Something’s happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear

My recent trip to Dungeness Spit was nearly idyllic except for a couple of moments. As we were walking along the beach listening to the sound of waves lapping the shore, I heard a funny “buzzing” sound and could not figure where it was coming from since I could not see anyone in sight. Finally, I looked up and saw what I thought was a small airplane flying overhead. Leslie said “drone,” but at first I didn’t believe her.


She was right, a drone was following us, or at least the shoreline as we walked. I didn’t mind that as much as I would have minded a helicopter flying low overhead, but it still creeped me out.

It wasn’t long before a Coast Guard boat came around the point, going somewhere at full blast.

Coast Guard Patrol

Perhaps I should be reassured our government is so vigilant. I’m not. Combined with recent stories of Homeland Security clashes with locals in Forks and nearby areas, I wonder if this heightened security is either good or necessary.

Leslie worries that the government knows of threats that would justify these measures but won’t tell the public because we might become too worried. I worry we’re quickly becoming a police state where our every move is monitored out of fear that we might “step out of line.” And more and more, I feel like “stepping out of line” to save some small part of this planet for my grandkids and great grandkids.

Most of all, I worry I might have something in common in with the Right Wing crazies that I despise.

Are Environmentalism and Politics the Same Thing?

Having finally found a category plugin that I finally like, I'm beginning to see some importance to how I classify blog entries. And when I see how many of my entries are simply categorized as "uncategorized" it's a little embarrassing.

As a result, I've spent some time the last three days going back over old entries, particularly those written when there wasn't a means of classifying entries. Doing so has reminded me that this blog was started as a form of political protest and played an important part in my blogging for a several years. Heck, at one time a reader had the nerve to call this an "anti-war blog," and by then I'd begun to transition to being a "poetry blog" before becoming a photography blog and, even later, a birding blog.

Luckily, long ago when I started, or thereabouts, I described this site as, " Focusing on poetry, literature, and photography and using the arts to explore and develop a personal philosophy." And that's pretty much what I've done here. What you see here is, generally, who I am, and, hopefully, who I'm becoming.

Most recent visitors have been spared the political polemics, but that doesn't mean they're not part of my philosophy. I can't imagine having values if you aren't going to advocate them openly and publicly. It's just that lately I have expressed that side of my philosophy on Facebook.

However, I'm a devoted environmentalist and when this video showed up on one of the political sites I follow, Organizing Notes, I had to pass it on:

Pardon the Interruption

in our regular programming.

You've been spared this aspect of my personality unless you're a long time follower of this blog, one I started in protest of America's invasion of Afghanistan, God only knows how many years ago.

Recently I've only been expressing my political views on Facebook, though doing so seems like little more than preaching to the choir since nearly all my Facebook friends share similar views.

Still, since this blog is a tribute to my desire to lead the best life I can and since I devoted much of my life after Vietnam trying to create a better, more just, society, I don't see how I can ignore anything as devastating as the rise of the Tea Party and the continuing assault on the middle class.

Though I would never display my emotions as effectively as Kucinich does in this video, he articulates my present feelings as well as anyone I know.

I'd love to see Kucinich run in the primaries against President Obama before the next election. At least I'd have a chance to vote FOR somebody rather than AGAINST somebody.

Hanford Nuclear Waste

I spent a year of my childhood in Goldendale Washington, downwind from Hanford Nuclear Plant. Like many people raised in that area, I got thyroid cancer at an extremely young age and still suffer from the side effects of it. I spent another 35 years of my life downriver in Vancouver Washington. Needless to say I was pretty upset why I read that the DOE plans on start shipping large amounts of nuclear waste their again, despite reports that the wastes already there, the same ones that were supposed to be cleaned up long ago, are steadily creeping closer and closer to the Columbia River. If you’re as upset by this as I am, you might consider going sending this to the DOE.

Dear Friend,

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation is already one of the most polluted sites on the planet. Farmers in the region regularly report the birth of three-legged chicks and two-headed calves.

But a new proposal from the Department of Energy would lift the 30-year moratorium on shipping radioactive waste to Hanford from other DOE sites. If this moratorium is lifted, Hanford will become the nation’s radioactive waste dump.

We have until Friday to speak out. The government is accepting public comment until then on the proposal to lift the moratorium. Speak out today and submit your comment opposing the plan to make Hanford America’s radioactive waste dump. Click the link below to submit your comment.

UPDATE: Here’s an interestingSeattle Times background article on Hanford and the ongoing cleanup costs.

This Ain’t No Stinking War Blog

A vistor to this site today labeled this site an "anti-war" blog.

Because it was an off-hand remark in a comment that contained a link to an article I found quite interesting, as a well as leading to a site I'll probably be following in the near future, I didn't think about that term too much at first.

However, the more I thought about it, the less I liked the term. This ain't no stinking war-blog, that's for sure, but neither do I consider myself an anti-war blog.

If I had to put any label on this site, I would probably refer to it as a "poetry blog" because my favorite entries, and the great majority of them, focus on various poets. Because of my bias, I suppose you could also call it a "liberal" blog or even an "environmental blog" because I've written more articles in that vein than I have about the war with Iraq.

I originally considered calling this blog "Don't Fence Me In" because I don't like to be labeled. Ocassionaly in jest I will call myself a "liberal," as an act of defiance, particularly when conservatives were using it like a liberal was a pariah. Like most people, though, I hate to be labeled.

Actually, I'm probably socially conservative being quite traditional in my personal life, but I'm politically liberal because I believe in a government that helps the poor and disadvantaged to lift themselves up.

I'm afraid, though, that it says something about our divisive times when expressing unpopular views about a vital issue of the day gets you immediately labeled.

Hopefully with the first rush of the tax season coming to an end, I will find more time to read poems and comment on them. Until then, I'm afraid I will continue to stall by expressing my opinion on various issues that interest me but don't require a single focus, but that still doesn't make me an anti-war blog.

Christian Scientist Monitor offers Perspective on Events

In times like this I find myself turning more and more to the Christian Science Monitor as a new source. It's tough not to love a paper that can run a cartoon like this the same day it is running an article like Americans and a Dangerous World, which offers a reasonable perspective on the current "crisis."

The subheading, "Despite missile and terror threats, experts urge vigilance and alertness, not panic" offers the sanest approach to recent events and government announcements. While not directly criticizing the Bush administration, the article does offer advice that will help counter the current hysteria that threatens to little besides enriching Walmart, Lowes and Home Depot.

The article points out that while Central Intelligence director George Tenet's warning that North Korean missiles may be able to reach the West Coast puts a "vivid face on that danger," what he didn't say is that "the US reaction to North Korea's actions might in itself boost that trend" because the "US is angrily confronting an apparently nonnuclear Iraq" while "treating an apparently nuclear-armed Pyongyang with great care."

While the article does not directly attack the administration's urging citizens to rush out and buy duct tape, it does note that "Experts debated whether the plastic would do any good," while suggesting that "the main purpose of the warning might have been to ready the nation mentally for coming challenges."

Unlike most of today's media, the Christian Scientist Monitor continues to offer a relatively objective view of the world.