IBI Watch 9/11/11

11 09 2011

“Game Over”

‘Game over’ is not really about a game at all, but it is a prediction that we best heed.  All of Rick Perry’s willfully ignorant posturing notwithstanding, most of the scientists who have studied our grand uncontrolled science experiment – climate change – say it’s time for us to treat the problem seriously.  Actually, some of the most knowledgeable scientists and journalists say it may be now or never.  And this makes the current controversy – over tar sands oil and the Keystone XL pipeline – all the more critical.  NASA meteorologist James Hansen in particular takes this particular development in the climate science debate seriously enough to be arrested.  He was joined by environmental activist and author Bill McKibben, as well as some activist celebrities including Tantoo Cardinal, Darryl Hannah and Margot Kidder.




Tar sands oil is being sold by oil industry promoters as the ‘next logical step’ in energy extraction.  And indeed it comes from a friendly country – Canada.  But at what cost? From the boreal forest that is destroyed to get at the bitumen, to the much greater use of water and energy in the refining process compared to conventional crude, to the massive and growing waste ponds, tar sands oil is an unparalleled environmental disaster.  Find out more here:





The last link is noteworthy – Shock Doctrine author Naomi Klein exposes the propaganda term ‘ethical oil’ as the latest and most egregious example of ‘corporate crap.’  She is a very smart, very outspoken lady who is very well informed on tar sands oil.  This ten-minute video is very informative, and ties the tar sands issue to the massive problem – manmade climate change – and lampoons many liberal Americans’ idolization of our neighbors to the north.


Watch this narrated slide show from Greenpeace Canada to get a close-up view of the impact of tar sands oil on the Lubicon land.  It is very well done.



President Obama will decide yet in 2011 whether the pipeline goes ahead.  Judging by his recent refusal to back EPA’s science-backed strengthening of smog regulations, I would not bet against the pipeline, environmental hazard though it represents.  Even if you can’t travel to Washington to get arrested for this cause, you can make your voice heard.  Call Congress and sign one or more of these linked petitions:





9/11 Remembrances

As usual, This American Life is right on target.  I strongly recommend you listen to the 9/10 edition.  The premise – they checked back recently with people they had interviewed for programs in the immediate aftermath of the attacks of 9/11/01.  My favorite moment – ‘My Lunch with Donald Rumsfeld,’ in which a dissenter got to tell him how she REALLY felt.



The Chaplain

Like most native New Yorkers, I have several one-off and two-off connections with people directly affected. Though I did not intend to link to detailed stories of 9/11 – you can get that elsewhere – I make an exception for this NPR profile of the NYFD chaplain, Mychal Judge.  My uncle, since deceased, was a friend and colleague of Judge.  This is worth your time.



Music Evoking 9/11 and the Ten Years Since

One quote from the This American Life show mentioned above is this one:  “9/11 happened to us.  What followed, we did to ourselves.”  Submitted for your consideration:  audio and in some cases video of music that either directly comments on the tragic events of that dark day, or in other cases touches on what we have done to ourselves in the decade following.

Tom Paxton:  The Bravest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEGjzuGI71w
Loudon Wainwright III: No Sure Way http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3EIVKnyLCQ
John Fogerty: Déjà vu All Over Again http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkazf7znllQ
Bruce Springsteen: My City of Ruins http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zld2cSIVUO4
Steve Earle: Rich Man’s War http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4bCVoMCeYY
The Roches: Only You Know How http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzrHr0y6Rp0
Eliza Gilkyson: When the Great Correction Comes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqWUVgSFSEs&feature=related


Commentary on American Policy Since 9/11

Three views for you.  First, Harpers publisher John MacArthur weighs in on the sad legacy of 9/11.  Second, a piece from Noble Prize Economist Joseph Stiglitz, who tries to put a price tag on the ‘War on Terror.’  Favorite quote: “spending on weapons that don’t work against enemies that don’t exist.”  Finally, an Alternet piece that forces us to see 9/11 in the context of all the damage we have wrought since.





Three Ways Things Have Changed, 2000-2010

  2000 2010
US Military Spending $311.7 billion $685.1 billion
US National Debt $5.7 trillion $13.6 trillion
Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, (parts per million) 368.8 388.5


The Cult of Billionaire Worship

One of the definitions of cult offered by Merriam-Webster is this: “great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work.”  With the modern Republican Party, in the thrall of Grover Norquist and his no new taxes, no how no way never blood oath, I would say the description fits quite well.  Mike Lofgren – himself a former Republican – agrees, in the strongest possible terms.




Magical Thinking Marches on

As this New York Times editorial points out, there is one Republican candidate for president who respects science, or at least refuses to jump on the willful ignorance bandwagon.  That candidate has virtually no chance of winning the nomination.  Instead, we have the king of pignorance (purposeful ignorance) himself, Rick Perry, out in front.  And Mitt Romney is deliberately dumbing down his game, maybe in order to see Rootin-Tootin’ Rick at eye level.  And then – just for fun – let’s go to Jim Hightower for some checking on what Perry really stands for – ‘Perry Tales.’




Jobs Bill

I liked the tone of President Obama’s speech on the economy and jobs.  And most economists say it will help – if passed.  Good luck with that one.




Why Science is Even Cooler than Science Fiction

At some point in the future, when I am not working full time, I want to do many things I just don’t have time for right now.  That would include reading science fiction.  But for now, almost every day brings new scientific discoveries that spark the imagination and help us understand just a little bit more of the big picture.  First link – a photo of Saturn, taken by Cassini, that is so amazing it looks artificial.  Second – scientists may have discovered a key link in our own evolution chain.  Third – would you believe there is now scientific proof that astronauts really did walk, drive a buggy and leave refuse on the moon?






“The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.” -Socrates



Contributed links to this posting – Jeff Carlson, Mark Goldberg, Allyson Harper




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