Links for the Week – November 18, 2006

hurricane stan

Civilization’s End: Energy & the Environment:

George Monbiot Summarizes His Own Book: The ten major elements of the radical program of CO2-reducing regulations proposed in his book Heat.

The Folly of Biofuel Production in Struggling Nations: Despite the superficial appeal of producing and exporting biofuels to wealthy nations to reduce balance of payments deficits, the cost of this strategy — reducing the production of domestic foods and hence requiring even more imports of foods from affluent subsidizing nations — far exceeds the benefits. Salon’s HTWW explains the quandary.

More Evidence that Civilization Was a Desperate and Impoverishing Response to Climate Change: Salon’s HTWW reviews an article from the UK’s Nick Brooks: “Civilization: a horrible accident forced upon us by climate change. We can only shudder at the prospects of further accidents, waiting to happen.”

Vancouver Island Despoils Itself Further: As reported by Zane at Lichenology, Vancouver Island is preparing to excavate its already ravaged surface further, to sell six million tons of gravel a year to California.

Grist Tells How to Argue with Global Warming Deniers: I’ve given up arguing with them — a total waste of time and energy. But if you’re inclined to do so, this is a great resource for dealing with skeptics. Thanks to Craig De Ruisseau for the link.

Too Early to Act, Yet Running Out of Time: Inspector Lohmann offers a stunning, lengthy and articulate analysis of our modern predicament as we perch on the edge of apocalypse: “Basically, the world knows that the system cannot (nor should) endure, but word hasn’t spread, and solutions, though floating all around the ether, refuse to meaninfully coalesce given the staggeringly entrenched forces of greed opposed to a revolutionary paradigm shift that offers practical solutions to our dire situation.” He quotes Antonio Gramsci: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born.” Thanks to Jon Husband for the link.

How the World Really Works: Politics & Economics:

The WSJ Gets Religion on the Need to Reduce Economic Inequality: Salon’s HTWW reports that even the right-wing publications now seem to be embarrassed and distressed at the obscene inequality of income and wealth in the US.

In New Orleans, Families Broken by Katrina Spawn New Problems: Natural disasters like Katrina are classic examples of complex phenomena that confound all simple and complicated plans and actions to prevent, predict and resolve them. Now it turns out that families separated and broken by Katrina are becoming dysfunctional and producing new chronic social problems such as violence and crime. Imagine a whole city afflicted with PTSD.

Bush Bullies and Cheats Again on ‘Free’ Trade: It seems Canada’s feckless right-wing minority government will never learn not to trust the Bush administration. After allowing Bush to steal a billion dollars owed us for US violations of NAFTA (and trying to tell us it was a victory that they didn’t steal the other four billion), we’re now knuckling under to a whole barrage of new US import duties (masquerading as anti-terrorism fees) imposed on Canadian products, in violation of both NAFTA and WTO rules. It’s time to scrap NAFTA entirely — a corporatist con from the word go.

…And They Plan to Spy on Canadians Too: Bush wants us to take their stuff duty-free, while they impose duties on our stuff. And now we find out they want us to visit them and spend money, but if we do they plan to ‘profile’ us — all of us — and keep their arbitrary assessments of our activism for 40 years. Maybe it’s time for us to get smart and find friendlier places to visit and vacation. Thanks to Dale Asberry for the link.


Scott Adams Cures Himself: The author or Dilbert used self-experimentation to discover a personal cure for Spasmodic Dysphonia. Thanks to both Michael Wiik and Judith Norton for the link.

Thoughts for the Week:

“If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.” — anonymous graffiti in Clerkenwell, London, per an equally anonymous e-mail sent to hundreds of people last month.

In A Motel Parking Lot, Thinking Of Dr. Williams
by Wendell Berry

The poem is important, but not more than the people whose survival it serves,
one of the necessities, so they may speak what is true, and have the patience for beauty: the weighted
grainfield, the shady street, the well-laid stone and the changing tree whose branches spread above.
For want of songs and stories they have dug away the soil, paved over what is left,
set up their perfunctory walls in tribute to no god, for the love of no man or woman,
so that the good that was here cannot be called back except by long waiting, by great
sorrows remembered and to come by invoking the thunderstones of the world, and the vivid air.

The poem is important, as the want of it proves. It is the stewardship
of its own possibility, the past remembering itself in the presence of
the present, the power learned and handed down to see what is present
and what is not: the pavement laid down and walked over regardlessly–by exiles, here
only because they are passing. Oh, remember the oaks that were here, the leaves, purple and brown,
falling, the nuthatches walking headfirst down the trunks, crying “onc! onc!” in the brightness
as they are doing now in the cemetery across the street where the past and the dead
keep each other. To remember, to hear and remember, is to stop and walk on again
to a livelier, surer measure. It is dangerous to remember the past only
for its own sake, dangerous to deliver a message you did not get.

This entry was posted in Our Culture / Ourselves. Bookmark the permalink.