Earth Day

This time of year is filled with Earth Day, birthdays and rebirth days not to mention Tina’s and my anniversary.

It is a time of reflection as well as celebration.

Yesterday we went to the Earth Day event here in Dallas.

Tonight we are going out to dinner.

Life seems like Joni Mitchell’s song.

Yesterday at the Earth Day event I share the name of my blog with one of the groups.  womenborntranssexual.com, yet much of the news stories I suggest people check out aren’t specifically about trans-issues.  This is because our lives are also affected by so many issues beyond trans-specific issues.

Both Tina and I are long post-transsexual, a pair of old women dealing with the aches and pains of being an aging same sex couple whose marriage isn’t recognized as official.

If I am asked what defines me, I say I write, have a blog, take photographs and document the world as I see it.  Hopefully I am sometimes able to entertain and inform, make others aware of matters I see as important issues.

Over the years I’ve returned to doing things I think are important.  I’ve rediscovered how good it feels to have a camera in my hand.

Tina and I are trying to start a small e-Bay business to supplement or Social Security.

Last year we went to a Code Pink Benefit an Atheist Women’s gathering, who knows what sort of events we might go to this year.

We might even join the protests at the opening of Chimpy’s Library this week.

One thing though we don’t really feel like we are transsexual anymore.  When we look at people who are in transition we can feel empathy because we went through the same process.

We understand the discrimination and all the other issues but no longer feel as though we belong.

It isn’t even really a matter of SRS, although SRS really helps people get there.  Monica Helms sent out a notice of how she was changing the direction of her blog and focusing more on her life than trans-activism.

I look at many other sisters and brothers  and see how they too have lives beyond being TS/TG.

So this blog will continue to be about many things as well as transsexual and transgender.

Yesterday was 4/20 and a reminder we still jail people for smoking pot.  Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol and it hasn’t worked for drugs.

Activism is important but so too is simply living.

It has been a good Earth Day weekend for me.

Remember.  Stand up for what you stand on.

No rest in defense of Mother Earth.

Earth First!

 

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Pot Is Safer Than Booze: So Why Is Celebrating 4/20 a Crime, While It’s OK to Get Wasted on St. Paddy’s Day?

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/drugs/pot-safer-booze-so-why-celebrating-420-crime-while-its-ok-get-wasted-st-paddys-day

Happy 4/20. Don’t get arrested.

By Kristen Gwynne
April 19, 2013

I spent last St. Patrick’s Day at the marijuana policy reform group NORML’s conference in Philadelphia. It was pouring rain when I arrived, and as I ran from my car through the University of Pennsylvania campus, I tried to discern the green-clad marijuana activists from St. Patrick’s Day revelers. I quickly realized it was not that hard: the pro-pot advocates, as quirky as the some of them were, appeared to have better control of their footing.

St. Patrick’s Day, though an Irish holiday rooted in history and tradition, is regarded by many Americans (perhaps on college campuses, in particular) as an opportunity to get wasted. Meanwhile, today, April 20, is known as the marijuana user’s holiday, 4/20. Across the country, stoners are gathering to defy the law and get high.

Both holidays, to some extent, celebrate mind-altering substances, but they couldn’t be seen as more different by the law. You wouldn’t speak with your boss about your 4/20 plans or come to the office in weed-themed garb. That’s because while alcohol is legal, marijuana is grouped alongside drugs like heroin in the most restrictive category of the Controlled Substances Act, Schedule I. This is despite the fact that marijuana is by far the safer substance of the two. A scene full of stoners is far more peaceful (and safer) than a bar or city full of people who are trashed. But while weed is the subject of a decades-old onslaught of government propaganda decrying its supposed harm, our society glamorizes alcohol.
Unlike alcohol, marijuana use is not linked to increase in injury or reckless behavior, nor is it linked to violence or sexual assault. Alcohol, however, is.

From the National Center for Alcohol Law Enforcement:

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/drugs/pot-safer-booze-so-why-celebrating-420-crime-while-its-ok-get-wasted-st-paddys-day

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4/20: How ‘Weed Day’ Got Its Name

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/20/420-weed-day-marijuana-april-holiday_n_3122359.html

04/20/2013

This article was originally published on April 20, 2009, and has been reposted each year since. In 2012, it was updated to include, for the first time, the full identities of the men behind the coining of the term “420,” as well as additional details. Carly Schwartz contributed to the reporting.

Warren Haynes, the Allman Brothers Band guitarist, routinely plays with the surviving members of the Grateful Dead, touring as The Dead. It’s the spring of 2009, he’s just finished a Dead show in Washington, D.C., and he gets a pop quiz from The Huffington Post.

Where does “420” come from?

He pauses and thinks, hands on his sides. “I don’t know the real origin. I know myths and rumors,” he says. “I’m really confused about the first time I heard it. It was like a police code for smoking in progress or something. What’s the real story?”

Wavy Gravy is a hippie icon with his own ice cream flavor who has been hanging out with the Dead for decades. HuffPost spots him outside the same concert. Asked about the term 420, he suggests it began “somewhere in the foggy mists of time. What time is it now? I say to you, ‘Eternity now.'”

Depending on whom you ask or their state of inebriation, there are as many varieties of answers as strains of medical bud in California. It’s the number of active chemicals in marijuana. It’s teatime in Holland. It has something to do with Hitler’s birthday. It’s those numbers in that Bob Dylan song multiplied.

The origin of the term 420, celebrated around the world by pot smokers every April 20, has long been obscured by the clouded memories of the folks who made it a phenomenon.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/20/420-weed-day-marijuana-april-holiday_n_3122359.html

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Big Papi Speech for Boston

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An Earth Day Message: Take Heart from the Abolition Movement

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/04/20

by Bill Bigelow

On this Earth Day, those of us fighting for climate justice and an end to the world’s fossil fuel domination should take heart from the struggle against slavery.

Imagine for a moment that it is 1858 and you are an abolitionist. Talk about discouragement: The previous year, in its Dred Scott decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that no black person—whether enslaved or free—was entitled to become a U.S. citizen. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney wrote that the framers of the Constitution believed that blacks “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect…” The decision declared that the federal government could not ban slavery in U.S. territories. A few years before, Congress had passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which vastly expanded the U.S. government’s authority to seize and return to slavery individuals who had fled to freedom—or even those blacks born free in the North. Many Northern blacks crossed into Canada rather than live in constant fear.

And abolitionists were waging not just a moral struggle against the enslavement of human beings. Slavery was the largest industry in the United States, worth more than all the factories, banks, and railroads combined. In effect, the abolition movement aimed to expropriate without compensation the wealth of the most powerful social class in the country.

On the surface, abolitionists had made little, if any, progress. In fact, by most indicators, things had gotten worse. The American Anti-Slavery Society was founded in 1833. After about 30 years of antislavery activism, twice as many people were enslaved, more U.S. territory was dedicated to slavery, slaveowners possessed more wealth, and the federal government’s commitment to slavery was greater than ever before. Yes, talk about grounds to be discouraged.

Which brings us to today’s climate crisis and the many reasons for despair.

Recently, I taught a unit on climate change at a local high school in Portland. I began by introducing students to the “three scary numbers” featured in Bill McKibben’s important Rolling Stone article from last summer, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/04/20

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Death toll in Texas fertilizer plant explosion rises to 14

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/20/death-toll-in-texas-fertilizer-plant-explosion-rises-to-14/

By David Ferguson
Saturday, April 20, 2013

The tiny Texas town of West continues to struggle to come to terms with the Wednesday fire and explosion at a local fertilizer plant. According to the Associated Press, recovery workers have now pulled 14 bodies from the wreckage, ten of whom were first responders who had rushed to the scene of the fire.

William Ray “Buck” Uptmor, 45, wasn’t a firefighter, but he hastened to the scene because he’d heard that there were horses on a plot of land adjacent to the plant that needed to be led to safety.

“He went to help a friend,” Joyce Marek, Uptmor’s aunt, told the Associated Press. “And then it blew.”

“He was everybody’s friend,” said Marek. “If anybody needed anything they went to Buck. If it was, ‘My truck is stuck in the ditch,’ call Buck. He’ll pull us out.”

The little town of 2,800 people is trying to cope as best it can. Businesses are reopening, some of them in spite of lingering damage from the blast.

Complete article at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/20/death-toll-in-texas-fertilizer-plant-explosion-rises-to-14/

See Also:

Huffington Post: West Fertilizer Co. Failed To Disclose It Had Unsafe Stores Of Explosive Substance

CBS/DFW: Small Fires Erupt At West Blast Site

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Carbon bubble will plunge the world into another financial crisis – report

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/apr/19/carbon-bubble-financial-crash-crisis

Trillions of dollars at risk as stock markets inflate value of fossil fuels that may have to remain buried forever, experts warn


The Guardian, Thursday 18 April 2013

The world could be heading for a major economic crisis as stock markets inflate an investment bubble in fossil fuels to the tune of trillions of dollars, according to leading economists.

“The financial crisis has shown what happens when risks accumulate unnoticed,” said Lord (Nicholas) Stern, a professor at the London School of Economics. He said the risk was “very big indeed” and that almost all investors and regulators were failing to address it.

The so-called “carbon bubble” is the result of an over-valuation of oil, coal and gas reserves held by fossil fuel companies. According to a report published on Friday, at least two-thirds of these reserves will have to remain underground if the world is to meet existing internationally agreed targets to avoid the threshold for “dangerous” climate change. If the agreements hold, these reserves will be in effect unburnable and so worthless – leading to massive market losses. But the stock markets are betting on countries’ inaction on climate change.

The stark report is by Stern and the thinktank Carbon Tracker. Their warning is supported by organisations including HSBC, Citi, Standard and Poor’s and the International Energy Agency. The Bank of England has also recognised that a collapse in the value of oil, gas and coal assets as nations tackle global warming is a potential systemic risk to the economy, with London being particularly at risk owing to its huge listings of coal.

Stern said that far from reducing efforts to develop fossil fuels, the top 200 companies spent $674bn (£441bn) in 2012 to find and exploit even more new resources, a sum equivalent to 1% of global GDP, which could end up as “stranded” or valueless assets. Stern’s landmark 2006 report on the economic impact of climate change – commissioned by the then chancellor, Gordon Brown – concluded that spending 1% of GDP would pay for a transition to a clean and sustainable economy.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/apr/19/carbon-bubble-financial-crash-crisis

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Remembering the Consequences of Deepwater Horizon

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cindy-shogan/remembering-the-consequences_b_3112314.html

04/19/2013

Three years ago on April 20, 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, caused by a well blowout that killed 11 crewmen and ignited a massive fireball visible from more than 35 miles away. The resulting fire burned out of control and two days later Deepwater Horizon sank, leaving behind a gushing open well that ended in the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The effect of this disaster on wildlife and human lives alike continues to reverberate throughout the country today.

We cannot let this happen in our Arctic Ocean.

The infrastructure to clean up a spill in the Arctic Ocean is non-existent — the U.S. Coast Guard is 1,000 miles away — and there is no demonstrated response capability. The Arctic’s harsh and chaotic environment would make any cleanup effort a nightmare. America’s Arctic Ocean is a national treasure and is home to many of our nation’s most beloved wildlife species — polar bears, walrus, ice seals, bowhead whales, beluga whales and more. Alaska Natives have relied upon the bounty of the Arctic Ocean for thousands of years.

No oil company is ready to drill in the Arctic.

President Obama and his administration should take a pause on drilling in the Arctic. Big Oil’s — including Shell Oil Company, Statoil and, most recently, ConocoPhillips — announcements that they will not pursue drilling in the Arctic gives the Obama Administration some breathing room to revisit the processes and standards that will guide the administration’s future decisions in the Arctic. Shell’s mishaps in 2012, culminating with its drilling rig running aground near Kodiak Island at the end of last year, demonstrated to the nation that no oil company is ready to drill in the Arctic.

Complete article at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cindy-shogan/remembering-the-consequences_b_3112314.html

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