Tibetans in India Not Letting Up During Hu Jintao Visit

In Delhi’s Tibetan districts, residents have been on “defacto house arrest,” Jim Yardley writes for The New York Times. More than 250 Tibetan activists have been jailed “under preventive custody,” he writes.

Police officials are stationed every few yards along the city’s arteries, keeping their eyes peeled for residents of Tibetan ethnicity, and detaining those who attempt to reach the hotel Hu Jintao was scheduled to stay in. Nonetheless, activists circulated text messages Thursday morning saying they planned a protest in front of the hotel where the summit will be held.  Sruthi Gottipati  NY Times blog in Dehli

A Tibetan woman was detained during a protest in New Delhi on Wednesday : Kevin Frayer/Associated Press

324 Months of Temperature Exceeding Long Term Average

I finally watched a documentary in the tape-now-watch-later section of the TV.  The History Channel’s  “Crude” [not to be confused with several others of the same or similar names] is a decent elementary explanation, with beguiling animations of Jurassic era creatures and representations of Carbon and Oxygen bound together as CO2 rising into the atmosphere and falling into the oceans.  It describes how oil came to be, the first discoveries and subsequent envelopment of the world by drilling sites.  Then, somewhat surprisingly, but hearteningly, the experts who have been explaining this go on to describe what the return of so much CO2 to the atmosphere and oceans, by burning all the oil,  means.  In rational, straightforward speech they describe what a warming world once meant, and what they know about our proximity to a tipping point.  Chilling — and on popular TV!

Having dreamt on that over night I woke to a significant front page article in the NY Times in need of a sharper headline:

Weather Runs Hot and Cold, So Scientists Look to the Ice

“United States government scientists recently reported, for instance, that February was the 324th consecutive month in which global temperatures exceeded their long-term average for a given month; the last month with below-average temperatures was February 1985.”

Almost every paragraph of Justin Gillis and Joanna Foster’s report rings bells of alarm, not only that above.

How about this:

…the sea ice cap has shrunk about 40 percent since the early 1980s. That means an area of the Arctic Ocean the size of Europe has become dark, open water in the summer instead of reflective ice, absorbing extra heat and then releasing it to the atmosphere in the fall and early winter.

The animations of the anoxic oceans in Crude, following the great volcanic upheavals as the continents pulled apart, will pop up in my brain now, every time I read another climate warning, filled with new confirmatory data.



Adrienne Rich: Gone

Adrienne Rich, in her poetry, her books and her speaking has been with many of us since we first discovered politics or poetry. Older than the baby-boomer generation and close to the Beats she won the Yale Younger Poets prize in 1951 with “A Change of World.”  Yet she was a constant presence in anti-war rallies from the mid 1960s to the end of the US war in Vietnam.  Her anger, which she was proud of, manifested itself in many of her poems.

In 1968, she signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam-America War.[13] Her collections from this period include Necessities of Life (1966), Leaflets (1969), and The Will to Change (1971), which reflect increasingly radical political content and interest in poetic form.[12] [from WikiPedia]

Others poems were sweet and tender without a drop of the maudlin.  Here are two.

She died in Santa Cruz, CA at the age of 82. The LA Times has a long, informative obituary.

North Sea Gas Leak

From The Oil Drum:

A crisis situation has developed at a gas and condensate production platform in the Elgin field in the North Sea. Gas is leaking out of a well near a offshore platform at a rate of approximately 2 kilograms per second (12 MMCF/day if gas), and a large sheen (assumed to be condensate) has been observed on the water. All workers on Total’s Elgin PUQ (production-utilities-quarters) Platform plus those on the Rowan Viking drilling rig, which had been working next to it, have been evacuated.

And more recently:

…one energy industry consultant said Elgin could become “an explosion waiting to happen” if the oil major did not rapidly stop the leak which is above the water at the wellhead. However, some analysts said the leak did not appear to be as serious as the oil leak that caused BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, the world’s worst marine oil spill

Another Immolation over China in Tibet

“A Tibetan exile lit himself on fire and ran shouting through a demonstration in the Indian capital Monday, just ahead of a visit by China’s president and amid a series of self-immolations done inside Tibet to protest Beijing’s rule.

Indian police, who had already tightened security in New Delhi for President Hu Jintao’s visit, swept through the protest a few hours later, detaining scores of Tibetans.

The man apparently had doused himself with something highly flammable and was engulfed in flames when he ran past the podium where speakers were criticizing China and Hu’s visit…”



Krugman on ALEC and Guns

Krugman takes the news of the shooting of young Trayvon Martin beyond the immediate firestorm to look at the Florida “stand your ground” law, and how it came into being — in  20 states!  The take away, something we should all be hyper aware of has the acronym ALEC — American Legislative Exchange Council

Florida’s now-infamous Stand Your Ground law, which lets you shoot someone you consider threatening without facing arrest, let alone prosecution, sounds crazy — and it is. And it’s tempting to dismiss this law as the work of ignorant yahoos. But similar laws have been pushed across the nation, not by ignorant yahoos but by big corporations.

Specifically, language virtually identical to Florida’s law is featured in a template supplied to legislators in other states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed organization…

Read All

Top Wall Streeter: Desperate Need to Address Income Inequality

Steve Rattner, a long time operator on Wall Street and the guy who saved General Motors in 2009, has explosive new data about income inequality growing even more in 2010 than the years previously:

NEW statistics show an ever-more-startling divergence between the fortunes of the wealthy and everybody else — and the desperate need to address this wrenching problem. Even in a country that sometimes seems inured to income inequality, these takeaways are truly stunning.

a dizzying 93 percent of the additional income created in the country that year, compared to 2009 — $288 billion — went to the top 1 percent of taxpayers, those with at least $352,000 in income. That delivered an average single-year pay increase of 11.6 percent to each of these households.

Still more astonishing was the extent to which the super rich got rich faster than the merely rich. In 2010, 37 percent of these additional earnings went to just the top 0.01 percent, a teaspoon-size collection of about 15,000 households with average incomes of $23.8 million. These fortunate few saw their incomes rise by 21.5 percent.

The bottom 99 percent received a microscopic $80 increase in pay per person in 2010, after adjusting for inflation. The top 1 percent, whose average income is $1,019,089, had an 11.6 percent increase in income.

NY Times

Attack Iran? There Is No Debate

Nick Kristof does us a great service with his Sunday column:

I WONDER if we in the news media aren’t inadvertently leaving the impression that there is a genuine debate among experts about whether an Israeli military strike on Iran makes sense this year.

There really isn’t such a debate. Or rather, it’s the same kind of debate as the one about climate change — credible experts are overwhelmingly on one side.

Here’s what a few of them told me:

“I don’t know any security expert who is recommending a military strike on Iran at this point,”


A Boy to Be Sacrificed

This short opinion piece by Abdellah Taia in the Sunday NY Times, has got to be one of the most distressing  accounts of a boy’s life I have read in years.

IN the Morocco of the 1980s, where homosexuality did not, of course, exist, I was an effeminate little boy, a boy to be sacrificed, a humiliated body who bore upon himself every hypocrisy, everything left unsaid. By the time I was 10, though no one spoke of it, I knew what happened to boys like me in our impoverished society; they were designated victims, to be used, with everyone’s blessing, as easy sexual objects by frustrated men. And I knew that no one would save me — not even my parents, who surely loved me. For them too, I was shame, filth. A “zamel.”

Read All

His An Arab Melancholia,(2008/2012e) and Salvation Army (2006/2009e), are available in an English translation by Frank Stock.  Le rouge du trabouche, which he mentions, seems not yet to be translated


Big News Is Finally Reporting Climate Change

Joe Romm at  Climate Progress is giving a high-five to ABC news for a string of stories linking the extreme weather of recent years with global warming.