Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for September 3rd, 2016

How long can the GOP deny reality? Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun

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Two words: Easter Island.

Justin Gillis reports in the NY Times:

NORFOLK, Va. — Huge vertical rulers are sprouting beside low spots in the streets here, so people can judge if the tidal floods that increasingly inundate their roads are too deep to drive through.

Five hundred miles down the Atlantic Coast, the only road to Tybee Island, Ga., is disappearing beneath the sea several times a year, cutting the town off from the mainland.

And another 500 miles on, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., increased tidal flooding is forcing the city to spend millions fixing battered roads and drains — and, at times, to send out giant vacuum trucks to suck saltwater off the streets.

For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline.

Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun. The sea has crept up to the point that a high tide and a brisk wind are all it takes to send water pouring into streets and homes.

Federal scientists have documented a sharp jump in this nuisance flooding — often called “sunny-day flooding” — along both the East Coast and the Gulf Coast in recent years. The sea is now so near the brim in many places that they believe the problem is likely to worsen quickly. Shifts in the Pacific Ocean mean that the West Coast, partly spared over the past two decades, may be hit hard, too.

These tidal floods are often just a foot or two deep, but they can stop traffic, swamp basements, damage cars, kill lawns and forests, and poison wells with salt. Moreover, the high seas interfere with the drainage of storm water.

In coastal regions, that compounds the damage from the increasingly heavy rains plaguing the country, like those that recently caused extensive flooding in Louisiana. Scientists say these rains are also a consequence of human greenhouse emissions.

“Once impacts become noticeable, they’re going to be upon you quickly,” said William V. Sweet, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Silver Spring, Md., who is among the leaders in research on coastal inundation. “It’s not a hundred years off — it’s now.”

Local governments, under pressure from annoyed citizens, are beginning to act. Elections are being won on promises to invest money to protect against flooding. Miami Beach is leading the way, increasing local fees to finance a $400 million plan that includes raising streets, installing pumps and elevating sea walls.

In many of the worst-hit cities, mayors of both parties are sounding an alarm.

“I’m a Republican, but I also realize, by any objective analysis, the sea level is rising,” said Jason Buelterman, the mayor of tiny Tybee Island, one of the first Georgia communities to adopt a detailed climate plan.

But the local leaders say they cannot tackle this problem alone. They are pleading with state and federal governments for guidance and help, including billions to pay for flood walls, pumps and road improvements that would buy them time.

Yet Congress has largely ignored these pleas, and has even tried to block plans by the military to head off future problems at the numerous bases imperiled by a rising sea. A Republican congressman from Colorado, Ken Buck, recently called one military proposal part of a “radical climate change agenda.”

The gridlock in Washington means the United States lacks not only a broad national policy on sea-level rise, it has something close to the opposite: The federal government spends billions of taxpayer dollars in ways that add to the risks, by subsidizing local governments and homeowners who build in imperiled locations along the coast.

As the problem worsens, experts are warning that national security is on the line. Naval bases, in particular, are threatened; they can hardly be moved away from the ocean, yet much of their land is at risk of disappearing within this century. . .

Continue reading.

Of course, we could have begun preventive action decades ago.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 September 2016 at 7:08 pm

Interesting follow-up on Clinton emails

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Kevin Drum makes some very good points.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 September 2016 at 3:59 pm

Posted in Democrats, Election, Law

Destroying our future at the behest of corporations

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The Environmental Protection Agency and other federal authorities warned that building an oil pipeline crossing the Missouri River could “affect the primary source of drinking water for much of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Tribal nations.” The Army Corps of Engineers dismissed the concerns. Instead, the agency approved the pipeline, relying for reassurance on an environmental assessment from the pipeline’s developer.

Good for the meme—bad for the environment, but memes are focused on their own survival and reproduction in their own fight for survival (among memes). So too bad for the drinking water: not the meme’s problem.

Note this is an action by the Obama administration. You understand why one might have certain reservations about that administration.

The headline at the link: “Dakota Pipeline Was Approved by Army Corps Over Objections of Three Federal Agencies”.

Update: Just to be clear, the memeplex that is determined to ruin the drinking water has evolved in an environment in which survival is strongly linked to profit, and so growing profits is essential to the meme’s survival. The drinking water is not. So naturally one gets lots of attention and the other is irrelevant.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 September 2016 at 12:31 pm

Judges, juries, and liberty of conscience

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Andrew Murphy writes in the OUP blog:

On this day in 1670: a trial gets underway:

“The question is not whether I am guilty of this indictment, but whether this indictment be legal.” (William Penn, 3 September 1670)

The two defendants had been arrested several weeks earlier while preaching to a crowd in the street, and charged with unlawful assembly and creating a riot. Their trial, slated to begin on 1 September, had been pushed back to 3 September after preliminary wrangling between the judge and the defendants. And so on this date – 246 years ago today – the defendants were called before the bench. They were an unlikely pair, in some ways: the firstborn son of an English knight and naval hero, a month shy of his twenty-sixth birthday, who had studied at (and been ejected from) the most prestigious college in England; and a wealthy London merchant, sixteen years his senior. But by the end of the year, due in large part to the events of the next two days, William Penn and William Mead would become leading spokesmen for the Society of Friends (Quakers) and nationally-known figures in the movement for liberty of conscience, representative institutions, and the rule of law.

The trial was contentious before it even began: as they approached the bench on the morning of 3 September, Penn and Mead found themselves fined for refusing to remove their hats before they had even spoken a word. (Quakers considered doffing the hat to mere humans inappropriate, a gesture that deprived God of the ultimate honor due Him.) During the proceedings, Penn continually objected that the charges were unjust and contrary to English law; he was eventually ejected from the courtroom altogether. Mead continued to object until he, too, was ejected. Despite repeated threats from the judge, and despite being denied food and a toilet all night (at least according to the defendants), the jury found Penn and Mead not guilty, whereon its members were fined for refusing to convict. Penn and Mead, though acquitted, were returned to jail on contempt charges stemming from their refusal to remove their hats at the outset of the trial. Penn’s release came a week later, his fines paid by family or friends so that he could be home with his dying father.

What followed after the trial is arguably as important as what happened during the trial.  A purported transcript – entitled The Peoples Ancient and Just Liberties Asserted – appeared shortly after the conclusion of the trial and went through nine printings in the last three months of 1670 alone (with additional printings in 1682, 1696, 1710, and 1725). Though it is a transcript of sorts, Peoples’s presentation of Penn and Mead is clearly a stylized and heroic construction, a morality play in dramatic form, complete with stage directions and narrative insertions, aimed at presenting the defendants as courageous Dissenters railroaded by a persecuting state-church system. It is a work of political theory and political theater that articulates a politics of dissent against arbitrary authority, of clear written law against prosecutions built on vague charges, and of juries as defenders of popular liberties against power-hungry judges. Its publication and ensuing popularity marked William Penn’s emergence as a new voice in the world of English Dissent.

The early modern courtroom was a far cry from our contemporary version of that institution, and it lacked many modern “hallmarks” like the presumption of innocence, exclusion of hearsay evidence, guarantees of defense counsel, the burden of proof on the prosecution, defendants’ right to silence. The judge in the case was none other than . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 September 2016 at 11:12 am

Posted in Law, Religion

Phoenix Bakelite slant with Lenthéric and Floïd

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SOTD 2016-09-03

My tub of Lenthéric is a treasure: it makes a wonderfully thick, slick lather and the fragrance is unusually good. The Wee Scot did its usual excellent job and held plenty of lather for the shave.

I’m getting the hang of the Phoenix Artisan slant, and I have confirmed: it is indeed bakelite. Today’s shave was very comfortable and my face felt perfectly smooth after the second pass, but I did a third pass anyway. The ATG pass did do some clean-up on chin and upper lip. Altogether a very fine shave indeed.

A good splash of Floïd (to show that a little menthol is okay with me—plus I love the fragrance), and the Saturday events can begin.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 September 2016 at 9:19 am

Posted in Shaving

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