Monday, February 08, 2010

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Washington, D.C. is being dumped on, and not by angry Tea Party members. This time it’s snow. LOTS of snow. Record amounts of snow. To which I say, Good. Let it snow.

In his extraordinary book, “The Worst Hard Time; The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Dust Bowl, author Timothy Egan tells of the time that dust started falling on Washington, D.C. It was years into the man-made ecological disaster and devastation. Congress kept saying, it was a temporary problem, it would blow over, it wasn’t really happening, just a minor weather problem, the problem was being exaggerated, a conspiracy by Roosevelt liberals to tax and spend to try to fix the problem, and all those other deja vuish articles of faith we now hear said about “global warming.”

Then dust started fallin on Washington, DC. The sky darkened, literally, and the dust fell. For days and days. Dust from Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, the Panhandle. Dust falling from dark skies at high noon. For days. Scared hell out of the Congressmen who woke up and said, “We got a problem here,” and finally allocated funds for the CCC and various farm bureau programs to get to work planting trees, teaching and instituting soil conservation measures, and buying out near-dead farmers and excess, “toxic” farmlands that never should have been farmed in the first place.

Slowly, through human efforts and the end of a drought cycle, much of the land was restored and the dust blows stop. All it took was dust to fall on Washington D.C. Tons of dust.

Since we have a similar situation with this Congress (global warming is a myth, it isn’t caused by humans activity, it’ll blow over, it’s just a conspiracy by Obama liberals to tax and spend to help avert the coming disaster, & etc.) I say, Let it snow. And snow. And snow. Darkness at noon in D.C. is what we need now.

On the Other Hand

Tim Rutten, in his L.A. Times column presents a far darker problem. Congress itself. Do nothing Congress in the form of Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala) “who has put a personal hold on more than 70 executive branch appointments until the Obama administration agrees to fund a couple of pork-barrel projects hehas earmarked for his state. One involves tens of millions of dollars for an FBI laboratory focusing on improvised explosives – something the bureau desn’t think it needs. The other involves contract specifications for an aerial tanker that Northrop Grumman and Airbus would manufacture in Alabama, if they win the deal. . . . Unless the administration agrees to give Shelby what he wants, he intends to invoke an archaic senatorial privilege that allows him to prevent the chamber from considering any of the administration’s nominees to executive branch vacancies, no matter how crucial. Without the 60 votes to force cloture – another archaic convention – there’s nothing the Democrats or the White House can do. . . . Outside the Senate, Shelby’s conduct would be called extortion: inside the chamber it’s a ‘parliamentary tactic.’

“It’s also the sort of shabby situation that brings into sharp focus both the sources of congressional dysfunction and the popular discontent on both the left and right with the congressional parties. Earmarks and pork are anathema to a majority of conservatives and independents; the Senate’s outdated, made-for-obstruction rules and susceptibility to special interests are a source of increasing frustration to liberals and some independents. Yet, here we have one senator from one Southern state obstructing with impunity an entire nation’s business – purely for his narrow constituency’s financial interest.”

Compared to what global warming will do to this country, the devastation of the Dust Bowl is miniscule. With a dysfunctional government, a clueless, asleep-at-the-switch citizenry, even a mile-wide glacier falling on D.C might not be enough to do the trick.

Get the rowboats.

Oh, Wait, That’s Right.

Republican Vice Presidential candidate and former (resigned) moose-shooting Governor of Alaska (who can see Russia from her house) announced on Fox News that she would consider running for President if she felt it was the right thing for her.

Thank Goodness. We are saved!


M said...

Okay Ann, explain how it started out "global warming" and then went to climate change. Warming hard to promote when record cold temperatures are being recorded? I'll tell you why the glaciers are melting. IT'S BECAUSE WE KEEP DIGGING INTO THEM TO MEASURE THEIR TEMPERATURE. Human laboritories drilling into 1000 year old ice to measure the temperature and change. Of course it is melting.

Sewertoons said...

A few guys out on a glacier digging causes glaciers to melt? Why isn't it cold enough to freeze right back up again is the question!

But -- this is a joke, right?

Thanks Ann, I just found The Worst Hard Time on the bookshelf - will now read it. Perfect segue from Obscene Extreme, The burning and banning of John Steinbeck's THE GRAPES OF WRATH by Rick Wartzman.

alabamasue said...

Wow, M-
Where to start. Okay, the overall trend is global warming. Some signs of this are wild swings in temperature and weather. Are you really that dense?
Thanks, Sewertoons, for suggestions on two books I need to read.

Sewertoons said...

Welcome alabamasue! Although Ann gets credit for the The Worst Hard Time!

It's amazing how people can be swayed by people they want to listen to and ignore the facts.

Alon Perlman said...

*Receding glaciers don't lie
*Rising sea levels don't lie
*Rising average Sea temperatures don't lie
*Calving Ice packs don't lie
*Fluctuating temperature changes (record highs and lows and other wind or sea current changes, deviations from normal weather patterns) don't lie
Unfortunately in the last indicator (Global weather change), record colds are "Colder".
And since congress can't legislate truth (They can't legislate morality either, they lack the experience (not mine)), some will grasp onto this un-proof.
Therefore the colder temp. records, consequence of global warming will be used to deny the phenomenon that caused them.

“The gripes and anti-gripes of what have we wrought”
Wait, it gets better- In the eighties, spurred on by government subsidies there was expanded wheat farming in the Midwestern prairies. The inches thin topsoil was laid down by thousands of years of Bison stampedes (And mammoths? There was a “Clovis man dustbowl). The farming was not agriculturally sustainable, except it was profitable, so it continued.
Segway; Later bags of U.S. Wheat were sent to the Middle East and Afghanistan. The madrasas were set up attached to bakeries. “Look we give you bread. The Americans send you bags to wear with their flags on them. They give bombs to our enemies”.
The inherent problem with dealing with Taliban, Hamas and Hefzbulla. Their terrorist actions maintain the populations in poverty and isolation but they do provide the poor with basic services and education. IUD’s; whose smarter; the nervous woman in the souk with the normal looking shopping bag, or the remotely operated predator drone circling above?
The FBI? CIA now allows it’s agents to moonlight for BIA “Interrogators for hire” (NPR Yesterday?). New recruits? How much of Bangladesh will a 1 foot sea rise cover?

Filibuster the Gummint ah-pountees? Now wha in tarnayshin, di’nt we heyar in Osos town, get to think o dat one.
I think It’ll take a few Sweltering DeeCee wintaahs, with theym two inch wingspan morskeeters for them good o’l boys’l have enuyff martini eynfuzed blood sucked outta dem, to get their wits back aroun’ em.
And then them city folk flappin their gams n’ blowin’ all that hot air around, weyl, that’s what you get from all that book lurnin’ an inernayt nollige I rekkin. Ah’m Jist glad to ayve hungd on to that ther wyzdom ah was borned with.
This hot cold hot stuff, it’s jus too darn corn-plicayted, Now that Sarah paylin gal, sheel jist blyst theym wedder Baoons raht out of the skah. Lahk they say in Frenchican “no problaimo”.

Churadogs said...

Toonces sez:"Thanks Ann, I just found The Worst Hard Time on the bookshelf - will now read it. Perfect segue from Obscene Extreme, The burning and banning of John Steinbeck's THE GRAPES OF WRATH by Rick Wartzman."

I guarantee you'll be amazed by Worse Hard Time. First, the writing alone is absolutely stunning, then you'll be gape-mouthed muttering, Jeesh, I didn't know that, Jeesh I didn't know that, Jeesh, I didn't know that. The magnitude of the disaster just isn't conveyed by the history books. (It can't be, really, takes a book such as this one.)(the magnitude of what will happen (again) as the Oglala Reservoir gets depeleted will result in more deja vu in the same neck of the woods. Solution: Stop dry land farming on the eastern Rockies and return it all to buffalo grass (before the water runs out and it becomes Dust Bowl Redux) and return the buffalo and "ranch them" instead of cattle.) I know, when pigs fly. Nobody learns anything.

As for burning books, Book-burning no-nothings are a fixture in American life like Puxatany (sp?) Phil who keeps popping up on GroundHog day like clockwork. A certain percentage of people operate on knee-jerk fear mode and their method of coping with a world that's overwhelming them is to ban/burn books, like that's gonna do a lick of good. Except create enough heat to cook marshmallows, maybe.

Speaking of know nothings, one of the problems with "global warming" is it got trapped early with a "frame" that's dangerously misleading. Overall trend is warming, that's irrefutable. But meanwhile, what we're in for as a result of this overall warming is a change in weather patterns which will create havoc for billions. If "M" had read, The Worst Hard Time, he/she would have seen that "natural" 10-year drought cycles, poorly understood and/or ignored, exacerbated bad farming practices and really bad land use choices. Together they created a perfect storm. Today, we're creating new "cycles" that are poorly understood because new. Imagine a very slight (nearly unnoticed) shift in the normal weather pattern as a result of a very slight temperature shift (which has already happened) and the normal rains move slightly north and as a result a permanent drought comes to the midwest and desertification moves north into those great plains. Such disasters are already on the way. For many people who are unable to imagine such large effects far into the future, a better "framing" device for telling people what was happening would be to perhaps use the terms, "Global Weather Change". The impact of those (increasingly strong hurricanes, unseasonal flooding, snow on DC, rain where there shouldn't be rain, etc. are easier to see in real time)They are our canaries in the coal mine.

M said...

I am not a scientist, however I have a pretty good idea that global patterns change over hundreds of thousands of years. Not in one or two hundred.
As for the glacier testing I spoke of, they actually mined down deep into the glacier to get to the thousand year old ice. People were down there with parkas on and stuff with all this electronic equipment, Sounds like alot of heat generated to me.
Am I that dense? No. However, with Al Gore at the forefront of the global warming controversy I am very skeptical.
Sincerely, M

Mike said...

It is truly amazing that everything man has done is "poor practice"... How many people walk this earth and how many live in the USA... There are as many conflicting "reports" on climate change as there are factual data...

Maybe those who have such utopian opininons (based soley on books such as Worse Hard Time) would move to areas of the planet more receptive to change...perhaps Iran, Syria Nigeria, Somalia...???

Most of us are trying to effect change in positive ways and within the laws governing our whole society here in the US... We don't seek absolute perfection, we're just trying to enjoy this life...

Sewertoons said...

M, if you think a few guys on a glacier can cause the glacier to melt, what do you suppose the factories belching vast clouds of heat and particulate matter into the air are doing? And millions of smog-generating cars are doing?

Mike said...

LOL... Come on all you activists.... If you're're really serious about mankind's cause of the "global warming", then let's ban all gasoline, diesel and jet fuel and also coal and fuel and heating oil for our homes, factories and power plants... that ought to solve all the climate change problems...or at least make a positive reduction in the greenhouse effect...

Yup, let's demand Obama, Clinton and Gore go to bat and make it happen this year...!!! Governor Moonbeam should be right up there showing that Taxifornia will lead the way...!!!!!


Alon Perlman said...

The science behind the Global warming scenario is over 100 years old, Dude calculated what additional steam engine release of CO2 Would do. I knew about it since I was 11. Now in the Jet age the calculations are different, but the principals remain the same. Gore's movie? havn't seen it.
Yes there are larger events. Solar cycles don't care what the earth is doing. It's only the third planet and not a large one at that. without researching further there is info that we would be heading into a mini Ice age otherwise.
The guys cooking their hot dogs while measuring on a glacier is nonsense. Tests that do not increase heat such as "Stick a flag on it and watch it move", show increased and accelarating transport.
the morains areas and aerial photographs show the edges of the glaciers receading up towards the mountains.
It is a dangerous time for planning. The LOWWTP which will likely not get far till 1013. It is going to be designed with 5 ft Sea rise in mind. Good? No.
That value is a projection to 2100 assuming no change in current human activities. I am pretty pessimistic as to the magnitude of reversal, considering that AB 32 missed the boat on methane generation by the Grasses of Tonini. Good thing that is moot.(Assumes NO-impact because the methane is "Biological").
The bottom line is that even worst case scenerio puts 5 ft sea rise at the END of The Century. This project life cycle is 30 years. I expect that in 30 years Bailing wire will be used to extend the life of the infra structure another 10 years. we are currently still looking at the project being (2100-(2010 +3))=87 years away from a 5ft rise. Why? Why the additional cost? (not saying that there arn't other problems with deep pipes, but prioritize high groundwater areas, instead).
Between Global warming (GWChange)denial and Global warming overreaction, there may be room to affect positive change, but don't count on it.
(Mike -Utopian? I didn't read the book but perhaps a different word?)
There are simply too many people doing too many things in a finite space. Malthus comes in here, as do the 4 riders of the appocalypso.

Read your above post just now Mike. That is the problem- Regulatory agencies not using Science and Activists not using science. Los Osos as a microcosem of America
Left out "sodbusting" in the previous post.

Mike Green said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Churadogs said...

Mike sez:"Maybe those who have such utopian opininons (based soley on books such as Worse Hard Time) would move to areas of the planet more receptive to change...perhaps Iran, Syria Nigeria, Somalia...???"

Mike, the absoute ignorance of this statment is breathaking. The Worst Hard Time was taken from historical documents as well as interview from people who lived through it. It wasn't ancient history. The POINT of my citing the dust from the midwest falling on Congress was that that's what it took to wake them up to the fact that this was no longer a "local" problem that would go away by itself. It required massive federal funding and intervention to help stop what was a GROWING disaster that ceased to be "local." And moving to Syria? You're joking. Syria, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Jordan are ALL in deep trouble over water, or lack of same. A repeat of what happened in the Tigris/Euphrates watershed thousands of years ago. History repeating itself because of humans NOT practicing sustainability and overdrafting resources. Somalia is suffering from similar conditions that happened in the Dust Bowl, over grazing, worst agricultural practices and growing desertification caused because the "normal" rains are not falling, due to Global Climate Change.

You know, Mike, you'd be better served if you did a little research before you splurt out these amazingly, stunningly ignorant statements. They're embarassing!

Mike said...

...the point is, WHY aren't YOU trying to solve those problems...??? YOU know as much about those situations as you know about sewers in Los Osos... not very much...!!!!

...but keep trying, you will see a nice flush and forget, gravity sewer in Los Osos before long...

Churadogs said...

Mike sez:"the point is, WHY aren't YOU trying to solve those problems...???"

why would you assume I'm not trying to "solve those problems." Each one of us has an ethical responsibility to the planet and to the generations that come after us to do our part and insist our government does its part. Denying what's happening and doing nothing or blocking efforts to help avert the worst effects of carbon build up and thereby making things worse for reasons of deliberate ignorance, fear of change, sloth, greed and/or selfishness is unethical and wrong.

Alon Perlman said...

I had typed up an answer last night Mike, but the internet gods decreed a Blogger error followed by a back button resend and loss.

And Ann has since spoken, but I'd like to recapture it. So; Why isn’t Ann trying?
"But she is Mike, she is. She put it out there for us to discuss.
We may not be able to change the world, recall a previous administration, install a functional administration. Perhaps our cures will just accelerate the disease...
But at east we tried.
What is the American Dream Mike?

Is it to Keep on Keeping on, even though you know you are living in the last California generation that can expect to own their own houses (deliberate segway here). Are future Generations important?
Where is the final frontier?

And the original lost post had stuff about denial and some not so subtle connectors LO sewer to Global warming.
My problem with you Mike is that I know you are a smart, decent human being (much more then you sometimes come across). And no, I wouldn’t expect the Sewer anguish to stop. Ann is a symbol, no matter how complex the reality.
But for some reason we are seeing the Local global weather disruptions, that could had remained hidden in the back-ground weather noise for a couple more decades, TODAY. It’s a wake up call. Reveille!
And as far as using Los Osos Sewerwars as a microcosm for evaluating America’s future success in reversing Global Warming?
We are Doomed, my friend. Doomed.