Yet Another Global Warming Denier Elected to Congress From Utah

Fossil Fuel Emissions Contribute to Global Warming

Fossil Fuel Emissions Contribute to Global Warming

The following was written in response to an article written by Representative Chris Stewart (R-Utah) about climate change.

By his own words, we know that in Chris Stewart, Utah has sent yet another uninformed and undereducated political adolescent to Washington.

Representative Stewart,

Either you are uninformed, misinformed, undereducated, politically motivated, flat out lying in the face of actual scientific evidence, or just plain stupid. My freshmen students know more about these things than you do. This is no excuse for such gratuitous and potentially damaging misinformation from your own hand.

The science behind anthropogenic (that means human-caused, Mr. Stewart) climate change and global warming IS settled, and HAS BEEN settled for a long time now. The science is clear: global warming is happening faster than ever and humans ARE responsible. Global warming is caused by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The most common greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide. The danger level of 350 parts per million has been exceeded, and we are headed beyond 400 PPM. On this, responsible scientists agree.

That you’ve succeeded in being sent to Congress by a very conservative Utah district in no way excuses such flagrant, staggering and offensive ignorance about our planet’s environment. Your piece is nothing more than a poorly written echo of the Koch Brothers’ reckless corporate campaign against caring for our planet.

And calling those of us who advance caring for the planet radical environmentalists, will only strengthen our resolve to counter the likes of you.

Posted in The Environment | Leave a comment

Brethless in Zion – A Project Worth Supporting

I have friends who are involved with a worthwhile project that deserves your support. They are documenting the presence of toxic air here in Salt Lake City and all along the Wasatch Front, and our state of Utah’s inability to do anything about it. In my opinion, our Utah State Governor, along with our Utah State Legislature, sit up on Capital Hill figuring out stupid bills to pass and filling their pockets with money from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The documentary is called “Breathless in Zion” and can be seen at


Posted in The Environment | Leave a comment

Our American Spiritual Sickness Prologue

Utah State GunThe following is a prologue to a piece I’m writing which I will call, Our American Spiritual Sickness, wherein I will cast the gun problem as part of a deeper spiritual American problem. It was a short response to the issue of gun control in our country to be expanded a little later in the week.

While I agree with you that we have too many guns in our country, and too many people willing to use them, that is only part of the problem. Like so many other American issues, like our dependence on cars and fossil fuels, that isn’t the whole story. Not by a long shot.

Utah State Gun #2We have a lingering cultural and spiritual sickness that permeates everything we do and everything we are as Americans. It started that way, continued with the slaughter of Native Americans and the ownership of slaves, and continues with the violence in our city streets. We should think long and deep about what it means to be Americans and patriots.

We need to consider exactly what we have done to ourselves with the notions of rugged individualism, manifest destiny, and profit motive. We as a nation are sick, very sick, and we need healing, spiritual healing, more than anything else. We began with violence, separated ourselves from the motherland by violence, settled differences with a bloody civil war, considered human beings as property to be bought and sold and abused, moved beyond some of that with yet more violence, killed some of our best leaders, and now are eating our own children in streets and schools full of blood.

bushmstrWe have blood on our hands, all of us, and until we recognize that and atone for our collective arrogance and violence, we will continue our slippery slide toward the bottom of western civilization. We believe that our religions will save us. They will not. We believe that our guns will save us. They will not. We believe our democracy will save us. It will not. We believe our corporate superiority will save us. It most definitely will not. The only thing that will begin our salvation is to recognize just how wretched we have become as a nation, and take meaningful measures to change.

Posted in The Environment | Leave a comment

Sandy Hook Elementary Tragedy

20356619_SSWe as Americans all share a common grief, sadness and pain from this unspeakable event. We all grieve differently, something I discovered when my 16 year old son was killed in San Diego many years ago. Soon, we will begin to hear about how members of that immediate community, teachers and students at the school, as well as the parents and friends of those who lost their lives, will begin to find closure.

It is usually always those who have never experienced such a loss who suggest such things. Closure is a fairy tale told to bereaved parents by well-intentioned friends. What they suggest as closure is actually a new reality, a new backdrop for the rest of their lives. If you want to help, simply say I’m sorry for your loss. That would be the truest and most helpful thing you can possibly say. Anything beyond that will only mark you as one without such experience.

To all who have lost loved ones, especially those family members from the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy who have lost children, brothers and sisters, I am sorry for your loss. I personally understand the loss of a child, but I also understand that I can’t know exactly how you feel. You will work that out for yourselves. But I have felt something similar, terrifyingly similar, and I hope with every good wish possible, that the love and support from others will help you adjust to your new reality

Posted in The Environment | Leave a comment

Romney’s Convention Speech: The Etch-A-Sketch Kabuki Theater Moment of the Republican Convention

The Real Romney

Last night the RNC created and unveiled a new political character called “Mitt Romney the Good Guy,” and had him cry about mommy and daddy on live TV in order to both suck in those who will respond to such theater, along with an attempt to cover the mountain of lies that have been told by him, Paul Ryan, and the Romney For President Campaign.

So last evening we found out that Romney is human with human emotions after all. Right? Not a chance. But what we did find out is that he is a better actor than Clint Eastwood. We discovered that Romney can cry on demand to make a point. Members of the convention audience were taken in by the emotion of the moment. Countless people were sobbing right along with his fabricated emotional speech. I was not.

In fact, I was sickened by Romney’s insistence on restating lies he and others have told about President Obama’s term in office. The complete list of lies is too long to rehearse here. But highlighting just a couple of his lies should be instructive in understanding how important lying has become for both Romney and Ryan.

President Obama never did say that people didn’t create their own businesses. In fact, if Republicans who can read, would take the time to Google what President Obama actually said, they would find that his actual quote is quite different than the lie Romney told about what he said. But this political campaign is not about truth. It has become a Republican exercise in creating lies for political gain. And this lying begins with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

President Obama never did talk about taking the work requirement out of welfare legislation. Quite the opposite. The work requirement that was put into welfare legislation by President Clinton, is fully supported by President Obama’s welfare plans. Romney, who has become a moral hologram of an honest man continues to lie to the American electorate because he (along with his wife) simply can’t help himself. Stretching the truth about investments and telling outright lies to investors is Wall Street’s standard MO.

In spite of all the lies told by Romney last night, the most shocking and irresponsible part of his speech came when he made fun of President’ Obama’s attempt to slow down global warming and thus keep the oceans from rising. Quoting his actual words:

 President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the
And to heal the planet.  My promises to help you and your

An entire hall laughing about an attempt to heal the planet? Who are these people, and who is this empty suit of a religious fundamentalist, science denial presidential candidate, who stood there and threw red meat of climate change denial to the audience? It was indeed shocking to see how voraciously they ate it up. They mindlessly ate it up like adolescents with free food at the local fast food joint. His like-minded, scientific fact denying Republicans, were sent into a laughing fit. And why were they laughing? Because they know that the Republican Party, and especially Romney himself, have no plans to help curtail global warming and address the human caused elements of climate change.

All he could do last evening, was to demonstrate his and his party’s irresponsible stewardship for the planet. Their plan is to pump and mine the planet dry of all fossil fuels for profit, no matter how expensive and dangerous to the environment it will be to extract and burn them. Republicans plan to put as much carbon into the environment as possible. They are in essence the people of Jared Diamond’s COLLAPSE, who cut down all the trees on Easter Island, which ultimately led to their own demise.

Romney, in the role of a newly minted actor, stood there and cried about about his family and the future of his children and grandchildren, while in his speech, sowed the seeds of their ultimate destruction. His obtuse refusal to believe in the human component of the science of climate change, will lead to this planet’s ultimate destruction. If he and his ilk have their way, there won’t be a future planet on which the children he sheds tears about, can prosper.

Posted in GENERAL COMMENTS, Personal Sustainability, Politics, The Environment | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

El Dorado Hills, California: A Fallen Son Returns Home

My daughter Kari, who lives in a wonderful community called El Dorado Hills, east of Sacramento, California,  just this morning sent me a photo and an email report of a procession that brought home one of this community’s fallen sons, Staff Sgt. Sky Mote. Her report and photo follows below:

It was so emotional. I cried quite a bit. The football team came up off of the practice field to line the street along with students, teachers and cheerleaders, who were in their uniforms. Boy scouts were everywhere in their uniforms. It was silent and reverent as the motorcade went by. So tender.  I am sickened as well of the evil and violence in this world. Especially when it’s not our fight. Just last week when school started kids in Mr Mote’s class said he talked about his son and how proud he was of him. Two days later he was killed.  He grew up here and the motorcade went right past his elementary and middle school.  I love this community.

 As Jeff (my son-in-law who works as VP of ticket operations for the Sacramento Kings) drove home from work, he said every over pass along Route 50 to the El Dorado Hills offramp, was lined with people and fire trucks with their ladders up and flags flying from the top.  He said he was choked up all the way home and met up with us on the street by the middle school.

A news reporter live on the news, broke down and couldn’t finish his report because he was so overwhelmed with the support he was reporting on. They had to take it back to the studio team to finish.

War is not some abstraction just because it is out of sight and out of mind. It is quite the opposite, and we cannot escape its terrible and sad aftermath no matter how far off it may seem. We cannot hide from its violence and its evil. War is personal, especially when it your son or daughter who is killed or seriously injured. There is nothing abstract about Sgt. Mote’s silent return home in a casket. It was as real as life gets. And when that community was brought together in grief and mourning last week in El Dorado Hills for one of its own, that reality became unbearable.

As unbearable as it was last week, especially for Staff Sgt. Sky Mote’s family, it was shared by the entire El Dorado Hills’ community. It was a demonstration that those left home, in spite of our ugly politics and our cultural divisions, have a depth of goodness that usually, in everyday life, goes unnoticed. We seem to push that goodness deep inside our American hearts where it can only be brought out by shared tragedy. A son or daughter, killed in a field of battle so far away from home. The respect and love seemed to create a palpable silence amid the American flags and tears of  thousands who lined that terribly sad and moving route home. No one shouted, “USA, USA, USA.” There was only the penetrating silence as the motorcade made its way through El Dorado Hills, past family, past friends, and even complete strangers, as it made its way by the schools he attended. Schools where his parents still teach this community’s children.

This comes during a tender week for my own family, as we quietly observed yet another anniversary for our son and bother Jacob’s death, this same August week, many years ago. There always seems to be talk about closure when it comes to the death of a child. But these are the words of those who have not lost a son or daughter, and you can know they don’t understand the terrible calculus of such a thing. As I read about Sgt. Mote’s return home, the pain of Jacob’s death seemed as fresh as it was many years ago. Time may sooth some of the pain, but it does not heal completely. Although not on the surface, the horror and pain of a child’s death hides in the back of our memory, and like an unexpected animal in the forest, is ready to jump out at you when you least expect it.

Staff Sgt. Mote innocently accepted an invitation to dinner by an Afghan insurgent, dressed like an Afghan policeman. He and two fellow Marines were lured into a terrible and tragic deception. The dinner turned out to be their execution, as their supposed guest pulled out a weapon and killed the three Marines. Sgt. Mote’s poor mother and father, teachers of my grandchildren and their friends in El Dorado Hills Middle School, will live with this for the rest of their lives. Every August, every birthday, every holiday, every playing of the Star Spangled Banner, every news report from foreign wars or troops serving abroad, even the least expected piece of news, each will trigger a memory of their son’s death. And when it does, their pain will return, even if for only an instant.

In spite of such an outpouring of love and spirit, there is a most important question that remains unanswered: Haven’t we had enough yet? It sickens me that our sons and daughters are still dying in foreign lands, while the perpetrators of these immoral wars relax into retirement, notoriety, presidential libraries, celebrity, golf, and visits from grandchildren. Nothing could be more unfair.

If an entire community can mobilize to pay respect to its fallen son in such a wonderful and meaningful manner, surely we as a nation can finally put an end to our outrageous misadventures in the Middle East and bring our sons and daughter safely home.

Posted in GENERAL COMMENTS, Politics | Tagged | Leave a comment

The 2012 Olympics: No More Racist Remarks With Impunity

The headline reads:”Voula Papachristou ‘bitter and upset’ over Olympic ban”

Now isn’t that just a low-down dirty shame. But it’s an even bigger shame when we let racists go about their business pretending that the 60s and 70s never happened. Well, they did happen, at least here in the United States. Papachristou’s remarks demonstrate just what an uphill battle it has been to try and build a world culture of equality and respect Dr. King inspired all of us to create.

Those, who in public places make racist jokes or remarks, still believe they can do so with impunity.

As reported in today’s USA TODAY, they can’t. And as soon as they get it that they can’t, Dr. King’s dream may indeed some day come true.
Voula Papachristou ‘bitter and upset’ over Olympic ban

Voula Papachristou says she is “bitter and upset” about being banned from the Olympics for her racist tweet.
Posted in GENERAL COMMENTS, Politics | Tagged | Leave a comment

State of Utah Legislators Want to Squander Three Million Dollars While Students Struggle to Pay Tuition

The Utah State Legislature Wants to Squander Money Utah Citizens Cannot Afford

In a shocking article published by the Salt Lake Tribune this week, it was reported that the Utah state legislature has decided to squander $3 million on a frivolous “message” lawsuit against the Federal Government. This irresponsible and reprehensible behavior by our elected state lawmakers comes at a critical time when citizens in our state are struggling to get through this tough economy, and when my students and their parents are struggling to pay tuition here at the University of Utah. With these actions, our state legislature is in breach of its oath to serve the people of Utah. Just watching the Utah state legislature in action, submitting meaningless measure after meaningless  measure gives new meaning to the term, “arrested development.”  They exhibit a level of immaturity commensurate with adolescents who never emotionally left high school.

Ken Ivory Utah State Legislature

The following statement, made by Representative Ken Ivory, a Republican from the Salt Lake Valley community of West Jordan, has the vision of a piece of chewed bubblegum. “It’s been 116 years that we’ve waited. We can’t wait any longer. Our children can’t wait any longer.”  He says they can’t wait any longer because Utah ranks toward the bottom nationally in student funding, and he and his Republican lawmaker friends in this state clown car, want to sell off public land in order to fund this state’s broken education system. So rather than being fiscally responsible with current state funds, he wants to spend $3 million on a “message lawsuit” that is without merit on any count. Message lawsuits are those our state legislators know very well won’t succeed. They are ready to squander $3 million to send a message to President Obama and our Congress.

Legislators Want Control of Land They Have Already Mismanaged

Here is what these state legislators want to do: They want Congress to simply hand over title to lands currently owned by the federal government before the end of 2014. This is where their adolescent reasoning comes into the picture. If President Obama and the Congress say no, the bill would put aside at least $3 million to start litigation forcing the U. S. government to simply give ownership of the land to Utah. With growing mercury contamination of state waters, and an epidemic of dangerous toxic air, these legislators can’t even take care of and responsibly manage the state land already in their care. And yet, like children, they want more.

Typical Tar Sands Extraction

American Fork Republican State Representative Ken Sumsion said, “What we want and demand as a state is control of these lands… We can manage them, we can determine which ones would be sold, which we can keep to preserve some of the beautiful areas of our state … that we’d like to preserve for generations.” This is a lie and he knows it. What they really want is control of land they could ultimately sell off to their energy developer buddies to make up for current fiscal incompetence.

Not Everyone In Utah Lacks Mature Judgment

According to the Tribune piece, “…Peter Metcalf, CEO of Utah-based Black Diamond Equipment, blasted the proposal, saying it is “demented and an insult to all Utahns. That’s just an absolutely ridiculous, egregious and stupid” proposal…” Public lands have made the state a magnet for outdoor recreation, generating billions of dollars. But Utah has proven unable to manage its state parks, he said, so there is no reason to think the federal lands would be different.

“It’s one of those things where the Legislature is engaged in acts of stupidity to make a point,” he said. “They would be terrible stewards of these lands. … [The lands would be] mortgaged for the benefit of a few large corporations and the losers would be the general public.”

This is What The Utah State Legislature Wants To Do With Federal Lands

Rep. Chris Herrod, R-Provo, who is running for U.S. Senate, said his goal is to give the Attorney General’s Office as many weapons as possible to try to reverse the abuses Utah has suffered at federal hands. “If there’s any state in the nation that has had more undue influence exerted on it,” Herrod said, “it’s the state of Utah.” The only abuse our state and federal lands in the state of Utah have suffered has come at the hands of incompetent state legislators who are hell-bent on destroying Utah’s natural resources for profit.

Federal Lands In Southern Utah Are Not For Sale

Grosvner Arch Near Kodachrome Basin Sate Park and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument – photo credit Brett Prettyman SL Tribune

Our planet and its environment is not, and should not, be made a matter of politics or religion. It is our home that is at stake. And those who already cannot understand what is involved with its management, should get out of government as soon as possible. It should be in the economic interest of our state government to conserve energy, clean up the toxic air and begin measures to change energy production sources in order to back away from the release of mercury and other contaminants into the environment. Because once people understand the critical nature of our state  environmental pollution, and the risks of living and doing business here, the Chamber of Commerce can kiss potential businesses a very fond goodbye.


Posted in The Environment | Leave a comment