Written for TvNewsLIES.org by H.P. Albarelli Jr.
I don’t like having to write this article. I don’t like even thinking about it, but over the past few months its subject has come up repeatedly. Many television and radio hosts who have interviewed me about my new book, A TERRIBLE MISTAKE: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Experiments, have, on their own, brought up the subject of AIDS and Fort Detrick and the connection between the two. Nearly the entire ten years I worked on the book, this subject consistently loomed in the background like some malevolent poltergeist, and was essentially considered unspeakable by practically everyone I interviewed. Now things are different.
Thank you for using your financial might and ruthless business practices to destroy almost all of the competition out there so that for the most part PC users have only your inferior products from which to choose. (Mac and Linux users aside)
Thank you for your latest set of "security" patches that have caused EVERY ONE OF MY COMPUTERS TO BLUE SCREEN 20 TIME PER DAY RENDERING THEM USELESS! And thanks for not making a public apology about this.
by Bob Alexander
In 1992 I read a feature in our local Sunday paper called, “Will You Adopt This Child?” That week’s article profiled a four year old boy who was blind, could feed himself, use the bathroom, brush his teeth and put his clothes on. The article went on to say the little boy was classified as being “Profoundly Retarded.”
After reading the piece I thought, “Now there’s a tough sell.” Here’s a little kid who is going to need a lot of care … forever. I also thought about my own son. He was nine years old at the time and I wished he was as accomplished as the little kid in the article. He has Cerebral Palsy and though he could feed himself, he still needed help doing everything else.
It was the first time I’d come across the phrase “Profoundly Retarded.” It made me wonder how my son would be classified since he couldn’t do 75% of what the little boy in the article could. It took a long time but eventually my son made it to the level of the child I had read about so many years before. He lives in a group home now that provides 24-hour supervised residential care. He is forever … 3 years old.
I‘m not trying to inject an element of pathos here … I just want to make it clear that I know what the term “Profoundly Retarded” means.
Our dominant culture, in which I fully admit to participating (despite my significant efforts to minimize my involvement) is wreaking havoc on this “pale blue dot” we call Earth. Climate change, scarce and tainted water, devastating levels of toxins in the environment, rampant consumerism that generates truckloads of fetid refuse per second, massive deforestation, and the Sixth Extinction implicate humanity, and our socioeconomic/cultural construct we euphemistically call “civilization,” as nothing short of the living embodiment of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Written by Prophet 451. Posted with permission of the author.
Fuck you. No, I'm not joking. I'm sick of this bullshit.
I'm sick of the way you've corrupted the public discourse - the way you've made it acceptable to hurl any insult you like at public officials - the way you blame us for the current atmosphere of hatred by accusing us of starting it with hating Bush. Like Bush didn't come on the heels of eight years of your tireless efforts to destroy Clinton by any means necessary, like Bush didn't give us good reason to complain. A couple of posters on a website compared Bush to Hitler and you've used it as free license to compare Obama to Hitler 24/7 and I'm sick of your hypocrisy, where it's acceptable to say shit about Obama that you would have had an apoplectic fit (and did) if anything remotely similar had been said about your guys. Keith Olbermann calls Cheney a fascist when he was actually using fascist tactics and you think that gives you the freedom to call Obama a fascist, socialist, Marxist constantly for no reason at all. Fuck you and your bullshit false equivalence.
Article by Jason Miller originally posted at Thomas Paine's Corner.
Despite pleas to save the animals, Johnson County officials will employ sharpshooters and bow hunters to solve the problem of too many deer in Shawnee Mission Park.
–The Kansas City Star, June 17, 2009
Daniel Whitesel says he is forced to traverse a “literal minefield of deer poop” when he plays golf nearby.
He can watch from his home office as whitetail deer devastate his flowers and shrubs. “They walk down the street like taxpayers,” he said.
–The Kansas City Star, February 5, 2009
They’ve opted for the “whack ’em and stack ’em” approach, to quote that great conservationist Ted Nugent.
–Mike Hendricks, columnist for the Kansas City Star, June 11, 2009
Johnson Co. To Cull Park’s Deer Herd: Sharpshooters, Bow Hunters To Reduce Deer Population In Shawnee Mission Park
LENEXA, Kan. — Johnson County officials have approved an answer to the deer dilemma in Shawnee Mission Park.
The county will hire sharpshooters and bow hunters to take care of the population problem.
After a hearing Wednesday that drew more than 100 people, the board voted to use hunters to reduce the park herd from about 200 deer per square mile to 50.
–Kansas City News, KCTV 5, June 18, 2009
My letter to the Johnson County Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners dated 5/25/09:
As a home/vehicle-owning (hence tax-paying) resident of Johnson County and as a relentless activist for nonhuman animals, I am writing to express my strong objection to the use of any lethal methods to manage the deer population in Shawnee Mission Park. I am a vegan animal liberationist, so I am ardently opposed to humans exploiting, torturing or intentionally killing other animals.
Unfortunately, I missed the May 13 Johnson County Park and Recreation District meeting in which other county residents voiced their opinions about ways to cope with the deer overpopulation. I did find what appears to be a decent summary of the potential solutions discussed– at this link:
Here is a summary of my position:
1. The deer didn’t ask to have their habitat encroached upon and nearly eradicated by human development, thus it is morally reprehensible for us to kill them to “cull their population” because they represent a “problem” to us.
2. Bunselmeyer, a resident quoted in the Shawnee Dispatch article linked above, exemplifies the ugly speciesist side of this debate– with his arrogant portrayal of deer as “teddy bears” when they were cute and distant and as “mosquitoes” now that they are “tearing up his yard, and as he notices the deer are weak and starving.” My devout belief that other sentient beings have the basic rights to live free from torture, exploitation, subjugation, and murder aside, how about just a little bit of compassion? I have a nice-sized back yard and a privacy fence. Bring a couple of the deer to my place and I’ll feed them and let them tear up my yard.
3. We humans have no right to murder those deer for any reason, let alone to solve an over-population problem that we caused by radically altering their ecosystem (i.e. shrinking it and removing natural predators).
4. I vehemently object to sharp-shooting or bow hunting in Shawnee Mission Park–for the sake of the deer, for human safety, and because, as the residents who spoke against killing the deer at your meeting stated, it would ruin the atmosphere of the park. As Alta Lantz, one of the deer defenders who spoke on the 13th, opined, “The real nuisance animals I think are the people. There just seems to be a growing disregard for animals.”
5. Why was professional bow-hunter R.J. Jubber (the key word being “professional” here–meaning he has a vested financial interest in murdering animals) allowed to voice his view when he is from Eudora, which is outside of Johnson County? I’ll bet “R.J.” is itching to get a crack at the deer in Shawnee Mission Park. A heavily over-populated herd in a relatively small area that has never been hunted-fish in a barrel, eh Jubber? I also note in the KC Star article about the meeting (http://www.kansascity.com/637/story/1196224.html) that Jubber said, “We want to see most of the deer killed in the park, but not all the deer.”
Again, as a non-resident, who the hell is he to influence what happens in Shawnee Mission Park in any way? Let him try to convince Douglas County officials to allow him to slaughter the deer in their county. Jubber actually manages to make Bunselmeyer appear humane.
6. I want to know the name of the representative of the city of Lenexa who stated that the city in which I reside wants to bring sharp-shooters into Shawnee Mission Park. Aside from my previously stated serious objection to killing the deer, what about the safety of people visiting the park or those who live nearby? Sounds pretty reckless to me. I have serious concerns about the competence of this city employee and want to know if this is truly the desire of the “authorities” in my city.
7. To preserve the best interests of both humans and other animals, it is morally imperative that we address the deer overpopulation problem in Shawnee Mission Park through trapping and relocating and/or employing fertility control agents. According to the account I read of your meeting on May 13, these two options would be economically and pragmatically viable. The potential for a 30% mortality rate in conjunction with trapping and relocating concerns me, but saving 70% of the deer we remove would be far better than mowing down 100% with a barrage of arrows or a hail of bullets.
8. Aside from providing my share of the cost via my taxes, I’d be more than happy to volunteer my time and efforts to assist in any way I could with the trapping and relocating and/or deploying the fertility control agents.
Please read, consider and reply to my questions and comments. I am sending them to you as a concerned citizen and tax-payer; an animal rights activist; a writer and publisher of sociopolitical commentary, critiques, polemics, and philosophy; and as a press officer.
Senior Editor and Founder of Thomas Paine’s Corner
Original article posted at ThomasPainesCorner.
by Peter Singer
The eighteenth-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote: “Two things fill the heart with ever renewed and increasing awe and reverence, the more often and more steadily we meditate upon them: the starry firmament above and the moral law within.”
This year, the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first use of a telescope, has been declared the International Year of Astronomy, so this seems a good time to ponder Kant’s first source of “awe and reverence.” Indeed, the goal of the commemoration – to help the world’s citizens “rediscover their place in the universe” – now has the incidental benefit of distracting us from nasty things nearer to home, like swine flu and the global financial crisis.
What does astronomy tell us about “the starry firmament above”?
By expanding our grasp of the vastness of the universe, science has, if anything, increased the awe and reverence we feel when we look up on a starry night (assuming, that is, that we have got far enough away from air pollution and excessive street lighting to see the stars properly). But, at the same time, our greater knowledge surely forces us to acknowledge that our place in the universe is not particularly significant.
In his essay “Dreams and Facts,” the philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote that our entire Milky Way galaxy is a tiny fragment of the universe, and within this fragment our solar system is “an infinitesimal speck,” and within this speck “our planet is a microscopic dot.”
Today, we don’t need to rely on such verbal descriptions of our planet’s insignificance against the background of our galaxy. The astronomer Carl Sagan suggested that the Voyager space probe capture an image of earth as it reached the outer reaches of our solar system. It did so, in 1990, and Earth shows up in a grainy image as a pale blue dot. If you go to YouTube and search for “Carl Sagan – Pale Blue Dot,” you can see it, and hear Sagan himself telling us that we must cherish our world because everything humans have ever valued exists only on that pale blue dot.
That is a moving experience, but what should we learn from it?
Russell sometimes wrote as if the fact that we are a mere speck in a vast universe showed that we don’t really matter all that much: “On this dot, tiny lumps of impure carbon and water, of complicated structure, with somewhat unusual physical and chemical properties, crawl about for a few years, until they are dissolved again into the elements of which they are compounded.”
But no such nihilistic view of our existence follows from the size of our planetary home, and Russell himself was no nihilist. He thought that it was important to confront the fact of our insignificant place in the universe, because he did not want us to live under the illusory comfort of a belief that somehow the world had been created for our sake, and that we are under the benevolent care of an all-powerful creator. “Dreams and Facts” concludes with these stirring words: “No man is liberated from fear who dare not see his place in the world as it is; no man can achieve the greatness of which he is capable until he has allowed himself to see his own littleness.”
After World War II, when the world was divided into nuclear-armed camps threatening each other with mutual destruction, Russell did not take the view that our insignificance, when considered against the vastness of the universe, meant that the end of life on Earth did not matter. On the contrary, he made nuclear disarmament the chief focus of his political activity for the remainder of his life.
Sagan took a similar view. While seeing the Earth as a whole diminishes the importance of things like national boundaries that divide us, he said, it also “underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” Al Gore used the “pale blue dot” image at the end of his film, An Inconvenient Truth, suggesting that if we wreck this planet, we have nowhere else to go.
That’s probably true, even though scientists are now discovering other planets outside our solar system. Perhaps one day we will find that we are not the only intelligent beings in the universe, and perhaps we will be able to discuss issues of interspecies ethics with such beings.
This brings us back to Kant’s other object of reverence and awe, the moral law within. What would beings with a completely different evolutionary origin from us – perhaps not even carbon-based life forms – think of our moral law?
© 2009 Project Syndicate
Peter Singer is a professor of bioethics at Princeton University. His 1975 book Animal Liberation was a touchstone for the animal rights movement. A selection of his many books include: Practical Ethics, How Are We To Live? Ethics in an Age of Self-Interest, One World: The Ethics of Globalization, The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Food Choice Matters, and The President of Good and Evil: Questioning The Ethics of George W. Bush. Singer’s most recent book, The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty, is now available.
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