31 July 2007

Taliesin West

I enjoyed a tour of Taliesin West when I was in the Phoenix area earlier this month. Here's a photograph of the "front" yard of the compound's main building.
"Front" Yard

War, Who: Serves? Pays? Profits?

War: Who Serves? Who Pays? Who Profits?

30 July 2007

Holding the Executive Accountable

This is from yesterday's Washington Post:
The corollary to Cheney's zealous embrace of secrecy is his near total aversion to the notion of accountability. I've never seen a former member of the House of Representatives demonstrate such contempt for Congress - even when it was controlled by his own party. His insistence on invoking executive privilege to block virtually every congressional request for information has been stupefying - it's almost as if he denies the legitimacy of an equal branch of government. Nor does he exhibit much respect for public opinion, which amounts to indifference toward being held accountable by the people who elected him.

It's an excerpt from a column by the former Vice President Walter F. Mondale. Here's a link to the original: http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

20 July 2007

Life and Death

An old tree has died and fallen, it's decay will provide nutrients for other trees to live and grow. It will also provide habitat for a host of other organisms.

The Cycle of Life and Death

19 July 2007



Occupation of Iraq Destined to Fail

The occupation of Iraq is a fundamentally destined to fail because it goes against the will of the Iraqi people. And it's no wonder, just look at the violence, destruction and suffering - the horror - that Iraqis have faced over the past 4+ years.

This is not to speak of the terrible journey US Uniformed Service Personnel have been asked to lead. What a horrible reality to be coerced into fighting for such a despicable purpose.

The invasion was unjustified by national security prerogatives. The Bush Administration used deception and falsification in order to get their hands on Iraq. This is unacceptable.

Besides, with all of the financial resources and energy spent on the occupation, the USA could be well on the way to finding energy alternatives, rather than feeding and clinging to an unsustainable relationship with fossil fuels.

What is scary is to think that the war planners amongst the Bush Administration might get away with it. There might not be political will to end the occupation. The powers that be might think that getting that oil is all important.

But the reality is that the value of human life trumps the quest to control the oil resource of Iraq.

18 July 2007

14 July 2007

Photos from June Road Trip

The set of photos from a road trip I took this past June to CA and OR is ready for viewing. Here's a link http://www.flickr.com/photos/rwhitlock/sets/72157600676235927/.

Here's a sample from the Summit of Half Dome:
Summit View

06 July 2007

NATO Kills More Civilians than Taliban

From DemocracyNow!:
UN: NATO Strikes Kill More Civilians Than Taliban
Independent tallies have confirmed the claim of an Afghan human rights group that the U.S.-led NATO force has killed more civilians than the Taliban in the first half of this year. UN figures show at least three hundred fourteen civilians died in NATO bombings this year. Two-hundred seventy-nine were killed by the Taliban. The NATO figure does not include anywhere from forty-five to eighty-civilians reportedly killed in a NATO bombing in Helman province last week. The Los Angeles Times reports Afghan police recently barred journalists from the scene of a suicide attack on a US military convoy. The police officers explained: “Don’t go close. The Americans might shoot you.”

From Yosemite

Here's a photograph from Yosemite. I will be posting more pictures from my road trip in the next few days or so. Here's a link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rwhitlock/sets/72157600676235927/,
and a sample:
Yosemite Valley View

05 July 2007

Blood and Oil

Neither Gold or Oil (or any riches for that matter), are reason enough for the shedding of blood in violent conflict.

The Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, allegedly admitted to the plain truth that continued military action in Iraq is designed to secure access to the Iraqi oil resource (link). President Bush, in one of his more candid moments, also admitted (some time ago) that oil is one of the reasons for the war in Iraq. Sort of like when he referred to his political base as the "haves" and the "have mores."

Oil is not a good reason to go to war. Oil is not a good reason to kill.

The only justification for war is if there is a need for self-defense. The war in Iraq just doesn't measure up.

It's time for the killing to stop! This military action is fundamentally unjust.

What can I do to bring an expedient, safe and rapid end to the military action in Iraq? What can you do?

03 July 2007

Back from the long road...

I'm back in Olympia after a long road trip. Nearly two weeks of travels and 2,500 miles through the states of Washington, Oregon, and California. I did so much stuff, it's hard to decide where to start. But anyway, I drove first to Auburn California where my Grandmother lives in a gracious retirement community. I spent a couple of enjoyable days with her - I even won about $40 at the slots on Sunday.

From there I went to a small town in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to visit my Uncle Brandt and his wife Stevee. They live in a cool house in a beautiful spot right on the side of a mountain that stretches up 9,000 feet.

I left early on Tuesday morning to get to Yosemite in the early afternoon. The highlight from that stay was a 10 hour hike up to, and back from, the summit of half dome. It was about 17 miles with an elevation gain (and loss) of nearly 5,000 feet. More on that later.

This picture is from Crater Lake as I stood looking out over one of the deepest lakes in the world. Crater lake is almost 2,000 feet deep. The lake's remoteness and isolation make it a special system for studying the effects of humans on climate. The water temperature and surrounding air temperature both show increases over the past few years. It is only common sense to assume that all of the fires and engines of human productivity would contribute to an overall warming effect on the Earth's climate and surface systems, like Crater Lake. Anthropogenic forcing of heat into the atmosphere is already having consequences for humans, as well as a slew of other creatures. Some animals face an ever increasingly hostile environment and ever increasing chances of extinction as habitat changes become more pronounced and severe. What can I do to ameliorate and prevent the further effects of human caused climate change?
Self Portrait