From the BlogMeet Ron

Moral Inventory 

Moral Inventory 

Here are some things we can ask ourselves.

You can rate yourself 1 – 10 for each, 1 representing No success in that area and 10 means that you are having habitual success.

How am I doing in each of the following virtues?

1. Thankfulness: It is the habit of my life to thank my higher power and others for what they have done…I can honestly say that I am a thankful person and often express my gratitude.

2. Gentleness: My life is free from all outbursts of selfish anger or rage. I am approachable, quiet in spirit, open to criticism, and don’t get defensive when I am corrected or rebuked.

3. Humility: I do not have an inflated self-opinion and consistently consider others as equal with myself. I have a teachable spirit and avoid all bragging, name-dropping and spiritual pride.

4. Pure Attitudes: My lifestyle is one of the right relationships, not just outwardly but inwardly too. I have no hate, ill will, malice or bitterness toward any other person anywhere on this earth.

5. Acceptance: I refuse to fight back when people criticize, condemn, reject or complain against me, even if they do it with wrong motives. I practice giving a soft answer to turn away their wrath.

6. Peacemaking: It is my practice to try to bring peace between others who are at odds. I don’t just stand by and allow division to fester without trying to get involved to bring peace.

7. Boldness: I have been able to launch out and take risks for my recovery and beliefs, keeping fear under control and taking risks when my higher power calls to me to do something. There is nothing now that My Higher Power is asking me to do which I’m resisting because of fear.

8. Trust: I not only believe, but “act as if” my higher power is guiding my life and situations. My life is one of simple reliance on my Higher Power. I’m free from fretting, worry or anxiety about the future.

9. Persistence: It is normal for me to hang in there, when I am acting in healthy ways, when things get difficult, stressful and unrewarding, even if I must face suffering difficulty and persecution. My persistence keeps me from giving up too easily and I just keep on keeping on.

10. Harmony: I’m not a participant in any group evil, like quarreling, dissension, fighting or factions in my family or in my place of worship, fellowship or work.

11. Submission/Surrender: I do not resist those placed in authority over me, even if they’re less competent or gifted. When I “turn my will and life over” to the care of my Higher Power, it means I follow my H.P.’s direction even if I question it at first.

12. Right Relationships: Reflecting on all my relationships past and present, I’m able to say there are no broken relationships with anybody, anywhere, which I have not attempted to straighten out.

13. Giving Living: I regularly practice generous giving to my family, place of worship, AA, and homeless, helpless, widows, orphans, and other needy folk. Generosity is a normal behavior to me.

14. Family Time: It is the routine of my life to control the amount of time I spend in work, pleasure or other activities which take too much time from my family. I obey my spiritual leading and make my Family time the top priority of my relationship life.

15. Forgiveness: If there is an individual or group of people who have hurt me in the past, I release my resentment, bitterness or grudge against them. I have fully forgiven everyone who has ever hurt me.

16. Restoring others: I hurt when temptation overtakes a brother or sister in the fellowship or elsewhere in my life, so I do not avoid or exclude them; rather I often get involved, humbly coming alongside to help them back to their feet spiritually.

17. Restitution: If I’ve ever taken things which do not belong to me, or hurt people by what I said or did, I have gone back and made restitution for everything my Higher Power has prompted me about so far (knowing that my H.P. would not prompt me to do so if it would cause harm to me or another person).

18. Resisting Materialism: I resist the grasping materialistic lifestyle of my culture, choosing rather to live a life of contentment and satisfaction with what I have. I’m not always “wanting more”.

19. Selfish Ambition: I have laid aside all envy and selfish ambition. I have no jealousy of another’s success. I do not eagerly hunger to climb the ladder to gain personal power and position.

20. Spiritual Intimacy: It is the routine of my life to spend time alone with my Higher Power each day to read spiritual books, meditate and pray…and beyond that I “practice the presence” of my Higher Power all day long. I’m constantly sensing my Higher Power’s surrounding presence in my life like the air I breath.

21. Thought Life: My thought life is absolutely free from all impure thoughts. I have habitual victory over all tempting sexual fantasies, daydreams, or other selfish thoughts. I never get high on “old highs”.

22. Living Above Reproach: I painstakingly avoid situations which could feed lustful or selfish desires or even tempt others to gossip about me. I have no dangerous emotional bonds which could lead to trouble. I carefully attend to all my relationships so that not even the hint of impropriety exists.

23. Truthfulness: My yes is yes, my 200 is 200, my five-point buck is a five-point buck, and the fish is whatever size it is. I totally avoid half-truths, white lies, flattery or exaggeration. I practice absolute honesty both in my relationships with others and myself. I do not lie in order to allow myself or others to avoid unpleasant emotions.

24. Tongue Stewardship: I abstain from slander, gossip, harshness, unkindness, biting criticism, caustic remarks, obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking. Instead I use my tongue to build others up, giving words of encouragement, comfort, help, inspiration, and challenge. My tongue is completely under my Higher Power’s control.

25. Living my Recovery: I typically share my recovery with both straight and chemically dependent people every time my Higher Power prompts me to do it. Twelfth stepping is a habit of my life.

26. Spiritual Passion: I hunger to become more spiritual and take my spiritual growth seriously. I do not ignore, dismiss or excuse areas where I fall short, even those I have listed above, since I have a spiritual passion for becoming more like my Higher Power would have me be, the I AM of Him.

Victory for ‘Valve Turners’ as Judge Allows ‘Necessity Defense’ for Climate Trial

Victory for ‘Valve Turners’ as Judge Allows ‘Necessity Defense’ for Climate Trial

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Victory for ‘Valve Turners’ as Judge Allows ‘Necessity Defense’ for Climate Trial

“The whole planet will be inside a single courtroom the day this trial begins,” says Bill McKibben. “It’s a rare chance to explain precisely why we need to act, and act now.”

Climate activists Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein shut down Enbridge Corporation’s tar sands pipelines 4 and 67 in Minnesota on October 11, 2016. (Photo:

In a decision that is being called “groundbreaking” and “precedent-setting,” a district court judge in Minnesota has ruled that he will allow oil pipeline protesters to present a “necessity defense” for charges related to a multi-state action by climate activists last October.

“Finally, we’ll get to bring climate experts into a court of law, to describe the distance between our current reality and what physics demands of us if we hope to leave a stable planet for our kids.”
—Emily Johnston, defendant

In his decision last week, Judge Robert Tiffany ruled that four activists who participated in the #ShutItDown action—in which pipelines across five states were temporarily disabled, halting the flow of tar sands oil from Canada into the U.S.—may present scientists and other expert witnesses to explain the immediate threat of climate change to justify their action.

“The ruling is only the third time a judge in the United States has allowed for such a defense in a climate case,” InsideClimateNews reports. “The first case, in Massachusetts in 2014, did not go to trial after the prosecutor dropped the charges. A judge allowed the necessity defense in a Washington State case in 2016 but then instructed jurors they could not acquit on necessity.”

This is the third “valve turner” case to go to court, but the first time a necessity defense has been allowed for this group of activists. Earlier this year, valve turner Ken Ward was convicted of one felony in Washington state.

In North Dakota earlier this month, valve turner Michael Foster was convicted of two felonies and a misdemeanor, while Sam Jessup, who livestreamed Foster’s protest, was convicted of one felony and one misdemeanor. Climate experts including Dr. James Hansen—”the father of modern climate change awareness“—traveled to North Dakota to appear in court but were barred from testifying.

This latest case in Minnesota involves valve turners Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein as well as videographer Steve Liptay and support person Ben Joldersma, who will be tried separately but are also allowed to present a necessity defense.

“What we did is not in dispute,” said Klapstein. “The only question before the jury will be whether our action was necessary to prevent imminent climate catastrophe.  Now we’ll be able to present evidence connecting the devastation we’re seeing—from hurricanes in the Caribbean to wildfires throughout western North America—to an oil-soaked political system utterly failing to respond.”

“Finally, we’ll get to bring climate experts into a court of law, to describe the distance between our current reality and what physics demands of us if we hope to leave a stable planet for our kids,” said Johnston. “Doing so means there’s an outside chance we can bridge that distance—and we need every chance we can get.”

Hansen—who told Common Dreams that he believes jurors would have found Foster and Jessup innocent if a necessity defense were allowed in that case—is expected to testify in support of the Minnesota defendants.

“The whole planet will be inside a single courtroom the day this trial begins,” said climate activist Bill McKibben, another potential expert witness. “It’s a rare chance to explain precisely why we need to act, and act now.”

DATA FROM THE DEEP A trip with Sonia Rowley

Blog of the Rolex Scholar. Our World – Underwater Scholarship Society in Europe

With my face glued to the car window, mouth agape, making ooos and aahhhs I kept Vaughn and Kayem well amused as they drove myself and Sonia through the stunning scenery of Pohnpei to Nihco Marine Park. And even after a month spent on the island, my jaw never ceased to be dropped as I was always blown away by this incredible place.

A view of Ant Atoll, an hours boat drive from Pohnpei, top and bottom side

I came to Pohnpei with the brilliant evolutionary biologist Sonia Rowley, winner of the David Attenborough award for exceptional Field Work in science (the third person ever to receive the award). And boy, is her field work exceptional. With the use of rebreather technology she is able to go depths that few would even fathom of going to. Every day she would descend the reef walls of Pohnpei and it’s surrounding atolls to 140 meters to collect data from the deep.

Sonia taking a quick break from her surveys to enjoy the swirling Chevron Barracudas – Photo credit, Felix Butscheck
Her muse that takes her to this incredibly environment are gorgonians, also known as Octocorals or fan corals. Since very few have explored down there, there are so many new species yet to be found, described and after most dives Sonia would surface holding a new species!

Gorgonians… In the depths, Sonia would find fields and fields of these creatures… But in the shallows you would have to go into caverns to find them.
It’s quite impossible to try to define the work that Sonia does as it manages to cover every aspect of marine biology from evolution, ecology, molecular and behaviour and it was truly inspirational to see this woman in action. Myself and Dan decided to make an acronym for SONIA (Sub Observing Nearly Into the Abyss) We would shout “Deploy the SONIA”, as every time she descended, she looked like a space rover with countless tools clipped onto her for the multiple experiments and data collection she would conduct during her 6 hour dive.

Making sure everything is in working order before committing to a dive that could last as long as 3 hours for me… 6 hours for Sonia.
Of course, as a newbie to rebreather diving I was limited to 30 meters. However, I was still able to stay in the water for three hours, and was tasked with identifying the sponge species found at different depths to help Sonia build a pattern of the distribution of species with depth.

A small collection of the sponges I collected and identified (well tried my best to identify…these guys aren’t the easiest of creatures to conduct taxonomy on as they vary so much).
It began to become very apparent that not all the life is shallow. Far from it. Obviously some species are limited to the shallow regions of the reef if they rely on sunlight. But if they don’t, then they can penetrate further down into the depths. We were joined by many different scientists from varying institutions, and the guys from James Cook University who are at the forefront of coral reef ecology explained to me that this was an interesting paradigm they were trying to solve and figure out; what really does determine the patterns we see in nature? Even after years of scientific research, we are still unsure to what drives the distribution of species.

In the shallows one species seemed to dominate – Acropora – but the deeper you went, the patterns changed…
Most dives I would have my head in crevices searching for sponges along my transect line, so much so I would miss sharks swimming above my head and huge schools of barracudas. But even with these great sightings, I still must be honest when I say the reefs of Pohnpei, probably one of the most remote locations I’ve ever been to (taking me 52 hours to get there from Grand Cayman), weren’t in the best conditions.

Doing my sponge transects… head in crevices… oblivious to sharks and barracudas above my head!
And this is only a recent occurrence. Sonia has been studying the reefs of Pohnpei for the last 4 years, and was astonished by how different they looked from her last visit. In 2016 just after Sonia left, there was a huge amount of coral bleaching in Pohnpei, where corals lose their colour that helps them photosynthesise, which without for an extensive period will cause them to die. Now, the shallow reefs of the atolls look like a graveyard of a coral reef, where most colonies has been covered in a layer of pink crustose coralline algae, almost mummifying the corals… and unfortunately they cannot be resurrected from this state. BUT this is the perfect substrate for baby corals to colonise, and so there is hope that in a few years time, the reefs on the atolls will be back. IF, nothing else happens.

Coral Castles – A few of the hardier coral colonies that have survived
Yet, that’s seems a dubious outcome as surveying the reefs there were dozens of Crown of thorns, a cousin of the starfish, which loves to devour corals. If the reefs avoid being totally munched by these guys they still have to contend with the fact that there is a huge lack of fish on the reef due to over fishing. As we drove out of the lagoon to the dive sites, we would pass the ominous threat of international fishing vessels with their huge nets, who were fishing in the Micronesian waters for tuna and other commercially targeted fish species. What made this sight worse was the fact that non of the fish caught on these boats would make it back to the people of Pohnpei. Instead they would be transported all the way back to China, Japan and Korea in tin cans.

A beautiful view, tainted by the huge fishing vessels that sit in the lagoon of Pohnpei
With a big hole in the food chain created by depleting the population of commercially targeted species, there was a lack of herbivorous fish that resulted in an overgrowth of algae. So, areas of reef that had not been hit by the bleaching were instead slowly being overgrown by algae, smothering them… It doesn’t seem like the shallow reefs are having much luck. However, Sonia would tell me that the depths were still looking good. With plenty of fish, sharks and of course her gorgonians!

Correct me if I am wrong – but this may be the deepest a scholarship flag has ever been. Sonia took my flag down to 130 meters! And here she flies on one of Sonia’s Gorgonians!
Another positive to look towards was the result of an outreach event Sonia organised with one of the local colleges. Throughout the whole hour their mouths were just as wide as mine when I first arrived in Pohnpei, as they were amazed at what their little island held beneath the waves.

Even more so, they were super engaged when we touched upon the issues their reefs held and wanted to know what they could do to contribute and who to talk to, to get their voices heard. They realised that the land and sea is connected and we have to think in the long term if future generations are to benefit from the wealth of the oceans.

A picture I took when I finally looked up from my sponges and was met by this beautiful school of Chevron Barracuda
I feel transparency with the locals is such a crucial part of conducting scientific research. And Sonia does this brilliantly in Pohnpei as all the data and footage she collects is given to anyone who wants it. Every evening, we would sit with the family and staff of Nihco, who would drink Sakau (a traditional drink they make my banging the sakau root and squeezing it with hibiscus bark to produce a muddy looking beverage you consume from a coconut cup that makes you relaxed and lethargic). The locals would ask us what we found and would be super appreciative of the work we were doing, especially telling them about how their reefs were doing.

It’s hard for me to explain how much I got out of my time on the expedition. It was incredible to be surrounded by some exceptionally intelligent scientists, who reminded me of how much I loved science. Asking questions, being curious and exploring new places because we can! Its apart of being human.

Additionally, I had one of the best birthday presents ever and had a brand new dive site named after me on Ant Atoll!

Sonia briefing us on her dive with a view of Ant Atoll in the back – I think we were driving to Mae’s Day
(a site named after my birthday!)

There are so many people to thank for my time here. Wilber, the absolute legend who owns Nihco Marine park was the most openhanded host. Him and his family were incredibly generous and super supportive of Sonia’s research that gave us more drive to go out everyday to collect data.

But of course, the biggest thank of this month goes to Sonia for inviting me along on her expedition. I doubt I’ll ever meet such a tenacious woman again who never ceased to pursue her science, whatever came her way. Thank you for all of the advice whether it was science, diving or life based… I’m eternally grateful for learning from you and hope to one day be as impressive as you are. And nothing will make me laugh as much underwater as when you came up to me with a super squeaky voice after breathing helium asking for scissors because yours were broken!

Scoop: 48 HOURS on CBS –

I was asked by Judge Heavey to put this on my sight.
Scoop: 48 HOURS on CBS – Saturday, April 15, 2017

Scoop: 48 HOURS on CBS - Saturday, April 15, 2017Nearly two decades after an Idaho teenager was killed, New Orleans filmmaker Michael Usry, the producer of a short film about a brutal death, found himself the suspect in the teen’s murder. What led police to the auteur? Anne-Marie Green and 48 HOURS investigate the 1996 death of Angie Dodge and the unusual police hunt for her killer that led to Usry in “The DNA of a Killer” to be broadcast Saturday, April 15 (10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

“Nobody every thinks that they’re gonna get picked up by the police and taken into an interrogation room and questioned about a murder,” Usry tells 48 HOURS. “When it happens to you, it’s definitely a game changer.”

Angie Dodge was brutally murdered in 1996. The killer left behind a semen sample on her body, which police and her family believed would quickly lead to the person who murdered the teen. Police tested the DNA of men she knew; none matched. Then came along Christopher Tapp, who knew Dodge. His DNA did not match either, but after 28 hours of interrogation over 23 days, Tapp confessed to being there when she was killed. He said that he participated while others stabbed her. One of the men there, he said, was named Mike. But with no last name it seemed like a dead end. Tapp was convicted of killing Dodge. Officially, though, the murder case was still open because Tapp’s DNA didn’t match the man who left semen at the crime scene.

In 2014, police took a new approach to try to find a match to that DNA. They searched a public database that had been bought by The goal was to find a close match, perhaps a family member to the alleged killer, through a process called familial searching. The search resulted in a partial match that sounded like a strong lead. Armed with a warrant, police got to reveal the name of the anonymous man behind the DNA sample. His name was Michael Usry Sr. and it turns out he had a son: Michael Usry Jr. Police wondered if Usry Jr. could be the “Mike” that Tapp told them about.

Usry Jr. is a filmmaker with a short film titled “Murderabilia.” Given the subject of Usry’s film, along with the fact he’d been through Idaho Falls at one point in his life, police thought they had their man.

But in truth, Usry Jr. had nothing to do with the 1996 death of Dodge and was officially cleared. Still, his story raises serious questions about what happens when police use publicly available DNA databases to solve cases – and what goes on when an innocent man is tagged as a suspect.

Usry Jr. has now joined with Angie Dodge’s mother to search for the man who left his DNA at the scene. And through their search, they came to believe that Chris Tapp, the man who was serving time for the murder after his confession, was in fact innocent. 48 HOURS follows their fight for justice and their hunt for a killer. “Angie was my only daughter, and she’s my baby,” says her mother, Carol Dodge. “I’ll never stop missing her.”

48 HOURS: “The DNA of a Killer” is produced by Judy Rybak, Elena DiFiore, Lindsey Schwartz and Chris O’Connell. Gregory McLaughlin is the producer-editor. George Baluzy, Michael McHugh and David Spungen are the editors. Patti Aronofsky is the senior producer. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.

Hawaii looks to mainland to deal with big teacher shortage

HONOLULU (AP) The Hawaii Department of Education has been seeking out educators from the mainland to deal with the state’s growing teacher shortage.Officials expect as many as 1,600 vacancies throughout the state next school year. The department has respo

Source: Hawaii looks to mainland to deal with big teacher shortage | KUTV