Google Doodle Dandy

 

So, if you get on Google today, you’ll notice the “Google doodle”, an occasional alteration of the regular, iconic, multi-color logo. The Google doodle is used to honor special events and people.

Today, the doodle is a drawing of Richard Oakes, who would have been 75 years old today.

It’s okay; I didn’t know who it was, either.

Mr. Oakes, who grew up on a Mohawk reservation, was an influential activist for Native American rights in the 1960’s and early ’70’s, until he was shot and killed in 1972.

Give yourself a little history lesson today. Look up Richard Oakes and read about his life and efforts toward advancing social justice. In an era when peaceful protest is increasingly viewed by some as a “terrorist act”(!!), take some inspiration from what he accomplished with it.

Oh, and next time you see a Google doodle, tap or click on it. Never know what you might learn!

Hear That? It’s the World

 

President donald trump will go down in history as the greatest leader that ever was.

That’s right; I said it. You know why?

He will be the only person ever to end poverty, end crime, end racism, end sexism, end violence, end war, end all the problems of humanity.

How, you ask? Simple.

By ending all human life on this planet.

 

This past Saturday, I had the privilege of participating in the 2017 People’s Climate March. Not the one in Washington, D.C., that drew over 200,000 participants. (Go to http://www.peoplesclimate.org and look at the awesome pictures and read the inspiring stories from that day!) No, I was at one of the “Sister Marches”, in Dallas, Texas. The following pictures are from there:

20170429_09200520170429_09240520170429_09245020170429_094044-1

 

As you can see, we had a special guest.

It was an event organized by the People’s Climate Movement, held in cities across the country, and worldwide. As if Mother Nature herself wanted to drive home the point, the main march in D.C. was held in sweltering, 90-plus degree temperatures.

It was an amazing thing to witness. People of all races, religions, sexes, languages, etc., all came together for one day to acknowledge the reality of climate change, and to send the message that the people of this world care about what’s happening to the planet that sustains them, and are worried about the direction we are headed, rapidly.

And, they are not without reason. Here in the good ol’ USA, we have a President and an administrator for, of all things, the Environmental Protection Agency, who are both non believers in climate change, despite the overwhelming evidence of its existence, and who are both diligently working to accelerate it.

Exhibit A. From the New York Times, 5/29/2017:

“Since taking office, Mr. Trump has appointed one of the chief antagonists of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, as its administrator and proposed slashing its budget by nearly a third, more than any other federal agency. He has signed several executive orders aimed at rolling back President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a set of regulations intended to close heavily polluting coal-fired power plants, and restrictions on vehicle emissions, among others.

“This past week, Mr. Trump signed orders intended to initiate reviews aimed at opening certain protected lands and waters to drilling, mining and logging. His advisers were still debating whether the United States would remain in the landmark Paris climate accord. And on Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it had taken down several agency web pages that contained climate data and other scientific information relating to climate change.”

And this is all just in his first 100 days!

If you want more details:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/29/politics/trump-epa-cuts-infighting-climate-change/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/04/28/epa-website-removes-climate-science-site-from-public-view-after-two-decades/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.228c2b16ecef

Exhibit B. The aforementioned Mr. Scott Pruitt, former Attorney General of Oklahoma, “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda”, according to his own LinkedIn page, who sued the EPA 13 times while Attorney General, is the guy trump decided was the best fit for administrator of that very agency.

Isn’t that a riot? You couldn’t find a better fox to guard that henhouse!

Oh, and it isn’t just these two. We also have Senator Jim Inhofe, who once famously displayed an actual snowball on the floor of the Senate to disprove global warming. He’s merely one of one hundred eighty climate change deniers in the U.S. Congress. Their party affiliation is irrelevant.

So is yours, in fact. I don’t give a $#!+ who you voted for. You’re a human being; you depend on this planet for your life. As will the generations that follow us. This is no longer a spectator sport.

I saw a lot of kids at the march last weekend. As I took their pictures, I told them they were the reason us grownups were marching.

And, they are. It’s their future our “leaders” in Washington are seriously jeopardizing. Let them know that matters to you.

Mr. trump, Mr. Pruitt, Mr. Inhofe and all you other climate change deniers out there: The world has spoken. Loud and clear.

And the world won’t…be…ignored.

 

Got Plans Saturday?

 

Look out any window
Look out any open door
Look out any window
See what’s going on in the world around you

“Look Out Any Window” -Bruce Hornsby

Songwriters
HORNSBY, BRUCE / HORNSBY, JONATHAN

Published By
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., NORTH STAR MEDIA

 

Save the earth. It’s the only planet with chocolate!

– a magnet on the refrigerator at our house

 

Alright, look. I can put my opinion out there of all the ways I think this new administration is screwing up our country (and there are many, I believe), but for me, the mistakes with the most far-reaching repercussions have to do with climate change.

In case you weren’t already aware, over 90% of the world’s scientists agree that climate change is real, and that it is man-made.

Now, I know, on countless other issues, there is plenty of room for debate from either side, but when over ninety percent of the scientific community – people who know about these things – is in agreement on this issue, I sit up and take notice.

As should we all.

Unfortunately, we have a President who is on record saying that climate change is “a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese,” and recently signed an executive order loosening regulations on fossil fuel industries.

(Snowing in Texas and Louisiana, record setting freezing temperatures throughout the country and beyond. Global warming is an expensive hoax! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2014) I rest my case, Your Honor.

Not only that, we have the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency on record saying that carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to global warming, and who recently said in an interview the United States should exit the Paris Agreement.

Makes you wanna just yell at ’em, doesn’t it? Well, you may have the opportunity to actually do just exactly that.

Because this Saturday, April 29th, the People’s Clmate Movement will conduct its fourth annual People’s Climate March on Washington, D.C., as well as “Sister Marches” in cities all across America.

The People’s Climate Movement and March originated in 2014. As world leaders gathered in New York for the United Nations Climate Summit on September 23, 400,000 people took to the streets of New York the prior weekend to demand swift and decisive action regarding the climate crisis.

(Oh, and this wasn’t going on just in New York. Over that same weekend, 2,646 events took place in 162 countries around the world.)

This Year, the big March is going to be in Washington, D.C., right on President trump’s front porch. (AND, on his 100th day in office!) But, if you can’t make it there, don’t worry; there are plenty of events scheduled nationwide.

Go to https://peoplesclimate.org/ to learn more about the history of this movement, and find out where the nearest event is to you. You can RSVP to show up or, if you prefer, you can make a donation. Either way, I invite you to participate.

Myself, I plan to attend an event in nearby Dallas, to join my voice with voices all over this country and broadcast our concerns for the long-term survival of mankind on this planet, because that is exactly what’s at stake.

Oh, yeah, one more thing: share this with everybody…you…know.

 

 

The Freedom to Sit

 

“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”
–Voltaire

Class, today’s civics lesson is: Colin Kaepernick.

The quarterback of the San Fransisco ’49ers created quite the stir last weekend with his act of protest, refusing to stand during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to a preseason football game.

(Mind you, he didn’t stand for it in the two preceding games, either, but he was in street clothes for them. I guess it only counts if you’re suited up.)

The reason for his protest, Kaepernick said, was the unfair treatment of people of color in the United States. Being a white dude, I can’t personally relate to this problem, but I hear about it, and read about it, all the time. These people are being treated unfairly, and it’s been a problem ever since one person on earth looked different from all the other people.

Kaepernick meant to call attention to a societal issue he deeply cares about. Unfortunately, most of the attention seems to be on what he did, rather than why he did it. He has been berated, vilified and assailed, mainly on Twitter, being called everything from “idiot” to “disrespectful punk” to “disgraceful piece of shit nigger.”

Want my opinion? If not, you may stop reading, now. Thanks for coming; see you next time.

 

Still with me? Okay, then let’s look at a few of the things being said to or about Mr. Kaepernick:

1. What he did disrespected our men and women in the Armed Forces.

Could not disagree more. I submit to you, he honored them by what he did. (Full disclosure: I say that as someone who never served.)

Throughout our history, men and women have deliberately put themselves in harm’s way, some at the cost of their own lives, in defense of freedom. Colin Kaepernick chose to exercise that freedom in a very public, peaceful manner. You may not like his method, (neither do I, incidentally) but you don’t have to. He is perfectly within his rights, guaranteed by our Constitution, defended by our servicemen and women.

2. If he doesn’t like how things are here, he can just go somewhere else.

Ah, yes… America: Love It Or Leave It. If you have the gall to complain about it, you can just move on down the road.

Really? You can’t love your country if you point out something that’s wrong with it? Seems to me that those are the people that love it the most, the ones who try to call attention to the worst parts of it in an effort to bring about change, to make this country better. Otherwise, why would you care? (Unless, of course, you’re a self-serving Presidential candidate, pointing out all the problems only to offer yourself as the one and only solution, but I digress.)

3. He’s a rich NFL quarterback, so he should just STFU and play ball.

Okay, that’s what’s rich. So, what you’re telling me is, no one should take a stand (or a seat, in this case) for poor, oppressed people but other poor, oppressed people.

How much attention do you think that’ll get?

Kaepernick recognized the opportunity afforded him as a high profile athlete, in a high profile sport, with a sizable audience, to maximize the reach of his message. As I said before, though, that message is largely getting lost in all the chatter about his actions, mostly from all the “patriots” out there who’d rather address Kaepernick’s “unpatriotic” act, because they don’t want to face the much larger question of race relations in their precious America.

Well, guess what, folks: it’s a problem, a BIG problem, and we’ve got to have some honest conversations about it, sooner rather than later, or continue to ignore it at our peril.

Do I consider Colin Kaepernick a hero? I’m not going that far. But, he’s no villain, either. He’s simply a concerned citizen who believes it’s time for us all to work on righting some serious wrongs, and this is how he chose to bring attention to it. I, personally, do not fault him for that.

Will more people sit for the National Anthem now? Who knows? I suppose some will as a show of solidarity, but that won’t move us any closer to the goal. (no pun intended)

Instead, let’s do what Mr. Kaepernick has asked us to do, and have a thoughtful, reasonable, honest conversation about race relations in America, and work towards fixing them, and stop wasting our time castigating Colin Kaepernick.

Colin took a seat. Time for all of us to stand up.

This is what freedom looks like.

Class dismissed.