The above photo was taken near Lubbock, Texas of late by Chad Riley, whose photo was on the web. It sort of fits the mental image I've had of what Texas has endured this Spring, as if the sky gods were not pleased with Rick Perry's prayers in previous years for much needed rain and decided to show him and Texas that 1.) prayer is a dubious method of much but hope, and 2.) Texas shouldn't screw around with Mother Nature under any and all circumstances. Not with fracking, not with water, not with squat.
Texas has heavily aligned herself with the political right about near everything, like Climate Change. Ted Cruz, an actual Senator from the Lone Star State, was dismissive of the East Coast when Sandy tore it up top to bottom and didn't want federal money going there not long ago. He sure wants it now for Texas, the hypercritical creep. Suspect he just thought it would be a while before Texas needed aid, and people would have forgotten his selfish pandering to budget hawks. Too bad.
This is a recent satellite photo of weather in These United States. I remember big storms in my Pleistocene youth, but none as big as the weather systems we get now. The stretch from the Rockies to Maine, and if colored orange would be about proportionate as that huge, never ending storm eye on Jupiter. Think about that. Hurricanes might be 1000 miles wide with one eye. That's a LOT of air moving and it won't fade easy as before.
California is about dry. No metaphorical sense, just no fresh water at all. It feeds much of the world. The good news is that they're on overtime with new desalinization projects, although how to dispose of the increased salinity in the discarded portion is going to be a big issue. This is serious stuff, and not difficult to see how it could end very badly.
Here in Boulder the Damned, a city employee gave a speech/talk/performance at a gathering and used the word derivitives of 'fuck' a lot. Turns out she was working with city staff on the speech, and people are predictably if annoyingly feigning shock and outrage, children, shame for Boulder, you know the drill, and it's become about as ridiculous as these things always do.
Of course, the world waited for my opinion, and so I graciously gave it under my Daily Camera ID of Foremost Felon. I am, of course, Boulder's Socially Foremost Felon anyway, and when the Camera shiftedto an out sourced message board, Dark Cloud - the name most know me by - was lost in the adventures of new User Ids, so .....this. Anyway, I have a post on this beneath the Editorial. If your time is worth nothing, check the Daily Camera boards on this issue. Truly, it's like an episode of the Simpsons, although one poster was correct in saying it was all performance art and arranged. Obviously so, but the plantlife rose to the bait.
This is smallpox, for real, if anyone forgets in the vaccination debate. I have friends whom I consider normally sane and sharp who are against vaccinations, although the tide has turned enough they're softening their fears. Chemtrails is the new thing, something that emerged solely from the famous photos of Agent Orange distribution over Vietnam. They were flying real low, and the chemical horror they were putting down does resemble condensation and exhaust of a jet plane at altitude. It's a visual imprint and hard to shake.
"Wolf Hall" on PBS here and BBC across the pond was something of a disappointment and something remarkable at the same time. I'm writing a piece on the supposed devotion to reality these shows sometimes go for that produces anything but reality, and that will be up later. Here, I just want to agree with the reviewers that found the actress who played Boleyn, Claire Foy, excellent beyond expectations and providing the only true horror of the bloody spectacle. Her delivery and her dead on fearful breathing and physical bearing waiting for the stroke of the sword was masterful, as was every line she uttered. She had to be bitch, shrew, mom, devoted wife and scared young woman with only a few lines or actions granted to get it across. It's remarkable, and Mark Rylance and crew were not intimidating here.
And, the man who meets Cromwell on the site of the execution was incredibly perfect casting and clothing. He looked exactly, sounded exactly, and was exactly what Mantel had written only with about 10 percent of the lines and hardly any screen time. But, the guy was terrifying in his emotionless recitation of this act while displaying what concern he could for the queen he's to behead. This was a greatly condensed script from the two books, and well done, and there are no wasted lines or scenes.
It's grown on me.
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
Here's the thing. Actual Republican conservatives have more in common with progressives in some surprising areas than other supposed Republicans. Sensing this, rather than knowing it, the GOP has to appeal to broad, often baseless fear of an aging white population of mediocrities primarily scared of losing their social status amidst undeniable evidence it was rarely deserved, and impossible to hand down to their children as it was handed down to them. Therefore, anything that smacks of change at all is the enemy. Not just energetic immigrants but old time social mores and strata lines as defined by a white patriarchy of declining status.
They keep the focus on the melodrama of abortion rather than birth control, the solution that would near eliminate abortion and permit female social emancipation. This terrifies the GOP: abortion is the issue where they can pose as saving children and protecting life. To keep it alive, and their own ignorant, they smother public discussion of birth control, feigning sincere ethical or religious concerns about children's health, physical and mental both. If you're for birth control you serve Placenta Helper at your table.
It seems a GOP state rep from Montrose, Don Coram, a cattleman, was a cosponsor of a program to increase women's use of long-term birth-control methods like the intrauterine device, the IUD, or hormonal implants, for the horrible reason that these methods work. All available evidence says he's right. He's being a good representative.
Coram in the early 1980s was on the school board. Montrose County then had a high teen-pregnancy rate, leading to many female drop outs. Coram did due diligence and said "80 percent of teen mothers that become pregnant will be on welfare within a year. At age 30, of these teen girls, only 1.5 percent of them will have earned a [college] degree. Daughters of teen mothers are 22 percent more likely themselves to become teen mothers. Sons of teen mothers are 13 percent more likely to be incarcerated."
Warren Buffett's late wife Susan's Foundation had given a $23.6 million grant to a program in Colorado resulting in Coram's bill, The Colorado Initiative to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy. The Foundation grant made IUD's and implants free and available for some years previous. Both methods are long-acting and reversible with no maintenance and a less than 1 percent failure rate. There is an upfront cost of $1200 which the Foundation covered, but it's a far cheaper birth control method overall than anything else.
Coram read the research. The program worked, with participation went from 5% of women in the study to 24%. The teen birth rate dropped by 40%. The state saved $5.85 for every short term Medicaid dollar spent. A huge success.
But Colorado Republicans went ballistic against making it a state program on tax money. They lied about it. Republican Senate Majority Leader Kevin Lundberg said it was “poor science,” citing a falsehood that IUDs work by terminating a pregnancy, when they prevent pregnancy. Then state Senator Owen Hill wanted to pose as saving tax payer dollars, and said government should play no role in birth control. His peer Larry Crowder thought it too expensive despite evidence it saved money. Fellow GOP rep Kathleen Conti suggested birth control might make women promiscuous.
Coram is puzzled. "If you are like I am, and you do not support abortion, you want to break the cycle of poverty, you want young people to have a better life, you want to save taxpayer dollars—why would you not support this legislation?" Boulder rep K.C. Becker, who cosponsored this bill with Corram and is a straight ahead liberal, could not and has not said it better.
Well, Representative Corram, you're a conservative, and your party is not. It's racist, and wants a striated society with status achieved at birth and denoted by skin and religious affiliation easily identifiable, just like the car you drive in Hollywood or the accent you have in England Id's folks' status. Unwanted children is just cheap labor in their eyes, a commodity. Ruined lives are just the wastage of their social wars against the founding point of the United States. Keep your opponents poor for vaguely plausible reasons buttressed by religion and fake science. Nothing scares them more than actual conservatives and progressives working constructively together and discovering how much they have in common as goals. Far more than either side imagined.
Monday, May 04, 2015
Because, is all.
Friday, May 01, 2015
On the cover, a photo that looks totally fake, but is not, just a timed shot from Burma, now Myanmar, and a somewhat consoling and soothing image in a time that can surely use them. From the Atlantic, still an incredibly valid and still exciting olde media adapting quick to the new. My favorite magazine.
Top here is the near stereotypical 'riot' that we've been exposed to for my lifetime. One too many violations of civility and crooked if not sick cops kill a black, who may not have been innocent of any crime but who did not deserve to be beaten senseless and then imprisoned or even lynched, possibly for fun given time and location.
The elected Maryland state's attorney for Baltimore (that sounds quick different from Colorado, but later on that...) the young Marilyn Moseby, all of 35, has had arrested six police officers in the now claimed murder of Freddie Gray two weeks back. They're in custody. She is what Jeanine Pirro has always pretended to be, rather than what she is: just a vaguely better dressed and maybe smarter Marcia Clark. Both constructed cases to advance their careers and were incompetent to see beyond it. Clark bolluxed OJ Simpson, Pirro screwed up quite a few on the other coast, but the Hurst case HBO just busted open was one she failed miserably at.
To say the legal establishment is gobsmacked at the speed she did this does not go far enough. Although only two weeks after the death, it was one day after she got the report from the PD itself's investigation of the incident. The way everyone is heaving in the breath might be audible here in Boulder. Although she is black herself, a great deal of (I'll just assume it ......) white resentment goes away because she has five - 5 - generations of family who've been cops. Apparently she isn't light on crime in general. But she's new, young, black, and in charge, and that has calmed a LOT down right off.
The facts help her, of course. For one thing, Gray was stopped by the cops, ran, was arrested for........nothing. There was no crime, nothing. Supposedly he had a switchblade, but that was false. It was a knife, closed, and legal and unopened on him. Nobody knows why he ran, but he has that right. They had no right to stop him, actually.
Then - somehow - while handcuffed and chained to his seat at the feet but with no seat belt as law requires, his neck got severely severed, and he died within a week. The cops' own report damns them in its few specifics and its predominant vagueries.
The charges are not vague and of the wording that many of us recall in the past as prelude for exculpation and fade away: there's one first degree murder, two manslaughters, and a raft of subordinate charges for the six cops involved. Just guessing, but I'll bet the cops were white. I actually hope so. Would be good for those whites who've had it their way so long to have to face up to what fair law enforcement is.
The Nepal horror continues, with the media feigning surprise that the original estimates of dead were ridiculously wrong. The way this generally goes is reports are, say, 500 people have died in a Third World catastrophe. Then reports change, sometimes up, sometimes down as specific counts from very few locations arrive. Then the missings and obviously dead under 500 acres of lava or pyroplasmic flow or tidal wave are hysterically added in. The facts are that these countries have no idea, not a clue, how many people they have. Their census is a joke and the folks that cost them money and live on the beach or streets are only of interest for short term work projects. To pretend knowledge and compassion all of a sudden is not something that comes easy to Third World despots or dictators or even elected governments within socially striated societies. Or, in this country, it didn't come easy to our own bureaucrats, as Boulder's Michael Brown, GWB's FEMA head, learned some years back.
It's now admitted to be about a 6k loss of life, but they really cannot say that seriously. I'd bet the reality is already over 20k people, many of whom never made it onto a count anywhere in their lives.
The ludicrousness that Mt. Everest has become was underlined. There were wealthy white folk killed in the Base Camp area, and all due respect and solemnity for that. And because of the horrid avalanche last year that killed a boatload of mostly young Sherpas the coverage was more in line, and the native people arguably got their share of international coverage for a change this year, although whether that translates into actual help or money is unknown. But let's admit that had this happened in 1998, near all the media would be on what celebs were waddling up the mountain hauled by Sherpas, and their agonies and triumphs as their life's journey took an unexpected turn and all the crap cliche we can recite in our sleep.
As the earth warms, ice melts and what held things together doesn't, so climate change can actually play a role in earthquakes, and vice versa. Fun! Methane released from the permafrost, for example.
The East Coast may have had enough of being thought so corrupt. In New Jersey, two pals of Governor Chris Christy have turned state's evidence and confessed that "Bridgegate" actually was petty political punishment for a mayor inflicted by the Governor's office and, let's be real, the Governor. Christy feels pretty well cooked, but nobody dares stick a fork in him. Remember that sperm whale? Yeah, like that.
Friday, April 10, 2015
Let's be clear, it's been a good day and month, overall. Maybe not as impressive as the cherry blossoms in Japan, per this year's blooming as above, but pretty damned great. At least, here in Boulder where we give precipitation amounts the same concentration of focus we used to give sales tax income. Watershed is at about 70% of normal, but weather is so screwy we might end up with another surplus, which we can use.
But today was pretty great. Took a loaned vehicle out to Davidson Mesa, where the best view of Boulder is, and the whole panorama was pretty fantastic. Still.
What we have today is the announcement that Hillary Clinton will announce for the Presidency Sunday, and if true she has my backing. Like Bill Maher, I have hesitations but they evaporate confronted with the horrendoplasty that is the GOP's current selections. I admit, I'm a Bill Clinton guy, and having him in the loop is not at all a bad thing, and this if he only plays the role Hillary did in his administration.
Another good thing is that Elizabeth Warren did not rise to the bait and go for it herself. This is very good, since she's what the Senate needs: someone who actually knows of what she speaks when the economy is on the line and who can geld idiot Republicans easily. She's a scary debater, and smart as hell. In the Oval Office she'd be spending half her time raising money and dealing with inanities, and so wasted. After a few terms, go for it, but glad you didn't this time.
Clinton may not win. There is a lot of baggage, of course, but the thing is the rising resentful misogyny of the Third Rate White men around the world. They aren't needed, bluntly. They are a drain and do not contribute constructively in the estimations of both themselves and, um, others. It is the uniting principle of all the diverse but idiotic conservative movements and the cause of the resentment towards Obama more than race, although that's the cover story. And I cannot say that black men are immune to that attraction as they have more status issues than the whites, albeit not based on merit. They may vote against a woman, but who knows.
Still, the rank absurdity of Cruz and Paul and Christie and - dear God - Rick Perry make the Democrats look like masters of the universe. They cannot be as stupid as they repeatedly demonstrate they are, but that makes it worse. Dumbing down for the base cannot be viewed as encouraging.
Those who deny climate change, or just the role man plays in climate change, are being directly confronted and slapped about nowadays. You still run into Al Gore jokes, but those chortling at them are in their 80's and pretty clueless about most things anyway. When Glenn Beck comes out for gun control, and sane GOP'ers find safety in admitting climate change, and everybody laughs at Wisconsin and Florida governments that disallow the usage of those terms, it's getting better. The Armed Services are convinced, and that ought to tell you - if you're as conservative as you pose or pretend - all you need to know.
The photo here from California ought to scare the crap out of everyone, because this Spring was the driest yet for the Golden State. And, my particular horror, suppose the drought ends with heavy rains and the land slides start with the green hill sides puffy with moisture. Then, a good size quake encourages land to seek a new level. If it brings a tidal wave, that might be it for California as we've known it.
A pink moon and its sexier alternate personality - the Blood Moon - is the result of full lunar eclipses and the distortion provided by the earth's shadow. Something. Happens during eclipses, all I know.
Nick Drake, who was my age but died in 1974, wrote a few haunting songs, one of the more famous being "Pink Moon" on his last album, where he could barely sing and enunciate. Still, it's kind of magic to listen to Drake and lose yourself in these remarkable photos around the web of the last pink moon. The guy's haunting.
I saw it written and I saw it say Pink moon is on its way And none of you stand so tall Pink moon gonna get you all
It's a pink moon It's a pink moon Pink, pink, pink, pink Pink moon The pink, pink, pink, pink Pink moon
True, that. Oddly.......
And tell me: who can look at the photo below and not see a wolf as opposed to a dog in those eyes?
Sunday, March 22, 2015
So, Greece tries to get out from under its horrendous debt by demanding its major creditor - Germany - reimburse it for the expense of sending its Greek Jewish population to the death camps in WWII. That among many other horrors inflicted by the Nazis still stands out. Jews now only were to be sent to work and death camps, but had to pay their own fare. Greece paid it for them. So kind. They had no choice anyway. The Germans were in Greece only because their idiot ally - Mussolini in Italy - invaded. Still, it gets no lower than billing the innocent for their own murders.
Greece makes a powerful point that Germany - the nation that started two world wars in the minds and clear memory of that world - got bailed out big time afterwards and has near zero standing to lecture Greece today. That is hard to argue with, but Germany's pretense for WWII was that WWI's termination was a betrayal and they did not owe the huge paybacks to the Allies we claimed. This is not an easy issue.
Greece has been financially incompetent, primarily because of the national need to have the 2004 Olympics, but its history of fascist and near communist governments since WWII has not evolved a functional public attitude towards economy or government in any sense. Watch "Z" today, a 60's movie that was confusing then and will make less sense now, but it captures the horrors at work during those years.
Bibi Netanyahu didn't waste time exposing himself as a multiple faced liar - as bad as Mitt Romney is and worse than Nixon - and genuine prick. After running around declaring there would never be a Palestinian state while he was in charge, he immediately said he'd be willing to consider it as soon as the election is over. An Israeli Tea Party candidate. Of course, he has yet to form a government and may not be able to, although it's assumed he can.
The Roberts Court featuring The Supremes have another go at Obamacare in a few weeks. This could be a disaster although several of the reddish states like Texas have GOP politicos saying tearing it down is the worst option for them. Also, the fact is that millions more than anticipated or remotely hoped have signed up and it is working: the growth of medical costs is down significantly and heading downward into reduction territory if trends continue.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
This is one Juniper Gelrod, a young lady who spent the first months of her life dicing with death till another family's tragedy allowed Juniper to receive a new heart. All seems well, as this and other shots and video of the youngster on Channel 4, CBS in Denver's website suggest. And here.
I have zero connection to her, but this photo just picked up my sagging face enough to want to share it. All the work, the pain, the tragedies that have allowed us as a species to transplant major organs and save lives - and perhaps full lives of many years - is just old hat now, and it should not be. All praise to the family who had to pull the plug on their own and retain the spirit and energy to share their deceased child's heart with one who, from all indications, plans to use it well, and happily, and honor the child they lost.
What a gift. Remember Christian Barnard, the guy who made this all possible by being the first doctor to do it and taking all the hits and accusations that accrue to those who take action with risk, but in time. There was, and remains, a storm of controversy over transplants, and a black market, and all sorts of evil possibility as well as great good. Suspect Juniper has not devoted much time to this or consideration of herself or her painful journey. More than an 'owie,' though. It's photos like this (and children like her...) who must make it all worthwhile, the exhaustion worth it. I hope so.
Incredible. Not only alive but happy and healthy.
Climate change always makes the news, especially if the nation is near totally socked in by unending snow. My family in New England have never seen anything like what has hit them, and I've had estimates from Maine and Massachusetts who say there are fields with 7 and a half feet of level and heavy snow. Near hurricane winds pack it higher, and because cities have no place to put plowed snow, there are near mountains over a hundred feet high, maintained by heavy earth moving equipment, one of them in the center of MIT in Boston.
Snow always retains a bit of fun, and the children are rather agog, although there is more snow promised for this weekend just as we in Boulder are likely to have seven days of snow starting today, and making this February a record breaker for snow and cold after starting out as among the dryest and warmest.
Nobody dares point out that Spring is just around the bend, which (generally....) means warmer weather, which means melt, which means flooding of the sort nobody back there can remember and it will be dreadful, especially in the big cities like, say, Boston. Of course, what is usually a gradual warm up in the past may, if recent trends continue, now feature 70 degree days dissolving those hundred foot snow mountains into walls of water quickly.
All this burdens scientists of various types for explanations, since there is a religious segment of society melded with conservative politics that gets off chuckling about how wrong Al Gore was and that the earth is not warming and offer record snow falls and low temps as proof. What science is calling an aberration in climate is just an odd stretch of weather to these folks. You cannot argue with them, they don't want change and think it can be denied by will. In a way, climate change and science threatens their religion and their god. So they work to substitute myth and legend for history and science and education in general.
Ironically, they also stay alert to threats foreign and domestic while dumbing down our schools and decreasing our ability to meet said threats, even the ones based in reality. This doesn't matter because Christ is coming soon, they feel. There is precedent for all this rarely mentioned. Not just the failure of Christ to return, which has many laughable failures in the past, but a strange belief that the production of Christian gentlemen should be the agreed product of all our schools, private and public, along with submissive women. Republicans were just polled and over half think Christianity should be the state religion, contrary to Constitution and the very point of this nation. Hard to say what is more disheartening: that they didn't know it was blatantly unconstitutional or that they don't care.
This is the same as 18th and 19th century England, whose private schools for the ruling class - called by them Public Schools - churned out some very accomplished scholars and leaders but mostly leaning in the direction of essay writers, and not scientists. Only one percent of England's school children ever went to a college, and nearly all of them were from the upper classes, and this was true till quite recently. Nor, for that matter, did England's schools produce many people who knew about business, production, finance, or much of anything to be thought of as a useful trade. That was learned as an apprentice to the trade.
It was entirely common for officers in the Royal Navy and the Army to be the least informed about how to fight a war, a battle, or to maintain the engines and fire the weapons and hit something intended. Genius arose as well, but rarely assisted by the schools. So many scientists were autodidacts and amateur because so few of those with management positions or wealth had the slightest interest in earning what they already had, and kept private collections and published limited runs. This was the nation where Isaac Newton was refused a position because of his religious views. Such as they were.
Because England did it this way the status envy US had elements that wanted to replicate it, but the US from the beginning had no state church and no landed aristocracy or inherited government positions. So, the working classes had opportunity to rise and quickly. The public schools in the days of the McGuffy Readers helped. Now, though, the aspiring middle class is facing the horror of having expensively uneducated children equipped for a world resembling Edwardian England, but certainly not one with women being half the labor force, the long predominant white man sliding down the status ladder, and many relatively recent immigrants having the drive, education, and ability to do the needed jobs in industry and business. There are those who feel we should devote more time to religion and make believe history rather than knowing how to survive and prosper and, in general, what we're talking about.