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A staggering 1 million people a year are killed in traffic related fatalities worldwide.  Here are some other statistics to mull over:

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      • One in every 50 deaths worldwide is associated with road accidents…traffic crashes are second only to childhood infections and AIDS as a killer of people between the ages of 5 and 30.
      • Each year, 1.2 million drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians are killed in traffic crashes. By 2020, traffic deaths are expected to increase by 80 percent as hundreds of millions of cars are added to the roads

Source – http://www.dui.com/dui-library/fatalities-accidents/statistics/traffic-deaths

  • Over 80 percent of the children under the age of 15 that were victims of an auto accident who died were either pedestrians or pedal cyclists who were struck by drunk drivers.

Source – http://ezinearticles.com/?Car-Accident-Fatalities&id=304067

So where’s the outrage?  38 million more people every year are injured in traffic accidents!  Why is it that we take such risks with our lives and our health just so we can get from place to place?  I probably wouldn’t be so incredibly passionate about this topic if I didn’t know so many people who have had their lives forever altered by a motor vehicle accident.  Some paid with their lives.  Some were the drivers, some the passengers, and some were unfortunate enough to be on the street, the dominion of the almighty car.  Here’s a list of people I know that have been affected by car accidents:

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      • Grandfather – hit by a car as a child and suffered severe brain trauma, had to relearn how to do everything
      • Cousin – killed at the age of 32, texting while driving
      • Uncle – Head on collision with another vehicle, killed one of my High School teachers
      • Colleague – Father-in-law killed while riding his bicycle
      • Students – Two girls from the HS that I taught at while I was a student teacher had a head on collision, with one of the girl’s aunt, while driving to their SAT’s and were killed
      • Business Associate – Sentenced to 1   1/3 – 4  years for vehicular manslaughter
      
Mr. Jackson lays out an extremely disheartening and powerful look at the damage that humankind has inflicted upon the oceans.  There really can be no doubt that we are continuing to write own epitaph unless we do something dramatic to change our ways.  This is no longer about fluorescent light bulbs and hybrid cars.  We need to fundamentally restructure society in order to overcome the challenges that lie ahead of us.  That begins with the ability to accept honest truths and the courage to sacrifice in ways we (at least in Western societies) have not done in 100’s of years.  The most powerful statement issued by Mr. Jackson comes in the last 30 seconds of this 18 minute clip.  I recommend replaying it multiple times and letting anyone who will listen hear it!

Centro bus stop.JPGMoney well spent?  That’s a real good question.  As one of the only people I know who rides the bus, I can’t see how this will do anything to increase ridership or as the grant money is intended, encourage bus usage.  The same 5 people who ride the bus now will just find it a little (very little) more convenient.  Of this small number, the vast majority ride the bus out of necessity, not for some sort of moral or environmental concern.  Without an $8.5 million grant from the Feds, they would still have no other choice to get from point A to point B.  Don’t misunderstand me, I am all for making the lives of the less fortunate more comfortable.  My argument is that funds spent on mass transit, when there are limited funds to go around, need to be focused and spent on projects that have some chance of seeing a return on investment and increasing the viability of mass transit.  I firmly believe that you can have your new Transit/Hub center and encourage more riders.  I just haven’t seen any plan for that yet though.  Only the future will tell.  For the record, I’m not holding my breath.  For the full scoop or at least as much as is reported by the only newspaper left in Syracuse, click the link below.

Centro receives millions from feds for new downtown Syracuse bus hub | Syracuse.com

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Why Doesn’t the Media Interrogate Tea Partiers’ Beliefs? – Newsweek

This a honest examination of the "kid-glove" handling that the media has been giving the Tea Party movement.  Many of the points stated in the article are things that I have been repeating myself or at least inquiring about.  Here are some interesting quotes:


"But what if what motivates them is ignorance? A CBS/New York Times poll showed that 44 percent of Tea Partiers believe their taxes have gone up under President Obama, and only 2 percent believed they have gone down, even though, in fact, Obama has cut taxes."

"Likewise, a University of Washington poll found Tea Partiers to be roughly twice as likely to have negative attitudes about African-Americans and immigrants as the general population. Might it be possible that the Tea Partiers who profess no racial motivation are, let’s say, not entirely aware of their own visceral motivations?"


I would hazard a guess that most get their news from FOX and therefore ignorance is high on the motivating factors.  What’s more astonishing is that ignorance does not translate to uneducated.  The profile of a Tea Partier is middle-aged, male, white, and college educated.  The frustration expressed by this movement is shared by all but I fear that this is the worst group to carry that frustration forward into action, action that would result in a very intolerant, mis-guided state similar to the post World War II, McCarthy era.

After years and years and decades really, we are no closer to ending our insatiable need for foreign oil.  Forget the fact that we can’t even imagine a future without the black stuff.  As only Jon Stewart can, he highlights the failures of 8 consecutive presidents to affect a change in any measurable way.  So, so sad indeed.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-june-16-2010/an-energy-independent-future

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Our own undoing

It’s hard to argue that when all is said and done, humanity will destroy itself.  Yes imagethere are all kinds of potential  calamities that could bring us to our demise but  they really are long shots.  Meteors crashing to the Earth and annihilating life in the blink of eye has been done before.  Super volcanoes blotting out the sun and smothering the planet with ash and toxic gas is oh so Holly Wood.  But when it comes right down to it though, life on planet Earth for Homo Sapien is going to consist of a lot of events – starvation, war, disease, ecological catastrophes, over-population, energy deficits, etc.  And every one of these will have our own DNA all over them.  We have now reached a point in human history where we can create massive change in the blink of an eye – both good and bad.  Looking back we will probably mark the early 21st century as the beginning of the end of the dominance of humankind upon planet Earth.  I foresee humans existing for 1000s more years but not in the way we have become accustomed to.  It is also very possible that we will rise once again to assert our supremacy over all other creatures.  I only hope that the second time we can learn from our self-centered ways and figure out how to live in harmony with all life. 

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A chart showing the relationship between weak/...

 

This is really extensive risk-analysis for those who are considering “coming out” about their atheism.  I don’t agree completely with every aspect of the article but in general it is a good intro to the pitfalls of exposing yourself.  Just for the record, I do not hide my Atheism whatsoever.  I do try and refrain from engaging believers in debate but even then sometimes I do find myself engaging those that are more open-minded and less apt to be offended by intellectual banter.  I have on occasion walked into mine fields and through experience and wisdom have become a lot more careful about who I choose to engage on the topic.  It’s important to understand that strong Atheists are still very much in the minority and can be seen as a real threat to some, even just our presence.  Good luck!

  Image via Wikipedia

Coming Out to Coworkers & Employers: Should You Reveal Your Atheism at Work or to Employers?

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The price of our oil addiction – CNN.com 

In light of the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, I think it’s high time we start asking ourselves some real tough questions about our oil consumption practices.  We need to begin to connect the dots between our gluttonous consumer lifestyles and the mess that is unfolding before our eyes.  This article is a well written explanation of the damage our addiction is doing to our planet but also our society.

The crack addict needs the dealer; the trafficker needs the producer; and each is embedded in an immense empire of shady government officials,mules, cartel acolytes and peasant growers, as well as a vast shadow world of drug barons, security forces and corrupt governments.

…90 percent of our transportation is fueled by oil; 90 percent of all goods involve oil in some way; and 95 percent of our food products require oil. (To raise one cow and deliver it to market requires more than 250 gallons of oil.) Globally, the world consumes more than 80 million barrels every day; the United States alone accounts for one-quarter of that. According to most industry expectations, by 2025 global oil consumption will increase by more than 50 percent…

By conservative oil industry estimates there were almost 7,000 oil spills between 1970 and 2000, more than one each day (the real figure might be twice or three times that number).

Our oil addiction is hugely destructive, defies logic and is nearly impossible to break. But unlike crack and tobacco, we will eventually run out of oil.

Something has to give.  We need to start viewing every single policy and law through a post-oil filter before it is too late.  It is no coincidence that as we attempt to supplement our oil addiction with other carbon-based resources that tragedy has struck again.  One only needs to read the headlines about the multitude of coal mine disasters that have happened in the last few years, to understand what I am referring to.  I don’t want those deaths on my conscience.  How about you?

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Christopher Hitchens 

A very worthy read and something that I have been saying for a long time.  If the Vatican is a state, or deems itself as such,  then it should have to pay taxes and be subject to all matters and treatment that nation states receive, good and bad.  So, if you want your diplomatic immunity for your child rapists then we can expel your diplomats (priests and bishops) from U.S. soil.  Or the alternative is to maintain you’re merely a religion and prepare yourself for the hammer of justice.

OFFICIAL Position of the US Department of State – For human rights purposes, the Vatican is not a state.

Why is the Obama administration siding with the Vatican? – By Christopher Hitchens – Slate Magazine

 
 
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Why is the Obama administration siding with the Vatican? – By Christopher Hitchens – Slate MagazineWhy is the Obama administration siding with the Vatican? – By Christopher Hitchens – Slate MagazineWhy is the Obama administration siding with the Vatican? – By Christopher Hitchens – Slate Magazine

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In an effort to underscore the ridiculousness of the Islamic ban on depictions of Mohammed, everyone is encouraged to put pen to paper Moor whatever media you use to depict the head honcho of the Muslim world.  Don’t misunderstand the reasoning here.  This is not an attempt to ridicule Islam or an effort to stir up anti-muslim sentiment.   People have been threatened with death and even killed for making a cartoon!  No religion, government or individual should be allowed to terrorize someone over what amounts to freedom of expression.  Maybe by creating so many depictions we will just create way too many targets for the zealots.  And ultimately they will surrender their campaign of terror.  So here’s my offering to the cause. 

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