jazzoLOG: Flag Day    
 Flag Day16 comments
picture14 Jun 2008 @ 12:53, by Richard Carlson

You see what power is -- holding someone else's fear in your hand and showing it to them!

---Amy Tan

Over the old wooden bridge
no traveler
crossed.

---Henry David Thoreau

In studying the Way, realizing it is hard;
once you have realized it, preserving it is hard.
When you can preserve it, putting it into practice is hard.

---Zen saying

Photo: truckers burn their vehicles in fuel strike in Europe.

On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and in 1916 Woodrow Wilson proclaimed we should do it every year...and so that's the story of that. Today it follows Friday the 13th...and have you read the news today, oh boy! Where to begin?

I think I'd like to mention my concern for my sister-in-law Kirsten, who has lived for many years with her family near Iowa City. I did not hear yesterday whether or not there had been phone contact with them, but if not it wouldn't be the first time they've hefted a sandbag or 2---or perhaps they were among the university folk carrying the library's special book collection to higher ground upstairs. [link] While the Cedar River is beginning to recede, the Iowa River won't crest until Tuesday. They're calling this a Five Hundred Year Flood in Iowa City, but I heard an Iowan on the radio yesterday say, "We're getting a new Hundred Year Flood every year here now." People are dead in Cedar Rapids, and thousands have fled their homes, many of which have washed away. A railroad bridge across the Cedar River collapsed from the flood, and bridges throughout the state are closed. This is not the first bridge in this country's infrastructure to go down because there's no money for upgrades. Iowa's governor declared 83 of their 99 counties disaster areas. Governor Culver said yesterday the estimate of damage to Iowa's agriculture economy so far this summer is over a billion dollars. Combine this with the flood damage in Illinois and Indiana, and how is your garden coming along?

Is this weather ----and come to think of it, this still officially is Springtime in the US---actually the climate? People still don't talk about the Warming or the Change much here. We were near Toronto a couple years ago when a tornado blew through their downtown. The next day the Canadian version of the Weather Channel began giving hourly seminars on global warming, what it's about, and how it works. Down here at that time the Weather Channel never had mentioned the phrase. I'm still shocked to pick up something like The New York Times this morning and read through the headlines in boredom. But go to the UK and what do you see? Read the Guardian on Thursday, and get hit with this~~~

"Climate chaos is inevitable. We can only avert oblivion
At best we will limit the extent of global warming, but Kyoto barely helps. Does humanity have the foresight to save itself?

Mark Lynas
The Guardian,
Thursday June 12 2008

Sometimes we need to think the unthinkable, particularly when dealing with a problem as dangerous as climate change - there is no room for dogma when considering the future habitability of our planet. It was in this spirit that I and a panel of other specialists in climate, economics and policy-making met under the aegis of the Stockholm Network thinktank to map out future scenarios for how international policy might evolve - and what the eventual impact might be on the earth's climate. We came up with three alternative visions of the future, and asked experts at the Met Office Hadley Centre to run them through its climate models to give each a projected temperature rise. The results were both surprising, and profoundly disturbing."

· Mark Lynas is the author of Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet

marklynas.org

[link]

Or how about this item in yesterday's Guardian? Can anyone imagine something like this happening in West Virginia coal country?

"Climate change campaigners have hijacked a train carrying coal to Britain's biggest power station, swarming on to the roof of its 20 huge trucks.

The 40 protesters stopped the regular delivery service to Drax in Yorkshire disguised as railway workers in yellow warning jackets and waving red flags, having read up on standard railway safety rules.

The ambush took place at an iron girder bridge over the river Aire between the villages of Gowdall and Hirst Courteney at 8am BST. One group then used the bridge girders and climbing equipment to scale the 12ft high trucks.

They hoisted a huge banner reading 'Leave it in the ground' – referring to the coal destined for the power station's furnaces. The protesters carried food, water and even a portable lavatory with the intention of being able to remain on board for several days."

[link]

Move over to the UK's Independent Thursday, and we have Michael Savage's on-the-derrick account of the End of the Age of Oil. Wait a minute, this is not the ugly Yankee shock jock who loves to yuck it up about gays, other races, and Edward Kennedy's cancer. This is a young guy who still was a student in 2006, and joined The Independent's staff last year. Here he goes, out into the North Sea for the story~~~

"Fade to black: Is this the end of oil?

For generations, we've taken it for granted. But as prices soar and reserves dwindle, the time is fast approaching when mankind will have to live without oil. Are we ready to confront some really inconvenient truths? Michael Savage reports from the North Sea

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Aberdeen heliport is heaving. Dozens of rig men are waiting to board helicopters and begin a two-week stint in the middle of the North Sea. It appears that business out on the rigs, known simply as 'the job' in these parts, is booming. Eventually, it's our turn to board a cramped chopper, shoulder to shoulder with the solidly built workers who sit silently, psyching themselves up for a fortnight surrounded by cold, crashing waves.

Two hours later, we land at a rusting rig named Alwyn, 440 kilometres off the coast of Aberdeen. Ollie Bradshaw, the rig's burly production supervisor, meets the new arrivals."

[link]

Fortunately not everything in the American media mainstream is business as usual. Paul Krugman yesterday shook up the NY Times with a column that even mentioned the forbidden and dreaded word "socialism!"

"Bad Cow Disease
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: June 13, 2008

'Mary had a little lamb / And when she saw it sicken / She shipped it off to Packingtown / And now it’s labeled chicken.'

That little ditty famously summarized the message of 'The Jungle,' Upton Sinclair’s 1906 exposé of conditions in America’s meat-packing industry. Sinclair’s muckraking helped Theodore Roosevelt pass the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act — and for most of the next century, Americans trusted government inspectors to keep their food safe.

Lately, however, there always seems to be at least one food-safety crisis in the headlines — tainted spinach, poisonous peanut butter and, currently, the attack of the killer tomatoes. The declining credibility of U.S. food regulation has even led to a foreign-policy crisis: there have been mass demonstrations in South Korea protesting the pro-American prime minister’s decision to allow imports of U.S. beef, banned after mad cow disease was detected in 2003.

How did America find itself back in The Jungle?

It started with ideology. Hard-core American conservatives have long idealized the Gilded Age, regarding everything that followed — not just the New Deal, but even the Progressive Era — as a great diversion from the true path of capitalism."

[link]

So how's the Kucinich impeachment legislation moving along? Did the press even cover it? Here's a guy at OpEdNews.com who decided to call up John Conyers and not only ask him why nothing ever seems to come out of that Judiciary Committee---but to accuse him actually of having blood on his hands too! Obviously Representative Conyers was shocked at this, but the rest of the phone call may interest you.

[link]

Peace


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16 comments

14 Jun 2008 @ 17:47 by bushman : Hmm
I seem to remember when I was around 7 or 8 years old, hanging out at the babysitters house, her oldest son in vietnam, so she would always watch the tv news. Anyway, during that time I remember on the news them showing most the midwest in floods, for over 3 weeks the midwest was floods, and way worse than what Im seeing on the news now, must just be the 35-40 year floods.  


14 Jun 2008 @ 18:16 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : In case anyone
missed this, here's Gore Vidal's own heartbroken outcry - "like great bells tolling" - against the destruction of the Constitution.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20080612_taking_back_the_republic/

Gore Vidal’s Article of Impeachment

Posted on Jun 11, 2008

By Gore Vidal

On June 9, 2008, a counterrevolution began on the floor of the House of Representatives against the gas and oil crooks who had seized control of the federal government. This counterrevolution began in the exact place which had slumbered during the all-out assault on our liberties and the Constitution itself.

I wish to draw the attention of the blog world to Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s articles of impeachment presented to the House in order that two faithless public servants be removed from office for crimes against the American people. As I listened to Rep. Kucinich invoke the great engine of impeachment—he listed some 35 crimes by these two faithless officials—we heard, like great bells tolling, the voice of the Constitution itself speak out ringingly against those who had tried to destroy it.

Although this is the most important motion made in Congress in the 21st century, it was also the most significant plea for a restoration of the republic, which had been swept to one side by the mad antics of a president bent on great crime. And as I listened with awe to Kucinich, I realized that no newspaper in the U.S., no broadcast or cable network, would pay much notice to the fact that a highly respected member of Congress was asking for the president and vice president to be tried for crimes which were carefully listed by Kucinich in his articles requesting impeachment.

But then I have known for a long time that the media of the U.S. and too many of its elected officials give not a flying fuck for the welfare of this republic, and so I turned, as I often do, to the foreign press for a clear report of what has been going on in Congress. We all know how the self-described “war hero,” Mr. John McCain, likes to snigger at France, while the notion that he is a hero of any kind is what we should be sniggering at. It is Le Monde, a French newspaper, that told a story the next day hardly touched by The New York Times or The Washington Post or The Wall Street Journal or, in fact, any other major American media outlet.

As for TV? Well, there wasn’t much—you see, we dare not be divisive because it upsets our masters who know that this is a perfect country, and the fact that so many in it don’t like it means that they have been terribly spoiled by the greatest health service on Earth, the greatest justice system, the greatest number of occupied prisons—two and a half million Americans are prisoners—what a great tribute to our penal passions!

Naturally, I do not want to sound hard, but let me point out that even a banana Republican would be distressed to discover how much of our nation’s treasury has been siphoned off by our vice president in the interest of his Cosa Nostra company, Halliburton, the lawless gang of mercenaries set loose by this administration in the Middle East.

But there it was on the first page of Le Monde. The House of Representatives, which was intended to be the democratic chamber, at last was alert to its function, and the bravest of its members set in motion the articles of impeachment of the most dangerous president in our history. Rep Kucinich listed some 30-odd articles describing impeachable offenses committed by the president and vice president, neither of whom had ever been the clear choice of our sleeping polity for any office.

Some months ago, Kucinich had made the case against Dick Cheney. Now he had the principal malefactor in his view under the title “Articles of Impeachment for President George W. Bush”! “Resolved, that President George W. Bush be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate.” The purpose of the resolve is that he be duly tried by the Senate, and if found guilty, be removed from office. At this point, Rep. Kucinich presented his 35 articles detailing various high crimes and misdemeanors for which removal from office was demanded by the framers of the Constitution.

Update: On Wednesday, the House voted by 251 to 166 to send Rep. Kucinich’s articles of impeachment to a committee which probably won’t get to the matter before Bush leaves office, a strategy that is “often used to kill legislation,” as the Associated Press noted later that day.  



14 Jun 2008 @ 19:23 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : Does the corporate
mass media define our culture? Like ancient Greeks standing on the sidelines we watch the gods at play up on the stage. Yesterday, on NBC and CNN it was nonstop coverage of the death of Tim Russert. You would have thought a president had died. And watching all this - and some of the mourning seemed forced to me - one could be left with the empty feeling that nothing had gone on during the day. That there had been no news.

But the mass media shapes and daily forms and presents “the American family saga.” And like many ancient Greek shepherds we stand on the ground watching as the gods play. As if it all were some sort of Hellenic soap opera.

So what happens in the Congress? Nothing? Did you know that every major media outlet, both TV and the print press, has cut out its Congressional correspondent? There’s a room there, in the Capital, for the press. I guess it’s empty now. Since no one from the major media is covering what our Congress does. Thank god for CSPAN! I occasionally watch the goings on on the floors of the House and Senate. And there is indeed much drama occurring there. Though some claim all the real business is performed behind closed doors. Even so, enough emerges on the floor to get a grasp of what is being decided. And does any of this have any affect on our lives? Does any of it touch us in any way?

You would never know if it does from the mass media. Not on TV at least. For all that drama taking places on the floors of the Senate and House is not considered entertaining enough to be presented to their viewing audiences. Yes, the doings of those Greek goddesses, Brittany and Paris, are more profit oriented. More likely to boost ratings.

And do we then wonder why so many Americans are ignorant, understanding nothing of what our government does? Or knowing what is going on? You may blame other causes than the mass news media for this ignorance, and certainly anyone who wishes to make the effort can be well informed. But surely on each hour of TV news they could find five minutes to summarize what has occurred that day in the House and Senate? Done right it could be quite dramatic and entertaining. No kidding.  



15 Jun 2008 @ 11:05 by jazzolog : Noah's Ark In Iowa
Many have seen this photo of houses afloat south of Cedar Rapids~~~

http://www.nydailynews.com/img/2008/06/15/amd_iowa_flood.jpg

When I made contact with my sister-in-law yesterday, they just were leaving their house, which in Atalissa some miles east of Iowa City is on high ground. It was to be another day of sandbagging at the University where her husband works in the theater department. The theater itself is padlocked as too dangerous to try to enter. Today's DesMoines Register begins its story about the University~~~

Iowa City, Ia. — The University of Iowa faced the gravest crisis in its 161-year history this weekend as floodwaters from the still-rising Iowa River poured into at least 12 campus buildings and threatened nine more.

One-eighth of the campus already has been flooded or was at risk of being flooded, university officials said Saturday.

"We've never seen a threat like this before," University President Sally Mason said.

An estimated 2,000 volunteer sandbaggers waged a valiant effort Friday and Saturday to protect the campus, including the Main Library and the Lindquist Center, which houses the university's computer system.

But they were confronting a foe that wasn't expected to back down until early Tuesday.

Sandbagging efforts were suspended about 3:30 p.m. Saturday when a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for the area. A driving rain, hail and sirens followed an hour later.

In addition, officials said the river was within 1 foot of breaking through a sandbag levee near the English-Philosophy Building just east of the Iowa River. They did not want volunteers caught near a levee breach.

Before the storm, Mason thought sandbagging would be finished by early Saturday evening.

"This is our last effort," she said, referring to work being done on Madison Street, one block east of the Iowa River. When it's done, "then all we can do is wait. We will have done all we can."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the Iowa River was at 31.3 feet as of 10 p.m. Saturday. It was expected to climb to a crest of 33 feet by Tuesday morning. That would be more than 4 feet over the previous record, 28.5 feet, in 1993. Flood stage is 22 feet.

The Corps' Web site estimated the crest of the Coralville Reservoir upstream from Iowa City would be Sunday.

Officials said the flood threat was much greater than that faced by the U of I during 1993, which set the previous standard for epic floods in Iowa.

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080615/NEWS/806150364/-1/SPORTS12 with pictures.

The Associated Press yesterday ran its story about expected scarcity of corn as the result of midwest flooding~~~

http://www.truthout.org/files/images/N3_061408C.jpg

Floods that have inundated the Midwest could reduce world corn supplies and drive food prices higher at a time when Americans are stretching their grocery budgets and when people in poor countries have rioted over rising food costs.

The U.S. government will report later this month on how many acres of corn were lost to flooding, but farmers and agriculture experts say the toll appears grim, with thousands of acres probably destroyed in the region that grows most of the world's corn.

"It's not a very good picture at all. We're looking at possibly a good reduction in acres if a lot of this crop remains underwater," said Chad Hart, an agriculture economist at Iowa State University. "There's still hope, but it wanes with each rainstorm."

The disaster has drawn comparisons to the 1993 floods that displaced thousands of people and wiped away vast swaths of the heartland's agriculture. At the time, about 18 bushels per acre of corn were destroyed, "and everybody is reporting that this year is worse," said Jason Ward, grains analyst at North Star Commodity in Minneapolis.

The most recent floods have sent corn prices soaring past $7 a bushel for the first time, up from about $4 a year ago. Prices shot to a record for a seventh straight day Friday, climbing as high as $7.37 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Floodwaters also hurt soybean crops, sending prices near all-time highs. Wheat, oats, rice and other food commodities were also damaged.

In Iowa, the country's top corn producer, about 9 percent of the anticipated crop either hasn't been planted because farmers can't get into their fields, or needs to be replanted because it's waterlogged, said Roger Elmore, a corn expert at Iowa State.

That's about 1.2 million acres of corn - almost 1.5 percent of the country's anticipated harvest - that may produce only a fraction of its potential yield.

Rain continued falling Friday in much of Iowa, and it's already late to be planting corn.

"It's Noah's Ark-like conditions out there ... and if you replant now you're going to get much lower yields," said Vic Lespinasse of grainanalyst.com in Chicago.

Corn prices have shot up more than 80 percent in the past year because of rising energy prices and surging global demand for biofuel and livestock feed, but excessive rainfall in the Midwest has pushed prices up nearly 20 percent in the past month alone.

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080614/NEWS08/806140363/1025/NEWS01 with pictures. This particular version of the AP dispatch is at The Tennessean, so you get some good ol' conservative comment reaction.  



15 Jun 2008 @ 17:46 by bushman : Well,
thats what happens when you pave over the land and don't properly deal with the run off, just how much more land has been paved over since 93? And how much was paved over from say 70s to 90s? Seems flooding is proportional to paved expantion and lack of proper retention ponds and cannals. Some really old book says something about building your house upon the rocks and not the sands, even a sunday school song was writen, "and the rains came down and washed your homes away".
http://afteracupofcoffee.net/index.php/2008/06/06/he-built-his-house-real-good/  



16 Jun 2008 @ 11:09 by jazzolog : Blacktop Or Whitewash?
Bushman's construction advice from Arizona, where people seem to try harder than anywhere on earth to ignore they live in the desert, certainly should be heeded. But it's not just the pavement that's to blame; it's the carbon emissions from the bulldozers that cleared the way and the trucks and personal vehicles that roll over that highway. In the case of the University of Iowa, we're looking much further back than 1993. Here's a school been a-sittin' there since 1847, just 59 days after Iowa became a state! As of last evening, "University of Iowa president Sally Mason says Hancher Auditorium took a real hit. 'The predictions are that water is likely up to stage level inside Hancher and I think people who have been in Hancher have a pretty good idea of what that means. That's a significant amount of water,' Mason says.
Fifteen other buildings on campus have been flooded and officials estimate there is up to four feet of water inside the University of Iowa Museum of Art. Mason says even though the river has reached its crest, flood levels are expected to remain high for several days. 'We have 15 facilities that we know of that are flooded. We have another seven that we're concerned about. They are at risk of flooding. Although we have made herculean efforts to contain this...We did our best with the first 15, in many cases, but it wasn't quite enough,' Mason says. http://www.radioiowa.com/gestalt/go.cfm?objectid=8E786979-DA26-1721-79131E08BA583341 Predictions are some buildings will have to face demolition.

Iowa's governor has built a website so citizens can find out what roads still are open in the state. http://www.flood2008.iowa.gov/ Well, maybe we should say he revised a site that still contains photos of the devastating tornadoes from last month.

So where will all this water go, once Iowa City is flushed out? That's next, as cities and towns along the Mississippi get ready. {link:http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-iowa-floods_monjun16,0,2277962,full.story} Hey FEMA, how are those levees in New Orleans doing after the repairs?  



16 Jun 2008 @ 18:22 by bushman : Upstream
flood control, was not part of the system, we have the same flooding issues now, where they send run off into an existing river system that would normaly handle such flows, cant handle the added flow from larger towns upstream. Why do you think a river crests to flood stage? There are basicly 2 reasons, more water diverted there and silt build up. Water vapor is the most predominant factor/green house gas, not CO2, this is a fact not conjecture. The whole planet is warming from the inside out, this can be proven by the higher volcanic activity under the sea, even Yellow Stone is getting hotter, there are still tourist trails that are closed due to the ground heat. As well its so much easyer to heat water from the bottom than heating it with hot air from the top, or even radiation from the top. Brainwash is more likely the colepret of your lamentations. :}  


18 Jun 2008 @ 10:02 by jazzolog : June 15 U of I Campus Flood Pictures

http://www.flickr.com/photos/uinews/sets/72157605637240227/  



19 Jun 2008 @ 15:00 by jazzolog : The Bushman Redemption Center
Bushman remains one of the few interesting thinkers still active at New Civilization, and I won't be one to argue with his notions about undersea volcanic activity or resulting increased water vapor or a wave of rays from the sun. All these may be causes of a warming planet---even though NASA's James Hansen informed his audience at Ohio State last month that geologically we're supposed to be in a cooling trend. Bushman may be encouraged to hear that at least one environmentalist in Iowa agrees that rampant development, agricultural and otherwise, without regard to flood plains and all that, certainly has contributed to ongoing disaster~~~

Iowa flooding could be man’s fault, experts say
Where some blame days of rain, others point to an altered landscape
By Joel Achenbach
updated 12:44 a.m. ET, Thurs., June. 19, 2008

As the Cedar River rose higher and higher, and as he stacked sandbags along the levee protecting downtown Cedar Falls, Kamyar Enshayan, a college professor and City Council member, kept asking himself the same question: "What is going on?"

The river would eventually rise six feet higher than any flood on record. Farther downstream, in Cedar Rapids, the river would break the record by more than 11 feet.

Enshayan, director of an environmental center at the University of Northern Iowa, suspects that this natural disaster wasn't really all that natural. He points out that the heavy rains fell on a landscape radically reengineered by humans. Plowed fields have replaced tallgrass prairies. Fields have been meticulously drained with underground pipes. Streams and creeks have been straightened. Most of the wetlands are gone. Flood plains have been filled and developed.

"We've done numerous things to the landscape that took away these water-absorbing functions," he said. "Agriculture must respect the limits of nature."

Officials are still trying to understand all the factors that contributed to Iowa's flooding, and not everyone has the same suspicions as Enshayan. For them, the cause was obvious: It rained buckets and buckets for days on end. They say the changes in land use were lesser factors in what was really just a case of meteorological bad luck.

Drastic changes to landscape

But some Iowans who study the environment suspect that changes in the land, both recently and over the past century or so, have made Iowa's terrain not only highly profitable but also highly vulnerable to flooding. They know it's a hard case to prove, but they hope to get Iowans thinking about how to reduce the chances of a repeat calamity.

"I sense that the flooding is not the result of a 500-year event," said Jerry DeWitt, director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. "We're farming closer to creeks, farming closer to rivers. Without adequate buffer strips, the water moves rapidly from the field directly to the surface water."

Corn alone will cover more than a third of the state's land surface this year. The ethanol boom that began two years ago encouraged still more cultivation.

Between 2007 and 2008, farmers took 106,000 acres of Iowa land out of the Conservation Reserve Program, which pays farmers to keep farmland uncultivated, according to Lyle Asell, a special assistant for agriculture and environment with the state's Department of Natural Resources (DNR). That land, if left untouched, probably would have been covered with perennial grasses with deep roots that help absorb water.

The basic hydrology of Iowa has been changed since the coming of the plow. By the early 20th century, farmers had installed drainage pipes under the surface to lower the water table and keep water from pooling in what otherwise could be valuable farmland. More of this drainage "tiling" has been added in recent years. The direct effect is that water moves quickly from the farmland to the streams and rivers.

"We've lost 90 percent of our wetlands," said Mary Skopec, who monitors water quality for the Iowa DNR.

Land ill-suited for deluge

Crop rotation may also play a subtle role in the flooding. Farmers who may have once grown a number of crops are now likely to stick to just corn and soybeans -- annual plants that don't put down deep roots.

Another potential factor: sediment. "We're actually seeing rivers filling up with sediment, so the capacity of the rivers has changed," Asell said. He said that in the 1980s and 1990s, Iowa led the nation in flood damage year after year.

This landscape wasn't ready for the kind of deluge that hit Iowa in May and early June. Central and eastern portions of the state received 15 inches of rain. That came on top of previous rains that had left the soil saturated. Worse, the rain came at the tail end of an unusually cool spring. Farmers had delayed planting their crops. The deluge struck a nearly naked landscape of small plants and black dirt.

"With that volume of rain, you're going to have flooding. There's just no way around it," said Donna Dubberke, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities. "This is not just because someone put in a parking lot."

The rising Mississippi River is expected to peak this week, threatening towns and farmland north of St. Louis as floodwaters continue to move down the river. So far, flooding and severe weather have killed at least 24 people in three states and injured 106, forced the evacuations of about 40,000, and driven corn prices to record highs.

500-year flood every 15 years?

Two levees burst just north of Quincy, Ill., yesterday morning, forcing the evacuation of the small town of Meyer. Yesterday afternoon, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) visited the town after viewing the nearby Sny Island Levee, about 12 miles downstream from Quincy and, at 54 miles long, the second-biggest levee on the Mississippi.

In Iowa, the National Weather Service has reported record flooding at 12 locations on four rivers, including the Cedar, the Iowa, the Wapsipinicon and the Mississippi. The U.S. Geological Survey has preliminary data showing 500-year floods on the Cedar, the Shell Rock, the Upper Iowa and the Nodaway.

The Great Flood of 2008 has, for many inhabitants of sandbagged Iowa, come awfully soon after the Great Flood of 1993. Or, as Elwynn Taylor, a meteorologist at Iowa State University, put it: "Why should we have two 500-year floods within 15 years?"

Taylor attributes the flooding in recent years to cyclical climate change: The entire Midwest, he says, has been in a wet cycle for the past 30 years.

There has also been speculation that global warming could be a factor.

"Something in the system has changed," said Pete Kollasch, a remote-sensing analyst with the Iowa DNR. "The only thing I can point my finger at is global warming, but there's no proof of that."

Jeri Neal, a program leader for ecological systems and research at Iowa State's Leopold Center, said all these things have a cumulative effect on the landscape: "It doesn't have the resilience built into it that you need to withstand disturbances in the system."

The idea of a 500-year flood can be confusing. Hydrologists use the term to indicate a flooding event that they believe has a 0.2 percent chance -- 1 in 500 -- of happening in any given year in a specific location. A 100-year flood has a 1 in 100 chance of happening, and so on. Such estimates are based on many years of data collection, in some cases going back a century or more.

‘An act of City Council’

But the database can be spotty. Robert Holmes, national flood coordinator with the U.S. Geological Survey, said a lack of funding since 1999 has forced his agency to discontinue hundreds of stream gauges across the country. "It's not sexy to fund stream flow gauges," he said.

What's certain is that a lot of water had nowhere to go when the sky opened over Iowa this spring. Some rivers did things they'd never done before. The flood stage at Cedar Rapids, for example, is 12 feet. The previous record flood happened in 1929, when the Cedar hit 20 feet. This year the Cedar hit 20 feet and kept rising. Experts predicted it would crest at 22 feet, and then upped the estimate to 24 feet. The river had other ideas. At mid-morning last Friday, it finally crested at 31.3 feet.

The entire downtown was flooded and a railroad bridge collapsed, dumping rail cars filled with rock into the river.

"Cities routinely build in the flood plain," Enshayan said. "That's not an act of God; that's an act of City Council."

Staff writer Kari Lydersen contributed to this report from Quincy, Ill.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25254541/

Here in Athens, Ohio, we know all about building for big bucks along the flood plain. Wal-Mart probably moved Heaven and certainly a lot of earth to stick its superbox right along the Hocking River. The City Council certainly was moved. Also in Ohio, our farmers are rubbing their hands with glee knowing our corn crop is doing fine. They should get a fine price at market later this summer---and I've given up all hope of ever again eating a half dozen ears soaked in butter and salt. As far as the ethanol "boom" goes, apparently humans will do anything to prevent having to change lifestyle! If you missed Jeff Goodell's Rolling Stone article last fall about the Ethanol Scam, it's not too late to catch up~~~

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/15635751/the_ethanol_scam_one_of_americas_biggest_political_boondoggles

The comments generated from this article began furiously immediately---and the latest in the debate were contributed today!

http://i.realone.com/assets/rn/img/1/7/7/1/15691771-15691774-slarge.jpg  



19 Jun 2008 @ 17:56 by bushman : Ya,
like I said, I see it happen out here at every monsoon year, homes being built per year, with no regaurd to the monsoon volume. Cracks me up really, I see them put a 8in colvert pipe under the driveway so the water can go down the hill, and I just laugh, yell out the window of my truck, DUDE! that thing needs to be like 5 times bigger. Still wouldnt matter cause all that water ends up at the bottom of the hill at the intersection, and every one is traped till it drains away enough to drive thru, although recently they did divert some of it into a small wash before it gets to the intersection and Im sure that will help, but as well that wash will have that much more water in it and flood someplace else. We have a wash that runs thru our place when the neighbors updated their landscape they also diverted water that would have run down their driveway into a small channel that evwntualy becomes the small wash thru our yard, so now when we get the microburst up above thier place even with our huge 3ft diam colvert bridge on our driveway, it will overflow our bridge by a couple inches, but it only lasts for maybe 10 mins at most so far, we already plan on adding a second colvert pipe to our bridge just for the sake of the argument, lol. This one year when I was first living here the neighbors had horses and would pile up the horse poop into this mountain, and they got a microburst and it washed away into the small wash and got caught up on our fence and efectivly damed up the wash diverting the water down the fence line down to out entry gate where it busted thru. Point being that its important to keep the debris levels down for effecttive flood control to happen, so I made what I call Cat gates in our fence line that crosses the washes, they are weighted pannels of fence that when the flow is high with debris it allows the junk to get thru the fence and out the other fence with out clogging, and still keep out the evil Javolinas, lol. But rule of thumb, flood control channels need to be 5 times bigger than you think, and there neeeds to be debis basins and retention ponds along the way, or you will be screewed. :}  


20 Jun 2008 @ 09:39 by jazzolog : Stupid And Self-Centered
I wish I had neighbors who'd provide free delivery of horse manure every year to our garden...but then I can see how that particular system of delivery was a pain for the bushman. Our visit to Tucson a couple years back was a revelation to me, never having been to Arizona before---or any desert really, except one that's up in Maine. Dana had meetings all day (Ohio shipped her down there) so at first I just walked around town, the university campus, and enjoyed the orange blossoms. Into residential districts, nice adobe architecture, luxurious lawns, fountains, swimming pools, 5 or 6 golf courses: I could see why eastern Yankees retire there into this paradise. I wondered at the big bridges they had around town though, which seemed to go across nothing but dried-up river beds. (Rivers are underground except once a year or so, at the time Bushman is calling Monsoon.) Then I decided to drive our rent-a-car out toward those mountains with all the trees on them. HELLO! The real world appeared as soon as I left the city limits. Those aren't trees; that's cactus! I couldn't believe the dream world all those people live in back in town. I couldn't wait to drive Dana out there to go through the same shock. It's a beautiful shock because the desert is an environment to learn to appreciate and adapt to...if you can. While we were there Bush came to visit---or fund-raise I guess. (He goes nowhere that it doesn't profit him or his cronies.) Tucson's mayor confessed to him, in the motorcade, the city is hurting for water and asked if the feds could provide some help. The local paper reported the President told him, "Sure, we just bought up all the water in Ecuador, and we'll be glad to sell you old boys however much you want."

Of course it isn't just in the Southwest that people are short-sighted about how Nature works. Down the road---and that means downstream, doncha know---a few families banded together and bought up a bunch of land to stick their trailers on. It probably had been pasture a hundred years ago, and now was reverting to meadow, prairie and forest...like we're letting our land do. How picturesque to have your trailer by the babbling brook! and that's what they all did...bulldozing the landscape so it slopes toward the road in case that creek floods a few times a year. So the trailer stays dry, the road floods as well as their driveways---and there they sit, trapped until stuff dries out. And of course it adds extra time and miles for those who built on higher ground to drive on up the ridge and around to get to work in town. You ever wonder why a township allows stuff like that...and why there isn't a permit process that allows review and regulation from the rest of us? Maybe we'll rediscover the joy and convenience of community government someday.  



20 Jun 2008 @ 19:58 by quinty : American
"individualism" appears to be pretty unique in the world. Perhaps someone can help me with this: but only Russia and Australia have something culturally similar along the same lines.

On the state ballot in Massachusetts a measure to eliminate the income tax will appear in the next election. It failed by just a few percentage points a few years ago. But this is the kind of thing which keeps coming back. If it passes it would mean the loss of billions of dollars for the state. Which would mean either huge cuts in services or increases in fees and other taxes. Such as putting a sales tax on food or raising property taxes, which are extremely regressive.

So what does this kind of "individualism" mean? Freedom from government? Okay, then does that mean we don’t want any of the services only government can provide? Such as good roads, schools, parks, public safety, clean air and water, oversight, restaurant and food inspections, fire and police services, health care, etc.?

I guess once all these “intrusive” government services (which steal our freedoms) are gone we can finally begin to enjoy the blessings of true freedom. Remember: “tax dollars don’t belong to big government, they belong to you.” Oh yeah? Then who is government if not us, a reflection of who we are? Even if bought up by every corporate interest with a lobbyist we still choose our reps. Select them. And let’s not forget, while most Americans have a very low opinion of the Congress they tend to like the rep they have. Since a majority in that CD elected him or her.  



20 Jul 2008 @ 16:50 by jazzolog : "Hypocrite" Al Gore's Carbon Footprint
Two things continue to amaze me about Al Gore. The first is that every time he makes a speech or announcement about global warming, the Internet and media explode with reaction about him personally. Inevitably the blogs and message boards fill with the old hatred about how he looks, how he sounds, and how much electricity his house uses. There's also the comparison between the Gore full-time residence and one of the Bush summer homes, intimating proof the President is greener than Gore. Google it and you'll see page after page. People didn't seem to mind the guy until he announced for the presidency 8 years ago, whereupon the scream machine went after him---beginning with accusations he claimed to create the Internet---and hasn't stopped since. The latest rightwing presentation of the Gore electric bill shows it's gone up at least 10% in the last 2 years. (Whose hasn't?)

The second thing that amazes me is that he doesn't seem to answer these charges. I don't think it would be that hard for him to do. Yet, like John Kerry who followed, he continues to ignore the questions that are real, though rather adolescent, problems for other people in changing their own ecological behavior. Occasionally you'll find progressives trying to defend Gore's electric bill and airplane use with various explanations and theories...and I'm often tempted to do that too. His Contact-Al-Gore sites are filled with a couple years of friendly questions to him about this. But he doesn't reply. I think what many people find refreshing about Barack Obama is that he fights back...and he's good at it. This is a period of social dialogue when it's inappropriate to make it look as though the questions of the common man are beneath you to recognize.

PS I do not mean to intimate for one second that my good friend Jennifer Simon is asking her question in the tone I describe above. I think she's requesting information rather than challenging Mr. Gore.

----- Original Message -----
From: Jennifer Simon
To: athensgrow@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Saturday, July 19, 2008 4:41 PM
Subject: RE: [athensgrow] [Fwd: Finally!]

Has Al Gore gone completely off the grid yet?

-----Original Message-----
From: athensgrow@yahoogroups.com [mailto:athensgrow@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Michelle Ajamian
Sent: Saturday, July 19, 2008 4:40 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: [athensgrow] [Fwd: Finally!]

al gore challenges the US to get all our electric from renewable resources in ten years... who attended the city council meeting about energy independence? please share what happened there for those of us who could not attend.

peace,

michelle

-------- Original Message -------- Subject: Finally!
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2008 09:22:49 -0700
From: Noah T. Winer, MoveOn.org Political Action
To: michelle ajamian

Dear MoveOn member,

When John F. Kennedy challenged America to put a man on the moon in 10 years, many called it impossible.

Now, Al Gore has given a major speech with another visionary call:

"Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years."

This is huge. For someone with as much stature and credibility as Vice President Gore to embrace a goal this big and ambitious could be game-changing. But first, you've got to see it for yourself. Click here to watch the video:

Can't you just imagine the media ignoring Al Gore's message? If we pass this along to our friends and family, we'll make sure people hear about this, so our next president will accept the challenge.

We all know high gas prices and our economic downturn is related to climate change and the war in Iraq, but no one is connecting the dots. Until now.

Here's a key bit from Gore's speech:

Like a lot of people, it seems to me that all these problems are bigger than any of the solutions that have thus far been proposed for them, and that's been worrying me...

Yet when we look at all three of these seemingly intractable challenges at the same time, we can see the common thread running through them, deeply ironic in its simplicity: our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels is at the core of all three of these challenges—the economic, environmental and national security crises.

We're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that's got to change...

But if we grab hold of that common thread and pull it hard, all of these complex problems begin to unravel and we will find that we're holding the answer to all of them right in our hand.

The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels.

Can we really get all our electricity from sources like solar and wind in 10 short years?

Scientists have confirmed that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth every 40 minutes to meet 100 percent of the entire world's energy needs for a full year. Tapping just a small portion of this solar energy could provide all of the electricity America uses.
And enough wind power blows through the Midwest corridor every day to also meet 100 percent of US electricity demand.

And of course, all this means more good jobs to re-power our economy:

When we send money to foreign countries to buy nearly 70 percent of the oil we use every day, they build new skyscrapers and we lose jobs. When we spend that money building solar arrays and windmills, we build competitive industries and gain jobs here at home.

With all the political posturing on high gas prices and drilling, it's amazing to hear someone being so honest:

It is only a truly dysfunctional system that would buy into the perverse logic that the short-term answer to high gasoline prices is drilling for more oil ten years from now.

Am I the only one who finds it strange that our government so often adopts a so-called solution that has absolutely nothing to do with the problem it is supposed to address? When people rightly complain about higher gasoline prices, we propose to give more money to the oil companies and pretend that they're going to bring gasoline prices down. It will do nothing of the sort, and everyone knows it...

However, there actually is one extremely effective way to bring the costs of driving a car way down within a few short years. The way to bring gas prices down is to end our dependence on oil and use the renewable sources that can give us the equivalent of $1 per gallon gasoline.

It's truly a remarkable speech. Be sure to see it for yourself:

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=3945&id=13269-8510013-_SizkPx&t=3

There's lots to do to make sure our elected leaders and candidates at all levels accept Gore's challenge, but the first step is making sure your friends and family hear about it. Forward this email to 5 friends today.

Thanks for all you do.

–Noah, Karin, Wes, Justin and the rest of the team

P.S. If you want to join Al Gore's campaign, We Can Solve it, click here:

http://www.wecansolveit.org/  



20 Jul 2008 @ 23:21 by quinty : Al Gore
I’ve always liked Gore. Even during the days when the left branded him as a Clinton administration sellout. His stiffness in person struck me at the time as the price he paid for being a good team player, which, before Cheney, is all a vice president was. He had to play second fiddle, that was in the nature of his job. And when Bill had his Affaire Monica he showed - at least it seemed to me - some visible discomfort. After all, the shame Bill Clinton brought to his office and the White House was on the sickeningly seedy side and it could be understood why Gore wouldn’t want to share.

But that’s merely my impression from afar.

So why does the far right hate him so much? Because he held Bill’s coattails during the Affaire Monica? That may be partly it, and since they were so wrong and venomous regarding all that some of their spittle may have landed on Gore too. But I think it goes beyond that.

For let’s not forget that Bush’s war really inspired an enormous amount of patriotic fervor and support during the lead up and opening days. And Gore was speaking brilliantly and truthfully out against this folly at MoveOn.Org. And at that time only “treasonous nut cases” and “America haters” were opposing the war. You could count the prominent critics on two hands.

But today even many Republicans have turned against Bush’s folly, and criticizing the war isn’t seen as necessarily unpatriotic and un-American. It has become indeed widespread. But Gore spoke out early. And those who did, including MoveOn.Org, can’t be forgiven by the right. Some of that bile from those days five or six years ago still persists today, coloring the way those individuals are seen. There weren’t many of them, back then, but having been “premature” anti Iraq War critics can never be forgiven. Though those who have seen the light since then are far more mainstream and “reasonable.” After all, among pundits there’s a lot of guilt to share. What’s more, they don’t want to admit they were wrong about Gore way back then. Old attitudes don't necessarily disappear merely because they were mistaken. And the attitudes remain.

Have you seen that Gore doesn’t think he would accept a place in any new administration? He believes he can achieve much more as a private citizen. He has called himself “a recovering politician.” And he no longer appears stiff as a board. Perhaps that’s why he sported a beard for awhile. To loosen up a bit. To become more in touch with himself and today he has no desire to go back to all that, speaking up for an administration, defending it, lying for his president. Which is part of the job.

I’m all in favor of a ten year “Manhattan Project” plan to go clean and renewable. We know the technology is there. So far what appears to be lacking is not so much private will but government will. There is no leadership while many communities, states, and major corporations are ready to go. Even if the scientists are wrong - and the threat of global warming has been exaggerated - we should move ahead with this. Why, in Heaven’s name, are we in Iraq? In the Middle East? Because, historically, of the brussle sprout crops?  



21 Jul 2008 @ 02:31 by bushman : lol
Ironicly
http://www.off-grid.net/2007/02/18/meanwhile-back-at-the-ranch/  



7 Aug 2008 @ 12:25 by jazzolog : Madness Around Greenland
Thomas Friedman has been traveling a bit for The New York Times I think, and now we know where he's been. His column yesterday relates a boat trip around melting Greenland~~~

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The New York Times
August 6, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
Learning to Speak Climate
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Ilulissat, Greenland

Sometimes you just wish you were a photographer. I simply do not have the words to describe the awesome majesty of Greenland’s Kangia Glacier, shedding massive icebergs the size of skyscrapers and slowly pushing them down the Ilulissat Fjord until they crash into the ocean off the west coast of Greenland. There, these natural ice sculptures float and bob around the glassy waters near here. You can sail between them in a fishing boat, listening to these white ice monsters crackle and break, heave and sigh, as if they were noisily protesting their fate.

You are entirely alone here amid the giant icebergs, save for the solitary halibut fisherman who floats by. Our Greenlandic boat skipper sidles up to the tiny fishing craft, where my hosts buy a few halibut right out of his nets, slice open the tender cheeks and cut me the freshest halibut sushi I’ve ever tasted. “Greenland fast food,” quips Kim Kielsen, Greenland’s minister of the environment.

We wash it down with Scotch whiskey cooled by a 5,000-year-old ice cube chipped off one of the floating glacier bits. Some countries have vintage whiskey. Some have vintage wine. Greenland has vintage ice.

Alas, though, I do not work for National Geographic. This is the opinion page. And my trip with Denmark’s minister of climate and energy, Connie Hedegaard, to see the effects of climate change on Greenland’s ice sheet leaves me with a very strong opinion: Our kids are going to be so angry with us one day.

We’ve charged their future on our Visa cards. We’ve added so many greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, for our generation’s growth, that our kids are likely going to spend a good part of their adulthood, maybe all of it, just dealing with the climate implications of our profligacy. And now our leaders are telling them the way out is “offshore drilling” for more climate-changing fossil fuels.

Madness. Sheer madness.

Most people assume that the effects of climate change are going to be felt through another big disaster, like Katrina. Not necessarily, says Minik Thorleif Rosing, a top geologist at Denmark’s National History Museum and one of my traveling companions. “Most people will actually feel climate change delivered to them by the postman,” he explains. It will come in the form of higher water bills, because of increased droughts in some areas; higher energy bills, because the use of fossil fuels becomes prohibitive; and higher insurance and mortgage rates, because of much more violently unpredictable weather.

Remember: climate change means “global weirding,” not just global warming.

Greenland is one of the best places to observe the effects of climate change. Because the world’s biggest island has just 55,000 people and no industry, the condition of its huge ice sheet — as well as its temperature, precipitation and winds — is influenced by the global atmospheric and ocean currents that converge here. Whatever happens in China or Brazil gets felt here. And because Greenlanders live close to nature, they are walking barometers of climate change.

That’s how I learned a new language here: “Climate-Speak.”

It’s easy to learn. There are only three phrases. The first is: “Just a few years ago ...” Just a few years ago you could dogsled in winter from Greenland, across a 40-mile ice bank, to Disko Island. But for the past few years, the rising winter temperatures in Greenland have melted that link. Now Disko is cut off. Put away the dogsled.

There has been a 30 percent increase in the melting of the Greenland ice sheet between 1979 and 2007, and in 2007, the melt was 10 percent bigger than in any previous year, said Konrad Steffen, director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado, which monitors the ice. Greenland is now losing 200 cubic kilometers of ice per year — from melt and ice sliding into the ocean from outlet glaciers along its edges — which far exceeds the volume of all the ice in the European Alps, he added. “Everything is happening faster than anticipated.”

The second phrase is: “I’ve never seen that before...” It rained in December and January in Ilulissat. This is well above the Arctic Circle! It’s not supposed to rain here in winter. Said Steffen: “Twenty years ago, if I had told the people of Ilulissat that it would rain at Christmas 2007, they would have just laughed at me. Today it is a reality.”

The third phrase is: “Well usually ...but now I don’t know anymore.” Traditional climate patterns that Greenland elders have known their whole lives have changed so quickly in some places that “the accumulated experience of older people is not as valuable as before,” said Rosing. The river that was always there is now dry. The glacier that always covered that hill has disappeared. The reindeer that were always there when the hunting season opened on Aug. 1 didn’t show up.

No wonder everyone here speaks climate now — your kids will, too, and sooner than they think.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/06/opinion/06friedman.html

Meanwhile, if you are of a conservative bent, bending over double for a clearer view, you'll laugh yourself silly at a typical photoshop opinion of global warming...and you can find more at your favorite mockery site, newsbusters.org.

http://newsbusters.org/static/2007/07/2007-07-07AlGore.jpg  



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