June 12th: The Pulse Massacre and its Aftermath

Because today makes exactly three years since the Pulse shooting took place, I’m reblogging this. We will never forget.

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When Islamic extremist and first-class hater, Omar Mateen, walked into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando’s Sodo district he was carrying a variant of the AR-15 assault rifle and a 9mm semiautomatic handgun. And a smart phone. With the two weapons he murdered 49 club patrons and with the smart phone he repeatedly checked to see if news of his hateful slaughter was trending on the internet. Truly a massacre for the digital age.

This was, as you surely know, the worst mass shooting in American history and so much has already been written about it. And will be written about it. By media in Central Florida, all over the U.S. and, quite literally, all over the world. Even without delving into that nauseating social media aspect of this, it was a singular event in America’s history; it was our only mass shooting that was both an obvious act of terror…

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Trouble in the Arctic, Trouble Everywhere

As many of you no doubt know, I post about environmental issues regularly. That’s true of thousands of bloggers, of course.

I usually give a great deal of thought to whether the tone of my posts is too dark. I often agonize over such things, truth be told.

But the news is so overwhelmingly bad as the bill comes due, so to speak, for humanity’s stunning and persistent failures to take care of our planet, that merely passing along the plain truth about all this can sound like some blogger woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

I came across writer Dahr Jamail’s article in Truthout yesterday and could see right away that its message was timely, spot-on and needed the widest possible dissemination.

It details a lot of the most recent events that have those of us who keep an eye on environmental issues from getting much sleep. It’s not an easy read.

But you should read it. All of it.

The part of the article that deals with the importance of feeling the shock and grief that any of us feels when coming to grips with the reality of our planet’s degradation is vital. Don’t shrink back from that part of the piece. Let it all the way in.

There are so many engaged in this work. The work of sounding the alarm as we rush ever-closer to the abyss.

Don’t stop reading. Don’t turn a blind eye.

It’s time for all of us to look unflinchingly at the truth and take the actions this grave situation demands.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Species are disappearing while humans…

Species are disappearing while humans…

It’s alarming to think about, but it’s nevertheless true that hundreds of thousands of species are disappearing while humans carry on with their ever-expanding enterprise to exploit absolutely everything on God’s green Earth.

In early March of this year–just over two months ago at the time of this writing–the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, or IPBES, issued a Global assessment and highlighted for an ignorant and often-uncaring world just how grave the situation is.

Nature is collapsing at an astonishing rate and many humans are blissfully unaware that this is happening.

The assessment was quite wide-ranging and examined closely many dark trends which we have not yet addressed as aggressively as we must to keep our situation for going from merely horrible to unthinkable.

Among the issues which the assessment addressed are:

  • Land degradation
  • Plastic Pollution
  • The health of fish stocks
  • The collapse of whole ecosystems
  • The full extent of the threat to non-human species
  • How much of the Earth’s surface and water resources are devoted to crops and livestock.

To read the press release issued by the IPBES at the time the results and conclusions of the assessment were publicized, click here.

It’s past time to stop driving so many plant and animal species into extinction and putting at risk our own survival.

Way past time.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

The Juice of the Sacred Bean

The Juice of the Sacred Bean

This puppy loves coffee! My Mom got me hooked on black coffee when I was only twelve. I’ve always believed it was good for me.

Studies that show that the juice of the sacred bean can be a boon for one’s health are not hard to find. A new one published in March in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is the most recent.

The study’s bottom line: quaff up to five cups each day and you’re likely to reap considerable health benefits.

Here’s a link to an article that excerpts that study. It’s an excellent source if you’d like know more without diving into the clinical literature.

Continue working your personal wellness strategy, that’s always a good thing.

And make sure you don’t slack up on your caffeine consumption!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Basile

At the Bottom of the Ocean! Really?!

The deepest point on our planet is appropriately named Challenger Deep. You can find it on the ocean floor in the Mariana Trench, a mere 35,814 ft below the surface.

Intrepid explorer Victor Vescovo reached that point in a submersible last week and the results of that dive were released this last Monday, May 13th.

Although the expedition was a great success in so many ways, one of the things we learned from Mr Vescovo’s ground-breaking mission is that there is–wait for it–there is a plastic bag on the ocean floor, at the absolute deepest point on the planet!

Let that sink in. In Humanity’s mad rush to despoil the Earth, we’ve placed trash on the ocean floor. What an achievement!

If you’d like to read more about Victor’s very deep dive, follow this link.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Do our food choices matter?

Yes, they do. The food choices we make are very important, and in ways you may not have thought about.

The ways we choose to eat have big effects on our economy, the environment, our healthcare system and certainly on animals.

The effects that I’ve focused on the most are how my eating choices affect my own health.

I’ve told many friends over the years about how I went vegetarian for three years in the early ’90s. About how the health effects were startling. About how I lost 90 lbs. About how it made me more serene, more at peace.

Well, back in ’95, I went back to eating meat, junk food and lots and lots of pasta. Plenty of sugar, as well.

And, as you might imagine, the results were not good.

So the direct effects to our health and well-being are a big deal. I don’t want to make this post all about me, but let me just say that the issue of our food choices is very important for me again these days because back on Earth Day, I eliminated meat and sugar from my diet.

The results–just as back in 1992–have been startlingly good. For me, the strategy is just to go back to what worked. It worked very well for me a quarter-century ago, and it’s working again.

How our food choices effect all those other things I mentioned earlier in this post are extremely important, of course.

Here is a link to a brief and excellent article that covers ten of the most important reasons why eliminating meat from your diet would be a good way to go.

For quite a few years now, we have seen a huge change in attitudes about how our carnivorous ways affect farm animals. The animals we eat.

I’ve paid a lot of attention to this issue and for me, the ways in which our food choices affect those animals is also a very big deal. Here’s an article that focuses mostly on that aspect of this issue.

Whether you’re focused more on the direct effects on your own health, or those macro-issues that are playing out on a larger scale, it’s quite clear that the food choices we make matter! They matter a lot!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

No Huge Cinco de Mayo Party

It’s only the 5th of May for 15 more minutes here in Florida and I’m posting with a quick thought or two about the occasion.

The celebration is not about Mexican Independence. It is about the Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla which pitted Mexican forces under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza against a detachment of French Foreign Legionaries.

On the very same day that General Zaragoza’s troops repelled the French Legion, the Battle of Williamsburg was raging here in Virginia, a not-insignificant engagement in our own Civil War.

Be that as it may, for many of us Anglos, Cinco de Mayo is just a really good reason to enjoy a banquete mejicano and quaff a Dos Equis. Or two.

Well, I’m at the stage in life where those things still seem awfully cool, but I’m not too excited about the noise, the crowds and the pretty hefty price tag that usually come along with the party.

For me, tonight was pretty low-key, merely a host and a toast! A little bit of chips and salsa, one margarita and some wonderful conversation.

And no expense for me, the only guest.

For what more could anyone ask on Cinco de Mayo?

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile