Archive for December, 2007

Bono on Al Gore

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 27, 2007 by Frizz

Al Gore: Nobel laureate, minding the environment

Bono reflects on the runner-up to Time’s Person of the Year

Time, December 19, 2007

By Bono

As 2007 closes and 2008 begins, one of the great questions that hangs in the cynical European air is how America will carry itself in the world next year. From the outside, the coming election seems less about “the economy, stupid” and more about America’s role in the future of the planet. I think it’s even deeper than that. I think this election is about how America sees itself. That’s not really an existential question, or a spiritual one; mostly, it’s a practical question. In this election year, Americans are looking for leadership that can turn spiritual yearnings into practical realities.

Al Gore is the kind of leader these times require. Not as President — God and the Electoral College have given him a different job. As it happens, Al is at work repositioning his country from the inside out as a leader in clean energy; and along the way restoring faith in the U.S. as a moral powerhouse that can lead a great, global spiritual revival as the temperature rises.

That’s right, a spiritual revival. Because this apostle of all things digital is the first to admit that technology alone will not reverse the damage done. He says it’s going to take “a shift in consciousness.” This isn’t loopy Sixties stuff, or I wouldn’t tune in. Al is tough-minded. He marshals history to make his argument, and countless examples of civilizations changing course and attitudes midstream roll off his tongue.

For Al, 2008 is a rendezvous with destiny and an appointment with the enemy. The foe he sees is our own indifference to the future and a lack of faith in our ability to do anything about it. He stresses that through crisis we can find opportunity. His language is pretty Biblical, but, then, doesn’t the Bible say something about floods? He is like an Old Testament prophet amped up with PowerPoint and an army of the world’s scientists at his disposal. The right response to the global-warming crisis, he explains, will be a mosaic of solutions that will kick off a whole new economic boom, one that is low-carbon and high-productivity, with truly sustainable development, and an atlas for planet management — using not New Age technology but old age wisdom generating sustainable solutions.

Is he Noah or are we King Canute? Are we prepared to make difficult choices on behalf of children not yet born? We cannot let the children of the developing world become canaries in the coal mine. If the tide should rise by 3 ft. (1 m), there could be over 100 million climate refugees in low-lying areas such as Bangladesh. If the tide rises 20 ft. (6 m), it’s not just the summer homes of rock stars that will take sail; 400 million poor people could be uprooted and at sea. And one man’s flood is another’s drought: as coastal areas in Africa are drowned, travel inland and anything that isn’t underwater will be even more parched than before. Think Sudan. People forget that extreme poverty as a result of desertification explains much of that country’s travails.

Over the past year, “mild green” (me) and “khaki green” (him) have talked about how the fight against extreme poverty in the developing world and the struggle against climate change can reinforce each other. The poorest will be hit first and hardest by climate change. We can help them adapt, but they can help us, too. Vulnerable as the poor are, they can be powerful allies in stopping the cycle of environmental damage and extreme poverty. With the poor as partners we can slow overpopulation — as we must, because more population means more pollution. And we can help developing countries rev up their economies in a cleaner way than we did during the Industrial Revolution. The choices of the poor affect us, just as ours affect them; we are all part of one world, one moral universe, sharing one oxygen tank.

Desmond Tutu often uses the word ubuntu, meaning “I am because we are.” It’s my favorite epithet, an ode to interdependence. When I told Al that, he responded with Gandhi: Satyagraha, meaning “hold tight to the truth.”

Personally, I’m trying to live up to both words, but it’s hard. Like a lot of folks, I’ve got a lot on my plate without trying to make sure the dishwasher liquid is in a biodegradable container. (It is, but were it not for the eco-warrior with whom I share a bed, I would have fallen behind.) As Al leaves our house, I fall over myself to explain that my fancy car runs on ethanol, then laugh nervously, like when you meet a parish priest in the supermarket and it turns into confession.

Al isn’t like that at all. He leads from the front, and if some sheep in the family stray, he’s not stressed. He’s not a zealot. Leaders often shout orders; generals bark; bellicose preachers, to save our souls, get gothic on our asses. But Al speaks in measured tones. He shows slides. He has an almost embarrassing faith in the power of facts to persuade both believer and skeptic. His enduring and overarching trait is, as it turns out, the pursuit of truth…scientific truth, spiritual truth. That — and grace. Right now, he is an America the world needs to meet.

© Time Inc., 2007.

The Waterboys

Posted in YouTube with tags , , , on December 26, 2007 by Frizz

Money-Mad-Mile

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 23, 2007 by Frizz

Written by Steve Cooney c/o Liam O’Maonlai’s Myspace Profile

(I was told officially, when I went for tea at the Tara Tea Rooms grand
There was a major excavation, beyond my expectation, so I went with my cap in my hand…
And when I got to that Sacred spot, well, I could only admire the view
High above that money-mad-mile under the Tara sky so blue…)
.
When the earth sheds it’s skin, the energy within is unstoppable creative force
And if you’re driving a machine through the Tara-Skryne your race has run its course
We’re singin’ up the land, not afraid to take a stand to let Creation shine through
High above that money-mad-mile under the Tara sky so blue…

We’ve all been awoken, the Word has been spoken ‘Stop the work on the Money-Mad-Mile’
And people get ready, keep the Spirit steady, we gotta raise the roof up for a while
It’s the Spirit of the Land or the Plan of the Damned, and it’s a hell of a thing to do
But we’re gonna fly high above that money-mad-mile under the Tara sky so blue…

Do you hear the sound through the holy ground where the ancient Fianna sleep?
In their gravelly beds, the Spirits of the dead and the Lia Fáil weep
And wherever we rest, in this world or the next, we will have learnt a thing or two
High above that money-mad-mile under the Tara sky so blue!

The cynical-clinical clones of construction seem to think that we’re some kind of clowns
So we’ve got to pull together through this stormy weather
to make those money-mad-men back down
And if they take us all away, we’ll have to watch and pray
over this wreck of the Ship Of Fools
High above that money-mad-mile, under the Tara sky so blue…

There’s a solution to this cultural pollution that’s goin’ on in Gabhra green
Take the route to the West, the short road is best, no Toll through the Tara-Skryne
Born wild and free, people like me are not gonna see this road go through
And soon we’ll being flying high above that money-mad-mile under the Tara sky so blue…

There’s no need to panic, we’re a natural organic dynamic, rekindling the ancient fire
So politicians rethink, step back from the brink, and listen to the dawn choir
These are timeless rights, so we’ll sit here through the nights
and we will fight for what is true
High above that money-mad-mile under the Tara sky so blue!

Steve Cooney
4th July ‘07

Happy Christmas

Posted in YouTube with tags , , , on December 23, 2007 by Frizz

Happy Winter Solstice

Posted in YouTube with tags , , , , , on December 21, 2007 by Frizz

Life’s sweetest reward

Posted in Uncategorized, YouTube with tags , , , , , , on December 20, 2007 by Frizz

Way to go Jersey

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 17, 2007 by Frizz

N.J. Bans Death Penalty

Monday, December 17, 2007

Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed into law Monday a measure that abolishes the death penalty, making New Jersey the first state in more than four decades to reject capital punishment.

The bill, approved last week by the state’s Assembly and Senate, replaces the death sentence with life in prison without parole.

“This is a day of progress for us and for the millions of people across our nation and around the globe who reject the death penalty as a moral or practical response to the grievous, even heinous, crime of murder,” Corzine said.

The measure spares eight men on the state’s death row. On Sunday, Corzine signed orders commuting the sentences of those eight to life in prison without parole.

Among the eight spared is Jesse Timmendequas, a sex offender who murdered 7-year-old Megan Kanka in 1994. The case inspired Megan’s Law, which requires law enforcement agencies to notify the public about convicted sex offenders living in their communities.

New Jersey reinstated the death penalty in 1982 — six years after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to resume executions — but it hasn’t executed anyone since 1963.

The state’s move is being hailed across the world as a historic victory against capital punishment. Rome plans to shine golden light on the Colosseum in support. Once the arena for deadly gladiator combat and executions, the Colosseum is now a symbol of the fight against the death penalty.

“The rest of America, and for that matter the entire world, is watching what we are doing here today,” said Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo, a Democrat. “New Jersey is setting a precedent that I’m confident other states will follow.”

The bill passed the Legislature largely along party lines, with controlling Democrats supporting the abolition and minority Republicans opposed. Republicans had sought to retain the death penalty for those who murder law enforcement officials, rape and murder children, and terrorists, but Democrats rejected that.

“It’s simply a specious argument to say that, somehow, after six millennia of recorded history, the punishment no longer fits the crime,” said Assemblyman Joseph Malone, a Republican.

Members of victims’ families fought against the law.

“I will never forget how I’ve been abused by a state and a governor that was supposed to protect the innocent and enforce the laws,” said Marilyn Flax, whose husband Irving was abducted and murdered in 1989 by death row inmate John Martini Sr.

The last states to eliminate the death penalty were Iowa and West Virginia in 1965, according to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

The nation has executed 1,099 people since the U.S. Supreme Court reauthorized the death penalty in 1976. In 1999, 98 people were executed, the most since 1976; last year 53 people were executed, the lowest since 1996.

Other states have considered abolishing the death penalty recently, but none has advanced as far as New Jersey.

The nation’s last execution was Sept. 25 in Texas. Since then, executions have been delayed pending a U.S. Supreme Court decision on whether execution through lethal injection violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.