Sunday, November 27, 2011

Where is our water coming

Folks who have read my blog in the past know that one of my concerns has to do with the availability of water. That in the same way we fret about petroleum and natural gas that the day will come when we will focus on why we are running out of water in the Southwest part of our country.

Even in areas where water is readily available may find their supplies threaten by gas well drilling fracking operations and changes in climate. The when you add in southwestern states talking about running pipe lines to get access to their water can make an individual very guarded about giving the water away.

I come from a long line of dry land farmers who didn’t make their crops because it didn’t rain. Therefore with that lineage you develop a sensitivity to available water supplies. So it wasn’t to surprising when this past thanksgiving I became involved in a conversation with my sister-in-law, who works for the USDA conservation corp.,  concerning a recent study that she read that said that according to study of growth rings of certain regional trees that this year has been one of the driest years since 1582.

Now add to that the fact that you live in a area that is dependent on water caught in impoundments (lakes) and realize that no rain means the lakes don’t fill up.  The question becomes at what time do you admit you made a mistake encouraging unrestricted growth and water intensive farming and landscape?

Right now there are parts of our state of Texas that has severely limited watering and water use and this during the time when we get the bulk of our rain in year. We have lakes that our down 10 to 15 ft. below normal leaving some of the pump stations high and dry.

So you say turn on the wells  and start using them. That sounds good until you realize several things. (1) The aquifers that most of these wells pull from have been so severely worked for irrigation of farms that they are already at a level below what some wells s pull from. (2) The water highly mineralized already has high levels of salination to the point of undrinkable.. (3) Heavy use of fertilizer, illicit dumping of chemicals, fracking chemicals used in gas wells, and insecticides have led to contamination of many of our water wells.

I can never forget a conversation I had with a local water dept employees who commented that they never drink the water but buy bottle water for their coffee and drinking. When I commented that they were kidding me they assured me they were not. What they hated the most were having to take down a water line feeding into the city and activating the wells because it meant that they meant they would be spending a week flushing out the lines once the outside water line was back in operation.

Let me ask this one question. If you are willing to allow your country’s leader’s to go to a immoral war to supposedly assure fuel for your SUV what would you do to assure you have life giving water to drink?

Well I have said enough for now. I just wanted to get folks to talking about it and thinking about how they use water.

Projects, Reading, Movies

Minimal time in the shop due to the holidays. Hope to make up for it in the upcoming week.

Same thing with the reading.

Movies were a different story Watched “Green Lantern” Reba didn’t like the way he flew. Otherwise it was a pretty good story.

“Walking Dead” nearing season end and the so is the intensity of the story line ramping up.  Can’t wait to see what they do.

A new series “Hell on Wheels” about the 19th century building of the trans-continentlal railroad turning into a pretty good series. The corruption of our government isn’t something new if the series is to believed.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Know thy Enemy

When you examine the wars that our country is currently fighting in foreign countries it would seem that our leaders have forgotten that you need to know your enemy. If they had then I wonder if we would ever become involved in a war that only knows the “Blood Feud” and tribal loyalties. The enemies we are making there now we will have in 200 years.

But , this maximum of “Know your enemy” cannot be more true than in the class struggle we are involved it right now.

What the middle/working class need to know is first that the elites or 1% believe totally in trickle down economy. Second understand that part of their philosophical basis come’s from a ideal of “objectivism”.

Objectivism promotes the ideal that in the same way cream rise to the top so do the elite and that as cream is valued so should the elite be valued more than the rest of us rabble.  The Ann Rand Institute the 20th century writer of the classic “Atlas Shrugged” and author of the philosophy explains it this way

1. “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed” or “Wishing won’t make it so.” 2. “You can’t eat your cake and have it, too.” 3. “Man is an end in himself.” 4. “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Looked at in this simple view it seems reasonable but the truth is more of a screw you that only thing that counts is I get mine first and I is defined as the uber-rich or elites. In short is a elite philosophy for elitist. Evidence of this is seen in her seminal work “Atlas Shrugged” and in the movie of the same.

Now take this ideal of no regulatory control over finance or industry of what is good for me is good for everybody else and that eventually those on the bottom rung will get what they need. It is lazier faire economy of the minimal government, no taxes, and no government programs or help for the poor, no control over food or meds production and you see suddenly where the “Tea Parties” GOP’s are coming from.  So it should not be a surprise to find out that our current house speaker John Boehner, house budget chairman Paul Ryan are both big fans of Ms. Rand and have been known to parhrase and quote from her works.

To get more info NPR has been doing a great series on the influence of Ann Rand and you can start with their recent Nov. 14th article

But should think that they are just showing their liberal bias they also have done a series of article on the Keynesian economic philosophy that promotes more regulations, greater taxes on the ultra-rich and more public assistance for those in need. The very opposite of Objectivism.

In this economic class war you need more than ever to know your enemy.

Reading and shop

Recently finished “Rainbow Pie” by Joe Baynet a great book that was part memoir and part how the white poor working class been led down the garden path.  Great read well worth spending time with it. Unfortunately there will be no more from Joe as he has passed away this year.  But you can still find a collection of his articles.

Started a political thriller called the “The Librarian” by Larry Beinhart and as I read it I find myself wondering if perhaps he was a fly on the wall. Great read so far.
The Librarian: A Novel

Been working on sanding down the child’s writing desk getting it ready to reassemble and finish. Hopefully this week should have it done.

I also have picked up a Ryobi orbital jig saw so I hopefully will get back on to the Cherry salt and pepper collectible hanging cabinet.

The biggest problem I have been having in getting these jobs done has been cranky joints limiting my ability to do get out into the shop. But I am thinking I am going to have to just man up and do it.

Well enough for now.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How we remember and pushing through to get restarted

Sometimes I am stymied for a subject to blog on. I mean it is not like there isn’t anything to write about.

The economy sucks. Working/middle class continue to loose ground. Politicians continue to give us reason to comment. But there comes a time when it just becomes hard to write because you start feeling you are repeating yourself.

I would write about projects but I have been having difficulty with getting out into the shop and making saw dust, I find multiple reasons for not undertaking garden projects and photo opportunities seem to elude me.

I guess I am in a funk.

I read and I get pleasure from it. I watch Video and history channels but I am still find myself in that funk.

I do find myself thinking about my past. Reflecting on how I became who I am. This morn I took my first sip of coffee of the day and it took me back to times when coffee played a part of the day.

My first thought was when I was 15 and told by my Grandma to sit down on the bench with the rest of the men for breakfast instead of waiting with the rest of the kids to be fed and my mother pouring me a cup of coffee. It was a sign of being accepted as an adult. Of course it also meant I was worked hard like a man was expected to do.

The other thought was sleeping rough on the side of the road and that first cup of coffee after a cold night the taste was like nectar of the gods.

The other cups of coffee were notable mornings watching the sun coming up as I sat on a tailgate of a old pickup pouring a  cup of coffee from my old battered thermos, watching as the men hustled to get ready to begin work and my own excitement kicking in for the work day ahead.

I guess that is the way the mind works a taste or smell or familiar site dredging up old memories. It seems as I grow older it is so for me.


After I wrote this on Thursday I spent time in the shop Sunday after church working on the garage sale kids desk. Cleaning it up after taking it apart patching cracks and old screw holes. Tomorrow I will begin sanding it down and prefinished the piece.

It feels good to be out in the shop in such wonderful weather. I did this despite the ache from a incoming front. Sometimes you have to just work through the pain to get where you want to be.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Good Neighbor Policy

I live in a older neighborhood. By older I mean the age of it’s residents tend to be on the plus side of 50. The result of that is a quite area in a sea of rolling boom boxes and verbal and mechanical traffic noise that often include police helicopters flying overhead. That is ok I like it like that. A island of quite in a sea of urban noise.

But we have this one neighbor and his wife as well as his kids that exemplify the meaning of community and service. You see they believe you have to look after your neighbors particularly if they can’t get around or take care of things or need help much like I do because of arthritic knees and hips.

This neighbor is never still. I see him doing lawn care for his neighbors without thought of compensation. He has sawed up and cleaned up fallen tree limbs after a storm. Cleaned ice away from steps and always greet you with a smile. Again, this goes for his entire family.

I have wittiness his daughter who is attending college help the more senior of us who are unable to drive get in out of her car to take them to the doctor or grocery store. The son follows in his father’s footsteps helping out with keeping the neighbors yards. Just yesterday observed raking fallen leaves, mowing and edging.

This is just who they are. As it has been said it’s in their DNA.

This got me to thinking. This is the way it use to be in small towns or in tight neighborhoods. Everybody looking after each other.  We used to help one another to get through the day. All done without thought of compensation or thanks. It was just what you did as neighbors.

I remember distinctly my mom looking after a neighbor kids while a parent recovered. Of dishes made and delivered to the sick or grieving. Sacks of groceries left on doorsteps of elderly and those who have lost their jobs and money for food disappeared. It was just what you did.

But we live in a less neighborly society today. We have forgotten that none of us will get out of this life alive. That no matter how independent we may think we are there will be those time when a little neighborly help is appreciated. But, remember it isn’t a one way street give and you will receive.

These are the lesson that my neighbor has reminded me of. So when his water line from the meter developed a leak I didn’t hesitate in helping him figure out how to fix it. Nor do I mind watching his place as well as my other neighbors while they are away. Because I know that they will do the same for me. It is just what neighbors do.

So why am I writing about my good neighbor?

Simply this, we are living in difficult times. It is a time that from recent figures from the Dept of treasury and office of congressional budget report that nearly 50% of our citizens live at or below the poverty income level. A time when the American dream has become the American nightmare. It is a time when social programs are cut but foreign aid and monies for war spent in support of governments who leaders have openly said that in a war with another country they would come to the aide of the other country.  We have forgotten charity starts at home. That money can’t buy you friends.

Enough of the soap box.

Projects, reading and movies.

Started taking apart and repair of the children writing desk that a neighbor recently gave us. A lot of repair work but it is better than just tossing it out. It has inspired me to undertake a making of 4 desk based on it as a pattern as a part of my grandkids Xmas present. Hope to get started on that this weekend.

Continued to read Joe Bageant “Rainbow Pie, a redneck memoir”.

Watched recently “Fast and furious 5” a nice fast paced action movie with Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson set in Brazil. I love it mindless violence and all.

TV wise been watching a lot of NG “Rocket City Rednecks” and “Mad Scinentist” as well as Discovery’s “Mythbuster” this season has been particularly good.

Well enough for now.