When one butterfly flaps its wings…

For Earth Day, I wrote a newspaper article about Bluffton University’s Sustainability Club. The students got a campus restaurant to ban non-biodegradable plastic straws, they are lobbying for food composting at the cafeteria, they are proposing an “Energy Savings Challenge” between dormitories… I ended the article by posing: Can one small university in Northwest Ohio save the entire planet? A proverb: A lone butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world can set in motion a chain of events that can, ultimately, cause hurricane force winds in another part of the planet. For more on our platform on the environment, see…

Treatment in lieu of incarceration

Ohio District 4 House of Representative’s

I attended a keynote speech at a Criminal Justice Education Conference at Ohio Northern University. Representative Robert Cupp said the House was working on a bill to make 4th and 5th degree felonies misdemeanors in some cases that involved drugs and alcohol. He said the prevailing thought is that ‘treatment in lieu of incarceration’ is often better for the criminal, and the community. The belief is that if the drug and/or alcohol problem isn’t dealt with, the recidivism rate will continue to be high for addicts/alcoholics. I would agree. For more on my take on addiction in society in general, see…

Is our country “full”?

Brittanica.com photo

Just this week I interviewed a woman who came to the U.S. from Jalisco, Mexico in 1999. At the time, she was a 23-year-old single mother of two young children, and her husband had left them. As with many place in Mexico, Jalisco had a lot of poverty and this woman was struggling to provide for her kids. Her sister had immigrated to the U.S. several years prior, and had started a Mexican restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. The young mother joined her sister, worked hard in the restaurant, learned the business, and eventually opened her own restaurant in a small town in Northwest, Ohio. It’s a great restaurant. Her business employs a number of local people. And she is active in her church and the community. In other words, she’s been a real gift to our country. Note: As I write this, Trump is saying our country is “full.” My take is, it isn’t. And, in fact, we could use a lot more people like this woman. For our position paper on Hispanic Immigration, see…

“Lest we forget…”

While the other campaigns were doing the $1,000 a plate fundraisers, and such, I was doing a $1.29 McDouble and passing out campaign literature in the Ottawa, Ohio, McDonald’s one Friday night recently. It was also here that I met Vietnam Veteran Bill Ranes. [He had just been featured in the high-gloss national magazine titled: Vietnam.] The story was about he and seven buddies going on a “suicide mission” to get the body of a fellow marine killed in a battle earlier that day. And against all odds, they were successful. These guys risked their lives for others, for us, and I believe we should do everything possible to make sure they are now taken care of. For more, see our position on the military (look for the subsection on: Veterans Affairs)

Saving old-growth forests

I was reading part of this book tonight for research. It noted that in the early 1980s, only 18,000 acres of old growth redwood forests in California were left — down from a high of 200,000 acres. (And the guess is it’s even a lot less now.) Besides a considerable amount of logging, the book noted that in the logging areas, thousands of footsteps (from the loggers, and such) have trampled vegetation and compacted the earth so that new trees can’t seed… On a west coast research trip, in Brookings, Oregon, we interviewed a “forestry technician” who opined that we leave the old growth forests (redwoods or otherwise) alone, log others, and what’s more, start providing governmental subsidies for more tree farms. He said, currently, forestry technicians like himself are busy trying to reverse some of the latter environmental damage, while yet others are continually monitoring endangered species in the old-growth forests where the logging is going on. He added that common sense would say that if you leave the old-growth forests alone, it would free up a lot of this manpower and, well, keep the old growth forests healthy and intact. For our position paper on the Environment, including a section that addresses this kind of ‘arbor issue,’ see…

…just back from the border

Joe talks with Mr. Fitzimmons in Bluffton’s Twisted Whisk Cafe

Brandon Fitzimmons was just back from the southern border when I met with him. Mr. Fizimmons works with a Jesuit non-profit that has set up a Soup Kitchen and shelters for immigrants stuck in Mexico, trying to get into America. He said the situation, in no way, was “black and white” on the border. While there may be some drug cartel people, and such, many of the people there are legitimately fleeing dire poverty and just as legitimate violence, Mr. Fitzimmons said. He also said it’s essential to “humanize” the situation and deal with it in all it’s complicated gray areas. Note: Mr. Fitzimmons said he wasn’t going to vote in Campaign 2016 because none of the presidential candidates matched up with his core beliefs across the board. I did. And when he found out about my campaign, he said: “I turned my no vote into a Joe vote.” I, of course, liked that. Note 2: I am currently vying for the nomination of the American Solidarity Party. The Party’s core values do, indeed, match up with mine across the board.

Seamless transportation?

blogs.voanews.com photo

“Leave the driving to us…” I was readin part of the book A Century of Graphic Design this morning. In a section titled: Design for Transportation, it noted how one transportation company wanted to portray their mode of transportation as a “seamless and efficient system.” My wife Liz, as a public relations consultant back in New Zealand, worked on a campaign to inspire more people to ride the bus to work, and so on. The ad campaigns revolved around saving money, being more environmentally friendly, foregoing the hassles of parking… It only worked, in part. People, many people, are addicted to their automobiles. That simple. In fact, how many would seriously consider, even for a minute, taking, say, a Greyhound bus on vacation? Not many. New Green Deal, or not, we need a major paradigm shift when it comes to transportation in this country. And our administration would have some cutting edge ideas…

a new “old” agricultural paradigm

This book notes that we need a “…plant-soil partnership that improves the productive and protective qualities of the farm.” I recently interviewed a philosophy professor at Ohio Northern University who teaches a “Food Ethics” class and questions whether this is the dominant paradigm anymore. For example, he discusses with students that many modern artificial pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, while helping with growing cycles in the short term, tremendously damage the soil in the long term. On a research stop at an organic farm in Yorkshire, Ohio, Dan Kremer also explained to me that these toxins also get absorbed in the plants, and by extension, people consume them in their foods. Our administration would create incentives for much more organic growing. The following is a link to the article I wrote about the Food Ethics class…

This might sound ‘corny,’ but…

a slice, or rather a ‘stalk,’ of Joe’s agriculture research notes

Corn is the most produced crop in America, coming in at about $24 billion a year. There are a significant amount of U.S. government subsidies for growing corn. This, for one, creates an unfair advantage against small farmers in other countries trying to sell to markets that the U.S. is also competing in. “America strong!”? Hardly. American greed. Secondly, and this is fascinating, I just interviewed a professor of philosophy for a newspaper article. He teaches a “Food Ethics” class. He said with this “glut” of corn, food producers have, in turn, come up with multiple uses for it — including a WHOLE lot of corn syrup that goes into practically everything these days. This syrup, in turn again, then becomes addicting to many. Look around. Some 66% of Americans are now overweight, with 33% being considered “obese” –with all the attendant healthcare issues, and such. This corn syrup thing is part of it. Note: In regard to the first point raised above, the Catholic Rural Life Association, as an example, notes their “faith traditions” commands care for “poor and vulnerable people.” And they support policies that promote local “food security” in the U.S., and around the world. So, through government subsidies and a substantially bigger farm, I’m able to undercut a small farmer in, say, the Honduras, who is selling to a local market to be able to provide, at the very least, just the basics for his family. Is this a moral issue? Well sure it is. For a look at how our administration would adjust America’s agricultural paradigm to align it much more with the common good, for everyone, see…

‘Water, water, everywhere, but…’

Jesus said: “And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded…” This National Geographic magazine notes, among a whole lot of things, that one in eight people worldwide don’t have access to clean drinking water. We in America do. So… Our administration’s foreign policy would include lobbying to mobilize a sweeping Water Conservation Initiative across America. This would include the likes of way more home cistern systems, rain barrels, low flow toilets, landscaping that needs less water… to name just a few strategies. Concurrently, we would set up a fund designated specifically to get way more “clean drinking water help” into the Third World in the form of well water projects, cistern systems for storing water, solar ovens to heat water to kill the pathogens… At an Alternative Energy Fair in Custer, Wisconsin several years back I attended a Solar Oven Seminar. It was explained that an adequate solar oven for heating the water, cooking food, would cost as little as $10. Note: We are so often caught up in promoting “American interests” worldwide, that we lose sight, perhaps, of “God’s interests,” which, I’ve got to believe are represented quite simply in the quote at the top of this. This is how you: ‘Make America Great Again.’  And by extension, apparently, part of how you get to Heaven.