DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: Europe: The Water Crisis Comes Home

Conn Hallinan
Sunday September 08, 2019 - 11:12:00 AM

  • On Aug. 18, several dozen people gathered around a patch of snow in Iceland to commemorate the demise of the Okjokull glacier, a victim of climate change. Further to the west, Greenland shed 217 billion tons of ice in the month of July alone.
  • Paris reached 108.7 degrees on July 25, and normally cold, blustery Normandy registered 102 degrees. Worldwide, July 2019 was the hottest month on record.
  • Melting Russian permafrost—which makes up two-thirds of the country—is buckling roads, collapsing buildings, and releasing massive amounts of methane, a gas with the ten times the climate-warming potential of carbon dioxide,
  • Some 1.500 residents of Whaley Bridge were recently evacuated when a dam—overwhelmed by intense rainfall that pummeled northern England—threatened to break. The rains washed out roads and rail lines and swamped homes and business.
Ever since coal was partnered with water to generate steam and launch the industrial revolution, Europeans have been pouring billions of tons of atmospheric warming compounds into the planet’s atmosphere. While scientists were aware of the climate-altering potential of burning hydrocarbons as early as 1896, the wealth generated by spinning jennies, power looms and drop forges was seductive, as was the power it gave countries to build colonial empires and subjugate populations across the globe.

But the bill is finally coming due. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Those Not Deemed 'Psychotic' Develop Delusional Systems, Too

Jack Bragen
Sunday September 08, 2019 - 11:22:00 AM

A psychotic person is often described as "delusional" and "disconnected from reality." However, it is very easy and quite common for those in the general public to be delusional. The main difference, I think, is that a person considered normal doesn't ignore the five senses to the extent that they can't function. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Climate crisis: action, not hope needed

Ralph E. Stone
Sunday September 08, 2019 - 11:26:00 AM

Perhaps, our youth like Greta Thunberg will lead the world in fighting the climate crisis. On August 30, 2019, Swedish teen activist Ms. Thunberg was joined by a crowd of other young people outside the United Nation headquarters in New York City, in furtherance of the youth environmental movement. Two days earlier, Ms. Thunberg and two other teens arrived aboard a carbon-free yacht after a two-week transatlantic boat crossing. She will attend the UN climate summits in New York later this month, and in Santiago, Chile, in December. Her message is simple: she wants a concrete plan, not just nice words to fight climate crisis.

Empirical evidence shows that the climate crisis is real and is largely caused by man. This is not a theory; it is a fact. If someone tells you that this is not true, then they are lying or stupid or stand to make lots of money by ignoring it. By denying climate change, you have an excuse to do little or nothing about it. Climate change is no longer about science; it is now a political, economic, social debate. In other words, what do we do about the crisis now? -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Sunday September 08, 2019 - 11:24:00 AM

Trumpism Erupts at 7-Eleven Standoff

A young African-American fellow takes up a panhandling position outside a 7-Eleven in Berkeley. Not an unfamiliar sight. But last Sunday, I was unprepared for what happened after I held the door open for one of the store managers who was preparing to walk outside carrying a plastic bucket.

To my astonishment, he proceeded to confront the panhandler, yelling: "Get off my damn property!" And then threw a bucket of cold water in the young man's face.

There was a tense standoff as the two men "stood their ground" and exchanged angry glares. But what really surprised me was the shopkeeper's next outburst.

"Go back to where you came from!" he shouted.

However (unlike Trump), he shouted it with a perceptible foreign accent.

(It could have been worse. The bucket only contained water and it was a hot day so it was one of those rare cases where an attack could be seen as a refreshing experience.) -more-