Roundup Early September and August

I am writing one of those roundup notes I write from time to time in which I try to cover unrelated themes tied together by their occurring at this time. Like all the others it is a kind of note that makes me aware of things I am not writing about or communicating and why. It is a sort of housekeeping kind of note to keep relevant as for as these online outlets are concerned. Today the main  themes will be:

1. the approaching war with Syria,

2. the effort of working with my novel manuscript,

3. finding magmatic water on the moon

4. the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington,

5. the hearing to set the trial date of Seth Fontenot for the Rivault murder, and

5. some family and personal issues briefly summarized.

With my time spent on finishing up my novel I have not been producing as many notes lately as I sometimes do. I brought out the first paper copy of my novel on the August 15, 2013 National Day of the Acadians and Feast of the Assumption. While I am planning to make a few small changes before I publish it if it comes to that the printing out of words on 838 pieces of paper was still a big event in the process. I also have a few others notes I am trying to get around to just now and I am committed to putting out those notes but they are not as pressing as this set of issues discussed in this roundup are for me right now. It is under such circumstances that I write a roundup type of note. My own efforts to shape events have been of very limited success and yet I still write about them. Let us get into this writing then:

The Approaching War with Syria

The Syrian government very likely has used chemical weapons against its own people. Chemical weapons are unconventional and their use is a violation of specific international laws. America is decidedly in a position to bear a lot of responsibility in maintaining the regime of international laws and institutions. Therefore I CANNOT FAULT THE FACT THAT AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT WANTS TO ACT TO PUT TEETH IN THE CHEMICAL WEAPONS BAN. But that is not the whole story. The Assad family and many in Syria are fighting for survival against many people hostile to all American values if America is at all understood in its best character. On the other hand some in the insurgency have noble and good motives America can relate to as well. But America has not handled the last two years of civil war well which have now led us to a very difficult situation.

Some people are comparing the quality of intelligence in this situation with the quality of intelligence at the start of the Iraq War. The war in which we did not find stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction was indeed a war without perfect intelligence and full disclosure. However, it is a certain and known fact that Saddam Hussein’s regime actually did use chemical weapons on several occasions against his own people, probably in both the Marsh Arab populations and then on the Kurds. Both the Clinton and the Bush administrations were hesitant to make these acts a red line offense because they knew and understood that the options in Iraq were not great and there were a lot of bad players who would benefit from any efforts we made. In Iraq we had about fifty allies going in and had worn down the regime from decades with many UN resolutions along the way. This is not our situation in this potential war.

Forces are mobilizing to deal with this war in Syria. Our forces, Russian forces, Israeli forces and other regional powers are all bracing for the coming conflict. Things are different now than in the past.   We have a situation where our President inspires a unique set of reactions in the world and says unique things about us to the world. At the same time,  President Barack Hussein Obama has often ruled or exercised his office with little regard for the traditions of the Congress. But now that he has the USA isolated from almost all major powers, clearly distinguished from Britain and involved in planning an open war where unconventional weapons have already been used — now he is eager to have the Congress act in a due and full way to authorize the war.  In a case like this a great deal comes down to whether or not one trusts a particular chief executive. I do not trust Barack Hussein Obama. This President of the United States of America has set a discernible and almost consistent tone throughout the Arab Spring, the Benghazi Consulate  attack and the killing of an ambassador, the changing relations with the USA across the world.  As we possibly go to war with Syria his style and personality will continue to set the tone for much of the American future and its policies for the foreseeable future. We will face the future and our opponents in Syria or elsewhere as best we can in a world where the mere election and reelection of Barack Obama has already shown us as profoundly weak in the eyes of so much of the world which is not run by the US Supreme Court and the media of our fair land. Assad and Obama will create a different contrast in the world than any pairing of leaders we have seen so far in conflicts in the Middle East or the Muslim world. The British educated eye doctor born to a hereditary leadership he never grew up knowing would be inherited by him or even by anyone is a stark contrast to Obama’s journey to power.

While family has played a role in Obama’s politics as well, it is not the combination of noblesse oblige and a dynasty of dark local powers which defines Assad. Obama’s dreams from his father come from one who was not an American. His father was a politician as much as Assad’s  father but his role in Kenya is different from his alienated pose in the USA. Barack Hussein Obama it is to be noted is the descendant of an American mother and has married and had children with an American wife. The mother was white, the wife is black. Obama’s father was an African student and he also had an Indonesian stepfather. Obama is as strong an attack against family tradition in office for America as one could readily dream up. I do not feel America is dying under a vast avalanche of strong family ties and needs Obama to save us. In a society where forty-one percent of children are currently born out of wedlock, Schwarzenegger has been Governor of California, Jindal is currently Governor of Louisiana, Granholme was Governor of Michigan until a few years ago and tens of millions live here without documents or any legal status and many of those with few if any family ties. Obama has a strong basic appeal to our society which is committed to its own utter destruction at this time. Obama is a man with a very impressive resume and a lot of lessons and experiences that have not come together in the same individual before. Obama does not have any desire to compromise with the vast complicated burdens of American History. He is less aware of them than most Presidents have been and is more committed to policies and procedures that will undermine this country than he would be if he did not have the background he actually does have.

President Obama has been the expression of decades of  continuous confusion and staggering forward. What will happen to him and to the country before he leaves the  Oval Office behind is not entirely predictable. Nor is it it clear what he or the Presidency will be like after his administration ends. If he leaves office alive after completing two full terms then the Presidency of the United States will be part of his impressive curriculum vitae which includes editing Harvard Law Review, traveling the world, authoring two very successful books, serving in the United States Senate and giving many famous speeches. If a major constitutional change occurs in the United States of America after his retirement from this office he will be in a powerful position to broker part of this change. However, his own tenure in office has contributed to America’s inevitably worsening troubles unless it does seriously reform.

Besides confronting Assad, Obama may be squaring off against , Vladimir Putin  and the Russia led by Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin Влади́мир Влади́мирович Пу́тин. This leader is still building his plan and career and we have begun to see the recent conflict over the Snowden case as he draws on his experience as a former leader of the KGB and major player in Soviet intelligence. Unlike the Soviets Putin’s Russia has seen Yeltsin buried as a Christian, Medvedev attending Christmas Mass, arrests of protesters outside a Cathedral and the right of Russian parents to select on of a menu of diverse options for religious education in the public schools. He has never claimed very publicly to be a Christian but his regime will have no trouble using religious energies to discredit the parts of the Syrian insurgency which promote Islamist excesses such as burning churches, organized girl raping, killing priests and fomenting hatred of other religious groups.

The Russian leader was born on October 7, 1952 is a vigorous probably more physically fit than I on almost every measure despite being almost eight years my senior  and several years the senior of Barack Hussein Obama at an age where that really matters in terms of physical prowess beyond mere healthy functioning. Putin served as the post-Soviet Russian Federation’s second President and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus and he is a man of broad appeal among several segments of Russian society. He is still trying to see what he can be in the region and in the world and how a new Russian path forward in world affairs can be worked out.

He may be that kind of person once referred to as a reappearance of Aratos (a Greek politician of long ago)  and because of who he is and his attitudes he will remain Putin while he remains alive. He became acting President as the world celebrated huge numbers of parties and even those disputing the calendric significance on all sort of bases  had gotten into the act of a millennial party this happened on my ex-wife’s thirty-third birthday which was December 31, 1999, when president Boris Yeltsin resigned in a surprising move. This date was overlooked then in much the way that it has been overlooked that Snowden stayed in the Russian consulate in Hong Kong and may have been a Russian agent for some time.

Putin’s rise to office slipped under this New Year’s fireworks as worldwide camouflage in a way that would be worthy of a former intelligence officer. He then began consolidating his power in a way that combined traditional Russian, Soviet, progressive democratic elements into a new decisive style. won the 2000 presidential election and in 2004 he was reelected for a second term lasting until 7 May 2008. Then he served as Prime Minister and helped develop Medvedev and his supporters as part of anew and more constitutional Russian politics in which he also would be a player in that other emerging stream of the party he had long led one way or another. He seeks slowly evolving opportunities and this Syrian crisis is one of those.

He has many hopes he still cannot really do anything to achieve but he keeps chipping away at the obstacles. He does have more empathy for authoritarian leaders like Assad than Obama can openly claim to have. That lack of condemnation of the basic structure is shared by many and is true although Putin has made no moves that indicate wanting to destroy the participatory elections, emerging federalism or development of a more mature Russian political process.  Putin did not demonize Yeltsin and the recent regime nor set about abolishing its forms and reforms in a systematic and aggressive way. He remember Soviet ideology more fondly than Americans do but he sees more of a duty to the national good than an ideology in home and domestic policy. Thge Assad regime was not so good for Syria but the Civil War was largely brought into being by America and is worse in his view. He can face world scrutiny better than his Soviet predecessor could. He may change but for now he passes the smell test few of them ever could.

Most of his harshest critics would acknowledge his role in creating or restoring political orderly process and Securing the rule of law. His presidency included gains such as  the fact that Russia’s economy avoided a terrible  and developing  crisis, the increase by over 70% in the GDP ,  and probably lifting half the Russian poor out of poverty as well as securing the fragile middle class and working class segments of the new Russia by seeing average monthly salaries increase from less than $100 to  well over $500. While high oil prices were part of this miracle his management of the oil boom was among the better responses to such mineral driven influxes of wealth in a crisis which the world has seen. He likes healing and building better but could become a figure of destruction fomenting hate — it just depends on too many factors to sort out here. His conduct in office has not always earned the respect of independent evaluators  and  its faults have been shown forth by domestic political opposition. Mostly  he can be criticized his record of  both real and perceived restoration of some Soviet  abuses which have violated  human rights and freedoms; this has included improper conduct toward vocal opponents acts towards the former Soviet Republics both aggressive and of questionable legitimacy. He has shown a talent for balance, both in becoming Prime Minister and waiting to be able to run again and in his UN behavior with former Soviet Republics he seems to play a very hard game of politics rather than the great communist fault of abolishing civilized politics until the need becomes to great to avoid restoring them. He is a legitimate president whose critics have had chances to flex their muscles against him and yet he is a dangerous man whom one must think twice in opposing. Leaders in the region who have seen Saddam hanged, Mubarak possibly dying in prison, Khadaffi killed by a mob and the families of most of these men also killed or badly harmed may feel they have a chance in dealing with Putin and that dealing with the USA is only suicide. Of course one could also argue that the US has punished effectively those who would not deal with them.

As Egypt  struggles simply not to descend into chaos and Tunisia seems to feel little affinity for the USA some will see Putin as a man who can negotiate transitions for nations.  He helped save what he could of Russia’s socialist safety nets, bureaucratic expertise and tradition while securing emerging capitalism, free markets and private property. President Putin passed into law essential reforms such as a flat  13% income tax , a reduced profits tax, was well as credible and juridically workable land and legal codes . Based on his achievements, Putin is a man about whom pop songs have been written and performed. He is, as written above, still exceptionally vigorous. There is little that can be done to contain his personal networks or his base of popular support within and around Russia.  He also has many foes, but it may well be that America has no leader with as much overall popular support. Putin sees himself as a man with whom a new future could be negotiated for the world  and he is not eager to give away gains to an America he sees as confused. In dealing with the Syrian crisis, Putin is very much a part of the total situation that must be addressed.

The Effort of Working with My Novel Manuscript

I have read again of the recent discoveries of water coming forth from the interior of the Moon at various time in the past. This featured discovery of the mineralogy mapping project and mission coincides with the discovery of evidence that more or less cannot be refuted which has been intensely studied in the scientific spotlight which is embodied and effected in the function of the Curiosity mission on Mars. These things are among many others which support the things I wrote and said when founding the Crater Cap Colony Concept Group. As I dive into the jungle and wonder if I will stay in it with little more than Writer’s Digest as I guide I hope to find a literary agent who will help bring my important work and all that it stands for into the best possible publication. One of many things that the novel is about is the development of the crater cap colonies and it is set in a time when they are up and running. One of the longest bits of speech by a minor character in the novel occurs in the first chapter and it is different from the proposals written for how to activate the Moon’s water resources right now. But these are related  processes and described in related writing. A crater cap engineer is describing the process of building a colony to the novel’s protagonist:

“Pleased to meet you you can read my name on my badge of course”. There was an awkward sort of gesture here that was neither a bow nor a handshake and yet was more than an inclination of the head, both men stumbled through it in the way that men not used to stumbling socially can when they must — the seats were not spacious for one thing.The engineer continued speaking relatively seamlessly now.  “About the caps they are simple enough: First they keep out cosmic and solar radiation but you can put solar panels up on top to gather the power. Second, you start channeling that power into heat and light it starts to warm up or if it is a blazing hot place to cool but is illuminated as you block the sun. On the moon many craters are below 45 degrees Kelvin on the floor — that is super cold. You put a cap on the place and nowadays we send out coldbots to scoop up methane and hydrogen and burn it. These little engines speed things up and that adds to the build-up from solar powered heaters and lights. Third, in most spots we choose, water ice starts to melt and gathers in ponds and streams. You see Pilot Culkathadreil, even though we pump or mine for more later on that is magmatic or subterranean ice we already have water on the Moon and on Mars at that stage. Fourth. we start with all airlocks and pressure suits but we put in a base of miners and start planting domed gardens and keep burning the methane and heating the mines, spoils and floor. Then we get to the real progress in the fifth stage when the miners wear masks but atmospheric pressure is fine and the climate is chilly but not brutal on the floor. Sixth, the miners have always been crapping and continuously urinate and sometimes die and we recycle all their waste properly into compost or bury them to decay into the soil  and by the sixth stage we have a good amount of soil and with chemical fertilizer additives and water the place is not what it was. Seventh, we can bring in a few real farmers. When this goes on the right way long enough you can get a place like Lunapolis”.

Of course those words are a small part of the 638 or so pages of the novel and the novel is not in print. While I have seen my work in print many times I exist these days as a writer almost exclusively as a web presence. My life is in countless ways derailed and this adds difficulty when one has to compete for the time and support of someone who has an inbox  already full (mine is too sometimes) and offer to make them even busier now with a novel which does not come from someone generating an income in literature and coming to them recommended by other people who have read and enjoyed the novel as a financial project or at least as paying book buyers. There is a cost to anyone in doing real and substantial work and after that work one needs a reward roughly commensurate to survive. That is one reason so many artists and writers of talent die young and not very well, it is simply a basic human reality that one has just completed a work and would like to do something other than see if perhaps one can now succeed in another uncertain and difficult task while judging from one’s own inner resources that this is a more unlikely time than most to seek to establish a literary community connection. One writes to a complete stranger a line like “I see that you mention leaning to science fiction and fantasy and also mention the Crucible and both of those notes are somewhat relevant to my novel Culkathadreil: A Tale from the Life and Times of the Prophet King.”  In addition one regards the work one has done as having been done at a particular time and for timely reasons. one may hope it will endure but many novelists and poets like myself have worked in the world of journalism and periodicals and perhaps in blogs and expect to have work appear shortly after it is finished. That is a sort of hard-wired expectation that cannot be entirely overcome by rationalizing the reasons it will not happen.

My query letters will be followed both by my link to Google Drive and by the pasting of  the first  chapter which is  just half a page under the first ten pages of your manuscript.  My novel is a science fiction novel for adults. I believe the rest of the information any serious reader would need will be included in any query I send out but it is not as though I value the query as a genre all that much. I am not a published novelist but I am not a babe in the woods and for any relationship with a publisher or agency to work out I have to feel that I am not just contributing to a false concept of the literary business but am in a real dialog about a real book with a real person. If my particular correspondents are not interested obviously they risk nothing (or little) by ignoring that fact but I try to mention this to them along with other things. If the mechanics of marketing outweigh the work and value involved in the novel then a given correspondent is not the place for me to place my work anyway.

I have written a novel and so it is on my mind and I will discuss it here. The first printed out copy was just made and was it is about 638 pages long in 8 books of 8 chapters each — 64 in all. The first chapter is 4389 words in ten pages and Google Drive has word counts for every chapter but I would say that something less than 4389 times 64. Thus the book is less than but roughly near 280,896 words. My guess is that it is nearer to 275,000 words. I am pleased with it. This book is deeply tied to my own roots as it is steeped in the lore of Louisiana and the South and has a great deal of book culture and more references to the titles of Louisiana books than probably any novel ever written but it is not a pastoral or historical novel but a piece of science fiction.   The first book or section of  the eight that carry the narrative is called “The Moon” and is set on the Moon in a somewhat optimistic 23rd century.  The protagonist Joseph Culkathadreil wins a prize to be a pilot on the mothball cruise of the Neil Armstrong a mile long ship retiring to the Mars colonies. While on the Moon he falls more or less in love with Roberta Dupuis who is a newscaster who cover his prize win. There is already a great deal of complexity in their lives and early on themes are suggested which blow up into very large plot segments. The book deals with adventures far beyond a trip to mores and more deadly enemies than two assassins he meets while still with Roberta Dupuis on the Moon. This is also a love story which involves two people with significant past love lives, Joseph has one living and one deceased child by two different mothers when the story starts and he and Roberta have differing kinds of present entanglements. A lot of the plot involves other lovers but the Joseph and Roberta retain a serious connection for the plot. This is also hard science fiction so there is an effort to explain how somethings work and what they mean in the context of a novel.

If I were going to make hyperbolic claims for the book I could write that lots of things of arguable truth such as:

1. That it is very entertaining and commercial with fights and whiz bang gadgetry and sex as well as true love (very little sarcasm, some ommission).

2. It is also an education in itself. People could read my book and have access to all sorts of insight and be tempted to save money by shutting down a lot of the best grad schools and just saying “I read Culkathadreil: A Tale from the Life and Times of the Prophet-King” (lots of sarcasm but despite keeping schools open it does have a lot in it — I think).

3. It does fascinating things with perspective and time (pretty objective).

4. It has real mainstream literary merit tied to its relationship with me as a source and historical (long dead) character (hard to explain what that means outside a stream of reviewers of a certain type but pretty true anyway).

However, a literary agent is better suited to make such claims (more rightly made) than an author. Those who read me in my blog and on Facebook have ways available to get to know me as a writer.

Finding Magmatic Water on the Moon

This is one of the really big topics that is likely not to get noticed. Life is a complex thing.

I have written a great deal more than most people on the subject of water on the moon. More than all but a relative handful of people and yet I cannot say it is the dominant theme of my writing or thought. It is a very important theme and was vital to the Crater Cap Colony Concept — whether capitalized or not — which has been an important part of my life and work. It is vital among other things to the plot of the novel I have discussed earlier in this note. Thus I discussed the water on the Moon in the novel section of this round up at more length than I will here. One cannot much mine ice on Earth as water is warmed above freezing by the geological activity on Earth. I think it may turn out that by lowering the definition of geologically to an extremely low level with very good observation by many instruments we may find that the moon is not entirely dead to geology. The powerful tidal forces of the Earth acting on  soft metals, water ice and faults probably create some slow and lazy cycles of rock which receive new energy from impacts of varied objects. But to a degree nearly unimaginable to most of those who move earth, mine, dig or study rocks on Earth and have no interest in the Moon — the Moon is dead inside and there will be deposits of water ice along with tiny rivers of water lasting a few years or less from time to time. Those resources could be and must be mined by colonists from Earth. Ice mining would be a new adventure for humanity, without even getting to the many aspects of mining on the moon which include good things like multiplying lift by six compared to the same muscles and motors on Earth as well as many challenges.

I hope we will soon regain a path to Moon colonization. The risks of not doing so are enormous and need to be discussed in another note. Only Lunar colonies will make it feasible to maintain the level of activity in space we need to defend a planet whose greatest disasters have always come from space. Nor is that the only reason to do this vital waork.

The Fiftieth Anniversary of the March on Washington

During August of this year we observed the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington. The Democratic party president and former Presidents of the United States of AMerica who are living attended and the Presidents Bush did not. The crowd is estimated by some to have been twelve percent of what it was in 1963.

I have a lot of empathy for what Doctor Martin Luther King Junior was trying to do and some respect for what he did. Given the constitutional framework of his life his efforts were better than America had reason to expect in many ways.  Many crimes by the Black organizations are covered up and distorted. The actions of some Southern and other white resisters are unduly distorted and made more criminal than is accurate or fair. The results have been falsely interpreted and yet he was often a decent man seeking justice. The US Supreme Court and other players in the struggle are more to blame for what did not not work out well.

As for the directions I think that things should go, my Model Constitutions are my proposal and answer. We must not fall prey to the brief comments I would be forced to make in a small section of a roundup post.

The Hearing to Set the Trial Date of Seth Fontenot for the Rivault Murder

A young man who was in college and is often well-groomed and has quite a few friends was at home and in what he may have believed was defense of his car or truck he shot into a car with three teenage boys in it. He killed Austin Rivault. Austin had been a Faith Camper and was a winning young kid with family and friends who loved him. He had a special kind of energy and potential and I took some pictures of him at a Faith Camp reunion which show a haunting depth with his friends.

He lived nearby and was out late because it was our Mardi Gras Season of Carnival. He attended a Catholic High School where I used to teach and where three of my sisters were at one time enrolled and my eldest sister graduated — St. Thomas More High School.

The whole story is not known to me but the depth of the tragedy is real enough to me. I imagine it may get more tragic and I do not wish to pretend I knew Austin better than I did but our country is less without him.

Some Family and Personal Issues Briefly Summarized

My niece Sophie Clare Summers was born. My sister Mary, brother John Paul, nephews James, Michael and Anthony, niece Anika, sister-in-law Brooke, cousin Rebecca and some others celebrated Birthdays in August. I observed each event to varying degrees. My sister Susanna and her husband Mike celebrate a dozen years of marriage this first day of September 2013.

I have been aware of all these and other things while I have also been busy with my novel and several other projects which have presented challenges and demands on my time.  Sarah my sister and her husband Kevin meanwhile moved their house out to Big Woods and the family will follow soon.

At a purely personal level I am not feeling nor sensing that I am particularly well in very many senses of the word. But I get up and live the day as most of us do.

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