Mr. President, that alarm you hear is the climate clock running out

July 13, 2015

(Context Florida) On climate change adaptation, the hour is very late.

Only seven years ago the mainstream media began reporting the likelihood that warming temperatures at the arctic extremes could begin releasing vast quantities of methane gas into the atmosphere, with its potential to rapidly double the amount of global warming gases already overloading the atmosphere. With a summer that has produced astoundingly high temperatures and forest fires in arctic North, that hypothesis is coming to pass.

It is no surprise that climate scientists, as a result of data pouring in, are beginning to publicly express what they privately experience: despair.

So what is the single, effective step that President Barack Obama could take on climate change? Read the rest of this entry »

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A Visit To India Is Hard To Leave Behind: What separates New Delhi from the Everglades

March 20, 2012

(Counterpunch, March 20, 2012) At two in the morning, the sleek, modern airport at New Delhi hummed with activity. Most travelers pointed westbound to European capitals and from there, mid morning connections to the Americas.

What piqued my curiosity at that ungodly hour: airport security worked at half pace while the crowds piled behind. For the most part, India’s bureaucratic indifference was far from sight during a three-week visit.

Here at the moment of departure, anxious lines pushed and security responded with its own laws of gravity, and I felt the curious pull of the familiar, something that reminded me of home. You know what they say about Schenectady: it’s not hell but you can see it from there?

The places that hold us, whether in Uttar Pradesh or New York, have their tell tales. For example, in Florida –my home–, the sign of the eternal, damning wheel is the predisposition of bureaucrats to work hand-in-glove with politicians and lobbyists to destroy the Everglades. Read the rest of this entry »


Victims of the Free Market: Predatory Speculation

March 8, 2011

Civil War in Libya. Oil speculators crowding into the market. For nearly a week running, network TV news has led with the story of rising gas prices and the “threat to the economy”. Really? The Federal Reserve core inflation excludes food and energy, on the basis that price spikes moderate and in any event (barring revolutionaries gaining foothold in Saudi Arabia) speculators come and go, exchanging futures for paintings by Michaelangelo. The price of gas goes from $3.14 to $3.55, and suddenly we are atwitter about tapping the national oil reserve?

In the week before TV news began to focus on gas prices, the Administration announced the jobless rate fell to 8.9 percent. The emerging story line is that rising fuel prices are threatening the economic “recovery”. That’s not why the seams are coming apart. Read the rest of this entry »


BP’s Temple of Doom: Slowly the Poison the Whole Bloodstream Fills…

June 30, 2010

(Counterpunch) The electronic ether  is crackling with rumors of suspected collateral damage from the BP Gulf Oil catastrophe. A Youtube video purports to show rain falling in Louisiana, streaking the earth with a Deepwater Horizon sheen of oil. In Tennessee, near the Big River, TV news reports bird deaths and damage to all kinds of plants, bearing scars of an unidentified toxin. Widespread crop damages.

A leitmotif emerges, that corporate America is deliberately scuttling the ship, punching holes in its ribs below the waterline. 9/11 conspiracies have a new sibling: the Gulf Coast catastrophe. Still, I am interested in answers: could poisons in Corexit, the chemical dispersant being used by BP, be carried aloft with aromatic compounds released from the oil. Does methane convert to ozone as bloggers claim, concentrated in droplets that fall from the air like mercury in the Florida Everglades? Read the rest of this entry »


Environmental Catastrophe Fatigue: Tuning Out

June 28, 2010

(Counterpunch) Since the Gulf oil spill catastrophe, more than two months ago, I have dropped in regularly to the excellent online coverage by the Times-Picayunein New Orleans. Recently the web edition of the the newspaper has segregated the Gulf oil spill catastrophe into a special section, relieving readers and subscribers from a ceaseless tide of bad news. To be fair, the Times Picayune has an entire click-thru feature filled with news and information of the unfolding Gulf catastrophe, but I’m not imagining the necessity of sublimation. Americans are an “up” people. We are not weighted down by history. We are inventors, entrepreneurs and builders. The paper is responding to a phenomenon well-known to close observers: environmental catastrophe fatigue.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Forty Year War on the Environment: Along Came Jeb

June 24, 2010

(Counterpunch) In The New York Times, Jeb Bush offers a rare glimpse of what we have been missing since the former governor of Florida– and putative lynchpin of the Karl Rove/ Grover Norquist wing of the GOP– left office. Jeb! derides President Obama blaming his brother’s administration for the nation’s ills. “It’s kind of like a kid coming to school saying, ‘The dog ate my homework… “It’s childish. This is what children do until they mature. They don’t accept responsibility.” Read the rest of this entry »


Taking Over BP

June 11, 2010

(Counterpunch) As a routine strategy, “managing expectations” is the best way to deal with disaster. It is easy to understand why BP’s first instinct was to keep the video feed of the oil spill 5,000 feet underground from flowing to the public. BP is continuing to harass and to limit access of reporters from viewing and reporting damaged wildlife. Those oiled birds and sea turtles are toxic to corporate power. The images also contribute substantially to the pressures rising on the Obama administration, as the Gulf of Mexico turns into a horror over a long, hot summer.

Read the rest of this entry »