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My friend Rod recommends this video

29 Nov

Saga City – Our communities facing climate change from SAGA CITÉ on Vimeo.

We’re Not In Kansas Anymore.

25 Feb

Hey, Toto.

2 big blizzards in a couple of weeks. One of the complications of global warming is that the warmed atmosphere holds more water vapor and guess what? More water vapor means heavier snowfalls. Thanks to KansasCity.com

I scanned this piece quickly and did not see any mention of global warming or climate change.

Same thing last week in the mainstream coverage of the snowstorm. Is it irresponsible not to give readers the background information?

Last week was Storm Q (I like the Blizzard of Oz name better). This week is Storm R.

I did spot some coverage that referenced the fact that the last 100 year snowstorm was two years ago when I was scanning the news for mainstream connections to the largest global story – global warming, but I think that coverage did not mention global warming either.

Here is what Yahoo News is running on the second storm in two weeks:

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Blizzard conditions slammed parts of the central Plains Monday, forcing the closure of highways in the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles and sending public works crews scrambling for salt and sand anew just days after a massive storm blanketed the region with snow.

National Weather Service officials in Kansas and Oklahoma issued blizzard warnings and watches through late Monday as the storm packing snow and high winds tracked eastward across West Texas toward Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Forecasters also warned of possible tornadoes further southeast.

Snow covered Amarillo, Texas, where forecasters said up to 18 inches could fall, accompanied by wind gusts up to 65 mph. Paul Braun, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Transport, said whiteout conditions and drifting snow had made all roads in the Texas Panhandle impassable. Interstate 40 was closed from Amarillo to the Oklahoma state line.

Want to read the whole story? Go ahead. Please let me know if they mention global warming.

Climate Congress 2014 – The Contract with Climate

26 Oct

The election season is in full hysterical mode. The dems are beating on progressives who are fleeing to Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson, the repubs are beating on the dems with all the corporate money and psycho-linguistic technology they can muster and behind the scenes somewhere we have a bunch of faceless (poor things, they don’t have faces) IT folks who are gearing up to do whatever they are supposed to do with the vote-counting technology to tabulate votes on November 6th.

Michael Connell will not be available to help with the information technology tasks in this election cycle. His private plane crashed and he was killed before he was available to testify about the 2004 Ohio vote-counting, “man in the middle” controversy.

There is lots to worry about in this election cycle even with the tragedy of Michael Connell’s death in 2008. But let’s get real, this election is in the can. Yes, we should all work on getting out the votes for progressive candidates, for local initiatives that might produce change, but the change is not coming by defeating Romney, the change is not coming in this election cycle.

Our best progressive shot happens with the mid term election of 2014. I believe we have three primary branches of govt here in the US of A. The judicial is captured by 4 solidly corporate, reactionary justices, with a conservative swing vote held by Anthony Kennedy. The remaining justices are solidly liberal, but are aging and out-numbered 5 to 4. This is the 5 to 4 court, not the Roberts Court. And it will be the 5 to 4 Court for a very long time. Right wingers do not have to control the Senate to keep a Dem president from appointing a William O. Douglas or Thurgood Marshall type justice to the Court, they only have to obstruct appointments in a manner that the Dems will never do to a Republican potus. Need evidence of that? Samual Alito? Clarence Thomas? John Roberts? Do these names ring a bell? Yes, the dems borked poor Robert Bork, but that was a long time ago and poor Robert Bork had served Richard Nixon too well. Robert Bork actually borked himself in the Saturday night massacre, he was just a late victim of that miserable public affair.

The pick at the top of the ticket in this election is a hobbesian choice. Both of the candidates are firmly in the control of the big money folks, the have-mores as George W called them. Romney might claim to be the candidate of the 53%, but that’s not true, he is the Emperor of Bain Capital. Read’m and weep.

Obama? Sad sack. I voted for him once upon a time. I didn’t believe in him at that time, but I was willing to give it a shot. The Dems are always saying, please, just give us one more chance. I thought why not? in 2008 and voted Obama. I wanted Dean or Kucinich, but the Bainsters who control our political system are not going to allow that kind of option, so I voted Obama. I used to say that the only republican I ever voted for as President was Bill Clinton, but now I have done it twice. Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice… I won’t get fooled again or something like that, Bushisms are so complex in their inanity that they approach genius.

Here is an interesting video that makes the point that the electorate really is trying to choose between pepsi or coke for potus. Tastes better, less filling, tastes better…

Leaves a bad taste. Thanks to Slate, David Weigel, and Luke Rudowski at We Are Change for this work.

I will be back in a day or two to talk about Climate Congress 2014 – The Contract with Climate.

Top of the list? Carbon Tax, baby! A twofer. We jam the environmental destroyers, the petro-bainsters and we fix the deficit in one fell swoop. I love a fell swoop. If you are going to swoop, fell swoop, baby.

If you are desperate to get votes in the Obama column, go steal them from the Romney supporters. That’s a twofer, Romney loses one, Obama gains one. That is where the fruit is hanging low. Hang low, sweet fruit. Pick’m if you want’m.

Open versus Closed Societies

19 Sep

Let’s assume that a person really wanted to understand a foreign philosophy, a different way of setting up a society. If that was the case, I would recommend listening to Suzanne Guerlac talk about the philosophy of Henri Bergson. Thinking in Time

This is a dense program, but Suzanne is articulate and the interviewer asks probing intelligent questions, so if you have an hour where you really want to listen closely, I heartily recommend this program. It is especially powerful when Suzanne starts talking about how the evolution from a closed society to an open society is not an easy evolutionary transition, that Bergson thought it would take some sort of fundamental change in way of being to occur. Imagining that sort of thing is difficult. Yet those moments occur. Think Solidarity in Poland. Think the fall of the USSR, the sudden destruction of the Berlin Wall. In those moments, I suspect that an open society emerged, however briefly, before a closed society reasserted itself. Fits and starts. Evolution and change may not be orderly.

So, open societies. What would that look like? Listen hard to Guerlac’s discussion of love and livingness as something new, not love that arises with an object that is loved by a subject who loves, but when love arises in reference to all living things. Pretty amorphous stuff. And for those of you who need a lot of structure, this is not going to be your cup of vegan broth. But if you want to stretch a bit, and you want to commit the energy, I think this program will stretch you.

Against the Grain appears to be a wildly intelligent program. My friend Gar Lipow is the latest guest. Gar is talking about climate change and economic exploitation. Suzanne is so last week.

If you make it through the Open Society talk and thinking in time ala Bergson, and you want to think more about open societies, you could check out the mp3s at Audio Anarchy . The Anarchy Tension series is a good place to start if you have an open mind. You may come to the conclusion that this is simple utopian sophistry, that might be true, but it may also be true that if/when an open society emerges, this could be one of the ways that it will happen. This might be the shapeless shape of a certain kind of open society.

See some of you there.

Austerity Politics v. Posterity Politics

31 Jul

Are we keynesians or would we prefer to be serfs? It’s an election year, soCourtesty Billy Hathorn Wiki Commons we get to weigh on this and other questions. I really think we need to be thinking about creative economics. Market-based economics that are sustainable, that create useful commons instead of quarterly profits, dividends and obscene bonuses. We all get to decide how to make that happen.

As for me, I will be voting for posterity economics. Raise taxes and reinstate the steeply progressive tax rates that discourage bald-faced greed and encourage investment in useful infrastructure. You will hear that taxing the rich won’t raise the funds that we need, that we will have to tax the middle class. That is a calculated threat by the rich to discourage taxing the rich. And besides, look at the demographics, where is this vaunted middle class?

Where are the middle class jobs?

Time to downsize? Ouch!  Click me please

A couple of stories from the Washington Post this morning caught my attention:

The Mittster is chillin’ in Israel for a few days after his tour of the London Olympics where he wowed them. well, maybe not. but anyway, he’s out to Israel now. Checking the real estate in Jerusalem. Making contacts with car elevator contractors in case he decides to build a get away place in the Other Holy Land (not salt lake).

Mittster did have kind words for the Israeli health care system. Unfortunately that health care system is exactly the kind of big government interference that the right wing is certain will destroy the soul of a great nation. Here is a piece of the WAPO article on that:

 

Romney praises health care in Israel, where research says ‘strong government influence’ has driven down costs

 

Posted by Sarah Kliff on July 30, 2012 at 11:10 am

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had some very kind things to say about the Israeli health care system at a fundraiser there Monday. He praised Israel for spending just 8 percent of its GDP on health care and still remaining a “pretty healthy nation:”

When our health care costs are completely out of control. Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? 8 percent. You spend 8 percent of GDP on health care. And you’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our GDP on health care. 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, let me compare that with the size of our military. Our military budget is 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of GDP. We have to find ways, not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to finally manage our health care costs.

Romney’s point about Israel’s success in controlling health care costs is spot on: Its health care system has seen health care costs grow much slower than other industrialized nations.

How it has gotten there, however, may not be to the Republican candidate’s liking: Israel regulates its health care system aggressively, requiring all residents to carry insurance and capping revenue for various parts of the country’s health care system.

Israel created a national health care system in 1995, largely funded through payroll and general tax revenue. The government provides all citizens with health insurance: They get to pick from one of four competing, nonprofit plans. Those insurance plans have to accept all customers—including people with pre-existing conditions—and provide residents with a broad set of government-mandated benefits.

Read the whole article? Go for it.

It’s too bad that the conservatives have no sense of humor or appreciation of irony. They really miss out on the best that their leaders have to offer.

Second piece from the WA Post that jumped out at me:

 

 

 

As ‘fiscal cliff’ looms, debate over pre-Election Day layoff notices heats up

 

 

 

 

By , Published: July 30

 

 

 

The deep federal spending cuts scheduled to take effect at the start of next year may trigger dismissal notices for tens of thousands of employees of government contractors, companies and analysts say, and the warnings may start going out at a particularly sensitive time:

Days before the presidential election.

Read the whole piece. I dare you.

I hope that the Dems find a semblance of spinal material and will hold certain feet to the fire. Imagine a budget cut so severe, so fair that it would even cut into defense jobs. Well, try to imagine that. What are the chances?

Each moment we are faced again with the choice of austerity politics or posterity politics. Think on.

 

 

 

Summer is Here!

8 Jul

It finally got warm again here in Western Washington yesterday. Much of the country has been suffering through a heat wave for a while already. Some parts of the country have been on fire. This is an aspect of global warming that will probably come to Western Washington. We have large stands of timber that will burn if weather patterns were to change and reduce the amount of rainfall in the region. People in the Hoh River Rainforest might appreciate a reduction in rainfall, but by and large, the Northwest needs a lot of rain and gets it.

My grandsons were out and about and could not be located to grab our kayak/play boats and head to the river or Sound, so I scooped up my 5 year old granddaughter and we took the smallest kayak I have and spent a couple of hours playing and keeping cool in the Newaukum River. (video is shot a few miles away from the stretch we were in). The river has pretty good flow this early in the year, so granddaughter was not sure she wanted to be in the river, but by the end of our time there she was jumping off the bank and letting me catch her and be swept along in the current. It’s possible to get swept off your feet, but the river is only a couple of feet deep in the lower reaches, so it’s perfect for playing, wading and kayaking.

I have noticed that the climate change deniers are getting desperate. They know that the US electorate is finding climate change to be real. It’s too bad that it takes disastrous evidence and experience of global warming to persuade the folks who tune into traditional media in the US that the doubt about global warming is manufactured by the same folks who want to persuade folks that Obama is a dangerous socialist when he is simply another corporatist democrat, but this serves the goals of certain folks.

We get change in this country when the tea party folks wake up and realize that the occupy folks are their natural allies and have the story right where the media giants have the news all wrong.

Not warm yet in your neighborhood? Don’t worry, the warm weather is coming. We need balance. We need a carbon tax immediately to change the energy paradigm. The explosion of research, development and manufacturing that would follow carbon tax implementation would solve our double dip recession problem and create jobs. The tax would lower the deficit, but it could not/should not be large enough to solve our deficit problem, just enough to fund R&D on sustainable energy systems. The deficit problem needs to be solved by reinstating the steep tax rate system that existed in this country when JFK stimulated the economy back in 1961. We have flattened the tax rate so much since that time that there is little or no stimulus effect left in that approach, only increasing income inequality and deficits that threaten our way of life. Things could get so bad in the US that we would have to cut the military budget. Just try to imagine that.

Record heat? You want to deny that? Here’s a piece from Think Progress and elsewhere:

 

What Is Causing The Climate To Unravel?

By Climate Guest Blogger on Jul 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm

By Jeremy Symons, via the National Wildlife Federation

Answer: One trillion tons of carbon pollution.

40,000 heat records have already been broken this year across the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Here in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the signs of an unbalanced climate system have been felt in recent years not just in heatwaves, but increasingly in the form of unusually severe wind storms. This past weekend’s storm brought 80 mph wind gusts that snapped three trees in our backyard like pretzels, even though they were each a foot thick. Once again, my insurance company is teaching me new weather terminolgy to explain the latest climate disasters. A few years ago, the term was “micro-bursts” (not quite tornadoes, but similar impact). Now it is “derecho” (not quite hurricanes, but similar impact).


Read the whole piece at Think Progress? Stay cool.

 

Looking Back on The Limits to Growth

6 Apr

Here is the frame: In 1972 a bunch of computer nerds were commissioned by the Club of Rome to complete computer modeling of finite resources, rates of consumption and population growth. The output was a book called The Limits to Growth. It caused a bit of a stir because the computer modeling predicted that global economic collapse and precipitous population decline could occur by 2030. Wikipedia has a pretty well referenced page on the The Limits to Growth. Meadows, Meadows, Randers, Behrens

The original study was criticized by lots of folks who thought that growth could somehow become sustainable, that more resources would be found, etc. The methodology was criticized. This study was not popular with economic growth globalists.

The Limits to Growth have been revisited on a number of occasions. Most recently an Australian physicist named Graham Turner completed a thirty year look back at the computer modeling and Turner’s study is published at The Smithsonian. This kind of thing is like disneyland for nerds. Graphs, charts, all sorts of variables to argue about. It’s a wonderland for slide rule afficionados. Needless to say, it’s hard to present on CNN, MSNBC, BBC in a way that has gets the message across.

Look at the graph and try to focus on one primary matter: The thirty year slice of history from 1972 to 2002 shows that the numbers in reality have developed largely as predicted by the 1972 study suggested. Click on the graph to jump to the Smithsonian story if you want.

The good news is on the blue line where pollution is predicted to drop hard. So, it’s not all bad. There is something to look forward to in the projection.

I think I would prefer to see the human population make some difficult choices and reduce consumption to change the trend lines, but it’s not a popular suggestion with the folks who make the decisions. What do they call themselves? Oh, yeah… the deciders.