Nov 23, 2006 (Happy Thanksgiving)
What Do County Dems Do Now?
Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal asks that question in a guest column in today's Washington Post . As part of his answer he points out that Montgomery and PG counties and Baltimore City have a strong interest in mass transit which was underfunded in Ehrlich's era. True, but one of the reasons was the preoccupation with the 3 billion dollar Intercounty Connector, which was endorsed by a majority of the county council. Let's hope that Levinthal and other hold-overs from the "End Gridlock" slate of 2002 will join with the new majority and shift their support to mass transit and other alternatives to a new highway. We can't afford both and, given the devastating effects and marginal benefits of the ICC, we shouldn't even try.
Nov 15, 2006
Law Suits Filed to Stop ICC
The Sierra Club and Envionmenal Defense have filed a "notice of intent" to sue to stop construction of the Intercounty Connector because it would violate the clean air act by increasing air pollution. Soon after came news that the Audubon Naturalist Society will also sue, contending that the Ehrlich administration violated the Enviromental Policy Act by not adequatly considering impacts and alternatives that would be more effective and less damaging to neighborhoods and environmentally sensitive areas.
Sept 19, 2006
It's done! Final version of Ecoepic & Other Poems by yours truly. Now available at lulu.com for the world to purchase. Go world!
Also at amazon.com.
Sept 17, 2006
Reading Poems in Mill Creek Woods
My nose is in a book entitled Good Poems - selected and introduced by Garrison Keillor. I'm in the section called "Scenes". Of all the good poems in that section, I am most pleased with Orval Lund's "wrist-wrestling father" with its surprise ending. I'm sorry I never had a chance to wrist-wrestle my father. Every son deserves eventually to best his father in that game, if only at the end of the father's life when, suffering from an incurable disease and anxious to begin the hereafter, the father suggests to his son "Why don't we do this one more time. Maybe I can pop a vessel and disappear".
Sunday Sept 10, 2006
Nine Eleven Eve
I am seated near the North Transcept of the National Cathedral. Sunlight filters through the stained glass windows. Behind me people are walking the labyrinth and praying for peace to the accompaniement of native american flute music. It floats up into the spires and drifts back down. I try to imagine hearing that music in the great outdoors, somewhere in the Potomac valley or one of the great acoustic canyons out west, in a time before amplification.
I am fasting today and in a very mellow mood, thankful for five years without a terrorist attack. Yet the peace seems precarious. Polls reveal that most americans feel less secure than ever. Terrorists multiply like rabbits, suicide bombers wait in line for their assignments. Tony Blair will resign soon. Bush implores us to stay the course but has no idea of where the course will lead. Nobody has a clue of what to do as the situation in Iraq spirals out of control. It seems that violence will last the rest of my life. This is our gift to the next generation.
March 3, 2006
Joshua Tree National Park
When we first approached via the north entrance near Twenynine Palms, the park looked rather sterile and uninviting. Huge piles of dark rocks strewn about, nothing green, a moonscape, seemingly lifeless. But the sun was shining and sky was blue and when we actually penetrated the park, its beauty began to unravel. Over the course of the next few days we grew to admire it, especially the huge rounded jumbo rocks that lay in piles, balanced on top of each other as if carefully arranged by a child-like intelligence. We gradually learned to recognize some of the common desert plants and creatures and hiked to some truly magical places to which we want to return. We climbed Ryan Mtn, hiked to Skull Rock, Pine City and Barker Dam. By the time our visit was over, even the flat pinto valley became attractive. Everything natural has an attraction if you just accept it for what it is and get to know it. Beauty is in the knowing.
January 18, 2006
The Free and the Brave
Is it cowardly, to strap explosives to your torso and self-destruct
in a crowd all alone? Is it courageous, to fire a missile from an unmanned
drone at enemies rumored to be dining in someone's home? Could I lose my freedom for asking these questions on the internet or over the phone?
The above is in response to the CIA's recent
attempt to take out high level al Qaedans with missiles fired from drones
and also to the latest revelations about domestic eavesdropping:
January 6, 2006
Five on five
When I was a full time father, my daughters and I would
play a game, usually in the evening towards bedtime. Often my wife would
join in. It was called "Five on Five" and it went like this.
Set the timer for five minutes and start scratching somebody's back, either
in pairs or two or three on one. When the timer goes off, it's the other
person's turn. Pretty simple and very enjoyable.
Last night I had the pleasure of playing that game again
for the first time in a long while, with the five year old daughter of
a friend. It was her first time ever and she seemed to like it. She became
very relaxed and so did I. She definitely upheld her end of the bargain.
Don't we all love to touch and be touched.
January 5, 2006
ICC Declared "Environentally Sound"
The federal highway administration today announced its opinion
that the ICC, a planned first segment of a six lane outer beltway around
the nation's capitol, is "environmentally sound". The road,
as planned would destroy hundreds of acres of forested stream valleys
in what are now parklands, set aside by the Maryland National Capitol
Park and Planning Commission for purposes of "conservation and recreation".
Much enthusiasm was expressed by Bob Grow, an aptly named spokesman for
the Washington Board of Trade. I couldn't help wonder if he was related
to Bob the Builder. There will now be a period of six weeks for those
interested to comment on the Final Environmental Impact Statement, due
out tomorrow. Perhaps I should send them a copy of my Mill
Creek Journal essay.