Blog Archive

Thursday, September 29, 2011

9292011 2am

I set my alarm (Scotland, the Brave) for 4AM…but woke up at 2.

Thursday is my watering day, Midnight till 9AM; and 7pm to Midnight.


I made the Coffee and set to….keeping eyes peeled for the Possum I’ve been after…and, who is after the 3 Lil Red Roosters that disdain proper shelter.

An hour at a time…then moving the sprinkler. By Dawn, I’ll have the Wild Lot soaked. The Rye is sprouting.

Whisper of deep green in this brown land.

To the Café…(a Blue Table, and some chairs, out by the road.Where I drink Tea in the evenings)

Barrio is quiet, save for the dogs, near and far….and the 3 wayward Roosters.

I have disturbed them.

On Sunday mornings (my other watering day), there are Cattle to be heard…all night…from the Stockyards, a mile to the east.

They keep the dogs up and howling…but, tonight, quiet.

The Barrio begins to stir, in another hour.


The rest of the Roosters…mine, and many others…will tune up around then.

Crowing and flapping and jostling.

The Geese are already muttering…they know I’m about.

Ducks can be heard, as well…complaining softly in their hide.

I do most of my work, on these mornings, in the dark.

One of my Psychological Issues with Town Life is feeling Watched.

I have almost always been in the country…and, reason be damned, I cannot shake the feeling. 2 years of observation and insomnia haven’t cured me.

It is partly a likely holdover from the Prowler Problem, out at Mom’s.

One never knew when He would be lurking….and I still have the urge to go about armed.

Unnecessary, now…especially since the Lollo Affair sent that dude into hiding.

Probably a touch of PTSD…to go with my other “issues”.

Too, in the country, I’d likely be Nekkid for this work.Ha!

I’ll spend the rest of the day napping, and Willing the Rye to Grow….perhaps I can be Painless enough to do the Pantry. Inventory, et cetera.

I used to love the Fall of the year…now, the Fronts lay me out.

I can smell it…the change in the season…a mere suggestion of Chill, although it’s almost 80 degrees.

A “mild” Winter is forecast.

And Summer’s stars are gone, by this time of the morning.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Regarding the Mayor’s mention of re-doing the Sewer Plant.( a letter to city and editor)

Everything Poops!

It may not be pleasant to think about, but there it is.

Most things that Poop have Micro-Flora and -Fauna, in their Gut, that generate Methane.

The city and county, in recent years, have been fined for venting Methane to the atmosphere…from the landfill, at least. It is a certainty that the aging Sewer Plant Vents Methane, as well.

“Natural Gas” is a marketing term, invented by energy companies, decades ago, in order to sell Fossil Methane. Seems everyone knew , at the time, that Methane = Sewer Gas….and our aversion to the products of Bodily Functions meant that even the Fossil Gas was a hard sell.

Now , we are in an Energy Crisis. Light Sweet Crude Oil is hard to find, the “low hanging fruit” having been extracted, long ago. This is the reason for the mad scramble for “alternatives”…such as Oil Sands, Tar Sands, Deep Water Drilling, etc. All of these, and more, have what is called a Negative EROEI (energy return on energy invested); it costs more energy to extract and make useable these resources, than is contained in the resources, themselves. Enormous amounts of Fresh Water, and a whole lot of “Natural Gas”(the Fossil Kind) are also required to Process these resources into a useable form.

It is, in short, Folly…and an act of desperation.

Fossil Fuels are Finite….there is only so much of them there…and the world has used them wantonly.

Nothing, really, can replace Oil, barrel for barrel. It is energy dense, and transportable. “Natural Gas” is neither. It is expensive and dangerous to transport it…and at the earliest opportunity (a pinhole leak), it escapes to the atmosphere…where it is a remarkably efficient Greenhouse Gas.

A viable alternative to at least some of these problems is sewer gas….Methane. The Landfill, the Feedlots (that are, luckily, right next door) and the Sewer Plant. All that is needed is to Capture that Methane, run it through a glorified Charcoal Filter, and Viola! Energy for Mason!

Currently, our Electricity comes from far away…through Power Lines…

Power Lines “Lose” around 40% of what’s Generated, in Transmission. That Electricity is simply “vented”…much like our Methane…in the form of an Electromagnetic Field.

What a Boon for Mason, if we could actually use the Waste we Generate to heat and cool our homes…and to run our gadgets. It is worth looking into, since our Elected Officials are contemplating a Major Overhaul to the current infrastructure.

I urge you all to educate yourselves on this matter….and to then tell your Council-People and Commissioners about it.

I have sent this to Mayor Brent, along with a smattering of links…which Gerry can print if he wants to.

Thank You, Josef

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Brief History of the Politics of Amfortas.

I had considered myself a Libertarian, for as long as I had been aware of such distinctions. However, I remember, hazily, being on Jimmy Carter’s side, during his debates with Reagan…This was in 5th grade, and the teacher Mrs. Biggers, was not only mean and prone to screaming, she was decidedly in St Ronny’s corner. I’m certain that this had some influence. My folks were all Democrats…and their folks, and so on…but Politics was another of those things that was kept hidden from my brother and I. We were given a questionnaire, in the Civics semester, about Political Leanings. I came out very Left…but it felt too simplistic, to me.

I remember, during the ’88 election feeling that I had to make a choice, as it was my first time being eligible to vote in a Presidential contest. I went with Ron Paul…largely due to the Libertarian’s reputation as Pro-Marijuana…but also as an expression of my congenital Rebellion.. At the time, I paid little attention to politics, let alone economics…I wanted more Freedom! ….and was becoming more aware of it’s lack, in my daily life. I knew I didn’t like Republicans…Reagan and Daddy Bush always felt somewhat dishonest, to me…like there was something about them, behind the façade, that was fundamentally Wrong. I eschewed politics for a long time after that…I had other things to think about.

The wars, especially the Drug War, didn’t set well with me. There was always a feeling of Repression…largely undefined. What little attention I paid to politics, was mostly like this…a gut feeling. I liked Hightower..and Anne Richards…I liked Ross Perot…Clinton was OK, mostly because his name was not Bush.

It wasn’t till I moved to Austin that I became aware, politically. The intransigence of the Republicans, the self righteous BS of Newt, and company…they were associated with the Rabid People, in my mind…the Bombing in Oklahoma was perpetrated by one of theirs…and I leaned Left.

I knew I was Not Republican…and Democrats seemed, even then, to be little better. Dems made noises that I liked, but didn’t follow through. I didn’t make the distinction, at the time, but I was a Left Libertarian…the influence of Jefferson and the Beats, and the whole Hippy Milieu meant that I really didn’t fit, anywhere. I hated the idea of War..the Wars in my time felt dishonest…not like WW2…not Just Wars…more about Business, with a Crusader Patina, that wouldn’t become overt, till much later. I sympathized with Clinton, during the scandals. He was getting railroaded…that was obvious. The economy, at the time, while better than it is now, didn’t have any justice to it. Clinton , and the Dems, were the only ones who said anything even remotely connected to the economic realities I was beginning to understand….but my perception was that they were full of shit, too…just not as much so, as the Republicans. The Republicans were an obvious opponent. Everything about them said to me,”we’re after you!”. The abortion mess, never mattered to me, really…until high school, when I helped a friend get one. That issue was the only thing about Ron Paul I didn’t like. Later, I would add the Pro Corporate stance of the Libertarians to my list of differences….but that was later. I was nacently anti Government…largely due to the whole Waco/Ruby Ridge thing…and the Drug War.

In Austin, I knew a lot of homeless people, young and old…lot of Vietnam Vets, living out of dumpsters…at the time, there began a crusade against the “blight” of homeless folks in Austin. My first Protest was against this. (wherein I drank beer with Molly Ivins, on Congress ave.) I was becoming politically aware, and active…and keenly aware of the injustices of our Economic System.

George Bush 2 was Governor…and was obviously a fool, and a Corporate Lackey, as well as being plugged into the whole conspiracy theorist’s nightmare of CIA/MKULtra, and other, assorted Evils…of course, at the time, I was certainly aware that Clinton was , too. The Richards/Hightower-Types were few and far between….and that’s where my sympathies lay. Too, I was married into the Black Sheep side of the Bush Crime Family…my wife’s paternal granddad was also George Bush, he was a cousin to the Kenebunkport Bushes…and hated them with a passion. Daddy Bush showed up, with the Secret Service at Grandma’s funeral…and there were stories of how the White Sheep Faction had stolen the family’s west Texas oil wealth.

During this time, Economic considerations drove me to Mason….and I , again, eschewed Politics. When Lil George ran for President, I thought, at worst, he would be a one-termer, and that whatever Dem came after would likely have some cleaning up to do…

I was more aware of Economics, in those days…enough to know that Corporate America was my likely nemesis…things like Nafta meant that the New Democrats weren’t the answer…and Republicans, of whatever stripe, were obviously in the corporate Pocket…so I was libertarian, still…even becoming Mason County Chair of the Libertarian Party(wholly ineffective)…the L’s own fellation of Corporations, as some kind of high expression of Freedom, finally drove me out. There seemed to be no party for me, save, perhaps, the greens.

Then 911, and the Nazi-like rhetoric, the militaristic chest thumping…the anti-intellectual nationalism…the sudden lurch to the Right…

I became a Reluctant Democrat.(the stolen election of 2000 played a large part, too). Evil had a face…and it wasn’t Al Quaida…it was Dick, Don and Lil George!

Into a Research Frenzy I went…one that I am just now wrapping up. I weighed all the various “Conspiracy Theories”…noted the surreality of Conventional Wisdom…delved into the History of the Right and Left…the Philosophy of it all. ..and sided with Gore and the Dems, as the last best hope for Freedom and a continuation of the Enlightenment.

I spent years reading the federal Register…piecing together a counter-narrative, that included the worst crimes of our country…

Economics and Political Philosophy…what I knew of the Bush Crime Family…”Conspiracy” as shorthand for “Crazy”, even though many of the “Theories” fit reality so much better than the Official Narrative. The Propaganda Onslaught, and the Love It Or leave It Nationalism, the Das Heimat Rhetoric…and the Dems half-hearted opposition to it all…I became a Lesser Evil Dem.

The Neocons were matched by the Neolibs as two sides of the same Evil. Corporate Feudalism, Friendly Fascism,and America,Inc.

A distinction had to be made, between the “Good” Dems, and the Bad. While I still distrusted Big Gov, I came to realize that it was likely all that stood between us and the Machine…a sad realization! The Language was all wrong! It was the language, the Meme-Space of the Right that had clouded everything(Yoda)…making honest political distinction impossible.

And here we are! Stuck in Surreal-Topia…Up is down, etc. The Corporate Machine has gone Global (long ago, it turns out…and with bipartisan support)…and there is nothing standing in the way of Eternal Fascism. Peak Oil is Real, and lurks behind all of this. The Conventional Wisdom is hopelessly marred, and the Framework I worked so hard to construct appears to be a lot closer to the Reality of things…but there is too much mud and confusion…too much knee-jerk Patriotism…and far too little Understanding.

I will continue to vote Dem…the alternative is too terrible….but I have little hope that Civilisation can be saved. We must go into the Burning Times,the Fall of American Empire…and likely the End of our Global Civilisation…I see nothing else that can possibly stop the Panopticon, the Dystopian Hell World that is rapidly being constructed.

My Task, as I see it, is…on the one hand…to “Rage against the dying of the Light”…and on the other, to Hunker Down…to try and preserve some ember of the best of Us….Secular Monasticism…a little Life Boat of Enlightenment, in a Sea of Darkness.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Re; Sand Mine.

What jumped out at me from Gerry’s article on the coming Sand Mine, in Katemcy, was the revelation that this “industry” is almost totally Unregulated.

Here is the much vaunted Free Market, at work. This Corporate Person has bought up all that land, and are Free to do as they will….no matter what the neighbors think. I noted the same Inconsistency, if not outright Hypocrisy, in the recent hubbub over Power Lines. Thankfully, in that fight, the Machinery of government was successfully brought to bear, for now. There appears to be no such recourse in this fight, however.

That this is true, that Government has little say in the operations of this Corporate Person, is wholly consistent with the Free Market Fundamentalism, so popular on the Right.

How often have we heard about “Freeing Job Creators” from “Government Interference”?

How often has Mr Hemphill, and many others, railed against those Damned Treehuggers and Overbearing Regulators?

Here is the result; a Corporate Person has bought land, and will soon degrade our Common Air, Pump an Incredible amount of our Common Water, clog our Common Roads with Trucks…and there ain’t a thing we can do about it.

Welcome to the Free Market you all have been pining for!

I cannot effectively water a garden, at this time, due to the drought, and the resultant water restrictions; and Green grass is almost nonexistent in Mason. Yet this “Person” can pump away, as there is , it seems, no one to stop them.

This coming Blight can be laid squarely at the feet of those who have hollered and screamed about “Big Government”, and largely succeeded in shrinking that government.

You have no one to blame, but yourselves.

Your votes matter…in the future, may I suggest that you consider the effects of those votes, and whether they are really in your interest.

my (unpublished) last word on the Sharia Hysteria in Mason

Hominem Unius Libri Timeo.(St. Th. Aquinus)

There often comes a time when one must leave intransigent opponents to themselves. Some folks just cannot be swayed from their habitual beliefs, no matter the evidence, or reasoned arguments. The sky will still appear Green, to them.

This is their Right. This is America, after all…where we are Free to believe all manner of Nonsense…and to promote those beliefs to the Public, at large.

I will defend that Right, however odious those beliefs seem to me, personally. As with the rest of the catalog of our Rights, they are meaningless unless afforded to the most heinous and unpopular among us. However, there is no Duty to give believers in a Flat Earth a seat at the table when deciding the Geography Curriculum. Indeed, Reason would seem to lean more towards keeping Flat Earthers as far away from Geography Instruction as possible. One’s Right to Speak, and to have and promote one’s Opinion can in no way be construed as including the Right to Force one’s Speech and Opinions on others, let alone on the General Public. Therefore, I will address the General Public, rather than anyone specific.

It is somewhat Pointless to argue with certain segments of our Society regarding their (Unfounded) beliefs that the USA is a Christian Nation. That is their Right, and is to be defended. I fear, however, that by letting this small, but very vocal, Minority have their way in small things, we set ourselves up for larger things, down the road.

In the last couple of years, Believers in the Far Right Version of Christianity have managed to insinuate themselves into various positions where they can influence, and often dictate, Public Policy. The recent flap over the State Board of Education is a prime example. The Pseudohistory of David Barton will soon be in Textbooks…that we are a Christian Nation, that Joe McCarthy was a hero, and that Thomas Jefferson was a minor figure, if he is mentioned at all. This is wrong, and serves no purpose save to further damage the education of our kids, and sow fear and hatred among the Public.

Anyone can cherry-pick the statements of our Founding Fathers to make their case.Too, anyone can cherry_pick the words in the Bible, the Koran or James Joyce to try and convince others to join in whatever Crusade they are mounting.

This is what Free Speech, and Republican Democracy, is all about.

However, in a Civilisation, such as ours…rumored to have been Founded on Reason…it is imperative that we guard against the encroachments of Nonsense into Public Life.

The usual retort to this kind of statement is that I am, thereby, Persecuting Christians.

Those offended have every Right to believe that, as well. But Civilisation only “works” if I am afforded the same Rights….and that some Common Ground can be discovered.

That Common Ground, currently,and for better than 200 years, is that no one Religion be promoted by the State.The Establishment clause, in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, necessarily prohibits any involvement, by the State, in Religion. Therefore, if one wants their kids to receive Religious Instruction, one should look elsewhere than the Public Schools. Public Schools should deal in Commonalities…in the reality, and history, that We all agree on. This is getting more difficult as time goes on.

Similarly, the State is Prohibited from promoting, or favoring, any one Religion in any other area of Public life. This means that Non_Christians, including Muslims and Atheists, enjoy the same Rights and Protections as anyone else. No one can be discriminated against, or favored, due to their Religious beliefs. There must be Freedom of Religion for Everyone, even those you might despise, if there is to be Freedom of Religion for anyone.

One without the other is a recipe for disaster, as the Founding Fathers knew all too well.

Consider what would be the result, if those freedoms were suspended, if the Far Right of Christianity were to succeed in getting their Religion into Public Schools…Drive around Mason. Count the Churches. Which Version is to be taught? Shall it be Church of Christ? Methodist? That might not go down easily with the many Catholics among us….or the Lutherans. Whose Version shall it be?

Are we to impose a Literalist Reading of the Bible? If so, which Version?

This way leads to Chaos….and, eventually, if History has any weight, to a Hobbesian War of All against All.

Better, by far, to leave questions of Religion to the Family, and to the Individual….and keep the State out of it.

If the most despised minority is denied their Rights in questions of Faith, then no one’s Rights in such matters are secure.