C U R R E N T    A F F A I R S

Fragile Earth



Whatever your politics are, please take a moment to look at these issues and whether you agree with me or not, remember that whatever you believe is worth standing up for — joined together, we CAN make a difference. So don't just sit there and complain about "the way things are" — DO SOMETHING!

And please don't forget, I only answer hate mail on Thursdays and death threats on alternate Sundays. (Special note to the NRA people:  Please use spellcheck so I can decipher comprehend understand your threats. Thanks everso!)

Alas, my newest social commentaries...

Current Terrah Level:

Alternative Terrah Level:

Countdown to Operation American Freedom:



The outbreak of war is not the end of the fight for peace — only the beginning.

Around the globe, people are joining together in a declaration of our continued commitment to international cooperation. Send a message that the momentum built through our opposition to war in Iraq will only keep growing.

Sign the Citizen's Declaration against the war

Our minds immediately and naturally turn to the humanitarian disaster that will most likely follow from war in Iraq. The Bush administration is woefully unprepared to face this need. suggests an important action that will literally save lives. There are many good charitable organizations that are prepared to help prevent the many thousands of deaths from the starvation and disease that could follow the collapse of an already fragile Iraqi infrastructure. This will be a race against time, as these incredible organizations supply food, restore water and sanitation systems, and fight epidemic disease. They need help now.

We are highlighting one of the most prominent and capable of these organizations — Oxfam. Go to their donation page to read more and give a generous contribution today:

Make a donation for humanitarian aid to Iraq



From the MoveOn Organization, formed in response to the attempted Clinton impeachment:

Working together, we made MoveOn an effective public voice during the impeachment ordeal. After the Littleton tragedy, I believe it's clear we need to speak again.

It's ridiculous that guns can be picked up at gun shows without a background check. Why aren't guns regulated for safety like other consumer products? Thousands of small lives could be saved by simple child safety standards for handguns. Extremists are obviously still setting the agenda in Washington, but this can change.

MoveOn is launching a new flash campaign called "Gun Safety First." We're asking you to help. The petition says "It's time for government to accept its proper role in regulating firearms." Seems obvious, but it will be an uphill battle. We need your help. The petition page can be found at:

MoveOn's Petition for Gun Safety Page

People are upset and they're frustrated. Now is the time for change. If we organize now, we can make a difference.

Please sign the petition and pass news of this campaign on to friends. As the original MoveOn campaign showed, word of mouth works. If we can reach critical mass fast enough, we can make history — again.

Wes Boyd

I don't think there is a true nonpartisan side in this issue — either you are for human life or against it... I truly have nothing against NRA people (ask my friend Sam) unless you are one of the ones who is against the waiting period or background checks... Or you're one of the ones who argues for the right to have AK-47's for self-protection, hunting, or any other reason (what a crock!)... Or you're one of the ones who teaches their children to shoot guns as soon as their little fingers are big enough to wrap around the trigger... I think you get the picture....


Breast cancer will strike 175,000 women this year.

Breast Cancer Net

Since 1996, BreastCancer.Net has published a free daily newsletter for breast cancer patients, survivors, researchers and medical personnel covering the latest developments in treatment and research, as well as valuable information on prevention of the disease. To receive a free subscription to this service, just visit BreastCancer.Net



Founded in 1961, Amnesty International is a grassroots activist organization whose one-million strong members are dedicated to freeing prisoners of conscience, to gaining fair trials for political prisoners, to ending torture, political killings and "disappearances," and to abolishing the death penalty throughout the world. Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) is the U.S. Section of this international human rights movement.

Amnesty International USA

Rights for All: Amnesty International's Campaign on the US

For the first time in its 37-year history, Amnesty International focuses a worldwide campaign on the status of human rights in the United States. One million Amnesty members around the world and 300,000 USA members join in this unprecedented year-long campaign.

Rights for All — The US Campaign

The Women's Human Rights Treaty

The Women‘s Human Rights Treaty (CEDAW) is helping women throughout the world, but the fact that the US is one of the very few countries in the world that has not ratified CEDAW is hurting women! The treaty establishes a minimum set of standards for combating discrimination against women. It has been ratified by over 160 countries. And, its universality counters inevitable claims that in certain cultures discrimination, domestic violence, and other forms of oppression are acceptable. Without the United States as a party to the treaty, however, repressive governments can easily discount the treaty‘s provisions.

The Women's Human Rights Treaty



Sorry, you guys — my geology training is kicking in here regarding all this bickering... I know it sounds unfair, but think of this — how much do you pay for a gallon of milk or a gallon of Coca Cola (if you could buy it by the gallon)? The cost is much more than a gallon of gas (which is a finite resource — it WILL be gone and there will be nothing to replace it), yet we can produce as much Coca Cola or milk as we want anytime, and all from above the ground...

According to ABC News, the price of a gallon of gasoline should be $1.90 when based on the price in 1950 and adjusted for inflation. Here's something else sent to me by my friend Sharon (The Book of Affirmations) that definitely gets the point across:


People have been complaining about the rising price of gasoline recently, but I have always thought that gas was a good value (especially if you were to take the $0.30, $0.40 per gallon tax off at the pump)! Obviously others need a little convincing. So this article in "Autoweek" magazine brought it all to light.

What if you were to buy a gallon of:

You get the idea. So next time you're at the pump, be glad your car doesn't run on Nyquil or Scope!

While it is true that the ups and downs of the prices are caused by numerous factors outside our control (mostly the same guys that deal in pork-belly futures...), in reality the price for gas is unrealistically low.

However, if you're looking for a conspiracy, an interesting and little-known fact is that the oil companies (most notably Atlantic Richfield [ARCO], which was recently bought by BP [British Petroleum], who also bought AMOCO a few months before that) bought up most of the patents on solar energy devices beginning in the late 1970's, apparently so they would be assured of the nation's dependence on petroleum products. So, it could be surmised that the oil companies are repressing our best alternative energy sources.

Oh, and by the way — yes, I'm a Texan... but I'm considered a Yankee in most circles around here, as I was born in Dallas... ;-)



Want to help in the search for ET? The chance comes beginning Monday, May 16, when a screensaver that allows home computers to help crunch space data becomes available.

A team at the University of California at Berkeley developed the program, in which the capacity of thousands of idle computers — they hope — can be enlisted to help analyze the results from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project. "With SETI+home, anyone, anywhere could be the person who helps discover intelligent life elsewhere in the universe," said Louis Friedman, executive director of the Planetary Society.

The project uses a screensaver that users download and install on their home computers. When the computers are not in active use and go into "screensaver" mode, the program goes to work analyzing the data gathered by the actual SETI program. The data comes from the radio telescope at Arecibo in Puerto Rico, which is searching for possible alien signals. The home computers will search through the data for any radio signals that appear to have been made artificially, as opposed to the noise made by stars, space dust and other objects.

"If such a signal is found using the SETI+home program, the person whose computer crunched that vital bit of data will go down in history as helping to forever alter humanity's view of our place in the universe," the SETI project statement said. The program imports SETI data from the Internet for processing. The program automatically dials into the project to download data and to send back each analyzed batch. The computer owner does nothing at all. The Planetary Society said 400,000 people had already signed up to receive the screensaver program once it becomes available.

There are two sites where users can sign up:

The Planetary Society

SETI@home: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence at Home



"Every minute 11 people worldwide are infected with HIV."
— Newsweek, January 10, 2000

Susan, Michael, George, and Victoria in NY

My sister Susan, son Michael, brother George and me in his back yard in Manhattan in 1985

In 1993 my brother George died of AIDS — he was 34. I was with him in New York the last several months of his life and was exposed to the virus while taking care of him. I was extremely lucky — I didn't get AIDS, but I had to wait a year to be tested, not knowing whether I had contracted it or not.

I can't tell you not to have sex (nor would I), but I can tell you that if you'd seen the things I saw in the hospitals in those months — the physical and emotional suffering and pain, you would NEVER think of having unprotected sex in a non-monogamous relationship again. Be forewarned, this is a terrible story I'm about to tell you, and I won't blame you if you can't take reading it. Please though, if nothing else, I ask that you read the last two paragraphs.

George had Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML), which I managed to diagnose myself poring through books. His doctor (a very well-known and respected M.D.) repeatedly insisted there was nothing wrong with George's brain, and denied that George had PML, even when I asked him directly. About a month after George's hospitalization, a social worker read me the doctor's diagnosis off my brother's chart — PML. We found out later that after years and years of not being able to truly help or save his doomed patients, the doctor had become somewhat delusional and in complete denial, most likely the only way he could preserve his own sanity. PML causes bizarre giant lesions and inclusions in all parts of the brain and usually the patient only survives 2-6 months. My brother stayed alive for almost a year before he finally died.

PML rapidly causes dementia similar to Alzheimer's (the disease was literally dissolving his brain), grand mal seizures, and declining motor coordination. I had to hide George's passport on the off chance that one day he would have enough stamina to retrieve it from his apartment and make it to the airport — he didn't believe he was sick (which the doctor unfortunately falsely confirmed to him) and wanted to leave the hospital and go to Paris. My brother and I were very close and had been more like best friends than siblings since we were grown. He thought the only thing keeping him in the hospital was me — that I had turned against him somehow and was evil. He hated me in the last few months of his life, believing I was the cause of his false imprisonment in the hospital, alternately cursing me and begging me to let him leave.

I don't know how he stayed alive so long — I couldn't get him to eat at all. I finally had them put tubes in his nose to feed him, but he pulled them out as soon as I left that night — he didn't understand what they were. Before I left that night they put mitts on his hands to try and keep him from pulling out the tubes, but he didn't know what his hands were anymore — he just kept looking at them and turning them over, examining them from all angles as I turned away so he wouldn't see my tears.

The last two weeks of his life he thrashed about so much that his head and his ears were bloody from rubbing against the pillows — the doctors had nothing they could give him for the agitation and thrashing that wouldn't kill him as his kidneys had deteriorated. They were legally bound not to give him anything that could harm him, no matter how merciful it would have been. We hoped he wasn't in pain, as he was not really conscious and no one really knew for sure. We also hoped he would die soon — as horrible as that is to say, it was true.

Each roommate George had in the hospitals had yet a different manifestation of the disease and I watched a revolving parade as they slowly died and were replaced one by one. I had never imagined the possibilities of such horrible, agonizing deaths. Many of them suffered from neuropathy, a condition where your skin is so sensitive that even the sheets touching you causes intense agony. And sadly, most of the people there died alone, abandoned by their friends and families.

So, I'm sure you feel that this all has nothing to do with you, but think again. Think of the risk every time you have unprotected sex — unless it's literally worth dying for, DON'T DO IT!

It's your choice. The link below has lots of information about transmission and prevention. It was very hard for me to write even this much down, but if it helps even one person, it was worth it... My brother was an incredibly smart, funny, and wonderful person — he didn't deserve to die — and neither do you.

Green Universe: AIDS — A Daunting Challenge

Contact your local AIDS info hotline for free HIV anonymous testing

A tribute page to my late brother George, including a poem titled "Unchained", written for George after his death by Gaylen Hoyle


We are all one... please commit to the worlwide movement to STOP THE HATE

written by 16-year-old Amy Maddox of Bargersville, Indiana

He prayed — it wasn't my religion.
He ate — it wasn't what I ate.
He spoke — it wasn't my language.
He dressed — it wasn't what I wore.
He took my hand — it wasn't the color of mine.
But when he laughed — it was how I laughed,
and when he cried — it was how I cried.

by Leslie Shockley, Kansas City, Missouri

Stupidity has taken over,
I think we've lost the war.
Ignorance has taken over,
I can't stand it anymore.
Genocide and living lies,
An enemies defeat.
Telling others how it's wrong,
A hypocrite's elite.
Like a communist democracy,
Not making any sense.
Retaliation and refugees,
A revolution of repents.
We have to teach the youth,
Action must be taken.
Like a tree full of poisonous fruit,
This world must be shaken.
Stupidity has taken over,
I think we've lost the war.
Ignorance has taken over,
I can't stand it any more.
Unsure memories,
Of years past movements.
Never well planned,
But looking towards improvements.
Thinking is a gift,
Like a parcel waiting for you.
Once it is discovered,
You will find your mind is true.

by Michael David Coffey, Deep Waters

There is deep pain
in my heart
An agony of millions
children too weak
to cry
Of generations lost in
the indifference of
an affluent world
A legion of lost souls dying
on the plains of a
dry indifferent land
Orphans of a war, of
all holy wars
To freedom's path they
fought and killed
For religion, ideology . . .
And in their blood
the children stood
Flowed the last hope of
a lost tribe of innocents
Wandering aimlessly
over the parched,
But not finding . . .
anything except death
And the legions
of the lost
keep marching
Generation after generation . . .
While freedom fights
for . . .
There is sadness
in my heart
In the cries of the
dying children
on the plains
of mankind's


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