Sunday, July 20, 2008

We Can Solve It and Warm as the New Status Quo

I haven't checked out either what T. Boone Pickens is proposing on energy (I've just seen his TV commercial suggesting we can do a lot with renewables like wind power) nor have I checked out, the new effort from Al Gore (but I caught part of his speech to the NetRoots Nation conference on CSPAN), but I like that these things are popping up and gaining some traction. Would it be catastrophic if half of Florida ended up slowly submerging under water, or if upstate New York had milder winters? Probably not, the Earth has changed climates and surface area over the millenia a bunch of times, and we'll adapt. But we risk a collapse of our society and a slip into pestilence and feudalism; into disease and subsistence living rather than the society of opportunity that we have now, where many people can live long, safe, healthy lives in the pursuit of their own fulfillment, if we don't handle the energy situation and its fallout into food production and climate change.

I saw this article on the tenuousness of ice at the north pole. I already know that my children are growing up when there was always an Internet, when everyone has a phone, and most people have one on their belt or in their purse; when there is air-conditioning if it's hot out and heat if it's cold and cars and planes take us everywhere. I knew that technology was ubiquitous. But I also thought that they would grow up with basically the same planet as I did. But it seems that now it may be the easiest way for my kids to get to the North Pole is to just take a boat -- no dog sleds or snowmobiles needed, just sail up there and watch the sun circle around you. And that there will be no snow in Africa, not even on Kilimanjaro. I've lived half as long at this point as my maternal grandmother lived, and she saw the growth of the automobile and the birth of the airplane and television and, toward the end, the Internet. I didn't think I would be, but I may be in for a span just as wide.

Avoiding Lloyd Bentsen's quote.

I understand the pressure on Obama to move to the center during the general election cycle and I'm sure his advisors are telling him to appear strong on foreign affairs and terrorism, but Hillary Clinton managed to vote against the new FISA and it's retroactive-and-prima-facie-unconstitutional retroactive telecom companies immunity. But that's not the leader that had me excited about public service in America again. That's not the leader that voted against the Iraq war (Hillary Clinton didn't manage to vote against that, when Barack Obama did.)

It's a disappointment when I find that an inspiring leader is on the opposite side of an issue from the ACLU. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit against this new FISA; from their complaint: " none of the safeguards that the Constitution demands. It permits the government to monitor the communications of U.S. Citizens and residents without identifying the people to be surveilled; without specifying the facilities, places, premises, or property to be monitored; ...; without obtaining individualized warrants based on ... probable cause".

I find myself largely agreeing again with Dave Winer here and here and I will similarly be redirecting my donations henceforth (but not my vote). I'm also disappointed in Obama's non-acceptance of public campaign funds and a couple other reversals; I think the other party can make more hay out of his flip-flops than his progressive positions; "Change You Can Believe In" -- do You believe in it, Mr. Obama? I would hate to think that we could apply Llyod Bentsen's most famous quote. I hope Obama gets back on point, and stays there.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Marigolds and I do, too

"...the 'p' stands for 'pigeon'...." I've posted my brief review of the book, Once Upon a Marigold.

Rawson Reviews Music for 2007

As in recent years, I recognize some of the artists but not many of the songs or albums, but my friend David performs a painstaking process to distill down the 40 best albums and 100 most worthy songs for 2007. See his fresh lists here.