"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bloomin' trees

     Last week I took these pictures of two trees flowering in our yard, the bees busy among their bright blossoms. I didn't post them, in case the blooms spread and I could get better pictures but it turned out I'd caught them at their peak.
Crepe myrtle in our back yard, from our bedroom balcony. 

Je ne sais quoi on east side of house, by driveway.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

New cover


     Although I am very grateful to Wilmington College, Ohio, for initiating the publication of To Russia with Love a few months ago, the book I wrote when I was 17, I have redesigned the cover (with the help of my talented cousin Gina Sammis).
     I thought this one would create more interest and curiosity and make a stronger statement than the picture someone else chose of me writing my journal. (See below--what do you think?)
     Now all I have to do is understand the intimidating mass of information on the Lightning Source website for uploading this cover and we'll be in business--hopefully.
     Oh, and there is a 1-1/2 page foreword--making clear who and what the entire book is about!--which was left out by mistake and which the publisher needs to put back in.
     The price will still be $11.95 and all proceeds will go to Wilmington College Peace Center.
OLD cover

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Not what I would have chosen

     I never meant to write this kind of thing, you know--hard facts, championing causes, things people don't want to read and don't want to believe if they do read them.
     I have wanted to write since I was seven, but it was always stories, fun anecdotes, silly dialogue, poking fun at stuffiness, fiction to make children giggle and adults smile nostalgically. And poetry.
     This wasn't my choice.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Just an average post-Fukushima day around the world

Today's headlines on enenews.com:


Other good sources of information I have just discovered about Fukushima aftermath:

FUKUSHIMA: Stabilized

     Japan's crippled nuclear plant reaches stability. If you read this article closely this does not mean radiation is not still affecting the environment. (In fact, at this very moment Fukushima beef is being recalled because cows ate cesium-contaminated straw.) It just means the situation has stopped getting worse. Japan is now denying the three meltdowns, which they had before admitted and which have been confirmed by other countries. They are now calling them "partial meltdowns."
     Thank God they are shutting the plants down. They anticipate achieving a "cold shutdown" by January. "A reactor reaches cold shutdown when the temperature at the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel drops below 100 degrees Celsius, and when the release of radioactive materials is 'under control.'"
     Note: This means the release of radioactive materials is not yet 'under control' and is not expected to be under control for six more months. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

New photo posted on June 20

Mao and Setsu Shimizu's wedding photo is now posted on this blog, June 20. They are Christians working with organizations cleaning up the disaster area in North East Japan. Omedetou gozaimasu, Mao to Setsu-san!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

God cared about her enough to bring us back

     Yesterday Jerry and I were walking through downtown Los Angeles trying to find the Museum of Contemporary Art when a young woman holding a clipboard, all by herself on a street corner, asked if I support Planned Parenthood. I said an emphatic NO. 
     She seemed genuinely surprised.
     "Why not?"
     "They aborted a friend of mine but thank God she survived!"
     Jerry and I walked on, found we were going the wrong direction and had to walk back past her--a God-thing, I am convinced! The young woman and I talked again. (I started out by apologizing for being so abrupt with her.) I explained how Planned Parenthood had talked Gianna's mother into aborting her at seven months, how appalled she was when she realized what she had done, how women who see abortion as a quick fix at the time later suffer long-term regret and guilt. 
     "Seven months--" she said. "I don't think--"
     "It's legal until birth. I talked to the doctor who aborted her afterward--he injected the mother with something to kill the baby and usually the baby struggles for a couple of hours and then the woman delivers a dead baby. But Gianna was born alive. The doctor just shrugged and told me, 'I guess I didn't give her a big enough dose of saline.'" 
     The young woman said, "I'm against abortion, too, but it's a woman's choice." She seemed bewildered by my passion. I was trembling and close to tears.
     I shared about a baby being a separate person, having brain waves and heartbeat before the woman knows she's pregnant. "It's a baby!"
     "I know that."
     "Then why do you support an organization which kills them?"
     "It's a job."
     I asked her to reconsider her job. Ended up writing down the name of my book for her (Gianna: Aborted and Lived to Tell About It) which she said she would find and read, and giving her a hug. We didn't get her name but God knows. Please pray for the young woman He had us go out of our way to reach on a street corner in Los Angeles on July 15.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

(A little) loss

SEE ADDED P.S.  Also added two new photos to June 26.
The tree across the top of this picture extended up three stories. Note hummer at feeder. 


     In the vast scheme of things, it isn't a big deal. The liquidambar tree which canopied our patio, the one with shady branches and soft-green leaves like spread hands, the one hummingbird families have hatched in and fledged from, had to be pulled out this morning. It had grown so huge its roots were as big as tree trunks lifting two-inch faults in our cement patio and shrugging aside the fence alongside it.
     I was the one who betrayed the little birds and myself. I was the one who called our landlady (my former sister-in-law) and told her it needed to come out. I don't know why. I don't even like cement. You can see part of the fence had been removed. I could have campaigned to rebuild it around the roots. But before I could waver, she checked it out and had men come cut it down this morning.

     We weren't home but the men who chopped it down told me the hummingbirds fluttered about their heads in agitation. I understood how they felt. I felt fluttery and agitated, too, just knowing the men were there.
     Now I feel loss. There are trees out front the birds live in but I can't see them from our windows. There is even another tree they have nested in near what is now a gaping emptiness but its leaves are ugly and it's not a shade tree, doesn't have gracious, extended arms. I miss the presence and beauty of that tree that has lived here longer than I have (24 years) and been a home to happy little generations of birds. In autumn liquidambars are the only trees around here that change color--scarlet and russet and gold. I never thought to take a picture of the entire tree until it was too late.
     If the hummingbirds weren't so little and helpless, they probably would have had me taken out instead. I wouldn't have blamed them.

P.S. (July 13) - The loss of the tree has opened up a view of the entire western sky from our bedroom. Maybe the Lord will make up for the tree in sunsets.

Monday, July 11, 2011

We missed Will and Kate

     Prince William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, spent the past three days in Los Angeles. I'm sure they would have wanted to meet us but we just couldn't fit it into our schedule.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

FUKUSHIMA- Good news: Four nations swear off nuclear energy

China suspends nuclear power

March 16 - Japan's nuclear crisis reverberated in atomic power-friendly countries Wednesday, with China saying it would hold off on approving new nuclear plants and French lawmakers questioning top energy executives about the safety of their reactors.
     Some governments have put their nuclear future on hold, at least for now, as concerns grow even among pro-nuclear governments about reactor safety around the world. . . China's Cabinet said Wednesday the government will suspend approvals for nuclear power stations to allow for a revision in safety standards. Huffington Post

Swiss to phase out nuclear power by 2034
May 25The Swiss cabinet wants to gradually decommission all of Switzerland’s nuclear power plants by 2034. Energy Minister Doris Leuthard said the country’s five nuclear power stations would not be replaced when they reach the end of their lifespan. Swissinfo.ch

Germany To Drop Nuclear Power By 2022
May 30 - Possibly the most conservative government in Europe--Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union in Germany--has decided to phase out nuclear power. German Chancellor Angela Merkel vows to close all 17 of the country’s nuclear plants by 2022, with 8 plants to close immediately. The country becomes the first to swear off nuclear power in the wake of the recent nuclear emergency at the Fukushima power plant in Japan. Wall Street Journal.

Italians Vote to Abandon Nuclear Energy
June 14 - More than 94% of Italians voted to abandon nuclear power for the foreseeable future, turning out in droves to cast ballots. . . Anti-nuclear campaigners say Japan's Fukushima disaster in March helped sway public opinion against nuclear power.  WSJ / Globe and Mail / BBC  

Resisting this tsunami of sanity, Britain and France remain committed to nuclear energy.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

FUKUSHIMA: Fifty-seven-year-old lie

     Radiation can't hurt you. That's a 57-year old lie. 
     In my post His Scribe: Growing up in Hiroshima - 2, I describe how our Atomic Energy Commission hired my father and other scientists and doctors to research radiation in Hiroshima. But I'm not sure I posted what happened afterward. 
     Three years later Dad submitted his results: The growth and development program of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission: Analysis of observations on maturation, body build and posture taken in 1951-54 on 4,800 Hiroshima children by Earle L. Reynolds. Ph.D. It was a three-inch thick hardback book of facts, backed by statistics and graphs, indicating that radiation stunts growth, compromises immune systems, and causes cancer--in children, which were his specialty, leukemia and thyroid cancers. 
     By the time Dad submitted these findings, the Atomic Energy Commission was trying to calm American apprehensions about radiation because it was now promoting an extensive series of atmospheric nuclear tests in the Pacific. Talk about conflict of interests! The very agency which commissioned the study of the possible dangers of radiation suppressed the facts about those dangers for 4-5 years, until our testing program was over. 
      Then they must have released the study because two researchers after that time refer to it. 
     Originally, the study was designed to be longitudinal. The same children were supposed to be studied periodically as they grew up, married, and had children of their own. But the AEC discontinued the research (on the first population in human history exposed to radiation!) as "unimportant." It has been left up to non-government-funded, non-political scientists like those at http://radiation.org/ to discover that some lethal effects of radiation do not appear until ten years or more after exposure (read any book on the little girl who made the paper crane a symbol of hope, Sadako Sasaki--exposed to the Hiroshima bomb at two, developed her first symptoms at 12 and died that same year) and that babies born to radiation-exposed parents can have horrific, even lethal birth defects (see the foremost documentary on the effects of radiation, The Battle of Chernobyl.) 
     Our son and daughter-in-love are trying to get pregnant. I am already worrying about the health of our grandchild.

Friday, July 8, 2011

FUKUSHIMA: "A hell of a way to boil water."

     I know what you have read and heard about radiation from Japan: "Radiation is all around us in our daily lives, and these findings are a miniscule amount compared to what people experience every day. For example, a person would be exposed to low levels of radiation on a round trip cross country flight, watching television, and even from construction materials.”
     Even experts, who should be ashamed of themselves, are telling us that. This particular quote came from FDA senior scientist Patricia Hansen when informed that radioactive iodine-131 had been found in milk in Washington state on March 30. (Note: Here's the powerful response of five watchdog groups and a former senior adviser in the U.S. Department of Energy to the statement above.)
     When you read reports or hear individuals discounting radiation coming from Japan as equivalent to a single X-ray or mammogram, imagine that you go in for an X-ray and instead of pushing the button to release radiation for a fraction of a second, the tech tapes the button down, leaving it on and aimed at you, while s/he wanders off for coffee--or for a month's cruise. These discounters are comparing something that lasts for a fraction of a second with something that is lasting second after second, minute after minute, day after day, month after month for nearly 4 months now.  
     Ironically, because of the prevailing jet stream and ocean currents, we are getting more radiation from Japan here in the U.S. than in most of Japan. It was safer for Jerry and me to be in Hiroshima recently than at home in California.
     As Albert Einstein, who certainly should know, put it, "Nuclear energy is a hell of a way to boil water."   

P.S. Tonight Jerry and I watched The China Syndrome. Halfway through the movie, I realized I was shaking.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

FUKUSHIMA: going on 4 months

     Although we are getting no news in the States that I know of about the nuclear catastrophe in Japan, sites like http://enenews.com/  continue to provide daily updates--because the disaster is not only ongoing, it's getting worse. 
     I know accounts about the situation in Japan, like Radiation near school zone 90 times Chernobyl level40 % of Fukushima refugees show internal exposure to radiation; Radioactive whales caught 650 km from Fukushima plant; and mutant rabbit born near Fukushima (VIDEO) or even  Radioactive cesium found in Tokyo tap water, and Radiation in Tokyo 3-4 times level at which Soviets evacuated everyone/Radiation hotspots 500-700 times normal (VIDEO)may be of only incidental interest to those of us in the United States.  
     But what about the following? These are of global concern: 
     Fukushima already at Chernobyl levels-continues to release significant amounts of radiationaccording to  Robert Alvarez, former senior policy adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Energy, June 11.
     And how about these? It's right here in our own communities:
     Very high concentrations of hot particles in Pacific NW during April, May--includes plutonium and americum (AUDIO), June 29 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

FUKUSHIMA: Is it safe for us to drink milk?

     My daughter called me from Oklahoma to ask whether it's safe for our 7-year old granddaughter to drink milk, in light of Fukushima. 
     I had to say I don't know. Uncontrolled radiation is apparently still pouring out of at least two nuclear reactors undergoing melt-through and is being carried to the United States (which is downwind) via the jet stream and ocean currents. I know there are hot spots of radiation in the U.S. but at present milk is only being tested for radiation in California. 
     The element that can make milk a health risk is Strontium-90, the radioactive equivalent of calcium. One of 200 radioactive substances nuclear bombs and reactors both produce which aren't found in nature, Strontium-90 seeks the bones and thyroid glands of growing children, especially babies in utero, settling there so calcium can't. Instead of benefiting growth, it causes thyroid and bone cancer. 
     So is it safe to drink milk in Oklahoma--or any other state in the Union? Well, if it rains in your part of the country, chances are carcinogens attached to those drops of water are penetrating your soil. If grass grows in that soil and cows eat that grass, they will be giving milk that to one degree or another is radioactive. You and your children will be getting additional amounts of radiation every time you drink it. 
     Even if those amounts are miniscule, they add up. On June 2, the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] admitted "there is no such thing as 'safe' levels of radiation.” They cited a 700-page July 30, 2005 report by the National Academies of Science concluding the same thing, that "there is no safe level of exposure to radiation—even very low doses can cause cancer." See FDA-comparison-radiation-milk-everyday-exposures-called-improper.
     Personally, Jerry and I have switched to almond milk, which contains 50% more calcium (calcium carbonate) than dairy milk and tastes yummy. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Two successful fledges at phoebeallens.com!

July 2 - Joplin, one of the two humming babies on the most popular webcam online (nearly 3,000 viewers currently), has fledged four times so far--and keeps coming back to sibling Heather! Watch live or watch the videos at www.phoebeallens.com. (Hummers don't normally return to the nest at all.) 
Update: Make that six times! And he's back again! Joplin is making hummer history!
Update: He's come back 12 times, left 13. He stays with hesitant Heather for a few minutes or more than an hour, lying beside her or poking her with his beak. Once he pointedly hogged the nest so she had nowhere to go but--out. Obviously wants Sis* to go with him. She hasn't summoned the nerve to, yet. Still clings to the edge. (*Actually gender cannot be determined for the first year.)
July 3 - 8 AM Update--Heather is still in the cradle. At the moment, she's falling asleep perched on the rim. It looks like she may tumble over backwards and fledge in her sleep! Her brother is still waiting for her, four feet away on a yucca branch.
Update - Heather fledged this morning, just ten minutes after we left for church!
     We watched the video when we came back. She seemed to have a little trouble figuring out how to switch out of reverse--came back to the nest once and tried again--and how to get lift but after wobbling in and out of our view for a few minutes she flew out of sight.
     Observation: Over 1,100 viewers are still watching the empty nest. This is the end of the nesting season, guys. Get a(nother) life until October!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

FUKUSHIMA: Rising infant deaths in PA/Pacific Northwest

June 19, 2011
Dear Friends:
Here is a link (above) to the Fox-Philadelphia story on the rising infant deaths in Philadelphia (up 48% since late March) since the fallout from Japan arrived (Philadelphia had the highest levels in drinking water in the U.S.).

If you want to know more, I've also pasted on a press release and report now getting some coverage about rising infant deaths in the Pacific Northwest (up 35% since late March), where the highest levels of radiation in precipitation were found. 

Of course, there is much more study to be done, but this is the first indication that the Fukushima fallout that entered the air and diet - and human bodies - may have harmed Americans.

With kind regards,

Joe Mangano
Director, Radiation and Public Health Project 

Embargoed until 12 p.m. EST, June 9, 2011                                      Contact Joseph Mangano 609-399-4343

June 7, 2011 – Infant deaths rose 35% in the Pacific Northwest since mid-March, when fallout from the meltdowns at Japanese nuclear reactors reached the U.S., according to data published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and featured in a new report by health researchers.

Soaring infant deaths occurred in the region where the highest levels of environmental radiation were found in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) samples, raising the possibility that there is a link between Japanese radiation and risk of infant death.

“The fetus and infant are highly susceptible to harm from radiation,” says Joseph Mangano MPH MBA.  “The Fukushima meltdowns are still releasing radiation, so trends should be monitored further,” he adds.  Mangano is Executive Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP), a New York-based health research group.  He is the author of the new report on Fukushima fallout in the U.S. and infant death trends.

The airborne radioactive plume from Japan reached the West Coast on March 17, six days after a powerful earthquake and tsunami caused meltdowns in four reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant.  EPA data shows that most of the highest levels in the continental U.S. of radioactive Iodine-131 (I-131) in precipitation in late March were found in Idaho, northern California, Washington, and Oregon. 

The two highest precipitation levels found by EPA were in Boise ID (390 and 242 picocuries of I-131 per liter of water, hundreds of times greater than the typical level of about 2).  Along with Boise, samples from Richmond CA (near San Francisco), Portland OR, and Olympia WA made up 6 of the 10 highest measurements in the U.S.  I-131 is one of over 100 radioactive chemicals found only in nuclear reactors and atomic bombs.

Infant deaths reported to the CDC in eight northwestern cities averaged 9.25 per week for the four weeks ending March 19.  The average jumped to 12.50, a 35.1% increase, in the following 10 weeks.  Cities include Boise ID, Portland OR, and Seattle WA, plus the northern California cities of Pasadena, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, and Santa Cruz.  Total U.S. infant deaths increased 2.3% during this time.

Infant deaths are published in the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  They are preliminary (final figures are available in 2014), but are often similar to final data.  The CDC data can be accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/mmwr_wk/wk_cvol.html; EPA data is at http://www.epa.gov/japan2011/rert/radnet_sampling_data.html#precip.

RPHP health researchers (www.radiation.org) have published 27 medical journal articles and 7 books on health hazards of radiation exposure.  Their work has been covered by the New York Times, USA Today, CNN, and Fox News.

(NOTE: Mr. Mangano has sent me all the figures backing up the evidence that these findings are caused by radiation from Fukushima. I can send them to anyone interested--or you can go to http://www.radiation.org/.)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Jesus shaved his head for me (by Chami)

     This was moving to me and I wrote the author, Chami, at http://www.hisvisions.com/chami/, for permission to copy it here. Chami wrote back, "Hello Jessica, I think my father told me about you, your mother started the Friendship Centre in Hiroshima? I've been there before, on August 6th. Yes,you're welcome to use my blog post, it's just that it's more in the context of Buddhism in Cambodia (Theravada instead of Mahayana like Japan).