An Ozark E-Zine

ITEM #1 -- On June 2, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) -- of which Coleman Powell's son is Chair (Who knew???) -- is planning on authorizing sweeping changes to rules which govern American media. The rule changes could allow your local TV stations, newspaper, radio stations, and cable provider to all be owned by one company.

Why should you care? Well, according to MoveOn, "After the FCC and Congress relaxed radio ownership rules, corporate giant Clear Channel Communications swept in and bought hundreds of stations. Clear Channel has used its might to support pro-war political rallies and conservative talk shows, keep anti-war songs off its stations, coerce musicians into playing free promotional concerts, and bully them into performing at its music venues. In many towns that used to have a diverse array of radio options, Clear Channel is now the only thing on the dial."

Monopoly power in media is a dastardly dangerous thing. For example, NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox could have the same corporate parent. "The resulting concentration of ownership could be deeply destructive to our democracy," said Eli Pariser, MoveOn organizer. "And Congress is supposed to guard against it."

But according to Pariser the proposed deregulation could change the media landscape, ushering in an era in which a few corporations control access to news and entertainment. To speak out in support of a diverse, competitive media landscape click here.

ITEM #2 -- According to the ACLU, an infamous provision in the USA PATRIOT Act (controversial and sweeping anti-terrorism legislation which was rushed through Congress just after 9.11), gives the FBI the power to search your library and book-buying records by simply telling a secret court that the records are "sought for" in an intelligence investigation. Furthermore, if the librarian or bookseller tells you that they turned your records over to the government, they could be imprisoned.

Proposed legislation is now before the U.S. House of Representatives -- titled the "Freedom to Read Protection Act" -- would remove this power to search your records without a warrant or probable cause. This positive legislation will restore Constitutional protections of our privacy. To speak out in support of our Constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms, click here.

This is a l-o-n-g one, so grab a cup of coffee and dig in...

I subscribe to lists. But not those like the ones being compiled in accord of the U.S. Patriot Act, to  “identify potentially hazardous human beings.” I mean in some way, separated only by degrees, wouldn’t all of us somehow fit on such a list?

I subscribe to email lists where stuff is discussed. For the last few years the ongoing themes I’ve been most interested in discussing revolve around (1) the construction of geodesic domes for housing, (2) the whole field of education, most especially as it relates to “learning how to learn,” and (3) the havoc we presently call “national drug policy.”

Why do I do this? I dunno. But I guess it's for the same reasons expressed by people who climb mountains: Because it is there to be done. Only to me, the mountains are in my mind.

Anyway, getting back to the "list research" I do for our family's own little departments of health, education and welfare, I weave these threads of discovery, invention and improvement into the fabric of my consciousness so that I may beneficially enhance the quality of my and my family's daily life.

Also in doing this, I understand that each of these specialized area of knowledge is a type of electro-magnetic-bio-chemical “field” which is in a perpetual state of flux. And that this flux is an energizing dynamic of our Gaian (socio-cultural matrix) neural net. Also that this "reality template" is at the same instant both generated by and precipitated upon (all of) us.

And I’ve come to see this as democracy at its finest. Blissfully autonomous self-governance. Each of us investing all that we have, casting our bread upon the waters so to speak, and getting back our rightful (“an hundred fold”) share of the amalgamated windfall we co-create. Which brings me, in a roundabout way, back to the three general topics of discussion I currently confabulate... and tying all this together as one cohesive thought.

Let's start with something that someone on an education list  wrote recently: “I don't believe that God ever said anywhere that it was OK for me to want to preserve my lifestyle when it was arrived at on the backs of mainly indigenous people in the developing countries while at the same time we wasted the Earth which is our life support system.”

This comment meshed in my mind with a conversation that’s been unfolding among several of us, from several different lists, who are exploring the whole concept of “community.” Figuring out, at least to our own personal standards, what a "real" community looks like. How the people behave. What the systems are. Who has responsibility for what and how accountability is maintained.

Inherent to this conversation about life quality, liberty and justice, we recently looked at some documents which report on the standards of living and pay scales of workers employed by WalMart in China about 3 to 4 years ago. In the words of one gentleman, the data was “pretty damning.”

However, he logically justified (as I know many of us do) the (dark) “okayness” of the grave disparity between the average worker’s standard of living here in the U.S.A. and that of these Chinese folks, explaining that “to a Chinese family, $3 or $4 dollars is a tremendous amount of money…. Many entire families have no hard currency jobs at all… Many of the workers you mentioned send money back to their families and villages, where it is desperately needed… (and besides,) we could be paying $25 for a shirt, and $45 for slacks at Wal-Mart, if both were manufactured in the USA… (but instead) this acts to raise our standard of living in the US, and partially makes up for the loss of manufacturing jobs here, as the jobs are exported to the third world…”

Reading this, I flashed on a TV show I'd watched the other day. It was about "primitive" peoples and their ways of life. And the vista I saw, courtesy of The Discovery Channel, was filled with the smiling faces of happy children and laughing adults who were for the most part dancing their way through (what we "civilized" folks would call) the mundane drudgery of life.

That is, the primitives were at baseline doing exactly the same things with their time, energy, ambition, resource and talent that all of us civilized folks do: Feeding, clothing, sheltering, and sustaining ourselves; loving, enjoying and celebrating life with our neighbors, families and friends.

However, from the looks of all I see before my ponderous eyes, it appears that the primitives -- and I mean here the indigenous peoples who reside in tribes at the fringes of and thus nearly completely unblemished by the schematic of our modern social norms -- from all appearances, certainly seem to be having a whole lot more fun. But I digress, and my friend continued:

“Making products overseas for world markets allows the costs to be rung out of products. This reduces the selling price of the products, and increases the standard of living here and elsewhere… This money recirculates throughout the Chinese economy, creating millions of jobs, and increasing the standard of living for the Chinese. In the next 20 or 30 years, they will begin to surpass the US in such key areas as education, job skills, productivity, and health care. China is doing just fine. So, you can look at global trade as a positive thing or a negative thing. I look at global trade as a positive thing. One man's sweat shop is another man's means of supporting his family. I sure understand the opposition point of view. I just don't think this is evil. What it is, is business.”

And I thought to myself, wow. Let's see... I wonder who's gonna explain the "very good reason" for all of this "economically calculated impoverishment" to the kids of those primitive folks who are, without their foreknowledge or consent (like the folks who were living very peaceably, comfortably and in perfect harmony with nature in the mountains of China before their government decided that it was essential to build a dam and trash their centuries-old way of life in order to supply power for all the civilized folks downstream) being forced to become "working class members of the global economy" in the name of making all of us "more civilized" and thus, supposedly, "better off."

At the same time, I totally agree with my friend, that “you can look at (anything) as a positive thing or a negative thing.” And that, to me, neither polarity is inherently “evil.” However, like electricity the inherent power may at will be used to produce and cause great harm, or great good.

And also at the same time, it is to me a self-revealing and profoundly resonant truth that this type (for the good of the global economy)  “Industrial Age thinking” is absolutely and beyond a shadow of a doubt what has gotten us into a gargantuan global mess, the specifics of which are plain for all eyes to see, and that doing more and more of the same thing over and over again is NOT the means by which we’re going to get over it, get on with it and equitably harvest well-being, prosperity, liberty and justice among all women, children and men.

To my mind, this achievement will only be earned by “every one of us,” doing it together in concert with an applied science of harmony, all at the self-same moment in time.

And I confess to holding dear this (some would say “insane”) idea about each of us being entitled to be born into a decent, stable, secure, comfortable home (inclusive of all the life sustaining accoutrements that go with it such as water, air, food, clothing, privacy and companionship), thus being enabled to partake of a  lifestyle that is luxurious in the primitive pleasures of life.

Yet I don't want to go back to living like a bushman to accomplish this. I simply want to understand all the available options and change some of our (modern day) norms. Thus my interest in geodesic housing because --to paraphrase another friend, "houses are dreams that live."

Of course if you’re NOT a devotee of geodesics and Buckminster Fuller, you may not catch this quantum-leap of thought. So rather than go into a dissertation on the myriad economic features, environmental advantages and creature comfort benefits of utilizing geodesic structures for housing, I'll suggest that you read the "Good Karma Manifesto" (which I must note is tremendously significant right now, given the powerful storms that raged across the Midwest last week). Given the subject matter captivates you, I trust that you'll springboard yourself forward from there.

In addition to secure housing, I also affirm that every human being is entitled, by birth, to the blessings of freedom and liberty. To live, to laugh, to celebrate, to learn, to work doing something that is personally gratifying, to hug, to love and to die in accord of the values each holds most dear. Thus my interest in education, with a special focus on “how to” most meaningfully communicate these critical “family values” to the next, and the next, and the next generation of kids… because sadly, in my opinion, we "civilized" folks have been significantly and systematically failing at doing this.

I mean -- dear God in Heaven -- if viciously brawling "teen hazings," staged in the name of "having some fun," aren't evidentiary of the havoc our (family values & educational system) "bread cast upon the waters" is reaping... well then, nothing is.

At the same time, I affirm that each one of us must, by self-reliant means, “earn” our rightful measure of respect and dignity. But that we are entitled by birth to start off at "ground zero" and proceed, in our own manner, uphill or downhill, backwards or forwards, as we mature.

Yet in order for any of us, individually, to do this we must in some manner integrate each isolated self with a comprehensive system of community self-governance. And in doing this we must choose to remember and implement as daily practice the Biblically articulated, Constitutionally bound, and unanimously self-reliant pragmatism: "The law was made to serve man, not man to serve the law."

Thus in order to ensure that all of our most basic needs are met and to do those other things which can only be done “as a group,” arises my interest in the general topic of "policy making" (as this is the full-time "business" of any government) with a special look at our federal, state and local policies on (what the laws we make define as illegal) use of drugs.

The thumbnail here is that I see this particular policy making system as being broken with inconsistency to the degree that this function of government is now causing bigger social and economic problems than the ones it endeavors to fix. And please, DON'T take my word for this, but do take a long look at Drug War Facts.

Speaking of war, a few short weeks ago a poster to another educational list wrote: "It's easy for those of us who oppose the Government's immoral slaughtering of Iraqis to blame George W. Bush & Co. But perhaps this war is not as ‘cut and dried’ as we might want it to be. Each of us has to ask himself if he doesn't bear some responsibility, no matter how indirect, for these deaths… (because this) war is for oil. And certainly those at the top stand to profit a great deal in acquiring access to the rich Iraqi oil fields, just as they stand to profit from the pipelines through Afghanistan that will bring to tankers in the Persian Gulf oil from the former Soviet republics to its north. But that brings up the question of why they will profit from this, and the obvious answer is that they will profit because you and I want that oil. We need it… (so) let's be as blunt as possible: What if this war is not metaphorically but literally a battle for ‘our way of life’?”

To this I add and emphasize -- as the writer above alludes -- that the “real wars” are not being fought on any of the battlefields which are at any time in motion around the globe.  The real wars are being waged much more subtly and invisibly throughout the landscapes of our individual hearts and minds.

And in these wars, we are each at the same time both a foot soldier and the commander in chief, because in the very act of making the simple choices we routinely make every day we are actually construing the rationalizations we contrive to justify the "goodness and necessity" of such exploitative practices as  “business as usual” sweat shops as an “economically positive” thing.

In the doing of this status quo (Industrial Age) "thinking," we become a causative factor -- contributors to and enablers of the gravitational flux -- casting our self-governance bread upon the waters and saying, in essence, “It’s okay for me to treat others that way because I look forward to being treated that way myself."

Don't believe me? Think I've gone nutz? Well boys and girls, all I can tell you is to take a long, clear, penetrating look around at the shape of EVERYONE’S housing, education and welfare as each exists right now, today. Factor in a bit of scientifically grounded knowledge about demographics, the polarization of wealth corresponding to the spread of poverty, the inability of a college-grad "McDonald's manager" to make change for a $20 without using an electronic brain and, most importantly, take a look at the quality of your personal homelife in contrast with that of (one of the few remaining) "primitives." Then forget everything everyone has ever "told" you about any of this and make up your own mind. 

Still at the deepest level, I find something powerfully good inherent to all of this. That is that “we” do actually, emphatically, and unequivocally “have the power” to change things however we want. We are -- whether by the grace of God or the tumbling of genetic markers -- the captain of our own Earth-ship and the masters of our own ("family values") core destiny. And that all these things which annoy and destroy us will, shall and absolutely do change in direct proportion to how much we are willing to do about them. Speaking of which…

From that dome-building list I recently learned that there is a breakthrough technology on the horizon which holds the potential to rapidly shift world views about a whole lot of stuff. The technology is called thermal depolymerization.*  It is capable to “ingest waste” (ie: turkey guts, worn out tires, sewer sludge, toxic garbage, broken computers, old refrigerators, discarded PVC plumbing, scraps of wood, fiberglass boats… in other words… just about anything!) and when its “digestion” process is complete two hours later, a spigot turns and out pours honey colored “light Texas crude.”

Of course making oil from hydrocarbon-based waste is a trick that the Earth mastered long ago… hence the oil fields beneath Iraq and the Artic National Wildlife Refuge. And creative thinkers have long sought to replicate this natural technology, but have always found the costs to be disproportionate to the results.

That is, our experiments to develop this type of conversion process had, in the past, effectively consumed as much energy as was produced. No tangible gain was realized. Our methodology simply didn’t work.

But then a microbiologist and inventor by the name of Paul Baskis "had a flash" of insight about how to improve the basic ideas behind another inventor's waste-reforming process and thermal depolymerization was born. And, though it’s been 20 years in the making, this “new” technology is now operational, proving its promise and then some.

"We will be able to make oil for $8 to $12 a barrel," Baskis is quoted as saying. "We are going to be able to switch to a carbohydrate economy."

“This is a solution to three of the biggest problems facing mankind," said Brian Appel, chairman and CEO of the company that built the pilot plant and has just completed its first industrial-size installation in Missouri.

According to proponents, the process not only deals proactively with the world's waste, converting all this “lost” and “toxic” energy back into “usable” energy once again, it also enables our global society to become “energy self-sustaining” while at the same time indulging those creature comforts we all seem to crave so incessantly and equally enabling all others across the face of the Earth to enjoy these beneficial comforts, too.

For example, running only the annual U.S. agricultural waste through this thermal depolymerization process would yield the energy equivalent of 4 billion barrels of “crude oil” annually. In 2001 the United States imported 4.2 billion barrels of oil.

Plus the fact that the technology has proved to be “85 percent energy efficient,” which means that “running the process” costs only 15% of the total amount of fuel generated, which in essence is --- though I know this will likely shock you into a state of disbelief --- the tangible physiological means of a sci-fi mythology “perpetual motion” machine. A machine that, as long as you feed it something, it continuously produces more than it consumes.

Limitless energy, readily available anywhere, anytime and virtually free.

"This is not an incremental change. This is a big, new step," said former Bell Laboratories director and project backer, Alf Andreassen.

"We would be honoring the balance of nature," inventor Baskis affirms.

Which got me thinking, isn’t that what a huge part of “all of this” – all these lists, all this conversation, all these wars and peace treaties and marriages and divorce decrees... all of this everything that we call our health, education and welfare (aka: happiness vs unhappiness) – is fundamentally all about…???

Honoring balance. What an inspiring concept. I like the way it resonates, nurturing the landscape of my mind. Which got me wondering, what are you thinking? And in your opinion, is “what you’re thinking” a thought that you think “adds to” (or “subtracts from”) the aggregate health, wealth and prosperity of our synergistically charged and chaordically aligned Gaian “melting pot” of blissfully self-governing autonomy?

And do you agree with me that the act of doing this is relatively simple? That doing it takes no special training or knowledge? That we are already, each and everyone one of us,  automatically enacting those things we willfully focus our attention on, choosing to align our efforts with those of "againstness" or choosing to enable the consciously well-reasoned co-creation of our deepest and most egalitarian hopes, wishes and dreams.

In other words, to the best of our ever growing ability, we have everything imaginable under control and the more we consciously realize this, the greater our power becomes.

At least that's what I (choose to) think. What do you think? As usual, lemme know….

*NOTE: Much of the information contained in the description of “thermal depolymerization,” above, was liberally plagiarized from the extensive and tremendously well written article, “Anything into Oil,” by Brad Lemle, DISCOVER, Vol. 24 No. 5, May 2003, as linked above. More information on this subject is available here.

Unsolicited comments...
The letter below, written by a dear friend, Larry Williams of Bee Branch, Arkansas, comes from something he wrote to frequent ADG op/ed columnist, Dana Kelley. Essentially, Larry's letter addresses Mr. Kelley's column about the “out of context” quotes of Rod Paige, Secretary of Education, and the response of Barry Lynn to those quotes, involving people who support "Christian ideals" while at the same feeling concern over the "Religious Right" in conjunction with the direction of public policy.

My friend, however, being aware of events that transpired this past Saturday in Leslie, Arkansas, made an interesting correlation in his short dissertation which I found quite provocative and thus am choosing to share it (with Larry's permission) with you.

Larry writes:

I am guilty of many of the thoughts/actions you characterize coming from Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State – I often write and speak of the “Religious Right.” I usually expand on that euphemism as constituted of “small c christians.”

These are the people, many my neighbors, who frighten me and I believe to be anti-American – those who are not content in their own faith and “religious” beliefs, but seem to put MUCH more effort into attempts to dictate the actions of others. They also constitute the cadre of “stealth candidates” for school boards and other lower-echelon positions of power and influence, understating their true motives until attaining the office/position. THEN we find out they out-of-hand oppose, for example, school-based health clinics and AIDS awareness/HIV prevention programs, want to re-establish prayer in public schools, …on and on. And less important but often more visible – condemn books and films while never having seen or cracked the cover.

THESE are the people who, for example, harassed my children in our public school because they are Catholic – the most egregious and persistent of these attacks coming from the son of our elementary school principal, who repeatedly taunted my younger daughter for “being in a cult.” Who “punished” my children and verbally attacked me and my wife because I was a volunteer, later a paid consultant, for the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network, caring for PWA’s and speaking to any and all about the FACTS of HIV/AIDS.

Who shunned our family, once discovering we were not going to join their church. Who told me to my face I’d regret if I sold some of my land to my wife’s twin and her husband, because he is black – “We won’t tolerate any niggers in this community,” I was told.

Who with no hesitation routinely use the n-word in my wife’s State Farm office. Who wouldn’t go see Philadelphia because “Tom Hanks is my favorite actor, but I’d never be able to see any of his movies again after seeing him as a fag.”

These are people who provide UNSOLICITED “counseling” to women (like Andrea Yates in Houston?) because they are "not sufficiently obedient" to the often-abusive dictates of their husbands. Who refuse to recognize the historical fact/origin of “under God” in the pledge. (This is STILL  unsettling to me – having been ‘indoctrinated’ in the previous version for 16 years before it was changed as a result of a mindless national fervor chillingly similar to today’s faux patriotism “all terrorist, all the time” of the cowboy president.)

People who publicly blame gays and lesbians, among others, for 9/11, and support the institutional harassment of the homosexual boy in Jacksonville Junior High School.

Just this past weekend, this sort of “thinking” manifested by the board of the Ozark Heritage Arts Council revoking, at the last minute, permission and support to use their facility in Leslie for a community fair which included book signings and a discussion by Mara Leveritt and Susan McDougal because, board members reportedly said, they were “uniformed of the political nature of the event.” This is so disingenuous as to be totally ludicrous, yet they held to their about-face.

I don’t believe any rational person opposes “Christian ideals.” I know MANY, including me and my wife (a devout Catholic), who not only oppose but fear these purveyors of the “Religious Right.” While it may be unfair to throw this term about indiscriminately, these examples are what I, and I think most who use it, mean. NOT those who practice their Christianity in whatever form, but those who relentlessly try to cram it down the throats of the rest of us, by any and all means, and particularly by moving ever closer to theocracy.

Larry Williams

Oh! What a beautiful morning...
First of all, let me say "ditto" and "ditto again" to everything I said last month. And second, let me tell you that there are several "items of business" in the works right now that I am busting at the seams to tell you about, but cannot, for reasons of propriety, divulge a word yet..

What I can say is that life -- as always -- is interesting and abundant with opportunities to harvest big fat lemons, add some enthusiasm to "do the right thing," mix well with faith in the virtue of altruism to triumph, and serve up a delicious batch of good ol' fashioned hand-squeezed lemonade!!!

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." Doing this is both easier and more difficult than one would think, calling on you -- like any new "work out" program, to "exercise muscles you didn't know you had."

So anyway, what I'm doing here mainly right now is filling space. But you know, at some level that's all that any of us do anyway... thus is seems that our primary objective *should* be to fill it up with something good! Speaking of which...

This morning, a friend forwarded to me a "humor type" email that has made the rounds before but has now been "updated" with references to current events. And the comment my friend made about it ("lotta truth here") caught my attention. As I read it over again, I realized that he is right.

At least in the sense that I believe that this "joke" email admirably "puts into words" the things that many of us are "feeling" about the stuff we see going on around us everyday, throughout our hometown neighborhoods and International back-yards. Thus I've posted the pass-along here, thinking that maybe you'd enjoy looking at it this way too...

Why did the chicken cross the road?

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road or not. The chicken is either with us or it is against us. There is no middle ground here.

COLIN POWELL: Now at the left of the screen, you clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

HANZ BLIX: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed access to the other side of the road.

JACQUES CHIRAC: We will veto any resolution regarding non-compliance of the chicken whether it has or has not crossed the road!

MOHAMMED ALDOURI (Iraq ambassador): The chicken did not cross the road. This is a complete fabrication. We don't even have a chicken.

SADDAM HUSSEIN: This was an unprovoked act of rebellion and we were quite justified in dropping 50 tons of nerve gas on it.

AL GORE: I invented the chicken. I invented the road. Therefore, the chicken crossing the road represented the application of these two different functions of government in a new, reinvented way designed to bring greater services to the American people.

RALPH NADER: The chicken's habitat on the original side of the road had been polluted by unchecked industrialist greed. The chicken did not reach the unspoiled habitat on the other side of the road because it was crushed by the wheels of a gas-guzzling SUV.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal a job from a decent, hard-working American.

JERRY FALWELL: Because the chicken was gay! Isn't it obvious? Can't you people see the plain truth in front of your face? The chicken was going to the "other side." That's what they call it-the other side. Yes, my friends, that chicken is gay. And, if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media whitewashes with seemingly harmless phrases like "the other side."

DR. SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, The chicken crossed the road, But why it crossed, I've not been told!

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die. In the rain. Alone.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: I envision a world where all chickens will be free to cross roads without having their motives called into question.

GRANDPA: In my day, we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Someone told us that the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough for us.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart- warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting and went on to accomplish its life-long dream of crossing the road.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken 2003, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook - and Internet Explorer is an inextricable part of eChicken.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road or did the road move beneath the chicken?

BILL CLINTON: I did NOT cross the road with THAT chicken. What do you mean by chicken? Could you define chicken, please?

COLONEL SANDERS: I missed one?

Wishing all of us the future we prefer, desire and deserve to enjoy...

Christine Weiss

Hey! Come visit us at SassafrasWilds!!!


Wanna see the FLASH
I been playin' with?

And be patient. It takes a minute to load.


Photo: Exterior of the Van Buren County Child Care Center building.

Gozarks is a contributor to:




A Special "Reality Check" Report by Gozarks

Feel like your 'puter is under attack by the virus-mongers?
Click here for help!


Great Family Project!!!  Learn how to build a model of a geodesic dome with instructions provided by:





"You ain't seen nothin' yet!"



Gozarks now accepts e-gold payment for Website development, Internet marketing and advertising services. Click the banner above to find out more about e-gold.