Take Amazon by storm

It’s amazing that Amazon might be considering anywhere but Chicago for the placement of their new facility.
Houston was just destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, and easily could be again. Austin escaped Harvey’s whole wrath by the skin of its teeth, but could easily bear the next mega-storm’s brunt itself. New York, ever vulnerable, hasn’t completely recovered after Superstorm Sandy. Hours after flattening Florida, Hurricane Irma still hampered Atlanta, limiting the world’s busiest airport’s operations, and even with significant help, poor Puerto Rico will never be the same.
This unholy trinity (HarvIrMaria) is at the forefront of what’s predicted to be a new era of disruptive weather events. If Amazon’s smart, it will quickly give up the idea of putting their place anywhere affected by this kind of wild severe weather – so maybe they will deign to award it to Chicago.
With the worst of times ahead, Chicago is predicted to get Atlanta’s climate. So if Amazon does pick the Windy City, it will still essentially get one of the other short-listed cities. Win-win? Rather, write “how to make silk purses out of hog-butchers’ ears.”
 A lot of things in your warehouses will not be needed as the oceans rise and ecosystems are bankrupted by greed – in other words, right now! And while you’re at it, Amazon, stop treating workers as disposable or interchangeable and the products you carry as crucial and unavoidable. If you truly care about our communities, prove it!
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Palm problems

I don’t follow Mother Church’s dicta, but I do try to keep up with world issues, so maybe for Lent we could talk about palm.
How a food feels to us has a lot to do with how much we like it, and the makers of baked goods, especially those that need a substantial shelf life, really like palm. Palm oil is now in hundreds of products including dog biscuits, as if our hounds even cared about mouth feel. Instead of having all peanut butter, Jif, for instance, contains peanuts and palm oil. A crazy/busy sale on Nutella in Paris recently made local news; Nutella was reformulated a decade ago to use palm oil instead of transfats, but it still has mostly sugar, then palm oil, hazelnuts, etc.
I ask you, good Catholics (and everyone), to take up this cause for the sake of the rainforests and orangutans, being wiped out so we can enjoy this 21st-century abomination. The biodiversity the forests evolved and still need are being cut down, with plantations of palm put in instead. The orangs try to return to what used to be their familiar foraging grounds — their homes — and are shot.
But what has this to do with the church? Palm Sunday. Palm fronds come from some of the same trees, when we shouldn’t be wiping out or denuding any of the planet’s trees for what is essentially decorations.
The dried fronds represent what was strewn before Christ; they are then burned. As has been said of eggs and rabbits (the bane of many gardens), this, too, in terms of communal fires, is a throwback to pagan times. And even having the palms dried and folded just so, into the shape of a cross, what does that do, really, to honor Jesus’s teachings? Like waving flags, finding, folding and burning palm fronds doesn’t heal the sick, it doesn’t feed the poor, it doesn’t raise the nearly dead. Can’t paper crosses – maybe folded by the homebound elderly or  little children – assuage the faithful just as well, and the jungle catch a breather?
Last year the Pope declared everyone could ditch fish for St Patrick’s Day (and fish during Lent wasn’t an order from Jesus, but an attempt by the old Church to keep fishermen in business those six weeks, when everyone was doing penance by giving up all meat). The Pope could easily decree an end to palm fronds, and, by extension, palm oil. Will he?
Meanwhile, New Zealand has adjudged a river as having the same rights as a person. Economics will no longer trump ecology there. Now that’s progressive.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yes – the Nose Knows

My husband and I have been the police for a really long time. We take issue with those who claim we can’t smell marijuana on clothes, whether the accusers work with scents, stink, what-have-you — or none. We both have hovered over numerous campfires. He rescued two old women from a burning building, and I was an Emergency Medical Technician, decades ago; we can still tell the difference between a wood fire and burning human flesh with ease (or unease, in the case of burnt people).

In spite of my late father sucking down cancer sticks in the house when I was growing up, in spite of having smoked too often myself as a foolish young adult, in spite of hours spent chatting in smoky bars decades back, and in spite of a few seasonal allergies these days, our sense of smell is still keen enough to distinguish between the smells of marijuana, cigarette, and cigar smoke. We can also distinguish between dog urine (which we generally find tolerable), and that of cats (repulsive). We can tell by the odors left in a person’s clothing if s/he owns cats. We have known for years that when we are at work, if a person we stop to question passes gas he’s is usually hiding something he considers more vexing. Drugs or weapons, flatulence is the tip-off.

He has on occasion come home from working with a partner who smoked. Although he would not let the other officer smoke inside the squad car, the lingering odor was sufficient for me to ask hubby to immediately launder his uniform. He had the same reaction when I was stuck with a smoker. The stench lingers on fabric, including car seats.
We have worked in the public high schools and caught whiffs of the marijuana smell on students’ clothing as they were brought into the detention office. We have on countless occasions in our total 60+ years on the force smelled it in gangways, on arrestees being brought into the lockup, and coming from a car upon making a traffic stop.

Even a moderately good sense of smell should let anyone not olefactorily impaired know when the milk is spoiled. If people can’t tell subtle differences in smells, however do parfumiers manage their jobs? Coffee roasters, too, depend on their sense of smell. Odors alert doctors to changes in their patients’ health. Just as we humans can tell more different shades of green than any other color, all our senses start out acute, and (absent disorders or abusing them) we usually retain them.

There’s a woman who can smell Parkinson’s Disease. Scientists are working to determine what exactly it is she’s smelling, in hopes of helping others with Parkinson’s.

So sorry to our detractors, but your notion that we can’t distinguish marijuana is all wet. Cops have a nose for pot — and a host of other troubles!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Who Knows What?

Donald Trump has said that global heating is a Chinese hoax – even though he browbeat the Scottish government to erect a seawall to protect his golf course there. He disregards the solid research and recommendations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which found the rate of global heating is unprecedented and that not enough is being done to curb it.
Trump has also said he loves stupid people, and, considering the four to eight hours of television per day that he consumes, apparently counts himself among those unconcerned with the facts — and hazards from sticking his head so often in the sand.
Because he has surrounded himself with yes-men and -women (looking at you, SaraHuck) he doesn’t hear from scientists or anyone rational, only those with an ax to grind (Steve Bannon much?) and as divorced from reality as himself.
Hopefully Doug Jones can help get the country back on track, since the current administration is off the rails!
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Whom to believe and why? These are the vital questions

“The “Prez” failed many morality tests long before he moved into the White House.
– He didn’t pay people who did an honest day’s (or more) work for him

– He bragged that anyone who was rich like him could just grab women by the P***y

– he started with a new woman while still married to his wife

– as the sponsor of at least one beauty pageant, he came into the changing room and ogled the young contestants

– he mocked a disabled journalist

– he lied to us repeatedly and impudently, such as in promising he was going to be Prez to work, not golf

– quick to call out Obama and others who were being cautious about naming radical Islamism as terrorism, he still won’t call the Las Vegas shooter or Charlottesville mob domestic or white-power terrorists even though they are.

– He supports a pedophile because — like Moore, the Republican — they both are the leering/grabbing-at-teen-girls type, and because despite his promise to be a President for all the people,  Democrats just don’t cut it with him.

There have been those who, gaining high office, did not use it to stab down in the name of whatever. Obama maintained a sense of decorum and solemnity at almost every turn; Jimmy Carter tried to get us to see the seriousness of impending climate changes, but was drowned out by the oil and related interests. Trump has tantrums and tweets.

Maybe to some small extent, through no effort of Trump’s own, we see changes happening because of what Obama set in motion for the months and years to come after he left office. Those who voted Trump held their noses through the things I listed above and voted for him anyway.

Why does Heather Heyer have to be termed a leftie saint rather than a beacon of reason? Why does the Republican base support Roy Moore and denigrate Al Franken – because there’s a picture of Franken? But there’s a video of Trump boasting he can just kiss anyone because he’s rich, but now he tells us to disbelieve our own eyes and ears. So according to the So-Called-Ruler-Of-The-US and his apologists, one hamming-it-up Franken photo with a now-disgruntled woman (with whom he worked out all sorts of sexual-silliness skits) has to go, and multiple allegations against Republi-Roy are not to be believed because it was 40 years ago, and the Access Hollywood tape is fake news – why? Because what casts dispersions on Republicans, whoever the witness is, is to be denied as “fake news”. 

The RWNJs stab torches to the sky and spew violent epithets. The left for the most part marched with candles against the dark, and sang, and protected clergypeople from haters. The anti-abortion crowd has that as their driving force, not women’s rights, not climate science, no other. You and your kin may be raising your sons to be fine people, not to disparage those different from them or denigrate women, but Dolt45 isn’t. Of course he’s a racist (even if he’s not against those members of his family who are Jewish), just like he’s obviously an elitist male chauvinist pig, and just as he’ll never again say he’s a Democrat, as he once did, because there’s too much (he thinks) he stands to gain from throwing his lot in with those who are so much like himself.

You women, and your mothers and sisters and daughters were female before you and they chose sides, before anyone knew a damn thing about politics.  Are you and your family really so like him, as to deny other women?

Who, I wonder, voted for him, and if so, how will you begin to make up for it? Whence forward, for — if not moving in righteous formation with these vile men’s accusers, if not in Heather Heyer’s footsteps — then how?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Against contraception/abortion? Put up or shut up

Steve Chapman gave us some of the pertinent details in the travails of Jane Doe, the pregnant Central American young woman too often referred to as a “girl” (“Forced childbirth or voluntary abortion?” Tribune, Thursday, October 26th, 2017) and compared her case to the practice in China of forced abortions and coerced sterilizations. He is correct to compare the US unfavorably with China, for all three practices are a matter of someone imagining he (it’s almost never a woman claiming she should decide) knows what’s best for a female, or all females, of childbearing age.
A veteran Chicago Police Officer, I have worked as a clinic guard and seen firsthand the anger of the zealots who cannot dissuade a woman trying to control her own reproductive destiny. They turned their rage on me too, sending me ostensibly caring cards, but some with vague threats. Such Christian compassion did one man display that he stepped on my foot and punched me! Perhaps he imagined he was Jesus at the money-changers’ table? He fled before the on-duty officers arrived, so he got away with it, thirty-some years back, and perhaps he’s already had to sit in judgment for it: I can hope.
Yet why did Chapman not mention who, or what entity, was ready to step up for the potential baby should the Trump juggernaut have been successful in forcing the young female human to go to term? He noted none because there is no such animal.
Did they demand to know the father and sue him as the at-fault party for the legal and medical expenses the United States would have ponied up? Some man had a part in this, but because they can’t see him they willfully drop the matter and focus their laser-like attention on the pregnancy.
What about the assumed pregnancy caused by then-Rep. Tim Murphy (resigned Republican from Pennsylvania), who insisted his mistress get an abortion? It’s pretty convenient, isn’t it, to be a man and demand women do what you say. This cretin blamed the texts on his staff, but at least he resigned, though another anti-choice man’splainer must surely be waiting in the wings.
Sometimes the fervent few provide diapers and baby clothes for the expectant one’s offspring. But they don’t they put themselves in the picture for the long haul, they don’t provide medical care if the infant is born damaged or addicted, they don’t help the mother get clean and stay sober, nor do they help her get an education and a worthwhile job. Do they provide the child with a good education, vaccinations, or nutritious meals? Warm coats and hats in wintry regions? Books? All for the child’s entire life? They don’t. Why not, because God will provide? Does He always, now? Most assuredly he does not.
What they did in Jane Doe’s case was send the top Health & Human Services official (purportedly picked to lead the Office of Refugee Resettlement, though his anti-choice political leanings were said to be the deciding factor), E. Scott Lloyd, a zealot, to Jane Doe,  where they led her to believe they were taking her for the procedure; then, once at the “clinic” (read: trap) merely prayed over her. Because whatever the prayers that young Latina woman had, they weren’t good enough for her jailers – only their words would make a difference!
Also relevant: Lloyd writes for anti-female journals that claim contraceptives cause abortions, nevermind the solid science that proves the proper and consistent use of contraceptives reduces the need for abortions to nearly nil, and that tax dollars are being used to trick people into abortions. That is highly doubtful, and tax dollars sure are not going to help give those children women keep to have full lives, and when they bring to justice the men who tricked them into believing they were happy for a pregnancy, the garnished wages are never enough for that idyllic happy life. Lloyd claimed contraception often fails, without any citations; references are for nerds, I guess, not the fervent faithful.
Obviously Lloyd and Murphy and their ilk were and would be okay with Jane Doe’s lack of choices, to have her returned with the unwanted child to her country of origin (maybe while boasting, “She changed her mind! We got her to have the baby! We saved a life!”), where she might hope for the best, perhaps, but where she said that she would assuredly suffer more abuse, from her parents and the system as well. How much does one have to hate immigrants, to drive an involuntary almost-mother back to the country where she was impregnated, where her own parents don’t support her? Maybe she was raped along the way to the Land of the Free – that doesn’t weigh on their consciences?
It costs a lot of money to raise a child. Those who are anti-abortion and who don’t put their money where we find these hungry mouths and minds, who don’t let any woman avert a pregnancy before it implants, they should be laughed at and dismissed, not given ever more power to control us. They are wrong and they must be stopped.
These pro-life-on-MY-say-so types, they sure want to make sure America has fewer anchor babies, don’t they.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reviving Megafauna: Madness!

So Chief Seathl continues to be ignored. He who warned that another heaven and another Earth must pass before [a species] could come into being again — what did he, a “mere” Indian, know?

No-one knows all the minute interactions between the extinct creature and its environment. As wolves make all things possible in Yellowstone, as foxes make it less likely a mouse can get near enough to humans to transfer Lyme disease, we can extrapolate that there were micro fauna that made the mammoth’s existence possible, and are also gone or dormant. The average person cares not a whit about the lowly life forms that made the big guys possible; some don’t even care about their own gut bacteria!

Here is yet another technology into which scientists have rushed half-cocked and which we will live to regret.

Mammoths will be killed off as fast as anyone can create them, the poachers’ uncaring and elitist customers no doubt salivating over the ivory to come. Or will mammoths be farmed? The world is not taking care of the elephants we have remaining, so what gives us the right to take up the habitat other still-living species inhabit, or to use those remaining pachyderms as mere mammoth incubators? Rather than spending any more money on reviving what’s long gone, we ought to press everyone to take care of what we have left!

Snatch an animal back from the brink of death? The revivalists pooh-pooh that very miracle which veterinarians perform every day, in favor of — something exciting! It would be cool to see sabre-tooth tigers, passenger pigeons, even dodos! Bring the whole bunch back from the grave! Damn the naysayers, not to mention the expense! Excitement trumps all!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment