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Saturday, April 28, 2007
No; you have no proper imagination the way to handle global warming is simple and consits of simply not mentioing polar bears or at least that is what the Administration believe since the Administration has ordered government biologists not to mention polar bears. Yes; twice, even though the second time involved mentioing polar bears, twice government biologists were ordered not to meantion, well, you know.
April 28, 2007
A Glacial Pace on Warming
Weeks after the Supreme Court's momentous ruling that the federal government could and probably should regulate greenhouse gases, pressure for decisive action continues to build.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California has warned that he will sue the Environmental Protection Agency unless it gives him the power to regulate automobile emissions. A New York Times/CBS News Poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans now want immediate steps to deal with global warming. And a leaked draft of the next report from the world's leading scientists says that the window for action is shrinking — that what governments do over the next 20 to 30 years will determine whether the world can avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
Even so, Washington continues to move as slowly as a melting glacier. This week, Stephen Johnson, the E.P.A. administrator, told a Senate committee that he was still mulling the ramifications of the court's decision, and he would not say when or even whether he would regulate carbon dioxide. He promised to solicit public comments on Mr. Schwarzenegger's request but, again, would not say when or whether he would grant that request. Under the law, California can set its own emissions standards — which other states can then adopt — but it needs a federal waiver before putting them into effect.
"I don't hear in your voice a sense of urgency," Senator Barbara Boxer, the committee chairwoman, told Mr. Johnson. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, was less charitable. "You astonish me," he said, a criticism clearly intended for the entire administration.
Nobody is asking Mr. Johnson to design a comprehensive national program for regulating greenhouse gases, an enormous undertaking that is plainly Congress's responsibility. Ms. Boxer and others are simply asking the administrator to exercise the authority the court gave him.
That would mean promptly approving California's proposal to reduce greenhouse gases from vehicles by 30 percent by the 2016 model year. That proposal is the centerpiece of a broader state effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sources by 25 percent by 2020.
California requested a waiver in 2005, but the E.P.A. — hiding behind the now-demolished claim that it lacked the authority to regulate greenhouse gases — has been sitting on it. Eleven other states have adopted the standards and will put them into effect as soon as California gets the green light....
Not to worry though, I have still not mentioned polar bears and will swear I did'nt if you say I did which I din't and wouldn't, mention polars bears that is.
Actually, I first thought the problem with polar bear, which I am not mentioning, was climate change, but I now think I was wrong, I think it must be the sex, polar bear sex that is, which I have not mentioned either since if I mentioned it it would mena mentioing polar bears having it which they don't and I haven't mentioned not being that kind of woman.
I know, I know, this is a family blog, but I am only saying what I cannot say this being a family blog and more. So, hush....
April 28, 2007
It's Maple Syrup Time, So Why the Whiff of French Fries?
By SAM HOOPER SAMUELS
WESTMINSTER, Vt. — Ah, early spring in Vermont. As temperatures warmed and the maples yielded up their annual crop of syrup, the hills and forests of the state were dotted with the familiar sights, sounds and smells of sugaring time.
But here at Sidelands Sugarbush in southeastern Vermont, the sweet aroma of maple syrup was mixed with a very different smell: the pungent odor of hot, used restaurant grease.
"Smell that?" asked Dan Crocker, owner of Sidelands, as he fired up his evaporator for a night of boiling on a recent April evening. "There's that French fry smell."
To do his bit to stave off global warming, Mr. Crocker this year converted his sugar house from regular fuel oil to used vegetable oil. Such oil, sometimes pumped into the tanks of environmentally friendly "grease cars," can also be used as an alternative to heating oil. While a dwindling number of small, traditional sugar makers still boil their sap over wood fires, the majority burn heating oil, a fossil fuel that contributes to global warming.
Derived from living plants rather than fossil fuels, used vegetable oil adds little or no carbon dioxide to the atmosphere....
April 11, 2007
Letter From California: A Late-Night Seminar on Lewis Thomas
By VERLYN KLINKENBORG
Last week I read with my students an essay by Lewis Thomas called "On Medicine and the Bomb," which was first published in 1981. It has been a long time since I taught it — probably 20 years — and a lot has changed since Thomas wrote it, including the structure of global politics and most of the numbers he uses.
It is a strikingly simple essay. Thomas surveys the state of research and practice in several medical fields, including bone marrow transplants, burn therapy and the treatment of what he calls "overwhelming trauma." And then he considers the good of all these resources against the prospect of a nuclear missile falling on New York City or Moscow. Which is to say no good at all.
This is a useful essay for young writers. It reminds them of the importance of dwelling wholly in each sentence they make. It teaches them to trust the reader. Thomas never hints where he is going. His prose is plain. He never exaggerates. He presents facts, one by one. But reading the essay is like watching a great magician perform a simple card trick. One card, two cards, three cards. But then he lays down the last card, and it's the one you've been having nightmares about your entire life.
My entire life, I should say. At the end of our discussion, I asked my students, mostly freshmen and sophomores, whether they had grown up with any fear of nuclear holocaust. The answer was no. My students are so very old that I always forget how young they are. The youngest were born in 1988. If they came to some embryonic political awareness about the same age I did — I was 11 when Kennedy was killed — then it happened about 1999. After we finished with Lewis Thomas, I went home in the night feeling as though I were carrying a precious relic of memory inside me.
The answer my students gave — that utterly unhesitating "no" — brought back to mind a few of the landmarks in the coming of age of my own nuclear fears. They include Pat Frank's "Alas, Babylon," Peter Watkins's "War Game," John Hersey's "Hiroshima," Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove," Jonathan Schell's "The Fate of the Earth," to which one might now add Cormac McCarthy's "The Road."
I remember — and it seems very strange to have to "remember" — the way these books and films seemed to stimulate and desolate me, the way they led me to a point from which I always had to find a way to turn back. The problem wasn't trying to imagine the unimaginable. The problem was trying to realize that it had been carefully planned, as Thomas says, by "so many people with the outward appearance of steadiness and authority."
And yet somehow that was also the point of balance, the small consolation. It was possible to have at least a little faith that even the amount of cold, rational will it would take to start a nuclear war would almost surely prevent it from starting. This masked the fundamental insanity of it all, and it was a reminder — in case you ever forgot it — that the only possible recourse we could have was to elect the most rational, and the most human, leaders we could. Everyone else was simply out of the loop.
In class, it occurred to me — and to my students — that Thomas's piece could be rewritten about global warming....
The limited ability of students to sympathize with the essay by Thomas Lewis might also explain why the relatively young are so quiet about the war in Iraq. The young support the war far more than any other age group, and I am puzzled as to why but an answer may simply be they have not experienced a sustained period of war even through parents.
Then, why should I be different? I wonder.
Actually Brad DeLong has never to my knowledge written against the war in or occupation of Iraq, which I find a little worrisome at times.
At lunch today, 2 older faculty were talking of listening to Hillary Clinton and hearing almost a plea by an older man in the audience to say something about leaving Iraq. But, Clinton would not and simply ignored the plea. They simply said, as I have said, they would never vote for Clinton.
The students the older faculty were with, by the way, did not find the coldness of Clinton to be a problem at all. Nonetheless, the coldness is there and is intolerable and young or not there are many of us who will no longer forgive the betrayal of peace advocates by Hillary Clinton. The time for even an apology is past.
That leaves me wondering why I heard the expression in sadness used today about Barack Obama, "empty suit." From a mathematician, and there was no disagreement. Are Democratic advisers telling the candidates, and especially Obama, to say nothing of substance? Does Obama have anything of substance to say? I keep hoping so, but what where when?
At the first debate in Nevada, Obama said he was too new to this and too new to that to have a health care plan, but a plan he would have or answer to critics. Weeks pass, and there is no plan and no hint of a plan and the debate in South Carolina was empty of substance on health care as well as other policy in any event.
Does Obama have any substance? Darn, I hope so.
So, I am convinced that Hillary Clinton will be destructive as a candidate, for I find that sense in older Democrats though I too have had that sense, and I want another candidate to emerge in substance and strength. John Edwards so far, but so far Edwards is no rock star and was timid in South Carolina.
Everyone in the family is supporting John Edwards, by the way. But, they too want more policy definition and assertiveness. There is never a kind word for the Warrior Princess anymore, but I have not asked whether they would vote for her.Post a Comment