Saturday February 23 2008
Lake Mead may go dry by 2021
There is a 50 percent chance that Lake Mead, which was created by the Hoover Dam and the Colorado River, will go dry by 2021 because of escalating human demand and climate change, according to a study by Tim Barnett and David Pierce of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California at San Diego.
Lake Mead straddles the Arizona-Nevada border, and Lake Powell is on the Arizona-Utah border. Aqueducts carry water from the system to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, and other communities in the Southwest.
By 2017, there is a 50 percent chance that the reservoir could drop so low that Hoover Dam could no longer produce hydroelectric power. Water conservation and mitigation technologies and policies thus need to be implemented now, the study stated.
The disappearance of the manmade lake would create a tidal wave of ill effects for the southwestern U.S. The lake provides water for large cities like Los Angeles and Las Vegas, as well as for several agricultural interests. The power also keeps on the lights in that region of the country. Imagine Los Angeles on a summer day with sporadic air conditioning and only a trickle of water coming out of the faucet. Then imagine that goes for a week.
"We were stunned at the magnitude of the problem and how fast it was coming at us," Barnett said in a statement. "Make no mistake, this water problem is not a scientific abstraction, but rather one that will impact each and every one of us that live in the Southwest."
"Today, we are at or beyond the sustainable limit of the Colorado system," he added.
6,000 POLAROIDS ON VIEW: VISUAL DIARY OF A LIFE LIVED FULLY
Friends of artist Jamie Livingston gathered at the Bertelsmann Campus Center at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson on a brilliantly colored fall day for the opening reception of the exhibition, JAMIE LIVINGSTON. PHOTO OF THE DAY: 1979-1997, 6,697 Polaroids, dated in sequence.
Livingston, a photographer, filmmaker, circus performer, accordian player, Mets fan, and above all, loyal friend, died on October 25th (his birthday) in 1997 at the age of 41. He left behind hundreds of bereft friends and a collection of 6,000 photographs neatly organized in small suitcases and wooden fruit crates.
Livingston took a polaroid once a day, every day, including his last, for 18 years.
thanks to The Online Photographer
JAMIE LIVINGSTON. PHOTO OF THE DAY: 1979-1997
thanks to The Online Photographer
by Jim Kunstler
The fall of Britain's Northern Rock bank may be the first dropped shoe in a chorus line of big banks tap-dancing into oblivion. The British government's move yesterday to nationalize the insolvent mortgage lender's remaining operations leaves shareholders holding an empty bag. Their only resort now will be to call their lawyers. What we may be witnessing, in a movement that will surely spread to the US, is a changing of the guard at the top of the financial food-chain between bankers and lawyers.
Shoes may have begun to drop in the US last week with Citigroup halting redemptions for its $500-million CSO mini hedge fund -- half a billion dollars being something less than walking-around-money in the Hamptons these days. Halting redemptions means that investors in the fund cannot withdraw their money -- the same as going to the bank and being told your account is frozen. Hedge funds can play rough with their investors because they are unregulated. The reason they remain unregulated is the presumption that anybody rich enough to "play" in a hedge fund can afford to lose (or be swindled) with no protection on the sidelines from government busybodies. What's more, the hedge fund managers do not have to make any of their operations open to public view, so that neither the investors nor any regulating authority knows what they are actually doing.
What the big banks who run many hedge funds are doing is going broke. They are pretending to be solvent by borrowing money from the Federal Reserve, the nation's alleged superbank. But borrowed money is not capital, i.e. surplus wealth wholly owned. Borrowed money is an obligation, a liability, a negative on the balance sheet. You can't have an entire financial system based on nothing more than a giant daisy-chain of liabilities. Somewhere there has to be a "reserve" of assets, items of value owned by somebody.
Addie Card: 1910
February 1910. Addie Card, 12 years old, anemic little spinner in North Pownal Cotton Mill, Vermont. Girls in mill say she is ten years. She admitted to me she was twelve; that she started during school vacation and would "stay." Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine.
This is the story of what happened to that little girl.
ADDIE CARD: The Search For An Anemic Little Spinner, Chapter One
Chapter One: Discovering Addie and Her World
If you drive about two miles north on Route 7 from Williamstown, Massachusetts, you cross the border into Pownal, Vermont. As the road curves around to the left, there is an abrupt change in the topography. The land opens up to the Green Mountains and the vast valley formed by the Hoosic River. The road rises gently for several miles, making it feel like you are taking off in a light plane. Looking west into the valley, the uncluttered, rural landscape looks magical - a church steeple here - a barn there. You are tempted to reverse direction and turn down the road you just passed, Route 346, and see Pownal close up.
That’s when the magical becomes the melancholy. Almost immediately, it appears that the area has somehow been untouched by the celebrated economic and cultural changes of the 20th century. Except for the (mostly) paved roads, cars, telephone poles, and an occasional satellite dish, the scene looks like an old postcard, or like the Appalachia towns of depression-era Kentucky and West Virginia.
The winding road passes a few farms and then comes to a crossroads in the village of North Pownal. The first thing you notice are the shacks and tiny houses on French Hill Road, and the badly maintained wood-frame duplexes that look like what they once were - mill housing. The mill is long gone, but it has left its legacy. By the river, there is a glass-enclosed sign on the spot once occupied by the North Pownal Manufacturing Company, a cotton mill that prospered in the 1800s and early 1900s, later becoming a tannery. It was demolished after it closed in 1988, resulting in a daunting and expensive hazardous waste cleanup project.
The sign includes a picture of the mill, and another of a young mill girl, once erroneously identified as Addie Laird, who was photographed by Lewis Wickes Hine, one of the world's most renowned and influential documentary photographers. He referred to her in his notes as "an amemic little spinner." From 1908 to 1917, Hine took thousands of pictures for the National Child Labor Committee, exposing the dangerous and unhealthful conditions that children endured working at textile mills, coal mines, vegetable farms, fish canneries, and as late-night "newsies" on urban streets. In 1910, Addie became what would later be one of Hine's most famous subjects, her 12-year-old frail body leaning against a spinning machine, her tired eyes staring out as if to say, "Hey, mister, what are you gonna do about me?"
Toronto Jews Challenge Jewish Identity Based on 'Indoctrination in Ethnic Nationalism'
One of my themes on this blog is that our policymaking in the Mideast will stay broken until Jews have the courage to openly describe and, if they need to, challenge the construction of Jewish identity. The problem with the neocons is that they have by and large acted out of a strong sense of essentially religious concern with the security needs of the Jewish state, but suppressed that component of their thinking in the public square. For instance, Charles Jacobs identifies himself only as the president of a Darfur group on a neocon foundation's website, leaving out his many Zionist activities. He offers opacity, where the state of the world demands transparency.
Tikkun of Toronto has blazed new ground in this area by posting "Israel stories," ten-minute oral narratives from Jews talking in the most personal and plain manner about what Israel meant to them growing up and what it means now. Obviously, these are progressives, but the four narratives I've listened to so far all get at the crisis that is enveloping Jewish identity for the next generation when at its core is support for a state that practices apartheid in the West Bank. As Tikkun says, gently, in publishing the stories: "There is a tension raised in our lives when the clothes of our ancestors, passed down to us, do not fit who we are. And there is a tension when the truths we learned in childhood no longer seem true."
And so Harvey, a religious kid and the son of Holocaust survivors, describes the impact on his worldview of being jailed in Morocco on a drug charge and finding that his Arab prison-mates treated him as an equal. Married to an Israeli, he admits that he has not been back to the Jewish state in 18 years because his and his wife's views have the potential to divide her family. As his own family was once divided when his mother retracted an invitation to a Passover seder to a relative who had reached out to Arafat.
Israel Says 'No'
On Jan. 23 Ha'aretz readers were utterly embarrassed. Just as the quality paper was printing its top headline, based on Israel's omniscient "security sources" – "New Israeli Policy in Gaza: Border Crossings Will Stay Closed" – the border crossings between Gaza and Egypt were being opened; a few hours later, they didn't exist anymore. Once again, the regional power was caught in surprise; Hamas won by breaking the siege.
A good indication for a declining empire is its inherent tendency to say "no" to reality. The Soviet Union gave the English language the interjection "nyet." Long ago, it was the Arabs who said "no" – no to negotiations, no to normalization, no to recognition, no to peace. This changed, at the latest, with the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002. Now it's Israel that has become the nyet-sayer. Get prepared to look up "lo," the Hebrew "no," in the Oxford English Dictionary.
The Israeli border town of Sderot is under attack. Rockets from Gaza are fired at the civilian population on a daily basis. No country can tolerate that for long, but the attacks have been going on for seven years. Military operations have all failed to stop or even significantly reduce the fire. Any rational adviser would say (1) protect or evict the inhabitants of Sderot; (2) talk to those firing the missiles and see what they want. Israel, however, says "no" to both suggestions.
Israel’s Self-Defeating ‘Liquidation’
As chance would have it, the “liquidation” was carried out only a few days after I wrote an article about the inability of occupying powers to understand the inner logic of resistance organizations. Mughniyeh’s “liquidation” is an outstanding example of this. (Of course, Israel gave up its occupation of South Lebanon some years ago, but the relationship between the parties has remained as it was.)
In the eyes of the Israeli leadership, the “liquidation” was a huge success. We have “cut off the head of the serpent” (another headline from Haaretz). We have inflicted on Hizbullah immense damage, so much that it cannot be repaired. “This is not revenge but prevention”, as another of the guided reporters (Haaretz again) declared. This is such an important achievement, that it outweighs the inevitable revenge, whatever the number of victims-to-be.
In the eyes of Hizbullah, thing look quite different. The organization has acquired another precious asset: a national hero, whose name fills the air from Iran to Morocco. The “liquidated” Mughniyeh is worth more than the live Mughniyeh, irrespective of what his real status may have been at the end of his life.
Enough to remember what happened here in 1942, when the British “liquidated” Abraham Stern (a.k.a. Ya’ir): from his blood the Lehi organization (a.k.a. Stern Gang) was born and became perhaps the most efficient terrorist organization of the 20th century.
Therefore, Hizbullah has no interest at all in belittling the status of the liquidatee. On the contrary, Hassan Nasrallah, exactly like Ehud Olmert, has every interest in blowing up his stature to huge proportions.
Learning From Arab Jews
Column: David Shasha, the founder and director of the Center for Sephardic Heritage in Brooklyn, New York, is one of my favorite weekly email reads. (You can subscribe, too, by contacting him directly.) Arab and Jew are not mutually exclusive categories. Quite the contrary. Anyone who tells you, as so many “pundits” do in this society when trying to explain the Middle East, that “Jews and Arabs have been fighting for thousands of years,” is speaking from ignorance. The idea of a conflict between “Jews” and “Arabs” is really only as old as modern political Zionism, and really only took on a generalized form in the second half of the 20th century amid the trauma that accompanied the creation of the State of Israel. Jews and Arabs had, in fact, lived together for hundreds of years in the Muslim world, and many Jews have always considered themselves Arab.
David Shasha makes the case that this branch of Judaism, what he calls the “Levantine Option”, is tragically silenced and excluded from the mainstream Ashkenazi and Zionist narrative that dominates discussion of the Jewish experience. He argues that while the Ashkenazi tradition was both heavily influenced by Western Christian traditions and also, because of persecution, evolved a far more narrow, insular “shtetl” outlook on Jewish identity. By contrast, he argues, the Sephardic experience, in the “convivienca” of Moorish Spain and the Arab lands in the Islamic golden age actually has much more to offer Jews looking for an expansive, universalist version of their identity in a multi-cultural, cosmopolitan world. It’s fascinating stuff: Read on!
Twisted Traditional Paper
Kamiko is a word made up of two characters, “kami” meaning “paper” and “ko” meaning “cloth”. This paper cloth is a kind of traditional Japanese washi that has been kneaded so that it’s soft, and treated with starch so it’s strong and water-resistant. Akio Sakamoto is a man who is using this lovely traditional material to make teddy bears and contemporary-styled lamps – things you wouldn’t normally expect from such a traditional industry. This week we take a look at this man who comes from a long line of papermakers and isn’t content to just stay in his place.
by Bob Altemeyer
A lot of the political books in my list of recommended readings I've read trying to understand what the fuck is going on in this country. One of the more interesting commentators has been John Dean, formerly noted for his cover up of Nixon's Watergate crimes. He brings the perspective of a participant. The last book I recommended was his Broken Government. A recent post at Bad Attitudes pointed me to the source for John Dean's understanding of what is going on, which would be Bob Altemeyer. Here is a series John Dean did on Bob Altemeyer's studies of authoritarianism.
Understanding the Contemporary Republican Party: Authoritarians Have Taken Control
Part One in a Three-Part Series
By JOHN W. DEAN
Last year, I published Conservatives Without Conscience, but it struck me as a bit too self-promoting to use this space to talk about the book. The core of the book examines a half-century of empirical studies that had never been explained for the general reader. Not being a social scientist, I was thrilled when the book became a bestseller and countless political and social psychologists wrote to thank me for translating their work for the general reader.
At this point, I feel that this material is simply too crucial to understanding current politics and government for me to continue to ignore it in my columns for FindLaw. In addition, I want to refer to these findings throughout my commentary on the 2008 presidential and congressional elections, so it is time to set forth a few basics from this work.
Conservatives Without Conscience ("CWC") sought to understand the modern conservative movement, and in particular it's hard turn to the right during the past two-and-a-half decades. Conservatives have taken control of the Republican Party, and, in turn, the GOP has taken control of the government (all three branches, until 2006).
Who are these people? Of course, we know their names: Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush - to mention a few of the obvious. More importantly, what drives them? And, why do their compliant followers seem to never question or criticism them? Here, I am thinking of people like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter - to mention a few more of the conspicuous.
In this column, and those that follow, I hope to explain the rather remarkably information I have uncovered. It explained what for me what I had previously thought inexplicable. And based on my mail, it seems to have done the same for a lot of CWC readers. So let me see if I can extract a few key points that may help to understand what happened, and why it happened.
Why Authoritarians Now Control the Republican Party: The Rise of Authoritarian Conservatism
Part Two in a Three-Part Series
By JOHN W. DEAN
These, of course, are followers. Altemeyer labeled these people "right-wing authoritarians" not because he was looking to target political conservatives, but rather because he was drawing broadly on the historical terms that identify those who openly submit to established authorities, and whether those authorities are political, economic or religious, those who submit to them are traditionally described as being on the right wing. As Altemeyer developed and refined his testing, however, it became apparent that those who tested as highly submissive to economic or religious authorities also proved to be hard-right political conservatives.
In addition to being especially submissive to established authority, Altemeyer's research revealed that those he calls right-wing authoritarians also show "general aggressiveness" towards others, when such behavior is "perceived to be sanctioned" by established authorities. Finally, these people are always highly compliant with the social conventions endorsed by society and established authorities. These basic traits, submissiveness to authority and conventionality, are the essence of those Altemeyer describes as right-wing authoritarians. If these traits are not present in some significant (albeit varying) degree, he does not consider the subject to be a right-wing authoritarian. However, these people can, and often do, consistently reveal they have many other interesting traits as well.
Based on Altemeyer's study, as well as those of other social psychologists, I prepared a list of the additional traits that these personalities, both men and women who test high as right-wing authoritarians, often evidence: highly religious, moderate to little education, trust untrustworthy authorities, prejudiced (particularly against homosexuals, women, and followers of religions other than their own), mean-spirited, narrow-minded, intolerant, bullying, zealous, dogmatic, uncritical toward their chosen authority, hypocritical, inconsistent and contradictory, prone to panic easily, highly self-righteous, moralistic, strict disciplinarian, severely punitive, demands loyalty and returns it, little self-awareness, usually politically and economically conservative/Republican.
The Impact of Authoritarian Conservatism On American Government
Part Three in a Three-Part Series
By JOHN W. DEAN
The authoritarianism of the contemporary Republican Party has had a dire impact on all three branches of the federal government. This impact is the subject of my new book, Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches, and a matter I intend to write about periodically in this space as we approach the 2008 Election.
Authoritarian leaders do not govern when they control the apparatus of government; rather, they rule. And given their worldview, they rule from either the hard or radical right. This can best be seen by looking at the way they operate when in control of the government.
And the best part about the availability of this essential work is that it is free at: The Authoritarians. Go there. Now.
I hope everyone that was in the path of the lunar eclipse was able to see it. It was a beautiful thing. Fortunately the rain didn't show up and we had a great view in the Seattle area.
Wednesday morning I got a call from my daughter Katie. She was in the hospital with MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Nasty shit. She had it on her face. They did some draining and pumped her full of antibiotics. Thursday they installed a Picc line so she could administer her antibiotics when she got home. Zoe and I picked yesterday and brought her home. Today the swelling is almost gone but she will be on the IV antibiotics for another week. She will be able to go back to work in a few days. There seems to be an outbreak of MRSA her on Whidbey Island. No idea how Katie caught it.
Good news from my other daughter, Jenny. Her husband, William, returned from Iraq January 1. He just got his promotion to Staff Sargeant and Jenny was promoted to the manager of the doors and windows section of the Home Depot where she works. And they had an offer accepted on a house they want to buy. They are excited
Zoe's mom, Gerry, is doing about the same. We went down last Sunday and the Tuesday before that. The Tuesday visit was also a conference with the staff. Among other things we discussed the DNR (Do not resuscitate) form. Not an easy thing to do. In the conversation we discovered that the social worker and her psych doctor had parents with Alzheimer's. We already new that her medical doctor's late mother had Alzheimer's. They are all very sympathetic with our situation. We usually see Gerry in the evening. This was an oportunity to see her in action doing the day. It was not pretty. She was yelling and hitting out. They think something is bothering her, probably pain, but she can't tell them. The staff is doing what they can. They are so patient. We just wish they were closer. We will be going back down on Monday.
I've been working on a new strap design for gordy's camera straps. I'm pretty excited about this one. I have a few adjustments to make and then take some pictures of it in action.
Now for some links.