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Where The Ohio River River Flows Into The Mississippi River At Cairo, Illinois Is My Point Of Creation—Since Beginnings Are Inexplicable, You Can Create Your Own

Above is a picture of where the Ohio River flows into the Mississippi River.

The Mississippi is on the left and the Ohio is on the right. The town between the rivers in Cairo, Illinois.

I took this picture from an airplane last month as I flew from Houston to Cincinnati.

Most times when I fly between Houston and Cincinnati, the plane passes over Cairo.

I’ve decided to make personal creation myth or story.  I’ve picked this spot as the place where I began.

You can pick your own place.

Beginnings are at bottom line inexplicable. We can create any story that fits our needs and what we feel the facts to be.

Here are three things that define me—

1. I was formed when the elements were formed for the first time. So were you.

2. I’m as American as they come.

3. I’m the person I am in day-to-day life. Everyday life is of great value.

Everything you need to understand the world is around you each day. These things are accessible with effort and imagination.

Cairo is all the things that I am.

Cairo is a place with both land and water.  It is a place I’ve often seen from the air. It is where two big rivers combine to make an even bigger single river.

It is a place where the elements are present and where something is created. It is a mini-Big Bang of rivers.

There is little more American than the Ohio River and Mississippi River.

And while I value the New England and Texas aspects of who I am, I’m Midwesterner at core.

I can’t think of a better place for things to have begun than where two great American rivers meet in Illinois.

Not only all that, but Missouri and Kentucky are also in this picture.

Missouri is on the left, Kentucky is on the right, and Illinois is the peninsula in the center.

In addition to passing over Cairo in the air, I’ve also driven to where the rivers meet.

When my wife and I drove from Cincinnati to Houston in 1998 while moving to Houston to live, we stopped in Cairo to see where the rivers met up.

As I fly over this point twice each year to go back to Cincinnati, I think of how the wife and I where there, and I think about our good life of the past 14 years in Houston.

My existence as someone formed at the very beginning, as an American, and as an individual—These things all come together at Cairo, Illinois

I can’t speak for you—I have no interest in speaking for you—but Cairo, Illinois and where the Ohio River and Mississippi River merge is the place where I began.

Create your own place of origin and make the best use possible of your talents.

September 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Remains Of Hurricane Isaac Over The Cincinnati Area—Post Parade For The 2nd Race At River Downs

At least some portion of the remains of Hurricane Isaac are currently over River Downs race track just outside Cincinnati.

You see here horses on parade on the rain-soaked sloppy track in advance of the 2nd race this afternoon. You also see the American Flag blowing about.

The misty backdrop are Kentucky hills across the Ohio River.

I’m sorry for persons who have been strongly impacted by Hurricane Isaac.

Here in the Cincinnati-area the storm has brought needed rain.

I hope folks are having a nice Labor Day. Please treat people who are working the holiday well. Respect for our fellow working people and self-respect are the very same thing.

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September 3, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Don’t Love God If You Don’t Love Your Neighbor

A great song is a gospel bluegrass song called “You Don’t Love God If You Don’t Love Your Neighbor.”

This song is performed by a woman named Rhonda Vincent.

Here is Ms. Vincent’s website.

I don’t know anything about bluegrass music, but I do enjoy this song. I think it should be sung at church.

Here are some of the lyrics—

There are many people
who will say they’re Christians
and they live like Christians on the Sabbath day

But come Monday morning, til the coming Sunday

They will fight their neighbor all along the way

Oh you don’t love God, if you don’t love your neighbor

if you gossip about him, if you never have mercy
if he gets into trouble, and you don’t try to help him
then you don’t love your neighbor, and you don’t love God

That’s right!

Here is a link to a video of Ms. Vincent singing this song.

I’m not at a fan of Bluegrass music. I have nothing against it—I’ve  just never paid attention.

Here is a history of Bluegrass music.

The International Bluegrass Music Museum is in Owensboro, Kentucky.

It is good to learn about something new, and it is good when some aspect of life you had not much considered before offers something rewarding.

(Below—Bluegrass Country in Fayette County, Kentucky. Photo taken by Conspiracy of Happiness.  Here are some facts about bluegrass. The actual grass. Not the music.)

July 9, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Industry Approved License Plate—Can’t We All Just Have The Same Message On Our License Plates?

Here is an industry approved license plate I saw on my travels in Cincinnati and Kentucky last week.

Here are some basic facts about coal in Kentucky. 

I wish we could just go back to license plates that had a nice tourism related saying on them– or some type of state motto—that everybody can support.

I don’t like thoughts expressed on license plates that I agree with anymore than ideas I do not support. I would not buy a license plate calling for higher taxes on the rich.

We just need to know that Pennsylvania is the Keystone State and that Texas is the Lone Star State and that Rhode Island is the Ocean State.

If you want to purchase a vanity plate—That is your affair. People have been able to buy such license plates for many years.

But it is best that government endorse no political or specific cultural message of any kind on our  license plates.

If you want to “choose life” or proclaim that you support pet adoptions or that you are a graduate  of Louisiana State or wherever —Then get yourself a bumper sticker.

Must we be bombarded with messages all of the time? Can’t we have just a broad identity common to all on our license plates?

There are so many avenues by which we can express ourselves these days.  The blog you are reading is a way I express myself.

As for my license plate—I’m happy to be known as a citizen of the Lone Star State no matter where in the nation I may drive. I’m happy to share that identity with every Texan.

Here is some history of Texas license plates.

Here is a great website with photos of many American license plates over the years.

Here are photos of license plates of the world.

Below is a fine license plate. It tells us that Nevada is the Silver State. The color makes the plate all the better. A common message need not be drab. (Photo by Stripey the Crab)

There should at least be some forum where we share a common identity. Just because we have the same message on our license plates, does not mean there are not plenty of other issues over which we can disagree and argue.

September 12, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Creation Museum—These Folks Are Plenty Serious

Above is a picture of a cave girl and a dinosaur.

I took this picture last week at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. Petersburg is not far from Cincinnati.

This was a very elaborate and professionally done museum.

There were a number of families in this museum. Parents were pointing out the exhibits to children.

I saw cars in the parking lot with license plates from many different states.

I’m not making fun of the folks who were at the museum. When you think you are smarter than somebody else, that is when they get the best of you.

I’m just telling you that this museum is there and that many people are going to this museum.

In the gift shop you can buy lessons to teach your kids. I saw people buying these lessons.

Here is the web site of the Creation Museum. You can review this web site and see that these folks are plenty serious and that they have plenty of resources.

As I often stress at this blog, you are just going to have to make the call about what kind of nation we are going to have in the days ahead.

We can live in a nation where the view that cave girls hung out with dinosaurs is the accepted truth, or we can base our views about the Earth and about life on Earth on the scientific facts.

People can decide what they want for our national future, and they can decide how hard they will work for what they believe.

Here are some basic facts on evolution from the University of California at Berkeley.  

September 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Do More Than Just Drift

The Galveston County Daily News reports that there is an unusual amount of seaweed washing up on Galveston beaches.

Above is a picture I took last week in Galveston. You see that seagull is eating some creature unlucky enough to be caught in a clump of seaweed and washed up on the beach.

This is what happens if you drift through life. You get washed up on the beach and maybe eaten.

Here is a definition of seaweed-

Any of various red, green, or brown algae that live in ocean waters. Some species of seaweed are free-floating, while others are attached to the ocean bottom. Seaweed range from the size of a pinhead to having large fronds (such as those of many kelps) that can be as much as 30.5 m (100 ft) in length. Certain species are used for food (such as nori) and fertilizer, and others are harvested for carrageenan and other substances used as thickening, stabilizing, emulsifying, or suspending agents in industrial, pharmaceutical, and food products. Seaweed is also a natural source of the element iodine, which is otherwise found only in very small amounts.

Here is a link to the well-done Seaweed Site. It will teach you a lot about seaweed.

Here is information from NOAA about deep water seaweed in the Gulf of Mexico.

Below is a picture I took last year of some driftwood that got stuck on shore on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River across from Cincinnati.

I don’t want to be driftwood. That log is marooned.

Below is a photo I took few years ago of seaweed and what is, as far as I can see, a sea-tumbleweed.

A tumbleweed just blows around.

This picture was taken on the Gulf of Mexico side of North Padre Island National Seashore just outside of Corpus Christi.

Circumstance plays a great part in life. Sometimes you are just out of luck. But to the extent possible, you’ve got to take command of your fate. Be more than seaweed, driftwood, or a tumbleweed.

Here is the definition of a tumbleweed—-

“Any of various densely branched annual plants, such as amaranth and Russian thistle, that break off from the roots at the end of the growing season and are rolled about by the wind. 


May 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Two Weeks After Election, Republican Focus Remains On Everything But Jobs & Economy

It has been two weeks since Republicans made significant  gains across the country on Election Day.

The focus of the election was jobs and the economy. 56% of folks in a recent CBS News poll say the most important issue for the new Congress is jobs and the economy.

Yet as millions of Americans still deal with unemployment and underemployment, the Republican focus is on everything but jobs and the economy. Where incoming Republican governors have addressed jobs, it is to kill jobs by refusing already approved federal dollars for high-speed rail infrastructure projects.

Examples—

* Republicans in control of the House of Representatives are planning nearly 300 investigations of President Obama. The last time a Republican House went after a Democratic President, it led to a destructive impeachment process. What excesses will we see this time?

* Newly-elected Republican Governors are killing high-speed rail projects that will create jobs. In Wisconsin, soon-to-be Governor  Scott Walker received large amounts of campaign cash from road builders who have a direct interest in stopping rail projects. Wisconsin had an unemployment rate of 7.8% in September.

* The Republican President of the Kentucky State Senate, David Williams, declared his allegiance to the Tea party and said  he supported repeal of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment allows for the direct election of  U.S. Senators. Mr. Williams believes that returning election of Senators back to state legislatures would move our nation back to the limited measure of popular sovereignty first written into the constitution.  Many Tea Party supporters back this position.

Do you want to give your vote for United States Senator away? This is Tea party extremism in action.  In September of 2010, Kentucky had an unemployment rate of 10. 1%. Yet what the Republican President of the State Senate is discussing is no longer allowing the public to vote for U.S. Senate.

* In Texas, Governor Rick Perry and Republicans in the state legislature are considering pulling out of Medicaid and out of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This is being considered even though 3.6 million Texans use these programs. You can be certain that many in Republican rural Texas use these programs. Is this what these folks were voting for earlier this month? We’ll see about that when people find out that benefits are being cut.

What about all the people in Texas who work in jobs connected to health care? With such drastic cuts in funding, where will these people find work? Isn’t it good and honest work to be employed in health care so people can get better and go on with life? Where will we have any jobs in this society if we go after everything?

The leader of the U.S. House Tea Party Caucus, Rep. Michele Bachmann, spent her time spreading a lie that President Obama’s trip to India was costing 200 million dollars a day. This assertion was simply not true.

What exactly  is the point of undermining the President of the United States as he goes to visit a globally important nation like India?

For Republicans in Washington and in states across the nation, this election was not about jobs and the economy. Instead, the election was about extreme ideology that puts the jobs and the health of the American people at risk.

Anger at Washington is not going to get you a job. It is not going to pay the bills if you get sick. The Republican bait-and-switch is in already in evidence. These folks have no constructive thoughts.  It is the same anger-driven politics that led to President Clinton’s impeachment and to the placement of Sarah Palin on the national ticket two years ago.

It’s up to all of us to be aware of what is taking place, and to make sure that Congress is focused on jobs and the economy and not on sideshow hearings and ideological tangents.

November 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stomped On The Head

I’d be remiss not to run a picture of the woman, Lauren Valle,  who got stomped on the head by supporters of  Kentucky  Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul.

Ms. Valle was exercising her first amendment rights. She was unarmed. She was a threat to nobody.

This type of act seems not surprising given the consistently angry tone of the Tea Party.

It’s frustrating that we have to live with this kind of thing. Why would you do this to somebody who was vastly outnumbered at a Rand Paul event, and who was not a threat?

What’s in you that this is your response to disagreement? How can this be part of American democracy?

October 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

I’m Glad The Federal Government Has Weapons To Protect Freedom From People Like Rand Paul—Representation Of Armed Black Man Defending Our Nation

I’m glad that the Federal Government is well-armed to protect me and other freedom-loving Americans from people like Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Above you see a representation of an armed Interior Department employee as he patrols in defense of the American people. You’ll note that he is black. While Rand Paul would be okay with private business places deciding not to hire black folks, the federal government hires black people and passes laws saying that business places can not discriminate on the basis of race.

Is this the type of issue Republicans in Kentucky want us to revisit? Is this what the Tea Party folks are all about? Are we going to move back 50 years?

Candidate Paul has said that it would be okay for business places to not serve black people.

Rachel Maddow: How about desegregating lunch counters?

Paul: Well what it gets into then is if you decide that restaurants are publicly owned and not privately owned, then do you say that you should have the right to bring your gun into a restaurant even though the owner of the restaurant says ‘well no, we don’t want to have guns in here’ the bar says ‘we don’t want to have guns in here because people might drink and start fighting and shoot each-other.’ Does the owner of the restaurant own his restaurant? Or does the government own his restaurant?”

Dr. Paul has now also said that President Obama’s criticisms of BP about the oil spill are “Un-American”

Here is part of what Dr. Paul said—

“What I don’t like from the president’s administration is this sort of ‘I’ll put my boot heel on the throat of BP.’ I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business.”

Coal miners and other working people in Kentucky are , of course, free to vote for Dr. Paul this November.

I just wish those folks good luck with mine safety and any measure of protection as working people with Rand Paul representing them in the U.S. Senate.

People like Dr. Paul, who would allow discrimination and defend polluting companies, are just exactly why millions upon millions of Americans feel that government has a role to play in our lives.

May 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

West Virginia Massey Energy Coal Mine Disaster—Facts About Coal Mine Safety

Many miners have been killed in a coal mine disaster in Montcoal, West Virginia. This is in a coal mine run by Massey Energy that has recorded many safety violations.

(Above—The mine in the Massey Energy disaster.)

(Update–4/8/10, 9:40 AM EDT  —A West Virginia TV station has the latest from the mine.)

25 miners are known to be dead and four more are thought to be dead.

From the New York Times

“The mine owner’s dismal safety record, along with several recent evacuations of the mine, left federal officials and miners suggesting that Monday’s explosion might have been preventable…In the past two months, miners had been evacuated three times from the Upper Big Branch because of dangerously high methane levels, according to two miners who asked for anonymity for fear of losing their jobs. Representative Nick J. Rahall II, a Democrat whose district includes the mine, said he had received similar reports from miners about recent evacuations at the mine, which as recently as last month was fined at least three times for ventilation problems, according to federal records…The Massey Energy Company, the biggest coal mining business in central Appalachia and the owner of the Upper Big Branch mine, has drawn sharp scrutiny and fines from regulators over its safety and environmental record. In 2008, one of its subsidiaries paid what federal prosecutors called the largest settlement in the history of the coal industry after pleading guilty to safety violations that contributed to the deaths of two miners in a fire in one of its mines.”

The worst coal mining disaster ever in the United States also took place in West Virginia. in 1907, 362 miners died in  Monongah, West Virginia in a disaster causes by a cave-in, an explosion and the build-up of toxic gases.

Below is from the account of the Monongah disaster that I link to above. It is from information prepared by Boise State University about a number of historical disasters—

“Thirteen days after the accident, an official Federal government report on mining accidents and deaths was released. On December 19th The New York Times reported that the government document said the number of accidents due to mining explosions had steadily increased and the cause of these accidents were often caused by of “lack of proper and enforceable mine regulations.” Another contributing factor was the absence of information on the explosives used in mining and the proper conditions under which they should be used. In comparison to the increase in mining accidents in the United States, European mining accidents had steadily decreased and this was considered the result of government intervention in these countries.”

How long will it go on that miners die in unsafe mines?

Here is the  web home of the United Mine Workers of America. The mine in this tragedy, the Upper Big Branch Mine, is not a union mine.

Here is a history of the United Mine Workers. They have done good work over the years to make coal mines safer places to work.

Coal mine deaths take place all over the world.  The Voice of America has written about stepped-up investigation of mines in China after a recent mine disaster in that country.

Some make the point that the human cost of coal mining is another reason to move to different sources of energy. The blogger Kathleen Davis, who writes the blog Eye On The Grid, draws an analogy between the dangers of coal mining and diamonds that extracted from mines in unethical and unsafe ways.

This said, the jobs of people who work in mines are important. If alternative sources of energy are to be used, miners should be helped by government to transition into new jobs.  It is is easy to see how a miner in West Virginia or Kentucky might wonder where he or she will find work that pays the money they are currently making.

Here is web site called Roger’s World–Coal Mining. Roger is a person who grew up in a coal mining camp in Kentucky and offers some perspective from the miner’s view.

In any case, one thing is certain–-Federal regulations are needed to make sure that workplaces are safe. You can never count on an industry to regulate itself.

Here are some facts on how coal mining is conducted from the Kentucky Geological Survey.

April 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Think About Whatever You Wish As You Watch This Barge Pass By On The Ohio River

Above is a video of about one minute and 40 seconds of a barge slowly moving down the Ohio River on a nice summer’s day . If you turn on your speakers you’ll hear crickets, the wind, and some general background noise.

I filmed the video from the Eden Park Overlook in Cincinnati, Ohio.

You can look at the barge and think of the direction you’re headed in life. You can think of the direction that society and the world is headed. Though the barge in the video is only going one way, you can bet it will at some point turn around and go up the river the other way. 

It’s possible that the barge in the video was on course for the Mississippi River.

There are options about what direction we can follow and where we can go.

You can watch the wake the barge makes and think of the effects your actions have on others. You can think of people trapped by circumstance in a world they did not make themselves.

You can look at the Ohio River and think about how the Ohio connects to the Mississippi and how the Mississippi connects to the sea. Everything is connected.

You can listen to the crickets and think about bugs and insects.

You can look across the river to the Kentucky side of the river. Not far from where the barge is there are a number of bridges that take you across the river. You could think about the ability for gaps to be bridged. Or you could think about how you would likely drown if you tried to swim across the river to reach the other side.

You can think about anything you wish at whatever pace suits you.

August 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bars In Kentucky Close At 2:30 AM

As I noted in my most recent post, I am taking a Thanksgiving blogging break. Of course, my commitment to the blog reading public is such that even when on a blogging break, I’m still serving you the reader.

My most recent service to blog readers came just this morning when I learned that bars in Kentucky close at 2:30 AM. I was at a bar in Newport, Kentucky—the famous Southgate House— and at 2 AM two large guys came around and shouted we had half an hour left. At 2:30 we were all out the door.

It sure was cold in Newport, Kentucky today at 2:30 AM.

The 24 hour White Castle near the Southgate House is, indeed, open 24 hours. Even after the bars close the White Castle is open.

I’m using the time on my Thanksgiving Blogging break for discovery and greater connectedness with our world. Today I’ve discovered and connected with the fact that bars in Kentucky close at 2:30 AM.

Knowing this, I am more at one with others and myself. ( I had been feeling divided.) 

This evening I will explore a bar on the Cincinnati side of the Ohio River. What will I learn about myself and our world?

November 23, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 3 Comments

Terrible—Jim Bunning Sits At Same Senate Desk Used By Henry Clay

 

I read recently that the terrible far-right Senator from Kentucky, Jim Bunning, now sits at the desk used by the great Kentucky Senator Henry Clay.  Clay was also Speaker of the House and Secretary of State under John Quincy Adams.

This is a travesty.

It would be as if George W. Bush lived in same White House as did Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

This happens you say?

Well…It’s awful.

Senator Bunning once said about himself—”Let me explain something. I don’t watch the national news, and I don’t read the paper. I haven’t done that for the last six weeks. I watch Fox News to get my information.”

Time Magazine said about Bunning, a former baseball pitcher—”Bunning shows little interest in policy unless it involves baseball.” 

Time rated Mr. Bunning as one of the five worst senators.

Some member of the Senate should come around when nobody is looking and hide the Clay desk so it cannot be used by Mr. Bunning.

Henry Clay lived from 1777 until 1852. He is considered one of the greatest of all United States Senators.

The best book I am aware of about Clay is Robert Remini’s Henry Clay–Statesman For The Union.

Here is the link to Clay’s home Ashland in Lexington, Kentucky.     

Here is a good link for a history of Clay’s life in public affairs.

Texas Liberal is leading the way in political history blogging in 2008.

February 11, 2008 Posted by | Books, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

   

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