Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Comedy is a Dangerous Business

It has been said that the damage done in the name of religion is vast. The Koran and Muslims, the Bible and Christians, have precipitated much of this in our modern society......all morphing into distorted political positions. This intellectual movement over time has given birth to the concept of court jester. Alexander Pope, Jonathon Swift, T.S. Elliot, Samuel Clements, Bill Maher, Michael Moore and many others have worn the Jesters Garb.

This piece was written by Michael Moore but heavily edited for space and reading convenience by me.

It has given me an opportunity to rale about our loss of freedoms first in the Patriot Act and later in the subtle nudges that come mostly from conservatives and the wartime nature of our 20th and 21st centuries.

This country has been at war 87% of the time I have been alive and I don't like what has come with it. 

With that said, here is an edited version of Michael Moore's piece re: Bill Maher.
Bill Maher is a friend of mine. He stood up for me when I was attacked after my Oscar speech (given on the fourth night of the Iraq War, a war Bill publicly opposed while 70% of the country, including the majority of Democrats in the U.S. Senate, supported it), and I stood up for him when ABC fired him and cancelled his show when he attempted to stop the hysteria and fear-mongering after 9-11
I, for one, am glad there's at least one top comedian who isn't afraid to say the word "capitalism" or give credence to the good of socialism.
You may not agree with Bill on everything. Yet I'm guessing you love it when he goes after the Uterun Police/Protectors of Child Rapists (also known as The Vatican), or when he brilliantly satirizes the Christian Right whicholled much of our politics for the past 33 years. I certainly do.

But when Bill goes after Islam, or crazy people professing to be Muslim, we grow uncomfortable. Why is that? Because when he bravely ridicules and attacks Christian assassins of abortion doctors who cite the Bible as justification for their evil acts, we heartily applaud him. But when he mercilessly stomps on Islamic assassins who cite the Koran, we grow uneasy.
I have, when I'm on Bill's show, told him there are far more examples historically of the death and destruction that Christians have brought to the planet, from the Crusades to the Inquisition to the wiping out of Native Americans to the Holocaust.  Which religion is now doing most of the terrorizing?

Though I would maintain that it is still the Judeo-Christian West whose armies and banks and institutions keep much of the third world under a heavy economic boot, resulting in a lot of hunger, suffering and death,

Court Jester Art - Jester in Red by Susanne ClarkI can't speak to Bill's drawing skills, but it's safe to say that in the USA he can draw whatever he wants. In fact, other than those murdered abortion doctors, a hundred bombed or ransacked Planned Parenthood clinics and a few people like me, there are not many activists or artists who have to worry about Baptists blowing up their homes.

Sure, I can make a daily list of all the horrible things so-called Christians still do in this country. Rarely, though, do their actions involve decapitation.

1. We have witnessed, since 9/11, Arabs and Muslims in this country undergoing huge amounts of prejudice, bigotry and sometimes outright violence. .

2. Liberals are intensely fed up with these two wars against mostly Muslim populations (not to mention the indiscriminate drone strikes on at least four other nations). And now the party that won the elections last Tuesday would like a war with Iran. An ignorant American public was manipulated with fear and lies to start and maintain the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars -- and that manipulation continues today in order to justify things like the mass spying by the NSA on our entire citizenry.

So we liberals don't want to hear another word about an "Islamic threat" or some non-existent Iranian nukes or... or whatever! We know we're being set up to get behind another war effort, another arms race, another diversion intended to make the point-one-percenters even filthier rich.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

NASA Finds Water Loss Greater than Anticipated

NOTE:  This post is taken verbatim from a recent NASA publication.  
A new study by NASA and University of California, Irvine, scientists finds more than 75 percent of the water loss in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin since late 2004 came from underground resources. The extent of groundwater loss may pose a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought.
This study is the first to quantify the amount that groundwater contributes to the water needs of western states. According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal water management agency, the basin has been suffering from prolonged, severe drought since 2000 and has experienced the driest 14-year period in the last hundred years.
The research team used data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission to track changes in the mass of the Colorado River Basin, which are related to changes in water amount on and below the surface. Monthly measurements of the change in water mass from December 2004 to November 2013 revealed the basin lost nearly 53 million acre feet (65 cubic kilometers) of freshwater, almost double the volume of the nation's largest reservoir, Nevada's Lake Mead. More than three-quarters of the total -- about 41 million acre feet (50 cubic kilometers) -- was from groundwater.
Colorado River Basin map
The Colorado River Basin (black outline) supplies water to about 40 million people in seven states. Major cities outside the basin (red shading) also use water from the Colorado River.
Image Credit: 
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
"We don't know exactly how much groundwater we have left, so we don't know when we're going to run out," said Stephanie Castle, a water resources specialist at the University of California, Irvine, and the study's lead author. "This is a lot of water to lose. We thought that the picture could be pretty bad, but this was shocking."
Water above ground in the basin's rivers and lakes is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and its losses are documented. Pumping from underground aquifers is regulated by individual states and is often not well documented.
"There's only one way to put together a very large-area study like this, and that is with  satellites," said senior author Jay Famiglietti, senior water cycle scientist at JPL on leave from UC Irvine, where he is an Earth system science professor. "There's just not enough information available from well data to put together a consistent, basin-wide picture."
Famiglietti said GRACE is like having a giant scale in the sky. Within a given region, the change in mass due to rising or falling water reserves influences the strength of the local gravitational attraction. By periodically measuring gravity regionally, GRACE reveals how much a region's water storage changes over time.
The Colorado River is the only major river in the southwestern United States. Its basin supplies water to about 40 million people in seven states, as well as irrigating roughly four million acres of farmland.
"The Colorado River Basin is the water lifeline of the western United States," said Famiglietti. "With Lake Mead at its lowest level ever, we wanted to explore whether the basin, like most other regions around the world, was relying on groundwater to make up for the limited surface-water supply. We found a surprisingly high and long-term reliance on groundwater to bridge the gap between supply and demand."
Famiglietti noted that the rapid depletion rate will compound the problem of short supply by leading to further declines in streamflow in the Colorado River.
"Combined with declining snowpack and population growth, this will likely threaten the long-term ability of the basin to meet its water allocation commitments to the seven basin states and to Mexico," Famiglietti said.
The study has been accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, which posted the manuscript online Thursday. Coauthors included other scientists from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado. The research was funded by NASA and the University of California.
For more information on NASA's GRACE satellite mission, see:
GRACE is a joint mission with the German Aerospace Center and the German Research Center for Geosciences, in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin. JPL developed the GRACE spacecraft and manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
NASA monitors Earth's vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. The agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.
To learn more about NASA's Earth science activities in 2014, visit:

Monday, October 28, 2013

New Mine Waste Coming to Jerome, Arizona

The history of mining in Jerome Arizona has a checkered past.  Millions of dollars were earned by the mining companies and some of the towns (at least in Arizona) received a public building or two.  But the destruction of people and the environment carried a horrible toll.  
An open pit with a head frame half hidden behind shrubbery.
 Head frames were used to lower and raise miners from the
 88 miles of below-ground tunnels.
Myths, legends and a few factual stories have survived about the brothels, legendary madams, some of the saloons and epic fist and gun fights.  What is never questioned is why nothing has grown for sixty years on these piles of waste.

Mines in Jerome ceased operation in 1953.  The scale of these
 waste "layers" can be determined by the apparent size of
the 2-story houses at the lower right of the photograph above.
Despite airborne pollution (toxic dust) and ground water toxicity due to 60 years of rainfall percolating through these piles, mining may begin again in West Jerome .

NOTHING has grown on this waste material in 60 years.
If Cornerstone Metals, Inc. indeed comes to Jerome it may well find a mixed reception.