Under the Cold Stones by Dan McNay

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Book Cover - Under the Cold Stones by Dan McNay

Dan McNay, one of my favorite authors from Los Angeles, has a new novel out: Under the Cold Stones. It’s a dark, suspense thriller. The heroine, Deidre McIntyre, is well versed in men’s secret fantasies and dark desires. At the age of sixteen, she had run away from her small-town home in Paris, Illinois. Her mother, a heavy smoker with a drug habit, had been no role mother for the unloved, self-destructive teenager. Her father, “crazy as a loon,” had disappeared from her life when she was seven. Only he had held the power to save her from herself. She had found refuge and a new life as a hooker in the New Orleans French Quarter, where she became known as Daydee.

Everything changes for Daydee after her mother’s death. As the only surviving member of the family, she inherits everything: a ten-room apartment building (with no tenants), a farm run by a sharecropper, the large house where her great-grandmother and great-aunt had lived, and a cemetery. Her plan on arrival—to “just sneak in [Paris] and get the money from her mother’s estate and leave without getting caught up in anything”—goes awry.

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“Sadness has no end” by Brazilian Poet Eli Macuxi

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Cereia by Carmezia Emiliano - Indigenous Macuxi - Roraima - Brazil

My Poetry Corner September 2017 features the poem “Sadness has no end” (Tristeza não tem fim) by Brazilian poet and educator Elisangela Martins, who self-identifies as Eli Macuxi or Elimacuxi. She teaches history and art criticism at the Federal University of Roraima located in Boa Vista, capital of the state.

Fascinated by verse since childhood, Elimacuxi began writing poetry in fifth grade. At fifteen, she dreamed of having her work read and studied by others. “But the desire was totally blunted by the pessimistic awareness of reality,” confides the poet on her blog. “I was a skinny teenager, without luck of getting a job, studying at a night school on the periphery, ‘daughter of a drunkie,’ with lots of younger siblings. To be a writer? Poet? It was laughable.”

While she earned her Bachelor’s degree and then Masters in History, her love for poetry never waned. In 2013, she published her first poetry collection, Love For Those Who Hate (Amor Para Quem Odeia), which portrays love in its various forms of human experience. Continue reading

Working together to sustain life on Planet Earth

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I’m always heartened to come in contact with young people who are pro-active in changing humanity’s path towards a sustainable future for life on our planet. Here’s one such young woman, an undergraduate in Mississippi, who realizes that our success in achieving this aim depends upon collective action and connection with like-minded individuals.

As y’all know, I was selected as an Eco Rep Leader at my university. Yesterday was our official training for the year. We had our training at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center. I had only been there once and it was for their well-known Hummingbird Festival. The center is one of Mississippi’s finest yet lesser known treasures. With […]

via The Importance of Connecting with Like-Minded Individuals — Erdling mit Fernweh

U.S. International Trade Update

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US Total Imports & Exports of Goods & Services 2008-2016

During the past week, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) initiated events that will impact our trade relations with our top three trading partners—China, Canada, and Mexico.

On August 16th, USTR Robert Lighthizer opened the First Round of NAFTA Renegotiations with our Canadian and Mexican counterparts, a promise made by President Trump during his presidential campaign. In his Opening Statement, Ambassador Lighthizer noted:

This is a 23-year-old agreement and our economies are very different than they were in the 1990’s. We need to modernize or create provisions which protect digital trade and services trade, e-commerce, update customs procedures, protect intellectual property, improve energy provisions, enhance transparency rules, and promote science-based agricultural trade.

He pointed out that, while many Americans have benefited from NAFTA, “[w]e cannot ignore the huge trade deficits, the lost manufacturing jobs, the businesses that have closed or moved because of incentives — intended or not — in the current agreement.”

Two days later, on August 18th, the United States formally initiated an investigation into China’s trade practices and policies. In his press release, Ambassador Lighthizer said:

On Monday [08/14/17], President Trump instructed me to look into Chinese laws, policies, and practices which may be harming American intellectual property rights, innovation, or technology development. Continue reading

In Sweltering South, Climate Change Is Now a Workplace Hazard

“For too long, a lot of the climate change and global warming arguments have been looking at melting ice and polar bears and not at the human suffering side of it. They are still pushing out the polar bear as the icon for climate change. The icon should be a kid who is suffering from the negative impacts of climate change and increased air pollution, or a family where rising water is endangering their lives.”
~ Robert D. Bullard, a professor at Texas Southern University who some call the “father of environmental justice.”

We’re feeling the heat here in Los Angeles. I now have to avoid going out until after five in the evenings. For my son, an independent contractor who often works outdoors, it’s hell.

The Secular Jurist

GALVESTON, Tex. — Adolfo Guerra, a landscaper in this port city on the Gulf of Mexico, remembers panicking as his co-worker vomited and convulsed after hours of mowing lawns in stifling heat. Other workers rushed to cover him with ice, and the man recovered.

But, for Mr. Guerra, 24, who spends nine hours a day, six days a week doing yard work the episode was a reminder of the dangers that exist for outdoor workers as the planet warms.

Continue reading:  In Sweltering South, Climate Change Is Now a Workplace Hazard

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“Eyes of Liberty” – Poem by Jamaican Rastafarian Poet Mutabaruka

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Mutabaruka - Jamaican Rastafari Dub Poet

My Poetry Corner August 2017 features the poem “Eyes of Liberty” by Mutabaruka, a Jamaican Rastafarian dub poet, musician, actor, educator, and talk-show host. Born Allan Hope in December 1952, he grew up in Kingston, Jamaica, where he trained as an electrician at the Kingston Technical High School. Marcus Garvey’s son, a teacher at the trade school, influenced his world view and awakened his Black awareness.

As an adolescent, Mutabaruka identified with the Black Power Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s that swept across the Caribbean. His poems became a means to changing the political system in Jamaica.

“Because they say that the pen is mightier than the sword, in that case it was a gun! So we used the pen instead of turning toward this what dem call revolution that was in we that was fashioned and shaped in us,” Mutabaruka told his audience at a book signing in San Francisco in April 2005. Continue reading

Disruptive Technology: The Breakthrough in Renewable Energy – Documentary 2016

Thanks to Guyanese Online blog for sharing this must-see video.

While the American government has decided to invest more in producing fossil fuels, the transition to affordable renewable energy is underway in major regions around the world. As investments continue to grow for the renewable energy industry, the fossil fuel industry will collapse. The transition is unstoppable: so says the Managing Director of Citigroup (9:50 on video).

Since October 2016, the cost of producing wind & solar energy has fallen below that of coal, oil, and gas. According to a German investor (21:15 video) seeking to expand his company’s portfolio in the Middle East, oil would have to fall to US$10/barrel to compete with renewal energy.

Meanwhile, our corporate-controlled government has convinced its supporters that America can become great again like it once was in the 1950s. Moving backwards inside of forwards into a sustainable and livable future on Earth.

Watch Video on the Guyanese Online Blog.

Guyanese Online

The Breakthrough in Renewable Energy – Documentary 2016

Aerospace Engineering –Published on Jun 18, 2017 

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Guyana ties the knot with ExxonMobil

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ExxonMobil Country Manager receives Production License from Guyana Minister of Natural Resources - 15 June 2017

ExxonMobil Country Manager Rod Henson receives Production License
from Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman
Georgetown – Guyana – June 15, 2017
Photo Credit: Guyana Ministry of Natural Resources

On June 15, 2017, Guyana tied the knot with ExxonMobil with the signing of a production license for the extraction of oil and natural gas, located offshore the Caribbean/South American nation with a population of 800,000 people. With this license, together with the Environmental Permit granted on June 1st, ExxonMobil will proceed with the Liza Phase 1 development. Located 120 miles offshore in an area known as the Stabroek Block, the Liza field development includes a subsea production system and a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel designed to produce up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day. Exxon and its partners plan to begin production by 2020.

ExxonMobil’s press release on June 16th states: “Phase 1 is expected to cost just over $4.4 billion, which includes a lease capitalization cost of approximately $1.2 billion for the FPSO facility, and will develop approximately 450 million barrels of oil.

It is a marriage of unequal partners. ExxonMobil’s profit margin in 2016 is more than twice that of Guyana’s GDP of US$3.5 billion for the same year. With the assistance of local and foreign experts in the industry, the Guyana government has reviewed the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), signed in 1999 when exploration began under the former leftist Guyana government. Continue reading

America’s Clean Energy Momentum: How’s your state doing?

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UCS - Clean Energy is Sweeping the Nation

The news is good. Despite our pro-fossil-fuel administration of climate change deniers, the use of renewal energy is growing across the United States. So says the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in their report Clean Energy Momentum: Ranking State Progress released in April 2017.

Across America, the growth of wind and solar power generation is impressive. Over the past decade, wind power expanded more than tenfold, supplying energy to more than 20 million households in 41 states. Since 2011, solar power has sprinted ahead with more than 900 percent in growth. In 2016, two million more households now use solar-powered electricity.

That’s not all. Investments in energy efficiency, over the last 25 years, have reduced our need for constructing more than 300 large carbon-emitting power plants. Last year alone, we saved a year’s worth of electricity usage of 20 million households. Continue reading

“Immigrant Song” – Poem by Korean-American Poet Sun Yung Shin

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Happy Fourth of July America

My Poetry Corner July 2017 features the poem “Immigrant Song” by Sun Yung Shin, a Korean-American poet, writer, and educator. Born in Seoul, South Korea, she was one year old when an American couple adopted her. Raised in Chicago, she later moved to Minneapolis where she earned a BA in English from Macalester College and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of St. Thomas. She teaches at Macalester College and lives with her husband and their two children. 

When asked about her relationship with the English language in an interview with Lightsey Darst for Minnesota Artists (January 2016), Sun Yung Shin said that strangers often question her ability to speak English without a “foreign” accent. Her fluency and sense of belonging as an Asian American offend them.

Shin’s opening verses in “Immigrant Song” from her poetry collection, Skirt Full of Black (winner of the 2007 Asian American Literary Award for Poetry), express the restraints she faces to achieve her full potential as a human being. Continue reading