Sensible Joe, or Joe McNaughty?

OPINION:

Sensible Joe, or Joe McNaughty?

OPINION:

Sensible Joe, or Joe McNaughty?

Is it about the interests of West Virginians, fossil fuel, or himself ? 

By William Jones

Hackles are Up

West Virginia lawmaker Joe Manchin has been raising a lot of hackles amongst the Democratic caucus. Joe recently  announced that he wasn’t on board with the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. In fact, he said he was considering voting no when the package comes up for a vote. He wants everybody to slow it down and delay voting on it until 2022.

Last Best Chance

The Biden spending measure is vital. The opportunity is here to raise millions out of poverty and pass a substantive climate policy. The clock is ticking. The 2022 mid-terms are just around the corner.  Historically, the party out of power will re-take the House of Representatives, in the first two years of a new president’s term. So Manchin’s latest hairpin turn has attracted a lot of negative attention from his Democratic colleagues. As for Manchin, he can’t walk down the halls of congress without a flotilla of reporters following in hot pursuit, desperate to find out if he will continue to thwart his political party’s platform and his party’s president’s personal agenda.

Praise From the Press

Since his declaration, a piece in National Review has praised what it saw as Manchin’s fiscal instincts and willingness to stand up to fellow Democrats. A Brookings blog post argued that “his main concern that additional deficit financed spending adds to inflation risks is not unfounded.” A former adviser suggested to The Washington Post that Manchin is fundamentally mysterious and his vote is, as usual, unpredictable.

Counting the Money

Joe Manchin, though, made half a million dollars last year off his son’s coal company, meaning that coal paid him roughly three times the $174,000 salary he made last year as a public servant. Pundits don’t need to look much beyond that to understand what’s driving him.

And There’s More Money

Manchin has earned more than $4.5 million from Enersystems Inc. and Farmington Resources Inc., two coal industry companies he founded in the 1980s. He probably likes all the attention he’s getting, too. Maybe he fancies himself a champion of the forgotten man. But if on a given day you are trying to understand what Joe Manchin’s priorities are, it’s probably best to look to the priorities of the companies he’s gotten money from.

Lobbyists and Donations

In June, Exxon lobbyist Keith McCoy told the Unearthed, a Greenpeace investigative outlet, that Manchin was among their key targets and that he’s participated in weekly meetings with company operatives. Overall, though, he’s received more donations from coal, oil, and gas companies this campaign cycle than every other senator.  Manchin got $10,000 from Exxon Mobil for his 2018 reelection campaign. His top donor so far for the 2022 cycle is Tellurian Inc., a gas company.

In Compliance 

Manchin’s spokesperson recently said the senator is in full compliance with all Senate ethics and financial disclosure rules. He also stated that Manchin continues to work to find a path forward on important climate legislation that maintains American leadership in energy innovation and critical energy reliability.

Denials All Around

Manchin has also denied the weekly meeting allegations in the Unearthed report. Manchin is working to ensure that the bill’s $150 billion clean electricity measure—the Clean Electricity Performance Program—will “protect and extend the use of coal and natural gas.” The senator has made it clear that he does not support legislation that would eliminate the burning of those fossil fuels — particularly coal and natural gas.

Conclusion

Politics can be ego-driven as well as cash-driven: Many politicians after all, just want to guard their piece of the congressional sandbox and yelp whenever that territory may appear threatened. But money certainly talks in Washington, and the kind coming to Joe Manchin from the fossil fuel industry appears to be screaming out against a progressive and meaningful climate policy.

References

https://newrepublic.com/article/163723/joe-manchin-vote-fossil-fuel

 

Elon Musk’s Bitcoin U-Turn

Elon Musk’s Bitcoin U-Turn:

Nothing But PR & Energy Politics

By Sonnet Gomes

I was so content with my current tiny investment in Cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin, till last night. When Elon Musk’s Bitcoin U-Turn simply throws me off the edge.

Musk’s Tweet on suspending vehicle purchase using Bitcoin not only struck a boult on me but also my itty-bitty crypto asset. No wonder I was enraged to see the price dropping, and my investment is fading away.

However, it took me a while to come to my senses (thanks to my wife for a late-night Coffee) and realize what is actually going on.

Musk’s Twitter Activity from Last Night

The entire Tweet, I am sure, will amaze almost anyone. Let’s look at a few lines of it first, and then I will dive deep into them.

  • “We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel” (O Boy, O Boy! we had no clue about it until the Tweet!)
  • “Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels, and we believe it has a promising future” (So Tesla and SpaceX are not dumping all its crypto assets because they are nothing but energy-guzzler carbon-emitting machines)
  • “Tesla will not be selling any Bitcoin, and we intend to use it for transactions as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy” (He actually loves Bitcoin and keeping all the digital assets for future use. Wondering what it’s that? Well, the next Bitcoin big selling)

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EARTH SONG Michael Jackson

EARTH SONG by Michael Jackson

Time is running out. We only have one mother, let’s work together to protect her. One of the greatest challenges of the 21st century will be climate change. The Calamity Politics jukebox choice of the day is the Michael Jackson hit, “Earth Song.” Watch for the upcoming Calamity News and Politics videocast with David Shadrick on Climate Change. The Democrats have a plan to reduce pollution and plan to make a huge commitment to reversing climate change. #VoteBlue2020 #RidenWithBiden

Environmental Benefits of COVID-19

COVID-19 is the scariest health risk since the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic

Environmental Benefits of COVID-19

By Sonnet Gomes

State of War

Viruses and humanity have been in a “state-of-war” from the beginning of time. A variety of  infectious diseases have been responsible for every pandemic in world history. We only need to remember our high school history books coverage of the 1918-1919 Spanish Flu.  It is estimated that the Spanish Flu was responsible for more than 50,000,000 worldwide deaths. Behind all modern-day pandemics, the primary culprits have been viruses.

Coronaviruses are Well-Known

Coronaviruses are well-known to us. In fact, you probably are a unknowing host to millions of them at this very moment. Coronaviruses cause a variety of illnesses ranging from the common cold to severe and often deadly respiratory infections. This new strain, COVID-19, is short for coronavirus disease-2019.  This novel coronavirus is responsible for the current global outbreak. Although coronaviruses  are well-known this new strain has no cure or prevention. This fact has jeopardized millions of human beings worldwide, particularly the elderly or immune suppressed.

Origins of Outbreak

The outbreak started in November 2019 in the City of Wuhan, China. Wuhan is a city of over 11,000,000 people. A busy center of industry. The source of this novel strain is not known for certain, but a credible source has been identified. In China, there are many open markets where wild animals including rats and bats are butchered in proximity to vegetables, domestic meats and customers. The COVID-19 is thought to have started in one of these huge open markets. Bats are the primary transmission suspect. Wild animals, including bats have been regularly butchered and sold as meat in China. Bats are known carriers of multiple strains of coronaviruses.

Non-Symptomatic but Contagious

The COVID-19 is Zoonotic, meaning it can transfer from animal to man.  Similar to SARS, it can stay in the host body undetected for up to 14 days. The difference seems to be that with COVID-19 the person may be non-symptomatic but contagious. SARS, on the other hand,  is not communicable until patient develops symptoms. Both SARS and MERS were transmitted from the civet cat and camels, respectively. Thus, it is clear, the chain of infection often starts with a animal to man transfer. All wildlife trade in China, including bat meat, was banned in January 2020. This was a direct response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Coronavirus Map Expands

As of this writing, around 81,000 people have been infected in China. Out of those patients, the death toll is more than 3,100. Yet, many thousands are recovering. Italy, Iran, and South Korea now face the grim reality of a COVID-19 outbreak. Every day, new countries are added to the coronavirus map. The United States is now part of the pandemic.  The World Health Organization has identified the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

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Environmental Armageddon

ENVIRONMENTAL ARMAGEDDON:

THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE

By Trevor McNeil

Opposition

Conservatives and Liberals rarely agree. Which only stands to reason given the nature of the partisan system.  Candidates will often speak on the same issues, but this is usually because the issue is one that has identified as being of concern to voters. As the old joke goes, if you want to know a politician’s principles, look at the polls. One issue in which Conservatives and Liberals disagree is that of the environment, and by extension, environmental policy, particularly in terms of carbon emissions and CO2.

Attack And Discount

A primary mode of attack Conservatives use when going after Liberals is to say that Liberals are elitists with no idea how “normal” people live. A notion which all but discounts the existence of Eco-Futurists.

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10 Small Changes For You, Provide Big Wins For Earth

10 SMALL CHANGES FOR YOU:

PROVIDE BIG WINS FOR THE EARTH

D. S. Mitchell

**Suggestions taken directly from World Wildlife Fund (flyer), 1250 24th St, NW, Washington, D.C. 20037-1175. www.worldwildlife.org

10 Easy Changes to make today:

CLEAN, naturally. You can make effective, non-toxic cleaning products using baking soda, vinegar, lemon and soap as ingredients.

TURN it off. Running your faucet for five minutes uses as much energy as a 60 watt light bulb in 14 hours, so shut it down when you brush your teeth.

GET efficient. Refrigerators and freezer units account for 1/6 of a home’s energy use. Select energy-efficient models when buying replacements.

SWITCH to e-bills. In the United States, paper bills generate almost 2 million tons of CO2.

SHOWER up.  A full bathtub uses about 70 gallons of water, but a five-minute shower takes only 10-25 gallons.

BUY LOCAL and fresh. In North America, fruits and vegetables travel an average of 1500 miles before reaching your plate.

PULL the plug. Many idle electronics use energy even when switched off, so unplug devices when you’re not using them.

CHANGE a bulb. Replacing one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent light can cut 150 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

POWER down. Screensavers don’t use less energy, so use “sleep mode” and turn off your computer at the end of the day.

GO solar. It’s easier than you think! Powering your home with solar panels not only shrinks your carbon footprint but it helps lower electric bills and increase home value.

I decided to add an 11th,

Donate. 84% of all WWF donations go directly to projects that protect wildlife. World Wildlife Fund has been serving our environment for over 50 years. Donate to help protect Mother Earth and all her children.

What Is Threatening the Great Barrier Reef?

This could all be gone be 2060

Efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef are falling short of what is needed. It could all be gone by 2060

The Great Barrier Reef Is Dying
What Can We Do About It?

By Brett Kondratiew                                   

A Local

As a “dinky di” Australian, living in Queensland, I am fortunate enough that one of the great natural wonders of the world, The Great Barrier Reef, is local to me. I am also fortunate to have been there on holiday several times and always marvel at its unique and amazing beauty. The reef is in the Coral Sea, just off Queensland’s coast.

World Heritage Site

To give you a bit of background, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system. It consists of 2,900 individual reefs, and 900 separate islands stretching across 1,500 miles. This amazing feature is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms. The reef was built by billions of tiny organisms called coral polyps. Evidence indicates the complete reef has been in place at least 600,000 years. The current living reef formation grew on top of the older reef an estimated 6,000 to 20,000 years ago. The reef supports a variety of marine life.  It was designated a World Heritage Site in 1981.

Multiple Issues

It was designated a World Heritage Site in 1981.  The reef  is subject to environmental threat. According to studies the reef has lost more than half of its coral cover since 1985.  A large part of the reef is within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park which helps limit the impact of human use. But the environmental pressures on the eco-system are great and varied and primarily man-made.

Not One Culprit

Much of  popular sentiment suggests global warming is the major issue. Climate change is having a significant effect on the Great Barrier Reef, however, there are many others issues that need to be added to the list of usual suspects. Like in many other coastal areas around the world, over-fishing, pollution, shipping, coastal and urban development, tourism and agricultural runoff are all contributing factors.

Climate Change

There is no argument that warming oceans, a direct result of global warming is affecting the Great Barrier Reef. A startling 2016 report indicated nearly 500 sq miles of the northern end of the reef had significant coral bleaching.

Coral Bleaching

Rising ocean temperatures force the coral to expel the algae cells living in their tissues. The algae give the coral both color, and act as a food source. Once the algae is expelled the coral turns completely white (“bleached”) and is vulnerable to disease and starvation. Coral can survive the bleaching event, but future stress can overwhelm the organism, leading to mass death. The major issue here is that live coral is part of the food chain. As a result, marine life, reliant on live coral also suffer. Anything that has an impact on this unique eco-system needs to be recognized and addressed if we are going to save this natural treasure.

Over-fishing

Over-fishing is another major issue confronting the Great Barrier Reef. It is most clear, in the way it changes the food chain and eco-system. The Coral Trout and the Red Emperor are the bigger fish that feed on the smaller ones. With the predators depleted the smaller ones flourish, but change the current eco-structure.   The captures of predatory fish, like Coral Trout and Red Emperor mean there are far more “prey” left in the waters. As a result, the variety of fish that is needed for a healthy eco-system has been reduced. James Cook University, which is situated close to The Great Barrier Reef, stated in a recent study “diversity is what helps make reefs resilient to change.”

Coastal Development

When referring to coastal development, we are looking at human intervention. The creation or extension of tourism areas, including new houses, resorts, roads, and restaurants, are all examples. As these are often beachfront, they contribute to increased erosion, water traffic and pollution. These also have an effect on marine eco-systems that are already fragile and sensitive to outside influence.

Shipping

Both commercial shipping and private boating pose a danger to the Great Barrier Reef.  When a boat docks on the reef it can lead to the death of many coral, especially the coral  under the boat. Waste disposal discharged from the vessels pollutes the waters and kills the flora and fauna. Even worse are the frequent oil spills that kills most everything it touches.

Shipwrecks

Several shipping routes pass through the reef. There have been more than 1,600 shipwrecks in the area of the reef. In 2010 a ship ran aground, spilling nearly 700 barrels of oil, leading to extensive damage to the reef and its eco-system.

Crown of Thorns Starfish

The Crown-of-Thorns Starfish feeds on coral polyps. A large infestation of the starfish can devastate reefs. The infestations seem to occur in natural cycles, but seem to worsen with poor water quality and the over-fishing of the starfish’s natural predators.

Poor Water Quality

All reefs are reliant on pristine water quality. However, the Great Barrier Reef, like many other reef systems, are being subjected to land based run off from human development. These include industrial and agricultural factors. The increased sediment, nutrients, and contaminants can lead to further algae growth. The Great Barrier Reef Foundation state “nutrient run-off has also been linked to outbreaks of the Crown of Thorns Starfish – a significant contributor to the loss of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef”.

Tourism

This is really the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario. Tourism brings essential money to these coastal localities. They are reliant on it. However, seemingly “benign” activities like snorkeling and diving, can have damaging effects on coral reefs. To close off the popular areas of the Great Barrier Reef, to give marine eco-systems a chance to recover, would mean financial losses equating to more than a billion dollars a year to the Australian economy. When the choice is jobs or the environment, jobs seem to win the war. Sadly, the reef that brings the tourists could soon be dead. I guess then the tourism marketers can sell a visit to the “amazing Great Dead Barrier Reef-once a wonder of the world”. Pardon my sarcasm.

Can We Preserve The Great Barrier Reef?

The Great Barrier Reef  is a natural wonder and a World Heritage Site, but its value is far more than that. Like most reefs, it protects the coastline from damaging wave action and cyclones. It provides shelter and habitat for many marine organisms. Therefore, it’s vital that we must all do something to help save it. The list I have created is great for the Great Barrier Reef, also works in other places and is quite socially responsible.

2050 Plan

In 2015, the Queensland and Australian governments signed the “Reef 2050 Plan” a plan for the protection and preservation of the reef. “The 2050 plan aims to institute protective measures to improve water quality, reef restoration, killing of predatory starfish.” What the “Reef 2050 Plan” does not address is global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Experts dismiss the plan as too little too late and have effectively written off the reef as a lost treasure.

9 Simple Things To Do For The Great Barrier Reef

1). Water conservation.The first thing we can all do, and isn’t a difficult task, is to be more stingy with water. Conserving water reduces runoff, which means less waste ending up in the ocean.

2). Reduce our rubbish impact. This can be as simple as picking up trash as you leave beach areas. Make sure you never litter. That bread bag that didn’t get picked up on the roadway may literally find itself blown first into a river and eventually into our oceans.

3). We as consumers have a collective influence on climate change. Thoughtful purchase of appliances, buying those with an energy star rating. About the house we can use LED bulbs that use 80% less energy than normal light globes. Purchase  electric cars to cut carbon emissions. Plan short trips and errands to reduce gasoline use.

4). You can do things on your property, and in your home, several changes that benefit the environment can be made. Resolve to plant more trees. Use your food waste as compost. Limit use of fertilizers and poisons. Use your air conditioner less. Use your clothes line for drying your clothes when weather permits, instead of throwing them in the dryer. Properly recycle oil, toxic chemicals with your waste disposal provider.

5). Conservation organizations depend on donor funding, whether from government and/or individuals. Don’t be afraid to give, even small amounts help.

6). Buy local. Reduce fuel emissions from the transportation of goods. Why not take that extra step and  reduce fuel emissions by using your car less. Take your bike for short jaunts, or walk to the corner shop instead of driving. Hey you will get fitter in the process!

7). Local fishing. If you are lucky enough to be able to fish your locality, abide by the fishing restrictions. I love the mottos “fish for the future” and “limit your kill, don’t kill the limit”.

8). Refuse plastic.When at the supermarket, refuse plastic bags, which often end up in the ocean and can kill our marine life. Take your own recyclable bags. As a consumer look for items that have minimal packaging.  Sure this can make that shopping trip a little more frustrating than normal but consider the long-term benefits to the waterways that we all love.

9). Act responsibly. Finally, don’t be the one that says “I will leave it to other people”. “I’ll be dead before that happens”! If we want to make sure that The Great Barrier Reef and other natural wonders survive for future generations we all need to CARE and we need to ACT.

References:

https://www.barrierreef.org/the-reef/the-threats/poor-water-quality

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/22/great-barrier-reef-at-risk-as-overfishing-disrupts-food-chain-study-finds

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/11-ways-to-save-the-great-barrier-reef

https://www.barrierreef.org/the-reef/the-threats

https://www.wwf.org.au/what-we-do/oceans/great-barrier-reef

 

Opinion: Choose To Re-Use and Re-Purpose

Opinion: Choose To Re-Use

REFUSE THE REFUSE….. CHOOSE TO RE-USE

By Jennifer Troy

Organic and Natural

The amount of “wasteful waste” accumulated everyday, world-wide is staggering. Here in my corner of the world, Portland, Oregon, waste is everywhere. We have careless waste, we have intentional waste, we have good intentioned waste, we have plastic waste and we have paper waste, just to mention a few.  It is my wish to draw attention to waste that need not be wasted. Sometimes we accept a premise just because everyone else seems to accept it. Human beings are sheep.  I hope to convince you that often the things we do because we think it is the “right” thing for the environment may in fact be short-sighted and wrong. Shockingly, “organic” and “natural” may not always be the best answer.  I believe with all of my heart re-use and re-purpose in the end will be the best way forward.

Paper or Plastic?

Take as an example, the recent “Paper or Plastic” epidemic sweeping through the nation. We did it!  We finally got the public involved in saving the environment by ousting plastic and replacing it with the greener choice of paper. We’ve been so successful that half the rain forests of the Pacific NW and elsewhere are being systematically destroyed, not to mention the massive amount of paper in its many forms is now rotting in our landfills. Repeat after me, “re-use and re-purpose”.

Re-Use and Re-Purpose

Plastic or Progress?

Paper or Progress?

Natural means natural…. not sustainable, durable or reusable as it’s synthetic counterparts. “Synthetic”? “Synthetic”? That means man-made. Yes, man-made. These textiles were designed to be reused. Designed to be washed and NOT discarded. Why on earth have we put so much energy into creating, recycling and re-purposing plastic if we’re now simply going to ban it? Wake up, America there is a better way, there is progress.

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EPA Cuts Cause Potential For Real Harm

EPA Cuts Cause Potential For Real Harm

D. S. Mitchell

Calamity Politics is a progressive political blog that’s main intention is to improve people’s lives. I’m here again, uncensored and irreverent, raising hell and screaming for attention. I know I’m about 3200 miles from Washington, D.C. but I pray people are aware of the perilous and irresponsible attack on the EPA that is taking place at the hands of the Trump Administration.  The Environmental Defense Fund states flatly, “No federal agency has been singled out for such a large and pernicious budget cut as the EPA”.

Approximately 90% of the American people support strong environmental protections.  It is an all hands on deck emergency if we will be able to stop President Trump’s efforts to gut the EPA budget, thus eliminating many core environmental safeguards. The government has been transferred into the hands of anti-environment extremists whose goal is profit through fossil fuel extraction over the lives of wildlife and our historic national park system.

Trump and the Congress seem to be on a mission to kill our national parks and destroy our environmental protections.  Many lobbyists are sent to Washington paid to convince legislators that relaxing restrictions on the millions of acres of National Parks land would be an economic boom for the country.  The goal seems to be directed toward shifting control from the federal government to the individual states, where those treasured resources can be sold, or licensed to the highest bidder for the systematic extraction of gold, silver, oil, gas, coal, and timber.

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Butterflies and Memories

Butterflies and Memories

D. S. Mitchell

A Public Warning

Another pearl gray beach day here at Surf Pines, Oregon. Yesterday, I posted an article on a petition signed by more than 26,000 psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers. These mental health professionals were warning the public that, in their collective opinion, Donald Trump had a serious mental illness. They further requested the Congress remove him from office, based on Article 4 of the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Damn Scary

OMG. Pretty, damn scary stuff, if you ask me. I’ve followed politics all my life, and the only other time I have heard people question a U.S. president’s mental health was during the late stages of the Richard Nixon’s tenure.  At that time stories of Nixon’s nightly drinking and paranoia was fodder for a frenzied media.

Sharing Something Beautiful

With all that said, you might think today I would stoke up the fires on that story, but because I’m in charge here, I am going to discuss a lovely short essay, by Jennifer S. Kushnier. I originally saw it printed in one of those little books you see at Hallmark card stores. You know, the kind. They are usually really small and have lots of cool quotes, short stories or essays.

Anyway, this little essay by Ms. Kushnier  reminded me of my childhood. When I was a kid, even in city neighborhoods there were plenty of vacant lots, some were quite big, really open undeveloped fields where beautiful things happened. Thank you Jennifer, your piece was lovely and charming.

Butterflies by Jennifer S. Kushnier

Jennifer began her essay with the lines, “All kinds of wildflowers prospered there, from ivory Queen Anne’s lace and purple Clover, to yellow Buttercups and Black-eyed Susan’s, to burnt orange Indian Paintbrushes and those light-blue flowers that seem to be so rare these days. To this field came dozens of butterflies.”

Island Life

That little essay takes me to another time, a distant point in my childhood. When I too was very young. At that time my family lived on a dairy farm on a picturesque island. Sauvie’s Island is an amazing piece of land caught between the Willamette River and the Columbia River in NW Oregon, about 20 miles west of Portland, Oregon. Most of the island is a huge wildlife refuge with a few farms, even today, in this busy industrialized time.

Protect What We Love

I can remember when the birds would take to the air, a sunny day went black. Today, on this protected island the sky will never be so full of birds that the sky is black with their bounty. How long before the Monarch’s will be gone forever, and the Wood Duck a mere memory? I think it is imperative that we challenge the Trump Administration at every turn as they push their fossil fuel agenda. It is dangerous for the environment. A threat to wildlife, a risk to our water supply. The gutting of the EPA could potentially poison everything we know and love. If you love the sight of a Monarch butterfly in flight, if you love the sound of a woodpecker, if you love the beauty of a Wood Duck floating on a pond, if you love the sight of an Eagle on the wing, you are not alone. Please, stand up, speak out, and stop the threat to all the wild places by the fossil fuel pushing madman.

Thank you Jennifer S. Kushnier. I have tried to find you but I have not seen anything else you have written, but this little piece was just perfect.