to please the politicians they want access to. Politicians, those who buy their votes and the lobbyists between oppose initiatives. Here's a wrapup of 2008 results from Kristina Wilfore of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center

Jared doesn't really think Congress will empower voters ;) Congress has refused to share legislative power since 1907 when Rep. Elmer Fulton introduced Resolution 44. But Jared hopes to start a conversation. Meanwhile...

Famed former Senator Mike Gravel offers the National Initiative for Democracy, the most evolved project for better and national ballot initiatives. Just as citizens had to ratify the Constitution at the Conventions because the 13 Legislatures refused to share THEIR power, now registered U.S. voters can now vote to ratify the National Initiative. Please tell your friends: "Vote at Vote.org to take the 'mock' out of democracy!"
Neither Rep. Elmer Fulton nor Sen. Mike Gravel nor even Rep. Jared Polis can make this happen. YOU have to. Please! Vote!

"The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government." -George Washington

Monday, December 8

Robin Williams on Obama, Bush,...

Thanks to Bob Cohen for the laugh.

Saturday, December 6

Wednesday, December 3

Prop. 8 -The Musical, starring Jack Black as Jesus

I suggest you click the orange Play button, then the full-screen button -3rd from the right:

"It's a brand new bright Obama day, what a time to be black, a girl or gay!"
(evil enters)...
"Think of all the lawyers for the gay divorces."
(evil sees the light)

"See you later, sinners."

Thanks to Jen Caltrider!

Monday, December 1

More iridescent & glorious Clouds!

Just today at the top of Sanitas Peak overlooking Boulder, CO:

Lots more iridescent & glorious clouds here.

From in front of my apt. in Boulder:

150 MPG SUV blocked from L.A. Auto Show...

...so they set up in front of the L.A. Convention Ctr. This is a plug-in hybrid, using NO gas for the first 40 miles after a charge. So the 150 MPG figure comes from gassless driving 40 miles 7 days a week plus another 40 miles on gas with a very heavy foot getting 20 MPG. (320 miles/2 gallons, and they round it down.) They give several other examples of possible usage at the AFS Trinity website.

The story of how the L.A. Auto Show tried to relegate them to the basement, but not allowing them to use "estimated 150 MPG" on a sign to get people down there, is on Scientific Blogging.

Friday, November 28

Study: Web 2.0 no substitute for participatory democracy

Some quotes from a interesting blog post based on a Phd thesis:
"Doing the same old thing using new technology *will not* politically re-enfranchise people."

"political disengagement is growing because modern democracies do not support strong participatory or direct democracy"

"Based on Dunne's study it would appear that public disengagement is not something that web 2.0 tools can solve alone. Rather the political and social system in which these tools exist must change for people to reconnect with politics."

The most evolved project for a hybrid direct/representative democracy is led by former Sen. Mike Gravel. U.S. Registered voters can now vote to ratify the National Initiative for Democracy at Vote.org, much as citizens ratified the Constitution at the Conventions when the Legislatures wouldn't!

Until then you can beg the Obama admin to do the right thing at Change.gov

Wednesday, November 26

"Doctor Bob" McFarland, MD passes at 79

Robert McFarland died Saturday at 78 of stomach cancer. Bob was the first Medical Director of the People's Clinic and the Founder of the Parenting Place, both in Boulder. He's on the left in the photo.

Bob was fearless in trying to wake people to truths he thought important. Here is my letter to the editor he co-signed, about the passing at 94 of a friend of ours, who's above the ".org" in the photo:

"The world has lost a true friend in Gilbert White, winner of the 2000 National Medal of Science, natural resource adviser to FDR, ecologist before the word existed, president of Haverford College, social scientist and much else he was too humble to mention.

"Gil was a fearless thinker who supported ideas that were before their time, such as the project at Vote.org and ideas that many ridicule or fear, such as evidence that a few people in our government allowed or caused the 9/11 attacks. He's the eldest in the Oct. 21, 2004, Boulder Weekly photo with us, attending a 9/11 Truth event, although we weren't identified. At lunch afterward, he expressed surprise and frustration that the media simply refused to make this an issue in the coming presidential election.

"Gil was pretty sure that 9/11 was treason partly because, when he was working in the FDR White House, he witnessed the congratulatory atmosphere there the day of Pearl Harbor. He believed the government had invited the attack to get people's support to enter World War II, and that something similar happened to get Congress' (not the people's) support for the Bush wars.

"Gilbert could have been a member of almost any elite, but he preferred non-elitists. He believed in giving power to the people rather than keeping it in the hands of any elite. He hoped that when people learned that the government was complicit in 9/11 that they'd demand the kind of participatory government you can help realize at Vote.org. That's why we risk accusations of sullying the dead by writing this.

"Steven Jones, BYU Physics professor suspended for his work with Physics911.net, and Kevin Ryan, fired from Underwriters Laboratories for speaking out, will speak Oct. 29 from 2 to 6 p.m. in CU's Math 100, along with the founder of the Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth, Kevin Barrett, Ph.D."


Bob's memorial service will be Dec. 5 at 3PM at St. John's Church in Boulder
Rest in Peace, Bob and Gil. We miss you.

Monday, November 24

Ever see clouds like this?

If you know what causes such clouds, please let me know!

These were taken in Mexico's wild Copper Canyon, where I've started Gates of Paradise Trips for hardy backpackers to 2 pristine hot springs. On top there's periodic snow, but the bottom is the closest subtropical place to the Rocky Mtn area. It's the world's largest maze, as empty as the Grand Canyon 120 years ago.

Thursday, November 20

Cold Duck

Uncle Sam's pot patent proves pot prohibition patently pathological

The United States of America "as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services" procured patent 6,630,507 on October 7, 2003 for "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants" for such medicinal uses as "stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia."

This proves that classifying marijuana as a Schedule I substance having “no current use for medical treatment in the United States" is a fraud. It also shows how hypocritical and sociopathic the Fed is in persecuting medical marijuana patients -even in the 13 States with LEGAL medical marijuana (9 of which got it via ballot initiative. Such persecution is another reason for NATIONAL ballot initiatives.)

They are patenting "nonpsychoactive cannabinoids" to make it clear that drugs are A-OK as long as you don't enjoy them! "Neuroprotectants" means marijuana is preventive medicine for your brain.

Brinna's Broadside seems to have scooped the blogs, not to mention the mainstream media. She has a good analysis with relevant links, so I won't steal her words like marijuna.com and other lazy asses. Thanks, Brinna. Somebody in California, buy Brinna a bud!

Tuesday, November 18

Click here now for Bailout Timeout!

A left-right coalition is developing in Congress to block further funds for the bailout. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are both calling for no more bailout funds for the Department of the Treasury. Thus far, Treasury has spent $290 of the initial $350 billion. The Treasury Department and Federal Reserve do not inspire confidence. They have hidden key information from the taxpayer and Congress and change strategies while pigs and perps gather at The New Trough. (Naomi Klein's Rolling Stone article)

Stopping the bailout of Wall Street gives Congress time to decide whether the money should be sent, and if so, how? Another alternative has been put forward by Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Robert Byrd (D-WV), an economic stimulus plan that costs about one-third of what is remaining on the initial bailout, $100 billion. It deals with unemployment insurance, disaster relief, infrastructure, aid to states, aid to the auto industry and other parts of the economy.

We urge you to send letters to your elected representatives in the U.S. House and Senate. You can send a letter in a few seconds by clicking here. In addition, please pledge to Break the Bailout by visiting www.BreakTheBailout.com -- we need to show Congress that we will hold them accountable. And, forward this email to everyone you know. There is strength in numbers.

Saturday, November 15

Dan Rather: 2000 Florida voting SABOTAGED!

The old Datavote punch-card voting system worked fine since the '70s UNTIL they were PURPOSELY sabotaged in Florida. Dan Rather's documentary shows 7 printing plant employees saying that they were FORCED to use inferior paper they'd already rejected and FORCED to mis-register the perforations which became the "chad" problem:

This "failure" caused Congress to pass HAVA (Help America Vote Act) which resulted in $100s of millions for Republican-connected voting machine companies and all the havoc we've had since.

It's a crying shame that Dan Rather lost his network job before putting out this, his best expose ever. It's a shame that HDNet titled it "The Trouble with Touchscreens, Part 2" instead of "How our Elections and Treasure are Stolen, Part 1"

As a longtime voting reform activist, I think the only thing wrong with the old Datavote machines was that the software was proprietary instead of open-source (public), which could be easily remedied by legislation. If anyone knows if any of these machines are warehoused somewhere, let me know!

The Trouble with Touchscreens, Part 1 shows how inferior that method of voting is. But carefully filling a square with ink on fragile paper then fed into delicate optical scanners is a pathetic way to signal a computer! Punch cards are way faster and more robust, while leaving a paper trail for real hand recounts.

Friday, November 7

Oak with "the best compact digital": Panasonic LX3

Taxpayers to pay prosecution AND defense of Mortgage Execs?

Taxpayers may pay legal bills for mortgage execs: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance
(thanks to Damian Kessler)

"Who'd have thought we might be on the hook for paying the defense costs when we're also paying the prosecution costs?" said Doug Heller, executive director of Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based group that has been critical of the financial bailout packages. "To defend the economy from the havoc that's been created, we're going to defend the havoc creators?"

Just like taxpayers have been funding BOTH sides of most wars for many decades! We used to fund one side at a time: We armed the Taliban to fight the Russians in Afghanistan; now our soldiers fight the Taliban, still using the weapons we sent them. We now fund both sides at once: Obama: Our Oil 'Addiction' Funds 'Both Sides' of the War on Terror

Here's how both these multidegenerational changes are wrought: The worst and the wealthiest buy the most Congressional votes to increase militarization and to corrupt the rules of finance. This further strengthens the military-industrial complex and the financial tycoons, who buy up more Congressional votes to keep the vicious cycle going. Watch your country and planet flushed down the toilet!

The solution is still a potent check and balance on Congress: national ballot initiatives: Please vote to ratify the National Initiative for Democracy at Vote.org, much as citizens ratified the Constitution at the Conventions when the 13 Legislatures wouldn't.

"The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government." --George Washington

Thursday, November 6

Government BY the People also saved in Arizona

Proposition 105, which would have required a majority of registered voters (not just participating voters) to pass ballot initiatives, was defeated in Arizona 2-1, thanks to work of The Voters of Arizona - No On Prop 105. Colorado voters also defeated a measure to make constitutional ballot initiatives far harder for people -but not the legislature or the wealthy.

Wednesday, November 5

Government BY the People saved in Colorado

First, congrats to all Obamas, from Hawaii to Kansas to Kenya to Indonesia, and the People, for overwhelming turnout, enough to overcome the various schemes to purge them from voter rolls, flip their votes, etc. Colorado is now DEEP blue, with a Dem governor, legislature, both Senators and 5 of 7 House members.

Colorado voters wisely defeated Referendum O, which would have made constitutional ballot initiatives much harder -except for the wealthy. It would have given each Congressional District an effective veto by requiring 8% of signatures from each. Having gathered some 20,000 sigs for initiatives I believed in over the years, I can tell you it's pretty hard in the Boulder/Denver metro area -and would be far harder in rural areas where people are sparser.

Referendum O, proposed by the Legislature, violated recommendations 4, 7 & 8 of the University of Denver Colorado Constitution Panel's report (pdf)

IF the Legislature REALLY wants to improve the ballot initiative process, most academics and activists agree on real reforms: Voters on initiatives need what legislators get: public hearings, expert testimony, amendments, reports, etc., but independent of the legislature, as all branches of government are independent. The best project for such deliberative process is the National Initiative for Democracy, led by former Sen. Mike Gravel. Also Healthy Democracy Oregon and Citizens Initiative Review.

In Switzerland, petitions are left at government offices and stores for people to read and sign at leisure, so there are less aggressive petitioners more informed signers, and less $ required. The Swiss vote on initiatives 3-7 times a year so there's never too many on one ballot. Because they have real power, the Swiss read more newspapers/capita than anyone else.

Legislators have never tried to improve the ballot initiative process, but often try to make it even harder. They'd rather have absolute power!

In Switzerland, representatives are humbler, after centuries of local and cantonal (state) ballot initiatives, and national initiatives since 1891. They call their system "co-determination." Works for couples, too!

Friday, October 31

Ice "ECONOMY" melts down near Wall St.

"ECONOMY" carved in ice melted down Wednesday, the 79th Anniversary of Black Friday, 1929, an art installation by Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese in front of the NY State Supreme Court on Foley Square. "DEMOCRACY" melted down earlier: http://mainstreetmeltdown.com/

Tuesday, October 28

Boulder Mall Crawl reincarnates on Facebook; reality to follow?

Some younger Boulder natives who missed out on our Halloween Mall Crawl, which was shut down by the City (as were many of us buskers, for awhile) have started a Facebook group
Bring back the Boulder Mall Crawl!

My photos helped inspire them.

Who knows, maybe we can go back in time and fix everything that went wrong in Boulder so that there's no Mall Crawl and very little entertainment compared to when we were the biggest free entertainment attraction in the Rockies and Midwest.

We had International Juggling Assoc. repeat champs Airjazz, future Cirque du Soleil Ringmaster David Shiner, Magical Mystical Michael, Eddie Goldsteini, Kenny Lightfoot and Gogol, Narc Gnarley, Flip Phillip, Johnnie Fox, Dexter Trip, Joey, the World's Largest Midget and so many more... See some here. I was Evan from Heaven, the not-so-tight-rope artist.

Halloween, when the Veil between the Worlds is thinnest...

Monday, October 27

Fall photos with "the best compact digital camera"

The Panasonic LX3 is a compact camera with a superior, very wide-angle Leica lens, and a bigger sensor than most compacts, producing less noise in dim light.

This wild rose looks embarrassed. 3 rose hips already and pregnant again??

On Boulder Creek:





New video: E. Howard Hunt details JFK murder

Last week this video emerged of Nixon "plumber" and CIA man E. Howard Hunt giving new detail complementing the audio of his 2005 confession to his son, which was covered by Rolling Stone, etc., in April, 2007 after Hunt's 1/23/07 death. Hunt says LBJ, Kennedy's VP, targeted JFK as an "obstacle" to his own ambition to be President.

Hunt says "I think that LBJ settled on [CIA man Cord] Meyer as an opportunist like himself and a man who had very little left to him in life ever since JFK had taken Cord's wife as one of his mistresses."

Of course Hunt was a professional liar. We may never know the truth about the assassination because the government has had control of the main evidence (the Zapruder film and autopsy photos) since 1963. This is very different from 9/11 which is fairly well documented in spite of the government never releasing the planes' black box recordings, surveillance videos of the attacks, etc.

See the whole series of Hunt videos & articles.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." -George Santayana

"Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind." -Gen. William Westmorland

Friday, October 24

Obama Dance Crew vs. Grand Old Posse!

Beats a staged duopoly debate anytime!

Unbelievable McCain Vs. Obama Dance-Off - Watch more free videos

Tuesday, October 21

1958 TV show on Global Warming!

This 1958 episode of NBC's Bell Telephone Hour, "The Unchained Goddess" clearly explains Global Warming and its dangers. But for 50 years the oil and gas and coal and car industries have bought the ads and politicians to pat us on the head and turn us into addicts. Perhaps the government should nationalize these industries and use their profits to transition us to renewable energy and less frenzied consumption. But that would take Government BY the People because buying Congress is the world's best investment, paying off at 1000 to 1! (See 3rd paragraph)

Monday, October 20

Follow your bailout money to AIG's parties & junkets

New York: First there was the $440,000 that American Insurance Group Inc. spent entertaining executives days after receiving an $85 billion lifeline from the Federal Reserve. Now it's $86,000 for a hunting trip in England after the faltering company reaped another $37.8 billion in taxpayer-funded loans.

News of the hunting trip emerged Wednesday as NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo ordered AIG to do away with golden parachutes for executives, golf outings and parties while taking government money to stay afloat.

Cuomo said he has the power under state business law to review and possibly rescind any inappropriate AIG spending. More here

Now we know what "Party like it's 1999" really means. 1999 is when the Glass-Steagel Act was repealed, which had kept banks from investing our money in "paper" like subprime mortgages

Tuesday, October 14

"Shadow Factory" exposes NSA spying on YOU!

On DemocracyNow! this morning James Bamford, whose book The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America came out today, exposes how the National Security Agency, far larger and more secretive than the CIA, has been used since 9/11 to monitor your internet and phone use without a warrant.

The book and his forthcoming Jan 13 PBS Nova documentary show that the 9/11 Commission never looked into how the CIA kept 2 FBI agents from notifying their headquarters about 2 of Bin Laden's men heading for the U.S. in 1999. They became 9/11 hijackers, and did their final planning across the street from NSA headquarters, which was monitoring their conversations but never told anyone they were in the U.S. The FBI men have been denied permission to appear in the documentary.

“With a flair and clarity that rivals those of the best spy novelists, Bamford has created a masterpiece of investigative reporting.” —Publishers Weekly. It's rising on Amazon.com's bestseller list, at #32 on 12/15. More secret government against the people. The remedy? Government by the People!

Photos with new Panasonic LX3

People are saying that the Panasonic Lumix LX3 is the best compact digital. It has a Leica 24-60mm (equiv.) F 2.0 Summicron lens. The lens is better, wider angle and gathers more light than the competition. The camera operates faster. It only weighs 9 oz.

It's a great complement to my Panasonic FZ18, the best superzoom (28-504mm equiv.) until the updated FZ28, both great outdoors cameras.

From Top: Sumac, Maple and a Hawk Wing mushroom, the best-tasting in Colorado. This one's past its prime, but prettier. Hawk-eyed photogs will see from the mottled background that I need to remove noise and get up to speed with post processing.

From Back to the Garden

Monday, October 13

World Democracy Forum in Switzerland, where people rule

There's very interesting series of articles on "direct" democracy here from journalist Joe Matthews, author of The People's Machine: Arnold Schwarzenegger And the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy. Joe is generally critical of direct democracy, but he seemed impressed by how it works in Switzerland, where they've had national ballot initiatives since 1891, and where the problems seem to have been ironed out. You can see my comments on most of his stories.

The U.S. desperately needs the people to "check and balance" a Congress which so dramatically misrepresents us, from NAFTA to the bailout, with perpetual war and debt, domestic spying, torture and so much more between. I've devoted over 7000 hours over the last 20 years so that we will have a vote on this stuff, hopefully soon. I've been promoting former Sen. Mike Gravel's National Initiative project since 2000, which you can now vote to ratify at Vote.org, much as citizens, not the 13 legislatures, ratified the Constitution at the conventions.

Saturday, October 11

Britain's Long Johns satirize mortgage mess & predict bailout -in 2007!

John Bird and John Fortune (the Long Johns) in this 2007 performance deconstruct high finance and explain how "dodgy debts" become Structured Investment Vehicles on the road to ruin and bailout. I can't top them, so just watch!

Friday, October 10

Congress told: bailout or martial law!

It wasn't just the $150 billion in pork "sweeteners" added to the $700B bailout that got Congress to vote for the "biggest theft in history," it was threats. Rep. Brad Sherman (D, CA) spoke about it on the House floor:

Friday, October 3

Jesus, bail us out !

In the mysterious East, they say the teacher appears when the student is ready. It seems the world is suddenly ready for Jesus or the Aliens to appear and save us!

It seemed portentous when the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 777* points Tuesday. That's supposed to be Christ's lucky number; the Antichrist's is 666. So maybe the silver lining of predatory capitalism's decline won't be economic silver but spiritual gold. *OK, it was 777.68 points. But that rounds to 777.7!

Stay tuned. Om Gom Ganapataye Namaha. (Hindu Ganesh mantra to remove obstacles.)

What do I think of the bailout? About what Will Rogers told a bankers convention in 1924. Listen Thanks to BoingBoing.net, formerly the "World's Greatest Neurozine"

<- I was honored to play Jesus during Holy Week, 1986 in Yelapa, Jalisco, Mexico

Wednesday, September 24

Better brains to get back to the Garden with

I just discovered a great book and website, Brain Rules with the latest research on what makes brains strong -and weak. It confirms lots that I've said for years, including these quotes:
  1. Exercise increases oxygen flow into the brain
  2. There is no greater anti-brain environment than the classroom and cubicle.
  3. Our school system ignores the fact that every brain is wired differently.
  4. The brain is not capable of multi-tasking.
  5. Taking a nap might make you more productive.
  6. Stress damages virtually every kind of cognition that exists.
  7. Smell is unusually effective at evoking memory.
  8. Vision trumps all other senses.
  9. The desire to explore never leaves us despite the classrooms and cubicles we are stuffed into.

Saturday, September 20

Palin shoots Bullwinkle!

This isn't really the kind of political adventure I was going to chronicle, but anything to prevent the country from sinking into a cartoon catastrophe.

No pit bulls or tortured souls in the White House, please!

Friday, September 19

Life in the wilderness

This was the view from Conundrum Hot Springs, near Aspen, Colorado, the highest in N. America at 11,200', on August 3. The mountain is Castlebra Peak and is 13,820'. You may not like reading white on black, but color photographs really look best on a black background, so just suffer!

I've been spending 1-2 months in the Conundrum area for 8 summers. This started in 2000, on a bus ride back to Boulder from my Croton-Harmon High School reunion north of NYC. Some bike messengers (heavily chained and tattooed) reminded me of the Kumba Mela in India coming up. It's the biggest spiritual festival in the world, with up to 90 million camping at the junction of 3 rivers.

First I fantasized that I'd prepare by working on my yoga in the Himnalayas for the winter. Then I realized I'd freeze and that the Mela is about the best place in the world to get sick. So I thought I'd strengthen myself by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. But why go there when the Colorado Trail starts right in Denver? Finally I realized that I could walk right out my Boulder door and hike local trails to the Continental Divide Trail, which joins the Colorado Trail in several places.

So, in 2001, I hiked 300 miles in 40 days from Boulder to Salida. I decided I'd had enough, and went to the Conundrum area (photos) for another month. I decided I preferred base camping, especially at hot springs, to backpacking. I also decided to spend as much of my life outdoors as practical.

Since then I've started guiding people to 2 pristine wilderness hot springs in Mexico's Copper Canyon -deeper, steeper, twistier and far wilder than the Grand Canyon.