Thursday, November 9, 2017

Freeing Chimps

Hard to believe how we've treated another citizen. NY Times
"BLUE RIDGE, Ga. — On the 16-hour ride from Louisiana, Bo looked out the window, took in the scenery, dozed and relaxed.
He was traveling with five other male chimps from the New Iberia Research Center in Lafayette, La., where they had been members of a colony of nearly 200 animals kept for biomedical and other research.
During the ride, some of the other chimps hooted, restless and unsettled. Not Bo. “He’s the best,” said the driver of the truck.
The animals arrived at Project Chimps, a sanctuary at the southern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains about 100 miles north of Atlanta, at 6:30 a.m. one day last spring. As the sanctuary staff began to open the truck and move the chimps’ cages inside the facility, the occupants hooted and screamed, anxious and uncertain about what was going on.
The first cage was opened into a sort of antechamber, and a chimp named Jason was first to explore his new home, rushing with what seemed like nervous energy through a small door into the large habitat.
Called a villa, the enclosed space is built like an extremely large metal cage, about 1,500 square feet and two stories high with metal platforms at different levels.
Jabari, the second arrival, slowly joined Jason to explore the new enclosure, but they kept their distance from each other. Lance was third in line, hesitant to leave the small antechamber. The staff waited about a half-hour for him to build up his nerve.
Then, hoping to encourage Lance, they decided to let in Bo, the group’s dominant chimp.
Bo knuckle-walked, casually and confidently — knuckle-swaggered, you might say — into the large enclosure. Lance followed immediately. And then the group hugs began.
Eddie and Stirlene, the last two chimps, came through the entrance to more hugs. The group’s relief and happiness was so infectious that all the humans smiled. The chimps lip-smacked and held one another’s genitals.
“That’s normal reassuring behavior,” Jen Feuerstein, the top administrator at the sanctuary, told me.
Bo was in the house, and all was well.
‘Special Consideration’
It probably will stay that way in the long run: The era of biomedical research on chimpanzees in the United States is effectively over. Given the nearly 100-year history of experimenting on chimps, the changes seemed to come fairly quickly once they began.
In 2011, the director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, declared that the N.I.H. would fund no new biomedical research using chimps, which he described as “our closest relatives in the animal kingdom” deserving of “special consideration and respect.”
His comments were both stunning and obvious. Jane Goodall, the famed primatologist, and others already had shown the world the richness of chimp intelligence and social life; molecular biology had revealed that humans and chimps share 98 percent of their DNA. But the biomedical scientific establishment has long emphasized the importance of animal research.
Dr. Collins’s decision reflected widespread ethical concerns among scientists about the treatment of such social, intelligent animals. But on a practical level, the care of chimps is costly, and they aren’t always a good model in which to study human diseases. They’re also a magnet for public concern.
By 2015, the N.I.H. had gone through several stages of decision-making and concluded that it would retire all chimps it owned, retaining none for potential emergency use — in case of a human epidemic, for instance. The agency owns about 220 chimps outside of those now in sanctuaries and supports another 80, which will also be retired.
That year the Fish and Wildlife Service classified all chimpanzees as endangered, removing a longstanding exemption for captive chimps that had allowed biomedical experiments. The decision made such research illegal without a permit requiring that any such experiments benefit chimpanzees. Privately funded medical research on privately owned chimps also was effectively banned.
Currently, about 547 chimps are still held at research institutions, according to ChimpCARE, a site that tracks all chimps in the United States. Some of them are owned or supported by the N.I.H., and some are owned by research institutes like New Iberia, which is part of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
All the government chimps are headed to Chimp Haven, a sanctuary in Keithville, La., where they will have a full social life and room to roam outdoors.
Some critics say the process has been unnecessarily slow, but both Chimp Haven and the N.I.H. say transfers are moving more quickly now. The sanctuary has accepted 14 chimps in the past two months and is expecting more before the end of the year.
Chimp Haven, with a staff of 50, more than 200 chimps and a 30-year history, has had a lot of experience caring for retired chimps. They are kept in mixed groups of various sizes and their social interactions monitored.
To prevent breeding new chimps that would have to spend their lives in captivity, Chimp Haven gives all the males vasectomies.
But “vasectomies do fail,” said Raven Jackson-Jewett, the attending veterinarian at the sanctuary. “Conan was the one that taught us that.”
Conan had the procedure but somehow fathered three youngsters anyway, including Tracy, now 10 and a favorite of visitors. Dr. Jackson-Jewett said that because of Conan, Chimp Haven had learned that chimp vasectomies fail more often than those in humans.
The staff changed its technique, re-vasectomized about 75 chimps with the new method, and hasn’t had a pregnancy since.
The sanctuary also has learned to care for frail chimps. Many animals from labs have been infected with H.I.V. and hepatitis for vaccine experiments, and some have diabetes (not related to experiments).
They are often old: Some arrive near 50 years of age, and the lifespan of chimps in captivity runs from 50 to 60 years. Occasionally chimps are deemed too old even to handle the stress of being sent to the sanctuary.
The sanctuaries hope eventually to put themselves out of business. If all goes as planned, in another 50 years or so, there will be no more lab retirees.
Chimps will still be in zoos and, as the laws now stand, private owners could still breed them. But since the demand for their use in research is now zero, that is unlikely to happen on a large scale.
Most privately owned laboratory chimpanzees are also headed for retirement centers. New Iberia has shipped 22 animals to Project Chimps, where Bo and his cohort now live, but still has nearly 200.
The Project Chimps facility, which formerly housed gorillas, is still being renovated for chimps. They will get to play in eight acres of walled-in open space, with trees, a stream and an open meadow — once the walls are fixed. (Unlike gorillas, chimps are agile climbers.)
Those left at New Iberia aren’t isolated. They live in groups in large, dome-shaped outdoor cages. The domes have a bit less than a 1,000 square feet of floor space.
Although chimps in research were once housed in smaller cages, and in isolation for experiments, practices have changed; labs and sanctuaries have recognized that it is cruel to house chimps alone.
The only other private chimps still at research institutions include 46 owned by the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta, and one at Georgia State University. Yerkes is looking for retirement facilities for its chimps and has sent seven to the Chattanooga Zoo.
Yerkes also sent eight chimpanzees to an unaccredited zoo in England, prompting an outcry from animal welfare advocates in this country and in Europe. The move prompted a lawsuit, because the Fish and Wildlife Service approved it even though advocates insisted there were better options in the United States.
Yerkes said that the English zoo was well equipped and enlisted comment from Dr. Goodall, who said she had visited the facility and supported the move.
The lawsuit was the first test of the protections offered to chimps by the endangered species classification. Exportation requires a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service, which can only be granted if the action benefits the species.
The agency accepted Yerkes’s argument that a donation by the English zoo to a group that had never before worked with chimps fulfilled that requirement. The decision outraged many primatologists and chimp advocates, but in the end the courts allowed the move.
Within the animal welfare community, some of the elation about the government decisions of a few years ago has now, inevitably, been replaced by a recognition of the difficult logistics, the need for continued fund-raising and the occasional roadblocks.
“Patience has been a huge lesson for me,” Laura Bonar, chief program and policy officer at Animal Protection of New Mexico, said in an interview. Ms. Bonar was one of the activists who had worked to bring about the decisions to end experimentation.
Patience is useful even in the case of chimps like Bo, who have already been transferred to sanctuaries. Soon, perhaps by the end of this year, Bo and the other chimps at the sanctuary are expected to step outside of steel bars for the first time in their lives.
They have been doing well. Janie Gibbons, one of the staff members who takes care of the chimps, said Bo continues to lead by example — as he did recently when the group encountered something they never seen before.
The first time they were given tomatoes, they were flummoxed. “Bo is very brave and tries things first,” said Ms. Gibbons. “He took one and very meticulously ate the peel first, then the fruit.”
Satisfied that tomatoes were safe, the others followed. But not all in a rush: Jabari threw his first tomato against the wall, even though he and the other chimps had gathered around Bo and peered as closely as they could as he ate the alien fruit.
Now the chimps all eat tomatoes as if they were apples. And that’s what the future may hold for all chimps: open space and tomatoes.
But it’s just going to take a while.
Correction: November 7, 2017 
An earlier version of this article misstated the university that owns a chimpanzee used in research. It is Georgia State University, not the University of Georgia.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tax Proposal

Please read this as well as the budget plan. Your vote matters.

By Lawrence H. Summers NY Times

November 5 at 4:23 PM PT

"With the release of the Republican tax proposal, the most important tax debate in a generation is in full swing. Most reasonable experts agree that tax reform has the potential to spur investment and raise wages while also simplifying the system and increasing its fairness and legitimacy. The right question for debate is not the desirability of tax reform or even of business tax reform directed at spurring investment. It is the likely economic effect of particular proposals.

Unfortunately, the proposal on offer by House Republicans may well retard growth, reward the wealthy, add complexity to the code and cheat the future, even as it raises burdens on the middle class and the poor. There are three aspects of the proposal that I find almost inexplicable, except as an expression of the power of entrenched interests.

First, what is the rationale for passing tax cuts that increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion in this decade and potentially more in the future, instead of pursuing the kind of revenue-neutral reform adopted in 1986? There is no present need for fiscal stimulus. The national debt is already on an explosive path, even without taking into account large spending needs that are almost certain to arise in areas ranging from national security to infrastructure to addressing those left behind by globalization and technology.

Borrowing to pay for tax cuts is a way to defer pain, not avoid it. Ultimately, the power of compound interest makes necessary tax increases or spending cuts that are even larger than those tax reductions. But in the meantime, debt-financed tax cuts would raise the trade deficit and reduce investment, thereby cheating the Second, what is the case for cutting the corporate tax rate to 20 percent? For at least five years under the GOP proposal, businesses would be able to write off investments in new equipment entirely in the year that those investments are made. So the government would be sharing to an equal extent in the costs of and returns from investment, eliminating any tax-induced disincentive to invest. The effective tax rate on new investment would be reduced to zero, or less, even before considering the corporate rate reduction. A corporate rate reduction serves only to reward monopoly profits, other rents or past investments. Given the trends of the past few years, are shareholders really the most worthy recipients of such a windfall?

Proponents of the House approach defend it by pointing to international considerations. Unfortunately, the “territorial” approach being pushed by the House, which would renounce the objective of taxing the global income of U.S. companies, could easily encourage offshore production. Wouldn’t it be much better for the United States to lead an initiative to prevent a race to the bottom in global corporate taxation than for it to try to win a race to the bottom?

Third, why include new complexities that help the richest taxpayers while taking steps that hurt middle-income families? Why should passive owners of businesses that are already avoiding the corporate tax get a big rate reduction to 25 percent when those who actually operate and work in such businesses pay at a higher rate? What is the rationale for eliminating the estate tax when it is paid by only 0.2 percent of estates?

At a bare minimum, if such provisions are to be adopted, one would assume they would be paid for, to the maximum extent possible, through steps such as eliminating the carried-interest loophole or loopholes that enable real estate tax shelters. Not so. The proposal instead goes after measures such as the adoption tax credit, deductions for major medical expenses and the deductibility of student-loan interest. These seem like far more important benefits to preserve than carried interest.

Congress should instead return to the 1986 approach of revenue-neutral tax reform, while being careful not to adversely affect the progressivity of the tax system. This would enable what is most needed now: strengthening incentives for investment in the United States relative to other countries and raising the legitimacy of the tax code.

It is possible (though I doubt it) that the questions I have raised here have good answers. And there may be reasons that 1986 is an inapplicable model for today.

What is certain, though, is that we have a once-in-a-generation debate underway. Even those who disagree on policy should be able to agree on the importance of not making decisions until all relevant analytical work can be completed."

Monday, October 30, 2017


Please, before you go to sleep tonight, think of ways you can reach out and help all the creatures out there-----humans as well. 

“African Lionesses, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya: Lions are the only truly social cats; the females and offspring reside together in prides. Typically hunting in groups, the lionesses prey mostly on large hoofed mammals. Within each pride, females will often reproduce in synchrony and cross-suckle their cubs.

“It was early morning in the Great Rift Valley as we searched for a famous pride of lionesses. Since it was very cold, the females were piled on top of each other, forming groups and staying close. This particular set grabbed my attention because they were staring glassy-eyed in different directions. I wanted to capture all possible details in the frame with a tight crop to make a striking black and white conversion.”

Let Kids Be Kids advocates for the rights of all those in the animal kingdom. Yep, humans too. And, in particular, all those Lions out there.

To support our Animal Protection projects, or to donate towards our endangered species project see these links: Universal Giving or PayPal Giving Fund

Photo: Nature’s Best Photography site (© Lakshitha Karunarathna

Friday, October 27, 2017

Our drug scourge

Here is exactly how Trump et al could help with the drug scourge.
“Here it is: allow Medicaid to start paying for treatment at large institutions for mental disease (known as IMDs). Under a current policy known as the “IMD exclusion,” people on Medicaid can’t get substance abuse treatment at facilities with more than 16 beds…"

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Leakey and Fossey, Goodall & Galdikas

I find the following pretty amazing. Through a web of circumstances Lewis Leaky helped three women achieve unbelievable feats ( see below ). Dian Fossey - acclaimed authority on Gorillas, Jane Goodall - acclaimed authority of Chimpanzees, Birute M.F. Galdikas - acclaimed authority on Orangutans. I sm presently reading her book "Reflections of Eden" about her years of field study in the jungles of Borneo.
We are learning more and more about Orangutans with many concluding they may be the most intelligent species after humans. The Chimpanzees may take some exception to that but what seems may be...
*"Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey, also known as L. S. B. Leakey, was a Kenyan paleoanthropologist and archaeologist whose work was important in demonstrating that humans evolved in Africa, particularly through discoveries made at Olduvai Gorge with his wife, fellow paleontologist Mary Leakey. Having established a program of palaeoanthropological inquiry in eastern Africa, he also motivated many future generations to continue this scholarly work. Several members of Leakey's family became prominent scholars themselves."
Want to help? Donate directly or support us at
Link to Birute Galdikas:

Friday, August 4, 2017

Friends #1

"The purpose of this book, available on iTunes, is to elicit public action in support of our environment and our fellow creatures. Hopefully, sharing the photos of many of our animal Friends, to a larger audience, will motivate some to make that call or make that donation to help protect our planet and its many inhabitants. These amazing creatures give Let Kids Be Kids, Inc. the impetus to speak up for them, our collective environment, and our shared habitat. Let Kids Be Kids, Inc. financially supports many organizations, causes, research, and volunteerism that directly impacts our animal friends and their daily lives.Education, preservation, conservation are the keys to protect all of our friends, including us, for future generations. Net proceeds from the sale of our books support the Advocacy work of Let Kids Be Kids, Inc. All photos were taken by the author.”

Friday, July 14, 2017


So, quit being a dick!!
"Water bears shall inherit the planet.
I hate to break it to you, but humans probably don't have that much longer before we go extinct—somewhere between 100 years and 5 billion years, depending on who you ask. Obviously, a human extinction event is unprecedented and incredibly hard to predict with any sort of accuracy. But according to new research from physicists at Harvard and Oxford, one thing is nearly certain: long after humans are gone, the tardigrade will live on.
The tardigrade, also known as the waterbear, is an 8-legged extremophile renowned for its ability to survive where every other complex living organism cannot. The tardigrade, a micro-animal that grows up to 1.2 millimeters and can live for up to 60 years, is able to survive for 30 years without food or water, endure temperatures up to 300 F, and can even survive exposure to the vacuum of space.
With credentials like these, it's no wonder that physicists predict the tardigrade will inherit the Earth—pretty much the only way to destroy it is if all of Earth's oceans were to boil.
"Tardigrades are as close to indestructible as it gets on Earth," Rafael Alves Batista, a physicist at Oxford, said in a statement. "Without our technology protecting us, humans are a very sensitive species. Subtle changes in our environment impact us dramatically. Life on this planet can continue long after humans are gone."
To test this hypothesis, the Oxford and Harvard researchers considered three astrophysical doomsday events that would be capable of killing every human (and most other living things) on earth: an asteroid impact, a supernova, and a gamma-ray burst.
As the researchers discovered, however, only about a dozen known asteroids and dwarf planets in the solar system (including Pluto) have enough mass that an impact would boil the Earth's oceans and pose a threat to tardigrades. Fortunately for the water bears, none of these objects will ever cross Earth's orbit.
As for supernovae, the spectacular explosion that occurs at the end of a star's life, this cosmic event would have to happen within .14 light-years of Earth to boil the oceans. Given that our closest stellar neighbor is 4 light-years away, the odds of a supernovae wiping out the tardigrade is negligible.
Finally, there's the gamma-ray burst, which is an extreme amount of radiation that is emitted during some supernovae. A gamma-ray burst within 40 light-years of Earth would turn our oceans into a roiling soup, but according to the physicists' calculations, the odds of this extremely rare stellar event happening in our galactic neighborhood before our own sun explodes and consumes the Earth is also negligible.
In short, the only cosmic events that would be able to kill Earth's most resilient species are so unlikely to happen that the tardigrade will likely be around to witness the Sun's explosion. The same can't be said for humans, which have to worry about more pressing apocalyptic scenarios like nuclear war, AI armageddon, overpopulation, or cataclysmic climate change, and other species, which mainly have to worry about humans.
Although this is a bleak picture for us, it actually paints an optimistic picture about life in the universe.
"As we are now entering a stage of astronomy where we have seen exoplanets and are hoping to soon perform spectroscopy, looking for signatures of life, we should try to see just how fragile this hardiest life is," David Sloan, a physicist at Oxford, said in a statement. "To our surprise we found that although nearby supernovae or large asteroid impacts would be catastrophic for people, tardigrades could be unaffected. It seems that life, once it gets going, is hard to wipe out entirely."


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Back in the day

Whats missing in this great memory of previous times is that all these people had keys to our house.
In addition to the deliveries listed we had a “Ice Man” who delivered directly to the huge double door “ice box.” He wore a cool leather outfit that protected him from the ice blocks he carried over his shoulder, held securely by big tongs. If we were quick on our feet we could ride in his wide open truck chewing ice chips he’d shave for us.
The butcher always declared he would choose, and deliver, meat as "tender as a woman's heart."
One other service not mentioned is that the garbage men would come through the bottom of our house, fetch the garbage tubs, take them to the truck and return them to their delegated spot.
Oh yeah, we had coal delivery…
Ah, those were the days. 

Home Delivery! What Will They Think of Next?
By PETER FUNT JUNE 29, 2017 NY Times

“I’m rooting for Amazon and companies like Peapod and FreshDirect to hurry up and complete their revolution of the grocery delivery business so that it can be almost as good as it was 60 years ago.
Without the benefit of drones — or for that matter, the internet — here’s how it worked at our home in Westchester County, north of New York City. Twice a week, my mother would phone the Parkway grocery store in town and rattle off her needs to one of the establishment’s three owners. They would hurry through the staples and dry goods and then spend a bit more time mulling possibilities with meats and produce after Mom asked, “What looks good?”
A few hours later, a man named Pete would chug up our driveway in the Parkway delivery truck and carry a sturdy box — always a box, never a bag — directly to our kitchen. Wearing his long white grocery store apron, Pete would just leave the box on the table. He put anything perishable in the refrigerator.
This twice-weekly ritual came to mind the other day as I read a long article in this paper about the challenges of home delivery. It noted that “delivering food requires military precision.” The report was accompanied by many, many photos underscoring the enormous task of delivering perishables to people’s homes.
It also reminded me of the twice-a-week deliveries we received from Gene in his Emmadine Farms milk truck. There was no need to phone ahead. Gene just showed up every Monday and Thursday in a step van that had a picture of a cow on each side. Water dripped out of the truck, even in winter, as the ice used to keep things cool melted.
The most intriguing part, at least to my pre-teenage eyes, was that the truck had no seat. Gene drove it while standing up. And he always wore galoshes. Even in summer, he’d wear unbuckled snow boots (and Bermuda shorts) as he toted his metal carrier with milk, cream and butter straight to our fridge.
Of course this marvelous home-delivery system wasn’t limited to groceries. In fact, back in the pre-Amazon days just about everything you needed magically showed up at the door.
When one of us was sick, Dr. Victor Landes drove over in his dark-blue sedan, wearing the requisite suit and tie and carrying his little black bag. I was always amazed at how the contents of an entire doctor’s office seemed to fit into that bag.
If we needed medicine, he would phone a prescription to Robbins Pharmacy and a few hours later one of the high school students who worked there part-time would drive over with the order.
Every morning James Gray delivered The New York Herald Tribune in his blue VW bus. And each afternoon a woman in a beat-up station wagon delivered the local paper, The Citizen Register. I never caught her name because she managed to toss the paper neatly onto the driveway without ever slowing down.
Oil to heat our home in winter was delivered in a smelly truck by the Maui Oil Company. If Mom was having special guests, we’d get a delivery of flowers from Swanson Florist. On Saturday, we often got a delivery of lumber and building supplies from Gerstein’s hardware store.
And yes, even back then a highlight was the periodic, and tantalizingly unpredictable, arrival of the United Parcel Service truck. Oddly, while so many things have changed, the U.P.S. truck looked exactly the same back then as it does today — except instead of bringing packages from an Amazon warehouse, it carried boxes from Sears or Bonwit Teller or some other department store.
Really, I had forgotten that our existence was so quaint — and convenient. It’s beginning to meld in my memory with scenes from “The Music Man” about the highly anticipated visits of the Wells Fargo wagon by folks in River City, Iowa.
I love home delivery, and I’m a big fan of Amazon’s one-click shopping. I usually get at least one book a week, and we just received a replacement steam iron and a three-pack of undershorts. Life is good.
But it’s hardly new or novel. As I recall, the postman always rang twice, but Pete from Parkway just let himself in through the kitchen door.”

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Access For All

Over the next month I will share a lot of information on Proposition #1 and how it will help so many in King County experience opportunities in the Arts, Science and Heritage studies. The link after the following quote will provide you with the list of recipients of these funds.
"Access for All will provide increased funding for arts, science and heritage education and access for students and families throughout King County. With Access for All, we will invest in programs that change lives, give more kids access to the same opportunities and help our communities thrive.
In August, voters will be asked to increase cultural access funding by raising the county sales tax 0.1 percent — just one penny for every $10 spent, or $30 a year for the average household. If approved in August, we will increase funding for regional and community arts, science, and heritage institutions by about $70 million, which will be spent on programs like in-school education and free and reduced ticket programs for low-income and middle-class families..."

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Be kind...

One of those stories that can be read, thought about, read, thought about and...
“My second child was born two days after Father’s Day in 1990. Three weeks later, my husband collapsed, disoriented and feverish, in a restaurant. Soon, he was lying in a hospital bed with full-blown AIDS.
It’s hard for people who weren’t around then to imagine what AIDS used to look like. It was an epidemic that turned young men old; murdered beauty and promise. You knew someone at work who wouldn’t feel well, you wouldn’t see him for a few days, you would never see him again.
AIDS made men ghosts.
Before he got sick, John was an attentive lover to me, a doting dad to our 2-year-old, a gracious son-in-law to my aging parents and a successful journalist. He was home for dinner every night like clockwork. He was someone it was hard to believe could get AIDS.
In the months before our son was born, John had been experiencing a string of nagging illnesses, including intestinal distress and a persistent cough. The many doctors he consulted, because he was “straight,” married and overworked, did not even consider AIDS. They diagnosed stress.
After John’s AIDS diagnosis, I was rushed in for my own test. It remains the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Back then, it could mean a death sentence.
I asked him how he happened to contract a disease largely transmitted through gay sex. He told me he’d slept with men, which, at the time, surprised me. It was the beginning of a world falling apart.
My AIDS test came back negative: The kids and I had been spared. But nine months later, John died, leaving me asking, “What just happened?”
He left me crying out for him in the night. He left me with many painfully unresolved feelings and unanswered questions. John also left me with two small children, and I was determined to raise them free from the stigma of AIDS.
I resolved that I had to keep how he died a secret. No one could know. We never talked about him. I stashed away all his pictures. When the kids were old enough, I shared the truth with them, and emphasized why they couldn’t talk about it — or their father.
I then determined to give us a picture perfect life, in a suburban Connecticut house with a white picket fence, and a really nice man, a former altar boy and Eagle Scout, no less, filling John’s Italian loafers. I worked in children’s publishing and brought home cute books. We had a rescue dog!
Life was good, and I was proud of how I’d restored us.
What I wasn’t proud of, though, was continuing to keep John a secret. I wanted my kids to know about their father, who had once been a great guy — before AIDS. I wanted to Photoshop John into our family picture, undiseased.
For a while I found a way to do this by taking them to New Hampshire every summer, to visit John’s grave in a sunny corner of a maple-shaded family plot. It was hushed, peaceful and green. They’d stand at shy attention at his footstone, their sneakered feet pressed tightly together, their chubby hands offering up tired-looking daisies. Sometimes they’d sing camp songs, and leave behind dream catchers.
Beneath the dignity of his tombstone, desexed, sanitized and dead, John could be a father my kids could really respect. He could even be a husband I could like again.
But by the time they hit middle school, my kids didn’t want to go to New Hampshire anymore. They didn’t seem to want to do anything connected to their late father.
They left for college at about the same time I lost both my job and my elderly parents. My relationship with my boyfriend also flattened; we’d been wonderful caretakers together, now what? I began to feel compelled to thaw those unresolved feelings I’d put on ice in 1990.
No more Photoshop. No more family tableaux. No more sanitizing cemeteries. Just me, John and AIDS.
I read his love letters. I looked at pictures from when we were young, beautiful and smitten. I began to practice saying, “My husband died of AIDS.” I began to write.
And I began to stop caring if my kids ever felt anything at all for their late father they barely knew. I realized you can’t manufacture such things.
Then, in 2009, my daughter graduated from John’s alma mater, Brown University, where the alumni participate in the processional. After the ceremony was over, my daughter surprised me by asking, “Mom, didn’t you think today was sad? I looked at the Class of ’76 and thought, where’s Dad? Why isn’t he here?”
Three years later, after receiving his diploma from Claremont McKenna College, my son said, his eyes glistening, “Mom, you know who I thought about during the whole ceremony? My father.”
Relieving John of his ghostly status after he died of AIDS has been a long and, at times, painful process. Some family members and friends have viewed my talking and writing about John truthfully as a form of “outing.” “Why now, after so long?” they ask. Can’t I just get over it? Mostly heterosexual and married, virtually none had walked in my — or his — shoes. They failed to grasp the weight of John’s closeted lifestyle, and how crippling it was, first for him, and then for me, to keep it closeted.
They failed to grasp how powerful and indelible was the stain of his disease.
This reaction, for me, has been painful, causing me many nights of fitful sleep. Was I doing the right thing, telling John’s truth — now mine?
I now know that telling our story honestly was the right thing to do. To relieve John of ghostly status has been liberating. For so long I’d thought I was just among a handful of women who’d lost their husband to AIDS; but during AIDS Walks, I have marched alongside thousands of women who have lost a husband to this “gay man’s disease.” We have stories we can finally tell.
Recently my kids and I went to a revival of the musical “Falsettos,” which deals with familiar issues: a gay husband and father, a man lost to AIDS, a wife calling into the night.
My children and I went to dinner and talked afterward, about their father, and about how hard it’s been, for so long, to not talk about him, to deny his existence. In telling our story honestly, we have brought John back in three-dimensional, human terms. He happened, we happened, it happened.
On Father’s Day 2017, John is no longer a ghost.”

Maggie Kneip is the author of the memoir “Now Everyone Will Know: The Perfect Husband, His Shattering Secret, My Rediscovered Life.”

M Barrett Miller, founder of Let Kids Be Kids, is the author of "Ice", a book sharing the courage of those challenged by HIV/AIDS. Available on iTunes

Sunday, May 21, 2017


A mighty interesting history of a treasure right in the center of Seattle. Some jaw dropping stories, and reassurances, that good dedicated people can make great things happen. Because of those who preceded most of us we have a world class organization promoting Conservation, Preservation and Education here and around the globe.
Check out the links to conservation.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

White Wolf

What kind of person kills such creatures??

Humans, STOP killing!!!

"A rare white female wolf that hikers found as she lay dying last month on the north side of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming was shot illegally, officials have determined.

The wolf had to be euthanized by park officials because of the severity of her wound.

She was the only white wolf living in the park, though there had been two others before her. She was 12 years old when she was killed, twice the average age of wolves in Yellowstone.

She was the alpha female of the Canyon Pack, one of 10 packs in the park, and she had paired with the alpha male for nine years. Over that period, biologists say, she whelped 20 pups, 14 of which lived to be adults.

After she was euthanized, the white wolf’s carcass was sent to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service forensics lab, and the preliminary results of the necropsy were released on Friday. Park officials are treating the shooting as a crime.

“Due to the serious nature of this incident, a reward of up to $5,000 is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for this criminal act,” said Dan Wenk, Yellowstone National Park superintendent, in a statement.

The shooting comes as park officials say they are concerned about the renewed hunting of wolves in Wyoming, which will begin this fall. Wolf hunting is already allowed in Idaho and Montana, states that border the park, though in Montana it is limited in hopes of keeping the impact on park wolves to a minimum.

Hunting wolves, even outside the park, conflicts with Yellowstone’s mission to protect the animals for study and for people to view. Wolves in the park have little fear of humans, and once they wander beyond the boundary can be easily taken by hunters.

The value of wolf watching in Yellowstone is pegged by studies at $35 million a year. Thousands of people come to the park to watch wolves, and the white wolf was seen fairly often. “She was one of the most coveted wolves to see,” said Douglas Smith, the park’s wolf biologist."

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Contact US Senators on Health Care

With “Health Care legislation” heading to the US Senate these four Republican US Senators may be the crucial votes to nullify the horror delivered by the Republican Congress on 4 May 2017.
Please call them, send postcards, go on their webpage and send a message, Twitter with @ copies to all sorts of people is a powerful tool, request your US Senator contact them to help educate/persuade/enlist their help on defeating the insult to the American people perpetrated by Republicans motivated by financial gain and open disdain towards your fellow citizens.
Please read everything flooding verifiable news sources on what the Congress passed so your voice will be credible.
Do not do nothing!!!

Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia
500 Virginia Street East
Suite 950
Charleston, WV 25301
Phone: 304-347-5372

172 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-6472

Twitter: @SenCapito
Susan Collins of Maine
202 Harlow Street, Room 20100
Bangor, ME 04401
Main: (207) 945-0417

413 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: (202)224-2523
Fax: (202)224-2693

Twitter: @SenatorCollins
 Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
510 L Street
Suite 600 
Anchorage, AK 99501 
Phone: (907) 271-3735 
Fax: (877) 857-0322

Federal Building
101 12th Avenue
Suite 329
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Phone: (907) 456-0233
Fax: (907) 451-7146

Twitter: @lisamurkowski
Rob Portman of Ohio
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-3353

37 West Broad Street
Room 300
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-469-6774
Toll-Free: 1-800-205-6446 (OHIO)

Twitter: @senrobportman

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dine out for Life

This coming Thursday 27 April. Go, take someone to lunch, dinner.
Here is the list of restaurants. Hmmmmm, thinking the Sand Point Grill!!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Dear Donald

                                                         Letter from Maureen Dowd to Mr. Trump 25 March 2017

WASHINGTON — Dear Donald,
We’ve known each other a long time, so I think I can be blunt.
You know how you said at campaign rallies that you did not like being identified as a politician?
Don’t worry. No one will ever mistake you for a politician.
After this past week, they won’t even mistake you for a top-notch negotiator.
I was born here. The first image in my memory bank is the Capitol, all lit up at night. And my primary observation about Washington is this: Unless you’re careful, you end up turning into what you started out scorning.
And you, Donald, are getting a reputation as a sucker. And worse, a sucker who is a tool of the D.C. establishment.
Your whole campaign was mocking your rivals and the D.C. elite, jawing about how Americans had turned into losers, with our bad deals and open borders and the Obamacare “disaster.”
And you were going to fly in on your gilded plane and fix all that in a snap.
You mused that a good role model would be Ronald Reagan. As you saw it, Reagan was a big, good-looking guy with a famous pompadour; he had also been a Democrat and an entertainer. But Reagan had one key quality that you don’t have: He knew what he didn’t know.
You both resembled Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloons, floating above the nitty-gritty and focusing on a few big thoughts. But President Reagan was confident enough to accept that he needed experts below, deftly maneuvering the strings.
You’re just careering around on your own, crashing into buildings and losing altitude, growling at the cameras and spewing nasty conspiracy theories, instead of offering a sunny smile, bipartisanship, optimism and professionalism.
You promised to get the best people around you in the White House, the best of the best. In fact, “best” is one of your favorite words.
Instead, you dragged that motley skeleton crew into the White House and let them create a feuding, leaking, belligerent, conspiratorial, sycophantic atmosphere. Instead of a smooth, classy operator like James Baker, you have a Manichaean anarchist in Steve Bannon.
You knew the Republicans were full of hot air. They haven’t had to pass anything in a long time, and they have no aptitude for governing. To paraphrase an old Barney Frank line, asking the Republicans to govern is like asking Frank to judge the Miss America contest — “If your heart’s not in it, you don’t do a very good job.”
You knew that Paul Ryan’s vaunted reputation as a policy wonk was fake news. Republicans have been running on repealing and replacing Obamacare for years and they never even bothered to come up with a valid alternative.
And neither did you, despite all your promises to replace Obamacare with “something terrific” because you wanted everyone to be covered.
Instead, you sold the D.O.A. bill the Irish undertaker gave you as though it were a luxury condo, ignoring the fact that it was a cruel flimflam, a huge tax cut for the rich disguised as a health care bill. You were so concerned with the “win” that you forgot your “forgotten” Americans, the older, poorer people in rural areas who would be hurt by the bill.
As The Times’s chief Washington correspondent Carl Hulse put it, the G.O.P. falls into clover with a lock on the White House and both houses of Congress, and what’s the first thing it does? Slip on a banana peel. Incompetence Inc.
“They tried to sweeten the deal at the end by offering a more expensive bill with fewer health benefits, but alas, it wasn’t enough!” former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau slyly tweeted.
Despite the best efforts of Bannon to act as though the whole fiasco was a clever way to bury Ryan — a man he disdains as “the embodiment of the ‘globalist-corporatist’ Republican elite,” as Gabriel Sherman put it in New York magazine — it won’t work.
And you can jump on the phone with The Times’s Maggie Haberman and The Washington Post’s Robert Costa — ignoring that you’ve labeled them the “fake media” — and act like you’re in control. You can say that people should have waited for “Phase 2” and “Phase 3” — whatever they would have been — and that Obamacare is going to explode and that the Democrats are going to get the blame. But it doesn’t work that way. You own it now.
You’re all about flashy marketing so you didn’t notice that the bill was junk, so lame that even Republicans skittered away.
You were humiliated right out of the chute by the establishment guys who hooked you into their agenda — a massive transfer of wealth to rich people — and drew you away from your own.
You sold yourself as the businessman who could shake things up and make Washington work again. Instead, you got worked over by the Republican leadership and the business community, who set you up to do their bidding.
That’s why they’re putting up with all your craziness about Russia and wiretapping and unending lies and rattling our allies.
They’re counting on you being a delusional dupe who didn’t even know what was in the bill because you’re sitting around in a bathrobe getting your information from wackadoodles on Fox News and then, as The Post reported, peppering aides with the query, “Is this really a good bill?”
You got played.
It took W. years to smash everything. You’re way ahead of schedule.
And I can say you’re doing badly, because I’m a columnist, and you’re not. Say hello to everybody, O.K.?

Sincerely, Maureen

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Grizzly Restoration in Cascades

Please join us!!
Let Kids Be Kids, Inc. fully supports incremental restoration of Grizzlies back into the North Cascades. (You can support this project no matter where you presently live.) Using the following link you can look at sample comments and follow links to the National Parks Service comment page.
"The National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have released options for restoring a healthy grizzly bear population in Washington’s North Cascades. 
*Grizzly bears have lived in our region for thousands of years, but despite quality habitat, today fewer than 10 remain. Without our help, they will soon be gone."
* The plan is to introduce five (5) bears a year for four years. The goal, 100 year projection, is to have 200 plus bears in the 10,000 square mile area far from public interaction.  
Grizzly bears are native to the Cascade Mountains, but overhunting pushed them to the brink of local extinction by the mid-1900’s. Fewer than 10 remain, and reproduction hasn’t been documented since 1996.
* The North Cascades has some of the best grizzly bear habitat in the world, and the recovery area spans more than 10,000 square miles of wild land anchored by North Cascades National Park.
*  Without active restoration, grizzly bears will not recover on their own. The North Cascades are too isolated.
*  Full grizzly bear recovery will take decades, if not the better part of a century. Grizzlies reproduce very slowly, which is part of the reason the North Cascades population requires active restoration.
• A functioning ecosystem that can support megafuana like grizzly bears is a strong draw for park visitors, tourists and prospective wildlife viewers, thereby boosting local and regional economies." 
Now is the time to take action for grizzly bears! The agencies are accepting public comments through March 14, 2017.
Please comment!
See an incredible video-click the following.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Grizzlies in Canada

Three Bears Approach photo by Jim Lawrence

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - March 07, 2017) - A report issued today by the Board of Inquiry appointed by the recently formed Grizzly Bear Foundation states that the long-term survival of grizzly bears in British Columbia is threatened from a loss of habitat and food sources, as well as the government-sanctioned trophy hunt.
The three person Board of Inquiry's members include Michael Audain, Stuart McLaughlin of West Vancouver and Suzanne Veit of Victoria. In September 2016 they launched public hearings held in Cranbrook, Prince George, Fort Nelson, Prince Rupert, Vancouver and Victoria, as well as receiving advice from many biologists and bear specialists. The Board of Inquiry's 88-page report contains 19 recommendations directed to all levels of government as well as program priorities for the Grizzly Bear Foundation.
"Grizzly bears have lived in our province for at least 50,000 years," says Inquiry Chairman Michael Audain. "But unless we take serious steps now to secure their wilderness home from encroachment by human activities and protect their food sources from the impact of climate change, in a few decades the bears may disappear."
Audain advised that the Inquiry was impressed that British Columbians really seem to care about their grizzly bears. They recognize that these magnificent creatures now only have sustainable populations in the mountains of British Columbia and Alaska, whereas at one time they roamed all over the western and central areas of North America. Biologists call the grizzly bear a keystone species as where the bears thrive the environment is also healthy.
While grizzly hunting is still practiced by a small minority of the British Columbia population, as well as a number of foreign hunters, the vast majority of urban and rural British Columbians would prefer to see the trophy hunt terminated, especially as grizzly bear watching activities are flourishing and attracting a great many international tourists.
The abolition of the trophy hunt is also supported by most of British Columbia's First Nations who have shared deep cultural and spiritual relationships with the bears for thousands of years. As the First Nations gain control of their ancestral lands, the Inquiry anticipates that they will become more active in bear-viewing tourism given the potential this can have for employment opportunities.
The provincial government takes the position that the trophy hunt is sustainable in maintaining a population of around 15,000 grizzly bears, but the Inquiry's members wonder whether the pain and suffering that the bears experience is worth it, especially in terms of the relatively modest revenue that the hunt generates when compared to the growing interest in grizzly-viewing tourism.
The interactions between grizzly bears and human settlements was of particular interest to the Inquiry, since the bears invariably end up the losers. But, as there is now much experience about how bears and people can peacefully co-exist in rural areas, this is something that the Inquiry recommends be broadly disseminated.
"When we embarked on this Inquiry, I was under the impression that the main threat to the survival of the grizzly bears was the annual trophy hunt," says Audain. "While termination of the hunt is clearly essential, grizzly bears face even greater threats from burgeoning human encroachment into their habitat, as well as the loss of essential foods including wild salmon and huckleberries. There are dark days ahead for the province's grizzly bears if British Columbians are unwilling to address these issues and ensure that the bears have a secure home in our province."
"There is nothing wrong with hunting wildlife for food on a sustainable basis and, indeed, hunters have played an important role in conservation activities to maintain this opportunity, but it seems that the great majority of British Columbians will no longer countenance hunters shooting grizzly bears just to mount their heads or pelts on a trophy wall. As a society, I believe that we have grown beyond that," comments Stuart McLaughlin.
Suzanne Veit adds: "The cumulative impacts of habitat loss, insecure food sources, inadequate enforcement of wildlife laws, legal hunting, and the as-yet uncertain impacts of climate change combine to present major challenges to the survival of the grizzly bears. Strong action is needed now to secure their future. How we achieve this will be judged by the world."

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