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And it is no fun to live next to. I have. I like nuclear fine — but not near me. I was very happy when it closed. Wind can be put offshore to save all the bats and most of the birds, and all of the land. Maybe solar as well. Solar can be put in space. But it would have to built there and not carried up. Load leveling is a real issue.

Nuclear takes days to start up. It is useless for supplying the variable daily load. And renewable is almost just as useless, because it is unreliable. Coal is probably the best of the bunch,in terms of ability to supply what is demanded, at reasonable cost. And we used to use it a ton literally. But it is very much in the environmentalist doghouse with the nuclear.

Even though it is possible to clean a fair amount of it now. There are no perfect answers. I imagine it was probably ugly, but were there other reasons? I imagine it was ugly, but were there other reasons? During such evolution in the case of a carrier the other reactor carries the load. So thats not much of a strong point. If you take down one plant we have the other carry the load. Which is highly achievable in a commercial atmosphere. This is patent nonsense. Nuclear plants produce electricity, which is routinely and with high transmission efficiency used many hundreds of miles away from where it is generated.

There are plenty of birds offshore. Sea ducks; seabirds such as gannets, auks, petrels, shearwaters, and albatrosses; migrating sandpipers, plovers, gulls, terns, and jaegers. Many of these are already declining due to overfishing or habitat destruction on their breeding grounds. I believe the most important step would be to lower our need for electricity in the first place. Not sure where the world is heading by consuming so much energy for little useful activities.

Yeah you go first, KK. We all seem to be doing our best to ensure that the people of the developing world have MORE electricity, not less. Are you serious Morgan? You may say, why shouldn,t they have the same rich life as we have! But, isn,t that a little bit old fashioned, out moded, is it the idea that we all go together soon some 10 or 12 billion faster and faster towards the apocalypse??

This is the logic of the green movement no matter how much they might profess to care about the poor and the most vulnerable. I have worked 10 yrs of my life in development projects meaning: more mechanisation, electricity, irrigation, import of inputs, transports, in short, much more fuel and CO2 emission , and long thought that this was the only way to take as a Hegelian.

Funny thing always: we did that not because we were asked by the people or the politicians, but because of something else, missionary ideology I think it was, and western finance available for the purpose. The people themselves often told us: why run so fast, put everything in an agenda, talk so succinct on thechnical details, plant crops in rows with fertilizer etc etc. There you are so right Karthik, all these completely useless though comfortable activities: very common here, premises heating their terrraces, even where it is just above or below zero, doors open allday even at freezing, etc etc.

Where is this ending?? Life, health, education are all up. Famine, disease, destruction are all down. Energy increase correlates directly to better life. The elephant in the room is the social mania obsessed either sciencey sounding apocalyptic claptrap. Crush the claptrap. I remember my first trip to the desert too, after growing up in a large urban area.

There were plants and birds and rocks and things and sand and hills. It was really hot and the ground was dry, but it felt good to be out of the rain. Thank goodness for this article. Or the same weight as an empty Coke can? A full Coke can? The yearly electricity requirements of a family of four are such that, if generated using coal, would require a stack of coal crates totaling the size of about four full-size refrigerators. In terms of enriched uranium, it would be two pellets, each the size and dimension of a mechanical pencil eraser.

The visual discrepancy between the two was stunning. There are essentially none. Think about that for a minute. The problem with nuclear plants is consequences of dispersing nuclear technology. There are bad guys in the world who would make terrible use of their power if they had a nuclear bomb. But as far as the developed, politically stable countries go — especially those who already have nuclear technology — build them power plants! Slash carbon emissions! Make energy cheaper, safer, and more reliable! This is a solution to the problem, and one in which the trade-off is worth it. I truly am not trying to be mean or flippant, but this has been obvious for over 50 years.

It been evident for a long time that renewables would only make up a small portion of the solution and that they would carry with them their own unintended negative consequences — especially as they were scaled to economic viability. They rely heavily on battery technology which continues to progress incrementally with indications that this is just the nature of power storage. On an actuarial assessment of damage per kilowatt nuclear outperforms renewables by a wide margin. It is sad that the emotional responses and fears so far out-weigh the facts. This has been sitting in front of our faces for a very long time.

Maybe our greatest inefficiency is in our public information and education institutions. You are correct. Petr Beckmann, author of the above-mentioned book, send me a free copy, which includes several quotes from my writings about nuclear power. I was surprised and flattered that he felt compelled to include me in his book despite my critical stance on nuclear power. Unfortunately his book falls far short of rebutting my criticism.

He self-published it, not surprisingly. The reference to the book above is the first time I have actually heard about it since I received the book back in This is also not surprising inasmuch as the intervening years have produced numerous books by qualified credible scientists, journalists and activists such as Daniel Ford, Dr. Today self-styled experts like most of the commenters on this blog gush over nukes in a loud display of self-importance and what they consider irrefutable facts, otherwise known as opinions and wishful thinking.

If anyone is as open-minded as to consider reading dissenting opinions they can consult my web site www. After it was over, walking to the elevator, he said to me: You are very good. Apparently he couldnt conceive of the possibility that was sincere. We need limits on energy production mainly to force us to limit the population of the human race and robots. I was designing and building solar and wind power in the late s and early s. I have been in power conversion since for medical and aerospace. I have looked into the eyes of many people who are afraid of nuke power or global warming.

I am more of a calculated risk person, than a perceived risk person. Nobody counts population as including their dead. Today, perhaps 10 million people die each year from air and water pollution. The rest is for transportation, heating and manufacturing. Imagine all of our homes entirely heated by electricity. Imagine electric aircraft, trains, trucks, etc. How much land would be required for renewables? How many nuke plants would we need? How could we afford to throw away all our furnaces and ducting and replace all these with electric heating and AC, in all homes, offices and schools, throw away all our cars and replace them with electric cars, etc.

And with rapidly rising electricity costs how much heat and AC and light could most of us afford? Nuclear is only a partial solution. Fossil fuels are going to remain a necessity for the foreseeable future because there are no viable liquid fuel alternatives. Increased electrification powered by nuclear is only a partial solution.

It is not politically popular to admit this but it is a reality we will confront whether we admit it or not. Agriculture is a good factor to mention here. Nitrogen fertilizer costs a lot of fuel to produce has to be made at high pressure and is good for one third of total enery costs of grains and staples others for transports and machinery.

Without that nitrogen, 3 or 4 billion of the world population would not possibly have been there even, and the amount is growing. This nitrogen production was, before the invention of the fertilizer, completely provided by nature itself, rotation crops that bind air nitrogen and birds producing guano. However, we now rely on this CO2 emitting process, where will we all end up? We have to look at nuclear power, and some solar, water and wind where possible. And save more, of course, helps a lot.

This night reflected more on this one. In fact, nitrogen as plant food first element needed for proteins depended for ages on solar energy: sun and CO2 make vegetal sugars, these sugars and sun energy bind air nitrogen by microbial action and make it available for incorporation in animal and human proteins. Now, instead of working this further out and develop better natural nitrogen binding, men decided to do away with this useful process altogether and choose for the cheaper but energy devouring and CO2 emitting and somewhat higher producing process of nitrogen fertilizer.

China did away with all their nitrogen binding rotation crops quite recently and went on with the nitrogen binding factories as got from Nixon, and now also heavily fertilize their rice and grain with that stuff. This avoiding to work with nature is the great improvement of modern man, but….. Excellent point about nitrogen. It often seems that the industries that to do the most to keep us alive and improve our health and well-being are the most hated.

Are you also agronomist maybe Jay? All history now, in the meantime, the times they are a…. Nuclear and solar can be used for chemical reactions that create liquid fuels synfuels from water and air. Beyond that, most of the replacements you mentioned wear out.


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When their natural life is over, they can be replaced with electrified equivalents. This amortization process will take decades—but so will building new nukes. Renewables are in their infancy and completely new methods of capturing light energy are being developed. In Europe the trans national transfer of electricity happens with or without renewables. In reality the energy balance depends on the geography, economy and urbanisation of the country, but nuclear is certainly regressive.

In the end, I wish we simply listened to academic studies more than we listened to journalists and activists, particularly in the environmental sector. Cheap energy is a necessity for economic growth and lifting people out of poverty. Higher energy prices are the enemy of the poor.

You can reduce energy consumption by making it more expensive but that comes at a steep cost and the burden hits the most vulnerable the hardest. Wind turbines and solar panels need to be replaced every 20 years or so if not damaged earlier by the elements. Learn the difference between energy and electricity. Good point! Speaking of which, the demand for electricity varies during the day — at noon, the demand is roughly twice as high as in the night.

Which is not something nuclear plants can handle without additional infrastructure. Transportation and agriculture are completely dependent on fossil fuels and that is not going to materially change any time soon. It is a sobering reality few people want to confront. Electric vehicles can address only a small part of the problem. The only reason nuclear might be regressive is because of the lack of research and new design. It certainly can made, cheaper and even safer. The Chinese are doing it, building a molten salt reactor.

The safety risks of nuclear relate to proliferation and poisoning, not terrorist attacks. These risks have been contained so far, and better security is coming. Nuclear is, strictly speaking, a renewable energy source. This is not a valid argument against hydroelectric pumped storage.

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The dams do not consume water, it only stores it for some time. We will therefore not get less water for consumption because we have some hydroelectric storage stations. I just wanted to write down what you noted here above Jan, twice even, so, no use to come with it a third time.

So different with carbohydrates! There it is: once consumed, no more replenishing, consuming the work of millions of years in just hours. Also: hydro generates methane emissions. Also: damming up rivers is high impact environmental destruction which has been normalized. Hands up for those who are familiar with the book Atomic Suicide by the remarkable duo Walter and Lao Russell! Hands up for those who have heard of the book Atomic Suicide by the remarkable polymath duo Walter and Lao Russell?

It is available on the Institute for Science In Society website. We need something smaller scale, cheaper and simpler. Something that countries not being major economic powers can afford and sustain. Finland has two nuclear plants with fifth reactor finally finished and Sweden three 10 reactors.

Both are much smaller nations than Poland, and certainly not major economic powers. This also makes the cost overruns inherent in any complex constructions much worse. Serious reactor accidents are also extremely low-probability events, and so far have involved only the older generation reactors Chernobyl was a particularly risky RBMK type as well.

Prolonged periods of low winds or cloudy skies, on the other hand, are common. My father helped design the first electricity generating nuclear reactor at Calder Hall, UK. He read the reports that came out of Russia on Chernobyl and his assessment was that appalling design and sloppy operators nearly caused a catastrophic disaster. By that he meant, they could have sterilised thousands of square miles of Russia and exterminated millions of local people and that region would have become off-limits to all life-forms to this day.

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He realised that most nuclear accidents arise due to incompetent operation so he was working on a more idiot-proof design where the inherent physics meant that the reactor could not over-heat if all the operators died. Whilst I get the neatness of the nuclear option there are a couple of issues with this argument. First a single nuclear meltdown on the coast if the US would ruin the deaths comparison for ever. Second the German investment doesnt complete for another 6 years! Im not sure when the grid reaches full output and am unclear if the capital costs have been front loaded on consumers but the facts are missing and so how can we accept the case for renewables is poor?

Well said Doctor. I live within 5 miles of the site of the first commercial core meltdown in US history, Santa Susanna Field Laboratory. Half a million people live within 10 miles of the site where much of the material has yet to be accounted for. Now the methane accident at Porter Ranch Oil Field is a different story. SoCal gas has refused to name the chemicals besides methane that were released.

No health study, no nothing. I had to pay to be tested by an independent lab. I seem to have an abnormally high level of benzene and some other oil by products in my system. Good article from another Quillette author who has seen the error of their Leftist perspective.

The most dangerous and destructive people in the history are Leftists who want to help the unfortunate and save the environment. I agree with Aylwin. In contrast, wind energy is cost competitive with fossil fuels and the cost of solar continues to drop. Good grief. The history of wind energy in the US is that whenever the subsidies dry up, investment stops. As Warren Buffet has explained, take away the tax incentives and investing in wind makes no sense. And solar is subsidized more heavily than wind.

If you want to compare subsidies, you have to compare subsidy per unit of energy produced. Wind and solar are by far the most heavily subsidized. K — nuclear subsidies are far lower than renewables on a per KWh basis, but the renewable industry never reports on a per KWh basis, only on raw subsidy expenditures. On the other hand, a nuclear, coal, or gas electricity generation plant does not need any renewable backup, and actually run much cleaner and more efficiently without the intermittency interference from renewables.

If nuclear is so expensive, and solar and wind so cheap, why do ALL the countries and states CA with the most renewable energy have the highest electricity prices? Why did heavily nuclear France get increased electricity prices when they started to boost renewables? The Manhattan Contrarian is an outstanding site for analysis on the true cost of renewables and the politics of trying to cover them up — the links below are just a couple of examples:. Jay and E. K — you need to look at the underlying sources of data for the subsidy information provided in the links offered by Jay and myself. For the most part they are from DOE and other government sources that if anything are big proponents of renewables.

And of course the other aspect is to look at the actual electricity prices paid by consumers in markets with lots of nuclear vs lots of renewables — its ALWAYS much higher with renewables. I do think gov. The farmers love them because they can lease portions of their farm fields giving them multiple sources of income.

Here are a couple of recent stories about the true costs of wind power in the upper-Midwest. I have to agree with E. They swallow loony ideas lock stock and barrel because they fit their ideology and then claim that rational opinions are science denial. I am an American expat that has lived in Germany since , with a 3 year residence in Nebraska in the late s. When you drive around, you can see solar farms, wind turbines and rooftop panels galore.

I would love to make my house greener but it would cost more than my house is worth. After 17 years, I would make nothing. To add to this, Germans absolutely hate nuclear power. Nein, Danke! Off subject, but this reminds me of a comment I read. Jacob Beser, a Jewish crewman on the Enola Gay, was asked if he had any regrets about dropping the atomic bomb. Thanks for sharing your experience. Is there any sign that public attitudes in Germany might change causing politicians to come to their senses?

They got rid of nuclear and now rely heavily on coal to back up unreliable wind. Now they are talking about getting rid of coal. Is the public at all aware that this will make them heavily dependent on importing natural gas, much of which will come from Russia? Oddly worded at best, meant to trigger birders seemingly. Cats have caused numerous small bird species extinctions, most famously the Stephens Island Wren. Yes nice promotion. What are the costs, emissions and environmental impact of extracting Uranium? What do you do with nuclear waste that remains radioactive for thousands of years?

What if each generation creates new sites of nuclear waste in order to meet the energy demands? Btw other factors matter also besides the half life of the isotope. It is also the type of the radiation and how effectively it is absorbed by organisms. That way the mine would actually be less radioactive than before it was mined and it would effectively have zero additional radiation impact on the environment.

All sources have costs and impacts of extraction. Look at pictures of neodymium extraction in china that gets used to make wind turbines. I think you are missing the scale of radioactive waste compared to waste from all other sources of electricity. Fly ash from coal burning is quite awful. Tailing ponds from coal mining have dams that fail after years and destroy river ecosystems. If you want to create one underground storage facility in the middle of nowhere the only real risk is transporting the waste.

At least in a single facility we have control over the impact compared to burning things that affect the habitability of the entire planet. Scott I know that wind turbines and solar panels are not built out of thin air. If nuclear waste is to generate power for the whole world, one facility is not enough. You will have to add up the waste of many generations also. You also need to be able to impose universal safety standards all over the world. Anyway, my main point is, the author wrote thousands of words promoting nuclear power without spending a second sentence on the single biggest problem of it.

One has to remember that the mantra of global warming has little to do with actual global warming, which has been highly exaggerated. It is a vehicle for a redistribute the wealth political agenda. I can think of several very good reasons to curtail the use of fossil fuels, that have nothing to do with global warming. Balance of payments — send less of your money out of your country. Fewer wars — most of the major wars fought by the western nations in the last 30 years have involved the global oil supply. Rwanda has no oil, and no impact on the global economy. And… not funding terrorism.

These are reasons that anyone of any political persuasion can appreciate and support without argument. Yet, the greenies never bring that up, because it would mean people would use less fossil fuel without caving in to their point of view. As for electric vehicles… actually, the capacity of li-ion cells can be at least doubled with low polymer anodes, if they can figure out how to mass produce those. Unlike fuel cells, the infrastructure to fuel electric cars is already in place — the current electric grid. And charging typically happens in off peak hours, so the current grid could handle a lot of electric vehicles.

Their motivation is bending others to their will, as evidenced by their failure to bring up these very practical advantages that have no political agenda behind them. Meanwhile, very real and un-exaggerated ecological problems fester, such as the garbage islands in the oceans.

I find California to be a study in hypocrisy. They claim to be ecologically conscious, yet they burn more hydrocarbons per capita than anywhere in the world. Suggest to a Cali resident that they not drive their car, and you get a blank stare… inconceivable. They only have sidewalks to go jogging.

And mass transit is all but nonexistent. Do as I say, not as I do…. Your second paragraph — stopping foreign wars based on oil — is fundamental to the left the real left, not the corporate left. You seem determined to frame this as an us versus them argument, even at the expense of common knowledge and common sense. Why pick that fight when the entire country in based around ICE vehicles and sorely lacks mass transit?

California is much better at protecting the environment that most other states, when the federal government is trying to undermine us, that it. Yes, the rest of the country follow the example California set with the amazing success of its high speed rail project. And they can teach us a thing or two about forest management as well.

The greenhouse effect was an unquantified assumption in the 29th century. Recent evidence strongly points to the GHE being insignificant. Science changes with new evidence. Now we have quantum mechanics to enable us to evaluate the GHE isis insignificant — less than 0. Nuclear is the future but at the moment choice of technologies is difficult, with PWR suppliers muddying the water, and little long term evidence for newer technologies adding economic risk.

Coal can supply reliable and clean energy till matters resolve. The African Development Bank recently backing coal was a valuable advance. While I know some worse examples of misrepresentations, I recommed people be skeptical towards articles such as this one. Climate pseudoscience runs on two levels:. Level 1: Climate deniers. These are people who doubt basic science and would do basically anything for money. They heavily distort science and are usually easy to spot.

Level 2: Climate delayers. These guys are usually quite intelligent and good at scientific deception. They do admit the realities of global warming. The end goal is always less tax, even though we can easily tax carbon while lowering overall taxpayer load. They usually have a political bias, or are funded by the Koch brothers or conservative think tanks, or are unknowledgeable conservatives who are quick on their feet e. They normally aggregate cherry-picked snippets of science to paint a picture that fits their agenda. Global warming is an existential threat to organized human life, as well as animal life.

Climate change waits for nobody and affects everyone, so we have to take actions to prevent it. Despite all the investment in solar and wind, the numbers barely moved from and the Obama administrations projections for forecast only minimal increases. Solar and wind have serious limitations. Good sources of energy should be dense, always available, easy to transport, easy to store.

Fossil fuels tick those boxes some better than others. Solar and wind, by contrast, are dilute, intermittent, difficult to transport and extremely difficult to store. Solar and wind are not good sources of energy. Where is the scientific evidence that wind and solar work at scale? Which countries get a majority of their energy from wind and solar? How many power grids in the world run on wind and solar alone?

They are worthless without a reliable backup fossil fuel, nuclear or hydro. And they are dependent on fossil fuels from cradle to grave. The countries that have invested heavily in solar and wind have little to show for it in terms of reducing CO2 emissions. Instead, they have higher energy bills and less stable grids Australia is an example the author did not mention. No such alternative exists nuclear is a partial alternative. Wind and solar are just wasteful and redundant. Still waiting for signals that a doubling of CO2 will result in a dramatic increase in world temps.

The temperature rise from about to is about the same as from through What was the cause? Sea level rise remains constant over the past years. The only denying going on is that you can do something meaningful by building more wind turbines and solar panels. The Swedish scientist I know, science is no longer priority Arrhenius calculated a temperature increase of 5 degrees at the doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Peter, excellent analysis. When this article was first posted I expected the climate deniers who are very vocal on Quillette would come out in droves. To my surprise, most of the comments have accepted the reality of anthropogenic climate change and debated the relative merits of nuclear energy vs. An escalating carbon tax would allow the market to determine the optimal approach. Everybdy knows more or less what it means, but literally it is nonsense of course.

An outcry of the citizens voters , and the politicians admitting that costs are much higher than what was calculated at first, this is how democracy works, no more sensible actions, they are blocked effectively. Where are the dictators, please? Those are three prominent scientists who express serious doubts about various aspects of the prevailing narrative. They could be wrong but to call them deniers is ridiculous. The climate models predict the earth should be warming at. One could just as easily argue that the people who favor the models over the data are the deniers.

Level 3: People who blindly accept the CAGW narrative without question and resort to misrepresenting the abilities of actual scientists who are way smarter than them and claim they are fossil fuel funded hacks. These are people like Peter Pehlivan, K. Dershem and Nakatomi Plaza. It probably is, but, opting in favor of the delusional solution rather than the reasonable solution merely delays the reasonable solution. By the time we replicate the German experiment in every developed country on earth, it may be too late for the reasonable solution.

Californians often believe themselves to be immune from the laws of Nature, but this advice should be heeded. An excellent article. Intellectually, I have no doubt that nuclear makes the most sense — however, catastrophes such as Fukushima and the Ukraine are still scary. Maybe it is a phobia, but phobias are real.

Nobody wants to live near wind farms either. They are popular only for people who live far away. As more get built, opposition will grow. Unlike the fear of nuclear which is completely irrational , wind farms are a horrible nuisance. Anonymous — 1 person died from radiation at Fukushima, 45 died at Chernobyl, and 0 died at 3 Mile Island. I was unable to find death figures from Cobolt or Lithium mining and processing, but I highly suspect the annual deaths are higher than total nuclear reactor deaths since I would certainly rather live next to a nuclear plant than a coal plant or wind farm low frequency vibrations are very disruptive to central nervous system.

Given how often Tesla batteries go up in flames, I am not sure it will be very safe to live next to the massive batteries that would be required to store excess solar or wind power either — especially since the battery fires are near impossible to put out. Olson Hah! Finally something to disagree on! That one person who died at Fukushima committed suicide, so there!

D-Rex — thanks for the correction, although I expect that person did commit suicide because they were fearful of dying from radiation exposure in years. Let me wonder, how many people died or die per year, per ton of product in mining: coal, beauxite, coltran, gold?? All these human considerations only made in the modern West. I just love the sound of your voice, that's all. Well, the paper is talking about personality disorders , which appear to be psychological disorders that go way back into childhood, and that are more or less enduring traits, unlike problems such as depression, which seem to have a more definable beginning and end, and are thus often more transitory in nature.

I know that sounds redundant, Sam, but I think it makes sense to me. We're talking about something that runs a little deeper, and that may be a little more resistant to change, because it's more part of one's core identity, or lack thereof. It's just that when you use it all the time, and with a dramatic, affected tone of voice, it comes across as superficial and hollow. In fact, "hollow" is a good word to describe someone who has this problem.

People with this disorder are at the mercy of their own emotional whims, so that one minute they can seem perfectly reasonable and whole, and the next minute they can be in total chaos. As a result of this, they tend to idealize people and then soon afterwards, get disappointed by them because they turn out to be imperfect, and then they try to destroy that person for letting them down. A popular book written for the general public, for people who may be living with or working with someone who has this problem, is titled something like I Hate You, Don't Leave , which captures the deeply conflicted and contradictory emotions and behaviors associated with this disorder.

People with borderline personality disorder often spend much of their adult lives filing lawsuits, butting heads with their bosses and creating havoc with the personnel departments of their employers; and creating chaos for their friends and families. Paradoxically, they can also be very successful in their careers, and when they aren't stirring everything up and trying to destroy those around them, they can be quite wonderful.

It surely is. Of course, many people try to justify a person's behavior because of the developmental-family history of the person in question. In the case of narcissistic and borderline personality disorder , there is little question that the cause is abuse or neglect in childhood. But the fact that a person had a bad childhood--yes, even a tortured one--is not an excuse for one's inappropriate, damaging behavior.

Having no empathy for anyone but oneself, or creating near-constant chaos for self and others, is not justified by one's mental health history. And the only way for people to overcome these painful conditions is to take responsibility for their actions. I agree with you. It is most unfortunate that the humans in this country have strayed so far to the extreme of seeing everyone as a victim of something.

It is most unfortunate. We are, after all, responsible for our actions, no matter what. The real test comes, of course, after the client idealizes the therapist and then begins the inevitable process of demonizing him or her. This is a crucial time in the therapy, because a therapist who can't handle the client's anger, or a therapist who tends to baby his or her clients, will blow it.

At the same time, many clients will leave therapy at this time, just when they're on the verge of a major breakthrough in working through their disappointment. Learning to deal with disappointment gracefully--and to even deepen as a result of it rather than destroying everything because of it, is a key here. Granted, there are some legitimate lawsuits filed in these situations, but there are many that actually turn out to set the client back months or even years by sabotaging this process of learning to deal with disappointment.

After all, life never gives us everything we want. Disappointment is part of life. Learning to deal with disappointment gracefully is one of the hallmarks of healthy adulthood. People with certain personality disorders expect, as a result of deep wounds, that life will eventually give them everything they want, which is impossible, which sets the person up for more and more disappointment. What a trap, Sam! That it 'tis. And with that, I am ending our most learned discussion so that we can catch the last of that late afternoon sun streaming through the windows of the kitchen.

Shall we? For soon it will be dark, and we will have to wait 24 hours for that late afternoon sun to return. But I don't mind. Things often come to us when we least expect them. She looked like she might have been related to the cocker spaniel part of you. What was the story about? Abby: She was taken to the pound by her owner, who could no longer care for her, and a year-old man waited and waited until he could finally get her, and then he got her from the pound and they started their new life together.

Sam: So, what happened? Abby: The man was backing out of his driveway the other day, and drove right off of the nearly vertical embankment across the street, and he and his dog plunged several hundred feet, the car landing upside down. After about an hour, the cocker spaniel got free of the car, and the man, hanging upside down inside the car, told her to go get help.

Sam: What did she do? Abby: She raced up the hill, across the road, down the street, and up to the neighbor's house, where she barked and barked until someone came out, and then she whined and begged until the woman followed her over to the cliff, where the woman saw the car, and called the police. As they were retrieving her human from way down below, she paced back and forth up on the road, until he was safe! Sam: with a tear in his eye That's such a touching story.

Sometimes life is just too marvelous and mysterious to even begin to explain. Well, it's interesting you should say that. I was watching CNN the other night, and it appears that close to half of all Americans now believe that all of the living creatures on earth have existed in their present form, since time began. Sam: Wha??? Abby: And Americans wonder why so many high-tech jobs, and why so many smart, talented scientists, are leaving the U. Despite the overwhelming evidence that the universe, and creation, is constantly evolving, close to half of Americans are so frightened, and so poorly educated, that they choose to believe a simplistic fairy tale instead of the facts.

Sam: That's so I'm not sure if it's more sad than it is scary. Abby: You and I believe in God, right? Sam: Right. Abby: And we believe that God created the universe, right? Abby: Don't you suppose that God is either wonderfully amused, or somewhat offended, by this silly explanation of His incredible universe? Sam: I should think so. After all, if you were an omniscient being, and you created creatures with a big enough brain to contemplate creation, wouldn't you rather create a fantastic, mysterious, wondrous universe that has been evolving for over 33 billion years, so that those beings you created, with those big brains, would have something to be in awe and wonderment about for thousands and thousands of years, rather than doing it all at once, with a sweep of His hand, so that there is nothing more to think about?

Abby: Of course. Sam: I am thankful that we live in a universe of wonder and mystery, and I pray that no matter how hard we try, we never become arrogant and grandiose enough to think that we know more than God does. Abby: Amen, Sam. Happy Thanksgiving. Charlie Melancon, whose district south of New Orleans was devastated by the hurricane, posted a sampling of e-mails written by Federal Emergency Management chief Michael Brown on his Web site on Wednesday.

The Democratic lawmaker cited several e-mails that he said show Brown's failures. In one, as employees looked for direction and support on the ravaged Gulf Coast, Brown offered to "tweak" the federal response. Two days after Katrina hit, Marty Bahamonde, one of the only FEMA employees in New Orleans, wrote to Brown that "the situation is past critical" and listed problems including many people near death and food and water running out at the Superdome.

Brown's entire response was: "Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak? On September 12 Brown resigned, 10 days after President Bush told him, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, saying Brown's expertise was needed as he investigated what went wrong, agreed to a day extension when Brown resigned. Chertoff renewed that extension in mid-October. Brown took over FEMA in with little experience in emergency management. He joined the agency in as legal counsel to his college friend, then-FEMA director Joe Allbaugh, who was Bush's campaign manager.

Before joining the Bush administration, Brown spent a decade as the stewards and judges commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association. The e-mails Melancon posted, a sampling of more than 1, provided to the House committee now assessing responses to Katrina by all levels of government, also show Brown making flippant remarks about his responsibilities.

Can I come home? Brown found time to exchange e-mails about superfluous topics," including "problems finding a dog-sitter," Melancon said. Melancon said that on August 26, just days before Katrina made landfall, Brown e-mailed his press secretary, Sharon Worthy, about his attire, asking: "Tie or not for tonight?

Button-down blue shirt? A few days later, Worthy advised Brown: "Please roll up the sleeves of your shirt, all shirts. Even the president rolled his sleeves to just below the elbow. In this [crisis] and on TV you just need to look more hard-working. On August 29, the day of the storm, Brown exchanged e-mails about his attire with Taylor, Melancon said.

She told him, "You look fabulous," and Brown replied, "I got it at Nordstroms. Are you proud of me? I am a fashion god," according to the congressman. Tom Davis, R-Virginia, chairman of a House committee appointed to investigate what went wrong during Katrina, Melancon said. Brown resigned amid accusations that FEMA acted too slowly after Katrina hammered Louisiana and Mississippi, killing more than 1, people. He defended the government's response and blamed leaders in Louisiana for failing to act quickly as the hurricane approached. He acknowledged he made some mistakes as FEMA's director, but he stressed that the agency "is not a first responder," insisting that role belonged to state and local officials.

Although Chertoff has not turned over all the documents requested by the committee, Melancon charged that the material received so far contradicts testimony by Brown before the committee in which he described himself as an effective leader. Melancon's analysis of e-mails -- PDF. Melancon used an e-mail sent September 2, four days after the hurricane hit, to illustrate his point.

On that day, Brown received a message with the subject "medical help. Because of a lack of ventilators, medical personnel had to ventilate patients by hand for as long as 35 hours, according to Melancon. The text of the e-mail reads: "Mike, Mickey and other medical equipment people have a foot trailer full of beds, wheelchairs, oxygen concentrators, etc. They are wanting to take them where they can be used but need direction. If you could have someone contact him and let him know if he can be of service, he would appreciate it. Know you are busy but they really want to help. Melancon also charged that few of the e-mails from Brown show him assigning specific tasks to employees or responding to pressing problems.

They were to receive 60 trucks of ice and 26 trucks of water the next day, even though they needed trucks of each. Robert Fenton, a FEMA regional response official, predicted "serious riots" if insufficient supplies arrive. Brown was forwarded the series of e-mails about the problem, but no response from him is shown in the e-mails provided to the committee, Melancon said.

Katrina came ashore along the Louisiana-Mississippi state line, after being downgraded from a Category 5 to a Category 4 storm. It flooded 80 percent of New Orleans. It was followed about a month later by Hurricane Rita, which caused more damage and flooding. Melancon and several other Democrats from districts directly affected by Katrina were invited to participate as a ex-officio members of the Katrina investigative committee, though they have no formal role.

This is the second time a congressional committee had dealt with e-mails relating to FEMA's Katrina response. A complete transcript of Brown's e-mail traffic during the Katrina crisis has not been released by the Department of Homeland Security. We have come through what may have been one of the worst weeks in America's history, a week in which government at every level failed the people it was created to serve. There is no purpose for government except to improve the lives of its citizens.

Yet as scenes of horror that seemed to be coming from some Third World country flashed before us, official Washington was like a dog watching television. It saw the lights and images, but did not seem to comprehend their meaning or see any link to reality. As the floodwaters rose, local officials in New Orleans ordered the city evacuated.

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They might as well have told their citizens to fly to the moon. How do you evacuate when you don't have a car? No hint of intelligent design in any of this. This was just survival of the richest. By midweek a parade of Washington officials rushed before the cameras to urge patience. What good is patience to a mother who can't find food and water for a dehydrated child?

Washington was coming out of an August vacation stupor and seemed unable to refocus on business or even think straight. And when he was unable to get to Washington in time to vote on emergency aid funds, Hastert had an excuse only Washington could understand: He had to attend a fund-raiser back home. If this is the result, we had better start over. And that's our broadcast. But after that, we need to think about the American community, about the one America we think we are, the one we talk about.

We need people to feel more than sympathy with the victims, we need them to feel empathy with our national community that includes the poor. We have missed opportunities to make certain that all Americans would be more than huddled masses. We have been too slow to act in the face of the misery of our brothers and sisters. This is an ugly and horrifying wake-up call to America.

Let us pray we answer this call. Screen shots of the "looting" photos on Yahoo News. Bloggers are outraged over the different captions on photos of blacks and whites in New Orleans. Another school year for the kids is upon us. The Minnesota State Fair started on August 25th, teachers are getting ready for the first day of school, and the sun is just a tad lower in the sky--just enough to give us that first little ache that comes with the beginning of the end of another hot, glorious summer. Abby the Labrador: Four or five leaves have turned.

It's one of those precise moments in time. When the day is so intense and clear that you don't know whether or not to cry. You know that something is ending and that another is about to begin, and you aren't sure of the outcome--the nastiest winter in history? Another terrorist attack? The most spectacular Fall colors since ? Or, will it all just be a dud?

And then, for just a moment, you aren't even sure if the summer that is about to end was everything it was cracked up to be. Sam: It amuses me that people in more "interesting" parts of the country gaze at us knowingly, condescendingly, patronizingly, and shrug us off.

How could they have any real meaning in their lives? How could they really have a soul? Abby: A soul. That's rich. As if being grounded and solid and connected to one's family and one's history is passe. Lake Wobegon. It's one thing to become famous because you were "discovered" by a vast Hollywood movie machine, and yet another to become a part of the national soul because you did what you do in life, day after day, week after week, regardless of what others think about you.

To build something from the ground up--to do what God meant you to do in this life--to do it on faith and from your spirit, despite the small audiences and the absence of fame, and then to have fame be a by-product rather than a goal--ah, yes. That is what depth is about.

Abby: Yes, Sam. We both know it. Some people say that you and I are really just a reflection of Mom and Dad--that ultimately, the way domesticated dogs interact is a mirror image of how their humans act. It is one of life's fascinating little puzzles, because it is partially true.

Travels in Ireland

The system that Mom and Dad create from day-to day is, indeed, what puts into play how we treat each other. Dad has often used us as an example when he does professional training about relationships. He describes how we cuddle up together--legs intertwined--and how we look out the sliding glass doors at the winter scenery, side-by-side, old friends, like in the Simon and Garfunkel song, as in the pictures of us at the top of this web page; and how once in awhile, every ten days or so, I provoke you--I bite at the back of your leg, you nip at me, I charge at you with my face down at ground-level, my butt up in the air, growling and barking and charging you and retreating, and how you finally have enough--you're such a calm, sweet, dear animal, you know--and you go ballistic!

You finally bark and growl and chase me around the house--do you remember that big house we had in North Oaks? The depth and spirituality and power and tenderness and intimacy and meaning in all of those connected moments makes up a life that is, when all is said and done, a life worth living. Sam: Which is a very long-winded way to introduce what we offer to all of you parents, as this school year begins YOU know, and WE know--whether you want to admit it or not--that the number one mental health and academic problem in America today is that families in America are disconnected due to over-scheduling that serves to help people avoid being emotionally connected.

The one common thread that runs through the families of all National Merit Scholarship winners is that they eat dinner together as a family. The National Institutes of Health say without equivocation that the number one protective factor against teen drug and alcohol abuse in America is a family that cares about and creates structure and connectedness amongst family members.

In other words, if you need to be your child's "pal," and if you need your child's performance to help you prove to your neighbors that you are "okay," then you're setting up your children and yourself for years of misery. In dog terms, it's called The same goes for a computer, if it means he or she is constantly disconnected from the rest of the family. Dylan Klebold Columbine Killer was SO disconnected from his family, because his family let it happen--based on the evidence we've seen. Develop the GUTS to do two things at once--a set just a few limits for your kids but hold to them no matter what, with only an occasional exception, and b be kind yet firm as you set those limits.

You'll learn a lot about the difference between shallow comfort and enduring, spiritual depth. Sam: We love you all!! Here comes Fall!! Let America Be America Again. By Langston Hughes. Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be. America never was America to me. It never was America to me. Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?

And who are you that draws your veil across the stars? Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need! Of work the men! Of take the pay! Of owning everything for one's own greed! I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil. I am the worker sold to the machine. I am the Negro, servant to you all. Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers! The free? Who said the free? Not me? Surely not me? The millions on relief today? The millions shot down when we strike? The millions who have nothing for our pay? When I anchored the evening news, I kept my opinions to myself.

But now, more than ever, I feel I must speak out. Like you, I understand that freedom of speech is a founding principle of our nation, and I respect people with the courage to speak their minds. Over the years, Robertson and Falwell have gained considerable influence on local school boards, in the administration, and in Congress.

They have shrewdly twisted the traditional healing role of religion into an intolerant, political platform. Using religion as a tool to push their personal political beliefs — especially, in a time of national tragedy — not only insults people of faith and good will, it also diminishes the positive healing role religion can and should play in public life.

This is why I am speaking out today, and why I urge you to speak out, too. In short, The Interfaith Alliance offers a mainstream alternative for people of faith and good will to stand in opposition to the extremism of the Religious Right. Welton Gaddy ,— and I know you will be proud, too. Please join me in this critical effort with a special contribution today. We are local religious leaders and activists, some with years of political experience, some just starting out. We work in our communities, in state capitals, in Washington, DC and wherever else our voice is needed.

Our , members across the nation represent diverse religious and spiritual traditions — Jews, Christians,Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs — 70 faith traditions in all, as well as many Agnostics and Atheists. In Washington, DC, our national office works on Capitol Hill and with the White House, in coalition with denominational bodies and other activist organizations to make sure our unique message is communicated when and where it matters most. Our 47 local Alliances are active in their communities on local issues, carrying The Interfaith Alliance message to decision-makers, the media, and the public at large.

These new letters were written in the midst of their passionate love affair. Sam The Cockapoo: What a find, Abby! Peter Pierre Abelard was born in in a little village in Brittany. It was while at Notre-Dame that he met Heloise, a beautiful young girl who was also inellectually gifted. Heloise lived with her uncle who, like Peter, was a canon there. Peter became her mentor, and eventually she became his mistress. Their relations interfered with his public work, and were not kept a secret by Abelard himself.

Soon everyone knew except the trusting Fulbert. When he found out, they were separated, only to meet in secret. Heloise became pregnant, and was carried off by her lover to Brittany, where she gave birth to a son. To appease her furious uncle, Abelard proposed a secret marriage, in order not to mar his prospects of advancement in the church; but Heloise opposed the idea. She appealed to him not to sacrifice the independence of his life, but reluctantly gave in to pressure. The secret of the marriage was not kept by Fulbert; and when Heloise boldly denied it, life was made so difficult for her that she sought refuge in the convent of Argenteuil.

Immediately Fulbert, believing that her husband, who had helped her run away, wanted to be rid of her, plotted revenge. He and some others broke into Abelard's chamber by night, and castrated him. The priesthood and ecclesiastical office were canonically closed to him. Heloise, not yet twenty, consummated her work of self-sacrifice and became a nun. It was in the abbey of Saint-Denis that Abelard, now aged forty, sought to bury himself with his woes out of sight. Finding no respite in the cloister, and having gradually turned again to study, he gave in to urgent entreaties, and reopened his school at the priory of Maisonceile His lectures, now framed in a devotional spirit, were once again heard by crowds of students, and all his old influence seemed to have returned; but he still had many enemies.

No sooner had he published his theological lectures apparently the Introductio ad Theologiam that has come down to us than his adversaries picked up on his rationalistic interpretation of the Trinitarian dogma. Charging him with the heresy of Sabellius in a provincial synod held at Soissons in , they obtained an official condemnation of his teaching, and he was made to burn his book before being shut up in the convent of St Medard at Soissons.

It was the bitterest possible experience that could befall him. The life in his own monastery proved no more congenial than formerly. Life in the monastery was intolerable for Abelard, and he was finally allowed to leave. In a desert place near Nogent-sur-Seine , he built himself a cabin of stubble and reeds, and turned hermit. When his retreat became known, students flocked from Paris, and covered the wilderness around him with their tents and huts. When he began to teach again he found consolation, and in gratitude he consecrated the new Oratory of the Paraclete. Abelard, fearing new persecution, left the Oratory to find another refuge, accepting an invitation to preside over the abbey of Saint-Gildas-de-Rhuys , on the far-off shore of Lower Brittany.

The region was inhospitable, the domain a prey to outlaws, the house itself savage and disorderly. Yet for nearly ten years he continued to struggle with fate before he left. The misery of those years was lightened because he had been able, on the breaking up of Heloise's convent at Argenteuil, to establish her as head of a new religious house at the deserted Paraclete, and in the capacity of spiritual director he often was called to revisit the spot thus made doubly dear to him.

All this time Heloise had lived respectably. Living on for some time apart we do not know exactly where , after his flight from the Abbey of St Gildas, Abelard wrote, among other things, his famous Historia Calamitatum , and thus moved her to write her first Letter, which remains an unsurpassed utterance of human passion and womanly devotion; the first being followed by the two other Letters, in which she finally accepted the part of resignation which, now as a brother to a sister, Abelard commended to her.

He soon returned to the site of his early triumphs lecturing on Mount St Genevieve in when he was heard by John of Salisbury , but it was only for a brief time: a last great trial awaited him. As far back as the Paraclete days, his chief enemy had been Bernard of Clairvaux , in whom was incarnated the principle of fervent and unhesitating faith, from which rational inquiry like Abelard's was sheer revolt, and now the uncompromising Bernard was moving to crush the growing evil in the person of the boldest offender.

After preliminary negotiations, in which Bernard was roused by Abelard's steadfastness to put forth all his strength, a council met at Sens , before which Abelard, formally arraigned upon a number of heretical charges, was prepared to plead his cause. When, however, Bernard had opened the case, suddenly Abelard appealed to Rome.

Bernard, who had power, notwithstanding, to get a condemnation passed at the council, did not rest a moment till a second condemnation was procured at Rome in the following year. Meanwhile, on his way there to urge his plea in person, Abelard collapsed at the abbey of Cluny , and there he lingered only a few months before the approach of death.

Removed by friends, for the relief of his sufferings, to the priory of St Marcel, near Chalon-sur-Saone , he died. First buried at St Marcel, his remains were soon carried off secretly to the Paraclete, and given over to the loving care of Heloise, who in time came herself to rest beside them Sam: What an amazing, passionate, painful, romantic story, Abby. Abby: I think you're right, Sam. In the first, Abelard stood accused of claiming that there was more than one god, because he had written a book that applied logic to the Trinity.

His accuser could find nothing in the work that suggested heresy, except for a single sentence that wasn't Abelard's writing but a quote from St. Still, Abelard was condemned and ordered to burn his book. They were a reformist monastic order that would become the most influential in Christendom, and Bernard was the George W. Bush of their movement. He "was accustomed to having people listen to him and then eventually agree," Burge writes. Bernard was deeply anti-intellectual, casting Abelard as elitist, overeducated and anti-religious. He charged that in Abelard's theology "the faith of simple folk is laughed at, the mysteries of God forced open, the deepest things bandied about in discussion without any reverence.

That's rather frightening! It's as if history is repeating itself in certain ways. Abby: Remember, Sam But it seems that it is part of the nature of humans--as opposed to canines--that even when they appear to have a sense of their own history, they continue to repeat it.

Abby: It would appear so. There is something grandiose and narcissistic about it--as if her uncle's feelings might actually have justified that kind of revenge, in his own mind. Abby: You'll get no argument from me, Sam. Sam: I thought that the purpose of religion in humans' lives was to help them rise above their human limitations--to help them bring their better part forward. Abby: Well, you'd like to think so, wouldn't you, Abby? Sam: I admire human beings for trying. Abby: As do I, Sam. As do I. By the way Happy New Year!!

Let's hope for some new and interesting aspects to The late Jean Piaget revolutionized our understanding of cognitive development in children and adults. His work, which began when he was a boy growing up in Switzerland, is considered to be the most important work on intellectual development in this century. And what Piaget discovered has been fascinating scientists and laymen alike ever since his earliest publications. His theory of cognitive development states that the human mind is "wired" to adapt to the environment for survival of the individual and of the species.

The way that the mind adapts is similar to the way that the body adapts When we modify what we take in to better fit our current cognitive structures, Piaget called it assimilation. When we modify how we view the world to better fit new information, Piaget called it accomodation. These two mental processes, assimilation and accomodation, are thought to be going on all the time; but one or the other will be more dominant in any given mental activity. Let's say that a child has a concept of "doggie". To her, a doggie is anything that has four legs and fur, at least at first.

She is 18 months old, riding in the car with her mother, and she spies a cow chomping on some grass by the roadside. She smiles and her eyes light up in a flash of recognition. Well, it isn't a dog, and wanting her daughter to understand the world as it truly is, her mother says gently, "No, honey, that's not a dog. That's a cow. It walks, and it has four legs and fur, but it's a different kind of animal. It doesn't eat dog food, for one thing. And it's larger than our dog. In fact, the milk we have in the refrigerator comes from cows," Mom comments, thoughtfully.

The little girl looks at her mother, looks at the cow, looks puzzled, stares off into space for a moment as the wheels of her mind turn furiously, and then she shouts excitedly, "DOGGIE! She makes the cow fit into her notion of "dog. Is this little girl dumb? Is there something wrong with her brain? Certainly not. She is making sense out of her world the way she is supposed to for her age. As she encounters more cows and more walking things that aren't dogs, she will eventually accomodate to the reality outside of her.

Eventually, she will change her existing mental structures to better fit the world. In other words, her mind will become more complex and better organized, and will include the notion of "walking things" that has subcategories of "dog", "cat", "cow, "sheep", "lion," and so on. One of Piaget's greatest accomplishments was to show us all that the thinking of a 4-year-old is qualitatively different than the thinking of an 8-year-old, and that the thinking of an 8-year-old is qualitatively different than that of an year-old.

This means that a 4-year-old is not dumber than an 8-year-old. The 4-year-old simply lives in a different reality than the 8-year-old. The 4-year-old constructs a different universe. If you are following all of this, you will see that your own understanding of the world goes in stages. From birth to age 2 you view the world one way. From 2 to 7 you view it in a new way. From 7 to 11 you view it in yet another way. Let's look at another example. If I take two equal lumps of clay, show them to you, let you prove by weighing them that they're equal, and then I roll them up into two equal-sized balls, you'd say they were equal, right?

Then, if I flattened one of the balls of clay into a sausage shape, and then asked you if the two chunks of clay still had the same amount you would hopefully say "yes. Is our 4-year-old dumb? Is there something wrong with his brain? He's just viewing the world the way that a 4-year-old does. He's being normal. To most of us, time and space are independent of each other, but to Einstein, they were not. It just means that we still have things to learn and that we don't know it all.

It's fair to say that when you know it all, you're God. Time, space, weak nuclear force, unified field theory, quarks, black holes, you name it. There are many things which are beyond the comprehension of the average person and which are still true. At some point we simply have to take it on faith that reality as "the experts" see it is true. We make this leap of faith every time we use a telephone or watch something on television. Through his brilliant work Piaget taught us that at each stage of human development we need to be challenged by the thinking of the next highest stage.

In the example of the clay being rolled out into a sausage shape, the child needs to gradually experience through hands-on example that the amount of clay remains the same even if you change the shape. And here is the critical piece of this challenging notion--if we challenge a child's thinking with concepts that are more than one stage ahead of where he is, the child will become overwhelmed, shut down, and he will get stuck in immature thinking indefinitely. And I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world, not only for its strength but for its civilization as well.

And I look forward to a world which will be safe, not only for democracy and diversity but also for personal distinction. Boy, time sure has been flying by. Why, I remember when he was just a little tike. When you joined the family, Dave was already full grown, and off puppy chow. It seems like only yesterday when he went off to college, and now he's done and will be going out into the world on his own.

How exciting for him. We want to ensure that it's as professionally-written as possible. We've seen their friends and relatives come and go, come and go, and come and go, season after season. We've noted every pattern and nuance that anyone could observe. Scientists say that dogs spend a large part of their time--up to 60 or 70 percent--watching their humans. It's quite a lot. Do you know WHY we watch them so much?

That's right. We're waiting for treats, or for them to drop bits of food on the floor. Or for a run, even. So much can be communicated in so many ways by using language. Can anyone ever truly know? Humans are enigmas. Puzzling paradoxes. But if we don't at least TRY , we'll never advance our understanding of this odd species.

There is so much to learn, and so little time. Well, actually, we have lots of time. Scientists also say that dogs sleep up to 16 hours per day, which means that we don't have that much time. We have to sleep, then we have to watch our humans. Then we have to be ready when they say the magic words "Outside" or "Run" or "Squirrel. A dog who is contemplating writing a book must spend days, weeks, even months snoozing in the sun while his or her unconscious mind gradually frames up the structures of the book, the details of the book, and the meanings that must be conveyed.

It IS a lot of internal work. It takes a lot of snooze-time. Thank goodness we dogs like to snooze so much. It is one of God's great gifts to the world that He made dogs sleep so much, and by so doing, made us intuitively brilliant. I'm glad to be a dog, Abby. But you know, I'm getting sleepy. And the sun has just started to pop up high enough to be streaming onto the living room floor right on our favorite rug.

I think it's time for some unconscious "book-writing" time. You ARE quite brilliant. I think I'll just curl up here next to you and She's an African-American woman, talk-show host, author, and actor among other things. Why do you ask? Sam, that would be a wonderful opportunity for them to get their message out. They've worked long and hard to get this message out around the country. Dad is especially careful to try to explain what they mean by these 7 things when he is working with local school teachers, because they have gotten so frustrated over the past decade as their efforts to teach are thwarted more and more by parents who want to protect their children from reality, or who aren't willing to step in and create family structure for their kids.

I remember about 16 years ago, when David was 7 or so and was about to shift to the traveling team in ice hockey, and Mom and Dad went to him and gently but very firmly explained that the traveling team wasn't an option--that it would be too disruptive to his health and too much stress on the family.

He was angry about that decision for several days. And the family got to have some time together as a result. Can you imagine that? Suing a school for teaching your child and expecting your child to become competent? It's amazing what has happened to American children.

Which is why Dad and Mom wrote this book. Look, Sam, something has happened to America over the past 20 years. Dad thinks it's because of guilt and the high divorce rate, as well as all the abuse and neglect that has been uncovered. But whatever the cause, it seems as if a certain segment of the population, especially middle and upper-middle-class families, have decided that challenge, struggle, and competence are things they'd rather not see their children face or attain because it makes some parents uncomfortable to see their children work!

If parents make life too easy for their kids, the kids become emotional cripples, and then when it's time for them to fly out of the nest out into the great big exciting world of their own adulthood That's not good, Abby. We'd all be tearing each other's fur They followed four families in that situation, and in each case, the son who still lived at home had a very good job!

One was an attorney, one was a physical therapist, one was a dentist, and one did something else--I forget. So-o-o-o-o sad. I'm no psychologist, but when the interviewer asked one of the mothers if she still did all of her son's laundry, made his bed, cooked his meals, and so forth, not only did I feel ill, but the mother looked pretty unhappy beneath her nervous smile. So-o-o-o-o-o-o sad. The psychologist said, very emphatically, "Move out!!

Get a second job!!! I hope that humans can find their way back to a better path. As much as this is a great country, it's times like these when I worry a little bit. Kids don't want to struggle. Parents sue everyone at the drop of a hat because they want to blame someone for the fact that one of life's greatest joys is the reward of struggling with something and eventually succeeding. And when they sue, they rob their children of the chance to become competent. Then they wonder why their very intelligent son or daughter is working at McDonald's for minimum wage after college.

I was with my herd of cockapoos, galloping through the Canadian wilderness, when I fell down a ravine and broke my leg. I told the herd to continue without me because I didn't want the rest of them to die of starvation. It was a tough decision on my part. And then you came along, on your way back to Labrador, found me, revived me, and carried me hundreds of miles to the nearest hospital. We have been the dearest of friends ever since, even after moving here to Minnesota. Now let me ask you this, Sam. Do you think that the challenges we've shared together over the years--including that very dramatic first one where you almost died, and where I wore the pads off of my paws as I carried you for miles and milesdo you think those challenges hurt us?

That's silly, Ab. That's SO silly. Hurt us? These challenges made us the wonderful canines we are today. And they gave us a love that's beyond measure. No, Abby, those challenges are what have given us the meaning and depth in our lives, and the depth of love that no one could ever imagine. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Sam: See you next month, everybody. The snow is almost all gone here in the city that is just a few cities east of Lake Wobegon.

Sam The Cockapoo: Ab, this has been one of the warmest winters we've had in all of recorded history, up here in typically-frozen Lake Wobegon. Abby The Labrador: And we've had so little snow that I've thought now and then that it's been perpetual spring. Although we did have that one week which included a morning when we awoke to 22 degrees below zero, just to impress upon us that this is Minnesota.

But all-in-all, it's been wonderful. Weather-wise, has gotten off to a good start. Sam: Iraq?! I don't think anyone should have chemical or biological weapons. I think the whole idea of them is sick. I think whoever plans to use stuff like that ought to be sent to their rooms without their treats until they figure out that it's a stupid thing to be fooling around with.

That's what I think, Abby. Abby: Good answer, Sam. So, what do you think about Bill Gates saying that he's going to match or even exceed Ted Turner's 1 billion dollar contribuion to the UN? Sam: More power to him. But I also think he ought to play a little fairer in the "browser-business. Sam: No, Ab--"browser business. Internet Explorer 4. That's how we surf the web when Mom and Dad are gone.

Acquisitiveness can be a positive trait up to a point, but after that point, it smacks of avarice and greed. I mean, Ab, did you ever notice what you do when we both get our rawhide chewy-sticks? Sam: You look a tad sheepish. We get the sticks, run over to the big glass sliding doors facing south, lay in the warm, morning sunlight streaming onto the carpet, and begin to chew.

Then, being a cockapoo who is always interested in what's going on elsewhere, and perhaps having a touch of Attention Deficit Disorder, I get distracted by something. I scamper away for a moment, leaving my rawhide stick on the carpet. When I return, you have it in your big mug, and you've reduced it to a tiny scrap. If Dad or Mom is around, he or she will command you to let go of it, which you do, and then I finish it off.

Sam: I don't know which is worse--that, or when you simply devour your own rawhide stick in thirty seconds, and then stand over me, drooling, watching, and waiting patiently for me to get distracted, so you can go in for the kill! Sometimes you're really clever, and you simply lay down nonchalantly next to me, gazing down at the floor, or out the window, all the while watching that rawhide stick out of the corner of your eye. I mean, Abby, it's really obvious, if you haven't noticed. Sam: Haven't you heard Mom and Dad chuckling? They say, "Oh, look at Abby.

She's so sneaky. She's just waiting quietly for Sam to leave that stick, and then she'll discreetly swipe it up in her mouth and it'll be gone before Sam knows what hit him. Abby: Okay, okay, okay, Sammy. We're dogs, for goodness sakes! We're dogs!! We may be the most intelligent, literate, computer-savvy dogs west of San Francisco and east of Manhattan Island, but we're still dogs. We have instincts. We have fixed behavior patterns and drives. We're still dogs!! And besides, I weigh 60 pounds and you only weigh 20 pounds, so Sam: Give me a break!!

That was a nice try, but I don't think it cuts it. I think we're getting down to the meat of the matter, though. I think it's a question of What is enough? Saddam Hussein has so many gigantic, opulent palaces that he couldn't possibly use them for any purpose other than absolute greed in a million years; and yet his people live in substandard conditions by and large. Bill Gates has, what, 40 billion dollars or more? So, one billion dollars is a pittance. After a certain point--after one has enough--the fairness of it all changes, in my opinion.

I think that would be a gross mistake. Sam: I agree. No, I'm not equating them. But I think there is a related issue in both cases. Abby: And in your mind, this is related to my desire to grab up your chewy stick when you leave it on the floor? Abby: But I am a dog, and so are you. We eat what's there when it's there because in the wild, if we don't, we won't survive.

Sam: I know, Abby. And I don't deny that you're right about that. I just think that there's a philosophical issue here that deserves further exploration. After all, wasn't it Freud who said that human beings are basically driven by animal instincts? And if so, what hope is there for mankind if humans don't keep trying to rise above those basic instincts when the chips are down. Sam: Thank you, Abby. And if I didn't love you so much, I'd never tell you that while it bothers me now and then that I leave my rawhide stick on the carpet and then you devour it before I have a chance to get back to it, it really doesn't ruin my day when that happens.

Cockapoos are naturally, instinctually curious and busy creatures, and while you are busily chewing up my rawhide stick, I am fulfilling my need to know what's going on around the house and yard at all times. And of course, every once in awhile, when you aren't looking, Dad or Mom slips me a treat while you're finishing off my chewy stick. So in the end, I guess we both get enough. Abby: Hm-m-m-m-m. They give you a treat? I'll have to be more vigilant.

Maybe I can get both your chewy stick and another treat from them. Or, maybe I could be grateful for the nice life that we have, and that we do, indeed, have enough. Sam: Yes, we do. And I am grateful for that, and for having you in my life. Sam: And you're my girl, Ab. Let's go pester Mom incessantly until she gives us a rawhide chewy stick.

That usually does the trick. We've nearly made it through the very worst part of winter. And despite some nasty cold weather and a lot of snow so far this year, the past few days have been downright lovely. Saturday and Sunday were sunny and warm--between 35 and 40 degrees. If you look at the graph of daily highs and lows throughout the year, you'll see that during the last week of January and the first week of February, the highs often don't get above minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit, and the lows are often minus 20 degrees, or worse.

It isn't an easy thing to do, and it doesn't solve the problem. Thank goodness he waits out there with us when it's that cold. Otherwise, I'd freeze to death. And as much as I hate to put on those boots and that coat when we go for our run with Dad, I think if I didn't, we'd wind up having to go back to the house before we got to the lake, only a block away.

Very dapper. It's nice to have such a handsome best friend. And we've gotten our political updates from CNN. I don't know. Whatever you want to read is fine with me. I'm rummaging around on the top of Mom's and Dad's desk here looking for something Here's something interesting. It looks like a paper they're writing. Here, Sam, will you read it to me? I love it when you read to me. Curl up on that foam doggie bed over there and I'll put on Dad's reading glasses and get started.

It's an awfully long paper they're writing. I think I'll just try to condense it for you if that's okay. I just love the sound of your voice, that's all. Well, the paper is talking about personality disorders , which appear to be psychological disorders that go way back into childhood, and that are more or less enduring traits, unlike problems such as depression, which seem to have a more definable beginning and end, and are thus often more transitory in nature. I know that sounds redundant, Sam, but I think it makes sense to me. We're talking about something that runs a little deeper, and that may be a little more resistant to change, because it's more part of one's core identity, or lack thereof.

It's just that when you use it all the time, and with a dramatic, affected tone of voice, it comes across as superficial and hollow. In fact, "hollow" is a good word to describe someone who has this problem. People with this disorder are at the mercy of their own emotional whims, so that one minute they can seem perfectly reasonable and whole, and the next minute they can be in total chaos.

As a result of this, they tend to idealize people and then soon afterwards, get disappointed by them because they turn out to be imperfect, and then they try to destroy that person for letting them down. A popular book written for the general public, for people who may be living with or working with someone who has this problem, is titled something like I Hate You, Don't Leave , which captures the deeply conflicted and contradictory emotions and behaviors associated with this disorder.

People with borderline personality disorder often spend much of their adult lives filing lawsuits, butting heads with their bosses and creating havoc with the personnel departments of their employers; and creating chaos for their friends and families.

Paradoxically, they can also be very successful in their careers, and when they aren't stirring everything up and trying to destroy those around them, they can be quite wonderful. It surely is. Of course, many people try to justify a person's behavior because of the developmental-family history of the person in question. In the case of narcissistic and borderline personality disorder , there is little question that the cause is abuse or neglect in childhood. But the fact that a person had a bad childhood--yes, even a tortured one--is not an excuse for one's inappropriate, damaging behavior.

Having no empathy for anyone but oneself, or creating near-constant chaos for self and others, is not justified by one's mental health history. And the only way for people to overcome these painful conditions is to take responsibility for their actions. I agree with you. It is most unfortunate that the humans in this country have strayed so far to the extreme of seeing everyone as a victim of something. It is most unfortunate. We are, after all, responsible for our actions, no matter what. The real test comes, of course, after the client idealizes the therapist and then begins the inevitable process of demonizing him or her.

This is a crucial time in the therapy, because a therapist who can't handle the client's anger, or a therapist who tends to baby his or her clients, will blow it. At the same time, many clients will leave therapy at this time, just when they're on the verge of a major breakthrough in working through their disappointment. Learning to deal with disappointment gracefully--and to even deepen as a result of it rather than destroying everything because of it, is a key here.

Granted, there are some legitimate lawsuits filed in these situations, but there are many that actually turn out to set the client back months or even years by sabotaging this process of learning to deal with disappointment. After all, life never gives us everything we want. Disappointment is part of life. Learning to deal with disappointment gracefully is one of the hallmarks of healthy adulthood. People with certain personality disorders expect, as a result of deep wounds, that life will eventually give them everything they want, which is impossible, which sets the person up for more and more disappointment.

What a trap, Sam! That it 'tis. And with that, I am ending our most learned discussion so that we can catch the last of that late afternoon sun streaming through the windows of the kitchen. Shall we? For soon it will be dark, and we will have to wait 24 hours for that late afternoon sun to return. But I don't mind. Things often come to us when we least expect them. She looked like she might have been related to the cocker spaniel part of you. What was the story about? Abby: She was taken to the pound by her owner, who could no longer care for her, and a year-old man waited and waited until he could finally get her, and then he got her from the pound and they started their new life together.

Sam: So, what happened? Abby: The man was backing out of his driveway the other day, and drove right off of the nearly vertical embankment across the street, and he and his dog plunged several hundred feet, the car landing upside down. After about an hour, the cocker spaniel got free of the car, and the man, hanging upside down inside the car, told her to go get help. Sam: What did she do? Abby: She raced up the hill, across the road, down the street, and up to the neighbor's house, where she barked and barked until someone came out, and then she whined and begged until the woman followed her over to the cliff, where the woman saw the car, and called the police.

As they were retrieving her human from way down below, she paced back and forth up on the road, until he was safe! Sam: with a tear in his eye That's such a touching story. Sometimes life is just too marvelous and mysterious to even begin to explain. Well, it's interesting you should say that. I was watching CNN the other night, and it appears that close to half of all Americans now believe that all of the living creatures on earth have existed in their present form, since time began. Sam: Wha???

Abby: And Americans wonder why so many high-tech jobs, and why so many smart, talented scientists, are leaving the U. Despite the overwhelming evidence that the universe, and creation, is constantly evolving, close to half of Americans are so frightened, and so poorly educated, that they choose to believe a simplistic fairy tale instead of the facts.

Sam: That's so I'm not sure if it's more sad than it is scary. Abby: You and I believe in God, right? Sam: Right. Abby: And we believe that God created the universe, right? Abby: Don't you suppose that God is either wonderfully amused, or somewhat offended, by this silly explanation of His incredible universe?

Sam: I should think so. After all, if you were an omniscient being, and you created creatures with a big enough brain to contemplate creation, wouldn't you rather create a fantastic, mysterious, wondrous universe that has been evolving for over 33 billion years, so that those beings you created, with those big brains, would have something to be in awe and wonderment about for thousands and thousands of years, rather than doing it all at once, with a sweep of His hand, so that there is nothing more to think about?

Abby: Of course. Sam: I am thankful that we live in a universe of wonder and mystery, and I pray that no matter how hard we try, we never become arrogant and grandiose enough to think that we know more than God does. Abby: Amen, Sam. Happy Thanksgiving. Charlie Melancon, whose district south of New Orleans was devastated by the hurricane, posted a sampling of e-mails written by Federal Emergency Management chief Michael Brown on his Web site on Wednesday. The Democratic lawmaker cited several e-mails that he said show Brown's failures.

In one, as employees looked for direction and support on the ravaged Gulf Coast, Brown offered to "tweak" the federal response. Two days after Katrina hit, Marty Bahamonde, one of the only FEMA employees in New Orleans, wrote to Brown that "the situation is past critical" and listed problems including many people near death and food and water running out at the Superdome. Brown's entire response was: "Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?

On September 12 Brown resigned, 10 days after President Bush told him, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, saying Brown's expertise was needed as he investigated what went wrong, agreed to a day extension when Brown resigned. Chertoff renewed that extension in mid-October. Brown took over FEMA in with little experience in emergency management. He joined the agency in as legal counsel to his college friend, then-FEMA director Joe Allbaugh, who was Bush's campaign manager. Before joining the Bush administration, Brown spent a decade as the stewards and judges commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association.

The e-mails Melancon posted, a sampling of more than 1, provided to the House committee now assessing responses to Katrina by all levels of government, also show Brown making flippant remarks about his responsibilities. Can I come home? Brown found time to exchange e-mails about superfluous topics," including "problems finding a dog-sitter," Melancon said. Melancon said that on August 26, just days before Katrina made landfall, Brown e-mailed his press secretary, Sharon Worthy, about his attire, asking: "Tie or not for tonight?

Button-down blue shirt? A few days later, Worthy advised Brown: "Please roll up the sleeves of your shirt, all shirts. Even the president rolled his sleeves to just below the elbow.


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In this [crisis] and on TV you just need to look more hard-working. On August 29, the day of the storm, Brown exchanged e-mails about his attire with Taylor, Melancon said. She told him, "You look fabulous," and Brown replied, "I got it at Nordstroms. Are you proud of me? I am a fashion god," according to the congressman. Tom Davis, R-Virginia, chairman of a House committee appointed to investigate what went wrong during Katrina, Melancon said.

Brown resigned amid accusations that FEMA acted too slowly after Katrina hammered Louisiana and Mississippi, killing more than 1, people. He defended the government's response and blamed leaders in Louisiana for failing to act quickly as the hurricane approached. He acknowledged he made some mistakes as FEMA's director, but he stressed that the agency "is not a first responder," insisting that role belonged to state and local officials.

Although Chertoff has not turned over all the documents requested by the committee, Melancon charged that the material received so far contradicts testimony by Brown before the committee in which he described himself as an effective leader. Melancon's analysis of e-mails -- PDF.

Melancon used an e-mail sent September 2, four days after the hurricane hit, to illustrate his point. On that day, Brown received a message with the subject "medical help. Because of a lack of ventilators, medical personnel had to ventilate patients by hand for as long as 35 hours, according to Melancon. The text of the e-mail reads: "Mike, Mickey and other medical equipment people have a foot trailer full of beds, wheelchairs, oxygen concentrators, etc. They are wanting to take them where they can be used but need direction.

If you could have someone contact him and let him know if he can be of service, he would appreciate it. Know you are busy but they really want to help. Melancon also charged that few of the e-mails from Brown show him assigning specific tasks to employees or responding to pressing problems. They were to receive 60 trucks of ice and 26 trucks of water the next day, even though they needed trucks of each.

Robert Fenton, a FEMA regional response official, predicted "serious riots" if insufficient supplies arrive. Brown was forwarded the series of e-mails about the problem, but no response from him is shown in the e-mails provided to the committee, Melancon said. Katrina came ashore along the Louisiana-Mississippi state line, after being downgraded from a Category 5 to a Category 4 storm. It flooded 80 percent of New Orleans. It was followed about a month later by Hurricane Rita, which caused more damage and flooding. Melancon and several other Democrats from districts directly affected by Katrina were invited to participate as a ex-officio members of the Katrina investigative committee, though they have no formal role.

This is the second time a congressional committee had dealt with e-mails relating to FEMA's Katrina response. A complete transcript of Brown's e-mail traffic during the Katrina crisis has not been released by the Department of Homeland Security. We have come through what may have been one of the worst weeks in America's history, a week in which government at every level failed the people it was created to serve.

There is no purpose for government except to improve the lives of its citizens. Yet as scenes of horror that seemed to be coming from some Third World country flashed before us, official Washington was like a dog watching television. It saw the lights and images, but did not seem to comprehend their meaning or see any link to reality. As the floodwaters rose, local officials in New Orleans ordered the city evacuated.

They might as well have told their citizens to fly to the moon. How do you evacuate when you don't have a car? No hint of intelligent design in any of this. This was just survival of the richest. By midweek a parade of Washington officials rushed before the cameras to urge patience.

What good is patience to a mother who can't find food and water for a dehydrated child? Washington was coming out of an August vacation stupor and seemed unable to refocus on business or even think straight. And when he was unable to get to Washington in time to vote on emergency aid funds, Hastert had an excuse only Washington could understand: He had to attend a fund-raiser back home.

If this is the result, we had better start over. And that's our broadcast. But after that, we need to think about the American community, about the one America we think we are, the one we talk about. We need people to feel more than sympathy with the victims, we need them to feel empathy with our national community that includes the poor.

We have missed opportunities to make certain that all Americans would be more than huddled masses. We have been too slow to act in the face of the misery of our brothers and sisters. This is an ugly and horrifying wake-up call to America. Let us pray we answer this call. Screen shots of the "looting" photos on Yahoo News.

Bloggers are outraged over the different captions on photos of blacks and whites in New Orleans. Another school year for the kids is upon us. The Minnesota State Fair started on August 25th, teachers are getting ready for the first day of school, and the sun is just a tad lower in the sky--just enough to give us that first little ache that comes with the beginning of the end of another hot, glorious summer. Abby the Labrador: Four or five leaves have turned.

It's one of those precise moments in time. When the day is so intense and clear that you don't know whether or not to cry. You know that something is ending and that another is about to begin, and you aren't sure of the outcome--the nastiest winter in history?

Another terrorist attack? The most spectacular Fall colors since ? Or, will it all just be a dud? And then, for just a moment, you aren't even sure if the summer that is about to end was everything it was cracked up to be. Sam: It amuses me that people in more "interesting" parts of the country gaze at us knowingly, condescendingly, patronizingly, and shrug us off. How could they have any real meaning in their lives? How could they really have a soul?

Abby: A soul. That's rich. As if being grounded and solid and connected to one's family and one's history is passe. Lake Wobegon. It's one thing to become famous because you were "discovered" by a vast Hollywood movie machine, and yet another to become a part of the national soul because you did what you do in life, day after day, week after week, regardless of what others think about you.