UP BEAR CREEK
Exploring What it Means to Be a Patriot in the 21st Century
by Art Goodtimes
Apr 10, 2010 | 1391 views | 1 1 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PATRIOTISM … I’m not sure why Hurt Locker beat out Avatar at the Oscars, except that during a war it’s hard to reward an anti-war film when you have a gripping war docudrama in the running … While I’m not a believer that “patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels,” I do know that many good people have very conflicting definitions of patriotism. For my dad, he demonstrated his patriotism by flying the American flag in front of his home every day in California, where he lived. A practice I’ve since adopted, using his flag, when I get to spend a full day at Cloud Acre in Norwood … However, my friend and hard-working local Hardly Able [his pseudonym], has his own perspective.


HARDLY ABLE … Interesting saying: “Tactics makes a colonel, logistics a general” … In a logistical sense, the quality of our military and therefore of our national security is dependent on our standard of living and our economy as a whole. If we want the best educated soldiers in the world, then we need the best educational system in the world. If we want the healthiest soldiers in the world, then we need the best healthcare system in the world. If we want our future soldiers to be born with the least amount of birth defects and have the least amount of cancer, then we need the safest and least polluted environment in the world. So, first-rate educational, healthcare and environmental programs are the most important attributes of a country’s ability to compete economically in the world. I think it naturally follows that a country’s ability to compete economically in the world is also directly effected by these attributes. The above points might be typical of a moderate pro-business party stance … Another way of putting it would be that patriotic Americans support top-notch educational, healthcare and environmental programs, whereas traitorous right-wing Republican conservatives who hate America will fight tooth and nail to prevent these things from occurring.


COUNTY FISCAL CRUNCH … Ah, the Feds! You can see why Westerners don’t trust our inconsistent Big Brother. For decades, they give you money for all their land that’s tax-exempt within your county. And just a couple years ago our Congressionals were bragging about bringing over a million in new dollars to San Miguel County alone, as a kind of rural stimulus … Well, kiss that concept goodbye. The Interior Dept. just ate a big slice of Colorado rural county budgets for this year with a new interpretation of federal policy and law that means, in addition to slamming many rural counties in Colorado, San Miguel County alone stands to “lose” a million or more in revenue over the next few years … It was somber over at the county offices. Time to rethink our five-year departmental budget planning forecasts that already looked dire. I can see in the future that services which are no longer essential to the county’s statutory duties to the taxpayers may have to be cut back … Salazar, Udall & Bennet have stepped in, and they’re applying political pressure to examine this new BLM administrative ruling. We’ll see how effective they can be with leaders of their own party … Some folks I’ve talked to are blaming the state of Colorado for this federal payments mess-up. Meantime, whomever’s to blame, many rural counties like ours look to take a fiscal beating in 2011 and 2012, unless something is done. Will be looking into it.


SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN … The editorial in the April edition calls for Congress to give federal agencies greater authority to test and regulate chemicals. Why? Because of disasters like bisphenol A or BPA. It’s what they put in plastic as a building block back in the 1890s. In the ‘30s, it was identified as a mimic of estrogen and would bind to receptors like the natural female hormone. It wasn’t until the ‘90s that BPA was found to be an endocrine disruptor, and was soon linked to asthma, cancers, diabetes, heart disease and obesity … This past January the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning for parents not to put hot liquids into plastic baby bottles, particularly if scratched … It turns out low doses of BPA could be as dangerous as high doses … It turns out that “of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the U.S., only five have been restricted or banned. Not five percent, five chemicals … The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that 93 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPA by-products in their urine … The European Union has generated a list of suspected chemicals that need to be tested for human toxicity. Scientific American editorializes for strengthening the Toxic Substances Control Act with much-needed enforcement reforms. It sounds like something every American ought to pay attention to.


EARTH DAY … It’s that time. Brad Switzer’s infamous Stupid Band’s doing their twice-a-year big party gig (alternating with Halloween). They’ve a great following from all over the San Juans … Come dance Saturday night April 24th at the Turn of the Century Saloon & Dancehall at 121 N. 4th St. in Montrose (across the tracks from U.S. 50 going north).


THE TALKING GOURD


Optics


On Lori's porch are desert ferns,

two calicos,

some box tops,

an overflowing

litter box,

an arch, a chime,

some clementines,

a cluster of shattered

lightbulbs,

a couple of gutted

box springs,

a leaning stack

of magazines,

a bread machine,

a rusty stove,

some broken phones,

some busted pipe,

and off in a corner

beyond the yard,

the neighbors' goddamn clothesline.


-Wendy Videlock

Grand Junction

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Art Goodtimes
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April 16, 2010
oops, another typo in hardly able's essay. this sentence should read:

So, first-rate educational, healthcare and environmental programs are the most important attributes of a country’s ability to compete MILITARILY in the world. I think it naturally follows that a country’s ability to compete economically in the world is also directly effected by these attributes.