April 12th, 2009


Trip Report: Washougal River

We three babes of Oregon went. K & S had not met before, but we were a sympatico group. I love to boat with women because it is relatively noncompetitive with laughs to spare. Twas a lovely dripping drizzly day. We chuckled when the rain started. Kayaking is just as fun in the rain as not; one must be prepared for total immersion. We did a four mile class II section from milepost 7 to a semi-developed takeout. The water was medium--you could see where it had been much higher by the strainers. There was a spiral of black PVC hanging from high in a tree that we deduced was from a culvert that had unravelled in a flood.

How will 2008 be remembered?

Here you'll find an opinion piece by Thomas Friedman about the changes that have begun with the economic downturn of 2008. He clearly sees it as a much bigger change than just a predictable economic cycle. He asks in his title if it is the inflection point, and later calls this change The Great Disruption. I have adopted the tag "The Long Emergency" (from Kunstler) for the time period that follows this inflection point. The title of this journal (we live in INTERESTING TIMES) is also a salute to the future that I envision--a future that is drastically different from the one we've been sold, and not an easy adjustment. So for me, it is hopeful that people are beginning to talk frankly about the failure of our current system and the literal DEAD end that we will reach if we continue on the path we've taken for the last 50 years... But I go on. Friedman says it better.

Non-Native Pets Could Be Outlawed

Before you view this video, let me say that I disagree with its makers on several points. Still, this video is an excellent example of internet activism, and I am sure I am helping them by posting it here. I don't mean to. I simply want the discussion to happen. Pet snakes and fish have been released, or flushed down the toilet, and are multiplying in our waterways and subtropical zones. Many invasive species gain their foothold after being transported by humans to new ecosystems. H.R. 669 is the 2009-2010 Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act.

HR 669 is intended to prevent the introduction and establishment of nonnative wildlife species that negatively impact the economy, environment, or other animal species' or human health, and for other purposes. This is a reasonable goal. The young man in the video (below) argues that one reason not to pass this bill is that it will put pet stores out of business, including large corporate chains, and hence put more people out of work. I sort of doubt that this bill would be so devastating to pet stores large and small, but the fish and reptile people would be SOL. What do you think?


Tea Bagging?

I was disappointed to watch Rachel Maddow's Thursday and Friday night shows. Most of what she has to say is astute and witty, a voice of productive discourse. But her report on the upcoming Tax Day Tea Party demonstrations missed the mark. She was having great fun with the fact that "tea bagging" means putting your testicles in someone's mouth. I suppose it could be indicative of the straightness/cultural cluelessness of certain Republicans that they didn't choose to name their event something else. Or perhaps they just never thought someone would make a big dirty joke out of "tea bagging" when it is so beside the point.

Rachel initially portrayed the Republican tea baggers as racist ignoramuses who could not tell you where Obama was born and suspected he wasn't actually the president because he was foreign. She correctly links the tea bag events to Ron Paul. Unfortunately she mocked those who desire to dissolve the Federal Reserve. She clearly had no clue, and I was saddened. We need discussion on this issue, not mockery. There is no doubt that the Republican party is fractured to its core. But there are still good ideas out there.

Does she not grasp what has happened with the banking system in this country, and on this planet? Does she not understand how much the revision of this system would mean for the future of humanity? I guess not. It's not easy to understand. I am only barely beginning to grasp it myself. And I sorely want Rachel Maddow to educate herself about it because she is a person who could really help educate the public.