home archives last week feedback

Rolla Peace News

September 28, 2021
Dear Friends:
Editor's note: Today we have a description of Christine Doerr's environmental artworks which are on display at the Phelps County Historical Society in the Old Courthouse in Rolla (across the parking lot from the new courthouse). It's open from 8 to 5 on Fridays and Saturdays. Please consider visiting the Old Courthouse and viewing Christine's environmental art.

Please send in your work. I think readers would love to see more variety in this newsletter.

Webperson's note: If you are having trouble reading this, it is posted at

In this newsletter is:

3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) From Our Readers: Cuba and Vaccine
          b) Is China Getting Serious About Fighting Global Warming?
          c) Failing to Defeat Them, The UN Attempts to Isolates the Taliban
          d) Fallout from a Humiliating Defeat in Afghanistan



We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office, THIS THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, FROM NOON TO 1:00 PM (and most subsequent Thursdays until Peace is established). Please join us this Thursday in saying NO MORE WAR AGAINST AFGHANISTAN or any other country. The temperature is predicted to be in the 70s. If you do not feel comfortable standing with us in front of the Post Office, please consider driving by and showing your support for our message by honking your horn and flashing a peace sign.

Note 1: Since there are so few of us, generally 2 or 3, no need to cancel; but let's maintain social distancing.

Note 2: In case of inclement weather, vigils may be canceled or terminated early.

Swan Song — An Exhibit of Artworks by Christine Doerr

At the Phelps County Historical Society
Old Courthouse in Rolla (across the parking lot from the new courthouse)
Open Fridays and Saturdays 8-5.
Or call 573-201-9597

Artist's Statement

The exhibit has 18 pieces from paintings to a large kInetic sculpture.

My work has swung from traditional portraiture, calligraphy, and landscape to expansive responses to war, environmental threats, and social discontent. 

Traditional, iconic images of my early years combined with my urgency for environmental stewardship in my art. The latter was fed by my father, a founding member of the Missouri Nature Conservancy. He raised me to love Missouri and appreciate the natural world through river canoe floats, hikes, camping and observations in nature. 

I often reused materials in my work, thus diverting them from landfills. Two of these pieces were made on behalf of The Sierra Club for Earth Day festivals. The first piece is “Tipping Point,” a 9-foot long interactive ‘seesaw’ that shows the precariousness of our earth in the face of climate change. A large curved fulcrum slows the ‘swing’ of a wooden lever that, without delicate balance, will rock too far. The second is a mural painted on an open salvaged cardboard refrigerator box with salvaged paint from the hazardous waste collection site (the paint is non-hazardous acrylic). It shows an abundant Missouri forest landscape, replete with native plants and animals, and a small cottage where someone waves smiling.

Much of my earlier works share pointed messages, a plea or a scream or a prayer for humanity and our planet. Some of my photo collages are a response to the Gulf War. I felt compelled to speak out against needless, hasty military responses that take innocent lives at home and abroad with long-term repercussions. As a veteran I am acutely aware that any action results in a re-action.

The same goes for the environment: we all live downstream. Our society’s excessive consumption that feeds the degradation and assault on our shared world harms us today and will harm us, and our children, all the more tomorrow.  This is a message woven into much of my imagery.

Last spring, I saw a dying white oak in a local park. I recalled a white oak I had loved as a child. I would climb up and it would ‘hold’ me in branches positioned like the arms of a mother, here was the mother of all white oaks.

I haven’t painted (in the traditional sense) in over 15 years, but then this tree woke something in me. With its towering size, with upper branches the size of massive oaks; I was in awe.

I began the painting in April and I painted every nice day between 9 am and 1 pm through June. I painted it while all the trees were bare, I painted as the early red orange buds of new life were forming, violet blossoms of nearby redbuds, the burgundy of new leaves turning into yellows and greens. I painted under storm clouds and dark distant rains through the start of summer. Swan Song is a documentary of this old oak wakening after a cold winter.

I returned to ‘representational’ and ‘plein air’ painting, but more accurately, I returned to a childlike way of seeing — with unabashed curiosity and amazement for the physical world and all its color, texture, and shapes. I felt an urgency because I knew this tree was dying and it was only a matter of time before this entity that‘s given shade and fresh air to our great grandparents will be cut down. 

I hope my art can win the hearts and minds of people, to remind folks of what we are a part of and need to help save: the miracle of life and the powerful beauty of our shared planet.


3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) From Our Readers: Cuba and Vaccine
          b) Is China Getting Serious About Fighting Global Warming?
          c) Failing to Defeat Them, The UN Attempts to Isolates the Taliban
          d) Fallout from a Humiliating Defeat in Afghanistan

From Our Readers: Cuba and Vaccine

A reader writes: “I, too, am very impressed with what Cuba has done.”

This reader also wonders whether the analysis of vaccine efficacy I provided last week pertains to Cuba.

My response:

I suspect last week's analysis of vaccine efficacy does not pertain to Cuba for a variety of reasons.

1. Pfizer and Moderna, the two most widely used vaccines in the United States, are mRNA (Messenger RNA) vaccines which is a new (and still not completely proven) technology. Cuba's Abdala and Soberana vaccines are both subunit protein vaccines, an older, widely used, and proven technology.

2. The starting point of my analysis was the CDC's estimate that vaccination reduced covid-associated mortality by a factor of 11.3. To my knowledge, there is no data to suggest whether or not the CDC analysis pertains to Cuba or Cuban vaccines.

3. Assumptions in my analysis are based on a significant population of vaccinophobes in the United States, and the assumption that those who are vaccinated would correlate strongly with those who practice other safe behaviors (such as social distancing, masking etc.) To my knowledge, Cuba does not have a problem with vaccinophobia.

Keep in mind that the estimates I offered last week (analysis posted here) were based on assumptions that may or may not turn out to be valid. If they are valid, they reduce the CDC's estimate of a reduction of mortality due to vaccine efficacy from 11.3 to 3.9. The true figure may, in fact, be quite different.

Cuba is making great strides in vaccinating its population and expects to become a fully vaccinated country by the end of the year.

Cuba has begun exporting its vaccines. Vietnam has received its first shippment of Cuba's Abdala vaccine. The contract calls for a total of 5 million doses to be exported from Cuba to Vietnam.

Is China Getting Serious About Fighting Global Warming?

I think the tremendous Summer floods in central China, which devastated the city of Zhengzhou, have finally attracted the attention of the Chinese leadership. Here are two new Chinese policies that have come to my attention, both designed, at least in part, to tackle global warming:

China has announced that it will no longer fund the building of coal-fired plants around the world.

China has made transactions in crypto-currencies, like bitcoin, illegal. Crypto-currencies use large quantities of computing power to verify the validity of transactions. All this computing power requires a lot of energy. Running these computers and keeping them cool creates a lot of climate-warming greenhouse gases. In fact, the crypto-currency industry is responsible for the continued operation of coal-fired plants at a time when we should be cutting our energy usage and transitioning to clean power.

Incidentally, it you own bitcoin or some other crypto-currency, all you really own is a long string of hexadecimal digits. It's only valuable because people believe it to be valuable.

This brings to mind an adage from Voltaire: “Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value — zero.” How much more so for crypto-currencies.

Failing to Defeat Them, The UN Attempts to Isolates the Taliban

The Taliban was not permitted to address the UN General Assembly in spite of the fact that the Taliban drove a very significant portion of the UN membership, along with the occupation government, out of Afghanistan this summer. Several members of the new Afghan government remain on the UN sanctions list.

According to the US Military Times, the Pentagon claims the Right to bomb Afghanistan anytime it feels so inclined. All that is necessary is to claim they are fighting terrorism. Sound familiar?

Meanwhile the US has stolen (they call it freezing) Afghanistan's assets that were deposited in US banks.

Afghanistan is one of the world's poorest countries, even after the 20-year “boon” of US occupation. Afghanistan is also among the least vaccinated of countries.

Some compare the US defeat in Afghanistan to the US defeat 45 years ago in Vietnam. However there are important differences.

Insurgents in South Vietnam received help from North Vietnam as well as help from the USSR and China, and moral support from a very vibrant US Peace Movement. The Taliban received no significant help from any major country and was reviled in the United States, even by a significantly weaker US Peace Movement. Basically, the Taliban had no one to rely upon but themselves; and that, friends, is a very important difference.

Fallout from a Humiliating Defeat in Afghanistan

The World has certainly taken note of the humiliating US defeat in Afghanistan. Some seem to wonder if an alliance with the United States might not be a mistake.

France recalled its ambassador to the United States in the wake of a spat over a submarine deal with Australia. It appears, however, that the French ambassador will be returning to Washington soon.

Turkey prepares to purchase another military system from Russia, in the wake of failed negotiations with the United States.

Israel is talking to the Palestinian Authority for the first time in years. Perhaps they are feeling they can no longer rely upon the United States.

And here in the United States, the humiliating defeat in Afghanistan is a major cause of the disintegration now underway.

I would expect that more is to come.

Rolla Peace News is distributed by email once a week on Tuesday evenings (except on rare occasions) and is posted on the web at http://tomsager.org (click on Rollaites for Peace: near the top of rightmost column).

If you don't wish to get notices of peace events in the Rolla area, let me know and I'll take you off this list.

If you want to be added to this list, let me know.
Wage peace,
yushasager (at) yahoo.com