TNY: My Holocaust Memoir

This week’s New Yorker has a Ben Greenman Shouts and Murmurs piece titled “My Holocaust Memoir.” The piece imagines a writer’s pitch letter to Oprah about a Holocaust memoir that bares a striking resemblance to Herman Rosenblat’s love story, Angel at the Fence. Herman’s story might not be true, but he’s now inspired satire.

Advertisements

44 responses to “TNY: My Holocaust Memoir

  1. Gabe,

    Good find, I had not seen that. Here is another satire on Oprah and Herman, and there is one more in my files i found yesterday….

    — Danny, [your unthanked tipster]

    http://www.datelinehollywood.com/dateline_hollywood/2009/01/oprah-concedes-book-about-unicorns-was-a-hoax.html

    Oprah concedes book about unicorns was a hoax

    It has happened again. Oprah Winfrey had been duped by another author claiming a book was fact but as it turns out is fiction.

    Randy Chalman’s “How I Discovered Unicorns” has been exposed to be a hoax after Oprah had the author on the show and was moved to tears by the author’s emotional story.

    “It turns out, the book is not based on facts,” said Oprah in a statement. “We thought what we were hearing about Randy Chalman discovering several unicorns in Granada was true. We were mislead. “

    This has quickly become a pattern for Oprah. First she was had by James Frey, who wrote a “nonfiction” book called “A Million Little Pieces.” The book supposedly documented Frey’s years as an alcoholic, drug-addicted criminal. Many sections of the book were made up. Oprah had Frey return to the show and proceeded to bitch slap him several times. A lawsuit is still pending.

    Then came a heartwarming Holocaust memoir by Jewish survivor Herman Rosenblat. His book “Angel at the Fence: The True Story of a Love that Survived” has been exposed as a hoax.

    “We were convinced that this book by Rosenblat was a book based on facts,” said Oprah. “Now we’re being told that the book is a hoax, and now the sobering news that unicorns do not exist. We are all a little stunned.”

    A spokesmen for Oprah says the talkshow host has canceled an upcoming appearance by author Julie Cullins to promote her book “My Love Affair with a Leprechaun at the End of a Rainbow.”

  2. Gabe and Ben,

    Here is 3rd blog satire. With satirical photoshopped pics, the first ever.

    http://stopthepresses2.blogspot.com/2009/01/oprah-tricked-again.html

    Herman Rosenblat and his wife Roma, author of the first hoax perpetrated on Oprah with his book “Angel at the Fence”, Tricked Oprah again appearing for a second time on Oprah’s television show. This time the tricky couple changed the book’s title, wore disguises and changed their names too Rerman and Oma Hosenblat. Upon introducing the couple on her television show Oprah stated, “Welcome Oma Hosenblat and her husband Rerman. Oma is the author of a wonderful book called ‘Angel Boy at the Fence.’ I am so happy that we found these two wonderful people, to finally get the truth out about this wonderful heart wrenching story.”

  3. One more note, Gabe, not to you, but to Ben Greenman. He seems like a very talented writer, from his resume and website, but this New Yorker satire really seemed silly and ugly to me. I just didn’t get it. It made me sick reading it. I guess it just goes to show my age, ……60, going on 100, just 25 but that went by fast…… and also shows how some people have different views on what’s funny re the Holocaust. I didn’t find Ben’s satire funny or satirical at all, although I admire his writing style and writing skills, but why on earth would he write such stuff? And why on Earth would the N Yorker publish it? If that is what the N Yorker thinks is funny in the aftermath of this sad saga of Herman Rosenblat, then I give up. I never should have called you in the first place. Big mistake on my part! I mean, if your great reporting leads to this sick kind of satire, ouch, oi, where did I go wrong?

    Danny

  4. Gabe,
    On reading Ben’s satire three times over, I don’t think is bares any resemblance, not to mention any striking resemblance, to Herman’s “memoir”. His piece just seems like juvenile murmurings, great for McSweeney’s but not for the New Yorker. I may be wrong, I often am. But in what way does Ben’s piece resemble Herman’s “memoir”? It seems people are making fun of a very tragic book hoax — and remember, Oprah never approved Herman’s book because there was NO BOOK on her show, jsut Herman and Roma doing their backstory thing, so we cannot blame Oprah for approving the book, she never read the 330 page opus that some cabal of a ghostwriting team wrote for Penguin. Susan Margolis didn’t write the book, she was just the polisher. So who was the ghostwriter, the real ghostwriter? So far it has not been reported. And THAT will be the final nail in this sad coffin of a take down story. I know who this cabal is but once again the MSM won’t read my emails or listen to me. Back to square one it seems.

    RE:

    “This week’s New Yorker has a Ben Greenman Shouts and Murmurs piece titled “My Holocaust Memoir.” The piece imagines a writer’s pitch letter to Oprah about a Holocaust memoir that bares a striking *resemblance* [REALLY? IN WHAT WAY? IT MERELY SEEMS LIKE SOPHOMORIC POSTURING, SILLY STUFF, AND VERY SAD TO READ IT….BUT THAT IS MY POV AND I MIGHT BE WAY WRONG. MAYBE NEW YORKER READERS LOVED IT. GO FIGURE.] to Herman Rosenblat’s love story, Angel at the Fence.”

  5. Gabe, after thinking about this some more, 6 hours later……I think Ben missed the mark here because while the writing is superb and witty and skilfull prose…..the DEAR OPRAH thing is wrong, because OPRAH never approved the book, she never read the book, there was no book to read, she is not the person, that Ben’s satiral DEAR Sir letter should be addressed to. It should have been addressed to DEAR NATALEE, as you know, and as Ben and his ediotrs at the NEw Yorker should know, it was Natalee who approved and acquired and sign on for this book of Herman’s. NOT OPRAH. Had Ben written his letter to DEAR NATALEE or DEAR PENGUIN EDITORIAL DEPT. it might been better satire and MORE to the point. But i guess ben and the NYer does not want to rattle the powers that be in the Publishing World in Manhattan, because they might even butter Ben’s bread one day, the New Yorker is part of the Publishers Row syndrome and they all know each other, and G-d forbid that TNY should criticize or diss Penguin Books. OH NO. Easier to go after Miss Orpah, the woman every intellectuial in the USA loves to hate….but really, Gabe, and Ben I know you are reading this too, you should NOT have gone after Oprah, because as gabe’s very good reporting in TNR always said, Oprah had nothing to do with the alleged memoir….SHE did not acquire it for publciation, she did not line edit it, she did not vet the book, she had nothign to do with Penguin’s sorry mess in all this…..So LEAEV OPRAH alone, you guys. Go after the real culprit here, but of course, you don;’t want to burn your career bridges, i understaand , Penguin might publkish you someday, and Tina Fey or Tina Brown or whoever is editing the NYer these days, would never allow you to diss a fellow New Yorker friend and Russian Tea Room dining mate. right? Go after the Chicago moll, easier target and more funnier. NOT!

    Please read the above with humor, guys. But i am telling you the truth!

  6. Mea gulpa!

    I think I rushed to judgment, above, on my ttake on Ben’s SHOUT and MURMUR in TNY. Upon further reflection, and a good night’s sleep, and a trusted friend’s email, I now want to amend my above posts re the satire to reflect this:

    I think that, right or wrong, and readers will decide, not me, Ben just
    meant this as a humor piece, riffing on how amazingly absurd this story was
    on the surface of it, book or no book, and yet no one questioned it. Oprah
    was a responsible for being sentient as anyone else. And yes, the publishers
    should be damned, but so should all who promoted this or didn’t get it —
    Chicken Soup books and Guideposts and many newspaper reporters who went along with the story without ever questioning it, as well as Oprah.

    — danny, saying “sorry” Ben for my quik take remarks yesterday. Changed of perception now. Although I still didn’t really cotton to your satire. Why not devote some space next week in Shouts and Murmurs to show readers how a lone blogger in Taiwan! used the Internet — in Internet time — who doesn’t even own a computer, a true Luddie he is — how he worked feverishly for 8 weeks, some would say insanely, to try to bring the “news” of this impending fabricated memoir from Penguin to the USA media, 99 perecnt of who would not listen …..for 8 weeks…until one savvy reporter in NYC working for TNR did listen and listened hard and went out to report one of the most compelling book stories of the year, bar none. That’s what you should report, Ben, not this satire stuff which does nobody no good. Capish?

    You know where to reach me and how. Do it. And quitcherbellyachin!

    And, again, I apologzie for yesterday’s quik take. Sorry. Mea gulpa

    danny

  7. Gabe,

    I was shocked when I read this Greenberg piece in the New Yorker. I caught the allusion right away, but I didn’t think it was funny. To the contrary, it lacked the necessary sensitivity when deciding to publicly walk the tight rope of Holocaust and humor.

    For me, the Holocaust is more than the murder of Jews, Gypsies, and homosexuals. the Holocaust represents the torture of and experimentation on countless mothers, children, fathers: PEOPLE.

    The chutzpah with which the author assembled this satire seems self-promoting and ignorant of the gravity which this subject demands.

    Chris

  8. Chris Aguero above,

    Good post and point well made. One thing, the writer’s name for that New Yorker piece was Ben Greenman, not Greenber. Typo alert.

    People will be divided over his piece. Some liked it, and enjoyed the humor, and the barbs directed at Oprah, and others, I am sure, like you, didn’t like the piece at all, and especially appearing as it did in the esteemed, or once esteemed, New Yorker, of all places. Maybe in another publication or online mag, it might have worked better.

    One question I have which is not directed to Mr Greenman, who was merely exercising his freedom of speech rights and his creative writing skills, is this: HOW DID ThAT PIECE GET PASSED HIS EDITORS AT THE NEW YORKER? I mean, it was one thing to write the piece, and from the author’s point of view, it made sense. So he wrote it. Sure. But for his editors at the New Yorker, that once estemmed magazine, to greenlight the piece for publication, in print, online, OUCH! Just like the editors at Penguin were asleep at the wheel when they acquired and greenlighted Herman’s fauz memoir, as was Oprah when she fell for the backstory too, Greenman’s editor at the New Yorker — if he has an editor, I don’t know, maybe they all can write and publish whatever they want in their VIP cubicles, but ouch, where were the New Yorker editors on this sadly misdirected, but courageously written, “satire”?

    Would love to hear a New Yorker editor chime in here?

  9. I’m usually not much offended by coarseness and stupidity, but Greenamn’s “My Holocaust Memoir” (New Yorker, Jan 19) marks either a sea change in the nation’s standards of decency, or a collective mental disease with the magazine’s editors. It must be the illness because rational minds don’t dignify a “humorous” story about the deliberate murder of six million innocent people by allowing it metastasize in print. The author probably pulled off the story late at night with drunks and took a chance that the New Yorker would also yuck it up. I hope the magazine’s owner doesn’t fire the help. A series of inexpensive enemas should rearrange their heads.

  10. Gilbert Gia,

    good post and good comments. You are right. One thing that is interesing is that ben greenman refuses to answer any of my polite emails asking him to chat about this remarkable off color satire that bombed. gabe allows these comments up here, which shows he is a good reporter, and a fair person, but Ben uses his own website to censor people who disagree with him and to rant at one point about how he wants to KILL one of the email writers who sent him a rather nasty email about the failed satire. Weird.

  11. is danny bloom your friend sherman? if the news of your relationship with him became news it would ruin you. do you really know who your source is? so if you got this story from a really really bad guy what would this make you? mmmm? i think an investigation into your him would be interesting. maybe we should get interpol involved? or are they already? zohar in tel aviv

  12. is danny bloom your friend sherman? if the news of your relationship with him became news it would ruin you. do you really know who your source is? so if you got this story from a really really bad guy what would this make you? mmmm? i think an investigation into your relationsip with him would be interesting. maybe we should get interpol involved? or are they already? zohar in tel aviv

  13. folo. so who has an embarrasing criminal record? what reporter relied on him for information without knowing about it? what dangerous source has recorded phone conversations and saved all his emails? certainly a reporter cant rely on people like that for information? if he did it would be so embarrassing to him? wouldnt it? zohar in TA

  14. The pranksters come out of the woodwork. Nobody I know recorded any phone conversations, I don’t even own a tape recorder, smile. Whoever this prankster is, I think it is one of my friends being prankish. It’s time to move on, everyone. It’s February 1 already. The Rosenblat case is history.,

  15. im proud to be an american cause at least i know im free! my skin hides my solitude of a life confused.

  16. Ich bin stolz darauf, ein Amerikaner, wenn ich weiß, zumindest im kostenlos! danny

  17. interesting site on dan bloom everyone:

    http://whoisdannybloom.shoutpost.com/

  18. Taylor Bayrotuh

    This above post by” Mr Begin” is libelous and stalking in nature. The website above has been notified and the post will soon be taken down. It should also be taken down here. This shout out post was not put up or assigned by anyone we know and it goes against the principles of our website. I hope Mr Sherman will do the right thing and also remove the offending posts abouve by Mr Begin.

  19. Taylor Bayrotuh

    ShoutPost.com Blogging Site Launches
    First free blog syndication system and ad-free hosting.

    Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) January 24, 2007 — ShoutPost.com, a fresh, innovative, free site for creating blogs, has officially launched, setting a new trend towards advertising-free blog space and easy syndication. From the creators of the popular tBlog.com, which made waves with its unique “thought matching” technology for blog interaction, comes ShoutPost.com — a site, which allows bloggers to be heard in an advertising-free environment.

    Unlike familiar sites such as myspace.com, friendster.com or blog.com, which place intrusive and distracting advertisements on the user’s personal blog pages, ShoutPost.com reserves the user’s space for the user’s content only. Additionally, ShoutPost.com provides a unique syndication system, which enables members to create their blog on ShoutPost.com, and instantly syndicate it on any other website that they have control over. This is the first time that a free-blogging site has offered syndication of this type.

    We wanted to give bloggers a free personal space to share ideas without having to worry about their message being corrupted by the latest DVD release, or the newest network sitcom
    With the new syndication system, we also offer the first free method for any website owner to easily syndicate their ShoutPost blog anywhere on the web. We think this feature will play a large part in ShoutPost’s success.
    Where bloggers go to be heard.
    “We wanted to give bloggers a free personal space to share ideas without having to worry about their message being corrupted by the latest DVD release, or the newest network sitcom,” said ShoutPost.com creator, Taylor Bayouth. “With the new syndication system, we also offer the first free method for any website owner to easily syndicate their ShoutPost blog anywhere on the web. We think this feature will play a large part in ShoutPost’s success.”

    SHOUTPOST.COM’s free features include: ad-free blogs, syndication tool, free subdomain (yourname.shoutpost.com), unlimited bandwidth, image manager and private posting. ShoutPost.com launched on January 15, 2007.

    About ShoutPost.com
    Shoutpost.com was founded by Taylor Bayouth and Nick Morley. ShoutPost.com is a division of TBLOG LLC. ShoutPost.com — “Where bloggers go to be heard.”

    For more information please contact:
    Taylor Bayouth
    Cell: 818-618-3489

  20. Recent Headlines

    View Recent User Press Releases on Google, Yahoo!, International Business Times, Ask, Topix & Excite.

    Online Bingo UK is the First to Review Cheeky Bingo: With a Unique Concept, Cheeky Bingo is set to Revolutionise Bingo
    The UK’s leading bingo portal and review site is proud to release the first official review of Cheeky Bingo. The newest online bingo site out there allows you to play bingo all day for free and win real cash prizes. With a real cash jackpot for every free game, you can play for free and win for real at Cheeky Bingo. 02/05/2009

    ForeclosureOfTheDay.com Launches Site to Match Smart Real Estate Investors With the Hottest Home Deals
    Want to get a jump in this buyers market, but don’t know where to start? ForeclosureOfTheDay.com gives prospective investors the heads up on the market’s hottest real estate investment opportunities. Find distressed properties undervalued for their market in choice areas throughout the United States. 02/05/2009

    Partnering up With as Many High Profile Partners and Media Outlets Seems the way to Attract Many High Profile Celebrities
    After great success during the Emmy’s, GBK decided to partner up again with Dakota Mountain Lodge, a Waldorf Astoria Property at the Sundance Film Festival. 02/05/2009

    Chris Anderson, Wired Magazine Editor, Says on IdeasProject.com that New Business Models are Emerging Based on Free Products and Services
    Video interview with Anderson, Author of Free: The Past and Future of a Radical Price, featured at IdeasProject.com, Nokia’s new website, which provides innovative ways to interact with thought leaders and their “big ideas” about the future of communications 02/05/2009

    MyFantasyLeague.com Recognized by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) as the Best Online Fantasy Commissioner Product for 2008
    As the most innovative commissioner tool in the industry, it beats out media giants CBSSports and ESPN as well as several others. 02/05/2009

    The Climate Project Builds Momentum to Persuade World Leaders to Take Urgent Action on Global Warming
    Jenny Clad, Executive Director of The Climate Project, delivers State of the Organization Address. Announces enhanced direction of advocacy and activism to solve the climate crisis. 02/05/2009

    topseos Ranks eVisibility, Inc. One of the Top Organic Optimization Companies for February 2009
    eVisibility proves to be one of the best SEO companies by topseos.com for three months in a row. 02/05/2009

    Pumgo Scooter – A New Way to Ride and Fit for Fun
    The Pumgo Scooter is a new human-powered vehicle, with two reciprocal stair-climber like pedals that drive the scooter forward. Whether you are looking for fun, recreation, a sporting toy, transportation, or a fitness instrument, the Pumgo Scooter provides it all. It’s a “fit for fun” gadget for kid and adult. It will be introduced to the world at the New York International Toy Fair on February 15­-18, 2009. 02/05/2009 (Friend of PRWeb: 5)

    Vocus and PRWeb Named Among Upshot 50’s Leaders in Marketing Technology
    02/05/2009 (Friend of PRWeb: 1000000)

    Green is Golden at this Year’s Grammy Awards
    Infinity Sun to spray tan Grammy Nominees and Presenters at “Green with Music” Grammy’s Suite 02/05/2009 (Friend of PRWeb: 48)

    Sinus Buster Pepper Nasal Spray Moves Into Rite Aid Drug Stores
    Sinus Buster was billed as the world’s first hot pepper nasal spray when it was launched on the web in 2004. Now Sinus Buster and its sister brand, Allergy Buster are moving onto the shelves of more than 5,000 Rite Aid drug stores. 02/05/2009 (Friend of PRWeb: 1)

    “Who You Gonna Call?” UCLICK® Brings Ghostbusters Comic Books from IDW Publishing to iPhone and iPod Touch
    They’ve battled sliming phantasms, a towering marshmallow mascot, demon-possessed paintings and more. And now the Ghostbusters are ready to face off against the paranormal on your iPhone and iPod Touch, courtesy of Uclick, the #1 distributor of comics and manga on mobile. Issue 1 of the comic book series Ghostbusters: The Other Side from IDW Publishing is available now for download on the iPhone App Store at $.99(US) cents, with more issues scheduled for release in the coming weeks. 02/05/2009 (Friend of PRWeb: 1)

    Eye Care Employment Among Fastest-Growing US Jobs
    As US unemployment figures continue to rise, opportunities in allied health care fields such as ophthalmic assisting are among the fastest-growing US occupations. High demand for ophthalmic personnel will remain for decades as baby boomer demographics continue to strain the health care industry. The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) offers certification and continuing education to ophthalmic medical personnel (OMP). Through JCAHPO certification, personnel can expect to be gainfully employed in a relatively short period of time compared to other avenues of health care. 02/05/2009

    Chesapeake Energy Corporation Signs Enterprise License Agreement with ESRI
    Business Continuity Eases Software Acquisition 02/05/2009

    One More Week, One More Chance for Schools to Win Big at Harris Teeter
    Submit your “my harris teeter” jingle today and qualify to win $10,000 02/05/2009

    Home Staging Helps Move Inventory
    As the number of nonperforming assets being acquired by asset management companies continues to grow, REO marketing techniques such as staging services are being sought after to boost property sales. Asset managers are telling the Realtors they work with in local markets to go in and do staging on real estate-owned properties because many of these homes can benefit from interior and exterior improvements. 02/05/2009

    Virtualis Convention and Learning Center™ Expands Due to Demand
    Virtualis™ expands in Second Life™ based upon demand for virtual solutions for meetings, conventions and special events, doubling in size to accommodate 360 virtual attendees. 02/05/2009

    Online Bingo Site Launches New Multiplayer Slots Room
    JackpotCity.com Online Bingo has launched a new Multiplayer Slot Room option with its new Marine Mayhem Multiplayer Slots Games. 02/05/2009

    Elyon’s Awe-inspiring Elixirs Meet the Demands of a New Age
    Elyon brings new life to skincare with a range of awe-inspiring elixirs to combat the cause rather than effects of clinical depression. With exclusive ranges and by appointment service available. 02/05/2009

    McCarthy Tétrault LLP Empowers Assistants, Leverages Time Zones and Optimizes Ratios Via BigHand Software
    Business benefits cited by the firm include greater assistant utilization, time zone maximization, staff optimization, the creation of virtual teams, and the ability to easily transcribe voicemail. 02/05/2009

    Dave’s Garden Creates a New Glimpse into Gardening History
    Dave’s Garden launches a unique new daily garden history feature for its site members and visitors. 02/05/2009

    Resorb Networks, Inc Sells MyBlackBook Trademarks, Announces Sexual History Tracking Service’s New Name, nOOkist™
    Resorb Networks, Inc. has announced that it has sold the rights to it’s MyBlackBook trademarks, and will be renaming MyBlackBook.Org, the popular sexual history tracking service, to nOOkist™. 02/05/2009

  21. who is this guy named gabe or gabe sherman? interested in hearing from bloggers across the globe who know who gabe really is? why did he leave Brandeis before graduation? is he really in DC? who is he and what is his agenda? is there a reason to deliver the goods to this man? this is the place to post it. pictures, videos and supporting documents are welcome.

    http://whoisgabesherman.shoutout.com

  22. ShoutPost.com Blogging Site Launches
    First free blog syndication system and ad-free hosting.

    Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) January 24, 2007 — ShoutPost.com, a fresh,
    innovative, free site for creating blogs, has officially launched,
    setting a new trend towards advertising-free blog space and easy
    syndication. From the creators of the popular tBlog.com, which made
    waves with its unique “thought matching” technology for blog
    interaction, comes ShoutPost.com — a site, which allows bloggers to
    be heard in an advertising-free environment.

    Unlike familiar sites such as myspace.com, friendster.com or blog.com,
    which place intrusive and distracting advertisements on the user’s
    personal blog pages, ShoutPost.com reserves the user’s space for the
    user’s content only. Additionally, ShoutPost.com provides a unique
    syndication system, which enables members to create their blog on
    ShoutPost.com, and instantly syndicate it on any other website that
    they have control over. This is the first time that a free-blogging
    site has offered syndication of this type.

    We wanted to give bloggers a free personal space to share ideas
    without having to worry about their message being corrupted by the
    latest DVD release, or the newest network sitcom

  23. A Change in the Wind
    (all the climate and culture that’s fit to blog) 02/05/2009
    “A Crisis into a Catastrophe”: How to Frame the Economic Meltdown — and Global Warming
    Tuesday Steven Chu, the newly-appointed Secretary of Energy, warned that if global warming is not slowed, California agriculture could be destroyed this century. He told the Los Angeles Times:

    California’s farms and vineyards could vanish by the end of the century, and its major cities could be in jeopardy, if Americans do not act to slow the advance of global warming [he said]. Chu warned of water shortages plaguing the West and Upper Midwest and particularly dire consequences for California, his home state, the nation’s leading agricultural producer.

    In a worst case, Chu said, up to 90% of the Sierra snowpack could disappear, all but eliminating a natural storage system for water vital to agriculture.

    “I don’t think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen,” he said. “We’re looking at a scenario where there’s no more agriculture in California.” And, he added, “I don’t actually see how they can keep their cities going” either.

    Here’s a link to a report (pdf) by Dan Cayans of Scripps (and many others, funded by the state’s climate change center) on the implications of global warming this century for our state.

    It’s frightening, folks.

    Here’s a graph of estimated annual temps, according to various models and emission scenarios:

    Maybe even more frightening is another study mentioned in Chu’s interview, from Science, saying that heat could reduce crop yields by 20-40 percent by the end of the century, potentially lead to mass starvation. To put the heat numbers in context, Prof. Battisti of the University of Washington said that the infamous heat wave of 2003 in Europe, which killed as many as 52,000 people, would become normal summer weather. [One cautionary note: as climatologist Kelly Redmond has pointed out, extending climate model projections to a century’s length is sure to amplify any error, however small.]

    Our new Prez hasn’t been talking about climate change as of late, trying to pass his much-needed economic stimulus package. Nonetheless the rhetoric he used yesterday to explain the risk of inaction on the economy applies equally well to the climate:

    “A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession.”

    Simply substitute “global devastation” for “a longer recession.”

    Posted at 01:57 PM in climate change | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: climate change, Obama, Steven Chu

    02/03/2009
    The American Idea, According to Bruce Springsteen
    Al Filreis, the UPenn prof who knows as much about American poetry as nearly anyone alive (heck, he has roughly twelve freaking blogs on the subject) links to a big story in the inevitable New York Times about Bruce Springsteen, and endorses the idea that Springsteen is “The Rock Laureate.”

    Jon Pareles is a good writer and critic, but this story about “Mr. Springsteen” seems hopelessly stilted to me, and, as Al says, useful mostly for the quotes he finds. Yes, Springsteen may be as close to a national poet as we have today, but this clunky piece struggles to make the point.

    Read it for its voices, not its conclusion.

    The first comes from our new Prez, who said at a fund-raiser last fall featuring the Boss, in his inimitably direct way, “The reason I’m running for president is because I can’t be Bruce Springsteen.”

    But if not as concise, perhaps more noteworthy is a quote from Springsteen himself:

    A lot of the core of our songs is the American idea: What is it? What does it mean? ‘Promised Land,’ ‘Badlands,’ I’ve seen people singing those songs back to me all over the world. I’d seen that country on a grass-roots level through the ’80s, since I was a teenager. And I met people who were always working toward the country being that kind of place. But on a national level it always seemed very far away. And so on election night it showed its face, for maybe, probably, one of the first times in my adult life. I sat there on the couch, and my jaw dropped, and I went, ‘Oh my God, it exists.’ Not just dreaming it. It exists, it’s there, and if this much of it is there, the rest of it’s there. Let’s go get that. Let’s go get it. Just that is enough to keep you going for the rest of your life. All the songs you wrote are a little truer today than they were a month or two ago.

    It’s heartening to me that Springsteen mentioned “Badlands,” and, later in the piece, “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” which although not as popular as some of his other records, made unmissable the edge that is part of his greatest songs. Even “Glory Days,” even sung at the Super Bowl, isn’t an ode to the wonderfulness of the high school athlete. In its frank, working-class way, it snaps back at the guy who can’t get past the past, even as he (and the narrator) luxuriate in it. Al talks about this in his own way, stressing “the strong antipoetic (and thus very poetic) sense of the big it [American Idea].”

    Maybe that sounds like a reach, but I think Al’s on to something. With his relentless energy, his determination not to settle, his endless stories, Springsteen wants to be more than what a poet is allowed to be in this country. He won’t stay in the literary district — or ghetto.

    This is what he means when he sings in Jungleland:

    And the poets down here don’t write nothing at allThey just stand back and let it all beSpringsteen couldn’t do that; he’s a poet, restless, uncontrollable, not a cliche.

    Must say, though, his new record has yet to turn me on…and I’m puzzled by this poll from the New York Daily News, alleging that Springsteen dominated the Super Bowl perfs.

    I thought it was Prince. Easily. [Though I can’t convince you, because Prince’s lawyers won’t allow him on YouTube.]

    Meanwhile Springsteen’s best work recently was his cover of Dream, Baby, Dream, a song by Suicide, released last fall. And I still love his great old songs, such as this one, via Brian Beutler:

    Posted at 08:22 PM in Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Al Filries, American idea, poet, Springsteen

    02/02/2009
    Officer Obama: Too Nice a Guy?
    Ted Rall seems to think so…

    Posted at 08:23 PM in art and humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Bush, Obama, Ted Rall
    Cheney Dunk Tank Raises $800 Billion for Nation
    Finally, some good news…from the usual suspect. Read the whole thing, I beg of you.

    Posted at 02:03 PM in art and humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Cheney, dunk tank, White House

    01/31/2009
    The Reporter: A Committed Observer
    One of the puzzles the 21st-century has put to journalism in general and reporting on the environment in particular is this: How does one who cares about the planet report on issues without becoming a shrill advocate, boring, or just plain repetitious?

    The hopelessly muddied word “objectivity” is no help here. Objectively speaking we as a species are changing the planet hugely every single day of the year, but that is no more newsworthy on this particular day than the fact that airplanes landed safely.”Fairness” as a concept isn’t much better, because — as many estimable reporters and editors have pointed out — the concept of “fairness” led to countless stories in which the vast majority of scientists who believed in global warming were outweighed in the public mind by the handful that didn’t. (That mistake is now known as “false balance.”)

    Most troubling of all, it’s pretty clear from looking at website traffic that the environment is much less interesting to most people than celebrity, Hollywood, politics, pets, television, or even (God help us) Bratz. Statistically speaking, one cannot really justify giving a lot of coverage to the planet – even though we of course depend on its health for our very survival.

    An editor named Gil Thalen, formerly of the Tampa Tribune, as quoted in the irreplaceable The Elements of Journalism, has an answer to this question.

    Thelen has described the journalist’s role as that of a “committed observer.”

    What he means by that, Thelen explains, is that the journalist is not removed from the community. Journalists are “interdependent” with the needs of their fellow citizens. If there is a key issue in town that needs resolution and is being explored by local institutions, “we have a commitment to reporting on this process over the long term, as an observer.” It would be irresponsible to cover the issue haphazardly – or ignore it because it seems dul.. The journalist should be committed to helping to resolve the issue, Thelen argues, and the way he or she does that is by playing the role of the responsible reporter.

    Thelen’s ideas are echoed in the words of other journalists [Ed. Note – who were interviewed by the authors] as well, who talk about the press creating a common language, a common understanding, or being part of the glue that defines and holds a community together.

    This is the proper understanding that many journalists have about the role of Engaged Independence.

    Not sure if this phrase is sexy enough to stick in the memory, but in my life the concept makes sense. Reporters are committed to the nation – and the truth. Not an easy role to play, but a crucial one. And as The Los Angeles Times continues to commit suicide – firing another 300, cutting another section, and bleeding out all over the public square – understanding these principles becomes more important than ever, because finding a business model to replace the newspaper ain’t gonna be easy.

    Posted at 11:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    01/30/2009
    Irreversible Climate Change and Drought in the Southwest
    The big news in climate this week was the publication of a study by Susan Solomon, who testified before Congress on climate change about this time last year, on irreversible climate change. Even if we ceased emitting carbon dioxide today, Solomon and her coauthors show that we will be dealing with a thousand years of warming. And, they warn, the decline in heating due to a diminishing amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will be balanced out by the uptake of heat through the ocean, a slow process of mixing. (That’s if we stopped emitting, which of course we won’t.)

    Solomon stressed in numerous interviews that this doesn’t mean we should give up. She told NPR:

    “I guess if it’s irreversible, to me it seems all the more reason you might want to do something about it,” she says. “Because committing to something that you can’t back out of seems to me like a step that you’d want to take even more carefully than something you thought you could reverse.”

    But this post focuses on another finding: the drought in the Southwest associated with this warming, which they correlate on a degree basis. They write:

    …changes [in precipitation in] the southwestern North America…would be [about 10%] less for 2 degrees C of global mean warming. For comparison the American “dust bowl” was associated with averaged rainfall decreases of a similar decline over 10-20 years, similar to major droughts in Europe and Western Australian in the l940’s and l950’s.

    Note that — probably by coincidence — the pattern the models show below fits our rainfall of the last couple of years quite well. Decent precip in November, falling off over the rest of the water year.

    Plus, a bonus graph…Solomon and her team correlate drought and CO2 concentrations:

    Hmmmm…are we ready for the New Dust Bowl?

    Posted at 10:42 AM in climate change | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: drought, irreversible climate change, southwest, Susan Solomon

    01/29/2009
    Chekhov Would Have Loved This Line
    From the irreplaceable Overheard in New York:

    Barista walking in, to no one in particular:

    “Unfortunately, I’m here.”

    –Starbucks, Brighton Beach

    Posted at 09:51 AM in art and humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: barista, Chekhov, Overheard in New York

    01/28/2009
    House Republicans Vote Unanimously Against Obama Stimulus: Risky?
    Using a poker metaphor, publius argues that the House GOP today took a big chance by voting unanimously against Obama and the Democrats economic stimulus plan:

    That’s…what the House Republicans did today when they voted unanimously against the stimulus – they went all in before the flop. And now they too are completely at the mercy of the flop — and fate — with a less than stellar hand.

    Frankly, I don’t think it was a completely irrational move considering the circumstances. The House Republicans’ long-term prospects ain’t good – they’re locked into a declining, southern-centric demographic base getting smaller by the year. Plus, it’s not like voting for the stimulus will reverse these trends. If it works, Obama will probably get credit regardless of what the GOP does. Accordingly, the GOP decided to do something more drastic, and then hope for the best by hoping for the worst.

    And it might work. The flop might save them. Maybe the economy will get even worse in 2 or 4 years. If so, the Republicans can stand up and say, “if only we had cut more taxes, if only we hadn’t wasted all this money…” And who knows? If the economy continues to tank, that might get some traction.

    But make no mistake – it’s an extremely risky strategy. The GOP locked themselves into a game of Russian roullette today. If the economy gets better, or if the GOP somehow manages to block it in the Senate, then the Republicans’ unanimous opposition could send the party into the wilderness for a long time to come.

    He then compares this vote to the Republican opposition to the New Deal, which unquestionably did send the GOP into the wilderness when it succeeded. But though I almost always agree with this writer, in this case the comparison that comes to my mind is the Clinton economic plan. That too passed the House without a single Republican vote, helped revive the economy, but didn’t hurt the GOP one bit. In fact they came charging back to take over the House two years later.

    So — I’m not sure they’ve risked all that much. Sorry to say.

    Posted at 10:58 PM in politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: economic stimulus package, House GOP, risky, unanimous, vote

    01/26/2009
    Maybe It’s Not Insomnia — Just Your Sleeping Pattern
    For those who have trouble sleeping, Newsweek has a genuinely mind-opening piece on insomnia: Five Myths about Insomnia. Myth Number One:

    1. Humans Need Eight Hours Sleep a Night: There are many ways of sleeping and few cultures sleep in eight-hour consolidated blocks like we do. In places like Bali and New Guinea, people tend to slip in and out of sleep as they need it, napping more during the day, and getting up more at night. Until the industrial era, many Western Europeans divided the night into “the first sleep” and the “second sleep.” They’d go to bed soon after dark, sleep for four hours then wake for an hour or two during which they’d write, pray, smoke, reflect on dreams they’d had, have sex or even visit neighbors. In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest that this sleep pattern may be the one most in tune with our inherent circadian rhythms.

    Damn, that makes sense. The link takes you to a study in Psychiatric Times:

    At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past, which is about night in preindustrial times, A. Roger Ekirch, professor of history at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Roanoke, uncovered the fact that in preindustrial times before artificial illumination was widely used, persons typically slept in 2 shifts.1 They called the shifts “first sleep” and “second sleep.” In those times, sleep was more closely associated with sunset and sunrise than it is now. Within an hour or so after sunset, persons retired to bed, slept for about 4 hours and then woke up. They remained awake for a few hours and then returned to sleep at about 2 am for another 4 hours or so…

    Although diaries, court documents, and literature of the time indicate that this sleep pattern was widely acknowledged, this bit of history had been lost until the debut of Ekirch’s work. The pattern of sleep he describes as the norm in days past is no longer the norm in developed countries where artificial light extends the day. Anthropologists, however, have observed a similar pattern of segmented sleep among some contemporary African tribes,1 such as the Tiv of central Nigeria, who even refer to their customary sleep patterns as first sleep and second sleep, just as the early Europeans did.

    Maybe what we need is more time for sleep and fewer pills…

    Posted at 10:55 PM in Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: A. Roger Ekirch, circadian rhythm, first sleep, insomnia, second sleep, sleep

    01/25/2009
    Lovelock Predicts Global Warming Will Kill Billions
    Seasoned journalists tend to look down on the Q & A format as useful only for those who can’t really write, but when it comes to truly original thinkers — such as James Lovelock, famous for the Gaia idea that the earth is a self-regulating system — I dare disagree.

    It’s difficult to hear “the voice” of genuine originals in brief snippets of quotes; frankly, they deserve a chance to speak at greater length. A good example is this alarming interview by New Scientist with Lovelock, in which he casually forecasts the death of billions of people this century, but at the same time offers an alternative to disaster.

    Do you think we will survive?

    I’m an optimistic pessimist. I think it’s wrong to assume we’ll survive 2 °C of warming: there are already too many people on Earth. At 4 °C we could not survive with even one-tenth of our current population. The reason is we would not find enough food, unless we synthesised it. Because of this, the cull during this century is going to be huge, up to 90 per cent. The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less. It has happened before: between the ice ages there were bottlenecks when there were only 2000 people left. It’s happening again.

    I don’t think humans react fast enough or are clever enough to handle what’s coming up. Kyoto was 11 years ago. Virtually nothing’s been done except endless talk and meetings.

    Best of all, Lovelock as briefly as possible explains the “deep time” reason why so many scientists are so worried:

    How much biodiversity will be left after this climatic apocalypse?

    We have the example of the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum event 55 million years ago. About the same amount of CO2 was put into the atmosphere as we are putting in and temperatures rocketed by about 5 °C over about 20,000 years. The world became largely desert. The polar regions were tropical and most life on the planet had the time to move north and survive. When the planet cooled they moved back again. So there doesn’t have to be a massive extinction.

    I commend New Scientist for their open-mindedness, but must chide them for failing to distinguish (as Lovelock does) between the end of life as we know it (our civilization) and the end of our species (“mankind”).

    “One Last Chance to Save Mankind” was their headline, but as Andy Revkin and countless other scientific experts have said, the existence of our species is not threatened. Yet somehow, despite The Road and countless other harrowing stories of the apocalypse, the other obvious possibility — the collapse of our way of life — seems impossible for most non-scientists to believe. The New Yorker, for instance, last week sneered at “the doom boom” (not on-line).

    Jeez, I’d think after seeing our economy melt down in a matter of months to a fraction of its former self, the possibility of disaster might become more realistic. But to TNY, evidently not…

    Posted at 10:19 PM in disaster | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: doom, global warming, James Lovelock, Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, The New Yorker

    01/24/2009
    Cadillac Records: Why Release It in Theaters, If You Shoot It for TV?
    The story of Muddy Waters was brought to the big screen this past fall in Cadillac Records. It’s a great story, but not — unfortunately — a great movie, despite some spectacular performances. Jeffrey Wright, quiet but fierce, could not be better as Muddy Waters. When he goes electric, you feel it in your bones. Mos Def completely disappears into the role of Chuck Berry: he not only inhabits the character, he looks like the man. And every time Beyonce sings, everything stops, except the chills…

    …but although the movie answers a lot of questions you may have had about the electric blues and early rock and roll (such as — why did Chuck Berry cross over, but not Muddy Waters?) as a story it gets lost. Visually it’s held together mostly by the fact that seemingly all the characters smoke like fiends.

    Fundamentally, it’s not really clear whose movie this is. It’s about Muddy Waters, mostly, but also about Leonard Chess, and Little Walter, as told by Willie Dixon. Not to mention a quasi-romance that develops between Chess (played by Adrien Brody) and Etta James (played by the aforementioned Beyonce).

    Leonard Chess’s son complained on NPR that this romance lacked reality, but in movie terms, the bigger problem is it lacks feeling. The writer/director gives us enormous close-ups of the two struggling not to kiss, bigger than you see on the small screen in soap operas, but their scenes go nowhere, and it’s almost embarrassing to see these actors who can’t figure out what to say making eyes at each other. (The contrast to a show such as Mad Men, with articulate characters shot with a Hawksian reserve, is striking — Mad Men would look fine on the big screen, even though it’s intended for home viewing!)

    But the strangest thing of all is what happens when Beyonce sings. Just as in Dreamgirls, when she takes the mic in hand, the rest of the movie falls away…to forgetability. My god, can this girl sing!

    Just look…and listen:

    Posted at 06:08 PM in Film | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Beyonce, Cadillac Records, Jeffrey Wright, Mos Def
    To Go Green, We Must Hope (Not Just Fear)
    In a post called Obama and the Vision Thing, green business expert Joel Makower makes a great point:

    For decades, environmental leaders in business, activism, and government have expressed frustration that the public isn’t behind them, except in disappointingly small numbers, despite a litany of increasingly dire environmental problems. These same leaders express bewilderment at the painfully slow uptake of green products and personal habits, from buying organics to recycling to energy conservation. Even when people understand the issues and consequences of everyday actions — the direct relationship between inefficient light bulbs and the threat of global climate change, for example — they usually fail to act.
    We’ve long known that fear is a limited motivator. Think of how persuasion has changed. A generation ago, we were told by advertisers to worry about ring around the collar, iron-poor blood, waxy yellow buildup, and the heartbreak of psoriasis. Madison Avenue believed that driving fear into the hearts and minds of the public would unleash a wealth of sales and profits. No longer. Today, profits come from imbuing visions of sexual appeal, personal freedom, and a life without worry. Those positive images are the ones that inspire people to take action and, for better or worse, make choices in the marketplace.

    What is the positive image of “green” that will inspire a nation — indeed, the world — to transform itself in the way that Obama and others are hoping: that create jobs, build economic opportunities, engender energy independence, attack climate change, improve public health, reduce environmental degradation, and ensure national security?

    As it happens, I recently interviewed Andy Lipkis for Grist, and he brought up some of the happy consequences of change…and how kids can make it possible with relative ease.

    We were hired to help design and launch the Los Angeles recycling program by the city, but I don’t think the authorities thought it would work. They planned to build a train line to take it to the desert.

    It’s part of the same myth that says that people won’t conserve, that they won’t change. Many changes are possible without diminishing our quality of life at all. We’ve seen that with recycling, and we could do the same thing with transportation. Would it be fun to have family outings on the bus once a week? If you want to implement a change, talk to kids. Kids can do things quickly, that don’t require a lot of capital. Politicians cannot mandate lifestyle changes. But kids can help attract people to the idea of change rapidly and positively without a great upheaval.

    But the fact that some activists can see the attractive aspects of change doesn’t mean Makower is wrong. Far from it. We must see — and show — the good in change, and not just fear the consequences of inaction, even if, as our new Energy Secretary said this week, “We are on a path that scares me.”

    Posted at 12:50 PM in activism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Andy Lipkis, change, Joel Makower, Obama, vision

    01/23/2009
    The Beta on Downtown Phoenix
    While visiting Phoenix recently, learned a useful new phrase — “the beta.” Learned it from the proprietor at Conspire, a very cool coffeeshop/arthouse/neighborhood collective said to have the best coffee in town.

    Conspire was once an ordinary house, but has become a 21st-century hang-out., The Americano-style coffee is absolutely superb, perhaps the best I’ve ever had, and the chatter is spiky and upbeat.

    I told the bright-eyed proprietor that his place was changing my opinion of Phoenix, which I imagined (based on the drive in to town) as “this monster city where everyone drove an Escalade.”

    A cruel over-generalization, obviously, but he took it in stride, admitted there was some truth to it, but said that his work/live neighborhood of galleries, restaurants, and such was different, and offered me “the beta” on where to go in what is known as the “Artisan Village.”

    He mentioned a cool house-turned-bar across the street, called The Lost Leaf. Tried out The Lost Leaf that night after a movie, and found it delightful — it’s for twentysomethings, mostly, so I’m too old to stay long, but if you’re of that age and looking for a place to hang out, have some wine or beer, and flirt — go.

    Also worth checking out is a little restaurant nearby called The Nile Cafe, where proprietor David, who is as young and friendly as seemingly everyone else in the Roosevelt Row area, serves delicious and reasonably priced breakfast, lunch, and dinners in a “Mediterranean” style, meaning falafel, gyro, soups, Greek salads, and more. The lemon chicken soup is especially good.

    Being a poverty-stricken free-lance journalist, stayed while at the convention at the Phoenix Hostel, which is not listed in the phone book, but appropriately is readily available through the intertubes, costs about $20 a night, and is perfectly decent, if unspectacular. Given that most hotels these days seem to be run by surly Dementors, and offer rooms so reeking of stale cigarettes that even former smokers such as yours truly are repulsed, an ordinary house in which one shares a room with other itinerant travelers is actually a more restful experience.

    So there’s “the beta” on downtown Phoenix. I figured the term must be a computer-related, but it actually comes from the world of climbing, as in “Hey Jack, give me the beta on those moves over the roof.”

    Here’s a picture of the back of the hostel, behind the men’s dorm. As owner/operator “Sue City” said: “It’s not so bad”:

    Posted at 11:38 AM in the beta | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Artisan Village, Conspire, Phoenix, Phoenix Hostel , the beta, The Lost Leaf, the Nile Cafe

    01/22/2009
    Barack, Your Climate Rhetoric Needs Work
    I can’t claim to be fully objective when it comes to Barack Obama, who is one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard, perhaps the best. But perhaps my fandom will make the following point a little sharper.

    Mr. President, when you speak about the climate, you really haven’t found your way. When you speak of terrorism, and the “false choice” between security and civil liberties, we thrill to your idealism. When you speak of the hard times we face, and challenges we must meet, we admire your sobriety, and your insistence that we are all in this together; red states, blue states, rich, poor, white, black, native and immigrant. When you allude to the criticism you often hear from your beautiful and accomplished wife, we understand your humility.

    But when you speak of the climate, you haven’t found an effective voice.

    On June 3rd, in a speech marking your victory in the Democratic primaries, you said that “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

    The phrasing was widely mocked on the Right, and with justification. It over-reached and over-promised. We can hope that an Obama administration will slow the inexorable rise of greenhouse gas emissions, and that such will mark the high-water mark for sea level rise, but the numbers say no.

    In your Inaugural address, you declared that “With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.”

    This somewhat less grandiose statement seemed to go over a little better, but it’s a poorly mixed metaphor — how does one roll back a ghost? And if climate change is a ghost, is it really necessary?

    Mr. President, this is not to imply that you don’t know the subject. Your answers to questions on the campaign trail show that indeed you understand.

    “There’s no reason we can’t do the same thing on climate change that we did on acid rain,” you said in New Hampshire. “You remember everybody said it couldn’t be done, it’s too expensive, it’s going to cost too much? But year after year we reduced those pollutants, and you don’t hear much about acid rain any more. Because when we decide to tackle a problem, it gets solved. But we’ve got to make a decision collectively. As a people.”

    This is the crux of the matter: our willingness to act, or, in Al Gore’s phrase, our ability to find the political will. And, to be fair, some climate advocates admired the boldness of the inaugural address.

    I disagree. As long as the climate issue is made part of the energy issue, it will be enslaved to the rise and fall in energy prices. Nothing will be done when gas prices are perceived to be too high, as we saw last summer, and the issue will be ignored when prices are low, as we see now. Given the division on the issue among the public, may I suggest, Mr. President, that you will need to find a better metaphor with which to inspire that political will on climate, because what you have said so far just isn’t working.

    Posted at 11:03 AM in politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Barak Obama, climate change, inaugural address, metaphor

    Next » Recent Posts
    “A Crisis into a Catastrophe”: How to Frame the Economic Meltdown — and Global Warming
    The American Idea, According to Bruce Springsteen
    Officer Obama: Too Nice a Guy?
    Cheney Dunk Tank Raises $800 Billion for Nation
    The Reporter: A Committed Observer
    Irreversible Climate Change and Drought in the Southwest
    Chekhov Would Have Loved This Line
    House Republicans Vote Unanimously Against Obama Stimulus: Risky?
    Maybe It’s Not Insomnia — Just Your Sleeping Pattern
    Lovelock Predicts Global Warming Will Kill Billions
    Subscribe in a reader
    Categories
    activism art and humor basketball Books climate change Current Affairs disaster Film Food and Drink Good News Friday local heroes love poems to the world Muiriana Music poets and poetry politics press issues reviews + culture Science subjects for further research tech the beta the land The Stern Review thinking out loud Ventura County Web/Tech Weblogs Google Search

    About
    Photo Credit
    Who Is This Guy
    Subscribe to this blog’s feed
    Add me to your TypePad People list

    Site Design by Artillery Unit
    A Few Good Posts
    Archives
    February 2009
    January 2009
    December 2008
    November 2008
    October 2008
    September 2008
    August 2008
    July 2008
    June 2008
    May 2008
    More…
    PagesBlog powered by TypePad
    Member since 12/2004 friends and equaintances
    Anna Levett
    Dan Bloom
    Rain Perry
    Lance Mannion
    Alisdair Coyne
    John Fleck
    Off the Bus (citizen journalism)
    David Roberts
    Gayle Brandeis
    Andy Revkin
    SF Mike

  24. Color me people.

  25. Harris Salomon berates Holocaust historians Deborah Lipstadt and
    Kenneth Waltzer for their “ongoing attacks” on Herman Rosenblat.
    In point of fact, there are no ongoing attacks on
    the Rosenblat hoax.

    The fake story was exposed as such by The New Republic on Dec. 26,
    2008, and followed up on Dec. 29 by The New York Times. End of
    controversy. Truth is established. But there were a great many more
    people involved in debunking this fairy tale. Survivors of
    concentration camps, and I am one of them, concluded instantly that
    the Rosenblat story smelled to high heaven. We made our objections
    known on the numerous Web sites that promoted this story.

    Salomon pretends to know what was in the mind
    of Rosenblat. I would leave that to the psychiatrists, but I know
    what’s in the mind of Salomon. During his many diatribes against us,
    he came up with one revealing statement: “I’ve got a lot of money
    invested in this.” That’s what it is all about for him. When his movie
    project was threatened by the revelations, since he could not attack
    the message he attacked the messengers. He keeps the pot boiling with
    his continuous, intemperate diatribes in order to keep stoking the
    controversy and gaining publicity.

    What disturbs us survivors of concentration camps is that this
    discredited hoax has already done irreparable damage to the cause of
    truth about the Holocaust. Salomon just keeps adding to the damage.
    Really sad.

  26. soda pop. soda pop. 1 2 3.

  27. Soda Pop. Soda Pop. eins. zwei. drei.

  28. Again. Soda Pop. Soda Pop. eins. zwei. drei.

  29. obviosuly, Gabe does not delete or even read these comments (sic) and nobody else does either. it’s a ponzi game. let me ask zohar….

  30. {} Learn to let go

    Reached & meet Gabriel, Sherman, John & Damirri(dont know how to spell)
    Went to play Volley-ball & swim at the sea there, Weiling wanted to swim
    but she didnt bring extra clothing so tooo bad, you cant swim 😛 …

  31. i am a son of the daughter of the american revolution.

  32. again. i am the son of the daughter of the american revolution.

  33. Meine Mama war ein Friseur. Mein Papa war ein Baumeister.

  34. to the above poster. are you running low on prozac?

  35. Does dan have a police record? Mmmm? What for?

  36. There is no dan there, rpb. He was once arrested for DUI in Cape Cod inthe early 1960s, ttue. but charges were dropped. Sen. Kennedy got involved, that is why, Harry got screwed again by buy outs and outliers galore. ShoutPost.com, a fresh,
    innovative, free site for creating blogs, has officially launched,
    setting a new trend towards advertising-free blog space and easy
    syndication. From the creators of the popular tBlog.com, which made
    waves with its unique “thought matching” technology for blog
    interaction, comes ShoutPost.com — a site, which allows bloggers to
    be heard in an advertising-free environment.

    Unlike familiar sites such as myspace.com, friendster.com or blog.com,
    which place intrusive and distracting advertisements on the user’s
    personal blog pages, ShoutPost.com reserves the user’s space for the
    user’s content only. Additionally, ShoutPost.com provides a unique
    syndication system, which enables members to create their blog on
    ShoutPost.com, and instantly syndicate it on any other website that
    they have control over. This is the first time that a free-blogging
    site has offered syndication of this type.

    We wanted to give bloggers a free personal space to share ideas
    without having to worry about their message being corrupted by the
    latest DVD release, or the newest network sitcom

    Billy Sarris // February 6, 2009 at 4:49 am

    A Change in the Wind
    (all the climate and culture that’s fit to blog) 02/05/2009
    “A Crisis into a Catastrophe”: How to Frame the Economic Meltdown — and Global Warming
    Tuesday Steven Chu, the newly-appointed Secretary of Energy, warned that if global warming is not slowed, California agriculture could be destroyed this century. He told the Los Angeles Times:

    California’s farms and vineyards could vanish by the end of the century, and its major cities could be in jeopardy, if Americans do not act to slow the advance of global warming [he said]. Chu warned of water shortages plaguing the West and Upper Midwest and particularly dire consequences for California, his home state, the nation’s leading agricultural producer.

    In a worst case, Chu said, up to 90% of the Sierra snowpack could disappear, all but eliminating a natural storage system for water vital to agriculture.

    “I don’t think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen,” he said. “We’re looking at a scenario where there’s no more agriculture in California.” And, he added, “I don’t actually see how they can keep their cities going” either.

    Here’s a link to a report (pdf) by Dan Cayans of Scripps (and many others, funded by the state’s climate change center) on the implications of global warming this century for our state.

    It’s frightening, folks.

    Here’s a graph of estimated annual temps, according to various models and emission scenarios:

    Maybe even more frightening is another study mentioned in Chu’s interview, from Science, saying that heat could reduce crop yields by 20-40 percent by the end of the century, potentially lead to mass starvation. To put the heat numbers in context, Prof. Battisti of the University of Washington said that the infamous heat wave of 2003 in Europe, which killed as many as 52,000 people, would become normal summer weather. [One cautionary note: as climatologist Kelly Redmond has pointed out, extending climate model projections to a century’s length is sure to amplify any error, however small.]

    Our new Prez hasn’t been talking about climate change as of late, trying to pass his much-needed economic stimulus package. Nonetheless the rhetoric he used yesterday to explain the risk of inaction on the economy applies equally well to the climate:

    “A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession.”

    Simply substitute “global devastation” for “a longer recession.”

    Posted at 01:57 PM in climate change | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: climate change, Obama, Steven Chu

    02/03/2009
    The American Idea, According to Bruce Springsteen
    Al Filreis, the UPenn prof who knows as much about American poetry as nearly anyone alive (heck, he has roughly twelve freaking blogs on the subject) links to a big story in the inevitable New York Times about Bruce Springsteen, and endorses the idea that Springsteen is “The Rock Laureate.”

    Jon Pareles is a good writer and critic, but this story about “Mr. Springsteen” seems hopelessly stilted to me, and, as Al says, useful mostly for the quotes he finds. Yes, Springsteen may be as close to a national poet as we have today, but this clunky piece struggles to make the point.

    Read it for its voices, not its conclusion.

    The first comes from our new Prez, who said at a fund-raiser last fall featuring the Boss, in his inimitably direct way, “The reason I’m running for president is because I can’t be Bruce Springsteen.”

    But if not as concise, perhaps more noteworthy is a quote from Springsteen himself:

    A lot of the core of our songs is the American idea: What is it? What does it mean? ‘Promised Land,’ ‘Badlands,’ I’ve seen people singing those songs back to me all over the world. I’d seen that country on a grass-roots level through the ’80s, since I was a teenager. And I met people who were always working toward the country being that kind of place. But on a national level it always seemed very far away. And so on election night it showed its face, for maybe, probably, one of the first times in my adult life. I sat there on the couch, and my jaw dropped, and I went, ‘Oh my God, it exists.’ Not just dreaming it. It exists, it’s there, and if this much of it is there, the rest of it’s there. Let’s go get that. Let’s go get it. Just that is enough to keep you going for the rest of your life. All the songs you wrote are a little truer today than they were a month or two ago.

    It’s heartening to me that Springsteen mentioned “Badlands,” and, later in the piece, “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” which although not as popular as some of his other records, made unmissable the edge that is part of his greatest songs. Even “Glory Days,” even sung at the Super Bowl, isn’t an ode to the wonderfulness of the high school athlete. In its frank, working-class way, it snaps back at the guy who can’t get past the past, even as he (and the narrator) luxuriate in it. Al talks about this in his own way, stressing “the strong antipoetic (and thus very poetic) sense of the big it [American Idea].”

    Maybe that sounds like a reach, but I think Al’s on to something. With his relentless energy, his determination not to settle, his endless stories, Springsteen wants to be more than what a poet is allowed to be in this country. He won’t stay in the literary district — or ghetto.

    This is what he means when he sings in Jungleland:

    And the poets down here don’t write nothing at allThey just stand back and let it all beSpringsteen couldn’t do that; he’s a poet, restless, uncontrollable, not a cliche.

    Must say, though, his new record has yet to turn me on…and I’m puzzled by this poll from the New York Daily News, alleging that Springsteen dominated the Super Bowl perfs.

    I thought it was Prince. Easily. [Though I can’t convince you, because Prince’s lawyers won’t allow him on YouTube.]

    Meanwhile Springsteen’s best work recently was his cover of Dream, Baby, Dream, a song by Suicide, released last fall. And I still love his great old songs, such as this one, via Brian Beutler:

    Posted at 08:22 PM in Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Al Filries, American idea, poet, Springsteen

    02/02/2009
    Officer Obama: Too Nice a Guy?
    Ted Rall seems to think so…

    Posted at 08:23 PM in art and humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Bush, Obama, Ted Rall
    Cheney Dunk Tank Raises $800 Billion for Nation
    Finally, some good news…from the usual suspect. Read the whole thing, I beg of you.

    Posted at 02:03 PM in art and humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Cheney, dunk tank, White House

    01/31/2009
    The Reporter: A Committed Observer
    One of the puzzles the 21st-century has put to journalism in general and reporting on the environment in particular is this: How does one who cares about the planet report on issues without becoming a shrill advocate, boring, or just plain repetitious?

    The hopelessly muddied word “objectivity” is no help here. Objectively speaking we as a species are changing the planet hugely every single day of the year, but that is no more newsworthy on this particular day than the fact that airplanes landed safely.”Fairness” as a concept isn’t much better, because — as many estimable reporters and editors have pointed out — the concept of “fairness” led to countless stories in which the vast majority of scientists who believed in global warming were outweighed in the public mind by the handful that didn’t. (That mistake is now known as “false balance.”)

    Most troubling of all, it’s pretty clear from looking at website traffic that the environment is much less interesting to most people than celebrity, Hollywood, politics, pets, television, or even (God help us) Bratz. Statistically speaking, one cannot really justify giving a lot of coverage to the planet – even though we of course depend on its health for our very survival.

    An editor named Gil Thalen, formerly of the Tampa Tribune, as quoted in the irreplaceable The Elements of Journalism, has an answer to this question.

    Thelen has described the journalist’s role as that of a “committed observer.”

    What he means by that, Thelen explains, is that the journalist is not removed from the community. Journalists are “interdependent” with the needs of their fellow citizens. If there is a key issue in town that needs resolution and is being explored by local institutions, “we have a commitment to reporting on this process over the long term, as an observer.” It would be irresponsible to cover the issue haphazardly – or ignore it because it seems dul.. The journalist should be committed to helping to resolve the issue, Thelen argues, and the way he or she does that is by playing the role of the responsible reporter.

    Thelen’s ideas are echoed in the words of other journalists [Ed. Note – who were interviewed by the authors] as well, who talk about the press creating a common language, a common understanding, or being part of the glue that defines and holds a community together.

    This is the proper understanding that many journalists have about the role of Engaged Independence.

    Not sure if this phrase is sexy enough to stick in the memory, but in my life the concept makes sense. Reporters are committed to the nation – and the truth. Not an easy role to play, but a crucial one. And as The Los Angeles Times continues to commit suicide – firing another 300, cutting another section, and bleeding out all over the public square – understanding these principles becomes more important than ever, because finding a business model to replace the newspaper ain’t gonna be easy.

    Posted at 11:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    01/30/2009
    Irreversible Climate Change and Drought in the Southwest
    The big news in climate this week was the publication of a study by Susan Solomon, who testified before Congress on climate change about this time last year, on irreversible climate change. Even if we ceased emitting carbon dioxide today, Solomon and her coauthors show that we will be dealing with a thousand years of warming. And, they warn, the decline in heating due to a diminishing amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will be balanced out by the uptake of heat through the ocean, a slow process of mixing. (That’s if we stopped emitting, which of course we won’t.)

    Solomon stressed in numerous interviews that this doesn’t mean we should give up. She told NPR:

    “I guess if it’s irreversible, to me it seems all the more reason you might want to do something about it,” she says. “Because committing to something that you can’t back out of seems to me like a step that you’d want to take even more carefully than something you thought you could reverse.”

    But this post focuses on another finding: the drought in the Southwest associated with this warming, which they correlate on a degree basis. They write:

    …changes [in precipitation in] the southwestern North America…would be [about 10%] less for 2 degrees C of global mean warming. For comparison the American “dust bowl” was associated with averaged rainfall decreases of a similar decline over 10-20 years, similar to major droughts in Europe and Western Australian in the l940’s and l950’s.

    Note that — probably by coincidence — the pattern the models show below fits our rainfall of the last couple of years quite well. Decent precip in November, falling off over the rest of the water year.

    Plus, a bonus graph…Solomon and her team correlate drought and CO2 concentrations:

    Hmmmm…are we ready for the New Dust Bowl?

    Posted at 10:42 AM in climate change | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: drought, irreversible climate change, southwest, Susan Solomon

    01/29/2009
    Chekhov Would Have Loved This Line
    From the irreplaceable Overheard in New York:

    Barista walking in, to no one in particular:

    “Unfortunately, I’m here.”

    –Starbucks, Brighton Beach

    Posted at 09:51 AM in art and humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: barista, Chekhov, Overheard in New York

    01/28/2009
    House Republicans Vote Unanimously Against Obama Stimulus: Risky?
    Using a poker metaphor, publius argues that the House GOP today took a big chance by voting unanimously against Obama and the Democrats economic stimulus plan:

    That’s…what the House Republicans did today when they voted unanimously against the stimulus – they went all in before the flop. And now they too are completely at the mercy of the flop — and fate — with a less than stellar hand.

    Frankly, I don’t think it was a completely irrational move considering the circumstances. The House Republicans’ long-term prospects ain’t good – they’re locked into a declining, southern-centric demographic base getting smaller by the year. Plus, it’s not like voting for the stimulus will reverse these trends. If it works, Obama will probably get credit regardless of what the GOP does. Accordingly, the GOP decided to do something more drastic, and then hope for the best by hoping for the worst.

    And it might work. The flop might save them. Maybe the economy will get even worse in 2 or 4 years. If so, the Republicans can stand up and say, “if only we had cut more taxes, if only we hadn’t wasted all this money…” And who knows? If the economy continues to tank, that might get some traction.

    But make no mistake – it’s an extremely risky strategy. The GOP locked themselves into a game of Russian roullette today. If the economy gets better, or if the GOP somehow manages to block it in the Senate, then the Republicans’ unanimous opposition could send the party into the wilderness for a long time to come.

    He then compares this vote to the Republican opposition to the New Deal, which unquestionably did send the GOP into the wilderness when it succeeded. But though I almost always agree with this writer, in this case the comparison that comes to my mind is the Clinton economic plan. That too passed the House without a single Republican vote, helped revive the economy, but didn’t hurt the GOP one bit. In fact they came charging back to take over the House two years later.

    So — I’m not sure they’ve risked all that much. Sorry to say.

    Posted at 10:58 PM in politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: economic stimulus package, House GOP, risky, unanimous, vote

    01/26/2009
    Maybe It’s Not Insomnia — Just Your Sleeping Pattern
    For those who have trouble sleeping, Newsweek has a genuinely mind-opening piece on insomnia: Five Myths about Insomnia. Myth Number One:

    1. Humans Need Eight Hours Sleep a Night: There are many ways of sleeping and few cultures sleep in eight-hour consolidated blocks like we do. In places like Bali and New Guinea, people tend to slip in and out of sleep as they need it, napping more during the day, and getting up more at night. Until the industrial era, many Western Europeans divided the night into “the first sleep” and the “second sleep.” They’d go to bed soon after dark, sleep for four hours then wake for an hour or two during which they’d write, pray, smoke, reflect on dreams they’d had, have sex or even visit neighbors. In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest that this sleep pattern may be the one most in tune with our inherent circadian rhythms.

    Damn, that makes sense. The link takes you to a study in Psychiatric Times:

    At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past, which is about night in preindustrial times, A. Roger Ekirch, professor of history at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Roanoke, uncovered the fact that in preindustrial times before artificial illumination was widely used, persons typically slept in 2 shifts.1 They called the shifts “first sleep” and “second sleep.” In those times, sleep was more closely associated with sunset and sunrise than it is now. Within an hour or so after sunset, persons retired to bed, slept for about 4 hours and then woke up. They remained awake for a few hours and then returned to sleep at about 2 am for another 4 hours or so…

    Although diaries, court documents, and literature of the time indicate that this sleep pattern was widely acknowledged, this bit of history had been lost until the debut of Ekirch’s work. The pattern of sleep he describes as the norm in days past is no longer the norm in developed countries where artificial light extends the day. Anthropologists, however, have observed a similar pattern of segmented sleep among some contemporary African tribes,1 such as the Tiv of central Nigeria, who even refer to their customary sleep patterns as first sleep and second sleep, just as the early Europeans did.

    Maybe what we need is more time for sleep and fewer pills…

    Posted at 10:55 PM in Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: A. Roger Ekirch, circadian rhythm, first sleep, insomnia, second sleep, sleep

    01/25/2009
    Lovelock Predicts Global Warming Will Kill Billions
    Seasoned journalists tend to look down on the Q & A format as useful only for those who can’t really write, but when it comes to truly original thinkers — such as James Lovelock, famous for the Gaia idea that the earth is a self-regulating system — I dare disagree.

    It’s difficult to hear “the voice” of genuine originals in brief snippets of quotes; frankly, they deserve a chance to speak at greater length. A good example is this alarming interview by New Scientist with Lovelock, in which he casually forecasts the death of billions of people this century, but at the same time offers an alternative to disaster.

    Do you think we will survive?

    I’m an optimistic pessimist. I think it’s wrong to assume we’ll survive 2 °C of warming: there are already too many people on Earth. At 4 °C we could not survive with even one-tenth of our current population. The reason is we would not find enough food, unless we synthesised it. Because of this, the cull during this century is going to be huge, up to 90 per cent. The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less. It has happened before: between the ice ages there were bottlenecks when there were only 2000 people left. It’s happening again.

    I don’t think humans react fast enough or are clever enough to handle what’s coming up. Kyoto was 11 years ago. Virtually nothing’s been done except endless talk and meetings.

    Best of all, Lovelock as briefly as possible explains the “deep time” reason why so many scientists are so worried:

    How much biodiversity will be left after this climatic apocalypse?

    We have the example of the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum event 55 million years ago. About the same amount of CO2 was put into the atmosphere as we are putting in and temperatures rocketed by about 5 °C over about 20,000 years. The world became largely desert. The polar regions were tropical and most life on the planet had the time to move north and survive. When the planet cooled they moved back again. So there doesn’t have to be a massive extinction.

    I commend New Scientist for their open-mindedness, but must chide them for failing to distinguish (as Lovelock does) between the end of life as we know it (our civilization) and the end of our species (”mankind”).

    “One Last Chance to Save Mankind” was their headline, but as Andy Revkin and countless other scientific experts have said, the existence of our species is not threatened. Yet somehow, despite The Road and countless other harrowing stories of the apocalypse, the other obvious possibility — the collapse of our way of life — seems impossible for most non-scientists to believe. The New Yorker, for instance, last week sneered at “the doom boom” (not on-line).

    Jeez, I’d think after seeing our economy melt down in a matter of months to a fraction of its former self, the possibility of disaster might become more realistic. But to TNY, evidently not…

    Posted at 10:19 PM in disaster | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: doom, global warming, James Lovelock, Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, The New Yorker

    01/24/2009
    Cadillac Records: Why Release It in Theaters, If You Shoot It for TV?
    The story of Muddy Waters was brought to the big screen this past fall in Cadillac Records. It’s a great story, but not — unfortunately — a great movie, despite some spectacular performances. Jeffrey Wright, quiet but fierce, could not be better as Muddy Waters. When he goes electric, you feel it in your bones. Mos Def completely disappears into the role of Chuck Berry: he not only inhabits the character, he looks like the man. And every time Beyonce sings, everything stops, except the chills…

    …but although the movie answers a lot of questions you may have had about the electric blues and early rock and roll (such as — why did Chuck Berry cross over, but not Muddy Waters?) as a story it gets lost. Visually it’s held together mostly by the fact that seemingly all the characters smoke like fiends.

    Fundamentally, it’s not really clear whose movie this is. It’s about Muddy Waters, mostly, but also about Leonard Chess, and Little Walter, as told by Willie Dixon. Not to mention a quasi-romance that develops between Chess (played by Adrien Brody) and Etta James (played by the aforementioned Beyonce).

    Leonard Chess’s son complained on NPR that this romance lacked reality, but in movie terms, the bigger problem is it lacks feeling. The writer/director gives us enormous close-ups of the two struggling not to kiss, bigger than you see on the small screen in soap operas, but their scenes go nowhere, and it’s almost embarrassing to see these actors who can’t figure out what to say making eyes at each other. (The contrast to a show such as Mad Men, with articulate characters shot with a Hawksian reserve, is striking — Mad Men would look fine on the big screen, even though it’s intended for home viewing!)

    But the strangest thing of all is what happens when Beyonce sings. Just as in Dreamgirls, when she takes the mic in hand, the rest of the movie falls away…to forgetability. My god, can this girl sing!

    Just look…and listen:

    Posted at 06:08 PM in Film | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Beyonce, Cadillac Records, Jeffrey Wright, Mos Def
    To Go Green, We Must Hope (Not Just Fear)
    In a post called Obama and the Vision Thing, green business expert Joel Makower makes a great point:

    For decades, environmental leaders in business, activism, and government have expressed frustration that the public isn’t behind them, except in disappointingly small numbers, despite a litany of increasingly dire environmental problems. These same leaders express bewilderment at the painfully slow uptake of green products and personal habits, from buying organics to recycling to energy conservation. Even when people understand the issues and consequences of everyday actions — the direct relationship between inefficient light bulbs and the threat of global climate change, for example — they usually fail to act.
    We’ve long known that fear is a limited motivator. Think of how persuasion has changed. A generation ago, we were told by advertisers to worry about ring around the collar, iron-poor blood, waxy yellow buildup, and the heartbreak of psoriasis. Madison Avenue believed that driving fear into the hearts and minds of the public would unleash a wealth of sales and profits. No longer. Today, profits come from imbuing visions of sexual appeal, personal freedom, and a life without worry. Those positive images are the ones that inspire people to take action and, for better or worse, make choices in the marketplace.

    What is the positive image of “green” that will inspire a nation — indeed, the world — to transform itself in the way that Obama and others are hoping: that create jobs, build economic opportunities, engender energy independence, attack climate change, improve public health, reduce environmental degradation, and ensure national security?

    As it happens, I recently interviewed Andy Lipkis for Grist, and he brought up some of the happy consequences of change…and how kids can make it possible with relative ease.

    We were hired to help design and launch the Los Angeles recycling program by the city, but I don’t think the authorities thought it would work. They planned to build a train line to take it to the desert.

    It’s part of the same myth that says that people won’t conserve, that they won’t change. Many changes are possible without diminishing our quality of life at all. We’ve seen that with recycling, and we could do the same thing with transportation. Would it be fun to have family outings on the bus once a week? If you want to implement a change, talk to kids. Kids can do things quickly, that don’t require a lot of capital. Politicians cannot mandate lifestyle changes. But kids can help attract people to the idea of change rapidly and positively without a great upheaval.

    But the fact that some activists can see the attractive aspects of change doesn’t mean Makower is wrong. Far from it. We must see — and show — the good in change, and not just fear the consequences of inaction, even if, as our new Energy Secretary said this week, “We are on a path that scares me.”

    Posted at 12:50 PM in activism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Andy Lipkis, change, Joel Makower, Obama, vision

    01/23/2009
    The Beta on Downtown Phoenix
    While visiting Phoenix recently, learned a useful new phrase — “the beta.” Learned it from the proprietor at Conspire, a very cool coffeeshop/arthouse/neighborhood collective said to have the best coffee in town.

    Conspire was once an ordinary house, but has become a 21st-century hang-out., The Americano-style coffee is absolutely superb, perhaps the best I’ve ever had, and the chatter is spiky and upbeat.

    I told the bright-eyed proprietor that his place was changing my opinion of Phoenix, which I imagined (based on the drive in to town) as “this monster city where everyone drove an Escalade.”

    A cruel over-generalization, obviously, but he took it in stride, admitted there was some truth to it, but said that his work/live neighborhood of galleries, restaurants, and such was different, and offered me “the beta” on where to go in what is known as the “Artisan Village.”

    He mentioned a cool house-turned-bar across the street, called The Lost Leaf. Tried out The Lost Leaf that night after a movie, and found it delightful — it’s for twentysomethings, mostly, so I’m too old to stay long, but if you’re of that age and looking for a place to hang out, have some wine or beer, and flirt — go.

    Also worth checking out is a little restaurant nearby called The Nile Cafe, where proprietor David, who is as young and friendly as seemingly everyone else in the Roosevelt Row area, serves delicious and reasonably priced breakfast, lunch, and dinners in a “Mediterranean” style, meaning falafel, gyro, soups, Greek salads, and more. The lemon chicken soup is especially good.

    Being a poverty-stricken free-lance journalist, stayed while at the convention at the Phoenix Hostel, which is not listed in the phone book, but appropriately is readily available through the intertubes, costs about $20 a night, and is perfectly decent, if unspectacular. Given that most hotels these days seem to be run by surly Dementors, and offer rooms so reeking of stale cigarettes that even former smokers such as yours truly are repulsed, an ordinary house in which one shares a room with other itinerant travelers is actually a more restful experience.

    So there’s “the beta” on downtown Phoenix. I figured the term must be a computer-related, but it actually comes from the world of climbing, as in “Hey Jack, give me the beta on those moves over the roof.”

    Here’s a picture of the back of the hostel, behind the men’s dorm. As owner/operator “Sue City” said: “It’s not so bad”:

    Posted at 11:38 AM in the beta | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Artisan Village, Conspire, Phoenix, Phoenix Hostel , the beta, The Lost Leaf, the Nile Cafe

    01/22/2009
    Barack, Your Climate Rhetoric Needs Work
    I can’t claim to be fully objective when it comes to Barack Obama, who is one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard, perhaps the best. But perhaps my fandom will make the following point a little sharper.

    Mr. President, when you speak about the climate, you really haven’t found your way. When you speak of terrorism, and the “false choice” between security and civil liberties, we thrill to your idealism. When you speak of the hard times we face, and challenges we must meet, we admire your sobriety, and your insistence that we are all in this together; red states, blue states, rich, poor, white, black, native and immigrant. When you allude to the criticism you often hear from your beautiful and accomplished wife, we understand your humility.

    But when you speak of the climate, you haven’t found an effective voice.

    On June 3rd, in a speech marking your victory in the Democratic primaries, you said that “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

    The phrasing was widely mocked on the Right, and with justification. It over-reached and over-promised. We can hope that an Obama administration will slow the inexorable rise of greenhouse gas emissions, and that such will mark the high-water mark for sea level rise, but the numbers say no.

    In your Inaugural address, you declared that “With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.”

    This somewhat less grandiose statement seemed to go over a little better, but it’s a poorly mixed metaphor — how does one roll back a ghost? And if climate change is a ghost, is it really necessary?

    Mr. President, this is not to imply that you don’t know the subject. Your answers to questions on the campaign trail show that indeed you understand.

    “There’s no reason we can’t do the same thing on climate change that we did on acid rain,” you said in New Hampshire. “You remember everybody said it couldn’t be done, it’s too expensive, it’s going to cost too much? But year after year we reduced those pollutants, and you don’t hear much about acid rain any more. Because when we decide to tackle a problem, it gets solved. But we’ve got to make a decision collectively. As a people.”

    This is the crux of the matter: our willingness to act, or, in Al Gore’s phrase, our ability to find the political will. And, to be fair, some climate advocates admired the boldness of the inaugural address.

    I disagree. As long as the climate issue is made part of the energy issue, it will be enslaved to the rise and fall in energy prices. Nothing will be done when gas prices are perceived to be too high, as we saw last summer, and the issue will be ignored when prices are low, as we see now. Given the division on the issue among the public, may I suggest, Mr. President, that you will need to find a better metaphor with which to inspire that political will on climate, because what you have said so far just isn’t working.

    Posted at 11:03 AM in politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Barak Obama, climate change, inaugural address, metaphor

    Next » Recent Posts
    “A Crisis into a Catastrophe”: How to Frame the Economic Meltdown — and Global Warming
    The American Idea, According to Bruce Springsteen
    Officer Obama: Too Nice a Guy?
    Cheney Dunk Tank Raises $800 Billion for Nation
    The Reporter: A Committed Observer
    Irreversible Climate Change and Drought in the Southwest
    Chekhov Would Have Loved This Line
    House Republicans Vote Unanimously Against Obama Stimulus: Risky?
    Maybe It’s Not Insomnia — Just Your Sleeping Pattern
    Lovelock Predicts Global Warming Will Kill Billions
    Subscribe in a reader
    Categories
    activism art and humor basketball Books climate change Current Affairs disaster Film Food and Drink Good News Friday local heroes love poems to the world Muiriana Music poets and poetry politics press issues reviews + culture Science subjects for further research tech the beta the land The Stern Review thinking out loud Ventura County Web/Tech Weblogs Google Search

    About
    Photo Credit
    Who Is This Guy
    Subscribe to this blog’s feed
    Add me to your TypePad People list

    Site Design by Artillery Unit
    A Few Good Posts
    Archives
    February 2009
    January 2009
    December 2008
    November 2008
    October 2008
    September 2008
    August 2008
    July 2008
    June 2008
    May 2008
    More…
    PagesBlog powered by TypePad
    Member since 12/2004 friends and equaintances
    Anna Levett
    Dan Bloom
    Rain Perry
    Lance Mannion
    Alisdair Coyne
    John Fleck
    Off the Bus (citizen journalism)
    David Roberts
    Gayle Brandeis
    Andy Revkin
    SF Mike

    sarris barris // February 6, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Color me people.

    Some People // February 7, 2009 at 2:42 am

    Harris Salomon berates Holocaust historians Deborah Lipstadt and
    Kenneth Waltzer for their “ongoing attacks” on Herman Rosenblat.
    In point of fact, there are no ongoing attacks on
    the Rosenblat hoax.

    The fake story was exposed as such by The New Republic on Dec. 26,
    2008, and followed up on Dec. 29 by The New York Times. End of
    controversy. Truth is established. But there were a great many more
    people involved in debunking this fairy tale. Survivors of
    concentration camps, and I am one of them, concluded instantly that
    the Rosenblat story smelled to high heaven. We made our objections
    known on the numerous Web sites that promoted this story.

    Salomon pretends to know what was in the mind
    of Rosenblat. I would leave that to the psychiatrists, but I know
    what’s in the mind of Salomon. During his many diatribes against us,
    he came up with one revealing statement: “I’ve got a lot of money
    invested in this.” That’s what it is all about for him. When his movie
    project was threatened by the revelations, since he could not attack
    the message he attacked the messengers. He keeps the pot boiling with
    his continuous, intemperate diatribes in order to keep stoking the
    controversy and gaining publicity.

    What disturbs us survivors of concentration camps is that this
    discredited hoax has already done irreparable damage to the cause of
    truth about the Holocaust. Salomon just keeps adding to the damage.
    Really sad.

    danny // February 7, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    soda pop. soda pop. 1 2 3.

    danny // February 7, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Soda Pop. Soda Pop. eins. zwei. drei.

    danny // February 7, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Again. Soda Pop. Soda Pop. eins. zwei. drei.

    harris // February 8, 2009 at 4:22 am

    obviosuly, Gabe does not delete or even read these comments (sic) and nobody else does either. it’s a ponzi game. let me ask zohar….

    sarris // February 8, 2009 at 4:50 am

    {} Learn to let go

    Reached & meet Gabriel, Sherman, John & Damirri(dont know how to spell)
    Went to play Volley-ball & swim at the sea there, Weiling wanted to swim
    but she didnt bring extra clothing so tooo bad, you cant swim …

    danny // February 8, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.wildernessclassroom.com/www/schoolhouse/boreal_library/animals/photos/beaver.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.wildernessclassroom.com/www/schoolhouse/boreal_library/animals/beaver.htm&usg=__p4a7-lZc2kIGZfnQ5PG872KW_ZU=&h=757&w=549&sz=116&hl=en&start=2&tbnid=9inORFZT2_C0zM:&tbnh=142&tbnw=103&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dbeavers%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den

    danny // February 8, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    i am a son of the daughter of the american revolution.

    danny // February 8, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    again. i am the son of the daughter of the american revolution.

    danny // February 8, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    Meine Mama war ein Friseur. Mein Papa war ein Baumeister.

    david b. // February 8, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    to the above poster. are you running low on prozac?

    rpb // February 10, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Does dan have a police record? Mmmm? What for?
    Leave a Comment
    Click here to cancel reply.

    Name

    Mail

    Website

    Notify me of follow-up comments via email.

    Tagsa
    Select Category Department of Egos (25) Media (30) People (9) Slate (5) Uncategorized (4) Contact
    Email Me
    Media
    Conde Nast Portfolio
    Drudge
    Gawker
    Huffington Post
    New York Magazine
    New York Observer
    New York Times
    Politico
    Romenesko
    The New Republic
    People
    Amy Wallace
    Christian DeBenedetti
    Claire Hoffman
    Dan Roth
    James Jung
    Jessica Coen
    Joe Hagan
    Ken Wells
    Kevin Gray
    Me
    Michael Silberman
    Todd Thedinga
    Archives
    February 2009
    January 2009
    December 2008
    November 2008
    September 2008
    August 2008
    July 2008
    June 2008
    May 2008
    April 2008
    March 2008
    February 2008
    January 2008
    December 2007
    November 2007
    October 2007
    September 2007
    August 2007
    April 2007
    October 2006

  37. Using a poker metaphor, Gabe argues that the House GOP today took a big chance by voting unanimously against Obama and the Democrats economic stimulus plan:

    That’s…what the House Republicans did today when they voted unanimously against the stimulus – they went all in before the flop. And now they too are completely at the mercy of the flop — and fate — with a less than stellar hand.

    Frankly, I don’t think it was a completely irrational move considering the circumstances. The House Republicans’ long-term prospects ain’t good – they’re locked into a declining, southern-centric demographic base getting smaller by the year. Plus, it’s not like voting for the stimulus will reverse these trends. If it works, Obama will probably get credit regardless of what the GOP does. Accordingly, the GOP decided to do something more drastic, and then hope for the best by hoping for the worst.

    And it might work. The flop might save them. Maybe the economy will get even worse in 2 or 4 years. If so, the Republicans can stand up and say, “if only we had cut more taxes, if only we hadn’t wasted all this money…” And who knows? If the economy continues to tank, that might get some traction.

    But make no mistake – it’s an extremely risky strategy. The GOP locked themselves into a game of Russian roullette today. If the economy gets better, or if the GOP somehow manages to block it in the Senate, then the Republicans’ unanimous opposition could send the party into the wilderness for a long time to come.

    He then compares this vote to the Republican opposition to the New Deal, which unquestionably did send the GOP into the wilderness when it succeeded. But though I almost always agree with this writer, in this case the comparison that comes to my mind is the Clinton economic plan. That too passed the House without a single Republican vote, helped revive the economy, but didn’t hurt the GOP one bit. In fact they came charging back to take over the House two years later.

    So — I’m not sure they’ve risked all that much. Sorry to say.

    Posted at 10:58 PM in politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: economic stimulus package, House GOP, risky, unanimous, vote

    01/26/2009
    Maybe It’s Not Insomnia — Just Your Sleeping Pattern
    For those who have trouble sleeping, Newsweek has a genuinely mind-opening piece on insomnia: Five Myths about Insomnia. Myth Number One:

    1. Humans Need Eight Hours Sleep a Night: There are many ways of sleeping and few cultures sleep in eight-hour consolidated blocks like we do. In places like Bali and New Guinea, people tend to slip in and out of sleep as they need it, napping more during the day, and getting up more at night. Until the industrial era, many Western Europeans divided the night into “the first sleep” and the “second sleep.” They’d go to bed soon after dark, sleep for four hours then wake for an hour or two during which they’d write, pray, smoke, reflect on dreams they’d had, have sex or even visit neighbors. In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest that this sleep pattern may be the one most in tune with our inherent circadian rhythms.

    Damn, that makes sense. The link takes you to a study in Psychiatric Times:

    At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past, which is about night in preindustrial times, A. Roger Ekirch, professor of history at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Roanoke, uncovered the fact that in preindustrial times before artificial illumination was widely used, persons typically slept in 2 shifts.1 They called the shifts “first sleep” and “second sleep.” In those times, sleep was more closely associated with sunset and sunrise than it is now. Within an hour or so after sunset, persons retired to bed, slept for about 4 hours and then woke up. They remained awake for a few hours and then returned to sleep at about 2 am for another 4 hours or so…

    Although diaries, court documents, and literature of the time indicate that this sleep pattern was widely acknowledged, this bit of history had been lost until the debut of Ekirch’s work. The pattern of sleep he describes as the norm in days past is no longer the norm in developed countries where artificial light extends the day. Anthropologists, however, have observed a similar pattern of segmented sleep among some contemporary African tribes,1 such as the Tiv of central Nigeria, who even refer to their customary sleep patterns as first sleep and second sleep, just as the early Europeans did.

    Maybe what we need is more time for sleep and fewer pills…

    Posted at 10:55 PM in Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: A. Roger Ekirch, circadian rhythm, first sleep, insomnia, second sleep, sleep

    01/25/2009
    Lovelock Predicts Global Warming Will Kill Billions
    Seasoned journalists tend to look down on the Q & A format as useful only for those who can’t really write, but when it comes to truly original thinkers — such as James Lovelock, famous for the Gaia idea that the earth is a self-regulating system — I dare disagree.

    It’s difficult to hear “the voice” of genuine originals in brief snippets of quotes; frankly, they deserve a chance to speak at greater length. A good example is this alarming interview by New Scientist with Lovelock, in which he casually forecasts the death of billions of people this century, but at the same time offers an alternative to disaster.

    Do you think we will survive?

    I’m an optimistic pessimist. I think it’s wrong to assume we’ll survive 2 °C of warming: there are already too many people on Earth. At 4 °C we could not survive with even one-tenth of our current population. The reason is we would not find enough food, unless we synthesised it. Because of this, the cull during this century is going to be huge, up to 90 per cent. The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less. It has happened before: between the ice ages there were bottlenecks when there were only 2000 people left. It’s happening again.

    I don’t think humans react fast enough or are clever enough to handle what’s coming up. Kyoto was 11 years ago. Virtually nothing’s been done except endless talk and meetings.

    Best of all, Lovelock as briefly as possible explains the “deep time” reason why so many scientists are so worried:

    How much biodiversity will be left after this climatic apocalypse?

    We have the example of the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum event 55 million years ago. About the same amount of CO2 was put into the atmosphere as we are putting in and temperatures rocketed by about 5 °C over about 20,000 years. The world became largely desert. The polar regions were tropical and most life on the planet had the time to move north and survive. When the planet cooled they moved back again. So there doesn’t have to be a massive extinction.

    I commend New Scientist for their open-mindedness, but must chide them for failing to distinguish (as Lovelock does) between the end of life as we know it (our civilization) and the end of our species (”mankind”).

    “One Last Chance to Save Mankind” was their headline, but as Andy Revkin and countless other scientific experts have said, the existence of our species is not threatened. Yet somehow, despite The Road and countless other harrowing stories of the apocalypse, the other obvious possibility — the collapse of our way of life — seems impossible for most non-scientists to believe. The New Yorker, for instance, last week sneered at “the doom boom” (not on-line).

    Jeez, I’d think after seeing our economy melt down in a matter of months to a fraction of its former self, the possibility of disaster might become more realistic. But to TNY, evidently not…

    Posted at 10:19 PM in disaster | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: doom, global warming, James Lovelock, Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, The New Yorker

    01/24/2009
    Cadillac Records: Why Release It in Theaters, If You Shoot It for TV?
    The story of Muddy Waters was brought to the big screen this past fall in Cadillac Records. It’s a great story, but not — unfortunately — a great movie, despite some spectacular performances. Jeffrey Wright, quiet but fierce, could not be better as Muddy Waters. When he goes electric, you feel it in your bones. Mos Def completely disappears into the role of Chuck Berry: he not only inhabits the character, he looks like the man. And every time Beyonce sings, everything stops, except the chills…

    …but although the movie answers a lot of questions you may have had about the electric blues and early rock and roll (such as — why did Chuck Berry cross over, but not Muddy Waters?) as a story it gets lost. Visually it’s held together mostly by the fact that seemingly all the characters smoke like fiends.

    Fundamentally, it’s not really clear whose movie this is. It’s about Muddy Waters, mostly, but also about Leonard Chess, and Little Walter, as told by Willie Dixon. Not to mention a quasi-romance that develops between Chess (played by Adrien Brody) and Etta James (played by the aforementioned Beyonce).

    Leonard Chess’s son complained on NPR that this romance lacked reality, but in movie terms, the bigger problem is it lacks feeling. The writer/director gives us enormous close-ups of the two struggling not to kiss, bigger than you see on the small screen in soap operas, but their scenes go nowhere, and it’s almost embarrassing to see these actors who can’t figure out what to say making eyes at each other. (The contrast to a show such as Mad Men, with articulate characters shot with a Hawksian reserve, is striking — Mad Men would look fine on the big screen, even though it’s intended for home viewing!)

    But the strangest thing of all is what happens when Beyonce sings. Just as in Dreamgirls, when she takes the mic in hand, the rest of the movie falls away…to forgetability. My god, can this girl sing!

    Just look…and listen:

    Posted at 06:08 PM in Film | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Beyonce, Cadillac Records, Jeffrey Wright, Mos Def
    To Go Green, We Must Hope (Not Just Fear)
    In a post called Obama and the Vision Thing, green business expert Joel Makower makes a great point:

    For decades, environmental leaders in business, activism, and government have expressed frustration that the public isn’t behind them, except in disappointingly small numbers, despite a litany of increasingly dire environmental problems. These same leaders express bewilderment at the painfully slow uptake of green products and personal habits, from buying organics to recycling to energy conservation. Even when people understand the issues and consequences of everyday actions — the direct relationship between inefficient light bulbs and the threat of global climate change, for example — they usually fail to act.
    We’ve long known that fear is a limited motivator. Think of how persuasion has changed. A generation ago, we were told by advertisers to worry about ring around the collar, iron-poor blood, waxy yellow buildup, and the heartbreak of psoriasis. Madison Avenue believed that driving fear into the hearts and minds of the public would unleash a wealth of sales and profits. No longer. Today, profits come from imbuing visions of sexual appeal, personal freedom, and a life without worry. Those positive images are the ones that inspire people to take action and, for better or worse, make choices in the marketplace.

    What is the positive image of “green” that will inspire a nation — indeed, the world — to transform itself in the way that Obama and others are hoping: that create jobs, build economic opportunities, engender energy independence, attack climate change, improve public health, reduce environmental degradation, and ensure national security?

    As it happens, I recently interviewed Andy Lipkis for Grist, and he brought up some of the happy consequences of change…and how kids can make it possible with relative ease.

    We were hired to help design and launch the Los Angeles recycling program by the city, but I don’t think the authorities thought it would work. They planned to build a train line to take it to the desert.

    It’s part of the same myth that says that people won’t conserve, that they won’t change. Many changes are possible without diminishing our quality of life at all. We’ve seen that with recycling, and we could do the same thing with transportation. Would it be fun to have family outings on the bus once a week? If you want to implement a change, talk to kids. Kids can do things quickly, that don’t require a lot of capital. Politicians cannot mandate lifestyle changes. But kids can help attract people to the idea of change rapidly and positively without a great upheaval.

    But the fact that some activists can see the attractive aspects of change doesn’t mean Makower is wrong. Far from it. We must see — and show — the good in change, and not just fear the consequences of inaction, even if, as our new Energy Secretary said this week, “We are on a path that scares me.”

    Posted at 12:50 PM in activism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Andy Lipkis, change, Joel Makower, Obama, vision

    01/23/2009
    The Beta on Downtown Phoenix
    While visiting Phoenix recently, learned a useful new phrase — “the beta.” Learned it from the proprietor at Conspire, a very cool coffeeshop/arthouse/neighborhood collective said to have the best coffee in town.

    Conspire was once an ordinary house, but has become a 21st-century hang-out., The Americano-style coffee is absolutely superb, perhaps the best I’ve ever had, and the chatter is spiky and upbeat.

    I told the bright-eyed proprietor that his place was changing my opinion of Phoenix, which I imagined (based on the drive in to town) as “this monster city where everyone drove an Escalade.”

    A cruel over-generalization, obviously, but he took it in stride, admitted there was some truth to it, but said that his work/live neighborhood of galleries, restaurants, and such was different, and offered me “the beta” on where to go in what is known as the “Artisan Village.”

    He mentioned a cool house-turned-bar across the street, called The Lost Leaf. Tried out The Lost Leaf that night after a movie, and found it delightful — it’s for twentysomethings, mostly, so I’m too old to stay long, but if you’re of that age and looking for a place to hang out, have some wine or beer, and flirt — go.

    Also worth checking out is a little restaurant nearby called The Nile Cafe, where proprietor David, who is as young and friendly as seemingly everyone else in the Roosevelt Row area, serves delicious and reasonably priced breakfast, lunch, and dinners in a “Mediterranean” style, meaning falafel, gyro, soups, Greek salads, and more. The lemon chicken soup is especially good.

    Being a poverty-stricken free-lance journalist, stayed while at the convention at the Phoenix Hostel, which is not listed in the phone book, but appropriately is readily available through the intertubes, costs about $20 a night, and is perfectly decent, if unspectacular. Given that most hotels these days seem to be run by surly Dementors, and offer rooms so reeking of stale cigarettes that even former smokers such as yours truly are repulsed, an ordinary house in which one shares a room with other itinerant travelers is actually a more restful experience.

    So there’s “the beta” on downtown Phoenix. I figured the term must be a computer-related, but it actually comes from the world of climbing, as in “Hey Jack, give me the beta on those moves over the roof.”

    Here’s a picture of the back of the hostel, behind the men’s dorm. As owner/operator “Sue City” said: “It’s not so bad”:

    Posted at 11:38 AM in the beta | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Artisan Village, Conspire, Phoenix, Phoenix Hostel , the beta, The Lost Leaf, the Nile Cafe

    01/22/2009
    Barack, Your Climate Rhetoric Needs Work
    I can’t claim to be fully objective when it comes to Barack Obama, who is one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard, perhaps the best. But perhaps my fandom will make the following point a little sharper.

    Mr. President, when you speak about the climate, you really haven’t found your way. When you speak of terrorism, and the “false choice” between security and civil liberties, we thrill to your idealism. When you speak of the hard times we face, and challenges we must meet, we admire your sobriety, and your insistence that we are all in this together; red states, blue states, rich, poor, white, black, native and immigrant. When you allude to the criticism you often hear from your beautiful and accomplished wife, we understand your humility.

    But when you speak of the climate, you haven’t found an effective voice.

    On June 3rd, in a speech marking your victory in the Democratic primaries, you said that “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

    The phrasing was widely mocked on the Right, and with justification. It over-reached and over-promised. We can hope that an Obama administration will slow the inexorable rise of greenhouse gas emissions, and that such will mark the high-water mark for sea level rise, but the numbers say no.

    In your Inaugural address, you declared that “With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.”

    This somewhat less grandiose statement seemed to go over a little better, but it’s a poorly mixed metaphor — how does one roll back a ghost? And if climate change is a ghost, is it really necessary?

    Mr. President, this is not to imply that you don’t know the subject. Your answers to questions on the campaign trail show that indeed you understand.

    “There’s no reason we can’t do the same thing on climate change that we did on acid rain,” you said in New Hampshire. “You remember everybody said it couldn’t be done, it’s too expensive, it’s going to cost too much? But year after year we reduced those pollutants, and you don’t hear much about acid rain any more. Because when we decide to tackle a problem, it gets solved. But we’ve got to make a decision collectively. As a people.”

    This is the crux of the matter: our willingness to act, or, in Al Gore’s phrase, our ability to find the political will. And, to be fair, some climate advocates admired the boldness of the inaugural address.

    I disagree. As long as the climate issue is made part of the energy issue, it will be enslaved to the rise and fall in energy prices. Nothing will be done when gas prices are perceived to be too high, as we saw last summer, and the issue will be ignored when prices are low, as we see now. Given the division on the issue among the public, may I suggest, Mr. President, that you will need to find a better metaphor with which to inspire that political will on climate, because what you have said so far just isn’t working.

    Posted at 11:03 AM in politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Technorati Tags: Barak Obama, climate change, inaugural address, metaphor

    Next » Recent Posts
    “A Crisis into a Catastrophe”: How to Frame the Economic Meltdown — and Global Warming
    The American Idea, According to Bruce Springsteen
    Officer Obama: Too Nice a Guy?
    Cheney Dunk Tank Raises $800 Billion for Nation
    The Reporter: A Committed Observer
    Irreversible Climate Change and Drought in the Southwest
    Chekhov Would Have Loved This Line
    House Republicans Vote Unanimously Against Obama Stimulus: Risky?
    Maybe It’s Not Insomnia — Just Your Sleeping Pattern
    Lovelock Predicts Global Warming Will Kill Billions
    Subscribe in a reader
    Categories
    activism art and humor basketball Books climate change Current Affairs disaster Film Food and Drink Good News Friday local heroes love poems to the world Muiriana Music poets and poetry politics press issues reviews + culture Science subjects for further research tech the beta the land The Stern Review thinking out loud Ventura County Web/Tech Weblogs Google Search

    About
    Photo Credit
    Who Is This Guy
    Subscribe to this blog’s feed
    Add me to your TypePad People list

    Site Design by Artillery Unit
    A Few Good Posts
    Archives
    February 2009
    January 2009
    December 2008
    November 2008
    October 2008
    September 2008
    August 2008
    July 2008
    June 2008
    May 2008
    More…
    PagesBlog powered by TypePad
    Member since 12/2004 friends and equaintances
    Anna Levett
    Dan Bloom
    Rain Perry
    Lance Mannion
    Alisdair Coyne
    John Fleck
    Off the Bus (citizen journalism)
    David Roberts
    Gayle Brandeis
    Andy Revkin
    SF Mike

    sarris barris // February 6, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Color me people.

    Some People // February 7, 2009 at 2:42 am

    Harris Salomon berates Holocaust historians Deborah Lipstadt and
    Kenneth Waltzer for their “ongoing attacks” on Herman Rosenblat.
    In point of fact, there are no ongoing attacks on
    the Rosenblat hoax.

    The fake story was exposed as such by The New Republic on Dec. 26,
    2008, and followed up on Dec. 29 by The New York Times. End of
    controversy. Truth is established. But there were a great many more
    people involved in debunking this fairy tale. Survivors of
    concentration camps, and I am one of them, concluded instantly that
    the Rosenblat story smelled to high heaven. We made our objections
    known on the numerous Web sites that promoted this story.

    Salomon pretends to know what was in the mind
    of Rosenblat. I would leave that to the psychiatrists, but I know
    what’s in the mind of Salomon. During his many diatribes against us,
    he came up with one revealing statement: “I’ve got a lot of money
    invested in this.” That’s what it is all about for him. When his movie
    project was threatened by the revelations, since he could not attack
    the message he attacked the messengers. He keeps the pot boiling with
    his continuous, intemperate diatribes in order to keep stoking the
    controversy and gaining publicity.

    What disturbs us survivors of concentration camps is that this
    discredited hoax has already done irreparable damage to the cause of
    truth about the Holocaust. Salomon just keeps adding to the damage.
    Really sad.

    danny // February 7, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    soda pop. soda pop. 1 2 3.

    danny // February 7, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Soda Pop. Soda Pop. eins. zwei. drei.

    danny // February 7, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Again. Soda Pop. Soda Pop. eins. zwei. drei.

    harris // February 8, 2009 at 4:22 am

    obviosuly, Gabe does not delete or even read these comments (sic) and nobody else does either. it’s a ponzi game. let me ask zohar….

    sarris // February 8, 2009 at 4:50 am

    {} Learn to let go

    Reached & meet Gabriel, Sherman, John & Damirri(dont know how to spell)
    Went to play Volley-ball & swim at the sea there, Weiling wanted to swim
    but she didnt bring extra clothing so tooo bad, you cant swim …

    danny // February 8, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.wildernessclassroom.com/www/schoolhouse/boreal_library/animals/photos/beaver.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.wildernessclassroom.com/www/schoolhouse/boreal_library/animals/beaver.htm&usg=__p4a7-lZc2kIGZfnQ5PG872KW_ZU=&h=757&w=549&sz=116&hl=en&start=2&tbnid=9inORFZT2_C0zM:&tbnh=142&tbnw=103&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dbeavers%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den

    danny // February 8, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    i am a son of the daughter of the american revolution.

    danny // February 8, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    again. i am the son of the daughter of the american revolution.

    danny // February 8, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    Meine Mama war ein Friseur. Mein Papa war ein Baumeister.

    david b. // February 8, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    to the above poster. are you running low on prozac?

    rpb // February 10, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Does dan have a police record? Mmmm? What for?
    Leave a Comment
    Click here to cancel reply.

    Name

    Mail

    Website

    Notify me of follow-up comments via email.

    Tagsa
    Select Category Department of Egos (25) Media (30) People (9) Slate (5) Uncategorized (4) Contact
    Email Me
    Media
    Conde Nast Portfolio
    Drudge
    Gawker
    Huffington Post
    New York Magazine
    New York Observer
    New York Times
    Politico
    Romenesko
    The New Republic
    People
    Amy Wallace
    Christian DeBenedetti
    Claire Hoffman
    Dan Roth
    James Jung
    Jessica Coen
    Joe Hagan
    Ken Wells
    Kevin Gray
    Me
    Michael Silberman
    Todd Thedinga
    Archives
    February 2009
    January 2009
    December 2008
    November 2008
    September 2008
    August 2008
    July 2008
    June 2008
    May 2008
    April 2008
    March 2008
    February 2008
    January 2008
    December 2007
    November 2007
    October 2007
    September 2007
    August 2007
    April 2007
    October 2006

  38. who is harris solomon?
    2009-02-15 (45 comments)

    who is this guy named harris solomon? interested in hearing from bloggers across the globe who know who harris solomon really is? why did he fib about herman to oprah? is he really in pound ridge? who is he and what is his agenda? is there a dark background to this man? this is the place to post it. pictures, videos and supporting documents are welcome.

  39. Hi, My name is Danny Bloom, I am a systems programmer in Israel, http://www.danbloom.com, and I did not know anything about that flap with a Holocaust book, which one? I am from New York but made aliyah to Israel in 1969. But news reports in Tel Aviv said the book of the Holocaust memoir will be published anyways, despite the brouhaha in New York. But this danny bloom had nothing to do with that story, although I am Jewish, yes. Could be it was someone posting or posing as me, it happened two years ago, but it turned out to be a college student in Chicago testing the limits of the Internet. I tracked him down and told him to stop. And he did. That’s because i kknow how to run operatintg sytems. I think you are barking up the wrong tree here, as I am not that Danny Bloom and I doubt there was ever one. Email me in Israel for more info. Cheers, mate, and good on ya, sire…

  40. just saw the website. bloom is an airbag and headcase. and fyi, here is his picture. we were going to have him on our show, but we pulled out after learning more of who he was.

  41. posting again because i am not sure the other one made it. bloom is a airbag and a nutcase. we were going to have him on our show but we pulled out after learning more about him. so the invite never went out.

    here is is his picture by the way.

  42. are you nutso? is there something wrong with you? wierd and scary rants.

  43. The other day, while I was at work, my sister
    stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just
    so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now destroyed and she has 83 views.
    I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s