Archive for June, 2008

News(week) Flash!! Global Warming Exists!!

30 June 2008

In their Global Literacy 2008 quiz, Newsweek has this True/False question:

“Global Warming Is a Cause of This Year’s Extreme Weather”

And guess what! This mainstream American magazine says it’s TRUE!

Well, duh. But I suppose it’s nice that people are finally starting to notice.

Still, I feel like the frog in the frying pan has just looked around and discovered that it’s frogs’ legs for dinner.



Handbasket Report — June 29 — Dutch Version

29 June 2008

A gold bug blog today carried an alarming story supposedly from a Dutch newspaper. The blogger translated the article thusly:

American ‘meltdown’ reason for money injection Fortis.
28th of June, 9:10
BRUSSELS/AMSTERDAM – Fortis expects a complete collapse of the US financial markets within a few days to weeks. That explains, according to Fortis, the series of interventions of last Thursday to retrieve € 8 billion. “We have been saved just in time. The situation in the US is much worse than we thought”, says Fortis chairman Maurice Lippens. Fortis expects bankruptcies amongst 6000 American banks which have a small coverage currently. But also Citigroup, General Motors, there is starting a complete meltdown in the US”

OK. I’m always a bit skeptical of gold bugs, so, after I took a deep breath, I clicked the link provided to the original, knowing full well it wouldn’t work since the URL was clearly truncated. With high hopes that the article was bogus, I sought the original. Unfortunately, I found this:

Amerikaanse ‘meltdown’ reden geldinjectie Fortis

Good old Babelfish translated the first paragraph of De Financiele Telegraaf article thusly:

AMSTERDAM – Fortis count within some days up to weeks on complete collapsing the American financial markets. That explains interventions of Thursday to the serial according to the bank insurer for itself with? 8 billion to reinforce. We are on the nippertje ready. It goes in the United States much more badly than thought, Fortis-chairman Maurice say lip paunch, which continues that top man Votron stays on. Fortis expect bankruptcies under 6000 American banks which have cover now little. But also Citigroup, General engines, there start completemeltdownin the US.

OK. Close enough.

In fact, too close for comfort.

And, in case you didn’t already know, Fortis is the largest bank in the Netherlands. Notice how the people running large European banks are all envisioning a mushroom cloud over Wall Street?

The news in America itself is, of course, more opaque. But I did find this article on Yahoo:

Wall Street to Begin July on Shaky Ground

There’s some pretty dire stuff in this article. But I didn’t notice any use of the word “meltdown.” Nice to know we’ve apparently exported the word though.


Handbasket Report- June 24th

24 June 2008

I’d intended to write a post on the impending food shortages, with floods followed by massive drought in California.

From Bloomberg

“I’m very concerned — panicked is probably a better word,” said melon broker Stephen Patricio, a former chairman of the Western Growers Association, which is based in Irvine, California.

Who could resist throwing out articles on bees dying, food riots, rice shortages, menhadden depletion, and other joy? I wriggled with prophecy.

Other news intervened. Trust me on the other and go buy a good stock of chickpeas. While you’re there, pick up a little of everything else you might possibly ever need.

Did you know DOW Chemical is raising prices 25% after a 20% raise three weeks ago? That’ll be passed along in everything.

Home prices drop. Who cooda knowd?

Wait! Shopping will save us! Or not.

Well, if the consumer won’t perform her patriotic duty then the stock market will have to step in- rather like a financial National Guard. Um, except they’re in Iraq, with little functional equipment, and are held hostage by a private company who can blackmail excessive fees from the government which ceded control over the day to day survival of the military.

Maybe buying a vehicle and getting out of Dodge sound best. And why not? GM holds such financial high ground they’re offering 6 year interest free loans. Now that’s a vote of confidence given this price inflationary era.

Ugh. All this news makes me crazed. I think I’ll head outside and relax to the sound of meadowlarks.


Update: Cassandra chimed in with this gem.

Least Favorite People, Least Logical Comments — June 23, 2008

23 June 2008

From Seth Bornenstein’s “NASA Warming Scientist: ‘This Is the Last Chance'”:

Longtime global warming skeptic Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., citing a recent poll, said in a statement, “Hansen, (former Vice President) Gore and the media have been trumpeting man-made climate doom since the 1980s. But Americans are not buying it.”

Not buying it? Not BUYING it? Who’s selling what here?

It’s too late to for me to start a rant on what Americans will or will not buy, but Inhofe’s line is rife with possibilities for a lengthy one.


Favorite Authors, Favorite Lines–June 23, 2008

23 June 2008

Here’s mine for the day, probably the week.

From “Company Policy” by the inimitable Lewis Lapham in the July 2008 issue of Harper’s

The estimated cost of entertaining the president with a fireworks display in the romantic Mesopotamian desert now stands at $600 billion, a seizure of the prople’s property on a scale undreamed of even by the splendid Charles I.

Lapham goes on to detail how the revised military enlistment contract now requires soldiers who sign up in time of war to agree to serve for “the duration of the war and for six months after its end.”

I sort of blurred out at this point, thinking of our now permanent “war on terrorism” and envisioning skeletons standing in neat lines, locked in eternal salutes. After that, I felt an immediate need to post. And now, since I haven’t yet finished the article, back to reading.


Death to Infidel Lawns!

21 June 2008

Anyone remember/know about Sayyid Qutb? This fundamentalist Muslim, a guy whose writings still inspire Al Qaeda, spent time in Colorado in 1949, and what he saw in rural, conservative Greeley, Colorado appalled him. That men and women square-danced together at church socials was high on his list of degenerate horrors, of course. But something else set him off too.


Yup. Green, clipped, neat, water-wasting, useless American lawns. Don’t believe me? Click on the LAWNS link.

Now, Qutb’s writings scare the daylights out of me, but I have to admit that I’m with him on lawns in dry climates.

So I smiled a bit when I read this 6/20/08 article: “High Gasoline Prices Changing Lawn-mowing Habits”

Were he alive, Qutb might shake a copy of In the Shade of the Koran in the air and then happily offer up an extra prayer or two.

Me, I’m just thinking about American conformity and waste. I mean WHY must almost everyone feel an obligation to put in a bluegrass lawn, no matter what the price in time, water, and gasoline? Did I mention fossil fuel-based fertilizers and chemical crap to suppress heartier vegetation?

And then there’s that little problem of riding lawn mower engines producing something like 12 times the CO2 of those in cars.

So, I HATE bluegrass lawns. I especially HATE misplaced bluegrass lawns.

They don’t belong in Colorado. Bluegrass belongs in the Blue Grass State–in horse pastures. Buffalo grass belongs in Colorado. Blue grama belongs in Colorado. Many other lovely, indigenous, low growing, water thrifty grasses belong in Colorado. I mow my Prairie Project in March and use the grass cuttings as mulch on my vegetable gardens where the grass and wildflowers sprout along with my tomatoes and peppers.

So I’ll wave my copy of Organic Gardening and say it:

Death to infidel lawns!


Marry Me, Maureen Dowd

19 June 2008

Brilliant opinion piece in today’s New York Times by Maureen Dowd.  Among the best lines is her closer: 

If there’s one thing W. and Cheney have proved, beyond a sliver of a shadow of a doubt, it’s that at least two white-guy Methodists are not capable of self-government.

Sad news here:

the historian Simon Schama did not repeat his 2006 assessment that the president was an “absolute [expletive] catastrophe” or his analysis that long before Mr. Bush’s militant missionary work in the Middle East, Europe had regarded the moral rhetoric of America as a cover for self-interest.

To enjoy Dowd’s liberal use of words like poodle, warmonger, pit bull, the “Colgate Moment” and more, click on

Scolds, ’tis good to laugh.


The Handbasket Report

18 June 2008

Looks like we just pulled the “Advance to Go” card.

We keep misunderestimating climate change.

Get your tickets now for the global stock and credit crash.

The Four Horsemen want supper. Add your disasters to the basket below.

(Hat tips to The Automatic Earth and The Project for PostApocology.)

Not so dry facts

17 June 2008


# One corn plant needs 54 gallons per season.
# One milk cow needs 5,475 gallons per year.
# One horse needs 3,650 gallons per year.
# One hog needs 1,500 gallons per year.
# One acre of sugar beets needs 651,702 gallons per season
# One acre of alfalfa needs 488,776 gallons per season.
# One human being in a municipality needs 54,750 gallons per year.
(But this includes average city uses including industrial, commercial, fire fighting, etc.)
# One human being in the country needs 12,000 gallons per year.


Freedom’s Just Another Word

17 June 2008

…for nothing left to say,” indicates Maureen Down in an editorial in the NY Times this date.  She noted in her opening graphs for the op-ed piece that the Euros (especially the French) are soooooo over GW Bush, and have already annointed Obama as the new Commander in Chief.  I particulary enjoyed a few lines of her piece, to wit:

The word “elite” is not a pejorative here; it’s a compliment. It does not occur to Parisians that Americans will choose the old, white-haired one if they can have the cool, skinny one with the Ray-Bans, John le Carré novels, chic wife and secret cigarettes.


In Old Europe, they’ve moved on, assuming that the American president has done all the damage that he can do. The blazing hostility toward W. has faded to indifference and a sort of fatigued perplexity about how les imbeciles de regime cowboy got into office, and how America could have put the world through all this craziness.

All that (and more–go to if you have a NY Times online sub) being said, my hair roots continue itching.  It ain’t over until it’s over, and, like the receding waters of the Cedar River, the detritus, poison, and threats to health and harmony engendered by le Bush et al. will linger long after the mud dries.  And though in the next regime (assuming Obama) we and the power wielders in high places will not have to endure jaunty observances like, “Your Eminence, you’re looking good” (to the Pope), we have endured eight years of plutocracy and cronyism whose outcomes will reverberate for generations.

On my way to work this a.m. (I drove, sigh), I remembered, again, growing up in li’l old Denver when the skies over the Rockies shone brilliant blue and one could breathe without sneezing.  Not merely a childhood experience, but the truth.  And I breathed a prayer of thanks to all the gods I do and do not believe in that I had the great good fortune to have experienced a couple of decades of camping and being able to drink the water, hiking and not worrying about an unlocked car in the parking lot, walking after midnight without fear of muggers, and on ad nauseum.  Though the downfall of Western Civilization can’t be laid solely at Bush’s feet, the legacy of abuse and misuse will certainly kill us all.  Oh well–we are going to die anyway, right?  Heard recently, “On the road to Armageddon, I’ll pick you up and we can chew on veggie wraps as we carpool in our Prius to meet infinity.”