Lake Mead Water Level At Record Low Point

Over the weekend, the news feeds brought a renewed concern for the drought in the American Southwest with reports of Lake Mead recording the lowest water level ever in history. This new evidence is the most visible sign of the effect that the horrific drought has maintained over the western U.S. in recent years. The change in snowfall totals in the Rockies and the associated water which comes from when that melts and enters the river system which feeds the Colorado River is a domino effect which has initiated renewed concerns throughout the region.

Lake Mead is the main source for water for Las Vegas and its 2 million residents as well as the several million guests who vacation to the desert resort destination annually. The water authority for the region has a plan in place where it will divert more water from the Colorado River through the Hoover Dam and into Lake Mead to offset the impact of these torrid drought conditions.

This diversion of water, while a short term solution, is really the only viable solution available at this point. In my prior work on this topic, I learned a great deal about the water supply system, and like anything else, when there is limited supply and increasing demand then adjustments have to be made. I also learned that Las Vegas has excellent water conservation, reusability, and sustainability campaigns in place so they cannot operate with any more efficiency than they currently do within the latest technology available.

This drought and the accompanying water supply disruptions in California, Arizona, and other western states is nothing new. The effects of climate change and decreasing rates of precipitation have plagued that region for the past few years. The regional water authorities have had to become creative with their supply and demand dilemmas. The restrictions on water usage for residents in California and the coinciding acquiescence to allow beverage companies to bottle water for profit was the subject of a previous article I wrote on this issue.

The precipitous drop in the water level at Lake Mead and in other western reservoirs calls into question the future implications for the residents of that region as well as sustaining the tourism aspect of Las Vegas, which is the main catalyst for the economy in Nevada.

Some of you may know that the water in the Colorado River is divided among several states in the region based on a federal law passed several decades ago. The news media in the west is anticipating a potential interstate dispute over water supply to be the end result of the Lake Mead water supply decline. In the current agreement I was surprised to learn that Nevada gets the smallest portion of the Colorado River reserves, but the larger issue is the ramifications of a longer term disruption in water supply.

In my own personal journey covering this critically important topic I wrote and included a poem called “Drought Conditions” in a prior commentary op-ed piece. The poem was very well received in a stand-alone link as well. Those sentiments still sadly hold true to this day. The drought in the west involving water is indicative of a much larger drought in our society at large. We have moved away from our core values as a country and that has caused a downward spiral across the board.

The solutions to this drought in Nevada and California are not clear, whether we will witness an interstate debate with Congress involved over water rights remains to be seen. However, if we returned to our root national values and put the common good of our fellow citizens at the forefront of our decisions, if we shared our resources and our solutions instead of hoarding them, our country as well as our society would be a much better place.

Tainted: Academies of Science GMO Report

The report issued today from the Academies of Science which essentially stated that GMOs in our food supply are safe for humans to consume came under fire by several consumer advocacy groups. The media coverage of the report can easily be found, and in fact, USA Today did fair and balanced overviews of both sides of this argument.

The focus of this commentary on my own blog here is to not delve into the specifics of the report from this organization, but rather to focus on the facts and implications that still remain in the “great GMO debate” in America. Most of you know as readers of my prior work on the topic of GMOs that I am very strongly anti-GMO. That stance has been honed by researching tons of scientific studies and empirical data from trusted sources and reading accounts of the effects of herbicides such as Roundup and their impact on the soil and crops in our country over a period of roughly 20 years.

Despite what this report released today states, GMOs are not safe for humans to consume, products such as herbicides and pesticides have caused all sorts of illnesses in children and adults. The use of genetically engineered seeds and other products in our agricultural production processes has a direct correlation to increased incidences of gastrointestinal, autoimmune, cancers, and other diseases.

Several other consumer advocacy groups and others involved in the food industry agree with my view on this report and on this situation. The reason: the Academies of Science report is tainted, it is skewed because the scientists and other members of the organization are linked with the large biotech companies and the agricultural production giants such as Monsanto. This effectively caused one group, Food & Water Watch (which is a respected consumer advocacy group) to call the results “watered down”.

This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that the biotech and big agricultural giants like Dow Chemical and Monsanto got involved to directly or indirectly influence a report or a legislative measure when it comes to GMOs. I have written numerous articles over the past few years on this same subject with political donations being linked to high powered politicians who then change the course of a particular bill so that it is favorable to the big business interests involved.

This should come as no surprise to anyone in the audience because the genetic engineering of food has always at the core been inherently about pure greed. The ability to grow more product or make the food last longer so that stores had less perishable or expired inventory has been the catalyst behind a “make it GMO or bust” mentality.

The evidence of that is clear in the U.S. according to reports published in USA Today, Yahoo! News, and other trusted sources the following numbers for 2015 are staggering with regard to the prevalent nature of genetically engineered produce in our food supply. I have listed below the percentage of each crop that is genetically engineered:
Sugar beets = 99%
Soybeans = 94%
Cotton = 94%
Feed corn = 92%

I have written previously about the pervasive and persistent nature of the GMO problem in the U.S. based on these numbers above. It has created conditions where now the staple products are genetically modified and the soil has been degraded to a point where it is not capable of growing non-GMO produce. The other issue which is just as troubling is that the seed used in so many crops are genetically modified and two main companies – Dow and Monsanto control a huge market share in the seed business for our food supply.

The amount of feed corn that is genetically modified is also a tremendous problem because it has a direct impact on so many areas of agriculture which impacts the food that is provided to many of our sources of animal protein. In turn that creates a scenario where it is very difficult to avoid GMO containing products in your given daily food intake.

In any case, despite your view on the situation, God created all that we have been given here on Earth, every living thing, the soil, the seeds, the water, and the Sun. Then mankind came along and decided that they knew better than God and they decided to alter what God created in the name of enhanced profit margins. There are many other people and groups out there that also agree with this component of my argument against GMOs.

The incidences of increased levels of autoimmune diseases such as celiac, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, certain types of cancers, and other gastrointestinal diseases all jumped up in the past 20 years since man decided that they would alter the crops and the seeds and the soil with chemical ingredients and herbicides.

I cannot emphasize enough that the ties to the Academies of Science and the biotech and agricultural products suppliers casts a huge cloud of suspicion over the validity of the report issued today. It certainly was a far cry from an independent analysis on this issue.

National Geographic put together a really informative and well done piece on the effect of Roundup brand herbicide on the crops and the soil in the American farming system. The results, and the amount that we do not know about such a widely used chemical are alarming.

The final subtopic I will touch on with regard to this issue is the labeling of GMO product which is a debate that I have covered vigorously over the past few years as well. The consumer groups today stated that the majority of Americans still believe strongly that they have the right to know if the food they are consuming is GMO containing. That fight over labeling standards and a national protocol for labeling food products is not going away with this announcement today.

The basic premise being that even if a group states that GMOs are safe, the majority of people, whether they believe those ingredients are bad or unhealthy or not, still maintain that they should know whether the product they are going to purchase contains genetically engineered components.

The fact that so many of the staple food crops that I referenced earlier in this piece are genetically engineered creates a potentially very negative situation for certain large food producing companies such as Nestle and ConAgra just to name two. The consumer will most definitely think twice about buying a can of soup with genetically modified soy in the ingredients.

The federal government has to get involved with a standard protocol because each individual state cannot have their own separate ways of declaring GMOs on labeling for grocery products, it will become a complete nightmare for interstate commerce.

In the end, the report today did nothing to quell the debate over GMOs in the food we eat, instead it stoked the fire. This debate will continue because there is a mountain of evidence to refute what this report claimed today. The trend toward healthy and fresh/ organic eating habits in the American consumer will not change because of this report today. The distrust of the government, the disdain for lobbyists, and the general skepticism towards large corporations will continue in America, and in fact was emboldened by this report today. I urge you to educate yourself on this topic because it can have a dramatic impact on your health and that of the rest of your family. This report cannot change that fact.

“Renewal” – Selection of Poetry by Frank J. Maduri

The arrival of spring and April being National Poetry Month became the impetus for this selection of poetry and lyrics that I chose to share with you on my blog. However, April is a busy month for me and I got sidetracked while trying to finish this collection. So I present it to you today.

I think of spring and I think of renewal and that brought about the idea for the poem at the center of this short selection. I hope you enjoy this collection of my poetry and that it is inspiring to you as we enter spring and as each of us seeks renewal.

The selection starts with a poem called “Spinning Wheel” which reminds me that life can become very difficult and we can all get lost and mired in the muck. We need the hope that comes from renewal, from a second chance, from a new day. The selection continues with poems about hope and solace during the frenetic pace of daily life. I hope you all enjoy this work and these words for I am proud to share them with you.

“Spinning Wheel”

My mind is torrid, on a frenetic pace
My body feels like it’s mounted on a wheel.
I have to summon up the courage to face –
It all, but oh, how awful I feel.
Spinning, feeling like I’ve lost the center –
Of gravity and it can all just tumble down;
I have to relax and let calm enter.
These feelings I have to drown.
Though it stems from places out of my control;
The source is hard to quantify.
It’s buried deep inside my heart and soul;
I can’t wait ‘til this feeling passes me by.
I feel it in my head down to my toes;
I don’t know whether to sit or stand.
It slows down and then suddenly it grows;
Spinning frantically wish I could use my hand –
And swat it away like a pesky fly.
It’s gone on for hours, been here for days;
I can’t concentrate although I try.
I have to come up with some new ways –
To cope with this cumbersome distraction
Before it consumes what’s left of me.
Have to devise a whole different reaction;
So from this spinning wheel I’ll be set free.

“Grace Abides”

I look back now and can see
All the ways Your grace saved me
I retrace my steps to find
That Your grace is gentle and kind
Through all of my worry and fear
Your grace abides to hold me near
I’ve been lost and in despair
And Your grace has always been there
To lift me out of the darkness
To show me there’s more with less
You took everything away
I couldn’t live for one day –
Without Your grace in my heart
I never want to be apart
In the silence I hear Your Voice
Through free will I’m given a choice
I choose You, Lord, choose Your side
So that, through me, Your grace can abide
A light for those living in isolation
A hope for those burdened by sin
Let me be Your hands and feet
So, through me, Your grace can complete
And change others so they come to know –
And Your grace abides in their hearts to grow.

“Evening Swim”

A day’s worth of work is done
Today’s battles are both lost and won
As the evening draws the sunlight dim
I head to the gym for a good swim
The water is lukewarm, neither hot or cold
The smell of chemicals, so very bold
I begin my laps slowly at first –
And then gradually my stroke adds burst
Until my arms and legs are in unison
And I lose count of the laps again
The evening sun rays fade in the background
As the time moves along and gray clouds surround –
To drown out the light like a dying candle.
As I keep swimming, my lungs full –
With air, precious air, God has given;
So that I can accomplish His mission.
I think of all the people I met that day;
And how our lives crossed in a special way.
I promise God that I’ll do the same –
Tomorrow, if I’m that lucky to make that claim.
I swim faster and push hard off the wall
Blessed to have this life, to respond to His call.
I’ll exit the pool feeling rejuvenated and free
Ready for wherever God will next send me.


Spring showers feed the ground
So the beauty of nature can abound
The wind blows gently in the trees
The hopeful noise from birds, crickets, bees –
Joined by longer days of warm sunlight
Gazing up at the stars on a mild, clear night
The renewal of Earth, renewal of the soul
Seems to rectify the loss of control –
Which can be daunting during winter’s wrath
Spring brings with it a clear path
So we can see things in ways brand new
The renewal of hope, the renewal of promise
Days filled with progress, days filled with bliss
The butterflies glide gracefully in a field
Feeling all of your tension begin to yield
The trees and flowers bloom and grow
Summer will arrive before we know
The renewal of joy, renewal of long days
The renewal of life in so many ways
The renewal of promises coming true
The renewal of both me and you

I have shared some of my song lyrics in the past here on “Frank’s Forum” and the lyrics and verse from this particular piece I wrote, which is copyright protected by the U.S. Copyright Office, really resonated with me as I was putting together ideas for this selection of poetry. I share it with you in the hope that it inspires you:

“Celebrate Your Sacrifice”

We celebrate Your sacrifice Lord God Almighty
You came to save us all from sin and evil
You cured the sick, walked on the Sea of Galilee
For our salvation Your Precious Blood did spill

Lord You are the spotless Lamb
Lord You are the sinless victim
Lord You are the Father’s perfect plan
Let all nations bow and give You praise

You lift us up when we have fallen
You guide us to the path that’s true
Your compassion forgives us again and again
Your Death and Rising made all things new

We celebrate Your sacrifice, Our God and King
We praise Your Holy Name across the land
Oh Lord Jesus You created every living thing
Your love for us is too great to understand

Jesus You called us all to love one another
Jesus You taught us to serve the poor and ill
Jesus You are meek and humble of heart
Jesus You gave us each a mission to fulfill

We celebrate Your sacrifice, Our God and King
We praise Your Holy Name across the land
Oh Lord Jesus You created every living thing
Your love for us is too great to understand

You spread Your Good News through twelve men
They preached it to the world and died for it
You said You will return one day again
Until then You gave us The Holy Spirit

Be our compass and guide when we’re weak
Lord help us to remain strong in the rising tide
It is Your love and forgiveness we seek
Lord, in You, all our hopes we will confide

We celebrate Your sacrifice, Our God and King
We praise Your Holy Name across the land
Oh Lord Jesus You created every living thing
Your love for us is too great to understand

You called all Christians to protect the world
You called all Christians to protect all people
Give us the courage Lord to heed the call
Give us the strength Lord to overcome our fear

Give us a sign of hope Oh Lord
Like when You were Transfigured on the Mountain
Let us not all perish by the sword
Help us to overcome the snares of sin

We celebrate Your sacrifice, Our God and King
We praise Your Holy Name across the land
Oh Lord Jesus You created every living thing
Your love for us is too great to understand

U.S. Copyright Protected – Frank J. Maduri – All rights reserved no duplication without consent.


The frenetic pace, sirens, the lights
Chimes from cell phones, pungent smells, the sights
My senses are pushed to total overload
My emotions are moving quickly to panic mode
I get plowed into by some guy on an iPhone
I have to listen to others whine and groan
The crowds of people packing the street
Made the anxiety I felt totally complete
I needed to escape this chaotic nest
So my wife took me to Central Park West
The sunlight reflected gently on the pond
I felt each of my senses quickly respond
With a calming peace, a wash of tranquility –
Came over and surrounded all that I could see
From the birds in the air, the ducks in the water
The chaos I felt earlier was now a total blur
The air was still and the sky a clear blue
I could finish this day feeling totally new
The laughter of children filled the afternoon air
Then it was silent, as if nobody else was there –
Except my thoughts and my lovely wife
A feeling of solace I’ll remember all of my life

“Bread of Life”

You made for us the ultimate sacrifice
Nothing I’ll do could ever suffice
Nailed to a Cross tortured and denigrated
You rose on the third day, we celebrated
What some thought was Your ultimate defeat
You reign forever on Heaven’s Mercy Seat
Your Death gives us life again anew
Lord Jesus, how can we ever repay You
Bread of Life, You restore our soul
Bread of Life, sin and death have no control –
Over us, because of Your profound love
I know You watch us from Heaven above
Your Precious Blood washes the Earth clean
You understand when we are angry, sad, or mean
You left us Your Mother, as Mother to us all
You forgive us when we stumble and fall
You know our every flaw, every goal, every list
You are there with us always in the Eucharist
Bread of Life, our hope and our strength
Bread of Life, Your love has no bounds or length –
It is infinite, majestic, awesome, and kind
Lord Jesus, Your love really blows my mind
In my darkest hours please hear my prayer:
Bread of Life, please shelter me
Bread of Life, please set me free

(Frank J. Maduri is a freelance writer and journalist with numerous publishing credits across a variety of websites and news organizations. His news articles have been published and distributed in over 40 countries and territories around the world. His creative work has received critical acclaim from award winning poets and writers. Frank believes in using the gift of writing to raise awareness, lift people with hope, shine a light on social injustice, and impact spirituality to bring people closer to God.)

2016 – Copyright – All rights reserved – Frank J. Maduri – All poems and song lyrics are the intellectual property of the author. No copying, altering, or redistribution of this content without express written consent of the author.