The Friends of California Libre...

10 December 2006

Shopping for a New Earth

Greetings, friends,
Like clockwork, Thanksgiving killed the Los Angeles summer even quicker than it did the Indians, and with the cold rain I get to pull out the long black cashmere and gloves. Woo hoo! The long nights with no car heater and slick streets are my element, anyway. And such nightlife, but I didn't see you at the Slits or the Handsome Family, so many lovely gigs and soirees, where were you all, out shopping? The Solstice is coming, friends, let's find a warm place to salute the ancestors, eh, maybe lean a few big stones up like Stonehenge.

You also missed "Pearl Harbor Day" and Zombies at the Quon Bros. in Chinatown. Too bad! I've enclosed a remarkable image for this 65th anniversary of "last century's 11 September"; not a photo, this is a side-scan sonar image of the USS Utah, with the USS Arizona still sitting on the bottom of Pearl Harbor. The Utah was unoccupied and being used as a target for naval artillery practice in 1941, but the Japanese didn't know that and sunk it anyway; it is amazingly intact yet rusting away under the water, sure to outlast the sailors who died, and probably the memory of that day.

But no commemoration can stand up to Christmas, and even "happy holidays" is on the ropes, thanks to our Christian government; Christmas started especially early this year, before Halloween I reckon, and by Thanksgiving most people who freak on 1 December had already done plenty of freaking, yours truly included. I did some freaking in the supermarket when I observed this year's crop of holiday about "Southern Comfort Egg Nog" or "Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick"? YEECCCH. And I hope none of your kids have asked for this:
Barbie Hot Tub Party Bus

What's next, Barbie on the Strip in Vegas? Barbie's San Fernando Valley Porn Shoot? I know Barbie is a self-made woman (ever since she dumped Ken: ), but this is ridiculous. I mean, who else has a Hot Tub Party Bus? Not even Li'l Kim or Paris herself:

How about Nazi Barbie?

Sorry, just had to use those two photos. Here's a much more wholesome gift, and I hope to see a few of these being tossed about by the little ruffians come January (thanks, Trish):
Jesus dolls rejected from Toys for Tots program
A company that sells Bible-quoting Jesus dolls said it was surprised and disappointed that the Marine Reserves' Toys for Tots program turned down its offer to donate 4,000 of the talking dolls.

Maybe that's why Christians are so into my SCREED (actual spam):
Dear blog author:
We recently came across your site,, while searching for fellow christian bloggers.
A small group of us have started a new site called Christian Bloggers. Our prayer and intent is to bring Christians closer together, and make a positive contribution to the Internet community. While many of us have different "theologies", we all share one true saviour.
Would you be interested in joining Christian Bloggers? Please take a few minutes to have a look at what we are trying to do, and if you are interested, there is a sign up page to get the ball rolling. We would greatly appreciate your support in this endeavour.
May God Bless you and your blogging efforts. We look forward to hearing from you.
Craig Cantin
Christian Bloggers

Our less-Christian neighbors are also getting ready for Christmas:
Colombian traffickers ready cocaine for holidays
Marijuana advocate plans to roll world's biggest joint

But some of us won't get to enjoy THAT kind of holiday:
Chess players to face anti-doping measures
Spanish school cancels Christmas

Oh, boo hoo. As most of you know (or will when you get my yearly screed about JESUS BEING BORN IN SEPTEMBER) there's no love lost between me and our "big" Christian holiday. Easter and Halloween...those are great holidays. Oh, and I forgot Thanksgiving, which last time I checked is our New Patriotic Holiday...for Yankees, maybe:

The First Thanksgiving Was Celebrated in Virginia

This site describes how the "First Official thanksgiving in America" was held by English colonists at Berkeley Plantation in Virginia on December 4, 1619, "one year and 17 days prior to the landing of the Pilgrims in Massachusetts!" From Virginia is for Lovers, the tourism website of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

You just knew Virginia would cop to that one eventually, the whipping boy of the South.

Anyway, the subject of this rant is gonna be bigger than Christmas. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but I gather these bits of news up and I have to spread the love around. "Shopping for a New Earth" is no joke...and if we load up on crap for the holidays, then that's preachin' time. For thousands of years we welcomed the sun back on 21 December, as it began a happy turn to the north. That's what the Solstice and the true winter holiday are all about, the extreme end of life on Earth, the point where, if the sun took a powder, we'd all be acting out the end of a "Twilight Zone" episode. It's time for a new Thanksgiving and a new Christmas, one where we thank the night for ending and welcome back our creator star.

This up and down year has been punctuated with desperate hope and black foreboding. After 2012 I started reading a very, very thick, dry book called After the Ice, about the civilization that existed between the end of the last Ice Age and the Iron Age, which gave us pointy spears (instead of stone-tipped arrows) and enabled us to kill enough animals to make them scarce, whereupon we turned those new spears upon each other. This is apparently the hottest area of research in archaeology, although I can tell you the author did nothing to "sex it up." Still, it made me feel better about things. We are pretty tough when we need to be...we made it through the "Dryas", a "brief" thousand-year re-run of the Ice Age about 10,000 years ago, so we can make it through what's coming...

We need to get back in touch with the planet around us, and that means new reverence for our fellow planets, volcanoes, our friend the earthquake etc. For example, this happened in our own backyard:

Tsunami hits Northern California

"The northern California coastal city of Crescent City was assessing damage Thursday from a tsunami created by an earthquake off northern Japan"

We've got enough trouble just living peacefully on planet for Christmas let's have some optimism for the future, eh?

Natch, I start off with the darkest article I've read yet, ticking off meticulously how our entire civilization is doomed to crumble:
Peak Oil and the Preservation of Knowledge
By Alice Friedemann, Energy Bulletin
Computers are the top card in the house-of-cards complex civilization we built with coal and oil, argues Alice Friedemann. How do we leave our descendents knowledge they can use and be amazed by, information to fuel the next Renaissance?
Full story:

The task ahead of us is daunting, and I mean all of us, even you people who think you won't live to see Madge used to say, "You're soaking in it."
Humans Living Far Beyond Planet's Means, WWF Says
By Ben Blanchard

A self-hating human can make a lot of hay out of how badly we've screwed ourselves:
Imagine Earth Without People
By Bob Holmes
The New Scientist

It's hard to imagine our civilization would vanish like the Maya...
'Sexist' urinals auctioned for over $7K
Bosnia town to build cabbage monument

But we've unleashed a particularly potent force:
Climate Change Threatens Heritage Sites
By Steve Bloomfield
The Independent UK

Neighbors, plant a flower:

More FREE California Poppy Seeds

Got a California Library Card?
More FREE California Poppy Seeds
Offered by Johnny Poppyseed ©
Library administrators, Friends of the Library and adult library cardholders* are invited to participate in the planting of more California Poppies. Fall rain will encourage a proliferation of blooms if the seeds are planted immediately. The 104th anniversary of California's State Flower will be celebrated April 6, 2007. Fall and spring are the best times to plant. The California Poppy Project © is offering one free packet of seeds to adults in all 58 counties of California. To receive your free packet, send a #10 long business envelope that is self-addressed, with two $.39 stamps affixed. Information about the project will also be included. There is a limit of one request per person/ per address while our supply lasts. Duplicate requests, small envelopes and postcards will be discarded and none will be returned.

ANY flower:

Consortium of California Herbaria

A database of hundreds of thousands of records of "California vascular plant specimens that are housed in herbaria throughout the state." Searchable by scientific name, county, source, collection date, and other factors. Many of the records link to a corresponding map. Participants include selected University of California campuses, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, and the San Diego Natural History Museum. From the University and Jepson Herbaria, University of California, Berkeley.

AgMRC: Industrial Hemp

This overview of industrial hemp in the U.S. discusses early uses of hemp (such as rope, clothing, paper), the differences between industrial hemp and marijuana, potential markets for hemp (such as food and oil), and hemp legislation. Includes related links. From the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC) at Iowa State University.

Some people argue that when we've wiped out all other forms of life on planet Earth, plants will take over, and good for them:
Will Forests Adapt to a Warmer World?
By Stephen Leahy
Inter Press Service

But sadly I doubt that too:
Climate Change Seen Pushing Plants to the Brink
By Jeremy Lovell

Nope, all living things are in danger; it could be curtains for the last of the dinosaurs:
Global Warming Could Wipe Out Most Birds: WWF

And all of us get to witness it soon:
Global Warming Said Killing Some Species
By Seth Borenstein
The Associated Press
Polar Bear Survival Rate Falls as Climate Warms
By Yereth Rosen

Some animals are starting to fight back, like a horror movie; but this article is far from funny, and in fact, is pretty horrific:
Animal Behaviour: Rogue Elephants
By Justin Huggler
The Independent UK

Our government, of course, is quick to act:
House Passes "Terrorism" Act Against Animal Activists
By Megan Tady
The NewStandard

Yes, friends, it's the proverbial whirlwind ready to be reaped, global warming in all its glory, ready to make AIDS and the explosion of (either) space shuttle look benign. Not all 8 years of George W. Bush is going to compare to it in the long run, not all the wars we've started and lived through or read about, not anything we've experienced as a species since we staggered out of the Ice Age. Woo hoo! Here, you can see it in your own backyard:

North American Power Plant Air Emissions

This 2005 report "presents, for the first time, specific air pollutant information from 2002 for individual fossil fuel-fired power plants across North America." It provides data for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury, and carbon dioxide, a map showing geographic distribution of power plants, emissions for specific facilities, and more. From the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, "an international organization created by Canada, Mexico and the United States under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation."

And watch it play out in real time:
The Century of Drought
By Michael McCarthy
The Independent UK
One third of the planet will be desert by the year 2100, say climate experts in the most dire warning yet of the effects of global warming.
Ice Caps Are Melting Even in Winter, Global Warming Evidence Mounts
By Jane Kay
The San Francisco Chronicle
Ecological Upheaval on the Edge of the Ice
By Sandi Doughton
The Seattle Times
Alps Warmest in 1,300 Years as "Winter" Sets In
Global Warming to Wash Away Beaches, Warns Spanish Study
By Giles Tremlett
The Guardian UK
Refugees, Disease Big Risk From Global Warming
By Ben Blanchard
Africans Are Already Facing Climate Change
By Scott Baldauf
The Christian Science Monitor
Rising Seas Could Leave Millions Homeless in Asia
By Michael Perry

The great oceans themselves are being pushed to the edge:
Plastic Trash Vortex Menaces Pacific Sealife
By Deborah Zabarenko
Tropical Seas Are Threatened by Famine as Warming Quickens
By James Randerson
The Guardian
UN: Ocean "Dead Zones" Increasing Fast
Report Warns of "Global Collapse" of Fishing
By Cornelia Dean
The New York Times
Scientists Call for Deep-Sea Trawling Ban
By James Randerson
The Guardian UK

All around us this winter, next year looms with more dread than we could have imagined even five years ago:
Scientists See New Global Warming Threat
By Seth Borenstein
The Associated Press
Global Growth in Carbon Emissions Is "Out of Control"
By Steve Connor
The Independent UK
Carbon Emissions Show Sharp Rise
By Richard Black
BBC News
Global Warming Is an Immediate Crisis
By Al Gore
New York University School of Law
The Day That Changed the Climate
By Colin Brown and Rupert Cornwell
The Independent UK
World Has Under Decade to Act on Climate Crisis
By Jeremy Lovell
Warming Expert: Only Decade Left to Act in Time

Good news:%A0The answers are out there.
Drastic Action on Climate Change Is Needed Now - And Here's the Plan
By George Monbiot
The Guardian UK

And like our President likes to say again and again, failure after failure, failure is not an option:
Planet in Peril
You can access it at the following url:
Earth's Ecological Debt Crisis: Mankind's "Borrowing" From Nature Hits New Record
By Martin Hickman
The Independent UK

Good news: Rich bastards now see their future in danger, so they'll make survival pencil out:
Climate: A Matter for Economists
By Stéphane Foucart
Le Monde

Not everyone:
Exxon Spends Millions to Cast Doubt on Warming
By Andrew Buncombe and Stephen Castle
The Independent UK

But the powers-that-be slowly come around:
Royal Society Tells Exxon: Stop Funding Climate Change Denial
By David Adam
The Guardian UK

Just not the Idiot-in-Chief:
Bush Names Exxon Chief to Chart America's Energy Future
White House Said to Bar Hurricane Report
By Randolph E. Schmid
The Associated Press
US to Cut Funds for Two Renewable Energy Sources
By Mark Clayton
The Christian Science Monitor

Even my colleagues are considered too radical (thanks, Mr. Ashcroft) and must be silenced:

EPA Library Closings Continue Despite Protests

EPA Closing Its Headquarters Library October 1
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
EPA Scrubbing Library Web Site to Make Reports Unavailable
t r u t h o u t Bulletin
From: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)

Slowly we strike back, first librarians:
First, Re-Open the Libraries
By Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t Columnist

The United Nations:
Annan Criticizes US Over Global Warming
By Xan Rice
The Guardian Unlimited UK

The "activist" judiciary:

Massachusetts Attorney General: Climate Change (Global Warming)

Background and updates about the U.S. Supreme Court case resulting from "Massachusetts and coalition of 11 other states ... request[ing] court review of [a] case involving regulation of greenhouse gas pollutants" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Provides press releases, fact sheets on the case and on Massachusetts global warming impacts, and links to court documents. From the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.
Court Ruling Blocks Alaska Oil Lease Sale
By Yereth Rosen
Bush Faces Legal Action Over Global Warming
By Andrew Buncombe
The Independent UK
High Court to Weigh Climate Change Case
By H. Josef Herbert
The Associated Press

Not that they don't have other big issues to deal with (but hey, does this mean we finally get some interesting currency in this country?)
Court: make currency recognizable to blind

The Governator, thinking like a European for once, is leading California in the right direction:
Schwarzenegger Signs Landmark Greenhouse Gas Law
By Adam Tanner
California's Green Governor: Schwarzenegger Steals Thunder from Democrats
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has once again reinvented himself. While his fellow Republicans suffer from the president's decline in popularity, Schwarzenegger is billing himself as a savior of the environment. Voters trust him, and his name has now become just as closely associated with politics as it once was with bodybuilding and acting.,1518,444049,00.html
Trans- Atlantic Climate Pact: Can Arnold Terminate Emissions?,1518,430631,00.html
The World from Berlin: Terminator IV: Schwarzenegger vs. Emissions,1518,434726,00.html
Global Warming: California Set to Cut Greenhouse Gases,1518,434505,00.html

And I say to all Californians, this was our turf in the 1970s, LET'S TAKE IT BACK!
Boxer to Focus on Global Warming
By Samantha Young
The Associated Press
California Joins Northeast Global Warming Fight
By Karen Matthews
The Associated Press
California Sues Carmakers Over Global Warming
By Michael Kahn

Everyone can join in:

Zero Waste California

This California state program is "based on the concept that wasting resources is inefficient and that efficient use of our natural resources is what we should work to achieve." Find ideas for reducing waste in the home and at the office, material about zero-waste concepts (such as packaging redesign and food waste management), waste prevention fact sheets, and more. From the California Integrated Waste Management Board.

More Than 50 Tribes Convene on Global Warming Impacts
The Terra Daily
Arizona Seeks to Bypass Bush on CO2 Emissions
Boulder City Residents Vote to Tax Selves for Carbon Use
MSNBC and News Services
Brazil Seeks Deforestation Plan Support
The Associated Press
A Report Deems France Can Divide Its Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Four
By Herve Kempf
Le Monde
French Vow to Act Against Kyoto Evaders
By Stephanie Peatling
Italy Launches the First Integrated "Bio-Plastics" Network
By Jean-Jacques Bozonnet
Le Monde
Dawn of the Hydrogen Era in Norway
You can access it at the following url:

Nutty corporate shills:
Virgin Group to Invest $3 Billion in Renewable Energy
Renewable Energy Access

Doe-eyed kids:
US Colleges to Buy Green Power in MTV Competition
By Timothy Gardner

Texans Pray for Halt to Power Plants
By J. Matthew Sleeth
t r u t h o u t Perspective

Dishing Out Power With a Solar Engine
By Martin LaMonica
The Ascent of Wind Power
By Keith Bradsher
The New York Times

Even our soldiers, caught in a vicious, useless war overseas:
In the Iraqi War Zone, US Army Calls for "Green" Power
By Mark Clayton
The Christian Science Monitor

Maybe we can prevail:
60 Years to Restore the Ozone Layer Over Antarctica
By Stephen Leahy
Ozone Hole, Double Record Breaker
Technology News Daily
US Pesticide Stockpile Under Scrutiny at World Ozone Meeting in India
By Rita Beamish
The Associated Press

Then we turn our attention to ordinary disasters:
Fears of "Extreme" TB Strain
By Robin McKie
The Observer UK

We can laugh rather than fear what the Goddess Gaia can throw at us:
Ant jaws break speed record, propel insects into air, biologists find
Kindergartner suspended for having knife

We can address problems that extend centuries into the future:
The Population Bomb Is Ticking Again
By Erik Curren
The Augusta Free Press
Alarm Sounds on US Population Boom
By John Donnelly
The Boston Globe

Keep yourself informed at sites like this, and I'll be right there with you! Here's an early Christmas gift; KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! Yes!

California Climate Change Center, University of California at Berkeley

This site features a collection of reports "analyzing the expected impacts of climate change on California," including the August 2006 report, "Economic Growth and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in California." Includes a "briefing on the state of climate change policy at different levels of governance" with links to related sites in California, other states, for the U.S., and for the globe. From the University of California, Berkeley.

Vive le screed!

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