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Newsletters

September 2004

What happened to FOKUS?

It's still alive and well, but it has been on a vacation. Summer was just too busy with too many other things going on and everyone going which way, including me. But here it is, September already -- and we're back!

Again, regarding the newsletter. We may have it every other month primarily due to the cost of printing and mailing. Past Newsletters and the location of monthly potlucks will continue to be posted here on the Internet.

In This Issue


We hope to see you at our next
FOKUS CELEBRATION
Sunday, September 12, 2004
4-9pm
at the home of Carl and Lida Sloan,

Directions and any additional info
will be found at 206-323-5483.


Art Sharing - Sunday, June 6, 2004

Pippin Sardo announced that she is dancing at the Arts Festival June 27th. Roberta Gregory shared her story about her father “Bye Bye Daddy Part Two”. Bruce Taylor read the first 2 chapters of his upcoming book Stormworld, co-authored with Brian Herbert. Carl Sloan announced Carl and Lida’s “Photo Magic Realkism” Gallery Show on Sunday June 27th. (See enclosed announcement & we’re sorry that this newsletter comes out after this date.) Bob Olson shared a letter to FOKUS contributor Dean Koontz responding to his book The Face. (Dean shares his address at the end of this book to solicit comments from readers.) Karen Stein, Lida Sloan, Michael Jones, Seiko Olson and Mason Taylor provided an appreciative audience.

We met in July at the home of Sala Sweet; Bruce Taylor, Marcia Moonstar, and a new artist, Dick Bringloe who showed off his amazing assortment of hand-made tiny cars. No meeting was held in August, due to Bruce being away, and lot s of people doing other things. A reminder: PLEASE: l5 minutes maximum for sharing. If you have a lot to share, and if there is time, then we can go a "second round" after ALL have shared. Many thanks. See you at the next FOKUS.

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Other News

Fun/serious workshop on dreams and creativity to be held in Olympia, Washington sometime between September 22 and 25th. If interested, please respond to: cenizasderosas @ yahoo.com. “My name is Lezlie Kinyon. For more information on what is covered in my workshop go to www.angelfire.com/ab4/doclezlie, click on ‘dream workshop’. Price not prohibitive - workshop will last two days.”

Remember to visit these two new sections: one is MRWIN: Artists, Writers. Publishers and People of Interest at the Mr. Magic Realism site. The other is our new section here at FOKUS -- FOCUS ON FRIENDS OF FOKUS. On this site, some folks who have been much involved with FOKUS will have their say about what FOKUS means to them and what they are doing. Please check back for FOKUS friends!

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Bruce Taylor's Editorial

… AND THE PLANET BURNS


PANORAMA POINT, BITTER LAKE, 18 August

Looking forward to seeing Mt. Shuksan dominate the skyline, as Roberta and I drive to the campground. Panorama Point is on Baker Lake, some two hours Northwest of Seattle, There is a haze in the air. No problem, I think, it's just fog, and it will burn off. But it had been clear on the way up, and Mt. Baker was majestic as could be as it lorded it's 10,750 height and mass over the roadway; but--what happened to Mt. Shuksan?

We got to the campground, and where you can usually look across the lake to Shuksan, rearng up close to 9000 feet across the lake--just a hazy outline. We got our campsite, then went to Baker Lake Resort, place of the Big Darling News Story of the week to take our mnds off Iraq, Global Warming, and other realities.-- the story about the bear that got into campers coolers and guzzled down 37 cans of Rainier Beer (didn't like Millers) then passed out in a bruin alcoholic stupor.

We learned that the haze we saw was caused by the Pee Wee Complex fire on a ridge just to the West of Mt Shuksan. I was shocked. What? That never happens to that extent on the West side of the Cascades--on the east side, yeah, but the west side? Then I remembered last summer, hiking with Todd Christoffel up to Park Creek Pass from the Steheikin/Lake Chelan side of the Cascade Crest--we expended all that energy, got up to the pass for the renowned view down Thunder Creek to Diabol Lake on the west side of the Cascades, and when we got to the pass--smoke. Smoke obscured everything--coming from a fire from near Diablo lake, a long, long ways from the Cascade crest. And this fire was even farther west than that one. While this present fire burned at Baker Lake, other fdires were eating acreage near Leavenworth, on hiway 2 -- Stevens Pass,-the fire burning so close to the highway that they had to shut it down. And the other major fire was burning near a Luthern religous retreat center, the little town of Holden, some dozen miles west of Lake Chelan. And if it isn't fires--

North Cascades Highway, evening of l6 August, 2004. The forecasters had predicted the possibility of thunderstorms. Until last year, thunder and lightening storms, while common in the Cascades, seldom had their development go much above 20,000 feet unlike thunderstorms in the Rockies that went much, much higher. But, early thjis summer, development of Cascade thunderstorms went up to 35,000 feet. And, the storm that developed on the evening of the l6th of August, "dropped one inch of rain in five minutes, four and a half in thirty minutes," (KIRO 6 PM NEWS, l7 August) -- created such a run off that it resulted in three avalanches of mud and debris across the roadway. One was said to have created a wall of mud and rock six to eight feet high, requiring 120 dump truck loads to remove. This storm also produced one-half inch hail stones. Sixty-five vehicles were trapped between slides. The same storm hit Harts Pass, the only vehicle entry point to the Pacific Crest Trail. and the road washed out, stranding hikers on the PCT. How high did this thunderhead go? 50,000 feet. And, the storm repeated the next evening. We are now getting the storms and weather patterns that the Rockies get.

Also this week, storms unleashed in 24 hours two months worth of rain on a little town on the English coast, Bostcastle, sending a wall of water down rivers on the banks of which the town sat, carrying out scores of vehicles, and dumping them in the Atlantic.

Natural occurances? Sunspot activty? Human Activity couldn't POSSIBLY effect weather cycles--could it?

From: the BBC Weather Center, World Weather News, August 23, '04. Andrew Goudier of Oxford University stated that 4 x 4 traffic in the Sahara Desert has something to do with the fact that dust clouds over the Sahara have grown ten-fold the last 50 years: "The major problem," according to the BBC report and Goudier's findings -- "with the vehicles is that in transit, they break the surface coat on the desert (which would otherwise be relatively stable due to algae, lichens, clay or pebbles, keeping it intact). This releases the dust which may then be carried l,000's of miles into the atmosphere, traveling as far as Greenland and the Caribbean." It isn't just carbon dioxide released from fossil fuels that is causing the problem. Other human created activities are to blame as well and you better believe that so much dust kicked up into the atmosphere, along with everything else, adds another ingredient to this toxic witch’s brew of climatic deterioration.

The question is this: given the lag time between getting information out there, people understanding what the implications are, and that we all have to work together to make the changes on a world-wide basis--how much time do we have left? Patric Mazzza, one of the climatoligists who I talked with about the science in the story Brian Herbert and I are writing (STORMWORLD), said that 2008 was probably the year that if significant changes were not made, it would probably be too late.

Duke University says we have a "window of 20 years". Given how rapidly things are changing, I suspect that's being optimistic. Far, far better to act now as if the earilier date is correct rather than wihtin 20 years. We do NOT have the luxury of getting this wrong.

So, to be on the safe side, and if changes have to be made before 2008 at the latest to slow things down, and if Bush gets into the White House again, just what kind of changes do you think are going to happen? Do you want to know one thing that you can do to avoid a catastrophic future? Vote George Bush out of office.

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Bob Olson’s Editorial

Election November 4th 2004


Study the issues. Study the stand of each candidate and vote. I believe this election is the most critical in the seventy-four years of my life.

I’m an independent and I will vote split ticket. Republican candidates for Washington state Governor and Attorney General favor my interest; however, I await debates on the national issues before my vote is decided. I am most concerned about the leadership of our country in Washington D.C.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) presents their Voters Guide for the 2004 election [1] The following questions are asked of George W. Bush (R) and John Kerry (D):

  • “Social Security” Do you support or oppose replacing part of Social Security with private individual accounts? Create individual accounts out of Social Security. Support or Oppose
  • Affordable Health Care In the face of escalating costs, how would you reform the health care system to make it available, affordable, and accessible to every American? Provide employer incentives. Support or Oppose
  • Prescription Drug Costs How would you propose to reduce drug costs and close the gap in coverage for all Medicare beneficiaries? Close the coverage gap. Support or Oppose Legal importation from Canada. Support or Oppose HHS secretary negotiations. Support or Oppose
  • Long-Term Care What do you propose to offfer consurmers more and better options for long-term care; promote better, more integrated delivery systems; expand stable financing sources for all long-term care options, especially in home and community-based settings, and strengthen support for family caregivers? Provide more and better home and community-based care options. Support or Oppose Increase training and staffing numbers across all settings. Support or Oppose Expand stable financing sources. Support or Oppose

Both George W. Bush and John Kerry responded to each question. However, while John Kerry explained in some detail his support or opposition, George W. Bush refused to indicate his support or opposition, making his position unclear.

Likewise the National Education Association queried candidates for president with a series of questions: [2] John Kerry provided detailed answers. George W. Bush refused to respond to the questionnaire.

I am very interested in President Bush’s answers to these questions and look forward to his response in political debates.

Our informal, easy-going, straight-talking President George W. Bush seeks reelection with a convincing demeanor for “compassionate conservatism’. The Seattle Times states where he stands on the issues: [3]

  • “Tax cuts: Won congressional approval of tax cuts worth $1.7 trillion over 10 years. Backs bill to make them permanent.” These tax cuts mostly benefit the top 1% of our corporate and individual wealth. These tax cuts come at a time when government spending is at an all time high.
  • “Social Security: 1n 2000, backed partial privatization of Social Security.” Privatization of social security would make the monthly checks of recipients dependent upon the uncertain ups and downs of an unstable stock market at a staggering cost, primarily rewarding stock-brokers.
  • “Health savings accounts: Backed legislation last year that makes tax-sheltered accounts available to all workers by health plans with deductibles of a least $1,000 for individual ($2,000 for families).” These high deductibles put health care insurance out of reach for most uninsured Americans.
  • “Health care: Supports limits on medical-malpractice jury awards. Favors “association health plans” to permit small businesses to jointly purchase health insurance for workers.” A positive concept.
  • “Education: Helped engineer passage of “No Child Left Behind”(NCLB), which toughens standards for teachers, schools and student performance. Favors federally-funded vouchers for use in private schools.” NCLB was developed without the input of professional teachers or school administrators. It has been underfunded and test results have often been falsified. Private voucher funds have undermined public schools with no evidence that private funding has improved the education of children.
  • “Trade: Backs North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and World Trade Organization. Steel tariffs imposed in 2001, but lifted after WTO ruled them illegal. Current-account trade deficits are running at record levels, nearly $600 billion a year.” The economic concerns of American workers have been overlooked in international trade agreements.
  • “Energy: Congress blocked Bush’s signature energy initiative, legislation that would have opened the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve to oil drilling and provided other incentives for domestic exploration and production.” The conservation of our natural resources, for the protection of future generations, must always be balanced with our energy needs..
  • “Environment: Ordered U.S. withdrawal from international Kyoto protocol on reducing carbon-dioxide emissions. Has tried since 2002 to revise federal Clean Air Act; his “Clear Skies Initiative” hasn’t passed Congress, but the administration last year proposed a new regulation similar to “Clear Skies” that would cut certain power plant emissions dramatically - but not for more than a decade.” The United States should always be a partner in international planning regarding the environment with immediate concerns..
  • “Homeland Security: Initially opposed establishment of Homeland Security Department but then embraced what became the largest reorganization of the federal bureaucracy since 1947, merging 22 agencies into one department.” The practical application of Homeland Security needs to be assured by adequate funding and continuing assessment.
  • “Iraq: Waged war after winning bipartisan congressional authorization to use force, if necessary. No timetable for reducing the 140,000 troops now deployed in Iraq and 20,00 in Afghanistan.” Our preemptive attack, without the support of the United Nations and evidence of weapons of mass destruction or Al-Qaeda connections, cost America the support of our allies. We failed to understand the history and culture of Islamic Arabs anticipating a “welcome” for our liberating army. Thus, terrorist reaction to our occupation thoroughly complicates a practical timetable for reducing our troops.
  • “Defense: Backed increases in military spending that is up to 40 percent since 2001, to $464 billion this fiscal year. Would withdraw 70,000 troops from North Korea and Germany, part of a defense “transformation” initiative aimed at making U.S. forces more responsive to terrorism and other nontraditional threats.” While military spending must be contained, first consideration should always be given to the morale and welfare of our soldiers and their families.
  • “Patriot Act: Backs extending 2001 law that expanded government’s power to detain, search and monitor people targeted in terrorist probes.” Our president supports further expanding these powers. Application of the Patriot Act violates the principles of law and the American Constitution. Many Americans are afraid of false accusations by government agents.
  • “United Nations: Has rejected multilateral initiatives, including International Criminal Court and comprehensive nuclear test-ban treaty.” After rejecting multilateral initiatives of the United Nations, it becomes very difficult for us to obtain the international support that is necessary to realize our goals in the Middle East and throughout the world.
  • “Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Withdrew from active U.S. role in 2001-02 but then embraced establishment of Palestinian state and a five-year “road map” to peace.” By withdrawing from an active role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict our absence empowers the warmongers that oppose peace.
  • “Same sex marriage: Backs constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.” Bush would ban. Cheney disagrees. ???
  • “Abortion: Signed legislation that banned late-term procedure that critics dubbed “partial-birth abortion”. The medical opinion of a doctor and the health of an expectant mother are not taken into consideration.
  • “Guns: Backs bill to prevent victims of handgun violence from suing gun manufacturers.” This bill may be unreasonable, but we need to protect victims of handgun violence.
  • “Stem-cell research: In 2001, backed first federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research but only for the 78 stem cell lines in existence at the time.” Restriction to only these 78 stem cell lines cripples research potential.

I do not look forward to “Four More Years” of posturing and unmet promises. Our President must be held accountable.

Footnotes:
[1] 2004 AARP Voters Guide, US President, AARP The Magazine, September/October 2004
[2] neatoday,September 2004
[3] Bush on the issues”, The Seattle Times, Sunday, August 29, 2004

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Newsletter Update

We still seek to have members subscribe to our mailed newsletter. A $15 (US dollar) yearly contribution will put you on our mailing list.

Subscriptions to the mailing list are 15.00 US Dollars per year. As FOKUS does not have a bank account, please make checks or moneyorders out to either Bruce Taylor or Bob Olson. Send your check with a letter providing your mailing address to either of them.

  • Bruce Taylor
    2001 E Yesler Way, #23
    Seattle, WA 98122, USA


    or

  • Bob Olson
    252 168th Ave SE
    Bellevue, WA 98008, USA
  • and we'll send you the newsletter via US Post.

    Alternatively, at no charge, you can choose to access the newsletter here. Meeting details and timely announcements and other news will be posted here first. The remaining content of past issues will be available a month after the printed issue has been out -- editorials, creative works, and articles. (If you would like a current, complete newsletter, please subscribe to our printed version!). Work on the back issues online is underway -- please check back. To our loyal web visitors, thank you for your patience.

    Submissions are welcome! We want to know what is happening to you. And we want to publish your submissions to the FOKUS newsletter. There are three ways to do this:

  • Call Bob Olson, the FOKUS newsletter editor, at 425-747-3879 to share information over the phone
  • Submit illustrations, poetry, short stories, articles or announcements through the mail to
    Bob Olson, 252 168th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98008, USA.
    (Note Bob does not have e-mail. Material that is two single-spaced pages or less can be mailed to him. Longer material should be on a floppy disc for his editorial convenience.)
  • Submit via e-mail to fokus@pantarbe.com SUBJECT: NEWSLETTER SUBMISSION (which will go to Bruce Taylor, who does have e-mail.)
    Any online submissions specifically for this page should be e-mailed to submit@pantarbe.com SUBJECT: FOKUS SUBMISSION.
  • Please address concerns to Bruce Taylor (brucebtaylor@aol.com).

    Thank you,
    Benjamin Miller
    FOKUS Member and Pantarbe.com Host
    editor@pantarbe.com

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    Last updated:  September 6, 2004