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Monday, November 20, 2017
Southern Weather Radar


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  • Writer Login


    Alex Kearns

    Alex Kearns
    Alex writes for a variety of national and international publications. A relative newcomer to the United States, she co-founded her town's first environmental organization (The St. Marys EarthKeepers, Inc.). In turns bemused, confused, entranced, frustrated and delighted, she enjoys unravelling the eternal enigma that is the Deep South.
    Number of posts: 73
    Email address: email
    Facebook: Facebook
    Subscribe to my RSS Feed: http://likethedew.com/author/AlexK/feed/

    By Alex Kearns:


      the knife of tax-greed

      Environmental activist blasts plan to rezone 1,000 acres of Cumberland Island

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Mar 30, 2017
      Environmental activist blasts plan to rezone 1,000 acres of Cumberland Island

      “Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed.”-Wallace Stegner

      Cumberland Island National Seashore and United Nations Biosphere Reserve is the largest of the southern United States’ sea islands. It is a paradise of eco-diversity and incomparable beauty. Visitors can only access the island by a private boat or the ferry from St. Marys, Georgia, and when they arrive, they find that they have been transported to a realm that is beyond all expectations.

      port of st. marys

      Doesn’t it Always Seem to Go That You Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘til it’s Gone?

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Apr 14, 2016
      St Marys Georgia - Aerial photo

      St. Marys, Georgia: A peaceful little coastal town of unsurpassed beauty. It serves as the gateway to Cumberland Island National Seashore, a mecca for tourists who want to experience true Southern charm, and a dream-realized for those seeking a natural environment beyond compare.

      Enter developer Christopher T. Ragucci and his Knights of the Green Shield/Worldwide Group. (Cue “Razzle Dazzle” from “All That Jazz.”) They quickly changed the company name to “The Port of St. Marys, LLC” and set about trying to convince the townsfolk and elected officials that turning St. Marys into an industrial barge port would be a blessing and boon to all.

      freedom to discriminate

      Georgia GOP trying to legalize bigotry, again

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Feb 25, 2016
      GOP Elephant Using Georgia Capital Gold Dome as a Toliet

      A Facebook message: “Alex, I think you’re a really great person doing wonderful things for the world but you need to stop promoting homosexuality on your Facebook page or people will get ideas about you. I’m sure you’re a good Christian woman so your writing should reflect those values.”

      Gadzooks! “…get ideas”? What – that I’m (gasp) a closeted lesbian? A lapsed Christian? Or that I have actually studied the Bible and believe, above all, in acceptance and equality…

      georgia hb 17

      Shining a Light on Hidden Predators

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Feb 21, 2015
      the Hidden Predator Act

      During the 2015-2016 Regular Session of the General Assembly, our Georgia elected-officials are expected to vote on HB 17 – “the Hidden Predator Act.”

      “A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 3 of Title 9 and Article 2 of Chapter 5 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to limitations of actions and child abuse and deprivation records, respectively, so as to extend the statute of limitations for actions for childhood sexual abuse…

      reflections lost

      Who Am I now?

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Feb 20, 2015
      Who Am I now?

      This evening I popped out to the corner store for milk. A woman was there with an older man. He was walking up and down the aisles as she trailed behind him – sighing and huffing and saying things like “Dammit, Dad! You dragged me out to get something with you and now you can’t remember what you need?” Her words seemed to fall like blows on his shoulders. He began picking up items in a random fashion and knocked over several cans of soup. I bent to retrieve them up and when I straightened I looked into his face. There it was: the panicked, lost look of a man who set out with clear intent… and lost his bearings along the way. I know this look – and it breaks my heart.

      taking god's name in vain

      Legalizing Discrimination

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Feb 27, 2014
      Legalizing Discrimination

      HB 1023 and SB 377 are now slithering through the dank halls of Georgia’s government. These bills would allow business owners to openly discriminate against gay Americans by denying them employment or services: banning them from restaurants, hotels etc. (Translation: anybody who wishes to discriminate against someone for any reason need only say that it’s because it’s part of their “personal religion”.) The so-called “Preservation of Religious Freedom Act” would, in effect, permit any individual or for-profit company to ignore Georgia’s anti-discrimination and civil rights laws.

      friends

      As Time Goes By

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Nov 16, 2013
      As Time Goes By

      When I was a child, I had a purple Crown Royal bag filled with all manner of marbles. We collected them, admired them, competed with them, and crowed about who had the most or “rarest.” There was something deeply satisfying about the heft of the bag, and the “aggies, beauties, cats-eyes, clearies, steelies, tigers and swirlies” within. We gathered friends in the same ways: through an arcane process of admiration, competition and number-building.

      Dumping

      Along A Dusty Road

      by | 6, Add your Comment | Jan 19, 2013
      Along A Dusty Road

      It is an inescapable truism that “watch-dogs” are essential for the well being of us all. Too often those who are motivated by financial gain, expedience or power, seek to circumvent the laws and structures that serve to protect citizens and the environment.

      And so we have the many organizations (and individuals) that devote their time and effort to remaining steadfastly vigilant. They don’t look for “issues” – they simply function as entities that can be contacted and called to action when questions and concerns arise.

      Our Worst Nightmare

      Fiddling While Rome Burns

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Dec 3, 2012
      Fiddling While Rome Burns

      As a life-long environmentalist (“environmentalism” was once known as “simple common-sense”), I’m accustomed to trying to convince others that plastic detritus is suffocating the planet, recycling is A Good Thing and those who live on the coast run the very real risk of drowning in rising waters even as drought and cataclysmic storms decimate other areas of the nation.

      “But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.” – Rachel Carson

      Hog Hammock

      A Vanishing World

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Sep 29, 2012
      A Vanishing World

      You hold in your hands an intricate basket made of woven sweetgrass, palmetto and pinegrass and you marvel at the artistry. You listen to the murmur of a language that challenges the lexicologist’s analysis, for it is a melding of many ancient cultures into a unique and musical tongue. A burial by the sea so that the spirit of the lost one can return to the home beyond the waves, the exhilaration of a “ring shout” as the Lord is praised… these are the precious traditions of the Gullah/Geechee: a world, people and history that was pivotal in the formation of this country. Now, as “progress” alters the face of the Sea Islands…

      Bunkers of Hatred

      Self-editing

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Sep 23, 2012
      Self-editing

      It’s so much easier to edit other people’s work than my own. In that I (usually) know exactly what I meant to say/write, my brain plows ahead and overrides my capacity for reading analytically.

      Perhaps this same phenomenon is at work in our attitudes and beliefs as well: we lose the ability to step back and dispassionately examine the stance that we’ve taken. Our words begin to form our belief structure (when it should be the other way around) as we dig our heels in the sand. Even when we’re proven wrong, we strut along in our Emperor’s new clothes and refuse to adjust our position.

      Where it Hurts

      Matthew 16:26 – Gaining The World

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Aug 24, 2012
      A glowing earth in our hands

      I’ve often been told that the only way to compel people to “take environmental issues seriously” is to talk to them about the financial impact of their actions (or inaction). I suppose that I’m guilty of resisting that theory for I tend to assume that, for the most part, people are intelligent creatures who understand that we do rely on the “good graces” of this planet for our continued survival and well-being.

      Thoughts

      From a Wall

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Aug 5, 2012
      The blue marble. Photo: NASA Earth Observatory
      While standing on a platform pretending to be a wall tonight (I play The Mute in the local theater production of The Fantasticks), I had approximately 23 pages of script during which I was free to ponder the mysteries of the universe (as one does when mimicking a wall).
      It appears to me that, historically, conflict is born of three things: acquisitiveness, ignorance or love.

      Peaceful Coexistence

      To Fight, Kiss or Just Come To Our Senses

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Aug 4, 2012
      To Fight, Kiss or Just Come To Our Senses

      Regarding a popular fast-food chain that’s in the news these days (and other equally-divisive issues): The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (submitted to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789, and adopted on December 15, 1791): “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      Bridge Between 2 Nations

      Two Nations, One Lasting Peace

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jul 6, 2012
      Canadian and American Flags

      Spanning the miles. Reaching across the centuries. The United States and Canada – two countries that share the world’s longest undefended border – have stood as staunch allies in times of War and peace. On July 4, 2012, the establishment of the southernmost Binational Peace Garden in St. Marys (next to historic Oak Grove Cemetery) further united these two great nations.

      Dumbed Down

      Say What?

      by | 7, Add your Comment | Jan 31, 2012
      Say What?

      There are those of us who must write to the beat of client-drummers in order to maintain the roofs over our heads and keep our anti-virus programs running. To measure the ease with which the average reader will peruse (and, hopefully, comprehend) our articles, editors often feed the painstakingly written pages through literary meat-grinders known as “Readability Tests.” These tools of creative destruction usually employ the Flesch Kincaid scale to measure the difficulty of reading, grade level, length of words and so forth. Plug any article into an online test-site and, voila – it’s analyzed and judged “suitable” for a particular age demographic.

      Southern Politics

      A Word To the “Wise”

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jan 23, 2012
      A Word To the "Wise"

      Dear political candidates (and those who hold office at all levels),

      Far be it from me to presume to know better than you how to win an election (or stay in power) but, for what they’re worth, here are my thoughts:

      • Shrieking, hysterical attack ads don’t inspire confidence or admiration. So you don’t like your opponents. That’s a given. To comport yourselves like ill-mannered toddlers does a disservice to us all. Don’t rant about how person A is a swinish, ignorant, kitten-eating spawn of the devil – instead tell me what you plan to do to address this country’s many ills …

      Their USA

      With All DUE Respect

      by | 7, Add your Comment | Jan 6, 2012
      With All DUE Respect

      To the firm of Santorum, Romney, Gingrich, Paul & Perry,

      Please accept this letter as notice of my resignation from the position of temp in your Company, Our U.S.A. Inc., for I have decided to join the great and honorable establishment known as America Incl. Although I doubt that you’re the least bit interested in my reasons for this sudden and startling departure I will, out of respect, explain.

      E-No

      Hermes and I

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jan 5, 2012
      Hermes and I

      My computer has been engaged in a prolonged snit: re-start tantrums, spontaneous self-cleansing, voracious file consumption and an odd, slightly operatic, noise. Due to this, I’ve been without access to email, Facebook, blogs, news stories and the other dubious offerings of the Internet for several hours. (One wouldn’t imagine that that would have any discernable affect but I must confess that if I am to be “unplugged”, I prefer it to be an act of my own choosing and thus I felt a bit dislocated – to say nothing of worrying about looming deadlines for articles).

      Once my computer (hereby know as Hermes – god of trickery, travel, communication and the conductor of souls to the underworld) exhausted itself and decided to play nice, I checked my email.

      Four hours without my attention and there are 36 emails in my groaning inbox. The last time the postman delivered that number of missives to me in one day was in 1983 when I failed to apply sufficient postage to my wedding invitations …

      Southern Health

      Daring to Speak the “H” Word

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jun 13, 2011
      Daring to Speak the "H" Word

      I have often wondered why I sometimes feel like such a “stranger in a strange land.” Perhaps it’s because, although Canada and the USA share (in many respects) a common culture and history, we are quite different in terms of our priorities and what we most value. Maybe, as many scholars believe, the fundamental differences began with the formation of the two countries: as it has been said, America was born of revolution; Canada was formed through cultural evolution …

      Southern Rivers

      Old Blackwater, Keep On Rollin’

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jun 11, 2011
      St. Marys River, near the Georgia-Florida border

      I recently published an article on this site about the latest threat to the St. Marys River (entitled “Can We Count The Loss?”). It resulted in several heartfelt comments from Like The Dew readers and, once I shared it with others via email and blog, quite a response from the people of Camden County.

      Yesterday I read the minutes of the last meeting of the St. Marys River Management Committee wherein they met with representatives of the company, Miocene Holdings, LLC. Those would be the people who want to suck 350,000 gallons of water per day from our low-flow, slow-moving blackwater river in order to remove the tannins (to augment fertilizer) and then pour it – treated to a pH level of 7 – back into a river with a natural pH range of 3.8 – 4.2.

      Southern Places

      Can We Count The Loss

      by | 8, Add your Comment | Jun 1, 2011
      Can We Count The Loss

      The St. Marys River: She (and, oh yes, this is a feminine river with her entrancing curves and mysterious ways) is tea-dark, exquisite beyond compare and fragile. And now she is being attacked yet again by those who would drain her, damage her and use her for their own gain.

      Allow me to introduce you to this lovely lady:

      The St. Marys is a magical and mystical blackwater river and, as such, was recently designated by the Southern Environmental Law Center as one of Georgia’s “endangered places.”

      Southern Views

      On This Day

      by | 7, Add your Comment | May 2, 2011
      Osama Death Celebration in NY

      I sit and read some of the thousands of comments that are posted on FaceBook, online forums and after each news item… and I cringe. I watch the televised scenes of jubilant rejoicing, flag-waving and back-slapping… and it all feels, somehow, primitive and wrong.

      Today I simply feel pensive. Though the removal of Bin Laden is a blow for justice and a strike against the tyranny of terrorism, I find it difficult to celebrate for the day is also a reminder of unspeakable tragedy and loss. Instead of cheering, I just feel like finding a quiet place in which to pray for a world gone so terribly awry.

      Southern Views

      The Center Cannot Hold

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Apr 25, 2011
      The Center Cannot Hold

      11 pm on the night of Easter I sit at my desk and read the news on-line. It is a wide-ranging buffet of the tragic, the violent, the clownish words of preening wanna-be politicians, the latest “calamity” du jour to befall the famous (and desperately trying to be famous) and the farcical lunacy of mankind in general.

      While poverty, pain, ignorance and war run amok, we have bizarrely-coiffed “birthers” bleating endlessly for their 15 minutes of fame, obsessive fascination with the upcoming nuptials of a young British couple and the unending drama of the post-pubescent celebratocracy as they lurch from mansion to re-hab and back again.

      I wonder, at times, what an alien species would make of us as we stagger and leap about this small blue planet while it careens through space.

      Southern Stalkers

      No, You Will Not

      by | 8, Add your Comment | Apr 24, 2011
      No, You Will Not

      I received a rather nice email from the publishers of Like the Dew, asking about my silence these past few months. I replied “I’ve just been laying low of late due to the fact that I have a cyberstalking, death-wish-spewing psychopath who’s re-published and bastardized articles that I’ve written for the Dew (and others) while doing his utmost to destroy me personally and professionally. (Such is life in a world where the existing laws regarding such things are feeble at best and non-existent at worse: we are all at the mercy of any disgruntled fool with a keyboard and an internet connection)” …

      The aim of cyberbullies – either those who plague others openly or the cowards who do so anonymously (as is most frequently the case) – is to instill enough fear in the object of their “attentions” to muzzle them.

      Southern Views

      Civility in America?

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Mar 26, 2011
      Compromise, Reason and Civility are family values

      All of civility depends on being able to contain the rage of individuals.” – Joshua Lederberg

      And how those individuals rage these days. They hurl accusations, taunts, threats and self-righteous assertions. They feed their opinions into the gullets of a willing populace and the media laps up the rank dribble. They storm about, damning those whose opinions may differ from theirs. They “rail against the machine” (which “machine” depends upon the day, the time and the speaker’s position).

      And in this age of technology, they quickly take to the vast and unfettered realm of cyberspace. There they often hide behind a cloak of anonymity; lies, rumors, smear-campaigns… all spewed out into the world with little thought to either truth or consequences.

      Southern Books

      Farewell, Injun Joe

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Jan 11, 2011
      Farewell, Injun Joe

      Editor: Good morning, Mr. Twain. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m the editor at NewSouth Books and we wanted to inform you that future editions of Huckleberry Finn will not include the N-word.

      Twain: Beg pardon, son, but there are a whole crap-load of N-words in the English language. Delete things like the word “not” or “never” and the whole damn book’ll fall apart.

      Editor: No, no, Sir! We’re just cleansing the book of the word (he whispers) “nigger.”

      Twain: You’re kidding me, right?

      Editor: Why, of course not! Who would joke about such a serious matter?

      We Must Decide

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Nov 22, 2010
      We Must Decide

      It is the nature of humans to hold personal views regarding same-sex marriage, abortion and other “hot-button” issues – views formed by our past, our family dynamics, our religion, our education and so forth – as “self-evident truths.” But what is incomprehensible to me is that the most vehement flag-wavers among us tend to cavalierly disregard the words “that all men are created equal.” And they use the Bible to support their stance.

      As a student of philosophy, this use of religion to defend the indefensible smacks of the argumentum ad verecundiam fallacy (the appeal to authority). While this is often (for the uninformed) an impressive way to buttress a line of thought, it becomes fallacious when one of the following happens: the authority is not an expert in the field in which one is speaking, or the allusion to authority masks the fact that experts may be divided down the middle on the subject (hello Tea Party).

      An Avoidable Tragedy

      by | 17, Add your Comment | Oct 28, 2010
      An Avoidable Tragedy

      My daughter  was a healthy, happy and active child. In her ninth year, while on vacation in Florida, she became ill and fell into, what we were told, was a diabetic coma. We’d had no signs that we knew of but, in the years to come, we were to learn that they had been there …

      She is now in her mid thirties and has experienced decades of multiple daily insulin injections, failing eyesight, complications and a difficult pregnancy that ended last week with the blessed arrival of her son … In my daughter’s case diabetes was unavoidable as genetics played out their willful game in her system. But such is not the situation with so many.

      Thoughts on a Prayer

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Oct 23, 2010
      Thoughts on a Prayer

      God, grant me the serenity

      To accept the things I cannot change;

      The courage to change the things I can;

      And the wisdom to know the difference.

      Such wise and lovely words of strength and inspiration. Throughout the years, millions have muttered this mantra during times of duress (certainly I do and, not being that singular, I assume that others do as well). Seemingly simple words…and yet, perhaps, not.

      The Sheep Fight Back

      by | 8, Add your Comment | Oct 5, 2010
      The Sheep Fight Back

      “Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” – James Bovard

      Citizens are putting democracy to the test in a small town in southern Georgia. Having realized that their City Council has completely run amok, some people began to plan their response. For those of you who may be in a similar state of frustration and concern regarding your own local government, here’s the recipe:

      First call together a group of like-minded individuals who have all expressed intense frustration with the present administration. Then assemble a vast amount of research and documentation to support your position. Next, request a hearing with the Grand Jury, release the news to the media, gather signatures for the petition and brace yourselves against the onslaught of umbrage and angst from City Hall. Await the Grand Jury date. (In this case, Oct. 20th)

      A House Divided

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Sep 10, 2010
      A House Divided

      It was only a matter of time before the horrifying events of Sept. 11, 2001 became the tool of power-seekers, manipulators and fame-addicts.

      Former New York Gov. George Pataki said it well: “I do lament the fact that the tremendous sense of unity we had after Sept. 11 is no longer the case. We were for a while all united, everyone, young and old, black and white, rich and poor, Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative …

      And Now for the Good News

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Sep 1, 2010
      And Now for the Good News

      Sometimes I weary of the rattle and thrum of incessant bad news: the screaming headlines portending (or portraying) death, destruction, economic cataclysms, cynicism and tawdriness. We all need to, from time to time, shake ourselves free of umbrage and divisiveness and seek out the good and true things around us. They’re there – they just don’t get the press.

      A case in point: The True Freedom Learning Center in St. Marys, Ga You may take this as an advertisement if you wish but it is intended as a tale of seemingly small but profound and hard-won triumphs in the face of almost insurmountable odds.

      Farewell, Mr. Jefferson

      by | 9, Add your Comment | Aug 25, 2010
      Farewell, Mr. Jefferson

      Scene: City Council chambers in a small southern town in America.

      Act I: Citizens file into Council Chambers, pausing only to have a police officer wave a wand over their bodies. They talk about the days – not long ago – when none of this was deemed necessary: when a Council meeting was an occasion when one could catch up with friends, talk to elected officials and partake in that singularly beautiful event known as “participatory democracy.”

      Feelings are running high and before the opening crash of an energetically-wielded Mayoral gavel, the people speak to one another about the issues that are dividing and consuming their community…

      Will We Ever Learn?

      by | 24, Add your Comment | Aug 15, 2010
      A rendering of the proposed, Cordoba House, 13-story mosque and community center two blocks north of Ground Zero.

      As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.” President Obama

      Damn! There’s that inconvenient First Amendment thing cropping up again as American citizens attempt to exercise their Constitutional right to build a mosque on privately held ground two blocks from “Ground Zero.”

      The Cherokee Rose

      by | 7, Add your Comment | Aug 13, 2010
      Cherokee Rose

      I would sooner be honestly damned than hypocritically immortalized”- Davy Crockett. With his political career destroyed due to his open support of the Cherokee, he departed Washington, D.C. and traveled west to Texas.

      Nunna daul IsunyiI – “The Trail Where They Cried”, is now commonly known as the “Trail Of Tears.” This dark chapter of our nation’s past is too seldom spoken of beyond the tourist’s shops and souvenir stands that line the path of sorrow. The events of those years extinguished, forever, the bright flame of the Cherokee Nation (and countless of their brethren) and it is to our shame if we let them be forgotten or trivialized.

      Can You Hear?

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Aug 5, 2010
      Can You Hear?

      The speech below is an excerpt from that which was delivered by Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, during an I am an American Day gathering in New York’s Central Park. Ickes spoke these words during a fragile and terrifying period in history: May of 1941 – when Hitler stood upon the precipice of world domination.

      On this day in 1941 the countries that had fallen to the Nazis included Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and areas in North Africa. England was under incessant and devastating air attack from the Luftwaffe while Nazi U-boats blockaded the British Isles. And yet, still, many Americans questioned the sagacity and compelling necessity of direct U.S. intercession in what was viewed as a “European war.” This, in part, was Mr Ickes reply.

      Meanwhile On Another Planet…

      by | 9, Add your Comment | Jul 31, 2010
      Meanwhile On Another Planet…

      There are things in the world that are terrifying. You know…the usual stuff: the 7 Plagues, nuclear war, pestilence, Rush Limbaugh, Styrofoam “peanuts”, Anne Heche, “infomercials – the things that make our blood run cold and our brains reel with the words “Say wha?” …

      Peeling William, the cat, from my keyboard, I began to surf through the morning’s news.

      Hmm…apparently the Republican Party of Iowa wants to restore the original 13th amendment (it had something to do with not letting Americans accept titles of nobility and such). The Party feels that this should be put back in place, thus usurping the 13th as it stands today – the abolishment of slavery.

      A Writer’s Musical Notes

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Jul 26, 2010
      A Writer’s Musical Notes

      During the course of a brief flurry of emails between Jeff Cochran (a frequent contributor to Like the Dew) and I, we touched upon the role of music in a writer’s life.

      In that I cannot write while any music is playing (it captures me and lures me from what is always a very tentative path), I’d not given that subject much thought until now. So I shall try. A rich merlot at hand? Check. Sarah McLachlin playing? Check. (Good Canadian girl, that). Candle lit? Check.

      Yes — music, literature, dance and the visual arts all leap from the same mystic wellspring but writing is such a tenuous thing, relying as is does on the patience of others.

      In Libris Veritas Est II

      by | 7, Add your Comment | Jul 25, 2010
      In Libris Veritas Est II

      Read this story from ABCNews.com first and then get back to me.

      Okay, you’re back. I apologize for the sick sense of disbelief and nausea that you’re now experiencing.

      “Jessi’s social life has largely been confined to her computer. She told ABCNews.com that most of her friends are online.“ “I’ll Pop a Glock in Your Mouth and Make a Brain Slushy” (to quote this pre-pubescent girl).

      Jessi is eleven years old. Her world is that of the dark corridors of internet chatrooms, blogs and the warped “reality” of cyberspace…

      My Sister, My Self

      by | 14, Add your Comment | Jul 20, 2010
      My Sister, My Self

      Yesterday I was informed that my two-year-older sister, Kerry Lynn Scott, had died suddenly. Now all that I can do is try to write my way through the numb pain of this latest blow (in the past four years I have lost my father, mother, sister…how many tears does the human body hold?).

      When heartache brings me to my knees I reach for words — a life-long habit that has been my salvation – and so I will now. Then I will send it out into the ether to go where it will: hopefully, somehow, to my sister.

      Kerry was, from birth, a force of nature. A slender, golden-haired child of stunning beauty, she was diagnosed with a congenital dislocated hip and subjected to new and innovative operations – over and over again

      In Libris Veritas Est

      by | 9, Add your Comment | Jul 16, 2010
      Beware of the Book

      Few people seem to be aware that school boards and libraries throughout this country are still banning a vast number of books. Apparently I, too, am naive for until I began to look into the subject, I didn’t know the full extent of this most heinous of practices.

      Check the lists and the map on this BannedBooks.org – it is mind boggling.

      Then peruse this brief list from Adler & Robins Books of literary works that are banned in various locations.

      Who Will Claim Twain?

      by | 14, Add your Comment | Jul 11, 2010
      Who Will Claim Twain?

      My, oh my…can open, worms emerging. Dear Samuel Langhorne Clemens is creating quite a stir: the man who was born a curmudgeon and raised cynicism and tongue-in-cheek wit to a mighty and enduring American art-form. Now his autobiography is to be released — the first version to enter the public forum without being sanitized beyond all recognition. Twain himself instructed his publishers, in 1906, “From the first, second, third and fourth editions all sound and sane expressions of opinion must be left out. There may be a market for that kind of wares a century from now. There is no hurry. Wait and see.”

      And So It Goes…

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Jul 11, 2010
      And So It Goes…

      I have always found that one’s birthday eve is more conducive to reflection than New Year’s (that traditional time of summation and resolution). Birthdays tend to be more poignant as the years pass and time paints its portrait upon our faces and seeps into the bones.

      As of 7:05 a.m.  today I will have breathed the air of this earth for 53 years and have far less time left to me than I have already survived. And what have I accomplished thus far?

      Into the Fray, Dear Writer

      by | 10, Add your Comment | Jul 8, 2010
      Into the Fray, Dear Writer

      It’s a fragile thing, this book writing. You carefully nurture the unformed child for months or years, finally give birth to a fully developed creature and then, at some point, you must decide to either shelter it at home in your heart or send it out into the world to make its own way.

      I remember seeing my name in print for the first time, then on a masthead, then (of course) smeared across the cybersphere. It is exhilarating and terrifying. There are your words, “out there”: no chance of revisions or second thoughts. Articles are one thing – a book is an entirely different creature.

      A Little Truth…Please

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Jul 5, 2010
      A Little Truth…Please

      Here’s what our government is saying about the BP oil spill:

      “In early June we aggressively increased our focus on skimmers to combat the oil leaking from BP’s well,” said Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who heads the federal spill response team. Adm. Allen said Friday there are 550 skimmers of various sizes working in the Gulf today, up from 100 large skimmers at the beginning of June.” …

      Meanwhile, amid all of these conflicting reports, I received this message from a trusted and highly knowledgeable source who lives on the Mississippi coast …

      Farewell to the First

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jul 4, 2010
      Farewell to the First

      Let us all spare a moment to bow our heads in silence as we consider the fatal blow that has been dealt to the First Amendment. While this cornerstone of democracy sinks beneath the oleaginous waves of the Gulf, we can only mourn its loss – and ours.

      According to CNN reports, the government has issued a new edict that would make it a felony crime for any journalist, photographer or reporter to even approach any oil cleanup operation, personnel or equipment in the Gulf.  Anyone who violates this draconian law is subject to arrest, a $40,000 fine and prosecution for a federal felony crime.

      BP’s ‘reporters’ spinning oil spill

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jun 30, 2010
      BP’s ‘reporters’ spinning oil spill

      Paula Kolmar is BP’s on-the-ground blogger and a veritable ray of adjective-rich, poetic sunshine. It occurred to me today that she also might well be the most effective weight-loss guru the world has ever known.

      Seriously…Kolmar’s vapid PR maunderings are the equivalent of literary bulimia. We can only assume that she wanders about the Gulf in a happy cloud (one wonders about the anti-depressant attributes of Corexit/oil fumes) and then vomits her spin-doctor impressions into cyberspace.

      Flip-Flop Award

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Jun 29, 2010
      Flip-Flop Award

      We’ve all been treated to the sometimes revolting, sometimes heartbreaking spectacle of various officials and politicians as they react (or don’t) to the disastrous events in the Gulf. Insensitive media gaffs by Tony Hayward, misleading information (aka lies) from BP, the arrogance of chest-thrusting BP contact workers as they clear the media from the beaches, the pathetic posturing of politicians and the usual blustering of TV and radio talking heads.

      My award for this week’s Flip-Flop and Idiocy Performance goes to Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

      Questions without Answers

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jun 25, 2010
      Questions without Answers

      A large patch of oil has now entered the Mississippi Sound — an area of rich marine abundance between the barrier islands and the mainland. Bob Dudley, who has taken over the BP’s Gulf response, said, “For BP, our intent is to restore the Gulf the way it was before it happened.” Oh, really, Bob? BP has Chronos on board and can turn back time?

      Meanwhile the federal judge who ruled against the six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf has refused to stay his ruling. The government is appealing. The Deepwater Horizon blowout has demonstrated (most painfully) the appalling lack of preparedness in the event of a disaster.

      BP and Google

      by | 7, Add your Comment | Jun 22, 2010
      BP and Google

      BP, the very company responsible for the oil spill that is already the worst in U.S. history, has purchased several phrases on search engines such as Google and Yahoo so that the first result that shows up directs information seekers to the company’s official website.

      A simple Google search of “oil spill” turns up

      Just The Facts…Please

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jun 21, 2010
      Just The Facts…Please

      So now we are up to 100,000 barrels of oil gushing into the Gulf per day. U.S. Representative Ed Markey, chairman of the energy and environment subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, released the estimate in the undated BP document. “Right from the beginning, BP was either lying or grossly incompetent,” Markey told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. (Gee, ya think?)

      Georgia’s state officials seem to feel that we won’t be impacted by the devastation in the Gulf. I fail to understand their logic. Think about it: 4.2 million gallons per day times 120 days (the most optimistic BP time-frame for full operation of the relief wells). Given the volatile nature of meteorological and oceanographic phenomenon, it seems to me that it is simply a matter of time before the mass of the oil becomes embedded in the Loop Current, travels around Florida and then upward along the eastern seaboard.

      The Gulf and Beyond

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jun 16, 2010
      The Gulf and Beyond

      Here go we again (and again). The ongoing catastrophic saga of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico grows worse by the minute (second). Officials have released the latest estimates of how much oil is leaking from the Deepwater Horizon site. It is now believed that as much as 60,000 barrels — 2.5 million gallons — of oil is spilling from the source per day. Think Exxon Valdez every 4 days.

      The latest numbers come after scientists, led by Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, analyzed pressure readings and new high resolution made available after BP made a cut in the riser.

      A Love Song and a Prayer

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jun 13, 2010
      A Love Song and a Prayer

      Sea turtles travel the oceans in an ancient cycle of birth, life and death. Loggerheads, for example, have survived, in their present-day form, for well over 120 million years, traversing the waters of the planet in a primordial ballet of infinite grace.

      All of the five sea turtle species that live out some portion of their lives in the Gulf are endangered or threatened. There are only seven species of sea turtle worldwide, making the Gulf’s habitat essential for the conservation of the world’s turtles. Since the Deepwater Horizon blowout, more than 320 sea turtles have been found dead.

      Why?

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jun 10, 2010
      Why?

      The frustration mounts as people attempt to find training information so that they can assist in the Gulf efforts. Thus far, it appears that BP continues to have a hammer-lock on the clean-up efforts – and one begins to ask “why? Why are people being prevented from receiving the training necessary to deal with this disaster? Why are there not instructors available in coastal areas, both in the Gulf and along the eastern seaboard where our waters are likely to be poisoned by the toxic stew of dispersants and oil? Why are we continuing to dance to the tune of BP?” People, both in the US and around the world, are desperate to do what they can – even to the extent of packaging up tons of hair for booms. (BP and the US Coast Guard have no intention of employing hair booms given that they immediately absorb more water […]

      Almost Beyond Belief

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Jun 6, 2010
      Almost Beyond Belief

      Following the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater oil blowout congressional hearings last week, Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young said that the U.S. should focus on passing better laws and opposing the Obama administration’s moratorium on new offshore drilling permits.

      Young said: “This is not an environmental disaster, and I will say that again and again because it is a national phenomena. Oil has seeped into this ocean for centuries, will continue to do it. We will lose some birds, we will lose some fixed sea life, but overall it will recover.”

      Can We Count The Loss?

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jun 2, 2010
      Can We Count The Loss?

      I have been fighting this fight since arriving in the United States five years ago. I, and others, have written articles, emails, speeches and pleas until our hands and hearts ache – to no avail.

      The waters of Coastal Georgia are a wonderland of thriving and diverse life. Teeming with the creatures of the sea and the air, our marsh-and-ocean cradle offers an unparalleled opportunity for those who seek to observe the intricacy and magnificence of the natural world. Dolphins, manatee, crabs, loggerhead sea turtles, fish (from the miniscule to the awe-inspiring), sea birds and countless others create an ever-changing dreamscape of birth, death, renewal and endurance.

      But it is the North Atlantic right whale – the official State Mammal of Georgia –

      Carrying on the Southern literary tradition

      by | 25, Add your Comment | May 30, 2010
      Carrying on the Southern literary tradition

      Southern literature: the very term defies restrictive definitions and yet it is a compelling and legendary presence on the world’s literary stage. Is it the collected works of authors born and raised in the Deep South — or is it sensibility, topic, pattern of speech and presentation?

      Mark Twain, considered by many to be the father of Southern literature, represents the characteristics that many people associate with the genre yet, although he often referred to himself as a “Southern writer,” his birthplace of Missouri is not traditionally considered to be part of The South.

      Insanity Gushes Forth

      by | 11, Add your Comment | May 29, 2010
      Insanity Gushes Forth

      From the opening paragraphs of a Time magazine article published Friday: “The top-kill procedure, which began at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 26, and was advertised as a 24-hour operation, will now, BP concedes, likely run through the weekend. That news came just a day after the company, which has spent the past month insisting that oil was leaking from the busted well at a rate of 5,000 bbl. a day, had to grapple with new government estimates that put the figure at up to a whopping 25,000. ‘This is clearly an environmental catastrophe. There are no two ways about it,’ Tony Hayward, the CEO of BP, acknowledged on CNN Friday morning, May 28. If that was not news to the residents of the Gulf, it seemed to be to BP, which had spent weeks arguing that the damage could be controlled and contained.”

      Out, Damn’d Spot!

      by | 5, Add your Comment | May 23, 2010
      Out, Damn'd Spot!

      One month after the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion, people are becoming increasingly enraged as ask why BP is still in charge of both the “response” and the flow of information. But as straightforward as it may seem for the government to “just take over”, the law actually prevents it.

      After the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, Congress decided that oil companies would be solely responsible for dealing with major accidents. The laws were written and orchestrated by Dick Cheney and his cronies at his Mineral Management Service. As White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said “There are no powers of intervention that the federal government has available but has opted not to use.” They are bound by the Law of Cheney.

      Loss and Lunacy in the Gulf

      by | 5, Add your Comment | May 20, 2010
      Loss and Lunacy in the Gulf

      I don’t understand this. I have turned the situation “twenty ways sideways” in my mind and yet I still fail to comprehend the US government’s reaction to the Gulf oil catastrophe. Why, given their dismal (some suggest criminally negligent) practices thus far, are we allowing BP to hold the reins of this runaway disaster? Why does the government lend any credence to BP’s self-serving public relations (stock value saving) prattle about the safety of dispersants, the magnitude of the environmental impacts and the basic figures regarding the amount of oil that’s gushing into the Gulf per day?

      Dante Revisited: That sinking feeling

      by | 0, Add your Comment | May 18, 2010
      Dante Revisited: That sinking feeling

      “I say, what a stained and ugly kitchen sink have we!” said Alex. “I shall replace that unsightly thing forthwith for I am The Lex and able to master all trades with but a flick of my extraordinarily capable brain and highly-toned muscles”.

      And thus our naive heroine sallied forth (with her brave hearted spouse in tow) to the local hardware establishment whereupon she emptied her pockets and paid a usurious price for a granite sink, faucet assembly, drain enclosures and a mind boggling assortment of garburator accoutrements.

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