Author's posts

The Hidden Danger in Coal Ash The Selenium Wars – in the TN. Legislature.

This is up at DK now – not getting ANY attention, but it’s an important story – so Ill put it up here but don’t have time to edit.

Who knows how the polo ponies were killed in Florida?  

“An overdose of selenium is the probable cause of death of 21 polo horses in Wellington last week, the state veterinarian said today.”…

While a little bit of selenium may be health promoting, at amounts of just a little bit more, it becomes a deadly toxic.…

Aquatic selenium pollution is a global environmental safety issue. http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.u…

Kossacks have heard previously in many good diaries about  the Kingston coal ash disaster, including this one TOXIC BREW IN TENNESSEE: A look at what’s in TVA’s coal ash.…

There have also been diaries about the absurd things happening in the Tennessee legislature this year, particularly with guns…

and our water laws.

This Saturday is National Solar Tour Day

Saturday October 4, 2008.  solar tour logo

Solar homes, active and passive, all across the country are open to the public for viewing and learning about solar energy through the ASES National Solar Tour Day

To find a location near you, go to the ASES website.

Every year, the first Saturday in October is National Solar Tour Day, as part of National Solar Awareness month.

We’re participating for the second time.  Over the last two years we had more than 120 people from all over the state visit our partially earth sheltered, passive solar designed home, to which we added 4kw of photovoltaic panels in July,’06.

<solar panels looking NE

Dreaming the Future . . .or . . . My Life in Dreams

I’ve written here before about some of my dreams.  Here in which I was shown the Manhattan skyline in 1997 and  told that This Will Not Last.  And here in which I was given a glimpse of an American response to the Chinese – I hesitate to say threat, but maybe growth – huge growth – will do.

I apologize if this sounds crazy or if this offends.  These dreams may sound prophetic, and I may sound presumptuous to think them so.  Who am I to receive messages?  But some of the dreams I’ve had have spoken to me, down to the core, and have changed not just how I look at my life and my future, but how I live my life.  And how I see the future for all of us.  Me, you, the Chinese, the Mayans, my grandchildren, my dogs.  We’re all connected you know.

So here goes . . .  I’m going to relate only the dreams that have had a major impact on me. I’ll do this chronologically, and then (if I get to it) go back to talk about what I think the dreams mean.

When I was eighteen, I dreamed that the stars moved around in the sky very fast, a clear blue sky, and spelled out the words “NOW, Be in Rome”.  That woke me up and I had no idea what it meant.  At first, in my Southern Baptist turned Calvinist Presbyterian upbringing, I listened to see if my college roommate was still there, breathing in her bed across the room – or if other souls were ascending to heaven.  I had no idea what this dream meant for years, still am not sure.  But several years later, in talking about this dream with a close friend, he reminded me that I was a lawyer, that the seat of our legal system was Rome, and maybe the dream was telling me that that was where I needed to be in that point in my life.

I did not have another “speaking to me” dream again for nearly 30 years.  Then, in 1994, four years after my mother died, (killed horribly in a car accident – my father was driving –  when she was just 72), I had a long involved dream in which I was in a house with lot’s of folks, sort of camping out.  A friend came in saying “Did you see them?”  I go out and see arrows (spaceships?) headed to the earth.  In spite of this impending threat, there was a feeling of, even giddy, anticipation by some of the folks in the house (including my friend the Mad Kossack, sitting on a couch in a bright yellow shirt, with two other musicians).  In going around talking to others in the house I stopped by three people who had a little board with a spinner, (like a Richard Simmons diet wheel?)  saying “We’ve got to get back to the diet three cycles ago.”

Then the phone rang and my mother’s voice was there (in the dream), very strong, saying my name and “You know that I am here don’t you.”  It was the first time my mother had appeared in  my dreams since she had died.  But her voice was unmistakable and shocked me so much I almost woke up.  But the next thing I knew, in my dream, was that I was in my bed back in the room I grew up in, then the covers pulled me very fast under the bed and there I heard my father’s voice, in a very small feeble voice, calling my name, over and over, as if asking for help.  Just a few months later he had a series of heart attacks, and then a massive stroke.  I spent the next year of my life taking care of him, helping him to learn to walk and talk all over again, and then going with him into his death.

I write about that year with my father some in This Will Not Last, which is the next dream (it was really a vision in a meditation) chronologically.  For a year or so after this dream/vision, in my hour long Quaker meditations, I would receive messages (from my spiritual guides) about the future. “Save the Seed.” “Buy a Boat.” were the first two.  I had about 12 or 13 messages in all. I wrote them down in a little yellow notebook that I have somehow misplaced, but am confident that I can find.

Then the Chinese blurb.

Then, about six months ago, I had probably the strangest dream of all.  I dreamed I was in a graveyard at night.  Deep dark night, midnight.  I had the feeling that it was a graveyard in Central America, probably Guatemala (I’ve been to Guatemala.  We’ve got a good friend who leads a tour to Guatemala, which he calls the “Day of the Dead” tour, not the tour I’ve been on though.)

In my dream I, along with other people, am kneeling in front of a small headstone.  We’re all kneeling in front of small headstones.  Off to the left, behind me, in the periphery of my vision, is my son.  In front of me just beyond the headstone and a little to the right is a friend with flowing white hair.  She is telling me “You’re not kneeling down low enough.  You need to go all the way down.  You need to touch your head to the ground.”  This, with me on my knees bowing.  When my head did finally touch the ground, I had the immediate sensation that my head was suddenly wrapped tightly like a turban.  A small Mayan woman had attached herself to my head. And I could not get her loose.  I was upset because, as I said in the dream, I have to take my son for a job interview the next morning.

Next, I was in a bed sleeping, with the Mayan woman still attached to my head.  My son was in the corner of the room.  When I woke up, my son stood up and he was a beautiful young woman, in her early thirties and he/she said on leaving the room, “I can go to the job interview on my own.”

And then the Mayan woman unattached herself from my head and I got up.

So what does all this tell me . . about me . . about the future?

Some is pretty self-explanatory.  (This Will Not Last or the Chinese and the couch potatoes).  The Be in Rome dream I’ve explained and, at least for now, am satisfied with thinking it was a message related to my legal career, as I’ve had the privilege as a lawyer to do a lot of good stuff (class actions establishing rights to certain benefits under federal Medicaid statute, due process rights for welfare recipients, rights to equal protection for domestic violence victims, saving a wetlands).

Throughout my career I’ve felt the tug of the law and at other times the tug away from it.  I talk about this some in This Will Not Last.   I’ve spent the last seven years or so learning and doing environmental protection law.  I  think the message from the Mayan woman is that now I need to get back to the Earth.  And I think this is a message for all of us.  We need to go back to simpler ways of living, a simpler diet (3 cycles ago?), appreciation of the Earth, and not this civilized construct we’ve imposed upon it.  (Live more like the Mayans?).   Understand that we are all of one, a part of nature, not separate from it.  And I suspect there may be something more of the female than the male in this future.

A Retrospective on the Snail Darter and the Little Tennessee River Valley

Who Remembers the Snail Darter case?

Or the Crazed Rabbit that attacked Jimmy Carter’s fishing boat in the 70’s?

This is the tale of the tragic flooding of the Valley of the Little Tennessee River, the heroic folks who fought the TVA action, the creative lawyers and law students who won the precedent setting supreme court decision, the brave settlers whose farms were taken and the stoic Native Americans whose homeland it was before – and the roles of the snail darter and the crazed rabbit.  And how it all comes down to – you guessed it – politics.

I meant to write this a couple weeks ago, but got distracted by my own environmental activism, Sierra Club monthly and quarterly meetings, showing William McDonough’s great film the Next Industrial Revolution, Earth Day events, lobbying in the state legislature for an increase in the coal severance tax, and an on-site with some other activists and OSM of a mountaintop removal site.  

I originally thought I might tie this up with a message about activism to effect change.  Don’t know that I’ll make it to that point, as I am certainly demoralized recently about my own local efforts. And am ready to take a break in my garden for the summer.  Maybe that’s change enough . . .

But the story of the snail darter case is a great one . . .

This Will Not Last

Setting the Stage

In 1995-96, I spent a year taking care of my 84 year old father after he had a series of debilitating strokes.   He was paralyzed at first on the left side and lost his speech, but never his mind.  Over the course of the year, he learned to walk and talk anew, with my help 3-4 days a week. It was an amazing year for me – I think the best of my life.  

My father and I had been somewhat estranged for most of my adult life.  He had never understood (or approved of) my decison in my twenties to divorce or go to law school.  As late as 1988, when I was 42 and joined my husband in California where he had taken a very good job, Daddy had said “I don’t understand why she has to go out to California.”

But as I helped him regain his speech and walking, fixed his meals, watched baseball with him (he was a big Braves fan), helped him with crossword puzzles, and listened with him to his favorite music and books on tape, we became very close.  Then of course over the last few months when he started to go down again, managing the three other caretakers we needed for him, I felt like I was somewhat living his dying process with him.  I was with him at the end and as his body withered, I could feel myself going with him, into his pillow, into death.  

I don’t know how many others have experienced something similar at the loss of a close one, but I feel like I lived my father’s death with him – and then I came back, but was forever changed by the experience.  (I still feel that ability to be in more than one place at a time, to get outside my body and let my mind take me wherever I want to go, not bound by space and time, to go completely through something, and be on the other side.  The first time I described it to a friend in the first weeks after my father’s death was as the ability to feel that I was on the other side of a wall, that I had gone through the wall, at the same time that I was there on the other side talking with her.)

For some time after Daddy’s death, I felt very close to the spirit world.  I had a  vivid visit from my father the night he died.  Over the next several years, I took a further hiatus from practicing law and delved into a more mystical world.  I joined with some women friends, most of whom are artists, in weekly dream sharings and interpretation.  

For that period of time I felt that I was thinking in spirals, not in the logical, square boxes of a lawyer.  I had more vivid dreams and messages that began to appear to me in the weekly Friends’ meeting we had been attending for years.

Water Shortage Shuts Down TVA Nuke Plant

I posted this yesterday at Daily Kos – under a different title “Nuclear is Not the Answer”.  The pro- nuke shills immediately descended upon the diary and I’m only now coming up for breath.  Maybe some folks here will read it for what it’s about – our current (and future) shortage of cool water is a major problem for nuclear plants.

Here’s the diary:

Nuclear power is not the answer to global climate change. Other than the safety issues connected to nuclear waste, which are pretty well-publicized, there is a major problem with thermal load, which is not so well known.

Nuclear plants need cool water for cooling.  Hotter water temperatures in the Tennessee River this summer caused TVA to suspend operations at their Browns Ferry Plant.  Browns Ferry is downstream from 3 other TVA nukes which had already heated up the river to a point to prohibit further heating.

France and Germany have had the same problem – in the 2003 heat wave.  The rivers on which their nuclear plants were built were heating up beyond their environmental agenies’ standards for aquatic life. A choice had to be made between nuclear power and the health of their rivers and aquatic life. 

As folks who read the great diary this weekend on Atlanta’s water shortage must recognize, with climate change and rising temps, the cool water necessary for nuke plants will be a scarcity