Monday, September 26, 2016

Harvesting rewards #globalwarming #phenology #politics

From what we saw driving around today, local farmers haven't started harvesting either corn or soy beans yet. That's not surprising in light of the September corn crop progress report. Something that's never before happened, but isn't surprising either, given the weather pattern of the past few months, is that a rural wastewater treatment system in the next county north of us has been "broken" by recent excessive rainfall amounts. Flooding issues aren't going to be limited to seacoasts. The kinds of effects we've been seeing this year in the middle of "flyover country" are consistent with the types of impacts forecast by scientists studying global warming. No surprises there either.

late October harvest
late October harvest
Photo by J. Harrington

What is a surprise, at least to me, is the number of folks seriously considering voting for a presidential candidate (he who should not be named) who claims about global warming that:
"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."
Of course, those folks are being aided and abetted by debate moderators and officials who don't believe in fact checking (C'mon, this is America, where we're all entitled to our own facts.) Playing fast and loose with the facts seems to be something that too many candidates major in. All of this has me fed up enough that this morning I figured out how to best deal with it.

Minnesota has a "no excuses" early voting system. Many pundits are concerned about low turnout at this and other elections. Here's my idea, that I offer to the public gratuitously under a Creative Commons license in hopes that it will improve life for 99% of us:
  • Make no excuse early voting available nationwide
  • Instead of an "I voted" sticker, give voters a chip card, like a rewards card for grocers.
  • Require all broadcast networks and cable channels etc. to add chip reading capability.
  • Once you've voted and have your card, you insert it into a card reader attached to your tv or radio to black out all political advertising on whatever airwaves you're watching or listening to. (Being forced to deal with great quantities of today's political ads must violate the 8th amendment's provisions against cruel and unusual punishment. Military tribunals probably prohibit it at Guantanamo.)
The card is your reward for being a good citizen. Maybe it will also reduce some political green house gas emissions such as hot air and smog while limiting other types of air pollution like foul smells, the kind that arise from a byproduct of raising male cattle. One way to get out of the mess we're in is to start pushing for win-win solutions instead of playing zero sum games.


By Randall Mann

This is what he dreams of:
a map of burned land,
a mound of dirt
in the early century’s winter.

A map of burned land?
A country is razed
in the early century’s winter.
And God descends.

A country is raised
because of industry.
And God descends,
messengers rush inside

because of industry,
in spite of diplomats.
Messengers rush inside
to haunt the darkened aisles.

In spite of diplomats,
the witnesses know well
to haunt the darkened aisles,

the witnesses know well
that ushers dressed in black
lurk by the cushioned seats.

That ushers dress in black
should tell you something:
lurking by the cushioned seats,
the saved and the terrible.

I should tell you something:
this is what he dreams of,
the saved and the terrible—
a mound of dirt.

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