Antarctica drilling? Not!

I just wrote a newspaper column about the Antarctica Treaty. It was the first treaty of the Cold War. It was initially signed by 12 nations, including the U.S. There are now 54 nation signatories, and counting. The treaty specifies no nation, at this point, can “own” any part of Antarctica. But the nations can set up research station to do environmentally, non-invasive research. And part of this research, at this point, is how global warming is effecting Antarctica. (Read: thawing, with an exponent.) But some, unbelievably, see this as a good thing because it makes the region more accessible to drilling for fossil fuels and the like — when nations start jockeying for ownership. I note in the column that when you put CO2 and CO2 together, you get: idiocy. Burning fossil fuels is accelerating rising sea levels, massive forest fires, super charged hurricanes and typhoons, drought and famine in more arid countries, thawing in the polar regions… The latter being ‘the canary, or rather the penguin, in the coal mine.’ We would do well, and our administration would push for this, to leave Antarctica what it currently is: the world’s largest nature preserve. And we would do well, concurrently, to start sacrificing much more when it comes to cutting back on energy use, while ramping up alternative energy sources. That is, if we’re interested in being good environmental stewards — the way God might see it.

Violence in Mexico…

Mexico. The last two years have been the bloodiest to date there. A lot of it is attributable to turf wars between drug cartels. In the ultimate Catch 22, President Andres Manuel Lopez recently created a new National Guard with some 70,000 troops to combat this. But with pressure from the Trump Administration, many of these troops have been diverted to deal with immigration enforcement issues. Here’s the rub… It’s America’s demand for illegal drugs on “…this side of the border,” that is largely fueling the creation of these drug cartels that, by extension, are also creating mayhem south of the border. To come at this systemically, and with common sense, our administration would ramp up drug prevention and rehabilitation programs in America by a factor of 10. And concurrently, we would also ramp up, exponentially, U.S. DEA intelligence to Mexico to help rein in the current cartel activity. It’s time to own our responsibility for this in regard to creating the demand for the drugs. That simple. Note: On a campaign stop in Las Cruces, New Mexico, I interviewed a sheriff who is in on some of the big drug shipment busts at border crossings there. But he said he’s also helped start a local D.A.R.E. Program, to help prevent drug use among the youth — because he realizes what I wrote about earlier in this post. *For a look at what needs to happen multi-dimensionally to tremendously cut down on illegal drug use and addiction in America, see…

‘Sports Person of the Year’

photo by Joe

I’ve just picked my local “Sports Person of the Year” for one of the area newspapers I write for. The boy is a senior at Ada High School, has a mild form of autism, and gets in games, occasionally, toward the end — if the team is winning, or losing, by a lot. He’s played football, basketball, and baseball since he was quite young. And even though he knows he’s not going to get in the games much, he, nonetheless, gives it 100% at practice. One of his coaches told me the boy is an “absolute joy” to be around, and consistently brings everyone’s moods up. The true character (Notre Dame University student) in the movie “Rudy” comes to mind. We could learn from these guys, well, more than we often do.

human trafficking

…from a local high school student’s display board on human trafficking

I am writing a newspaper article this week on human trafficking. It’s now a $150 billion industry world wide, and growing. Kids, and adults, are trafficked for sex, for cheap labor… Talking to a local Command Task Force Director, he said he worked on a case several years ago where a number of Chinese people, over time, were lured to a Chinese restaurant in southwestern Ohio (Mercer County) with the promise of a “fair wage.” However, when they got here, their documentation was taken away by the restaurant owner, they were forced to work 16 hours a day, sometimes more, for $50 a week. And they, some 40 of them, were put up in one home the restaurant owner also owned. The detective said that this, in essence, amounted to indentured servitude. This also goes on with child labor, a lot of times in Third World countries. As president, I’d robustly tackle this, to get as many kids, and adults, out of harm’s way as possible. It is such a tremendously nefarious web.

campaign strategy, and…

photo by the candidate

Catching up… I’m writing this on Dec. 2. And yes, my campaign sign is still up. And no, I’m not waiting on any recounts and/or favorable court cases. I’m actually waiting for Dec. 14. This is the day designated for electors to officially file their votes in their respective states. So… What if between now and then, there’s this HUGE epiphany throughout the country that I am, indeed, the best candidate — and all these electors jump ship and vote for, well, me? It could happen… You know, after giving a talk at Antioch College during Campaign 2000, a professor there referred to me as a “cockeyed-optimist.” She was right…. However, while waiting for my tremendously surprising victory, I still have to, well, put food on the table –and keep up my “populist” image. So to that end, my son Jonathan and I have just finished a porch painting project on a big, 100-year-old rather stately home on Main Street in Bluffton. Came out pretty nice, actually. They don’t call me “Joe the Painter” for nothing… Speaking of Jonathan, when he’s not painting, he’s playing soccer. In fact, he was just named to the 1st Team All-State in Division III Boys High School soccer. Quite an accomplishment… On the small town journalism front, I did, among a number of stories, a nostalgic piece on an old, rather iconic, Marathon Gas Station in a neighboring town. It’s no longer there, except in folks’ memories and old black & white photos. It was referred to back then as a “full service gas station.” That is, besides a full-time mechanic, high school boys would greet you when you pulled up, pump your gas, wash your windshields, and check your oil. The station was in operation during the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. And speaking the 1950s, we might want to consider recapturing some of the ethos (wholesomeness, etc.) of what that was all about. Our campaign things so. See…

one global warming solution

I heard a news piece today that the world’s 1.5 billion cows are responsible for more global warming gasses (think: methane flatulence) than all the “cars, planes, and trains” on the planet! Wow, huh. What’s more, researchers have learned there’s this particular algae in a particular type of seaweed, that can neutralize a lot (up to 98%) of this flatulence/methane by adding just 1% of it to the cow’s feed. Our administration would, indeed, push for more of this, including helping subsidize “seaweed farms” that are starting up to grow this stuff across the country. In tandem, we would also point out that the current amount of meat consumption in First World countries, in comparison to, say, Third World countries, constitutes a tremendous amount of “gluttony,” one of the seven deadly sins. Our administration would call for reigning in some of this meat consumption, while ramping up more plant based diets. (You couldn’t legislate this, but you could encourage it.) Not only would this be healthier for individuals (and concurrently cut down significantly on healthcare costs), but it could open the door to providing a lot more food security help for those in the Third World. That is, it takes, for instance, a phenomenal amount of grain and water to produce just one pound of meat. By shifting our diets, we’d save money — creating the potential to help more in the Third World. What’s more, as stated earlier, this formula would also cut down significantly on global warming gasses. For a look at a Foreign Policy that embodies the ethos of this, across the board, see…

Homeless for the Holidays

…at the shelter photo by Joe (pre-pandemic photo)

I did an update article on a homeless shelter called City Mission in nearby Findlay, Ohio. (I did the initial article some three years ago.) The title of that article that came out last week: Homeless for the Holidays. The shelter has a capacity for 109 people — singles, families, etc. What’s more, people can stay up to nine months, or sometimes even more. And the facility offers a creative amalgam of addiction recovery options, mental health counseling, education, job training… It’s actually a pretty comprehensive safety net — and the facility takes no federal/state funds. It’s Christian based and relies on donations from local churches, from individuals, and so on. Note: Our administration would use this program as a model that could be replicated in every county in the country. Instead of “three hots and a cot,” as it is colloquially referred to, it’s these types of comprehensive programs that go a long way in helping those who want it, really get back on their feet. For a look at other models we’ve researched across the country to help people get out of poverty in general, see…

small town belt tightening…

The other night, I attended a Public Hearing on a new budget for fiscal 2021 for a small town in the area. The overall amount the village has to work with is $6.9 million. (There’s a population of about 4,000 people.) The village fiscal officer did a power point presentation, explaining the various budget categories. She said for the past two months she has been meeting with village department heads to go over projected expenditures with a fine tooth comb, so to speak, to cut what can be cut and stretch what can be stretched. I’ve gotten to know her over the last year through my reporting, and she, indeed, has an eye for detail and is tremendously prudent. What’s more, there’s a good bet the village won’t spend more than it has… Now, we’re currently over $20 trillion with the National Debt. One, most likely, that our kids are going to inherit. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have one of these small town, prudent fiscal officers in D.C. going over the budget? I think so. And our administration would bring one in. For more on our campaign’s take on this…

Amy Coney Barrett …a local perspective

Amy Coney Barrett ….Catholic News Agency photo

I interviewed a local college law professor for a newspaper article that, in part, dealt with the recent Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings. She teaches Research & Writing classes, Legal Problem Solving & Analysis classes, and so on. She said she was not only ultra-impressed with Ms. Coney Barrett’s knowledge of legal cases across a broad spectrum, but she was just as impressed at her “poise” in dealing with the barrage of questioning. What’s more, when this local law professor was asked about the Democrats threat to “…pack the court,” she said that would be fraught with problems. The most obvious being that each time partisan power shifted on a federal level, the party in power would then be tempted to “…pack the court” some more. This, of course, could get quickly out of hand.

Veterans Day 2020

photo by Joe

For Veterans Day, I went to a local assisted living facility to cover a ceremony there for the newspaper. A number of guys from the American Legion Post here had come out to the facility where they did a Flag Raising Ceremony, said a prayer around the flag pole, and then met with some of the veterans staying at the facility. We owe these veterans so much. And a section in our position paper on the military (*See section #11) outlines exactly what our administration would do for these veterans as a show of gratitude.