The Galactic Plane: Southern Skies for Peaceful People

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THE FRIENDLY DARK SOUTHERN SKIES

Milky Way southern hemisphere, revised picture

Milky Way southern hemisphere, revised picture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Northern Hemisphere we can see some stunning celestial objects; we can witness meteor showers and fantastic bolides and we can see rings around the sun and moon, which are caused by light reflecting from cirrus clouds (made of ice crystals). We can see planets, stars, and arms of our home galaxy; depending on our lighting and pollution conditions we can see dim stars, star colors, the Milky Way and the nearest galaxy to our own, Andromeda.

As children if we are fortunate we have telescopes and excellent binoculars with which to see the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter, the features on our Moon, and with proper filter protection, solar prominences and sunspots. We can pick out some of the better known constellations and asterisms, such as Orion and the Summer Triangle.

However, many of the sights people can witness in the celestial realm are seen only in the Southern Hemisphere. Certain supernovae for instance have been seen only from that part of the Earth, and some of the best dark skies in the world are in that hemisphere.

Wouldn’t it be great if the nations of the Southern Hemisphere engaged in eco-friendly peacetime deals and stopped their wars based on religion and grabbing power, in tearing down the forests and destroying the land? There is so much to marvel at and ponder if only the people of Indonesia, India, Africa and South America would lay down their weapons and quell their anger and just take time to gaze into the skies on clear nights.

What would they see? They certainly would see sights on a grand scale, such as we can see here if we are lucky.

Southern Hemisphere of Earth (Lambert Azimutha...

Southern Hemisphere of Earth (Lambert Azimuthal projection) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Americans are learning the benefits of having regions devoted to dark-sky observation, freed from development and away from the lights of big cities and industry. We know that reducing the amount of artificial light that enters our windows at night is beneficial for our health, but we still need street lights that are designed and efficient enough to direct light down instead of up and out. Better lighting would reduce greatly the amount of that awful “light pollution” that clouds the skies even dozens of miles away from cities.

Thus in areas with fewer cities and developments, such as are seen in some parts of the Southern Hemisphere, just think of the benefits the peoples could draw in by catering to people who want to see wonderful dark-sky conditions. Eco-tourism is growing in popularity, and there would be nothing better for some overworked city dweller to come to a quiet, dark, calm place, and get out there under the sparkling show of a velvety black panorama.

There would be globular clusters, galaxies, planets, stars, meteor showers, the spiral arms of our Milky Way; there would be constellations and comets to grace the eyes and the brains of astute viewers. What a place to hold a Messier Marathon an area such as India, Micronesia, Australia, Indonesia, and Easter Island would be!

What else would the peoples of the Southern Hemisphere see? Branch out for a moment from talk of the skies and the planets and think about what they would see in others and in themselves. They would see other human beings just as they are, they would see families and young children yearning for a chance to have peace and quiet and grow up in a place free from constant noise and lights for security and weapons discharging and waste ruining the streets and the atmosphere. They would see people yearning for freedom to enjoy nights in the countryside with their relatives; they would see people wanting time on their front porches to watch the meteors or watch the progression of the planets as their ancestors did centuries ago.

They would see more than a resource for bringing in serious bucks and for preserving their natural environments; they would see each other.

Galaxies in our own right are we humans; with so many parts but within each individual, within each person there are opportunities, there are chances and there is potential. We are stardust each one of us; we are made of the universal elements born in supernovae. Our common beginning is up there and around us, in the cosmos, in the evolving universe, and in the stars our destiny is happening every second.

We can take notice of each other and with clear heads we can look up and help others do the same. Take the time, turn off the lights, go outside, be quiet, relax and breathe, and just look up.

Moon, Venus and Jupiter

Moon, Venus and Jupiter (Photo credit: harshanm)

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

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Gangs and Society: Take Responsibility; Take Your Communities Back!

GANGS GO AWAY… GANGS GO AWAY… PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY BEGINS WITH PEOPLE NOT LIKE YOU!

THEY THOUGHT….

Poor Hadiya. Poor young girl with so much potential… poor friends who huddled with her in the park just for shelter.

Mourn the reasoning for “gang turf” and “gang territory” that the news folks make so much out of in Chicago reporting these days. We certainly don’t need the mass media touting that at every turn, that “crossing gang lines” that only gives the gangs more attention and more focus. Mourn that those youth were in “the wrong place at the wrong time”.

And now on News Radio 780 WBBM we have Police Superintendent McCarthy of the CPD coming on and telling us that the young men arrested and charged with the murder of that aspiring and wonderful angelic young lady thought they were encountering members of a rival gang and so opened fire without another thought on the group, killing Hadiya. He says they thought they were seeing other gang members.

They thought. THEY THOUGHT? What in the world does he mean “THEY THOUGHT”? They thought, nothing. My five feet “they thought”.

THEY THOUGHT? IDIOTS! BULLIES! THUGS! DAMNABLE FOOLS!

Had they been thinking, well first they would not have been out there with those guns firing wildly into a group of kids just huddling in a park. Mistaken identity… some thinking they did. They thought, eh? They did no such thing, they were NOT thinking of anything but doing WHAT THEY WANTED.

That’s the way with such people, they do what they want with no consideration for others. And one of them should not even have been out on the streets, much less in possession of a firearm with which to terrorize others. And it is terrorism, folks, it is homeland terrorism, this business of gangs. They are homeland terrorists!

Some now say that the way to conquer this behavior begins with background checks. OH NO, FOLKS, not at all. It begins long before some sort of background check. It begins before someone can learn to spell “firearm” or learn what one is. If there are guns in the house, that should be part of what the parents teach the children, and it begins with being dutifully responsible for teaching that child what those instruments are for.

The way to a better society begins with everyone taking PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for their actions when they are of an age for normal, logical reasoning of right and wrong, good and bad, basic morals and actions and considerations and the principles of good citizenship. When someone is able to understand these aspects of living in a society then it is time to test what the child has learned in the way of being responsible for what he does and what he does to others, and learning how to act when someone does something to him.

When your child is of an age to understand that something will hurt someone else, or that “this is a good thing to do”, or that “you are not to use this unless it is for…”, then you start them out on the path to being a good citizen. You teach trustworthiness, accountability, honesty, respect for others, and in time, community service. That should be the goal of our education system in this nation.

They thought, hm. Well, our politicians are not doing much thinking either. They sure are doing a lot of talking and sitting around “looking into things”. But doing talking and sitting do not address the issues like ACTION does. We don’t have time for the politicians doing their thing to keep on wasting time and money and energy.

We have to act, we have to govern ourselves and our communities; we cannot wait for the elected officials to get busy on that. Government is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” So we as good citizens have to do the acting and the governing. You are not in control of the gangs – that is what the gang folks want you to think. But the gangs are nothing but cowards… they are armed cowards and they are bad, unfeeling, inconsiderate people, and that makes them dangerous. They are desperate for something, be it material gain, drugs, satisfying a habit attributable to greed or materialism or to get attention they otherwise miss somehow.

Gangs do not control you or me or us, they do not control the parks, schools, “neighborhoods”, street corners and stores. The upstanding people like Hadiya and her family and her nice friends are the ones who have the real control and who pay the taxes and who want to live and play in a better place. They want to learn and to work and to be good citizens; they do not want to be like those murderous thugs and fools who want to muscle in and terrorize others.

Do not stand for such behavior any longer. Come out of the woodwork, find out who these people are and what they are doing, what they want and why they are around. Move them out by force if you have to. Turn them in, SNITCH ALREADY! You might save a life.

And that life might be yours or your son’s or your daughter’s.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.

Gun Control:: One Class of Items in the Microscope of National History

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GUN CONTROL, GUN VIOLENCE, GANGS AND DRUGS, MASS KILLINGS… A LOOK AT THE SITUATION

The more we talk, the more the situations and violence, gang rule and drug issues will continue; talk is not action in the best sense of the word. Actual effort and getting to the job and doing the work is what matters once the talk is done. Talk up a storm; the gangs and criminals will keep working right on through those storms. Legislate, get together and “look into” the situations, send people out to “take a look at” the “neighborhoods” and then “make a report on their findings”. Keep right on doing the “studies”, and all you do is just as helpful as trying to find cures for cancer when the solution is to get rid of the chemicals that cause the diseases in the first place.

You can get rid of at least some of the guns and you can be rid of stock in gun makers and any support of gun manufacturers and those who put on the shows where background checks are not necessary. That means, as many officials have observed, that anyone can go to those shows and get any sort of gun they want.

Guns do not kill people; people kill people – that is the saying. It is true. But on to the rest of the topic………

Now the main issues is about “guns”… well, there are all kinds of what we can class as “firearms”. There is the .22, there is the Bushmaster, there is the cannon one of our neighbors used to fire off every July 4 from his front lawn. He would dress in period costume and shoot that cannon off right on schedule. Guns have been around for centuries, and they have basically one use and purpose. These weapons are, as any weapons are, meant to inflict harm, injury, damage and death, quickly and with pain. Death is never “instantaneous” and video games can in this respect be misleading to those who play them.

The idea that death comes to a human being as it does on a video game screen is ridiculous. Even using the most potent drugs, death comes in seconds or minutes, and the person so in harm and inflicted will feel something before the final moments arrive and vital functions cease. In the same idea, using a weapon loaded with dozens or hundreds of rounds is not going to bring death any faster; it will just make the plight of the dying more painful and just plain awful.

So we talk about the gun, and just think of how many varieties there are. As mentioned above there is the simple hand gun many people purchase for home or business defense, the service weapon law enforcement officials carry to their jobs every day as they defend our cities and borders, and the machine guns or “assault” weapons our miliary and SWAT teams use in their daily work. The latter have those high potency magazines these personnel need to discharge their jobs as they can be in hazardous territories where their opponents are armed with such things.

Lately in these gun turn -in events and gun buy -back events, someone turned in a missile launcher and at another event a rocket launcher. I wonder why someone would even want these anywhere near them or their families or neighbors, even as collectors items. I know people who have rid their homes of all weapons, no matter their value, and they feel better for being rid of these implements of destruction.

In an episode of EMERGENCY, a real nail -biter, the paramedics and fire department respond to a man injured when a weapon malfunctions and the round ends up inside of him. Dr. Brackett has to come out and perform emergency surgery on the man in the man’s own back yard as it is too dangerous for him to be moved. The bomb squad has to be called, and the responders note that the man has enough guns in his collection to start a war. Thus the man’s negligence ends up putting many more people in danger – the responders, his wife, his neighbors and friends. Now many people do not have collections that elaborate or potent, but I do know people who have home collections of firearms. I never felt safe around those homes; if people do not know how to properly maintain their weapons they either need to learn or get rid of them. The popular television show EMERGENCY! is about forty years old now but many of the episodes are relevant to issues going on today, and they are worth watching.

The NRA claims that the proposed bans on assault weapons will ruin our Second Amendment rights, but it will do no such thing at all. The ban is on one particular class of firearm, those meant to discharge dozens of rounds a second or a minute and inflict mass serious harm in schools, crowds, malls and the like. These guns end up in the wrong hand much of the time; I can see no need for such guns as a method of recreation.

There are better ways to have recreation, or if you would rather term it, RE -CREATION. Thinking of taking leisure in the view of the latter pronunciation might give you a different view of using high – powered machine -style guns at all, specially for hunting or for some other purpose of causing harm or pain on a living thing.

There is also the issue of mental illness and debating how it should be judged on that basis who should or should not have guns. Who has the right to judge in the first place, considering that everyone is to some degree mentally unstable. No one is what could be called “normal”, and at any rate who can judge or say what “normal” is. Everyone is so different, “diverse”, and individual that nothing is “normal”. There are those who are educated to discern “mental illness” and the degrees thereof, and volumes have been written on the varieties of mental disorders for centuries. We diagnose, treat, observe, maintain, and educate on mental disorders; but when it comes to referencing mental illness with the right to own a firearm, those who are legislating and asking for views from others must be careful. As far as we are able, we must be as a good judge should be: impartial, a good listener, not biased to one or another side or view or opinion, and patient enough to note the views of everyone who is participating in any organized debate on the issue.

The issues revolving (pardon the use of that word) around gun violence, gun control, law enforcement and FOIA cards and gun possession are complex, difficult, and hard to deal with. But deal with them we must as has been pointed out hundreds of times since the Sandy Hook massacre.

And now this week we hear of a bus driver in Alabama that was shot and killed by a man who then abducted a child from that bus. That idiot, that angry, that awful man terrorized others and refuses now to give up the child despite that he is sick and has called for his parents. I hope that the situation can be ended by non -violence but if it cannot then the assailant brought it down on himself; let us all hope the child will emerge safely from his prison and be happily reunited with his family.

Guns? Do we need them at all? Does anyone need them? To what degree do we need them around our homes and businesses?

Deep questions, and we must ask, ponder, think on and solve each one of them.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.

Domestic Affairs:: Americans Willing to Work… But Doing What?

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IMMIGRATION ISSUE REVIVES CONCERNS ABOUT DOMESTIC AFFAIRS?

Jobs, the economy, commerce, retail, the financial market, the service sector; all of these can be used to describe some aspect of our occupation with what we know as “work”. Of course doing work is just a matter of putting out effort for a purpose, a cause, the meeting of a goal. Work is the keelson of our nation, our real wealth in the matter of focusing action and the brain on disciplined activity in order to accomplish anything at all.

Now it is nothing the matter with someone coming from another country and wanting to work, to do something that Americans supposedly do not want to do. Our nation is built on foreign blood and on cultures and traditions and manners from all over the world. Still, there are American citizens, truly legitimately -born people within these borders who deserve every chance to get any kind of work before someone who is not a legal citizen has the chance to get the privileges that apply to honest to goodness American citizens.

As a word of caution and for the safety of women who are engaging in some risky behavior, beware of signs of “birthing houses” such as those recently discovered in California. There women come and they are paying thousands of dollars to have their babies in the United States. This presents health hazards for the mothers and the babies. SUppose something happened in transit from Asia or wherever the women are coming from. Can there be reliable help if something does go wrong? What if labor begins early, what if the baby has trouble, what if the mother has some kind of condition develop that required qualified medical help? Will it be there for them? And when they get to the birthing house, will there be qualified help for them if complications arise? Everyone who suspects there is a birthing house in their area should contact health departments and the law so that the place can be shut down, the women given proper help, and the need for birthing houses and those who run those schemes stopped immediately.

What do these women think that such a thing will do for family life? They might have their babies here but what about possible deportation and other problems? Some kind of family life that would be for those kids. They want to be citizens- come here and do it legitimately, and quit saddling true -born Americans with your problems, taxes, money issues, health and education issues and other situations. Not happy here- well go back where you came. Want to be happy here- get legitimate citizenship and do your part like every good American citizen is supposed to do. You might not be lazy; you might be industrious and willing to work, but don’t demand your “rights”. Like we do, you have to EARN what you get if you care at all about duty and responsibility. What sort of example do you think that just sitting around and demanding what you want will set for your kids?

Americans are not lazy… well, some might be, but then laziness has various and sundry causes and reasons and the like. But there should be no work that is “below” us to do. People for centuries have done “manual” labor, toiling, tilling, sewing, knitting, hewing, chopping, mixing, boiling, walking the borders, trudging the frontiers, making maps, painting and drawing for a building plan. We would not be a nation if everyone was some lazy bum; there are people who do honest, hard work every day and who are proud of that fact.

Firefighters and first responders do their work diligently; in Chicago there have been enough incidents in the past few years to make that clear. Transportation -related people do their work in so many ways: drivers educators, bus drivers, airline pilots, ship captains, makers of the implements these people use daily, such as tower ladders, airplanes, busses, trucks, ocean liners, freighters, semis, train cars and cranes. Construction workers start and finish homes, offices, apartments, condominiums, warehouses, airport runways, fire stations and police stations. We certainly have no lack of hard workers, dedicated people who clock in and out every day and have the goal in mind. From the ground up these folks are on the front lines of commerce and industry.

What is it then that Americans do not want to do, and why would we not want to do them? No job can be considered unimportant so long as there is a niche for it, a need for it, or an obviously visible sign that “something needs to be done”. Do we have reasons for not wanting to go into the farms and fields and pick fruits and vegetables? We eat them after all, so why not contribute to going out and getting them, preparing them for the table, and serving them? Do more than just consume, in other words; make an effort to the whole picture.

If we do not want to be domestics in a household, why would we not want to be? Those with certain lifestyles might require the assistance of capable men and women to make their household run efficiently, especially if they travel a lot, have young children but also have very busy business schedules, or have a large home that needs maintenance. It takes the right kind of person to be a “domestic interior maintenance engineer”. Not everyone can be a nanny, a maid or butler or chauffeur or gardener or good cook for a big household or one with heavy business or travel responsibilities. Caring for others is special; care giving is a big industry and should be supported.

Where does that leave those who beg on the streets for money and carry signs saying they will “work for food”? Laziness is it, or something else? Are they disabled, otherwise challenged, debilitated, or is it really laziness? Some of the guys I see around look perfectly capable of picking up tools and cleaning a park, a vacant lot, or a public pool. But do they find it easier to stand or sit on the streets and shake cups of coins? What do they with the money they get? Well if they are really hungry offer to buy them food; if they are not, forget about it and give your charity to someone who really wants it and will accept it gratefully.

Now if you are in a position to give people jobs, you can offer some of these people work. Talk to them respectfully, buy them a meal, offer them work and describe the terms. Sit down with them and listen to them and what they need. All they might need to cease their begging is someone to listen and to help them over a tough obstacle such as losing a job, a home, or a means of transportation. Listening is such a great tool for networking, and we can all slow down and listen to someone’s story.

What are you willing to do to make this nation better? Are you going to pick up a broom and dustpan, a rake, shovel, pickaxe, trash bags, gloves, a blower, a trowel, a hoe, something to plant a rosebush with? How will you make your community a better place to live and work and play?

There are ways… you just need to find one and go with it.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.

Corporate Blitz On Our Conscience: Negativity Clouds the Social Mind

UNDERLYING NEGATIVES: SUBTLE OR OVERT, THESE WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS CLOUD OUR “SOCIAL MEDIA”

Well, if you are as I am, you have had quite enough of certain words, hints, expressions and concepts clouding our airwaves lately. What have you heard enough of, and how has hearing such things affected you or someone you know or love or care deeply about or work with?

In 2012 hearing the expression “fiscal cliff” was enough, but added to that in Illinois people had to deal with “pension crisis”, “gang turf”, “gang rape”, and “foreclosure”. Sure these are all terms that can interrelate as concerns politics, economic situations, neighborhoods and communities, but please folks, must we hear about them EVERY DAY?

Will talking about “gun violence” do anything until we actually sit down with a plan and ACT UPON what is needed?

And what about “behavioral problems”? Well now, everyone has some degree of a “behavioral problem”, and certainly this ties into “gun control” and the Second Amendment chatter going on. We would do well with the types and amounts of handguns all ready in the marketplace and at those gun shows and in private collections. We do not need assault weapons or high powered guns that do nothing but make havoc and crisis and tragedy and suffering. Continue to bug the daylights out of your elected officials until they act to ban such weapons from our nation for good.

Foreclosure and the banks and AIG and the insurance crisis… oh poor us under the gun of corporate thuggery and our own tendency to greed, pride, showing off, materialism, envy and coveting. Pity us who are in such a vulnerable state of behavioral crisis, and the corporations know that and see it and use their tactics to act on our vices, enhance them and make them seem acceptable, wonderful, marvelous and great. So we want a home larger than we can afford because we think it will make us “look good” or “get ahead” with someone? We think the same about our clothes and cars and jobs and the schools we put our kids in.

Status symbolism is materialism and the Seven Deadly Sins rolled up into one concept. So what if you have a box seat at the symphony or can get your name on the list of the highest donors to some hospital or park or music center? Is your home free of leaks, holes, broken windows and an overgrown lawn? Then what do you need so many bedrooms, bathrooms, and thousands more square feet for? To show that you can have an indoor basketball court or pool?

And what is a car meant to do? It is meant to get you from point A to point B, plain and simple. What do you need in a car- a DVD player, an IPOD hook up, a cell phone link or a miniature movie theater? What do you need to keep your kids entertained on a road trip, some little electronic device that makes noise and is easily broken? Didn’t have those things when I was a kid on road trips. I made do with visual and intellectual games, reading or eating or just resting and enjoying the scenery. I played games like finding out of state license plates or considering the types of architecture I saw on those road trips. I would think about the changing landscape or skies or weather conditions. If I became uninterested in the outside I turned to actual BOOKS and stimulated my brain that way. I did not need movies, my own phone or miniature television to stay entertained. I would read the newspaper and discuss currrent events with my travel companions.

What about upholding the Second Amendment? Hear ye, NRA, just because someone talks about eliminating assault -style weapons from our shelves and stores does not mean a total push to get rid of our Second Amendment rights and privileges – now that latter words is the most important here, PRIVILEGE. It is a privilege to own a weapon; we have the right to do that, to protect our homes and businesses with them, but we also must learn how to use them properly and take care of them so they function properly. No one needs a military -style weapon, unless they are in the military and are fighting in some situation where the potential of having to use dozens of rounds at a time might be necessary. You do not need one of those AR weapons or M weapons to go hunting or protect your home or property. Any gun will do the job, after all it only takes one right shot to do the work.

For the rest of the negatives, how about “the flu”, or “food stamps” (especially hearing that millions of American kids rely on them), or “the government”, or one of the worst but most widely accepted is “social media”.

Now, all media outlets are in a sense social. The “mass media” are meant to draw people together to interact on certain events and concepts, to get us to think about something in a herd instinct mentality or to talk about issues of national or global importance, or at least what some news producer think is important, valid, or worth our time to see or hear. The private electronics world of the I -devices is social and yet it is antisocial. Through the pods and pads and tablets and readers people can chat, text, go to the Web, research, share data, look at electronic books and articles, and do business networking. That is the social/ society/ group aspect of those forms of sharing and media. These forms of expression and media become antisocial by… well, just look around next time you are on a city bus, waiting at a train or bus station or airport. How many people are silent, some with blank or glazed expressions, sitting or standing near you and others, holding on to those little devices as though they were platinum bars or something so precious that it would be a disaster to lose them? There they are with those cords hanging from their ears, wound around arms and hands, and sticking out of pockets, perfect targets for criminals who will think nothing of shoving that inattentive music listener to the floor and making off with that phone, pad, pod, tablet or reader and leaving them in whatever state they happen to be.

What else is negative, well anything dealing with our United States Congress, that is for sure. Anything about the Speaker of the House, the Senate, the House, any of them, I can do without. Anything about Syria, Israel, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Egypt I can care less about at this time. We need to focus on getting our own country, the UNITED STATES, not only back together but actually UNITED, thank you. No more money for foreign nations, not one cent. No more military support for them either, not one person or cent or plane or bomb until these folks can learn to take care of themselves instead of having us babysit and protect and train them. These countries were around long before America was even a thought, so let them deal with what they will. Let us turn to taking care of our own; it is long past due that we do.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.