Thursday, November 10, 2016

How Deplorables Think: A Simple Perspective

Right after the Donald Trump victory in 2016 a Facebook friend, and someone I went to high school with, posted a very broad and open minded query to, what Hillary Clinton called, the "deplorables".  You know.  People like me.

For context, this Facebook friend and I were not close in high school but we were also never at odds.   Acquaintances only which is saying something considering my graduating class had only 52 male students.  He ended up in Europe in the finance field and has, over the years, made it clear through his posts that he is most definitely Left leaning.  After the Brexit his Liberal brand was on full display in his Facebook feed with numerous posts disparaging the ignorance of such a populous decision.  Prognostications, none of which have borne out, were made about the financial demise of Britain as a sovereign nation to further punctuate his belief in such an ignorant and selfish Brexit decision.

So this recent, almost self deprecating, post took me by surprise if only because there was not one single back handed "compliment" or even veiled derogatory reference to the anti-establishment mass that had voted for Brexit and Trump.

In an effort to answer his query about us deplorables I responded with the post below.  My hope is that it at least helps him understand the perspective of the individualist that exists en mass.  I don't expect miracles but a legitimate olive branch is rarely ever extended from the Left so I wanted to take this opportunity very seriously.

Facebook Friend's Post:

Having considered the point, I am willing to own being part of the metropolitan elite. After all, I live in a big multiethnic city, am a lawyer and work in the financial services industry (albeit for the regulator).  I can't say that it makes me feel on top of the world, or did at any point. I certainly don't have great wealth, or even my own house.

I continue to believe in the value of free trade and open markets, of allowing motivated people to move to where the work is, of sharing across cultures and religions, of good education at all levels for all and good infrastructure. I believe that government can be a force for good when it is well directed, with clear goals and proper incentives.

I hear what the Brexit vote and the US election have said--the "will of the people", or at least that half of it--but nothing that the Trump supporters and the Brexiteers have said has convinced me that their solutions to the real problems will make people better off.
Still, maybe we all just want to be heard and our views respected. I am listening. I respect the people who see the situation differently and have the opposite view. I want to understand the problem. I want, though, a different solution.  And I want to talk with you about it.

Additional Context:

To be sure there were a number of responses to his post that were surrogates to the collectivists fomenting hate towards individualists.  One such post was from one of my Facebook friend's list named Milo.  Milo laid out a significant screed about the deplorables and tried to justify his position with election result statistics.  I will spare you his puzzling analysis and deliver to you the money shot from his rather lengthy shred: 

"The other problem is that insofar as you really want to have a dialogue with the hard core Trump supporters - those who embrace his racist/misogynist message - it is very hard to even find a basis for dialogue."

With that as additional context here is my response to my Facebook friend's olive branch.

My Response To The Post:

As a "deplorable" let me just say that this phenomena is much simpler than you probably think.

a) Government over the last 100 years has gone from being mostly useful and slightly corrupt to being mostly corrupt and not even slightly useful. Peter Thiel put it well at his National Press Club appearance last week when he described how in the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s you could look around as a citizen and see the government doing great things. The Interstate highways systems, the Hoover Dam, The Apollo Space Program, etc. Of course there was crony capitalistic corruption going on back then as well but things were getting done and everyone could visually see that fact. Today, people see corruption, ineptitude, waste, fraud, self enrichment of our leaders, mismanagement of taxpayer money and for what in return? Improved education? less expensive healthcare? Much improved infrastructure? Moon bases? Mars bases? Anything? This is not a completely surprising place we have come to. The value to cost lines on the graph move towards inverse the older a country becomes. As the government gets larger and more corrupt it becomes harder for the government to perform and thus harder to show visual progress until it gets to the point where it is virtually impossible to demonstrate progress. Many people today believe we have reached this point of government uselessness. Those people voted against the establishment (Trump/Brexit). It is worth noting that almost 20% Bernie voters voted for Trump underscoring this phenomena. 

b) Given "a" the "deplorables" don't trust the government to do something big like open borders right. Especially considering the extremely poor financial condition the country is currently in anyway. Leaving Muslims out of the equation for a moment, most deplorables are not at all against immigration. Not at all. They are just not for the unchecked, unrestricted, open border immigration with no plan policy that is currently in place. And with some good justification considering the large percentage increases seen in violent crime by illegal immigrants. And no, Trump did not say that Mexicans are rapists. Even Vox admits to that. My father was chosen by the Reagan administration in the 80s to represent Cuban exiles that were being housed at Ft Leavenworth. These were the people that Castro emptied out of his jails into America and they were the worst of the worst. Are Cubans rapists? Of course not. The ones Castro sent here were rapist and that is all Trump was saying about many of the Mexicans that are illegally emigrating here now. Again, many of the Trump/Brexit voters concerned about this voted accordingly.

c) I am old enough to remember when if you wanted to go to a store you had to make sure you were at home where your phone and phone book were physically located. You then looked up the business in the phonebook and then rotary dialed their number to see if they were open. Afterwards you got in your car and navigated your way towards the business using only the address of the business. Today all of that pre-work is accomplished from anywhere in seconds and navigation is done by a computer that can fit in your pocket. My point is people today are not very resourceful, self sufficient or independently capable. Most of the millennials I know really wouldn't know what to do in a gridless situation or even how to open a can of tuna without a can opener. Most wouldn't even know what to do if they lost their phone for 3 hours. All of this ultra convenience has given people time to devote to frivolous and even misdirected thoughts and efforts. The post WWII Japanese noticed that their 1st generation offspring were hard working because they saw how hard their parents worked and participated heavily in the operation and maintenance of the homestead. But each generation thereafter became more disconnected, lazy, less disciplined and capable of being an independent, self relying person. I can't remember the book title in which this phenomena discussed but today we have a younger generation of people that are naturally dependent on a collectivist structure (which is, in a number of ways not a bad thing). However, the older generations are still largely comprised of individualists. One thing that mixes like oil and water are collectivists and individualists. The individuals voted for Trump/Brexit in large numbers. The collectivists voted (they won the popular vote) just not as many.

d) The collectivist crowd is dominating the discussion and social direction of acceptable language and the individualists are reaching a breaking point on things like political correctness. The safe space, triggered crowd has been making the terms of socially acceptable language and behavior very confining for the individualist. You can't say this or that or else you will be looked at poorly by your boss and possibly even loose your job. You can do this or that because it could trigger someone causing you to be questioned by the authorities. This shrinking universe of language and actions is being defined by the collectivists and safe space crowd and the individualists voted for Trump because they are tired of being judged by terms they do not agree with.

Well that's the simple version. For a more contextual and detailed background on this you can google things like "critical theory", "Antonio Gramsci", "The Frankfurt School" and "The Cloward–Piven strategy".

Have a lovely evening.

In Conclusion

I don't expect a collectivist to understand overnight, or even ever, how an individualist thinks but I did appreciate the honest attempt at a dialog.  I think I will try it myself and am afraid I already know the talking point answers I am going to receive about government being the only thing protecting us from big business answers.  It would be nice if that didn't happen though.  Well, a man can dream.  Can't he?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

COEXIST My I (slam)

Unless you've been under a rock or haven't been out driving in the last few years you've no doubt seen the bumper sticker that says "COEXIST". The sticker appears in a few different versions.

Each letter of the word "COEXIST" is a symbol of the world's most prominent organized religions or belief systems. There are a number of variations of the sticker (as well as a patent and trademark battle over the arrangement of these symbols together . So much for coexistence, eh?) Regardless of the variation they use symbols like the Star of David, the crescent moon and star, Nero's cross, etc., etc..

Couple of things on this bumper sticker.

First. People who put religious, even or “non-religious”, organized belief stickers on their car are probably insecure in their organized belief and feel as though they have to reassure themselves of the belief by advertising it to everyone they drive by. Exceptions to the rule, of course, but that is the rule. This rule applies to Atheist and Pagan bumper stickers (I’ve seen them pasted on bumpers as well) as much as it does to Christian bumper stickers.

If you’re comfortable in your beliefs you don’t need a single other person on the planet to agree with even one of them. And, you certainly don’t need a bumper sticker to tell you and everyone else what those beliefs are.

Second, I like the idea of organized religions all peacefully coexisting. And, the good news, is that they do. Well, unless you include “The Religion of Peace”. They don’t get along with any other belief systems and consider others outside of their belief structure “infidels”. And, boy, wait till you see the special treatment they have for infidels. I speak of course of Islam.

So, unless the intent of this COEXIST sticker is to specifically target and promote the idea to Muslims that they should exist peacefully with other religions/belief systems then the bumper sticker is ignorant. Creative perhaps but ignorant nonetheless.

Disagree? Then ask yourself these questions. Do the Baptists go running into the woods beheading Satan worshipers? No, they don’t. Do Pagans strap on bombs and blow themselves up in crowded markets filled with Arab and Palestinian Muslims? No, they don’t. Do Buddhists stone Atheists for self belief? No, they don’t. Do Catholics threaten to kill artists that depict Jesus in a disrespectful way? No, they don’t.

But, Muslims frequently do all of these things in the name of Allah. What's more is they do it unabashedly and without remorse. Like psychopaths. If you haven't seen the Internet footage for proof of this then you've been avoiding most of the Internet.

I’ve seen many lively, and even heated debates, between different groups of organized religions/beliefs. But the only bomb throwing I’ve seen in these discussions has been metaphorical. That is, until you bring a Muslim into the debate. Then the bomb throwing could be quite literal.

Surely, the people who wear these COEXIST stickers on their bumpers are smart enough to see that organized religions/belief systems do already all coexist together. Except Muslims. Well, I choose to think these bumper sticker wearers are smart and are just trying to help Muslims think this whole suicide bombing "religion of peace" thing through.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Fear of Failure Guides Them

In the interest of full disclosure, and so that there is no confusion about my point of view, I am what most would describe as a Libertarian with a life long (43 years in 2010) absence of any religious following. I believe the power of life, love and creativity lies in the individual and that those things are ground up and die in the gears of the collective. Having established that… If there is a god, please help us.  Now.  Please.

I just read this New York Times opinion piece off of a link at JammieWearingFool. The Times article is written by Gail Collins and can only be described as a newspaper sponsored public relations piece for current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In fact, she begins the article by suggesting that we “sing a song about the wonderfulness of Nancy Pelosi.” I realize that the Times is considered a Liberal media outlet but even I was surprised at how many commenters gushingly agreed with Collin’s assessment/ringing endorsement of Nancy.

My conclusion, which leads to a fundamental explanation of the Liberal mindset, is that there are a substantial number of people that are not willing to take a head on look at reality. There is no doubt that reality is sometimes a brutal, unkind, unfriendly and unpleasant thing to stare strait into. But avoiding it, putting it off, or worse, creating a faux alternative reality is ultimately self defeating. Reality and time are inextricably connected and they wait for no one.

For example. Are we engaged militarily in the middle East because of oil? Some would say no and claim that we are there to liberate the people of these subjugated countries from their oppressive leaders and governments. And, while this statement might not be completely false it also ignores the reality that our entire way of life has been fundamentally built on the petroleum that is supplied, in large part, by countries in the middle East. Which, in reality, is why we are trying to bring stability (militarily in this case) to the middle East. It may be easier to think that we are militarily engaged (bombing and killing) in the middle East for noble and humanitarian reasons. But, that is not reality and everyone knows it. The reality, as brutal it may be, is that we are militarily engaged in the middle East because we want to protect the market place that provides us with the oil that our entire way of life (whether you are a Liberal or a Conservative) is based on.

Does running huge deficits which lead to a staggering national debts hurt individual citizens of this country? Some would say that these deficits are healthy for a growing economy and that going into debt to invest is the right thing to do. The reality is that reasonable people know this is a losing strategy, particularly when politicians are the ones managing the money being borrowed. In 2010 the interest alone on our debt is approximately $230 billion. The harsh reality is that $230 billion goes to the countries that own our debt and won't pay to fill one pot hole, one teacher's salary, one hot meal for the homeless, one prescription for a senior. Nothing. We will pay $230 billion and get nothing in return for it. This is the reality of the situation.

Why do some do it? Why do they avoid reality? Indirectly it is because they are uncomfortable, and, in some cases, possibly even mentally unfit, for reality. Which, is why they invest unbelievable amounts of energy building an alternate reality where they feel comfy and warm.  You know.  Like the reality where Nancy Pelosi is “ethical”, “transparent” and “productive”.

So let's get back to Gail at The New York Times and the direct, root cause reason people like her avoid reality. People like Gail have to live in an alternate reality for one primary reason. They fear failure.  I'll give you an example of what I am talking about but I will need you to use your imagination for a minute.

Imagine being in the middle of a majestic, deep forest brimming with beauty and life. As with any system (eco or otherwise) in order for there to be success (beauty and life in this example) there also needs to be failure, erosion and death. In this forest the dense tree growth is only possible through the death of last cycle’s animals, leaves and trees that died, fell to the ground and decayed (many before their full potential) providing nutrients to other life in the forest including the beautiful trees that now thrive. There is no life without death, no success without failure. Newton said it best: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Liberals are fixated and fearful of this natural part of life. They try with all of their (and your) resources to compensate and hide the ugly side of life always selling themselves, and anyone else who will listen, on the idea that failure and death are an unfortunate consequence of a lack of government/system oversight.

The Liberal wants the comfort and convenience of automobile transportation but doesn’t want the pollution that is required for that convenience. Can the efficiency and method of propelling our automobiles be changed and improved? Of course it can. Everything can always be improved (within obvious natural/universal limits). But, it is hard not to get the sense that the Liberal is less interested in reducing the carbon foot print left by automobiles than they are interested in ensuring that everyone drives the same tiny little (equal) vehicles. If you’ve looked at most of the vehicles that Liberals would have everyone driving you would have to at least wonder.

The Liberal wants good health care, education, etc. for everyone and will sacrifice the quality of all of it to ensure that everyone has it. This is true even, in the end, if the quality of whatever program offered is so poor that it would be better not to have the service, whatever it might be, at all. To a Liberal, fairness, or even the appearance of fairness, is more important than success if that success would have to come at the expense of an equal amount of someone else’s success or failure.

What a synaptic melting conundrum sports must be for the Liberal. A number of years ago I was standing next to the very Liberal wife of a friend of mine at our kid’s soccer game. Our two kids played on the same team. She commented to me that she didn’t like sports and that she thought they were too competitive. What she really meant is that she wished her daughter, and everyone else on both teams, could always win.

She fears failure so intensely that she wishes it away forgetting that the only thing that makes winning glorious is opportunity for loss. How many tickets would any major league franchise sell if the outcome were a tie game every time? Zero.

This intense desire to cancel out (socially engineer around) failure is the dangerous alternate reality that I am talking about. When we ignore reality by replacing it with what we wish life to be we borrow only a temporary reprieve from the responsibility of our contribution for a truly good/real life. There has to be a loser for there to be a winner. Fighting this rule of nature (and probably the universe) is a futile waste of human energy but explains the plight of the Liberal and all those they seek to “fix”.

God, if you’re there and listening, it’s time to help Liberals. Help them to see and enjoy reality, the excitement of life's struggles, defeats and wins. I don’t think that anyone else is qualified or up to the task.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Arizona's Senate Bill 1070 is Mexico's Fault

Blame Mexico for Senate Bill 1070.

A few days ago Hillary Clinton let it slip that the administration plans to move forward with a law suit against the state of Arizona to stop SB 1070 from becoming law.

Look. Hillary and other of her ilk are interested in amnesty (or something like it). They want this because they believe it will give them more votes and thus more power – which is all they are really interested in. They care nothing of the plight of immigrants I can assure you. Their interest is in power, money and influence.

What I can’t understand is this. The US is a country that many want to immigrate to because of our wealth, standard of living and opportunity. If we let everyone in that wants to come in, provide them all with the same access to the services, resources and opportunity that current legal citizens have, won’t that dilute the very resources and opportunities that make this country so desirable in the first place?

My point is that, aren’t open borders are a self defeating? Won’t they destroy the very things that make people want to come here in the first place?

It’s kind of like having a neighborhood pool that you pay for through neighborhood association dues. The pool is large enough that it serves the surrounding neighborhood well. Not too crowded not too underutilized and well maintained. All that attend are happy.

Then the association you pay dues to decides to close an adjacent neighborhood’s pool and let that neighborhood use your same pool. Now the pool is crowded, the water isn’t clean, the bathrooms are trashed and people are angry that the conditions have deteriorated.

Soon, no one wants to come to the pool anymore because it is an overused resource that can’t meet the standards of the people that used to visit. So, people stop going. This is where the analogy breaks down. Current US citizens can’t just stop going to their country. So, they have to fight to ensure that the resources that are available are protected.

Is it a bummer that Mexican and (other immigrants) have to migrate to America for better opportunity? Yes. It is. Especially when it is from a country like Mexico that is so wealthy and rich in natural resources.

When I see laws like the one passed in AZ attempting to stem the flow of illegal Mexican immigrants I don’t ask, what is wrong with America? I ask, what is wrong with Mexico? Why are they failing so miserably in creating an environment for their citizens that gives them good opportunities and reasons to stay in Mexico?

Just a thought.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Let's be clear. Bottled water is probably better than tap water

I visited a story on ( where author Claire Thompson previews a documentary film called Tapped. Tapped appears to be a documentary about water in it's various forms and appears to be set within a context of evil, polluting, big business and a complicit government. There is a trailer to the film at the link above.

Bottled water is a multi-billion dollar a year business. I think that fact alone begs the question, what is it that people don't like or trust about their tap water and motivates them to pay upwards of $9 per gallon of bottled water?

The text below is my letter to Claire Thompson responding to her review of the trailer.


I see you are in school studying to be a journalist. So, with no mal intent I would like to point out an important omission from your article that could lead people to misunderstand the situation.

Occasionally I will see an article or news story claiming, or at least inferring, that city water is as "clean" as bottled water. And, while this may be true at a microbiological level the word "clean" can be measured in many other ways.

As you point out in your article, a lot of bottled water is actually municipal tap water. What you did not point out is that this municipal tap water that has been bottled was processed through a filtration system known as reverse osmosis filtration (RO for short). This RO filtration removes not only bacteria and other biological contaminants but also non-biological contaminants like lead, arsenic, and undigested pharmaceuticals just to name a few. Equally as important, however, the RO process removes chlorine and fluoride, two chemicals added by the city municipal water processing plants. Chlorine is a chemical used to kill biological contaminants (similar to the way chlorine is used to keep swimming pools clear of biological contaminants) and fluoride is put into the water supply because it allegedly helps prevent tooth decay (although this is very debatable). The RO process removes both of these chemicals each of which have been linked to diseases like cancer.

So, to infer that city water is as "clean" as bottled water is not at all accurate and leaves the reader with the idea that there is no benefit in paying for bottled (RO) water when in fact there is a benefit to this higher priced product. Whether it is a good value at as much as $3 per 16 ounces is another discussion entirely.

Now that I have built up bottled water let me tear it down. The plastic used in most bottled water is type 1 plastic (the number "1" is printed in the recycling symbol at the bottom of the bottle.) It has been proven that this plastic, particularly when it is exposed to higher than room temperatures (like in a hot car) leaches BPAs into the water which have a variety of negative side effects (similar to chlorine actually) on the body. The human consumption of BPAs has been connected to cancer, lowered estrogen levels and other negative human side effects.

In addition, although the RO filtration process eliminates all bad biological and non-biological elements, it also removes all good mineral elements that naturally occur in water. This can also pose a health problem if too much RO water is consumed because the RO water (also known as "hungry water" or "dead water") will seek out the minerals that have been removed in order to return to its natural state. This means it will take these minerals from your body as it regains the natural elements that were filtered from it using RO.

Finally, the use of disposable plastic bottles is a environmental issue and a problem and one that can be addressed if consumers would get a simple carbon or (preferably) ceramic filter and just filled BPA free plastic bottles (with the number "5" in the recycle symbol at the bottom of the bottle) or food grade stainless steel bottles, which is what I do.

However, if sitting thirsty in a restaurant without my Kleen Canteen and I have the choice between a bottle of RO water and city water I would have to choose the bottled RO water because I don't know if the plastic has leached BPAs into the water yet. However, I do know that the city water has government added chlorine and fluoride and that those are toxic to the body.

Good luck on your journalistic quest and remember that a circle can have as many angles as you care to investigate. ;-)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Here is a way to make sure they read the bills

An important message from The President of the United States...

"As President of the United States I hereby proclaim that I will sign no bill or legislation that exceeds 25 pages in length. Each page must be formatted with 12 point Times Roman font, 1 inch margins on all sides and be double spaced. If the bill reaches my desk and is not in this format I will not read or sign the bill.

The contents of the bill should be concise, well written and meaningful.

Oh, and make sure that you have read the bill. It's only 25 pages for God's sake."

These bills that are hundreds, and even thousands of pages long, are bunk. They are written by attorneys and lobbyists not the people we elected to represent us in Congress. Admitting, as some Congresspeople have done, that they haven't read a bill that they haven't written should be a crime.

If we required that all bills be less than 26 pages it would not only ensure that Congresspeople have no excuse not to read the bill, but it would physically prevent lobbyist and special interests to load bills up with pork and wasteful spending.

So, my challenge to The President is to make this proclamation. Today. Please. Thanks.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Practical Climate Change Solutions (From a common sense, non-scientific mind)

Before I start, so that you don't have to guess at what my opinion of "global warming" or "climate change" is, I will just tell you. I believe that when you walk across the sand you leave foot prints and that, by and large, it doesn't really matter that much. Which is to say that although I do believe that we tend to be shamelessly wasteful at times, and that we need to address that problem, I do not subscribe to the end of dayz religion of global warming prevention.

So, let's begin.

You might believe (with zealous fervor) that as an inhabitant of the planet we are destroying the very environment that allows life to flourish. Or, you might believe with equal zeal that your impact on the planet is so insignificant that it is not worth concerning yourself over.

Regardless of what side of the argument you are on, or even if you are somewhere in the middle, there are some things that no one can argue about that can make the planet we live on a much better place for us and the generations that succeed us.

First, one has to think of things in their entirety. If you are bleeding from your ears and you use a tissue to wipe away the blood have you really solved your problem? No. Similarly, if you switch to an electric car to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions but charge that car's batteries at your home each night using electricity that was generated from a regional coal burning electricity plant, have you solved your emissions problem? Again, no.

Do hybrid vehicles yield better gas mileage? Yes. Overall are they better for the environment? To get a real answer to that question we would have to look at the hybrid solution as a whole, break down the hybrid (battery) components, look at their manufacturing process and lifespan and determine what environmental impacts all of this hybrid technology actually has.

What are the materials that make up a hybrid's batteries? How are these materials obtained, refined and then manufactured? What is the environmental impact of all of these steps? And, how long will these hybrid batteries last before they must be replaced thereby multiplying the initial environmental impact by the number of times the batteries are actually replaced? Once we know the answers to these (and other) questions we can then answer the question and know how much better, if at all, hybrid cars are for the environment than a similar gas burning vehicle.

Do compact florescent bulbs reduce the amount of electricity being used as compared to their lumen equivalent candecent bulbs? Yes, they do. Overall are they better for the environment? The challenge of of CFLs is that they contain a very toxic substance called mercury. Mercury, even in small amounts can lead to birth defects, neurological disorders and even death.

Normally, when a standard candecent light bulb, which contains no toxic substances, burns out you just throw the bulb away in the trash. Burned out CFLs must be taken to a recycling facility that handles CFLs so that the bulb's mercury can be properly handled and recycled. Most people don't take the time and effort to recycle their CFLs and, instead, dispose of them in the trash as they would traditional candecent bulbs. Because mercury's half life is so long it is cumulative in our waste dumps and environments causing long term damage to wild life, human life and the environment in general.

The amount of mercury in CFLs in very small (4-5 mg). Yet, here are the recommended EPA guidelines if you break a CFL bulb:

Before Cleanup: Air Out the Room

* Have people and pets leave the room, and don't let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out.
* Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
* Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.

Cleanup Steps for Hard Surfaces

* Carefully scoop up glass pieces and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
* Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
* Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place towels in the glass jar or plastic bag.
* Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.

Cleanup Steps for Carpeting or Rug

* Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
* Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
* If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.
* Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.

Cleanup Steps for Clothing, Bedding and Other Soft Materials

* If clothing or bedding materials come in direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from inside the bulb that may stick to the fabric, the clothing or bedding should be thrown away. Do not wash such clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage.
* You can, however, wash clothing or other materials that have been exposed to the mercury vapor from a broken CFL, such as the clothing you are wearing when you cleaned up the broken CFL, as long as that clothing has not come into direct con tact with the materials from the broken bulb.
* If shoes come into direct contact with broken glass or mercury-containing powder from the bulb, wipe them off with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place the towels or wipes in a glass jar or plastic bag for disposal.

Disposal of Cleanup Materials

* Immediately place all clean-up materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area for the next normal trash pickup.
* Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials.
* Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states do not allow such trash disposal. Instead, they require that broken and unbroken mercury-containing bulbs be taken to a local recycling center.

Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rug: Air Out the Room During and After Vacuuming

* The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window before vacuuming.
* Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed

If every person that bought a CFL disposed of it at a legitimate recycling facility designed to handle mercury then CFLs, with their superior energy efficiency, could definitely be considered a "green" product. Unfortunately we can't assume that people will take the extra effort to properly recycle their CFLs. As such it is questionable whether ten of millions of CFL bulbs will have an overall positive impact on the environment.

Buying products branded with a "green" or "hybrid" label does NOT necessarily mean that the environment is being positively impacted. If the goal is to purchase products that enable us to live in a manner that makes less of an impact on our environment then we have to go to the extra step of examining the products that wear the "green" label and determine if they are in fact better for the environment overall.

Keeping Newton's third law of motion in mind can help analyze whether or not a product is truly green. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This law is a fact that is relevant to studying (anything) emissions reduction because whenever we come up with a solution that we think will reduce CO2 emissions we must also think about what the ramifications are, (the equal and opposite reactions are), to the new CO2 emissions reducing solution.

If we don't do this then we may fail in our objective of reducing emissions even while believing otherwise. And, although the mere belief that we are helping the environment feels good that feeling has no tangible value outside of our minds.

A contemporary example of this is the recent effort of people, government and corporations to push ethanol based fuels derived from corn. The concept, which on the surface was promising, was that we could produce fuel by growing corn and then use that corn to manufacture an ethanol fuel to augment the petroleum based fuel supply. Fuel from a familiar, national, renewable source as opposed to foreign oil seemed like a great idea. So, farmers, refineries and auto manufacturers all retooled (invested heavily in) their businesses to accommodate this new fuel source and brought ethanol based fuels and vehicles into the market place.

Unfortunately, no one in charge applied Newton's third law of motion to the idea which is another way of saying that no one in charge thought the idea through. Was there an equal and opposite reaction to growing lots of corn to produce fuel? Were there unintended consequences to shifting part of our fuel supply source from foreign based oil to nationally produced corn?

Only after all of the time and investment had been made did people realize that some of the equal and opposite reactions to producing ethanol canceled out the benefits of the alternative fuel. It turns out, the amount of energy it takes to prepare land, plant corn, water and fertilize the crop, harvest the crop, transport the crop to the refinery, process the crop into ethanol far outweighs the energy it would take to derive oil from the ground (or buy foreign oil) to create the petroleum based gasoline we currently use today. Not to mention that this ethanol initiative dramatically increased the demand for corn and thus the price of corn, which is used in the majority of processed foods that are consumed by Americans, was driven much higher leading to higher food costs having the most dramatic impact on the poorest in our country. Equal and opposite reactions must always be calculated.

It is important to remember is that, for the most part, we live in a closed ecological system (aside from the tons of water vapor from space ice and dust from meteorites that enters our atmosphere each year). This is important to understand because if every action has an equal and opposite reaction then that reaction is going to happen within our closed environment. For example, if with the snap of my fingers I was able to convert all current petroleum based combustion engines, belching their tons of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere, to hydrogen burning combustion engines, expelling mostly water vapor, you might think that would be a good thing, right? Burning hydrogen produces (by and large) water vapor which, unlike carbon dioxide, is environmentally neutral, right?

The problem is, we don't know how millions of tons of additional water vapor being released into the air will have on the atmosphere and, therefore, the environment. It could dramatically increase the amount of green house gasses in the environment and significantly raise the average global temperature contradicting the efforts to reduce our impact on the environment.

So, what do we do? Give up on trying to be more ecologically aware and responsible? No. Then do we go to the opposite extreme and let bureaucrats pass laws and rules that curtail our freedoms and liberties for a "greener" planet? No. That is unacceptable to people who value freedom (as everyone should).

But, as individuals we can do some common sense things, many of which most of us were probably taught by our parents:

1. Don't litter. And yes, cigarette butts are litter. Don't throw them or anything else out of your car window. Using unoccupied land as a dumping zone for old cars, tires, refrigerators, etc. is littering. Just take the extra time (and money if necessary) to dispose of trash where it is supposed to be disposed of.

2. If you turn something on then turn it off. If you turn on a TV, a light, oven, stereo, etc., then turn it off when you are done using it.

3. If it costs less or takes less time it doesn't mean that it is the right choice. Separating plastic and glass recyclables takes longer and sometimes costs money. Maintaining a compost takes time and effort. Cleaning and maintaining stainless steel, refillable bottles instead of using plastic, throw away water bottles takes time. But, reusing is efficient, composting is the right thing to do and reducing the plastic manufactured and dumped in our land fills (and even oceans) helps the environment in a variety of obvious ways.

4. Try to buy locally grown and produced foods. You may not live in an area that has a local farmers market. But, if you do frequent it. Common sense tells you that foods grown locally require a ton less energy to bring to market and provide nutrition than foods grown, harvested, processed possibly thousands of miles away and then shipped to your local store.

5. Transport yourself efficiently. Car pool when you can. If you live in a metropolitan area and have a stationary (cubical) job then consider using public transportation or a bike (only use a bike if a shower is available at your place of employment. Please. Thanks.) Consider alternative fuel vehicles that you can be certain do not create other environmental issues as they claim to be green (like clean diesel vehicles).

6. Keep doors and windows shut during extreme temperatures so that you are not unintentionally venting AC or heating. During temperate weather turn off the HVAC system and open windows. It takes more time but will save resources and money.

7. When a standard light bulb (or CFL) burns out, replace it with an LED based bulb. They are more expensive (for now) but will last longer, use only a few watts of energy and contain NO mercury. You can just throw them in the trash when they die and you don't have to evacuate the area code when you accidentally drop and break one.

These are just a few ideas that, if we all used, could have a significantly impact on the environment.

Remember, we are here for a short time. It's best to enjoy life. In the 60s, 70s and 80s we worried about the Russians and going to nuclear war. In the 70s we also worried about global cooling (). We tend to always find a thread on the sweater and begin to fear that the whole thing will come unraveled. Usually, we are wrong. So, instead of panicking about the environmental situation and making rash, poorly thought through decisions and laws, just make a resolution to live practically, efficiently, and show respect for the environment we live by avoiding waste. That can be our practical, measurable and tangible green legacy.