Thursday, July 31, 2008


I stated on today's KBOO Presswatch program that Karl Rove had been cited for contempt. Wrong!

Here is part of the New York Times' article about Rove:

"WASHINGTON — Democrats on both sides of the Capitol assailed the administration’s handling of the Justice Department yet again on Wednesday, and a House committee recommended contempt charges against Karl Rove, who was President Bush’s top political adviser.

The House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines, 20 to 14, to cite Mr. Rove for defying its subpoena to testify in an inquiry into improper political meddling in the department.

“Mr. Rove has left us no option,” said Representative John Conyers, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the committee. Mr. Conyers expressed regret that the committee had been forced to use its subpoena power.

“Today’s vote was an important statement by this Committee that no person — not even Karl Rove — is above the law,” Mr. Conyers said. (....)"

--So you'll notice here that actually, they voted to recommend Rove for a vote on contempt, rather than actually citing him--so I was wrong, and I apologize for the error.


If you're familiar with the internets tubes, you can get on and put “snow ice” into the NOAA satellite servers. I do this, and then select a polar view, and put on a 30-day animation, to watch the polar ice cap melt. As of today you can see the NorthWest Passage pop right out of legend and into reality along the coasts of Canada, Alaska and Russia. This view is made more alarming by the following report:

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
July 29, 2008 at 3:39 AM EDT
A four-square-kilometre chunk has broken off Ward Hunt Ice Shelf - the largest remaining ice shelf in the Arctic - threatening the future of the giant frozen mass that northern explorers have used for years as the starting point for their treks.
Scientists say the break, the largest on record since 2005, is the latest indication that climate change is forcing the drastic reshaping of the Arctic coastline, where 9,000 square kilometres of ice have been whittled down to less than 1,000 over the past century, and are only showing signs of decreasing further.
"Once you unleash this process by cracking the ice shelf in multiple spots, of course we're going to see this continuing," said Derek Mueller, a leading expert on the North who discovered the ice shelf's first major crack in 2002.
Dr. Mueller was part of a team monitoring ice along the northern coast of Ellesmere Island last April that discovered deep new cracks - 18 kilometres long and 40 metres wide - on the edge of Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, a 350-square-kilometre mass of ice that joins tiny Ward Hunt Island to the bigger Ellesmere. The cracks indicated a split was likely coming.
"It may weaken over time; it may melt away slowly, then all of a sudden you pass this threshold," Dr. Mueller said. "It's like a bar of soap. If you use the soap over and over again, it gets thinner and thinner. Then all of a sudden, it could break.” \\

I bring you this minutiae because it is just another sign of disaster. We needed that ice shelf and all the others like it that have melted away, because we needed the heat-moderating reflectivity to survive the rays of the Sun. This ice shelf, the Northern Polar mass, and subsequently the Greenland glaciers are all at risk now and are suddenly changing, and events such as the loss of ice described here are accelerating. We don't know how much longer we have, but if I may draw a metaphor, the house is already on fire.

Global climate change is the greatest danger to our survival. Here in the NorthWest we are just beginning to see economic consequences, as we suffered damage to apple, pear, and cherry crops. Of course the flooding in the MidWest did away with millions of acres of corn and other crops. Tornado Alley continues its march North, as reports of freak twisters appear in places like Germany and Vancouver, Washington. My sister wrote me of tornadic winds on her property in Maryland this week, saying “The not-tornado (cone that didn't quite reach the ground) from the storm Saturday had a jump-path down one side of the street and then across the other.  It started way up on top of the hill, came down the cleared area (logging path) until it got behind the house next door, hopped the fence and roto-tillered next to my backyard, then hopped over the front-yard trees and roto-tillered the creekbed, whacked all of the poplars and smaller trees and the two big pines by the creek (one is seen laying across my driveway, the other is a jagged stump in the pic showing the McMansion in back), then jumped across the street and over into Shirley's woods for about 20 feet, then went back up.  There were more than one 'conewall of tree-snapping whirlwinds'...going around but
 ours did the most damage for this area, and the planes and camera crews were around yesterday to document it.  I saw the cone, a big white half-tube above one of the (surviving) pines, during the storm - we had pebble-hail and sheetwall rain right before it showed up, and right after I saw it there was a blinding, deafening crack of lightning that seemed to be right overhead.  But the trees weren't smoking at all when we checked, so the wind was the tree-killer.”
Reports like my sister's have gone over the wires many times now, for many such events, and it brings to fore the fact that the situation is rapidly deteriorating. Meanwhile in Washington where the Dictator sits, the official word is that needed dramatic action against global climate change is a'la Nancy Pelosi “off the table.”

US environmental agency silences employees on climate change
Elana Schor in Washington,
Tuesday July 29 2008

Amid intensifying scrutiny of its failure to act on climate change, the US environmental protection agency (EPA) has ordered employees not to talk to internal auditors, Congress or the media, according to a leaked email released yesterday by green campaigners.
The EPA has refused repeated requests from Congress to explain its December denial of California's request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions - a move that overruled the agency's own career scientists.
Three Democratic senators have scheduled a press conference today to discuss the controversy.
On June 16, after an email from the campaign group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Peer), the EPA told its enforcement officials not to answer questions on the issue - even those from the agency's in-house auditors.
"If you are contacted directly by the [auditors'] office or [congressional investigators] requesting information of any kind … please do not respond to questions or make any statements," the email said.
--more at

Al Gore's Climate Institute scientist Michael McCracken has the following prescription:
“....avoiding the most catastrophic potential aspects of climate change will require reducing emissions sharply by 2050 and to near zero by 2100.....”
(Climate Institute)
“To accomplish this difficult challenge, he proposes a reciprocal arrangement under which "(1) developed nations move rapidly to demonstrate that a modern society can function without reliance on technologies that release carbon dioxide (CO2) and other non-CO2 greenhouse gases to the atmosphere; and (2) … developing nations act in the near-term to sharply limit their non-CO2 emissions while minimizing growth in CO2 emissions, and then in the long-term join with the developed nations to reduce all emissions as cost effective technologies are developed.” Under this approach developing nations at the outset would focus on low hanging fruit--emissions reductions with significant ability to limit radiative forcing and that are achievable at low relative cost. These include greatly reducing emissions of methane, air pollutants that contribute to tropospheric ozone, and black soot, which blackens glaciers, in turn causing greater absorption of solar radiation and melting of glaciers that are crucial to the water supply of a large portion of humanity. Initially, the primary efforts to limit CO2 emissions in developing nations would focus on ending deforestation and on implementing energy efficiency measures--e.g. reducing power consumption for lighting, reducing conversion loss and transmission loss, and encouraging energy recycling including combined heat and power.” (more at
So, to return to the point, since we are faced with extinction or at least severe hardship from climate change and since the Bush Administration has failed to take needed emergency actions, how do we defend our lives? By what methods can we undertake the massive change necessary to our self-defense, since we have no recourse from the corrupted former government of the US?

It seems to me that for a start we could demand that local officials begin to coordinate with other officials. That is to say, city council can contact city council, mayors' offices can contact mayor's offices, and so on right up the regional authority lines to State governments. Since this is indeed a life-threatening crisis that will require the mobilization of tremendous assets, as well as the careful and democratic consideration of planned activities, it could well develop an added benefit—it could create a new paradigm of cooperation that overshadows and replaces the sadly corrupted and irrelevant US government. Climate change mobilization could give us the peaceful revolution we've been needing.

In any event, massive extinctions, crop failures, and life-threatening storms are already happening, so this is the time to take action—and we don't have time for wistful nostalgia about how great the old US of A used to be. That paradigm failed us, and I say let's get on with revolution, unless you just like dying for no particular good reason.


Most of the potentially damaging consequences relating to climate change are associated with extremes - the number of heat waves, floods, or severe storms, for example. Since extreme weather events cause loss of life and property, it is important to understand what impact global warming may have on their occurrence.
Global climate change has different effects on different regions of the Earth. Although regional climate forecasts are improving, they are still uncertain. However, we know that a warmer atmosphere will result in a greater number of tropical storms, extreme heat waves, floods and droughts.
Intense tropical cyclone activity has increased since 1970 in the North Atlantic and is projected to worsen, because tropical storms are powered by factors affected by climate change. In order to occur, tropical storms need warm ocean temperatures, no strong changes in wind speed or direction, and high humidity.  Two of these factors have increased as a result of global warming; oceans have become warmer, and humidity and water vapor have increased 4% since 1970 because warm air holds more vapor than cold air. 
Hurricanes occur when surface temperatures exceed 79° F (26°C).  As moist, hot air rises, the lower air pressure at sea level pulls the surrounding air into a rotating pattern. Then, the water-vapor laden air spirals and rises to the higher altitudes that cool it and releases heat as it condenses into rain.  Hurricanes are fed by evaporation and condensation, which bring the ocean’s heat energy into the vortex. 
(much more at

By Joel Achenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 31, 2008; Page A02
The "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, an area on the seabed with too little oxygen to support fish, shrimp, crabs and other forms of marine life, is nearly the largest on record this year, about 8,000 square miles, researchers said this week.
Only the churning effects of Hurricane Dolly last week, they said, prevented the dead zone from being the largest ever.
The problem of hypoxia -- very low levels of dissolved oxygen -- is a downstream effect of fertilizers used for agriculture in the Mississippi River watershed. Nitrogen is the major culprit, flowing into the Gulf and spurring the growth of algae. Animals called zooplankton eat the algae, excreting pellets that sink to the bottom like tiny stones. This organic matter decays in a process that depletes the water of oxygen.
Researchers expected the dead zone to set a record -- even more than the 8,500 square miles observed in 2002 -- after the Mississippi, swollen with floodwaters, carried an extraordinary amount of nitrates into the Gulf, about 37 percent more than last year and the most since measuring these factors was begun in 1970.

Global warming affects insurance
By Alan Markoff, alan@cfp,ky
Tuesday 29th July, 2008   Posted: 15:38 CIT   (20:38 GMT)
> Comment on this story
Computerised catastrophe modelling that factors the impact global warming might have on the frequency and intensity of hurricanes is increasingly being used by re–insurers to price their insurance rates.
The practice has drawn criticism in the United States, partially because scientists not only have differing views on the effects climate change will have on the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, but also on whether global warming is a long–term phenomenon or just a cyclical warming of the earth’s oceans.
Island Heritage Chief Marketing Officer Nigel Twohey said he spoke to representatives of Munich Re, an active reinsurer in the Caribbean, about this issue in June at an insurance conference.
“Reinsurers are aware of the probable effects of global warming on sea temperatures and are making provisions for this in pricing and deductibles,” Mr. Twohey said. (more at
OSLO (Reuters) - Birds have been moving north in Europe over the past 25 years because of climate change in the vanguard of likely huge shifts in the ranges of plants and animals, scientists said on Wednesday.
A study of 42 rare bird species in Britain showed that southern European bird species such as the Dartford warbler, Cirl bunting, little egret or Cetti's warbler had become more common in Britain from 1980-2004.
And species usually found in northern Europe, such as the fieldfare, redwing or Slavonian grebe, had become less frequent in Britain.
"The species are almost certainly responding to the changing climate," said Brian Huntley of Durham University in England of a report he wrote with researchers at Cambridge University and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
The study tried to filter out other factors that would affect counts of rare birds, including growing public interest that could mean more sightings. Shifts in farming, pollution, expansion of cities and conservation efforts have all affected wildlife.
Birds and butterflies are among the first to adapt to climate change because they can fly long distances to seek a cooler habitat. Other creatures and plants can take far longer if their traditional range gets too warm.
"It depends on the mobility of the species. Birds and butterflies are two of the groups where there is the best evidence that species are already showing responses to the changing climate," Huntley told Reuters of the study in Royal Society journal Biology Letters.
The shifts in the birds' ranges since 1980 were also consistent with scientists' expectations because of global warming, blamed by the U.N. Climate Panel on human use of fossil fuels in power plants, factories and cars, he said.
(more at
Mystery Fatal Hemorrhagic Disease in Shandong China
Recombinomics Commentary 03:05
July 28, 2008

"China reported that approximately 20 days ago, a man suddenly died from an unidentified disease in Wanjiakou Village, Xiaoguan Town, Wendeng City, Shandong Province. His entire body turned dark purple, and he bled from his mouth, nostrils, ears, and eyes just as he died.

Shortly after the man died, 2 other men who been in contact with him, died showing the same symptoms. Villagers who had left the village to work said "3 people died 10 days ago. 6 or 7 more are being treated in the Wendeng Central Hospital. People have been to the area to investigate, but they are unable to classify the disease."
(more at
Wed Jul 30, 12:16 PM ET
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States reaffirmed Wednesday a weekend deadline for Iran to give a final answer to world powers seeking a breakthrough in the nuclear crisis, warning of consequences on any defiance by the Islamic republic.

Iran was given a two-week deadline expiring Saturday to give a final answer to a package of incentives offered by the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany aimed at persuading it to freeze its sensitive nuclear activities.
But Iran has rejected any deadline, saying it was only agreed that it would during a two-week period examine the proposal put forward by the international community.
The US State Department said Wednesday that the Iranians were aware of and had acknowledged the Saturday deadline following talks in Geneva on July 19 with representatives of the six powers, including EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
(more at

Thursday, July 3, 2008


(just a reminder: this is a partial radio script, hence the call for "Callers")

1." John McCain is a strong war hero who will lead us with integrity."

McCain was a pilot who got shot down during the Vietnam war. He was in an F-4 fighter-bomber jet, which was known for its high explosive and napalm runs.
He cracked under torture and went on TV to denounce his country and his fellow pilots. Later he said he hadn't bombed any civilians, which is certainly
a lie. Napalm is not a surgical implement. Nevertheless McCain was viewed widely as a hero until he signed on with President Bush's pro-torture legislation,
thus betraying his POW buddies and anyone who was ever tortured.

1a. McCain is a weak war zero, the privileged son of an admiral, who will stand as a figurehead much as Bush Junior does now.

2. "Barack Hussein Obama is a secret Muslim who attended a madrassa.
A madrassa is a religious school for Muslim boys. Barack Hussein Obama was abandoned
by his Kenyan dad as a baby, and was raised Christian, hence the carefully edited and context-free rantings of his former pastor Jeremiah Wright. The emphasis
by the right-wing of his middle name Hussein is intended to stoke racial fears. Hence I am changing my middle name to Hussein until the inauguration. I'm
Theresa Hussein Mitchell, you're caller Hussein, we're all Husseins on this bus.

3. "Iran is a terrible threat to Israel, and Iran's leader threatened to blow Israel off the map." Iran is a large oil-selling country which, according to the International Atomic
Energy Agency is enriching uranium to 3% in order to use it in a reactor. The IAEA has found no evidence of the 95% enrichment necessary to create fissionable
material for fission bombs. IAEA has its inspectors in Iran now and is being granted access. President Ahmadinajad, who does not hold the war powers as the
Mullahs do in Iran, has said that history will remove Israel from the map as it does all countries. That statement has been mistranslated and repeated in order to
frighten you. As it is repeated in its mistranslation, it is implied that Ahmadinajad has the Iranian authority to carry out such a genocidal threat. He does not.
Israel, on the other hand, has had sufficient deliverable fission/fusion atomic weaponry to utterly genocide Iran. The Iranians know this.

4 "Liberal conservationists, protecting distant and irrelevant wildlife, have driven up the price of gas." Half of the rise in oil price is due to the catastrophic drop in the
international value of the dollar, a condition brought about by deficit spending and borrowing for imperial war and occupation. Much of the rest is due to speculators
trying to decide what oil will sell for after the US or Israel attack Iran, cutting off the tanker supply at the Strait of Hormuz. The price of gas and diesel in the US is
a separate thing, driven by oligarchical corporate control, which has reduced the number of operating refineries to a minimum level. The demand has dropped, yet
the price of the supply keeps building--a violation of free market dynamics, because this is not a free market. The US doesn't need ANWAR or increased offshore
drilling, it needs an implementation of the Sherman Antitrust act or better yet the confiscation of EXXON, Unocal Texaco, BP and the rest for violation of their corporate
charters, and for repeat violations of environmental and tax and regulatory laws.

5. "Global warming is a liberal hoax designed to put you out of your SUV and into a wimpy gas-sipper, and the North Pole is melting only due to volcanic activities." Volcanic activity was present at the North Pole a decade ago, as scientists can now see more easily due to the extensive Summer melt. The volcanoes, according to the geologists who studied them, are now largely dormant and did not contribute to the now-thin Summer ice, which may indeed, depending of weather conditions, melt entirely through this September. If it does, it will exacerbate the Greenland melt. Greenland has vast miles-thick glaciers which can plunge off the continent into the sea. If they do so, the immediate climate effect will be turbulent indeed, possibly creating a year without a Summer on the European and northern America seaboard, followed by destruction of the thermohaline gyre, massive storms, further heating, and the release of enough methane clathrates to displace much of the breathable oxygen on Planet Earth. Other than that it's a silly liberal hoax.