Rainbows, Glass Houses and the Elephant in the room Inside

4 07 2015

This has been an epic couple of months in the land of being politically correct, opinionated, educated, historical and frankly hysterical.

The media is feeding me mass quantities of fuel for blogging…as has social media. 

My opinions are all over the place, so I guess I can’t be labeled.  Sorry folks.  I know how important labels are. 

Recently I used the word “bigotry” when referring to those against marriage equality.  I was quickly corrected by someone who provided me the definition of bigot.  I’ll share it here for you; a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.  Basically, this guy was saying I’m as much of a bigot for disliking his anti-marriage equality feelings as he was for disliking my pro-marriage equality feeling.  To that I say, touche‘.  We’re all bigots.  Good times.

The Bible states several times in several ways that sex before marriage is a sin.  I’m not going to waste my time postingimages verses.  You should look them up before you preach at anyone just so you’re clear on wether or not you’re being a hypocrite before you start using the bible as your excuse to defend your opinion against homosexuality.  Sure, there’s some verses against homosexual behavior in the bible as well but please keep in mind the bible also looks at these sins…and all sins…as equal. 

The bible has verses against quite a few things that don’t involve sex also such as tattoos, disrespecting your neighbors, serving two masters, and basically several things that common people do on a daily basis.  Let me break this down for you; even your tattoo of Jesus is a sin in the black and white print, as is that moment you curse out the guy who cut you off in traffic or your addiction to social media and lack of using that time to pray.

What I always look to first and foremost when thinking of marriage equality and those who use the bible to fight it is the fact that divorce is legal and has been for centuries.  I tried to find an exact date.  The first time it’s cited in history is in the mid 1600’s but with lots of rules as to wether or not it would be allowed.  Up until the 1920’s the rules and regulations continued to become less and less on when and how a married couple could divorce.  Many marriage equality opposers are on their second (or more) marriage.  Many churches don’t recognize any marriage after your first…unless you make a large donation to their organization.  Then you get a fresh start.  How pleasant.  Some sinners are offered second chances while others are not.  Oh wait…that’s not how it works at all!

According to the New Testament, Jesus died to wash away your sins.  That means everyone.  That means homosexuals too.  That’s how it works.  If you don’t believe that, you’re not really a Christian and you shouldn’t be using (abusing) the bible as your reasoning. 

From the book of Matthew Chapter 7 Verse 3: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” And for those of you who aren’t into actually reading the bible but just use it as a crutch here’s an old proverb I’m sure you’ve heard before that basically makes the same point; “Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

I feel that marriage is a legal contract with both good and bad portions included in the contract.  Contracts do not define feelings, they just define rights (or lack thereof).  All of these years that same sex couples could not legally share in this contract did not prevent them from loving each other or having sex just like average straight couples have done.  This contract now provides two people that love each other rights to each other’s property and  health care they didn’t have before.

Think of a couple that’s been together for decades but not married.  One partner falls ill and can no longer handle his/her personal business.  This person’s partner who knows and loves this person and knows their desires best has previously not had any legal rights to aid in such situations and it has been a painful battle for these people.  Or, a couple like this parts ways and there is no legal assistance for the separation of property like there is for those who actually legally divorce after being legally married for years.  In short, it’s simply not fair.  These people deserve the right to choose to be legally bound or not. 

Preventing the legalities didn’t keep these people from the sin of sex before marriage (regardless of how they go about copulation), it only prevented their legal rights to each other and shared property. 

As a side note, I just don’t think God keeps a score board on 1 point for sex before marriage but if it’s sodomy that’s another point so homosexuals are scoring 2 sins to heterosexuals’ 1.  I’m sorry, I just don’t think that’s how it works.

But, who am I to judge? And…who are you to judge?

From the book of James Chapter 4 verses 11-12: “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”6a00d8341c730253ef0167667335c7970b-800wi

So, to address “the elephant in the room” (that’s an old English idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored), unless you are completely without sin your argument against marriage equality is invalid. 

You cannot prevent love, and now you can not prevent the legal protection that any (type of) couple has available to them and I think that’s great. 

Let’s face it, marriage is a contract and love is what matters.  Fairy tales aren’t real and neither are unicorns. And, unless you are completely without sin (and you’ve got a lot of reading to do to figure out that you’re highly likely not) you need to get on that elephant we can all see in your living room through your glass house and ride off into the sunset. There’s 783,137 words in the bible…get busy!

As for me, I’ve posted 3 topical posts in a row…and those who know me well know that’s not really my preference but now that I’ve gotten all this off my chest I promise you one of my fun blogs soon. Until then, I’m celebrating love and I wish nothing but love for everyone reading this … even the bigots!



Flagging you down with Facts, Opinions and Advice

3 07 2015

Social media has taught me that I am surrounded by historians.  I had no idea that some of the “facts” thrown at me lately existed in history.  I’d say it made me question my own knowledge, but then I would be a liar.  So, here’s my top 5 facts about the Civil War for those of you who aren’t history buffs.  Following this brief lesson I’ll get to the heart of this blog.

#1 – Among the 34 states in January 1861, seven Southern states individually declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America spawning the Civil War to determine the survival of the Union or independence for the Confederacy which lasted from 1861 to 1865. During the course of the 4 year war, the number of Confederate states grew to 11.

#2 – The primary cause for the secession was slavery. The Confederate (Southern) states were against the attempts of Northern antislavery political forces to block the expansion of slavery into the western territories. Southern politicians rebelled with the belief that such restrictions on slavery would violate the principle of states’ rights. The subsequent formation of the Confederacy was Southern nationalism. The primary reason the Northern States rejected secession was to preserve the Union’s cause based on American nationalism (unity).

#3 – Confederacy supporters based their secession on honoring The Constitution which protected slavery and states’ rights to own slaves.  The North’s growth in this period was based on industry (in short; a more comparable system to what we see throughout the US today) while the South’s economy thrived on  agriculture which relied heavily on slave labor. For this reason, abolishing slavery would bring severe economic set backs to the growth of the Southern states.

rebel-flag-cloth-bright#4 – To clarify; self proclaimed history buffs say the Civil war was rooted in causes such as preserving The Constitution or saving the economy.  While these history buffs are correct, to say this war was not about slavery at the root is rather inaccurate because the abolishment of slavery would be the cause to change The Constitution and effect the Southern economy when they lose the free labor of slaves. 

#5 – The Civil War was about slavery

Once again the Confederate Battle Flag has entered the spotlight.  It make’s it’s rounds every few years.  People fight to have it removed from (Southern) state flags, flying over government buildings, colleges and so fourth.  The top two words that are thrown around when this pot gets stirred are “racism” and “heritage”.  While one team is offended by the sight of this flag, the other is proud.  If you are proud of the flag, you label it pride in your heritage while others label you a racist.

Let’s be clear, the Confederate Flag isn’t exactly racist in it’s origin.  In fact, it is prideful.  However, it’s origin is rootedarticle-2498164-1955120C00000578-797_634x425 in the fight to keep (what I like to call) human beings enslaved.  Human beings of African descent.  In the Lincoln era the flag stood for courage, battle, pride and a people who wanted to hold fast to the honor of The Constitution.  However, because of its pro-slavery roots, over time the flag came to represent racism against African Americans as white supremacy groups embraced it as their own.  This tainted the flag even more than its bloody history of a nation divided.  This tainted flag continues to divide the people of this nation in it’s own way. 

So, in it’s origin, this flag represented a union of states who wanted to keep humans enslaved for free labor (because it was documented as acceptable and therefore it must be) and then blossomed into a symbol of hatred against humans.  (Ok, not all humans, just those darned black ones.)

In its lifetime, this flag has seen a lot of bloodshed both in war and in hate crimes.

Is it any wonder it makes those (black) humans uncomfortable? Is it any wonder that (decent) humans would like to see it in history museums where it belongs?

slavesIn a world where Christian symbols are frowned upon in public places, schools, government buildings and so fourth we let this symbol of what I like to call “historical greed” fly.

Yes, that’s right, the flag symbolizes a history greed in my opinion. A greed so powerful that human lives aren’t valued.  Free labor at the expense of outright abuse to humans is the origin of my term “historical greed”.  Is this the heritage to be proud of?

As a Southerner, I love the endurance and strength of my homeland.  I am proud of the struggles my homeland has faced and overcome just in my short lifetime let alone centuries before.  I love the spirit of the Southern people.  I don’t see that type of drive anywhere else in this country.  I understand Southern pride.  I have Southern pride.  But, I don’t need a flag to define my pride.  I don’t need a symbol of my heritage to show how strong I am.  I believe the history of what we have overcome through the years speaks for itself.

Here’s a fine example; Hurricane Katrina and the improper assistance our Government gave.  Our courage and our recovery is like giving them the finger-which is what the south is known for…giving Uncle Sam the finger.  Trust me, he don’t mind giving it right back.  Fill our waters with oil and toxic chemicals? Screw you, we’ll deal with it.  It’s what we do.  We deal with stuff.

No matter how united the nation may be, the Confederate states are still somewhat severed.  We are the brunt of jokes, the last in line and the least respected.  Southerners pay for the crimes of their ancestors centuries later…and without evolving we always will.

If the South really wants to “rise again”, let it rise in statistics…education, economy, and so fourth.  Let it rise in the ranks of brotherhood and American pride.  Let the South make a real stand that the joke is no longer on us but on anyone living in the past who still looks at the South as a bigoted, ignorant land. 

Nobody is taking your personal symbols away from you, nobody is taking your guns.  Nobody is forcing you to accept or like anything you don’t want to.  Please stop behaving as if this is just another nail in the coffin of your personal freedom.  Its not. 

The bottom line is, symbols of an ancient war that divided the nation and took thousands of lives unnecessarily in the name of greed has no place in government buildings or the like.  The bottom line is what an African American friend told me recently when asked how the flag makes her feel; “dread and sometimes fear depending on the circumstances.” 

Fly it proudly on your pick up truck, as your window shades, tattooed on your back and whatever…but don’t force it upon people who may feel dread when they step into a building to handle official government business. 

Know your history and quit labeling it as pride of heritage.  You’re making us all meet the statistics we hate. 

Divided we fall.  United we stand tall. 

I share with you Cyrus’ famous speech from “The Warriors”.  If you think about it, united we would be a force to be reckoned with.  Currently, I see this nation crumbling from within orchestrated by ridiculous situations like racism and media manipulation.

“I say the future is ours if you can count. Look what we have here before us, rival gangs standing together and nobody’s wasting anybody. That is a miracle. And miracles is the way things ought to be. The problem in the past has been the man turning us against one and other. We’ve been unable to see the truth because we’ve been fighting one and other. That’s crap, brothers. The turf is ours by right. It’s our turn. CAN YOU DIG IT?!?!?!”

Extreme Vocabulary Lesson

5 06 2015

I don’t blog as much as I used to.  I still usually avoid topical subjects when I do.  I wouldn’t be blogging about this Epic topic but #1 it was requested via a Facebook status I posted on the subject & #2 it’s in my face and #3 for the folks that like to correct me on my opinion because apparently in modern politically correct hide behind your keyboard society an opinion can be measured.

Expect this blog to go in multiple directions (or maybe just 2 depending on my mood).

First of all I said EXTREME vocabuFeatured imagelary lesson for a reason.  It’s more my opinion than an actual lesson, but you know opinions are facts as long as you agree with them…otherwise measure it up as wrong.  Extreme measures if you please.

Who here remembers when “extreme” was the big word? Saying something was “extreme” was the epic thing to do.  Yeah, you saw it…I said “epic”.  “Extreme” is so 2011.  It’s been “epic” for a while now.  “Epic” is even more extreme than “extreme”.  “Extreme” wasn’t good enough so society went full on “epic”.

Words.  What do they mean? Do they have value? If they do, I know that “extreme” is so spent it’s probably worth pennies on the the dollar…if that even.  It was a word overused iThe_fonz_thumbs_upn epic proportions back in it’s heyday.

Words have been fun and games for a long time.  I don’t think “sweet” has gone out of style yet, and that’s pretty sweet.  “Cool” will never go out of style and I can dig it because it always makes me think of the Fonz.

It’s for this reason that words can’t always be taken literally.  For instance, I just said “I can dig it”.  Literally, I would need a shovel and dirt to make that happen.

And that brings me to the beginning of why I’m actually here today…
to get topical and be lured into the the extreme trending topic that’s totes everywhere in my newsfeed as of late.

The hero…I mean heroine that is Caitlyn Jenner.

Though I have no need whatsoever to post a disclaimer here, I’m going to. I openly support the LGBT Community.  I’ve known one transgender person on a personal level and I adored her.  It was quite a few meetings before I even knew she was a transgender person.  It, like homosexuality or whatever sexuality, doesn’t phase me.  Other people’s sexual lives do not affect me…or you…think about it. You live your life, I’ll live mine. YOLO. (2012 really made me hate that acronym.) Anyway, I don’t care what people are into as long as whatever it is is consensual and nobody is getting hurt.

Moving on to Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner the guy who set the Olympic World Record in 1976 and was a gleaming athlete on Wheaties boxes who later married Kris Kardashian and was on a reality show I’ve never seen (For those of you who live under a rock and don’t know what I’m talking about).

Wikipedia has already updated their page to Caitlyn Jenner with mention of her birth name/sex.  That’s cool.  The fact is, there really is no more Bruce Jenner.  And I’m totally okay with that.  In fact, I applaud her.  Yes, you read that right, I applaud her.  Why continue to live a lie at age 65? Over a span of 40 years the artist formerly known as Bruce Jenner was married to three women and fathered 6 children.  All the while a woman trapped inside the body of a man who had been a famous athlete in the spotlight and later returned to the spotlight with a reality TV show empire (built around his step daughter who became famous originally because she had famous connections and a leaked video of her having sex with a semi-famous person. “Leaked”…there’s another word that is cheapened just by the internet alone). Anyway, the point is Caitlyn was in the public eye with a dark, uncomfortable secret, for decades. She’s finally free.  I think that’s great.  It certainly beats the alternative of never having the opportunity to be true to yourself.  In other words, better late than never.

2015 is a lot different than 1976.  In 1976 it would have been a career killer for Bruce Jenner to explain the painful secrets of what was going on inside back then.  In 1986 alternate lifestyles were being frowned upon and labeled due to the AIDS epidemic and the backlash was horrible for anyone who wasn’t straight and monogamous.  Those decades would’ve been very hard on people coming out about homosexuality let alone being transgender.

Things have improved dramatically in the last 20 years or so.  Sure, we still have a long road but people are so much more open minded today.  Not only that but being politically correct today is as important as it was in the 70s.  Probably closer in importance than it has been in decades.  The only thing is, the definition of politically correct is far from what it was back then.  Well, not the literal definition. The literal definition is basically the same; agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people.  Saying it’s far from what it was isn’t a bad thing.  In many ways it’s good.  Back in the day, for example, schools had prayer and it was basically enforced.  Today, because it was enforced and some are not Christian, forcing everyone to pray is no longer allowed.  However, in the extreme, if you are a Christian in many cases today you’re not allowed to pray in public. (See how that worked? I used extreme there, but it actually belonged for once.)

Today feelings are celebrated whereas in the past they were regulated…both in support of a greater good.  Think about that for a minute.


Anyway, this brings me to my actual point.

The hero Caitlyn Jenner.  (There, I said it.  Hero.  All you political correctors, haven’t said anything about the media not using the term “Heroine”) But anyway, that’s not even my problem with the word “hero” being used in this context.

My problem is; being able to afford amazing plastic surgery and hormones and such to transform from a decent looking man into an incredibly beautiful woman does not make one a hero…or heroine.  She is not the voice of transgender people.  She’s an obviously wealthy celebrity who could afford to do this when the time was right.  That’s not so heroic.

Doing it in 1976 would’ve been epic heroism.  Doing it in 1986 would’ve been extreme.  Doing it today is…well…not really that shocking.  Today it is more frowned upon to not be team Caitlyn than to actually be Caitlyn.

I understand Caitlyn earned an epic $500 million for her upcoming reality show.

What door is this opening for transgender people exactly? Did I miss something? Are all transgender people millionaires who can afford to do this and free themselves the way Caitlyn did? I mean, I might be feeling the word “hero” used here better if Caitlyn was starting some sort of charity organization to do this miraculous surgery for all transgender people.

Her situation has been protected since her career caught second wind with the Kardashian clan.  A reality spotlight celebrity in a politically correct media frenzied society, she chose the easiest time in her life to make this choice (not to mention the financial benefit that existed for her).  I might have felt the word “hero” better suited had this happened 40 years ago…even 30…maybe even at 20, but today? Meh.  It’s just another extreme story in my newsfeed for everyone to support and tweet about that will be yesterday’s news when the next epic thing happens.

Rosa_Parks_BookingI don’t think a hero is limited to just a soldier or a fire fighter.  I can find a better comparison here.  Rosa Parks. I hope you know who Rosa Parks is, but if not please look her up.  Rosa Parks was a heroine.  Her actions were courageous, dangerous, and she did to help her people not herself.  This is my opinion of a hero.

I’m not belittling the courage it had to take for Caitlyn to do this for herself.  Courage doesn’t make a hero though.  It’s more than that.  If I’m the last person on earth and I fight to stay alive, does that make me a hero? Not in my mind.  Not in my opinion.  Now, if there was myself and another person and I did whatever ever I could to keep us both alive then I I would be a hero.

I’m quite sure it takes courage to be Caitlyn Jenner because, even in these politically correct times, there will still be many antagonists to face.  Heck, antagonists are hiding in every nook and cranny of the internet to even bully plain old folks like me who write blogs and stuff.  Keyboards are ablaze across the planet right this moment antagonizing Caitlyn Jenner and antagonizing people for antagonizing Caitlyn Jenner.

It’s just another day.

It’s another epic day of extreme levels for a hero of the internet.

It’s just words.

The Great Outdoors

27 08 2010

This is the second part to a series about Hurricane Katrina.
Please read the previous blog “X marks the spot” to read the first part of this series.

USA TODAY ranked the story of Hurricane Katrina 4th place in their “25 Headlines that shaped History”

Other nations couldn’t help but acknowledge the devastation.   Some headlines from September, 2005:
China Morning Post: “Dollar Dives Amid Katrina Chaos” — The U.S. dollar dropped to a three-month low point against the euro on Friday, faltering as the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina threatened to cripple growth in the world’s largest economy.
TF1 TV(France): It’s unusual for the United States, the number one economic and military superpower in the world, to ask for international help for a domestic catastrophe. The last time this occurred was after the September 11 attacks.
Die Welt(Germany): America looks aghast at a third world situation on its own soil, splintered and full of violence.
The Australian: “Forgotten Biloxi Belts Out the Blues” –The slow drive towards Biloxi is like glimpsing the post-oil future, a scene out of the post-apocalyptic movie Mad Max.

12 hours had passed almost to the minute before Katrina finally allowed us to step outside our safe haven.  It was 5:00 in the afternoon and the sun broke through the clouds and shone down on what appeared to be the aftermath of nuclear war.  We were stunned and speechless…and thankful when we looked back on the house we were in.  Large trees were scattered like match sticks all around the house, having barely missed it.  Most of the roof was intact and damage was minor.  We looked out to the street and among the scattered debris people began to emerge.  Everyone appeared to be in a zombie like state.  We focused on a couple who’s clothes were tattered and torn and they were bloodied and bruised.  We offered them help and listened to their story of how they’d swam for their lives from a home that was washed away in the surge of water just a few blocks away.  They swam for about 8 hours as they recalled.  I get goose bumps remembering this conversation.  – Suz 8/26/10

From “Quarrelling through Katrina” on msnbc.com:
Hurricane enthusiast George “Sonny” Hoffman found himself in the company of an unlikely group of strangers when he went to Waveland, Miss., to meet Hurricane Katrina. Sonny believed the group was in a world of trouble and appointed himself commander. As he tells it, he began formulating plans and back-up plans. Sonny was alone in his belief that the Texan Motel, a mile and a half from the waterfront, would flood. He predicted the storm surge would reach 20 feet on Highway 90 and 7 feet at the hotel.
“Everyone had the sense of relief that when the sun came up that you know — it was over, you’d made it through the night,” says Colleen, even though the wind was still blowing. It was only then that Katrina brought the deluge.
As Sonny remembers it: “It was Robert who brought it to my attention that the parking lot across the street was filling up with water. It had become a lake, the cars were floating. Their lights were on. Then we notice that there’s a river flowing down Highway 90. It looked like the Colorado River.”
Colleen describes it this way: “I walked out to the street to see if I could see anything. And that’s when the wave (came). … It looked like somebody ought to be surfing on it. It had a white cap. … I would have expected a parade of pink elephants before I would have expected this huge wave coming down Highway 90.”

From “Hurricane Katrina: Survivor Stories” on CTVnews:
“We grabbed a lady and pulled her out the window and then we swam with the current. It was terrifying. You should have seen the cars floating around us. We had to push them away when we were trying to swim.”
Schovest lived at Quiet Water Beach apartments in Biloxi, Miss., where authorities estimate 30 people perished.-
Joy Schovest

Just a few months prior to Katrina I had found myself in a very good position in life.  I was poised to begin a new endeavor in property management.  My quaint little cottage just a couple of blocks away from the beautiful Waveland beach front had raised in value dramatically.  I’d remodeled it somewhat and transformed it from an outdated camp style home to an attractive and inviting cottage style home.  I was in a position to move forward, using that home as a propeller toward bigger and better things.  With a good paying job, money in the bank, the humble beginnings of a classic car collection and a valuable home I was able to take a loan against these items and purchase a bigger, better home (under the agreement that my cottage would be rented on a regular basis and the classic cars would be rebuilt and re-sold for profit).  I had moved most of my belongings into my beautiful new home, only about 3 miles from my cottage and was aimed for success.  I got a pretty decent deal on the new home and envisioned it turning more profit and becoming a land lord of sorts.  I had dreams.  The cottage was emptied except the garage full of antiques, collectables, and childhood memories stored in boxes I just hadn’t found the time to move to my new house yet.  The new house was still cluttered with boxes full of valuables, particularly my music memorabilia such as collectable items, autographs and photographs.  It was too much work to sort through it all, so I kept it stored in the recreation room at the new house out of the way until I could find the time.  When thinking of material things, it was a bit ironic that everything I had stored at that cottage and in boxes in the new house happened to be the most important and irreplaceable of all my personal belongings in life … and the only items that were lost in Katrina.  During the storm, in that fateful moment that I stepped down into the recreation room and noticed it flooding it didn’t even dawn on me that I should quickly start gathering my valuables and move them to higher ground.  I guess I was in too much of a state of shock.
I never dreamed I would need to cover my property for flooding.  It didn’t seem fathomable.  The cottage was 13 feet above sea level and had braved many hurricanes in it’s nearly 40 year life span.  The bank didn’t require flood insurance and the insurance company didn’t recommend it.  Of course, it was close to the beach so I wouldn’t have seen it as a safe place to stay simply because of the wind. Besides, I had a new home at least a mile north of the cottage that was deemed hurricane proof by the seller.  And, I have to say, that turned out to be pretty true thankfully.
Christian’s house was not far from the cottage.  After helping a few people we met on the street, we noted that while we still had at least 3 hours of daylight left we should venture to our other properties and survey the damage.  We hopped on our bicycles for what would normally be a 15 minute journey and rode into a 3 hour adventure were we would struggle with obstacles and find ourselves carrying those bikes over our backs while trudging through heavy debris more often than we were able to ride them.  We had no idea what we were in store for…-Suz 8/27/10
Between Biloxi and Ocean SpringsAs I explained in “X marks the spot”, this series will continue for the next few days honoring the 5 Year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  Please visit again.  Thank you.

The forgotten daughter

12 07 2010

For anyone who doesn’t know this, the state of Mississippi was the 20th state admitted to the Union.  The state was named after the Mississippi river which flows along it’s western boundary and has Indian roots in the name stemming from “great river”.  Mississippi’s catfish farms supply the majority of catfish in the USA’s seafood industry, while the state also offers a large supply of all seafood in the industry.  Mississippi is bordered on the North by the state of Tennessee, on the East by Alabama, on the South by Louisiana and a coastline along the Gulf of Mexico and on the West (across the Mississippi River) by Louisiana and Arkansas.  There are 5 major rivers in Mississippi and 4 major lakes.  The coastline includes large bays at the cities Bays St. Louis and Pascagoula.  It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by the shallow


Mississippi sound and partially sheltered by Petits Bois Island, Horn Island, East & West Ship Islands, Deer Island, Round Island and Cat Island.  I’m telling you all of this because I think many people don’t know Mississippi and it’s time you should.  Mississippi is the forgotten daughter of this nation in my opinion and Mississippi is a beautiful gem somehow kept secret from our brothers and sisters that need to know.  There’s a reason why I’m telling you all of this, so please don’t get bored and stop reading.  It’s important to me, and it should be important to you too … even if you live in a favored state of this nation, Mississippi is still your sister.

While the media does not favor this great state, Mississippi is not what they may lead you to believe.  The media wants to convince you that we haven’t moved forward since the civil war.  That our mindset remains prejudiced,


backward, and ignorant.  They don’t want you to know that great musicians, authors and artists came from this humble state.  They don’t want you to know about the culture and beauty that is overflowing here.  The coast of Mississippi hosts beautiful beaches, classic homes, talented musicians and artists and some of the best fishing any enthusiast could ever ask for.  The coast of Mississippi was the place where Hurricane Katrina actually made landfall 5 years ago this summer.  But, the media overshadowed that fact with reporting of our neighbor and more popular city, New Orleans.  The difference, however, is that New Orleans flooded due to a failure on their local government’s part by ignoring repairs to their levee system that was decades overdue while Mississippi’s coastline faced the brunt of this (the nation’s worst


natural disaster in history).  Mississippi was raped and pillaged and in areas like Bay St. Louis, Waveland, and Lakeshore the damage completely wiped out homes and businesses up to 8 miles inland and widespread destruction so deep inland that even the northernmost cities of the state faced destruction.  But, while the people of Mississippi were ignored by the government, media, and celebrities looking to lend a hand we remained strong and took matters into our own hands.  We are a resilient people who are no strangers to being the forgotten daughter, so we worked hard to do things on our own.  And we were blessed by many volunteer groups who did come to aid our efforts in rebuilding the secret gem that is the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  But once again, despite the fact that this information is important  … this is not what I am here to blog about today.  However, I am here to blog about the fact that we are yet again treated as the red haired step child of this nation and now I’m going to tell you why.



I am a resident of the resilient and beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast.  I was born and raised here.  This is my home.  I love this place.  Before Hurricane Katrina, the cities of this coast had it all … quaint little shops and pubs lining the beach, fine dining restaurants and entertainment as well as prosperous industries in seafood and tourism.  We have been struggling to rebuild what we lost and we have held fast to our hopes and dreams of recovery.  Today, in the wake of a disaster that heavily overshadows Katrina, many of us are losing our strength, our hope and our dreams and waking up to just how forgotten we truly are here.  Once again, I don’t want to write this as if any reader is living under a rock and doesn’t know the disaster I speak of, but I’m speaking of the BP Deepwater Horizon rig explosion that occurred April 20, 2010 and continues to spew millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico daily. If, by some crazy chance, you don’t know what I’m talking about you can read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_oil_spill .

During the last 3 months we have learned all about the damage to Louisiana’s marshes and seafood industry and Florida’s beaches…etc… We have seen footage of what is and isn’t being done to protect these popular states’ coasts ecologically and economically but we have seen and heard very little about the forgotten sister that is Mississippi.


Though this sentiment has been in my heart since Katrina, yesterday two incidents spawned my desire to write this blog.  First of all, I traveled my local coastline yesterday to see what the BP clean-up efforts were like, what the media was doing and what the people were doing.  What I

BP Clean Up-Waveland, MS 7/10/10

found was disappointing.  I did see some laborers raking the sand and picking up tar patties that washed upon our shorelines and placing them in garbage bags.  The workers were far and few between and absent in many areas.  I waited until they ended their work day before I went out to do my own inspection and what I found was very disturbing.  Oiled litter, tar balls and oiled water was still as far as the eye could see.  Exhausted boom remained desperately needing replacement as oil seeped past it.  It was heartbreaking and painful to see.  I wondered why, but then quickly answered my own question … because the media doesn’t care about Mississippi so the nation doesn’t know that we are being treated this way and the government doesn’t care about the people of this state so our cries will not be heard.  Last night, after a trying day of dealing with this reality, I went out to have a drink.  Much like after Hurricane Katrina, the bar was full of transients who came here to make a buck following yet

Oiled litter post clean up-Waveland, MS 7/10/10

another tragedy.  In other words, laborers for BP here to do clean-up work.  I was seated between men working on Louisiana clean-up to my left and Mississippi clean-up to my right.  They were discussing what their work days consisted of.  The comparisons were mind boggling to a point that I couldn’t hold my tongue.  In Louisiana’s clean-up efforts there are more safety measures, crews, EPA involvement, BP and

Tar balls found post clean up-Lakeshore, MS

Government employees present and more detailed demands.  Louisiana’s clean up focuses on getting the oil out of the water and the marshes as well as getting the tar balls off the coastlines in heavy detail with inspections and safety measures as well as quickly replacing used boom with new boom to continue to protect the delicate marshes and waters of Louisiana.  At the end of the day, all clean-up boats in Louisiana waters must be thoroughly cleaned before returning to their ports as to not carry oil and contaminants inland.  NONE of this is occurring in Mississippi clean-up efforts.  There are less employees working in Mississippi, the EPA & Government are not present, boats are not cleaned and oil and contaminants are carried into our ports daily and Mississippi workers even complained that they feel their efforts are in vain because of the lack of supervision and precaution that are only spreading the oil and contaminants around rather than removing them.  The skimming methods on Mississippi waters are far less professional and hardly working compared to that of Louisiana.  Booms are not being replaced in Mississippi and our marshes are not being protected.  After hearing all I could stand of these comparisons, I blurted out the obvious question “Why?” and received the answer from both sides “Because Louisiana is ecologically and economically more important to the country than Mississippi.”  Ouch.  That hurt.  But, I guess the truth hurts.  And so, I have a few photographs I took yesterday to share this truth with you.  These were all taken within a 5 mile radius of Waveland and Lakeshore, MS , just a small portion of what is going on here that I wanted to share with you because if I don’t care, who will?


Oil Mixed with toxic chemicals seeping past boom in marshland

High tides push oil onto the streets

Without proper protection or prevention, oiled water moves inland

Without proper protection or prevention, toxic soup forms in our marshes

Without proper clean up, toxic soup stagnates roadside

Oiled sand post clean up every 6" or less

an all too familiar sight along our beaches...


deja vous

31 05 2010

Today I offer you  a brief history lesson that will blow your mind.  All information shared here is from wikipedia.org.  Direct links are provided at the end of the blog.  Click them to read more about these events.
Ixtoc Oil Spill 1979
Ixtoc I was an exploratory oil well being drilled by the semi-submersible platform that we know today as Transocean Ltd.  The location was in the Gulf of Mexico about 62 miles northwest of Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche in waters 160 feet deep.  On June 3, 1979, the well suffered a blowout.  A blowout is the uncontrolled release of crude oil and/or natural gas from an oil well after pressure control systems have failed. At the time of the accident Sedco 135F a.k.a. Transocen was drilling at a depth of about 11,800 ft below the seafloor.   The day before Ixtoc suffered the blowout and resulting fire that caused her to sink, the drill bit hit a region of soft strata soil.   Subsequently, the circulation of drilling mud was lost resulting in a loss of hydrostatic pressure. Rather than returning to the surface, the drilling mud was escaping into fractures that had formed in the rock at the bottom of the hole. PEMEX officials decided to remove the bit, run the drill pipe back into the hole and pump materials down this open-ended drill pipe in an effort to seal off the fractures that were causing the loss of circulation. During the removal of the pipe, the drilling mud suddenly began to flow up towards the surface; by removing the drill-string the well was ‘swabbed’ leading to a ‘kick’ . Normally, this flow can be stopped by activating shear rams contained in the blowout preventer (BOP). These rams are designed to sever and seal off the well on the ocean floor; however in this case drill collars had been brought in line with the BOP and the BOP rams were not able to sever the thick steel walls of the drill collars leading to a catastrophic blowout. The drilling mud was followed by a large quantity of oil and gas at an increasing flow rate. The oil and gas fumes exploded on contact with the operating pump motors, starting a fire which led to the collapse of the Sedco 135F a.k.a. Transocean drilling tower. The collapse caused damage to underlying well structures. The damage to the well structures led to the release of significant quantities of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
In the initial stages of the spill, an estimated 30,000 barrels of oil per day were flowing from the well. In July 1979, the pumping of mud into the well reduced the flow to 20,000 barrels per day, and early in August the pumping of nearly 100,000 steel, iron, and lead balls into the well reduced the flow to 10,000 barrels per day. PEMEX claimed that half of the released oil burned when it reached the surface, a third of it evaporated, and the rest was contained or dispersed. Mexican authorities also drilled two relief wells into the main well to lower the pressure of the blowout, however the oil continued to flow for three months following the completion of the first relief well. PEMEX contracted Conair Aviation to spray the chemical dispersant Corexit 9527 on the oil. A total of 493 aerial missions were flown, treating 1,100 square miles of oil slick. Dispersants were not used in the U.S. area of the spill because of the dispersant’s inability to treat weathered oil. Eventually the on-scene coordinator (OSC) requested that Mexico stop using dispersants north of 25°N. In Texas, an emphasis was placed on coastal countermeasures protecting the bays and lagoons formed by the Barrier Islands. Impacts of oil to the Barrier Island beaches were ranked as second in importance to protecting inlets to the bays and lagoons. This was done with the placement of skimmers and booms. Ultimately, 71,500 barrels of oil impacted 162 miles of U.S. beaches, and over 10,000 cubic yards of oiled material were removed.  Prevailing currents carried the oil towards the Texas coastline. The US government had two months to prepare booms to protect major inlets. Eventually, in the US, 162 miles of beaches and 1421 birds were affected by 3,000,000 barrels (480,000 m3) of oil. PEMEX spent $100 million to clean up the spill and avoided paying compensation by asserting sovereign immunity.  (Sovereign immunity is the doctrine that the sovereign or state cannot commit a legal wrong and is immune from civil suit.)

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill 2010
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a massive ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, is now considered the largest offshore spill in U.S. history. The spill stems from a sea floor oil gusher that started with an oil well blowout on April 20, 2010. The blowout caused a catastrophic explosion on the Deepwater Horizons off shore drilling platform  that was situated about 40 miles southeast of the Louisiana  coast in the Manacondo Prospect oil field. The explosion killed 11 platform workers and injured 17 others; another 98 people survived without serious physical injury. (*Note, I could not easily find any information regarding the people involved in the Ixtoc rig explosion.)
The gusher originates from a deepwater oil well 5,000 feet below the ocean surface. Estimates of the amount of oil being discharged range from BP’s current estimate of over 5,000 barrels (210,000 US gallons; 790,000 litres) to as much as 100,000 barrels (4,200,000 US gallons; 16,000,000 litres) of crude oil per day. The exact spill flow rate is uncertain – in part because BP has refused to allow independent scientists to perform accurate measurements – and is a matter of ongoing debate.  Originally, a video of the oil flow filmed underwater on site was leaked into the media generating a media storm of estimates much larger than what BP had been stating.  In addition, the proportion of natural gas in the mixture is not known. The resulting oil slick covers a surface area of at least 2,500 square miles and growing at a rapid pace with the exact size and location of the slick fluctuating from day to day depending on weather conditions. Scientists have also discovered immense underwater plumes of oil not visible from the surface.

The preliminary best estimate that was released on May 27 by the semi-official Flow Rate Technical Group put the volume of oil flowing from the blown-out well at 12,000 to 19,000 barrels (500,000 to 800,000 US gallons; 1,900,000 to 3,000,000 litres) per day, which had amounted to between 440,000 and 700,000 barrels (18,000,000 and 29,000,000 US gallons; 70,000,000 and 111,000,000 litres) as of that date. Experts fear that due to factors such as petroleum toxicity and oxygen depletion, the spill will result in an environmental disaster, damaging the Gulf of Mexico fishing industry,  the Gulf Coast tourism industry, and the habitat of hundreds of bird species. Crews are working to block off bays and estuaries, using anchored barriers, floating containment booms, , and sand-filled barricades along shorelines. There are a variety of ongoing efforts, both short and long term, to contain the leak and stop spilling additional oil into the Gulf.
BP(formerly British Petroleum) is the operator and principal developer of the Macondo Prospect, which was thought to hold as much as 50 million barrels (7.9×10^6 m3) of oil prior to the blowout (by BP’s own estimate). The Deepwater Horizon drilling platform had been leased by BP from its owner, Transocean Ltd. The U.S. Government has named BP as the responsible party in the incident, and officials have said the company will be held accountable for all cleanup costs resulting from the oil spill. BP has accepted responsibility for the oil spill and the cleanup costs, but indicated they were not at fault because the platform was run by Transocean personnel. The Deepwater Horizon blowout is the third serious incident at a BP-operated site in the United States in the last five years. These previous incidents, attributed to lapses in safety and maintenance, have contributed to the damage to BP’s reputation.

So, let’s look at some interesting facts here;
31 years later and we are faced with the same disaster and the same lack of plans.  It’s hard to fathom that no actions were taken in the last 31 years to create a safe back-up plan in the event this should happen again … ESPECIALLY when such deep water drilling was arguably very dangerous and not in the best interest of anyone or anything (except the oil companies, of course).
It’s also hard to realize that this has only just come to light recently.  I mean, I suppose any of us could’ve found this and brought it to light … obviously because someone did recently… but my point is, why wasn’t this talked about more? How did something so big get swept under the rug?
My friend Scott’s response to Maddow’s video (shared above): “That video on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill 31 years ago threw me for a loop.  They have done this before, and then successfully erased it from the mind of the public.  The companies change their names, and soon it is forgotten.  I cannot believe that they have not developed better emergency methods in 31 years.  They have been there before, and the statistics indicate that blowouts are somewhat part of the process from time to time.”
Does anyone find it interesting that, as one solution after another fails, everything just has to point to the most profitable solution for BP? Drilling those relief wells just happens to enable them to continue to retrieve that precious liquid gold, however the process is long and meanwhile the Gulf of Mexico continues to suffer the tragedy via an underwater oil volcano and a soup of toxic dispersants used to hide that oil from YOU.
Will you forget this tragedy too? Will you allow BP or Transocean or any other company involved to move on under a new name and continue to progress in this industry? Will you pressure your government to change things this time, since they’ve been failing for the last 31 years?? Will you ask your government why they aren’t doing more CURRENTLY?
we have to be realistic… don’t get me wrong, we can’t just stop drilling all together and pretend we could survive without oil, but we can begin to move in other directions and transition away from our need for oil.  If we all work together, it wouldn’t be impossible.
See also:
Ixtoc: A case study www.jstor.org/pss/4312725
Ixtoc: Economic Impact Documents 1980 www.gomr.mms.gov/PI/PDFImages/ESPIS/3/3931.pdf
Infographic breakdown of the current oil disaster www.infographicworld.com/infographics/large-crude-awakening.html
PEMEX http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pemex
Macando Prospect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macondo_Prospect

The video everyone’s been talking about… hard reporting on facts from 60 minutes.  A must see video that includes an interview with a surviving crew member from the Deepwater Horizon explosion, witnesses, and shocking reveals!  Go here: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6490348n
“Understanding Fossil Fuel” explains the history of all fossil fuels and their extraction (including oil) as well as looking at energy alternatives https://suzrocks.wordpress.com/2010/05/22/understanding-fossil-fuel/

See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil…

23 05 2010

You have just been offered at job earning TEN TIMES your current pay rate working for a major corporation that has been successful for over 50 years and continues to be successful.  You don’t have to relocate or change very many aspects of your life.  Would you accept?
Ok, your new job is working for Acme Cigarette Co.  You will be part of their marketing team.  In doing so, you have to start smoking.  That’s right, you HAVE TO.  Acme carries two types of cigarettes… Full Strength or Lights.  You are allowed to choose between the two, but you must start smoking one of the two in order to get paid.  While smoking is always dangerous, of course, the lighter cigarettes are slightly less dangerous.  The lights have 10% less chemical additives.  But, that’s really irrelevant.
So, you choose the lights.
You work for Acme for 10 years before you get laid off, but you get a nice severance package that buys you an additional 5 years to obtain a new career.
In the first two years, you find out you have lung cancer because of the chemical additives in those cigarettes.  It isn’t 10% lighter than the cancer you would’ve gotten from the full strength cigarettes because … well, chemical additives are chemical additives, right? So… smoking is smoking, cancer is cancer, toxins are toxins… But, you’re shocked because Acme never told you this could happen.  Any time you questioned your health, they would simply show you a mirror and ask you if you looked unhealthy? Well, due to the fact that lung cancer isn’t externally visible… this was easy to dismiss, right? Acme would reinforce it by telling you how healthy you look, and how great you look puffing on that light cigarette. But, when you would have respiratory issues … maybe a cough or trouble breathing, Acme was able to prove to you that there is no direct link to smoking and it cannot be proven that your respiratory problems are connected.  Period.
If you can’t see the problem, it isn’t there.
Lies are lies.
British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig was drilling in dangerous territory under dangerous circumstances.  Safety issues and red flags were ignored in order to meet the bottom line.  An irreversible, horrible incident occurred taking the lives of 11 rig employees and creating the largest (man made) ecological disaster in US history.  For over a month today, oil has been gushing from gaping holes in the Earth and filling the Gulf of Mexico.  But, many find this easy to over look because much of the oil is not visible.  Despite the fact that this disaster has already eclipsed 1989’s Exxon Valdez oil disaster times 8, BP has hidden many of the facts from the public regarding the damages that have already occurred and continue to occur, as well as the what the future holds.  The truth is, the future is really questionable even by scientists as to just how bad this could turn out to be for the Gulf Coast, the nation and the world ecologically and economically.  But, one thing for sure, BP has not only hidden the facts but the oil as well.  How do you hide a huge amount of oil that has gushed millions upon millions (upon more millions) of gallons into the waters? Chemical dispersants is the answer! Currently, the Gulf has been using those full strength dispersants and the cancer has only started to grow but now the EPA is questioning why full strength and not lights? Lights are so much better, right? So, they’re being forced to switch to a “safer” chemical dispersant to continue to break up the oil and push it to the ocean floor.
Years from now the hidden cancer that we couldn’t see will be revealed.  Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Just like, if you took that job and discovered you had cancer later on … it would be too little too late.  And, if you found out that cancer was terminal, all the money you could sue Acme for wouldn’t make a bit of difference, would it?