Update:CNN woke up a couple of hours ago and is now reporting live from Brattleboro, Vermont.  I’m hearing that the flooding in Vermont is massive and tragic.  Hopefully we’ll know more tomorrow.

Vermont is washing away while CNN is covering Chris Christie’s umpteenth press conference and MSNBC is back to weekend crime shows. Bridges washed out, people swept away, hundreds of houses flooded. The Ottauquehee River at my home in Woodstock is at least 15 feet above normal, neighbors below have been evacuated. All of Wilmington is reported as being almost completely underwater

Oo. Oo. I wonder if the Simpsons are on tonight?

I spoke at the last Bioneers conference in New Bedford, Massachusetts, talking about the Deepwater Horizon blowout and the lessons we didn’t learn from that catastrophe.  The Marion Institute, which holds the conference, recently put up a video of an interview that I gave when I was there.  The subject is still timely, in my view.  Have a look:



Even though I’m currently stranded in Denver, I’ve been on Facetime with my wife, Gracie, who’s at our home in Woodstock, Vermont, riding out what’s left of Hurricane Irene as it continues its journey north through New England. While everyone down south is celebrating the lack of damage, New England is dealing with rainfall that it’s simply not equipped to handle.  Gracie has been sending me videos and pictures from our windows and nearby our house.

We have been watching flooding in houses built in the early 1800’s, which is tragic, but the scary thing has been the flooding of the local propane company facility, which has turned loose dozens of huge propane tanks, all floating down the river, releasing propane into the air as they float.  Read the rest of this entry

The Toll of Endless War

This week, Navy Seal Petty Officer Jon Tumlinson, killed in the tragic attack on August 6 that killed 30 of our brave servicemen, was laid to rest at a funeral in Rockford Iowa.  His chocolate labrador retriever, Hawkeye, lay next to his casket the entire service.  Read the rest of this entry

Are We The People Ready for Hurricane Irene?

At this hour, rain bands are coming ashore at Nags Head, North Carolina.  The main body of the storm is expected ashore between 2 and 6 am eastern time.  This massive storm is then forecast to run north up the East Coast of the US, crossing Washington, DC, Delaware, New York and Philadelphia, then up into New England and back into the Atlantic over the Maritime Provinces of Canada.  I’ve kept the television on all day with one eye on the the stock market and the other on hurricane coverage.  The weather coverage, at least on NBC, has been very good (compared to past storms) without most of the silly hyperbole and running around trying to find some wind to stand in for a breathless on-scene report.

My big concern, though, is, are we prepared for a storm that could disrupt the lives of some 65 million Americans?  Can we respond as a society to this kind of threat? Read the rest of this entry

A World Without Armies

Recently, to unwind after several months of a crazy busy work schedule, I participated in a weekend workshop to learn about Asian calligraphy.  I certainly wanted to learn about calligraphy, in which I have had an ongoing interest, but really wanted to meet the scheduled teacher, Kazuaki Tanahashi, a well known calligrapher, artist, Japanese scholar, and peace activist.  His most recent book, Treasury of the True Dharma Eye, is an English compilation of the complete works of 13th century Zen master, Eihei Dogen.   Read the rest of this entry

Welcome to this small planet

I was 7 years old when John F. Kennedy took office on January 20, 1961, and he is the first president who I actually remember; I have memories of the grainy television images of his speeches, his trip to Ireland and Berlin, his press conferences where he good-naturedly sparred with the press.  I remember the tour of the White House Jackie gave on national television; I remember when JFK announced the formation of the Peace Corps; his challenge for us to go to the Moon, and the dark days of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  I also have seared into my brain his assassination, and how unsettled and fearful I was after.  I remember, while at recess, watching Air Force One fly over my school in Fort Worth on its way to Dallas that fateful day; I remember precisely where I was (my fifth grade class), and who burst into the class room yelling that the President had been shot (Steve Ellis), and listening to the radio broadcast over the p.a. system as my principal, Mr. Couch, held the microphone next to the am radio speaker so we could all hear.  The images of the next few days are as stark now as they were then; I still hear the echoes of the drums and the clip-clop of the horses’ hooves as his funeral procession took JFK to Arlington National Cemetery.  I remember Jackie, Teddy, and Bobby lighting the eternal flame.  I still visit the Kennedy graves whenever I’m in Washington.  Somehow, those visits help keep me connected to those days, long ago.

But of all those memories, one has struck a chord within me even after all these years.  It is from a speech JFK gave June 10, 1963 at the commencement ceremony at American University in Washington, DC.  It was one of his most well know speeches where he described the dangers of communism and the cold war, but also talked of tolerance and acceptance of diversity.  Here’s a short excerpt from the speech:

“For, in the final analysis, our most basic
common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe
the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all

Those words were no more true than right now.  Even though JFK was talking at the time about the cold war and communism, his words apply even today to serious issues concerning tolerance, equality, diversity, the environment, mutual respect and the nurturing of others.  They also remind us that, indeed, we are all mortal and have an obligation to leave this Good Earth better than we found it.

In that spirit, I would like to announce that I am undertaking a new effort, a blog called this small planet, where we will discuss these issues and others that are critical to us and succeeding generations.  In future posts we will be addressing the issues of energy policy, the environment and climate change, sustainability, and social justice.  As you’ve come to expect, my positions will not be based on dogma or ideology, but be fact-based, practical, and pragmatic.  I will attempt to reduce highly controversial subjects down to the key issues, combing through the emotion and rhetoric to get to the key points.  Unlike The Daily Hurricane, which is primarily a political blog, this small planet will deal more with long term issues rather than current affairs and news of the day. We won’t shy away from technical subject matter, and try to communicate complex issues in plain language.  this small planet will also become the forum and repository for all of my posts about energy and energy policy. 

For now, this small planet is a duo project between Gracie and I , but we will be bringing on other bloggers over time if doing so expands the conversation.  Oh, and for fans of The Daily Hurricane: have no fear, the intrepid bloggers at TDH will continue on, stirring the proverbial political pot and having fun; I will also continue my contributions there.

We are still in development at this small planet, and once we are up and running, we’ll have an official announcement.  In the meantime, please make yourself at home.



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