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George Bush Hates Animals
August 12th, 2008 under Bush, Environment, violence. [ Comments: none ]

New Orleans ProtestFor a while during his presidency, I thought George Bush was simply stupid. Now, not so much. I think he’s evil. He probably gets some of it from his mom (No, some of us will never forget).

Let’s see supply-side fans. How’s the economy since the most corporation-friendly president has been in office? Seems W has now decided that endangering the lives of people isn’t enough.

The Bush administration yesterday proposed a regulatory overhaul of the Endangered Species Act to allow federal agencies to decide whether protected species would be imperiled by agency projects, eliminating the independent scientific reviews that have been required for more than three decades.

I can’t wait to see what other brilliant stuff he decides to do before he leaves office!

Limbaugh and Others Lie about Katrina and Oil Spills
June 20th, 2008 under Environment, Politics. [ Comments: none ]

Photo by: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

There’s another myth being unchallenged by the ignorant, spineless mainstream media. Kind of like the myth that Obama’s a muslim. The myth is that there were no oil spills due to Katrina.


More than 500 specialists are working to clean up 44 oil spills ranging from several hundred gallons to nearly 4 million gallons, the U.S. Coast Guard said in an assessment that goes far beyond initial reports of just two significant spills.

The report comes nearly three weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, and reflects the fact that the Coast Guard and other agencies are able to only now tackle environmental problems since the search and rescue effort is winding down.

The Coast Guard estimates more than 7 million gallons of oil were spilled from industrial plants, storage depots and other facilities around southeast Louisiana.

Southern Baptists Attack Environmentalism
March 11th, 2008 under Baptists, Christian Crap, Christianity, ChristianWalk, Environment, Hypocrisy, Politics, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: none ]

Yeah, I really mean “attack” environmentalism. It seems a group of Southern Baptists are trying to get their own to think (insert giggle here) about their response to Global Warming! Seems nothing can get SBs madder than being confronted by their own selfishness or phobias. You can take a look at some hilarious arguments at the SBC Outpost. Some of the more ingenious objections to the project are as follows:

“It seems like certain factions of the SBC are trying to look nice for liberals.”
Yeah, Southern Baptists are really concerned about what liberals think of them!

“I am all about saying “Hey lets help do our part to clean the world up” or something like that…but to actually attach our denomination’s name to such a highly debated topic as Global Warming (or Climate change…or whatever the PC name is for it this week) is beyond me.”
Highly debated? Why not try switching your TV off Faux News long enough to see what the real world thinks. Trust me…Fox News is a joke!

“As a Southern Baptist my first response was disappointment. I can’t judge motives but I do wonder if this was precipitated by a genuine concern over global warming or a concern that Southern Baptists be perceived as serious and mainstream in the world’s eyes.”
I can’t judge motives, but here I go! So funny!

“Go ahead and sign the “Stop the World from Warming” parade but don’t worry about the souls that will be burning… as our focus, once again, moves to something other than the great commission.”
You’re right. Southern Baptists can’t handle doing two things at once!

“At long last, we are PC”
I’m sure if they had known about the term PC at the time, many Southern Baptists who supported slavery and racism also would have used that weak kind of an argument to support their views.

The truth is, a lot of what was said and done in the Southern Baptist churches where I grew up was sinful. I thank God that much of it is not considered PC right now. That way those who aren’t racists or homophobes aren’t put off by what used to be allowed in some SB churches. Of course, they realize later that many SBs still want to say and do those things, but they might get a chance to “get saved” first!

I remember when one of our ministers was almost fired because he spoke out against racism. He was encouraged to “preach the Gospel” rather than get involved with politics. Guess we’ll never get over that “logic.”

I’d be laughing if it weren’t so sad.

Americans United to Save Our Wetlands
August 29th, 2006 under Environment, Friends, Katrina, New Orleans, New Orleans Music, Politics. [ Comments: none ]

VOWYesterday, I bought Voice of the Wetlands.

Celebrate the bayou while helping to save it! Acclaimed blues guitarist Tab Benoit is joined by Louisiana All-Stars including Dr. John, Cyril Neville, The Meters rhythm section and others on this hot and spicy New Orleans blues party!

A portion of proceeds from the sale of this CD go to “Voice Of The Wetlands,” a non-profit organization battling cultural and coastal erosion.

I bought it because I want to help preserve our wetlands and hear great music. Sunday, Shirley and I went to Congo Square to listen to Tab Benoit and Cyril Neville. They were fantastic. DSC05357 Tab Benoit is a legendary blues guitarist and the “voice of the wetlands.” He is unbelievable!

Just before I went to the concert, I read an oped in the Washington Post by a friend of mine entitled “On Becoming a Real American” that really stirred me. John Thatamanil is a scholar at Vanderbilt that I had the pleasure of spending time with while I was there last fall. He’s so smart and a very gracious guy. Here’s the text:

On Becoming A ‘Real American’

By John J. Thatamanil
Sunday, August 27, 2006; B07

From adolescence on, I heard a constant refrain from my Indian father: “Don’t ever believe that you’re really American.” I found his advice peculiar, especially as I had been living in America since age 8 and had largely forgotten my time in India. To him, it didn’t matter that the only language in which I could think a complex thought was English. It didn’t matter that the only music I listened to was Michael Jackson, the Bee Gees and Billy Joel.

My father’s dictum infuriated me, in part because I took his comment to be racist. Did he mean that only white people count as real Americans? What about African Americans, let alone Indian Americans? I have insisted ever since that in America, what makes someone an American is citizenship, not race or ethnicity.

This month — after hearing Sen. George Allen call an Indian American, born in this country, “macaca” — I better appreciated my father’s sober wisdom. What he meant to say is now apparent: “You will never be accepted as truly American.” Education, meaningful work and financial success can get immigrant minorities only so far. For some, whiteness will always be a prerequisite for being American. Conveying that message might not have been Allen’s intent, but it certainly was the effect.

What’s the lesson to be learned from this episode? Must South Asians and other immigrants resign themselves to second-class status — at least in the eyes of some? Of course “class” is the wrong word here. Indian Americans are, statistically speaking, the wealthiest immigrant group in the nation. We do experience discrimination and, on rare occasions, violence, as some Sikhs did right after Sept. 11, 2001. But discrimination has not had marked economic consequences. It is more often experienced by South Asians as a subtle matter of failed recognition: We are either rendered hyper-visible, marked out as different as S.R. Sidarth was made to feel by George Allen or, in other circles, rendered invisible because we are accorded the status of “honorary whites.” Membership in that exclusive fraternity is granted so long as difference is suppressed.

The Allen incident offers evidence that America is not now or likely to ever be a color-blind country. How are South Asians to live with this truth? Resignation is not the answer. Vigorous political participation is. My youthful intuition that what makes me as American as any Mayflower descendant is citizenship — not race or ethnicity — was only partly on the mark. The piece of paper that validates our identities as American citizens can do only so much if we do little to struggle for recognition.

There is also a second lesson to be learned from this incident. South Asian political engagement cannot be driven solely by the private interests of a single racial or ethnic group. America’s obsession with color has a long history that South Asians forget at their peril. Indian Americans and other affluent immigrant groups would do well to remember the civil rights struggles of African Americans and others without whom a racially inclusive American nation would have been impossible. The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, which opened the door to people from the Eastern Hemisphere, must be recognized as the fruit of a larger struggle to expand the meaning of the term “American,” a struggle fought on our behalf before our arrival.

The aspiration to honorary whiteness — motivated by the hope that success alone will entitle Asians to equality within American life — betrays the memory of that long conflict. Only by making common cause with African Americans, only by joining with other immigrant groups that have not been as fortunate, can South Asian immigrants resist America’s troubled racial history and embrace its best aspirations for a truly democratic and inclusive future. That is a legacy I hope to transmit to my 8-year-old daughter, who is herself a lovely perpetual tan, a combination of my brownness with the lighter tone of her Ohio-born mother, who is herself part German, part English and part Native American.

In the near term, what this means is that Americans of color should work together to ensure that politicians who can see the many shades and hues of American life only as exotic, foreign or even un-American have no role in shaping our common future.

The writer is assistant professor of theology at Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville. He is the author of “The Immanent Divine: God, Creation, and the Human Predicament. An East-West Conversation.”
© 2006 The Washington Post Company


The great thing about living in New Orleans is that we do get along better than most down here. In fact, as I watched Tad and Cyril, three men in front of me illustrated why I love this town. The dancing, joyous friends consisted of a black guy (who went bought the beer), a white guy, and an indian guy. When the black guy returned with the beer, they toasted each other and continued to dance to the great music. John Thatamanil is right, many would have only seen one (or two) Americans in that group. But in New Orleans, they were just three guys listening to a band and having a great time.

That’s why I love New Orleans.

Pluto: A Right-Wing Conspiracy
August 26th, 2006 under Environment. [ Comments: none ]

I’m pretty ticked off about this Pluto thing! The planet with the coolest name gets nixed. That’s really uncalled for. My suspicions of a right-wing conspiracy were validated when I saw this:

Beverly Watson of the Christian Women Against Pluto, or CWAP, stated that their long-standing beef against Disney’s “homosexual agenda” has finally paid off. Watson stated, “I know that the Baptist boycott of Disney really didn’t work so we decided to make baby steps. Getting rid of Pluto was the first step. We’re really excited about what’s next! I can’t tell you what it is, because the homosexuals are really powerful, but let me just say watch out Minnie Driver!”

The Holiness Manifesto
March 28th, 2006 under Christianity, Environment, poor, Walking Like Jesus. [ Comments: none ]

A few years back, several baptists got together and wrote a “bapti-festo.” Recently, many in the Wesleyan tradition got together to write a “Holiness Manifesto.” Here are some highlights. Go here for more.

God wants us to be, think, speak, and act in the world in a Christ-like manner. We invite all to embrace God’s call to:

* be filled with all the fullness of God in Jesus Christ—Holy Spirit-endowed co-workers for the reign of God;

* live lives that are devout, pure, and reconciled, thereby being Jesus Christ’s agents of transformation in the world;

* live as a faithful covenant people, building accountable community, growing up into Jesus Christ, embodying the spirit of God’s law in holy love;

* exercise for the common good an effective array of ministries and callings, according to the diversity of the gifts of the Holy Spirit;

* practice compassionate ministries, solidarity with the poor, advocacy for equality, justice, reconciliation, and peace; and

* care for the earth, God’s gift in trust to us, working in faith, hope, and confidence for the healing and care of all creation.

By the grace of God, let us covenant together to be a holy people.

The Action We Take

May this call impel us to rise to this biblical vision of Christian mission:

* Preach the transforming message of holiness;

* Teach the principles of Christ-like love and forgiveness;

* Embody lives that reflect Jesus Christ;

* Lead in engaging with the cultures of the world; and

* Partner with others to multiply its effect for the reconciliation of all things.

For this we live and labor to the glory of God.

The Latest Danger in New Orleans: Take Action on Eminent Domain
November 4th, 2005 under Environment, Katrina, New Orleans, Politics, poor. [ Comments: none ]

The following is from Katrina Information Network:

Stop eminent domain takeovers: Tell Congress to support Rep. Waters legislation (HR 3135) that prevents federal funds to take private property for economic development purposes. The vote is this week so call the Congressional Switchboard today: 1-202-225-3121.

Here’s more talking points from Bill Quigley, Loyola University New Orleans Law:

The New Orleans area and the Gulf Coast is now threatened with the possibility that state and local governments will use federal rebuilding funds to take private property like homes away from residents and use that property for economic development. The US Supreme Court recently ruled that economic development was a good enough reason for government to take property away from private owners by eminent domain.

Now, for example, state and local government can seize, by eminent domain, areas that include privately owned homes hit hardest by the hurricanes and floods in order to turn them into industrial zones.

Please support HR 3135, a bill in the US House of Representatives, cosponsored by Rep. Maxine Waters, which prohibits state and local governments from using any federal funds to take private property for economic development purposes.

More: The New Orleans area and the Gulf Coast is now threatened with the
possibility that state and local governments will use federal rebuilding
funds to take private property, like homes, away from residents and use that
property for industrial zones. The US Supreme Court recently ruled that
economic development was a good enough reason for government to take
property away from private owners by eminent domain.

Now, for example, state and local governments can seize, by eminent domain,
areas that include privately owned homes hit hardest by the hurricanes and
floods in order to turn them into industrial zones. We know that this may
have a disparate impact on communities of color and limits a just recovery.

Here’s the LA Times Story.

How does Everybody Love Raymond? Perspectives on Cattle
September 27th, 2005 under Environment, Food. [ Comments: 2 ]

Raymond the Cow

Here’s a picture of my brother-in-law’s cow named Raymond. He’s the cute one. A swirl of controversy, as well as flies, surrounds the discussion about cattle and their impact on the environment. According to the EPA, a cow can produce over 44,000 pounds of crap and urine in one year. Holy crap! Huge farms that raise large numbers of cattle can be dangerous for the environment. Cow manure is a major source of nitrite pollution in ground water.

“Manure from dairy cows is thought to have contributed to the disastrous Cryptosporidium contamination of Milwaukee’s drinking water in 1993, which killed more than 100 people, made 400,000 sick and resulted in $37 million in lost wages and productivity.”

Additionally, “In this country, roughly 24 million pounds of antibiotics — about 70 percent of the nation’s antibiotics use in total — are added to animal feed every year to speed livestock growth. This widespread use of antibiotics on animals contributes to the rise of resistant bacteria, making it harder to treat human illnesses.”

All of this is why farms like Raymond’s are very important. Ray and his lovely friends are allowed to walk around and eat freely and have a pretty good life. I have friends that don’t believe that we should kill Raymond and his friends in order to eat them or use their skins. I understand this view. I love Raymond, but I’d also love to eat him. Since he is a free range cow, I feel that he’s had his fun. I do think I eat too much red meat. I can’t save the world by eating less red meat, by the way—hogs are REALLY bad for the environment!, but I think I need to do my part. Unfortunately, being from New Orleans, I don’t really think I’ll be eating a lot of fish, and crawfish either. Sorry local fishermen, I’ve got to think about my family’s health.

New orleans, Katrina, and Redefining Progress
September 25th, 2005 under Environment, Friends, Katrina, New Orleans, Politics. [ Comments: 13 ]

Redefining Progress has an excellent article about rules for rebuilding New Orleans.

Editor B and Homan are staying at my house while they survey their homes for damage and provide aid to Common Ground.

Naomi’s site, Real Reports of Katrina Relief, will probably tick you off, offend you, enspire you, or all of the above!

Grassroots/Low-income/People of Color-led Hurricane Katrina Relief interesting…

Saving Our Selves an organization of Black Americans providing hurricane relief.

Rebuild Green seeks to: “The disaster that has struck New Orleans should be turned into an opportunity to REBUILD GREEN. By focusing on green building technology, renewable energy, mass transit systems, and green community development that empowers local people to take control of their local resources, the rebuilding of New Orleans can take our city from being a symbol of disaster to being a prototype sustainable city of the future.”


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