Thursday, July 28, 2005

Who is an Environmentalist?

What comes to mind when you hear the term ‘environmentalist’? Do you see a young person in business attire, grandparents taking their charges to the park, or do you see an old, dusty, longhaired refugee from a Grateful Dead concert?

This image, this stereotype is crippling the real environmental movement, a movement that attempts to reverse the landslide this administration has us heading down. This falsehood is also why liberals and progressives in the Democratic Party must endeavor to restructure the image of the environmentalist.

On the blog ‘Daily Kos’ Marcos Moulitas quotes an article by David Sirota on just who can be called an environmentalist.

Markos Moulitas of the Daily Kos says:

“I've been saying "environmentalism" is a damaged brand, associated with too many people as "tree hugging" and "spotted owls", than in protecting our natural legacy.

But a new brand of Western Democrats have redefined the issue in terms that are actually advantageous to our party, and can help peel away a huge and solid GOP voting bloc.

Sirota explains:

‘In their overreaching, however, the Republicans are helping to redefine the political issue of the environment on vastly different terms - terms that are very advantageous to Democrats in Congress, if they follow Democrats in the states who are pressing the issue.

Out here in the Montana, for instance, Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) has made the preservation of his state's hunting/fishing access laws a top priority. In Wyoming, Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) signed legislation giving citizens more leverage over oil and gas companies when those companies use their land. And in Colorado, Democratic legislators pushed legislation forcing oil and gas companies to pay up when they harm private property.

These are lessons for congressional Democrats looking to play offense in red-states in 2006, and at least some are already moving forward. For instance, Colorado Rep. Mark Udall (D) and Nevada Sen. Harry Reid (D) have strong, pro-hunter legislation on the table. The more focus on these issues from Democrats, the better.’

Hunters and traditional environmentalists diverge in one key area -- the killing of furry creatures. But by forging such an alliance, environmentalists can sell 95 percent of their agenda to an important, influential bloc of voters otherwise turned off by both the Green movement and the Democratic Party in general.

As Mehlman and Co chip away at traditional Democratic blocs, we can't sit still without raiding enemy turf. If we get the outdoorsmen, we make the Republicans' job a hell of a lot more difficult.”

So, who is an environmentalist? Who indeed.

1. If you fill your diesel truck once a week for $60 and still don’t go very far from home; you could be an environmentalist.

2. If any of your children ever stuck a foreign object, like paint chips, into their mouths; you could be an environmentalist.

3. If you’ve ever went to the beach clamming one day but was sent home the next because of red tide; you could be an environmentalist.

4. If you’ve ever hiked into the woods with a hunting rifle and a map to the best place for a deer blind; you could be an environmentalist.

5. If you live near any of hundreds, if not thousands of this country’s chemical plants, drink the city water and breathe that air; you could be an environmentalist.

6. If you have ever gone whale watching; you could be an environmentalist.

7. If you have looked out over your city on a sunny July afternoon and decided against going out in the smog; you could be an environmentalist.

8. If you love watching those nature films about lemurs, meerkats, and the jungles of the Amazon; you could be an environmentalist.

9. If you have ever sat in awe of panoramic views of the mountains of Alaska, the deserts of New Mexico, or the rainforests in Washington State; you could be an environmentalist.

10. If you let your children play in your own backyard; you could be an environmentalist.

And finally, if you live by the ideals of our founding fathers, the words of Jesus Christ, or the lessons of your upbringing; you could be an environmentalist.

You see, any one of you could be an environmentalist. Anyone. You don’t have to be a vegan, a member of Greenpeace, or even a Liberal. All you have to be is a resident of the Planet Earth.

When we pour ourselves a glass of iced tea, we don’t piss in the water first. When we put our kids to bed we don’t stuff toxic chemicals under their mattresses. When we get up early on a crisp, spring morning, do we walk to the window for a deep breath of air but only after releasing billows of smoke from our fireplace?

There are few who would answer yes to these questions. People don’t want to live in a garbage dump, a toxic wasteland, or a festering pool of pollution. However, there are those who want others to live there.

NIMBY: Not In My Back Yard: an acronym for a tendency to keep hazardous conditions away from one’s living area, preferring to send them to someone else's.

No one wants to live next to a chemical plant or a nuclear power plant. If one of these industries were to buy out the land around your community, promise a few jobs and a few coins for the public good, would you still want them in your neighborhood? I doubt it.

Why? Simply put, it’s all about peace of mind. No one wants these plants near them because these industries cannot guarantee that the toxic materials they produce will never get into your home.

Examples abound proving this point. Names like Love Canal, Bhopal, and Three Mile Island only begin to illustrate how much damage has been done by these corporate barons and the minions of the chemical industry. They have shown time and again that they have little real concern for our welfare. Protecting people from the products and by-products of their companies is expensive, very expensive. They have determined, in corporate boardrooms and legislative chambers, that the cost of protecting the people’s environment inhibits the level of profit these men expect. This fact alone allows them the regulatory grace to do as they please, regardless of the consequences.

There was a time, late in the 19th and early 20th centuries when we had little regulation of pollution or ecological damage. Corporate profits were first on every priority list. But soon, their greed began to feed on itself and citizens saw fit to make the changes necessary to bring these robber barons back to Earth.

Before the laws were changed to protect us from their toxins, the chemical industry was one of the most profitable in America. They produced every kind of substance from phosphate detergents to make shirts whiter than white to the latest bug spray to get rid of the chiggers in your lawn. We accepted these products with glee because the slick ad campaigns knew exactly which buttons to push. We were convinced that these products were safe and wonderful and indispensable. No home should be without a can of DDT or a garage without a can of dioxin-laced paint thinner.

Reality presented its case in 1962 when a lonely biologist with a literary flair shattered their poisonous plans. Rachel Carson’s book ‘Silent Spring’ took these corporate goons to task. And she had allies. It is said that President Kennedy had every member of his cabinet read Ms. Carson’s book because it had such an impact on him. The industries that produced the toxins went to court to keep such information private but the people had already turned. They lost the battle but not the war. They have worked tirelessly for over 40 years to reverse the effect the environmental movement has had on their bottom line. They will continue to work incessantly to return to the good ol’ days of high profits and low regulation.

Will today’s public respond in the same way their parents or grandparents did in the 60’s and 70’s? Will we allow the government to capitulate to these corporations and weaken or curtail these regulations? From Carson’s ‘Silent Spring’ to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s book ‘Crimes Against Nature’, the American people have been told time and again about the damage such greed brings.

But they haven’t gotten the whole message yet. The Right Wing and their cronies in the mainstream media have been clouding the issue like an oil slick for 40 years. There is a movement by the chemical industry to return to the pesticide DDT because, they claim, it would prevent disease throughout the developing world by killing malaria or West Nile virus bearing mosquitoes. They crank up the ad machines to snow the public into thinking that they are so concerned for the health and welfare of the poor and sick in the third world. Reality is that the chemical companies won’t be giving it away. What better way to ensure a fat payday than to provide these dangerous chemicals in the name of disease prevention and charge to whole bill to international relief agencies. This administration has gone on record defending this policy, probably because so many of the government’s ‘experts’ in the field are former lobbyists for these same industries. If the door is opened once again to the machinations of these corporate goons, the people of this country, and the world, will be worse for it.

Another environmental hazard that has been tossed around like an old shoe is global warming. Science has been forced to revisit, revise and re-evaluate every scientific argument that supports the theory of climate change. Yet, even in this extremely hostile setting, the data has withstood the onslaught. Thousands of climatologists, biologists, meteorologists, and environmental scientists have gathered on numerous occasions to emphasize the evidence supporting catastrophic climate change or global warming. Despite this, our intrepid government refuses to acknowledge it. Pres. Bush has yet to accept any evidence supporting global warming. In his little world, there is nothing to fear from allowing his friends in the corporate boardrooms run roughshod over our natural world. It is in our ‘national interest’ for the oil, gas and coal industries to make obscene profits with little or no regulation over the damage they cause our environment, at least in GOPland. Keeping our natural places (and ultimately, our citizens) healthy is secondary to the profit margins of companies like ExxonMobil and Dow Chemical.

The citizenry is confused by all of the rhetoric. They have been told time and again by the White House, the Pentagon and Fox News that there is nothing to the stories we keep hearing about global warming. Even when we see the national academies of science in 10 countries sign a report urging the world to acknowledge the depth of scholarship behind these theories, there are still those who would prefer to stick their heads firmly in the sand.

The Bush Administration is not doing this because they’re stupid. Far from it, they know exactly what they are doing and why. They see the potential for greater corporate profits and, through relaxed campaign financing, more money to get reelected. The power centers remain on Wall Street, K Street, and Pennsylvania Ave., instead of Main Street.

Where does that leave us? Who is left to turn back the toxic tide?

Look at the question at the beginning of this article. Who is an environmentalist?

When Rachel Carson published excerpts of ‘Silent Spring’ in the New Yorker magazine in 1962, the firestorm from the chemical industry was apocalyptic. But she had done good and sound research and had the temerity of a mongoose in her battles with these corporate goons, despite suffering from what would be terminal breast cancer. After her example, others filled the void. David McTaggart of Greenpeace, Denis Hayes and John McConnell of the first Earth Day, Vice President Al Gore’s ‘Earth in the Balance’ and many, many others have taken up the baton passed by Ms. Carson.

These are big names, famous and infamous right out of the headlines. But they are just the ones at the top of the list, a long list that includes legislators from every country, educators from every university or college, religious leaders, housewives, loggers, miners, cashiers, and school children the world over.

Everyone is an environmentalist. A logger wants the forest to survive, to thrive because it’s his livelihood, his recreation, his life. A miner wants the mines to be safe and sound. He cares deeply that the product of his labors doesn’t pollute the place he calls home. He wants to work for a responsible company that cares about his community as much as he does. Hunters and sportsmen know intimately the cost of pollution. They see it every time they enter the wild. Damage to the environment affects the game they seek, the length of the season of the hunt and the places they are allowed to go.

When the facts are presented honestly, there are few who would want a dirty world with their wealth. Frankly, wealth may keep the toxic wolf at bay for a while but not permanently. Because, despite the rantings of Bush and his ministers, everywhere is a backyard - our backyard.

Now, how do you answer the question?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Ours is a grey world, devoid of color. Even in our most pleasant moments we can only see a brighter shade of grey.

Clarity has lost its meaning. We are comatose in life, numb to the world. We are Sleepwalkers.

There was a time when a fair amount of effort was needed to get by in the world. Work was hard and raising a family too important to leave to strangers. We read the paper, watched the news, and took an interest in our neighborhoods. We knew our neighbors, could tell whose kid was who’s at the ballgame. We cheered the local high school team even if we didn’t have kids in school. Community was important; school boards and city council meetings had more than a couple people show up.

It took time and effort to be an American. It wasn’t easy but it was life.

Now we have raised the ramparts and retreated into our homes. Fear has us hermetically sealed in visqueen and duct tape. We haven’t talked to our neighbors in years, couldn’t tell you who they are or what they do.

The bright, mindless orb at the center of the living room commands our time and our soul. We stare deeply into its core; it takes over all mental function, deadens our nerves and our sensibilities. We are numb to any stimulus, any human tragedy. We have become lost in a dream. It tells us when to cry, when to laugh and worse, what’s fantasy and what’s ‘reality’.

Our leaders have taken advantage of this. They use the orb to weave a dreamscape that is accepted as reality. The thread of this weave is so tight, so interwoven that it has convinced us all that only these men can tell us what is real.

Our muscles atrophy from lack of use, reticent silence hardens vocal cords. In the throes of this slumber, we move like cattle across history, more livestock than alive. The Dream is comfortable; it warms us and gives us a sense of security. The Dream lies.

The lie of the Dream – the warmth we feel comes from fire stoked with our dried up souls. The ‘security’ is the refuge of the grave; a cold, hard box six feet down.

We sleepwalk the same road as our neighbor. Raise the same sleeping children; make love to the same sleeping spouses. His life is as grey as ours; the Dream makes them inseparable.

There is no distinction, no difference, nothing unique. Humanity has abandoned the gifts of clarity and purpose. We lost the will to break free of the chains of conformity.

Some succeeded – Gibson, Kerouac, and Thompson. They kindled the fires of disorder – but when they left us, the fires dwindled quickly. They lived and died their muse but that passion left with them. Their lives may have sparked movements, perhaps even a philosophy, but that too eventually faded into the dust that covers their graves. Their images have become cartoons, billboards and brightly colored product packaging that sells toothpaste and tampons.

Libraries are full of the promises broken by the Dream. Sleepwalkers pack theaters, ballparks and auditoriums in vain attempts at touching reality, sampling life without the Dream.

Hollywood shows us baneful possibilities 120 minutes at a time. Television, the mindless orb - that visual landfill, regurgitates ‘soylent green’-like pabulum packaged fresh for Sweeps. The garbage left behind by aging hippies and pissed off British punks with bad teeth is recycled and repackaged to support our ‘haute couture’. Our feces becomes high fashion.

Humanity is a retread.

There is hope, but it is a flickering candle on a leaky boat in the eye of a hurricane. Gibson, Kerouac, and Thompson had moments when that candle shown brightly. They offered to bring that light to the people. But the Dream Merchants hunted them down and, extinguisher in hand, snuffed them out. The Sleepwalkers must remain asleep.

The Dream Merchants have grown larger than life. They compete with one another for control of the sleepers. Sleepwalkers are guided from faction to faction, oblivious to the game. We tune our televisions to CNN until we are told to turn the channel to Fox.

Dream Merchants control the herd; guide us from cradle to grave by slick marketing and focus groups. Those that break free are preyed upon by wolves hired to keep the herd intact.

But these wolves aren’t real. They’re just as asleep as the rest of humanity. They are only cattle chosen to maintain the engines of the Dream.

Dream Merchants were Sleepwalkers once. When they saw the Dream for what it is, instead of trying to break free, embraced it.

They have no loyalty to the herd, no sentimental connection to history or tradition. They are like cannibals, gorging on the minds of Sleepwalkers, drawing sustenance from lost human spirit.

Humanity has always had the freedom to choose. This is no different. Sleepwalkers choose their lot in life. The Dream is not a prison. These chains have no locks. To leave the Dream, one must only open his eyes.

With eyes open, we can see the sun brand new. Time becomes a companion, not an enemy. Life returns to our colors, they brighten and shine. Small things, once ignored, are given names and cherished. Our purpose in the community becomes important to us again. Our lives have value. We see the other Sleepwalkers as we would lost children at the zoo. They see us as a threat. We approach them help, they recoil in fear, screaming for security.

That’s where many of our heroes fell short. They wanted to wake the Sleepwalkers, shake them loose from the Dream. But the choice to release the chains must come from within the Dream, not without. As Sleepwalkers, we hold tight to those chains, refusing to release them for fear of reprisal from others. We dare not stand out from the herd.

It is the nature of the Dream to make all choices for the Sleepwalkers. When a sleeper rebels and makes a life choice on his own, the Dream weakens and reality may peek through.

To break free of the Dream, Sleepwalkers must be provided with real choices that matter. Those outside the Dream must make ourselves known in their world as an opportunity, not as an obstacle. Instead of the same grey-green existence they are used to, we show them a bright colorful new one. Many will pass us by, fearing the change, disgusted at the disturbance, the unmitigated gall of offering a challenge.

Those that make the choice to seek us out, loosen their grip on the chains a bit. They see in our faces, our joy. They can tell that we are experiencing things that they haven’t and it frightens them. Most will stop, not going any further at this time. They will have to be content with this brief glimpse of freedom, enough to carry them to work or home less grey than before.

But there will be those who are tired of the Dream. Those who have been suffering in silence because they did not have the courage or the opportunity to break free, will find us. It is our shoulder that will support them when reality overwhelms them. It will be our strength that will revitalize their will when the Dream Merchants reproach them for straying from the herd.

As the times demand more attention and the real possibility of civilization’s collapse slowly enters our conscious mind, the Sleepwalkers must be shown how to be awakened. Our numbers must grow.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Are Gods Real?

(previously published in The Witches' Voice on May 20th, 2001)

This question raises all sorts of lofty, pretentious platitudes about the concept of reality and all its variations. We find ourselves falling into the same, tired old issues: What is reality? Can humans truly understand what is real, what is fantasy? Well, to start on a 'firm' footing, let me just say that I find all that I experience to be real. To Hades with any other opinion, this is my thought and it has no need to be justified. I know what is real and what is not. That's all reality needs, personal substantiation.

Now add to this the question of the existence of the Divine. My Goddess, what a mental circus three little words can be! I guess the best way to begin is to leap with both feet into the pool of ambiguousness.

The Divine represents the human concept of what exists outside our physical/emotional universe. This universe had a beginning and it will have an ending. The specifics of these events are not for us to know with any certainty but to ponder and investigate. What exists outside this universe is the realm of the Creative (Divine) Spirit that, we believe, allowed our universe to begin. The history of humanity plays well with the concept of the Divine. The 'Creator' is a common theme throughout human history, recorded or not. When humans fell from the trees and learned to walk upright, we became better animals. When we began to consider the possibility of a higher power, we became better humans.

Of course, the type of Divine Spirit changes with culture and geography. Since it is only through 'Creation' are we able to envision the 'Creator', then it stands to reason that our personal vision of the Divine is tied to the environment we are exposed to. The culture we are born into, the experiences we have had, and the things we are taught add flesh to the frame of our inner vision of the Divine. All of these factors are combined to 'create' our 'creator'. It is only after we construct this image can we decide the rules that govern it. Each of us determines what standards apply to us, which path to follow. The greatness of the human condition is in its ability of self-determination. It is our individuality that helps us come to terms with how we perceive the Divine Spirit. If allowed to progress unmolested, our perceptions can enable us to achieve great things and envision far-reaching possibilities. However, reality rarely follows this pattern. Human history is flush with examples of one culture or faith imposing their beliefs onto others, many times at the threat of violence. I believe this goes against our natural human traits. We were meant to exercise our individuality, while still enjoying our human community. A great society is not a herd of sheep, but a collection of many creatures. A 'zoo' of humanity, without the bars of course. That is why contemporary efforts to allow the freedom of religious expression throughout the world are so important to our continued existence.

In my little universe, the Divine Spirit is the Earth Mother. I find proof of the Earth Mother's existence in such places as a flower garden in full bloom, a waking puppy's yawn and the sudden shiver caused by a cool, spring breeze. When I walk into the forests of the Cascade Mts., I feel Her presence, Her love, and Her concern. I know that to honor Her and Her children, I must travel carefully and respectfully. I am a guest in Her special places and that my welcome is contingent on my behavior.

There are those of other faiths who would look upon my path and reject it with words of condemnation. I try not to hear them, to not be concerned about their angry voices because I know that I am not just on the right path, but the only path ... for me. I cannot envision myself seeing this world as anything but alive. I see 'proof' of the Earth Goddess' existence all about me, in every nook and corner, every cloud and sea. To ask me if my Goddess is real is like asking if I am real. In fact, my reality is a small ray of light in a shining chorus of sunbeams compared to Her. But even if my life is near invisible next to Her's, I am the most important person to Her on my path.

I think all of us have a similar relationship with the Divine Spirit, that each of us is the most important ones on our paths. I decide which path is more right than another one, yet I can only speak for myself. Each of us has a responsibility to our soul/spirit to decide which path is correct. I consider this one of the most important decisions humans can make. It isn't easy, there are many choices out there and lots of people who are quite content to make this decision for you.

Deciding on which religion to follow is like choosing shoes. We may want what is in style but in the long run, comfort has to win out. It will do you no good if you choose a faith based on popularity or status. The Divine will not connect to you if you can't learn how to hear Its voice.

There are those who require proof before they will believe in the Divine Spirit. They want to see how your version stands up to their already preconceived notion of what the Divine entails. They wage a war of wills, a spiritual cage match pitting your puny deity against their all-powerful, lightening bolt-throwing god. We have all met folks who ask for proof of our deities, only to offer little proof of their own. Proof of existence is one of the most tenuous threads in the business of divinity. One man's truth is another man's myth.

We only accept the 'facts' that stand up to our personal set of rules. Proof from sources outside our belief can be easily dismissed, countered by our own faith. But why does anyone need proof to believe? Faith is accepting the notion that there exist things and conditions outside our capacity to understand. Requiring proof in Spirit is like asking a blind man to describe the color blue.

I rather enjoy the notion that all paths are true, particularly to those who follow them. If I follow a certain path, who can say I am wrong. My path may be wrong to others, but they don't have to walk in my shoes. My path is mine, all mine, no one else can walk it for me. There may be companions along the way, folks who share a certain part of my faith. We will walk together until their way branches off from mine. Hopefully, I am able to glean some words of wisdom or warning from these fellow travelers as they walk with me. It is in this manner that we enrich our paths. If we shelter our lives from the ways of others, we cannot expand our faith and we risk walking in circles. We may walk our paths by ourselves, but we never walk it alone.

This Spirit, or Creative Entity, has a unique relationship to each of us. We may see it in different ways, different forms, singular or plural, but it is still the same Entity or Entities that allowed our life to begin. I wrote a fable about this. An abridged version follows:

"Years ago, in the shadow of a great mountain dwelt a small village. The villagers considered the mountain to be the home of the Great Spirit and thus sacred. Because the mountain was so tall, it was always shrouded in mist. The village elders felt that the people needed something to look upon when worshiping the Great Spirit. So they commissioned a group of wise artisans to search out the holy mountain and paint a picture of it for display. This way the villagers would have something to look to when they prayed to the Spirit. Each of the wise men had their own beliefs about the Holy Mountain and, of course, their own way of getting there. With much fanfare, they embarked on the journey. Days past, then weeks, soon the men started arriving from the forest, each carrying a painting. When they gathered together for the unveiling of the paintings, the first artisan looked upon the painting of another and scoffed.

"Sir, I know not where you were, but your painting is nothing like mine. I alone was at the base of the Holy Mountain. So, only my picture is authentic."

"Not so, " said the other wise man. "I was all alone as I prayed beneath the mountain. I did not see you or any other of these pretended prophets. Only my painting is real."

"Ha! You both have painted the wrong mountain. Neither of you were there when I cast stones to the Spirit for inspiration. Only my painting is of the Holy Mountain." Said one other.

As the villagers looked on, each of the wise men began arguing about the legitimacy of their artwork. Villagers began to support or reject paintings, allying themselves with a particular wise man. Arguing beget yelling which in turn beget fighting, soon the entire village was in an uproar.

Out of this melee, walked a little girl. She looked at the paintings that had become strewn about the village square. She picked one up and looked at it intently. Then she looked at another, then another. She placed the paintings on the ground about the square. Other children saw what she was doing and helped her. The some of the villagers noticed her actions too, for they stopped fighting and watched. After all the paintings had been placed, she walked up to the Chief Elder and spoke.

"Good Sir! See here. The paintings are not of many mountains but of only one. The wise men painted the same mountain but from many directions. If you see how we have placed the paintings, you can see that now we are able to see the whole mountain, instead of just one view."

The Elder looked at the paintings. They had been arranged in a circle, each providing the special scene that had inspired the wise man to paint.

The wise men were ashamed that they had become so angry, as were the villagers. For it took the innocence of youth to see beyond the stubbornness of intolerance. The village honored the children and erected a circular shrine in the village square to display all of the paintings, just as the children had placed them."

This fable illustrates that sometimes we become so wrapped up in what we perceive to be real, that we forget that others can have a different, equally valid, perception of reality.

We each have a special and unique connection to the Divine Spirit; we never really need anyone else to interpret what this Spirit wants from us. No one need speak for this Spirit when It can do just fine by Itself. If the Creator needs us to know something, we will be taught. All we have to do is keep our minds open and listen.

That's the reality in my view. Because we are unique and can comprehend that there exists a power greater than us, then yes, our gods are real.

May the Goddess watch over us and keep our path before us.

David Aquarius

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Back to the Daily Grind

Well, it's been a while since I posted anything here.

Blogging was very new to me. With my limited html experience, I'm afraid I bit off more of a chunk than I could handle. But that, as they say, is history. Lesson learned and diploma received.

What this site will evolve into remains to be seen. I will not try to shape it into anything, allowing it to find its own course.

I do not strive for numbers, the blog counter will attest to that. Yet, should any curious netizen be trolling for thoughts, I hope to provide an interesting stop along the way.

Since our last episode, I have been on quite a few adventures. Some not to my liking, others I would love to try again. I may recount them in these pages but first, the news:

Take Back The

I have been asked by Stranger and Bozak from 'Take Back the' to provide news stories and commentary for their site. I am humbled by this. For longer than I can recall, my voice has been little more than a solitary shout in the wilderness. Not that I mind the solitude, but having an audience of only squirrels and chipmonks can be less than satisfying.

So, I will be providing 'Take Back The Media' with the bulk of my attention. Political commentary will be posted there first with a link provided here.