Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline!

NYT: Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline

This is news I have been waiting a long time to read.  Obama has vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline.  This is not only a great day for the environment, but a great day for our country as well.  Our President has made the only sane decision concerning this bill.

For those of you that aren’t sure why this is such a good day for our our country, here is one of the many articles that points out why Keystone XL was a bad idea:

The Pipeline From Hell

Werner Herzog and the Violence of Nature

My output has been a little slow the last two days due to a one two allergy punch of a high mold count and what is known in Texas as Cedar Fever.  I love nature, but sometimes she hates my shit!  I am a big supporter of protecting the environment.  I find the natural world fascinating, beautiful, and full of mystery, but I am under no illusions about the nature of nature.  Nature and evolution are a nonstop story of things killing other things.  Although I love to spend time in the outdoors I know that if I had to survive in the outdoors I would probably freeze, get dehydration, starve to death, drown, be eaten, or meet any other number of unfortunate ends.  When I went to snorkel at the great barrier reef last year they gave us a lecture before we left the boat about what could hurt you if you touched it.  The list was so long I just remember thinking, “well just don’t touch ANYTHING!”  The Australian beach and rainforest were also full of what not to do lists.  When I was at the beach on the edge of the rainforest there were all kinds of saltwater crocodile warnings.  Thinking about this tonight reminded me of Werner Herzog’s speech above.  This speech is from the documentary Burden of Dreams, which is about him making the movie Fitzcarraldo with Klaus Kinski.

Keystone XL and Its Corrosive Effect on Democracy

Keystone XL and Its Corrosive Effect on Democracy

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/javier-sierra/keystone-xl-and-its-corro_b_6606356.html

This is a great article about the realities of the Keystone Pipeline.  It is not only horrible for the environment,  devastating in its impact on climate change, but it should also be known that most of this oil would be sent overseas.

The Texas Hill Country, Nature Photography, and Hillingdon Ranch

SD02_8423Thunderheads-copy

On my kitchen table sits the book Hillingdon Ranch: Four Seasons, Six Generations by David K. Langford & Lorie Woodward Cantu.  It’s a book featuring astounding photography that deals with one family’s ranch in the Texas Hill Country, but also with the larger themes of nature and conservation.  At some point I want to write a comprehensive piece on this book, but I’ve been slow to, as the visual arts, and photography especially, are not ones that I am as intellectually prepared to comment on.  Although I have some understanding of the machinations of film and television, with the other visual arts I often know what I like, but I don’t know as often how to describe it.  I am not as well versed in the technical language and the processes that go into painting or photography.

I do know that the photography in this book is absolutely stunning in the way that it hits you on an emotional level.  Langford has captured the Hill Country and the different seasons in all of their natural glory.  Anyone that has spent time in the Hill Country knows its allure.  There are many places in nature that are beautiful.  However, many places are filled with a lonesome kind of beauty, whereas the Texas Hill Country has a warm and friendly beauty to it.  There is something often comforting about it.  If you are interested in this region or photographs of Texas in particular, then I think this book is definitely one you should check out.

I think even if you are not familiar with the Texas Hill Country there are things that this book has to offer.  If you like nature photography in particular, there are many photos that look painterly in their composition.  The Hill Country has a wide ranging color palate from season to season.

I also think the book’s message of conservation and stewardship of the land are important ones to understand.  Not only is this aspect something that needs to be part of the larger environmental picture, but it is also a way to possibly reach people that might otherwise not be as inclined to act.

This book makes you see how nature is worth preserving, if for nothing else than the aesthetic beauty that would be hard to imagine living without.

Koch Brother’s Advocacy Groups Projected to Spend Nearly $1 Billion in Next Election

Koch Back Network Aims to Spend Nearly $1 Billion in 2016

The above article is a Huffington Post about how political advocacy groups connected to the Koch brothers are projected to spend nearly a billion dollars on the 2016 election.  If you wonder how we can have a Senate where almost 50% of Senators believe that human behavior does not contribute to climate change, among other senseless beliefs, look no further.  It is fucking troubling…

Over at Rolling Stone – Divesting in Big Carbon and Roy Bittan Interview

Read two interesting articles this morning over at Rolling Stone Magazine

Why We Have to Kiss Off Big Carbon

Above  is an article over at Rolling Stone that is about why it makes environmental and economic sense to divest in companies that contributing to climate change.

Here below is an article that is an interview with E Street band keyboardist Roy Bittan.  For all of the years that I have listened to the E Street Band, I don’t think I have read more than thee or four Roy Bittan interviews.  I’ve always loved the way he played piano.  Interview:

Roy Bittan Looks Back On 40 Years in the E Street Band