Friday, December 02, 2011

A Wakeup Call for PDP Burma

I received a rather crazy missive from the Parliamentary Democracy Party this week. It claimed that on 11-11-11 the PDP received a visitor from three astrologers. These three "seers," said PDP, received a visit from the spirit of the slain Burmese democracy leader General Aung San, father of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. General Aung San's spirit ostensibly told them her daughter has "dishonour[ed] the revolution and my legacy, but my Higher Guardian Angles [sic] will not let her succeed."

If this is the kind of nonsense it is spreading, the PDP has become a sexist, racist sham of a political party. To my Burmese friends, I say: Let's tell them we no longer wish to receive warmongering missives like this. Tell them they cannot speak for the spirit of Aung San, and it is preposterous to claim that they do so.

I became involved in the struggle for Burmese freedom and democracy because I wanted to help a loving and inclusive people break the chains of tyranny, bigotry, hatred, and usurpation of their human rights. I do not wish to be subjected to vicious, divisive, non-constructive diatribes, from the military thugs or anyone who purports to want justice, equity, freedom, and inclusive democracy.

PDP: If you have something to say specifically, come out and say it. Don't blame Aung San Suu Kyi simply for existing, or for attempting to find some way forward to a sustainable future for Burma and its beleaguered people.

Anyone who tries to build bridges can and will surely be accused of selling out one side or the other. I know from much experience that it is vastly more difficult to work toward understanding and cooperation than it is to stand rigidly on one's own side, unbudging, unyielding, and doomed to perpetual misery, violence, or subjugation.

Things change. We must be flexible to change along with the tides, and not drown for stubbornness because we refuse to move as the tide laps at our nostrils. Change is difficult. Democracy is difficult and messy. Getting along with others is hard; ask any kid in a playground.

I spent many years fighting against hatred, bigotry, and desperate suppression in Northern Ireland. Much of the ongoing violence was fueled by generations of people who could not relinquish their bitterness against one another's forebears or put aside their thirst for vengeance. This carried on for several generations, and it still lingers. Many, many people suffered and died because the sides could not find common ground. And that was in a country of only two groups divided by religion and economic power -- not nearly as complex a population as that of Burma, with its more than 100 ethnicities!

It is easy to become choked by acrimony and animosity. If we cannot find it in our hearts to look forward with hope, remembering and learning from but not dwelling on others' sins of the past, we will never find the way to a free, fair, just, and democratic Burma.

I hope, PDP people, that you can find it in your hearts to begin planning for a positive and inclusive future for Burma and its people, both men and women, and all ethnicities. The people of Burma deserve nothing less than your generosity of spirit; a long-term, far-reaching vision for the sustainable yet prosperous country Burma could be someday; and your willingness to work hard to ensure that it so becomes. And please stop claiming you or your friends speak to the dead. That's just wrong.

Maura Stephens
friend of the Burmese people
formerly with
the International Campaign for Freedom of Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma

Monday, November 14, 2011

DEC: Inergy LPG Storage in Salt Caverns Is Insane. Say No.

Today was the deadline to comment to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation on the proposed Inergy, Corp. liquefied petroleum gas storage in salt caverns in Reading, New York, just north of Watkins Glen on beautiful, vineyard-encircled Seneca Lake. This is what I wrote to the DEC about its facility ID 8-4432-00085. I am not as polite as most of those who wrote. That's because I'm mad as hell. You should be, too.

I could give numerous scientific reasons that permitting the LPG storage facility in salt mines in Reading (or anywhere else in the Finger Lakes) will cause environmental damage. Many others have submitted such comments as to why the DEC’s EIS for LPG storage in salt mines in Reading is grossly inadequate, why we are aware and disgusted that the only real benefits will go to Inergy, related industries, and to the government and regulatory officials in their pockets, and why we are aware and disgusted that We the People who live in the region will pay dearly without receiving any recompense for our immeasurable and irreconcilable losses.
Others have written about how our existing tourism, wine, outdoor recreation, and real estate businesses would collapse with the permitting of poisoning by Inergy and related industries.
You have had an earful about how the noise, traffic, and clogged air would affect our lives and health—and surely your own, even very basic, research would have confirmed this.
You already know that LPG storage facilities cause sicknesses and even death of plant and animal life—and probably of people (as well as existing businesses).
You know, too, that there will be few jobs gained, if any. It is in fact more likely that Inergy’s LPG storage facility would lead to job loss, considering that existing businesses will be forced to downsize or close as tourism and crop purity are destroyed.
You have heard firsthand from homeowners who are selling their homes and escaping, or at the very least delaying planned home building or home-improvement projects. You have heard of how prospective buyers are looking elsewhere because nobody in her right mind wants to live near or be forced to travel by a gas storage and transport facility.
Surely it is clear to you that lower property values will have an overall terrible effect on Schuyler County’s property tax base, which in turn will cause neighboring counties’ properties and tax bases to weaken
You must admit, sir, that the DEC is hamstrung and grossly understaffed. It does not have the power to enforce regulations, even if regulations had any meaning. But they don’t, and that is the primary purpose of this letter.
This Company Is . . . Let’s Just Say, Not One to Write Home About
Surely it is clear to anyone with half a a brain that once Inergy gets this facility in place, it will quickly expand to the other salt caverns around Seneca Lake, and thence to the many caverns around Cayuga and the other Finger Lakes. That will destroy everything valuable about this region as a place to live and raise a family, a vacation destination, a business community, and the precious ecosystems and waterways on which life depends.
I’m not sure that anyone has yet brought up the fact that Inergy, like all fossil-fuel corporations (indeed, like all corporations), has one mission and one mission only: to make money.
That money is often made at the expense of people’s livelihoods, property, health, and lives. And the corporation often lies to get its way. Which is exactly what is happening here, with Inergy.
Inergy has, preposterously, claimed that its executives and staff are “locals” who “care about” Seneca Lake. That is an outright lie. Almost all, and certainly the highest-paid ones, are from out of state, as several of us have learned from these individuals themselves. So that argument must be publicly refuted and called out for the lie it is. DEC and the media “reporting” on this issue should already be doing that consistently.
You and the media should also be seriously questioning why (a) Inergy relies on the 1992 GEIS, which does not even deal with LPG storage in salt mines, for information in its proposal; (b) the company was sued by Michigan Attorney General in 2008 for price gouging (and settled by refunding the overcharges to customers); (c) the company has no ties to this region; (d) the company has been caught in numerous lies and misrepresentations, yet Reading and Schuyler County officials seem to find these all just fine.
We’re Not Fooled: This Gas Is Not for Domestic Use
Inergy is attempting to pull a bait-and-switch by telling people in this region that its desire is to “store heating fuel here so that we can provide local residents with cheaper fuel during winter months, when prices are higher.”
That, too, is an outright lie. Inergy will sell to the highest bidder because that is its mission: to make money. It would be following in the footsteps of countless fossil fuel corporations that have lied to convince the public, regulators, and legislators that they intend to keep their domestically extracted product in the USA (it’s so “patriotic” and will make us “energy independent” and get us off “foreign fuels”). They are granted permits to poison here, and then turn around to sell their products abroad, where the best prices can be met.  
Waterborne Energy, Inc., in its LPG Report dated 3 June 2010, says, “On an annualized basis, there were 30.208mmbbls exported during calendar year 2009. Through June 2010 there have been 17.145mmbbls exported – or 56% of the overall total achieved last year. If the year-to-date July figures are included the percentage rises to 61%. The vast majority of the exports is clearly propane, of which there have been 16.6mmbbls removed from domestic inventories. This compares to the total propane volume exported last year, which was 25.4mmbbls.”
Pervin & Gertz, Inc., “international energy consultants,” reported in its 2010 Latin American LPG Seminar, held in Chile November 15-18, 2010, that “In fact, LPG exports from Houston to Latin America have grown each of the past 3 years and volumes appear to be on track to reach a modern day record in 2010. This situation has had repercussions in the U.S. propane market, with pre-winter inventory levels running far below average. Ultimately, we expect these conditions to strengthen propane prices in the U.S. This scenario would trigger higher prices throughout most of Latin America, particularly in un-subsidized markets reliant on propane imports.”
Coastal Caverns, Inc. (CCI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Vitol Group, announced on July 5, 2011, its plans to develop a new propane export facility in conjunction with its in-development LPG storage operation in Beaumont, Texas. It will include storage capacity for up to six million barrels of domestic and international grade propane as well as a processing facility capable of handling as much as 100,000 bbls per day. The project will be designed to ultimately treat and export up to 3 million tons of propane per year.
Most recently, three weeks ago, BG Group signed a 20-year, $8 billion agreement with Houston-based Cheniere Energy to export LNG.
So much for “clean, patriotic, domestic energy” serving the U.S. market. We know that’s hogwash, as are the claims of Inergy and others that LPG storage is completely unrelated to fracking for “natural” gas in our region.
Part of a Much Bigger Industry That Will Destroy New York State Permanently
We know that propane is found in Marcellus shale gas south and west of us, and we know that the gas needs to be refined to separate the propane from the methane and butane. That requires refineries—more industrialization.
Once the door is open to this destructive industry, there will be no shutting it.
That is not acceptable. We are not willing to be collateral damage to serve the interests of a few corporate fat cats and the politicians with whom they are colluding.
The people who work for the DEC, like those who work for regulatory agencies of every description in the United States, no doubt mean well and have good intentions. But you have been rendered powerless by a political system that does not see value in regulating industry to protect people and nature.
Impotent Regulatory System
DEC is virtually powerless. Why would any sane people trust that a powerless agency can protect us from corporate harm, that you even could protect our environment and nature from corporate damage, or that you could possibly “mitigate” the harm once we have been contaminated—which we surely would be if this LPG storage facility and the subsequent industrial expansion come to New York State?
You are not God; you cannot make pure something that has been permanently poisoned. You cannot restore a bucolic, beautiful, peaceful way of life once it has been destroyed by a heartless, soulless industry. You cannot make dead fish and aquatic creatures come back to life. You cannot remove benzene, or methane, or toluene or xylene or hydrochloric acid—or radium, or a mixture of the above—from our drinking water and croplands.
Lest you accuse me of hysteria, I will point out that I am a journalist with 33 years of experience investigating, among other things, environmental and business issues. I did graduate work in botany and horticulture, and I am a long-time organic farmer. I am not given to hyperbole. Every thing I have predicted in this fracking fight so far has come true. I smelled this Inergy rat the minute it announced itself in Reading.
The Role of the DEC
I love the Finger Lakes and New York State, and I will not stand by and see it destroyed by wanton corporations given free rein to rape and pillage at will. Nor will the tens of thousands of people who have joined actively in antifracking movement across the state, from Shelter Island to Niagara Falls.
I do not agree with some leaders in the fight against this destructive industry that an independent Qualitative and Quantitative Risk Analysis (QRA) is in order. The only thing in order, in my mind, is a total ban on use of the Finger Lakes or any critical watershed as storage of highly toxic materials. A potent and on-task environmental regulatory agency would be fighting for this right up front, no matter the odds. Unfortunately, the DEC charge of fostering “natural resources” development is directly at odds with its charge of protecting the environment, and your conflicted mission inevitably causes harm to the latter.
Yet your goals statement does say the DEC pursues “environmental quality, public health, economic prosperity and social well-being, including environmental justice and the empowerment of individuals to participate in environmental decisions that affect their lives.”
Now, that’s more like it. If you start toward this goal, you will inevitably listen to us and say a resounding No to the Inergy proposal.
If you do not, the people cannot stand for the degradation of our home, and there is no time like the present to make some serious changes in the way business is conducted in New York State. We are fighting for our way of life here. We are fighting for our future. There is tremendous power in people when so much is at stake. I sincerely hope the DEC will be on the side of the environment and environmental justice, as your website proclaims you are. If not, well, I guess it's up to us, then.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Great Investigative Journalism Work You MUST View

Our neighbors in Tonawanda, on the Niagara River in western New York State just south of Buffalo, were being poisoned for decades by a company that, unlike the gas/oil industry, does not enjoy exemptions from clean water, clean air, and toxic waste laws and other regulations set in place to protect our environment and health.

For many years regulatory agencies DEC (NYS) and EPA (federal) ignored residents' complaints of foul air and physical ailments, outrageously high rates of cancer and other diseases, and benzene levels 500 times higher than what is considered the highest acceptable level in state guidelines. Not only benzene, but other highly toxic chemicals were being released over decades into the air and water by a company called Tonawanda Coke Corporation. (No doubt others of the 50 or so industrial polluters that have PERMITS in Tonawanda contributed even more.)

From the piece:
Joe Martens, commissioner of New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation, defended the record of his agency, which eventually set up high-tech air quality monitors that documented extremely elevated benzene levels, leading to the enforcement actions. But he said such sophisticated equipment had not been available previously. So state officials had no way of knowing about the benzene, formaldehyde, and other toxic emissions seeping from leaks in equipment and piping at the plant, Martens said. “Hazardous air pollutants are difficult to detect. We didn’t have the equipment to do the type of detection — you know, police work — that EPA was able to do” later.

After reading this, what kind of idiot would say, "Hey, sure the DEC and DEP and EPA will protect us from being poisoned by industry"? Ask the people of Tonawanda, many of whom have become very sick and some of whom have died because of the toxins dumped on them by this single iron-smelting factory.

Yet we are to trust that the DEC and other flaccid regulatory agencies will protect us from Big Gas and related industries and their fracking and related machines and poisons? No way, Jose!

We must tell the DEC and the governor that no amount of regulation is acceptable. DEC (and DEP and other states' agencies) regulations are not acceptable. Only a full and total ban on industrial poisoning from fracking and other industries is acceptable.

Read the great investigative piece on Tonawanda citizens who fought back against the polluting company, which was finally charged in criminal court -- because poisoning us and our communities IS A CRIME and thus should be in the criminal code. Every one of the corporate officers and senior staff should serve serious jail time and pay heavy financial damages to those they poisoned. Not that any amount of money could restore the poisoned people's lives or adequately compensate for their losses.

This piece is part of a fine, scary, and eye-opening new series by the Center for Public Integrity in concert with Slate and NPR, called "Poisoned Places."
From "About the series":
As often happens during in-depth investigations — an unexpected discovery. Reporters learned that the EPA maintains a “watch list” that includes serious or chronic Clean Air Act violators that have not been subject to timely enforcement. Two versions of the internal list, never previously made public, were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. (More about the watch list here.)

Congratulations to the investigators, researchers, writers, editors, publishers, and funder of these important pieces. May they awaken people to the dangers we face and help them force change to protect and sustain the places we live, the air we breathe, and the lives we hope to continue leading.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

For a Favorite Fool

A friend was laid to rest today.

He was a dancer
and fellow thespian
a dear, kind man.

He’d been the Scottish king
thrice (once versus
my half Lady
— that’s a long tale).

He’d played many a part
Mostly Shakespearean
and mostly the fool —
his favorite!

His even better role
was as
husband and father
to his lovely girls

Gorgeous loving brave wife
Two fine daughters
Each of them to die for
and he would have.

His passing
was not sudden
for our friends
who had stayed close.

For me
It was lightning
We hadn’t been
in touch of late.

Bob’s funeral
was mobbed
with friends
and colleagues
from all walks
of his many-pathed life
— human services
comedy . . .

Clowning Bob,
Funny fool,
Laughing lad!
So beloved
by so many.

Can you really,
truly be gone?

No, of course not.
You are here
Large as life.
In our hearts
if not still
in your kitchen
at our tables
on our stages.

We know your tricks.
You can’t fool us!
But it was
a nice try. :^)

for now,
Bob DeLuca.

--October 20, 2011, Ithaca, New York USA

Thursday, June 30, 2011

An URGENT Open Letter to NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo

Actual posting time is 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 30, 2011. Something is wrong with the blogger clock/calendar.

This posting is appearing in Alternet and other publications. Urgency dicatated that I post it online immediately so people can bombard Cuomo with calls and e-mails expressing their [fill in your own word: fury, disappointment, anguish, disgust, heartbreak, terror, determination to fight harder and elect people who will protect our rights to clean air, clean water, safe food supplies, decent communities, and our rights to NOT BE POISONED . . .]

Dear Governor Cuomo,

We just got word that you're lifting the fracking moratorium in the New York City and Syracuse watersheds. I'm almost apoplectic from shock, anger, grief, and terror.

A former farmer and trained environmentalist, researcher, and independent journalist, I have spent much of the last three years learning and writing about fracking. I am a cofounder of the Coalition to Protect New York, among other actively engaged organizations working to ban fracking in our state and elsewhere.

We do not trust the Department of Environmental Conservation to get things right on fracking. Even if it were a reliable and trustworthy agency, the DEC’s budget has been cut so drastically and its workforce decimated to the point that it’s virtually hamstrung.

We do not trust — nor should any sensible, informed citizen or legislator trust — corporate-bought politicians and corporate "scientists."

For the moment we must trust that you are not among that group and that you truly want to do what is right for New York State.

In these tough economic, energy, and environmental times it will take a visionary, forward-thinking leader to bring the state into the future with an innovative energy/jobs/climate-change-effects-lessening plan.

You could be that leader if you have the desire and political will to do so.

It appears you have decided to lift the moratorium for the state outside the New York City watershed (because Wall Street traders, corporate tycoons and big bankers live downstate) and Syracuse watershed (tossing a bone to the rest of the state, according to cynics), while throwing the rest of us to the wolves.

This means you think of the rest of the state’s residents and environment as expendable.

You may be committing political suicide.

Many millions of New Yorkers now know what is at stake with fracking, and more are coming to that understanding daily as they learn of its ills in other places.

That speaks to the dedication of my fellow antifracking activists, who are fighting an industry that can without blinking an eye drop $150 million or more yearly to hoodwink the public and lobby legislators with false propaganda. Their ads claim that “natural” gas is “clean, safe, domestic, and patriotic.” And that it’s an economic panacea for struggling workers whose jobs have been eliminated or sent abroad.

Which, as you surely know, are all false claims.

Governor, you should quickly reconsider lifting the moratorium. The only sensible, responsible, long-term response to the devastating practice of fracking (a response that would also greatly offset our economic woes) is to
1) immediately institute a statewide fracking ban (New Jersey’s legislature just passed one; it’s waiting for Governor Christie’s signature, which is probably not forthcoming; but you could be the first);
2) invest in wide-scale updating and reinforcing of infrastructures and in conservation/energy-efficiency rehabilitating existing public and private buildings and homes;
3) commit to the building and maintenance of long-term energy-efficient public transportation and codify mandatory greater fuel efficiency in all private and public large, small, agricultural, and industrial vehicles;
4) invest in research, development and implementation of renewable, sustainable neighborhood- and local-based energy systems, and write and enforce laws mandating the phase-out of all fossil-fuel based systems;
5) protect and keep public all drinking water supplies;
6) promote and foster healthful, organic agriculture and food distribution models; and
7) invest in public education programs about conservation, the reduction of energy consumption, and about renewable energy strategies.

Following such a plan would save money through conservation. It would reduce our need for and dependence on fossil fuels (which dependence, as you know, is unsustainable, even in the short term). It would also create plenty of safer, stabler, longer-term jobs, as the “green” sector expands with innovative new projects.

Perhaps most important, it would help stave off further hastening of catastrophic climate change and leave a legacy of forward-thinking and sustainability — rather than one of industrialization and ruination of lives, communities, and food and water supplies.

Fracking is the single most important issue facing New Yorkers. It will add water-pollution, air-pollution, and food toxicity illnesses, generate injuries to workers and others, and thereby increase our health care costs.

It will cause property damage and drain our communities of tax revenues that will need to be used to repair roads and bridges damaged by the thousand of trucks it takes to provision a frack well and remove the millions of gallons of contaminated waste generated by each well.

It contributes to greenhouse gases and global climate change and the increasingly commonplace whacky weather patterns we are seeing in New York and elsewhere. It will kill our tourism, outdoor adventuring, and agriculture and vineyards enterprises around the state—which would constitute economic suicide. Those industries combined bring in about $2.2 billion annually and provide 515,000 jobs (and will likely grow as neighboring Pennsylvania’s hunting, fishing, agriculture, and tourism sicken and die of fracking-related causes).

We must not allow the progress we have made these last few decades on the clean air/clean water/safe food to be wiped out via one destructive industry, nor allow our bucolic state to be turned into an industrial wasteland.

Because, mark my words, that is what fracking will do to New York should your permits go through.

New York is “Fracking Ground Zero.” People in fracked states are looking to us for leadership, begging New Yorkers to stop the madness before it takes hold here. They do not want us to be poisoned, and they also want us to then help them stop the industrialization and maybe help reverse some of the damages (although, alas, it is too late for many of these states, and huge swaths of land as well as people’s health and properties are beyond reclamation) of their communities.

Governor Cuomo, I urge you to be the leader New Yorkers need — and in whom they put their faith in when casting their votes.

Do not succumb to industry/Wall Street pressure. Do not put profits before our health. Do not gamble with our lives.

This is a make-or-break issue for me, my family, and the many organizations to which I belong and which I have founded or cofounded. We are making this the top priority in our lives and in our daily and many political actions. We feel we are fighting for our way of life — indeed, for our very lives. We want you to be equally committed to saving what is precious and irreplaceable.

Please invite us to consult with you if your information is leading you to lift the moratorium. We are informed. We are knowledgeable. We are farsighted.

We are taxpaying scientists, medical doctors and practitioners from many fields (oncology, pulmonology, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, physiatry, endocrinology, and psychiatry), farmers, water quality specialists, hazardous materials experts, teachers, entrepreneurs, businesspeople, writers, artists, homeowners, renters, teens, college students, parents, grandparents, voters.

We will help you understand that fracking risks are far too great, too widespread, too permanent, too irremediable, too suicidal on so many fronts.

We are also motivated. There’s nothing that pulls people off their couches like a threat to their kids' health and their property values. We will not allow ourselves to be used as lab rats, cannon fodder, or "collateral damage."

So you can be sure that we will not stop fighting for a ban. We hope you will do the right thing and push for a total ban on fracking in New York State.

And Governor, please make the decision quickly. We have all lost countless hours to this fight — and countless hours of sleep to our deep and very real fears of what fracking will do to our future, and our children’s — and we would like to go back to being productive rather than reactive. Our reinvigoration and productivity will also help the troubled economy, about which you might be losing a lot of sleep as well.

We are also willing to sit on an advisory board to help you put the positive sustainability/conservation work mentioned above in place. Just ask us.

My family, friends, colleagues, fellow activists and I look forward to your response.


Maura Stephens
Tioga County, NY

Maura Stephens is an independent journalist and cofounding member of the Coalition to Protect New York and other groups. She writes frequently about fracking and other environmental and energy issues. To contact New York Governor Andrew Cuomo:; (518) 474-8390. Let him know you're outraged and you think fracking is the most important issue facing us -- and what his actions will mean for your future votes and support. And then really get involved. Join an antifracking group and become an activist. Growing our numbers and our outrage will help fuel a mass movement -- the only force that is going to save everything we care about from greedy corporate destruction.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

"People are awesome," yes, and . . .

Someone sent me a link to this amazing video of people doing all sorts of crazy athletic (or just plain crazy) stunts. Check it out; it's a few minutes long but very compelling.

This filled me with admiration in some ways. For example, can you imagine what kinds of fears people overcame to do some of these stunts? How many bruises, sprains, gashes, breaks, cuts, fractures, and PAIN some of them suffered in pursuit of their goal,? Yet still they kept at it until they succeeded. Such determination, patience, dedication, resolve, endurance.

Power to them.

Yet I couldn't help thinking about how many people worldwide are living on too-few calories a day or don't have access to potable water. Without nutrition and hydration, even many young people who should be in the prime of life are unable even to crawl a few hundred feet -- that would be their death-defying stunt.

It must be nice to be both free and well-nurtured enough (and in many cases, rich enough) to engage in pursuits such as those demonstrated in the video.

If these people were a tenth as dedicated to making the world a better place as they are to pushing themselves to the height of physical prowess (and self-glorification), we'd have a much more egalitarian society. There'd be less governmental and corporate abuse of power, more jobs, stronger communities, less environmental degradation, less stress, more economic opportunity, and more concern for one another's well being.

Watching this video reminds me, too, of the clever hackers who are so good at messing up people's personal computers (which can in turn mess up people's personal lives pretty badly).

If only these smart s^*#heads would put their brains and talents into doing something for the common good. Some of them are smart enough, I've no doubt (especially if they put their heads together with others of similar bent), to figure out a way, say . . .
for ivory poachers to make a living doing something less murderous but equally lucrative, or
to create a community wind farm in a town that's getting overrun by gas drilling or coal mining operations -- thereby negating the community's ostensible need for fossil fuels, or
to build a village water well for a place that has none, or
to fund a children's vaccination program, or
. . . who knows, to find a cure for diabetes, or bronchitis, or asthma, or cancer.

We need to tell young people there is glory in that kind of work, not just in ten minutes of fame on YouTube (even if it gets a million hits). Glory doesn't come only from appearing on American Idol or being the next big mini-star on Facebook.

In short, it can't be all about ME. It's got to be about US. Or we really won't make it at all.

Not to be a bummer. The video is still fun to watch.

George Sapioisms 1

Living with the creative, brilliant, often hysterically funny George Sapio is never dull. Believe me!

I've just started doing something I should have begun years ago, which is recording some of his verbal gems.
Here's the first installment:

The milk of human kindness either has gone sour or is chock full of hormones.
— George Sapio, 1 February 2011, Ithaca New York USA