commentary & updates

These entries will include, but not be limited to, the thoughts for the week which we broadcast on Environmentally Sound.  As always, your commentary is welcome.

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July 4, 2008.  Official publication date of this website.  I know there are still glitches and inconsistencies.  I will address any you point out, and thanks for taking the time to do so.  Enjoy the site, participate if you wish by communicating with me and listen to the radio program.  We air on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month from 10:00–11:00 a.m.  For further information, click here.


January 28,2010.

As we begin our ninth year we reflect on the state of our union;  the president’s speech was last night.  Partisan politics prevail, perhaps worse than ever.  Neither party has good ideas and neither has the courage to make even obvious improvements.  Most are beholden to special interests and even those public officials who might have a conscience don’t have the power to get things done.  So it goes.  We deteriorate as a nation, waiting for the leader who can make it happen.  Barack Obama is just too unseasoned, apparently, to stand up and kick butt.  He is the right man, but at the wrong time.  He is a man of conscience, but at the wrong time.  He starts his second year and one can only hope.  I don’t do much of that anymore.

February 19, 2009.

So many people want to tell the president how to rescue our economy.  What most strikes my attention is that the president has enlisted the aid of the top economists available–which is virtually all of them–and carefully crafted a multi-step plan.  He has tried to avoid partisan conflicts and to eliminate special favors.  He is really trying to get the job done. 

Enter the partisans:  no house republicans voted for the stimulus package.  Right wing radio hosts and callers-in to their programs, ignoramuses all, think they have better solutions.  What they have better is hot air.

For my part, I will allow the professionals to work and watch the unfolding of the work with interest.  I believe Obama has the leadership and will succeed.  How much better it would be if we pulled together instead of partisans pulling down on the president instead of letting him work.

Fortunately he has the numbers to work without their help, and I expect he will do that.  Hopefully the American people will see a great success over this presidential term.  As I said, I will watch it unfold.  Good luck Mr. O.

January 22, 2009. 



Mainstream democrats and republicans alike will agree with much of this editorial.  If not the tone, then the substance.  We are each a unique combination of views on a wide range of issues.  Liberal democrats won’t like my stance on gun control.  Conservative republicans won’t like my views on abortion.  People of the far left and far right are unlikely to agree with me on much.

I am unashamedly delighted by the election of Barack Obama.  He is my president.  I am happy to be rid of george bush and his abomination of an administration.  President Obama is more forgiving than I am, which is a good thing.  I would pursue legal action against them.  But Obama is the one who has to get things done.  And I am confident that he will.  So be it.

Many people are saying he is untried;  true enough.  But I believe in him.  I believe he will turn this country, and, without sounding grandiose, the world, around. 

No I don’t expect miracles in the middle east.  Those people have hated each other for 4,000 or so years.  I can only wish him luck.  No expectations.  There are too many die-hard Jews and Muslims.  Too much hatred;  too much history.

And I don’t believe al quaeda, hamas, hezbollah and others are just going to lay down their arms and give up their struggles.  That war is not over.  War, period, is not over.  I have no illusions about the human race’s ability to make peace.  A nice goal, but probably not attainable any time soon.  The previous administration made things worse.  They went after a target they had previously chosen, not the correct one.  The Afghan war, on the other hand, seems necessary, and Barack will pursue it.

Nor do I believe that President Obama will make major steps against global warming.  His contribution will be that he will address it, not ignore or deny it altogether as the previous administration did, along with the radical right, when it suited some lesser purpose like politics or greed.

But he will listen to scientists.  He will not grant leases for drilling of pristine public lands; [see below] his EPA will not delist endangered species for politics or profit, nor will they allow coal-fired power plants to relax pollution control procedures and violate the Clean Air Act;  he will close Guantanamo;  he will end the Iraq War;  he will use correct procedures to wiretap suspects and not flout the Constitution and federal law.  There will be an end to torture, and lying;  to appointing radical judges;  to filling key positions with political people rather than qualified ones. 

If there is a natural disaster President Obama will deal with it expeditiously.

I have never felt so patriotic as now.  I believe in the United States of America now and look forward to the next four, and hopefully eight years.  We are back on track.  My sin is pride.  Proud to be an American on this day.

Feel free to respond to any of this and use whatever colorful language you wish.  Just keep in mind that you are responding to an independent, not a knee-jerk liberal.  An army veteran who believes in the necessity of war,  While the Republican Party has lost its way, I have no great confidence in the Democratic Party to hold the banner high, either.  Politicians–even the good ones–are of a breed.  They are corruptible and often become corrupt.  That doesn’t mean that they steal, or accept bribes, although some do.  It means that they lose their way.  It means that the salary, prestige, benefits are too good to surrender to principle.  Even for the principled ones.  They are dealmakers and the devil makes deals.

Is it a liberal who believes that the Supreme Court got it right last June 26 when they said the 2nd Amendment allows all citizens to keep a gun at home for protection?  (Gun control laws are necessary, but only to keep guns in the hands of non-violent, rational people.)  Is it a liberal who believes that gay couples should have the same rights as straight couples except that the word “marriage” should be reserved only for heterosexual couples?  Progressive, yes.  And independent.  One of my favorite public officials is a Republican:  New Rochelle’s Lou Trangucci.  Straight talker, fiscally rational.

My president acknowledged more people than any public official or candidate has to my knowledge ever done.  President Obama was inclusive.  He said we are all included:  Christians, Hindus, Jews and Muslims;  and non-believers.  Count me in Barack.  It has been a long eight years.  At last we have a president.  At last I can be proud again.

(Three days before he was to leave office):

{On Saturday night, a federal judge ruled in our favor and blocked the Bush Administration from proceeding with the lease sale of 110,000 acres of Utah's Redrock wilderness to oil and gas companies.

-Robert Redford, Trustee, NRDC}

Thanksgiving Day, 2008, 12:42 a.m.  Like gazillions of other Americans, and perhaps others around the world, I have always loved gorging myself on turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce.  There have been some changes;  I always preferred the jellied form, but more recently I have favored the whole berry variety.  This year, though, there will be a departure.  I was invited to a couple of dinners, but declined.  I have almost no family in the area, and my dear cousin Rachel will be in Cincinatti with her son. 

Gorging on food does not seem to be a true giving of thanks to me, at least not this year.  This year I will spend in the streets of Manhattan giving money to homeless people.  Somehow sharing my gifts with those less fortunate feels more like a true celebration than stuffing myself.  This is by no means a criticism of those who celebrate traditionally, as I have always done.  Maybe next year I will revert to indulging my carnal tastes.  This year will be different.  This year I shall give back and perhaps feel better about my place in the world.  There is so much more that each of us could do, and later today I will do this small thing.

I did not think to make an entry after this year’s presidential election.  As I have written elsewhere, I am not much of a blogger.  Who cares what I have to say?  Everyone with a website–even those without one of their own–can publish their thoughts for anyone to read.  It is quite likely, though, that no one ever reads those thoughts, as most likely no one will read this.  But it is a way of expression.  Briefly, I cried tears of joy when the reality of the election of Barack Obama hit me.  I had not believed a person of color could win the U.S. presidency.  How wonderful to be wrong!  How wonderful that the electorate in this country could overcome its tradition of racism and elect Obama.

He is still president-elect for another two months less seven days.  Little he can do beyond preparation.  I am hopeful that this will be a turning point.  I am still somewhat pessimistic about the condition of the earth at this time;  whether or not Obama can make a larger difference remains to be seen.  Humans have made a royal mess.  If we do not–as a species–turn it around, Gaia will have to take matters into her own hands, a necessity which will not be pretty for us.

Nineleven, 2008.  This date will always be a reminder of the vulnerability of any civilization to those who would bring it down for whatever reason.  Given the potential availability of nuclear weapons, by far the most dangerous of the WMD group (chemical, biological, nuclear), one shudders to think of the consequences of such an attack in a civilized area.  Some observers flatly state that it is inevitable and just a matter of time.  Of course all people of conscience, by any definition of conscience, decry this eventuality.  Yes, the United States used such weaponry against Japan in World War II.  There the nations were at war and both had much to lose.  The war ended immediately and the world got back to more peaceful pursuits. 

If a nuclear attack is carried out by a non-nation, however, there is no one against whom to retaliate.  The response would have to be dramatic.  The country attacked, likely the United States, could not take the hit without retaliation against a perceived enemy, whether actual or not. 


Today’s guest is Supreme Master Ching Hai.  Her work, as with all spiritual leaders, is to attempt to guide the human race away from this brink, this abyss. 

Am I being too dramatic?  One can only hope.

The interview can be listened to on the Radio Archives page, accessible from our home page.  A link to Supreme Master Ching Hai’s website can be found on the Guest Bios page.

August 19, 2008.  Not much of a blogger, but some thoughts.  The big payoff of Environmentally Sound is the opportunity to interview such special guests.  They are selected for their relevance, either environmental, political or frequently both.  Environmental issues are almost always political as clean-ups cost money, and contractors and developers prefer to ignore them and focus on maximizing profit.  Who can blame them?  That is what business is. 

By the same token, businesses which generate toxins and other harmful environmental pollutants are not very motivated to clean up their operations unless they are motivated by the agencies charged with their oversight.

Governments on all levels are often more responsive to the business community than to the populace which they are elected to serve.  So be it.  And so it is.  It is up to the environmentalists among us–rather the environmentalist in each of us–to keep them honest. 

Many of my guests on Environmentally Sound are people I would not have reason to speak with if not for this radio program.  And that is a privilege.

July 8.  This week’s guests are Michael Laskow, CEO of TAXI, an online A&R company which helps songwriters understand the field of music publishing and helps get songs placed.  Also Jennifer Loryn, actor, and Robin Rice Lichtig, playwright.

July 4, 2008.  As some readers know, but most really don’t, constructing a website is either a labor of love or a hell filled with sanity–boggling details.  At this point, midnight July 3-4, the desire for perfection continues, but cannot trump the deadline I have set.  The tweaking of parameters will continue and we will get tighter and tighter, ever closer to being consistent among all pages.

As of this moment there are many pages which are not in compliance with the set parameters, which have changed several times over the course of developing the site.  They will be corrected very soon.  Should you discover them in looking over these pages, come back and visit in a day or two.  Should you care to apprise me of details I have overlooked, I will welcome your response.

In the meantime, enjoy the site and when you can, listen live to Environmentally Sound, either on AM 1460 in our listening area or at

Please consider this an interactive site and feel free to email if you wish with corrections, program ideas or your personal philosophy. 

Thank you for listening and remember to be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. 

You are here and it is now.

Health & happiness to you all.