Rebecca Solnit, What to Do When You’re Running Out of Time

From Tom Dispatch:  http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175896/

by Rebecca Solnit
September 18, 2014

The Wheel Turns, the Boat Rocks, the Sea Rises 
Change in a Time of Climate Change 
By Rebecca Solnit

There have undoubtedly been stable periods in human history, but you and your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents never lived through one, and neither will any children or grandchildren you may have or come to have. Everything has been changing continuously, profoundly — from the role of women to the nature of agriculture. For the past couple of hundred years, change has been accelerating in both magnificent and nightmarish ways.

Yet when we argue for change, notably changing our ways in response to climate change, we’re arguing against people who claim we’re disrupting a stable system.  They insist that we’re rocking the boat unnecessarily.

I say: rock that boat. It’s a lifeboat; maybe the people in it will wake up and start rowing. Those who think they’re hanging onto a stable order are actually clinging to the wreckage of the old order, a ship already sinking, that we need to leave behind.

As you probably know, the actual oceans are rising — almost eight inches since 1880, and that’s only going to accelerate. They’re also acidifying, because they’re absorbing significant amounts of the carbon we continue to pump into the atmosphere at record levels.  The ice that covers the polar seas is shrinking, while the ice shields that cover Antarctica and Greenland are melting. The water locked up in all the polar ice, as it’s unlocked by heat, is going to raise sea levels staggeringly, possibly by as much as 200 feet at some point in the future, how distant we do not know.  In the temperate latitudes, warming seas breed fiercer hurricanes.

The oceans are changing fast, and for the worse. Fish stocks are dying off, as are shellfish. In many acidified oceanic regions, their shells are actually dissolving or failing to form, which is one of the scariest, most nightmarish things I’ve ever heard. So don’t tell me that we’re rocking a stable boat on calm seas. The glorious 10,000-year period of stable climate in which humanity flourished and then exploded to overrun the Earth and all its ecosystems is over.

Continue reading at:  http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175896/

The Academic Impostor Behind the Pit Bull Hysteria

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/douglas-anthony-cooper/merritt-clifton-pit-bulls_b_5866176.html


09/24/2014

The most influential advocate for the eradication of pit bulls is an academic fraud. Merritt Clifton is prominent not simply because he has been making noise for decades, but because he uniquely claims to be a rigorous statistician: a scholarly expert. People who hate pit bulls lean on this man’s putative expertise.

And he’s a charlatan.

The loudest voice in favor of eliminating pit bulls in Canada is probably Barbara Kay, a journalist with the National Post. Her campaign is largely successful: Canada has some of the most punitive breed-specific laws (BSL) in the world. And she told me proudly, in an email:

My primary source, you will not be surprised to learn, is animal-industry historian and investigative reporter for more than 40 years, Merritt Clifton, until recently editor of Animal People News and now editor of his own site, Animals 24/7. My other primary source is Colleen Lynn of Dogsbite.org.

Colleen Lynn is a menace; she’s a web designer who was once bitten by a dog, and has been on a vicious campaign to eliminate the pit bull type ever since. Still, she makes no pretense to academic credibility. Merritt Clifton, on the other hand, very much pretends to be an eminent scholar, and is truly dangerous.

In the first few minutes of the video linked here, for instance, you will see him pronounce: “I have more than a hundred peer-reviewed publications.”

This would seem truly impressive — that’s a hefty body of published work. It’s troubling, however, that not one of these publications shows up in a search on JSTOR, the comprehensive academic database online. Nor can I find a single example of his copious oeuvre in Harvard’s library, which can also be searched online. One hundred publications, admirably invisible.

I finally found one. Clifton mentions Asian Biomedicine in the video, and floating around the internet is a single article that this obscure journal published in 2011. The journal’s own website seems to have vanished, but they do say on their Facebook page that they are “peer-reviewed.” Perhaps there are a hundred such articles? Probably not: a sandbox draft of somebody trying desperately to get Clifton and his projects on Wikipedia lists one academic publication. This one.

The video is posted on a blog maintained by Josh Liddy, an activist against BSL, who notes that Clifton’s claims are “dubious.” Mr. Liddy is far too polite. These claims are “fictional.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/douglas-anthony-cooper/merritt-clifton-pit-bulls_b_5866176.html

Sea Change: The Ecological Disaster That Nobody Sees

From Truth Out:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26202-sea-change-the-ecological-disaster-that-nobody-sees

By Richard Schiffman
Thursday, 18 September 2014

On September 21, in what is being advance-billed as the largest climate march in history, thousands of protesters will converge on New York City to focus public attention on the slow-motion train wreck of global warming. But while Americans are becoming increasingly aware that our industrial civilization is destabilizing the earth’s climate, fewer know about another environmental disaster-in-the-making: the crisis of the global oceans.

Experts warn that we are currently facing an extinction event in the oceans which may rival the “Great Death” of the Permian age 250 million years ago, when 95 percent of marine species died out due to a combination of warming, acidification, loss of oxygen and habitat – all conditions that are rife today.

Within the past half century the oceans have been transformed from the planet’s most productive bioregion into arguably its most abused and critically endangered. That is the conclusion of a report issued earlier this summer by the Global Ocean Commission, a private think tank consisting of marine scientists, diplomats and business people, which makes policy recommendations to governments.

The report catalogues a grim laundry list of environmental ills. Commercial fish stocks worldwide are being overexploited and are close to collapse; coral reefs are dying due to ocean acidification – and may be gone by midcentury; vast dead zones are proliferating in the Baltic and the Gulf of Mexico caused by an influx of nitrogen and phosphorous from petroleum-based fertilizers; non-biodegradable plastic trash – everything from tiny micro-plastic beads to plastic bags and discarded fishing gear – is choking many coastal nurseries where fish spawn; and increased oil and gas drilling in deep waters is spewing pollution and posing the risk of catastrophic spills like the Deepwater Horizon disaster which dumped an estimated 4.2 million barrels of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico during a five-month period in 2010.

Yet these worrying trends have failed to spark public indignation. It may be a matter of “out of sight, out of mind.”

“If fish were trees, and we saw them being clear-cut, we would be upset,” renowned oceanographer Carl Safina observed in an interview with Truthout. “But the ocean is invisible to most people, an alien world.” It is hard for those of us who only see ocean life when it ends up on our dinner plates to get worked up about its destruction, Safina said.

Nevertheless, this world under the waves is vital to our survival, according to Sylvia Earle, former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) chief scientist. “The ocean is alive; it is a living minestrone soup with an even greater diversity of life than on the land,” Earle told Truthout. “It is where most of our oxygen is created and carbon is taken out of the atmosphere. With every breath you take, you need to thank the ocean.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26202-sea-change-the-ecological-disaster-that-nobody-sees

Please Make a Donation

I don’t make a habit of asking my readers for donations.

This blog has been a labor of love and a way of sharing news I think it is important for readers to be aware of.

Last December shortly before Christmas the expansion tank on our hot water heater burst.  The hot water heater was in the attic, a design aimed at improving water pressure.

Unfortunately when the expansion tank ruptured it flooded our house.

We had been planning on selling our current house and downsizing due to our economic circumstances.

We have been fighting with the insurers since last December in an attempt to get our house repaired.

We are in dire straits.

Last week we received a notice that the Home Owners Association has place a foreclosure lien on our house and we will be forced out unless we can come up with a couple of thousand dollars.

Over and above that we are in arrears on our mortgage.

We have the support of friends who will do the repairs and help us sell the house once the insurance company settles our claim.

As you already know I have been selling off my library.

My partner and I are senior citizens.

I have been a life long activist and have fought the good fight as well as struggling with personal issues for nearly fifty years.

I was one of the pioneers of the LGBT community and one of the early pioneers of the TS/TG Movement.

Everything we have is tied up in our house at this time.

We are at a loss as to what we will do if we lose the house and are unable to sell it and move into something where we can afford to continue to live.

I always prided myself on my independence, my strength and ability to survive without asking others for much help.

I was the one others came to for help.

Now I am the one asking you to not only hit the donations button on the left hand side of the blog, but I am asking you to spread the word that I need help in the form of donations to survive.

The button will take you to Paypal.

Anything you can afford to donate will be greatly appreciated.

For This Musician, Living Life To The Fullest Meant Leaving The City Of Her Dreams

After years of trying in San Francisco and LA I found the struggle wasn’t worth the pain and Dallas is an easier place to live.  Now if we can just down size out of the huge place we were sold on when moving here the journey to finding the right level to live in comfort while enjoying something described by a Swedish word “Lagom.” Lagom is associated with moderation, the word means not too much, not too little, but just the right amount. It typically refers to the etiquette of taking your share.

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/18/letting-go_n_5812598.html

By 09/18/2014

For 23 years, Barbara Bentree made Los Angeles her home, thriving on the bustle of city life.

A singer who studied music education in college, Bentree moved to California in her early 20s with, as she put it, “stars in her eyes.” She found work teaching in private schools, and in her spare time performed in one-woman shows, sang on various studio recordings and even appeared as a singer in several episodes of TV shows, including “Ally McBeal,” “Days of Our Lives” and “Wings.” Through teaching, she began to forge connections with people in the production world, and was soon being referred to work with children in the entertainment industry.

“I was young and single and really excited about being in a big metropolitan area,” Bentree said of those early years in Los Angeles. “To participate in movies and television was very, very exciting.”

Eventually, Bentree was recruited to work on “The Mickey Mouse Club” TV show as a music producer, auditioning and helping to train Mouseketeers, including famous alums Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. She worked in various production and music director roles for big networks, like Disney, and eventually met and fell in love with her husband, John Rangel, a pianist and composer, who relocated to Los Angeles from Florida in the early 90s to be closer to her. They married two years ago, after decades together.

The couple lived along the city’s striking coastline, in beachfront areas such as Pacific Palisades and Malibu — which were “wonderful” and “beautiful,” Bentree said, but very expensive. To keep up with the cost of their rented apartment, Bentree worked on several projects that were lucrative, but not artistically satisfying.

“When I was young and inexperienced, all of the TV and movie work was lucrative and exciting,” she said, but gigs as a studio singer crooning commercial jingles for cat food companies became less and less appealing. At one point, she looked at her life and realized she was spending 10 hours a week in the car, commuting back and forth to work on a particular project.

“It was a little nutty, and there was a lot of running around,” Bentree said. “When I turned 50, I started to have this feeling of, ‘Los Angeles is not the town for me to grow old in.'”

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/18/letting-go_n_5812598.html

Professional Hate Monger Bryan Fischer Exposes Himself as an Anti-Semite: Says All Immigrants Should Be Required To Convert To Christianity

‘Poor people don’t plan long-term. We’ll just get our hearts broken’

From The Guardian UK: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/21/linda-tirado-poverty-hand-to-mouth-extract

Why do so many poor people eat junk food, fail to budget properly, show no ambition? Linda Tirado knew exactly why… because she was one of them. Here, in an extract from her book, Hand to Mouth, she tells her story in her own words

Linda Tirado
The Observer, Saturday 20 September 2014

In the autumn of 2013 I was in my first term of school in a decade. I had two jobs; my husband, Tom, was working full-time; and we were raising our two small girls. It was the first time in years that we felt like maybe things were looking like they’d be OK for a while.

After a gruelling shift at work, I was unwinding online when I saw a question from someone on a forum I frequented: Why do poor people do things that seem so self-destructive? I thought I could at least explain what I’d seen and how I’d reacted to the pressures of being poor. I wrote my answer to the question, hit post, and didn’t think more about it for at least a few days. This is what it said:

Why I make terrible decisions, or, poverty thoughts

There’s no way to structure this coherently. They are random observations that might help explain the mental processes. But often, I think that we look at the academic problems of poverty and have no idea of the why. We know the what and the how, and we can see systemic problems, but it’s rare to have a poor person actually explain it on their own behalf. So this is me doing that, sort of.

Rest is a luxury for the rich. I get up at 6am, go to school (I have a full course load, but I only have to go to two in-person classes), then work, then I get the kids, then pick up my husband, then have half an hour to change and go to Job 2. I get home from that at around 12.30am, then I have the rest of my classes and work to tend to. I’m in bed by 3am. This isn’t every day, I have two days off a week from each of my obligations. I use that time to clean the house and soothe Mr Martini [her partner], see the kids for longer than an hour and catch up on schoolwork.

Those nights I’m in bed by midnight, but if I go to bed too early I won’t be able to stay up the other nights because I’ll fuck my pattern up, and I drive an hour home from Job 2 so I can’t afford to be sleepy. I never get a day off from work unless I am fairly sick. It doesn’t leave you much room to think about what you are doing, only to attend to the next thing and the next. Planning isn’t in the mix.

When I was pregnant the first time, I was living in a weekly motel for some time. I had a mini-fridge with no freezer and a microwave. I was on WIC [government-funded nutritional aid for women, infants and children]. I ate peanut butter from the jar and frozen burritos because they were 12 for $2. Had I had a stove, I couldn’t have made beef burritos that cheaply. And I needed the meat, I was pregnant. I might not have had any prenatal care, but I am intelligent enough to eat protein and iron while knocked up.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/21/linda-tirado-poverty-hand-to-mouth-extract

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