Posts Tagged ‘Environmental News’

You know those hideous plastic bags that we use at the grocery store–the ones that take a gazillion years to deteriorate and float like leaves across the Arizona landscape?  Well the State Legislature passed a bill that would forbid local governments from banning them.  And of course, Gov. Douchey signed it.  There’s a warning on most plastic bags that say don’t put this over your head because suffocation….duh!  Too bad we can’t ignore that and put it over the head of the legislators who voted for it and the governor who signed it.  Some day Arizona (if it’s not under water) will be a mountain of trash with tornadoes of dust and plastic bags and the most advanced life form will be cockroaches and conservatives basking in their land of unadulterated freedumb.  Good luck with that.

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In 2012, more than 9 million acres burned — nearly twice what we saw two decades earlier. Over the last 10 years, more than a quarter of Arizona’s Ponderosa pine forests – roughly the size of Connecticut — has burned.

from “Demand change, in memory of the Yarnell 19“.   Why is it people have to die to get people and our representatives to do the right thing?

Arizona:

1.  Thanks Joe, you idiot!  Once again, Maricopa County taxpayers will be shelling out money to a victim of Sheriff Joe’s illegal activities to the tune of over $1 million.  Good ol’ Joe has literally cost the County (and in some cases the State) millions in funds that could have been used for infrastructure, education or even tax refunds.

2.  The second major lawsuit against SB1070 is progressing through the Federal courts.  Known as the Friendly House case it is different from the Federal Government challenge.  This “Friendly House” case is based on the 1st, 5th and 14th Amendments and represents individuals as a “class action”.  The other case, brought by the DOJ is based on the definition of Federal constitutional authority versus State authority.  Both cases seem to be based on solid and established legal precedence, but what do I know?  I only play at being a lawyer in my head.

3.  Local veterans are advocating the use of marijuana for symptoms of PTSD.  Right now, all they have is anecdotal evidence that it works.  Of course, their VA doctors are against it. I would like to think that if I was a doctor and I had a patient for whom nothing else worked, I would not be so rigid as to deny them access to the treatment.  Medical treatment is always weighing the damage that the treatment can cause versu the possible benefits, so marijuana doesn’t create some new dilemma in this regards.  I’m all for it if it helps veterans cope with their mental and physical scars.

4.  It has been hotter than Hades here this week.  This past weekend it started around 100 and then shifted into high gear by mid-week, June 1, cranking up to 111 (a new record for that day, BTW).  Now it is finally starting to go back down again to 100 today.  Ugh, I really hate summers in AZ.

5.  More on the weather…it is supposed to be windy today.  Combined with high temps, that means we will be under a red-flag warning for wildfires.  Will that stop AZ residents from tossing their lit cigarettes out of their speeding cars or from lighting camp fires, etc?  No, probably not.

6.  There’s Bears in them there hills!  An elderly woman was attacked while she was in her tent and this sent lots of campers scurrying out of the woods back to the city, including a co-worker who saw a bear a little to close to his family.  Whenever you start seeing more Coyotes and Bears getting closer to people, it means it is too dry, too hot and the animals are hungry enough to risk human contact.  And it is only June.

National:

1.  The recall election against Gov. Scott Walker (bought and paid shill for Koch Brothers) is being held in Wisconsin today.  I am disappointed in the DNC’s (Democratic National Committee) response, which was to do as little as possible to support Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barret in his bid to replace Walker.  To the people on the ground in Wisconsin, this election is crucial but for some reason the DNC didn’t feel it was all that important.

2.  And speaking of Gov. Walker, the corruption and scandal emanating from this man smells worse than a shit house door on a tuna boat.  One his aides have been convicted for embezzlement and campaigning on the taxpapers’ time and four more are charged.  Of courses, his aides are starting to sing and Walker isn’t looking so good (go figure).  Odds are good he will face an indictment; even Gov. Walker thinks so as evidenced by the legal defense fund he has already established from his campaign money.  ONly problem is, it is illegal in Wisconsin for the Governor to establish the fund BEFORE he is indicted.  There was a rumor floated about Walker having a love child but that has been debunked already.  The right is claiming that it was a just a desperate ploy by activists on the left to smear Gov. Walker’s name, but the left doesn’t have to work very hard at that since he’s doing a fine job all by himself. (And note bloggers on the left admitted it was debunked, something bloggers on the right hardly ever do).

3.  If Romney wins the Presidential election, he will get a $5 million raise.  Good news for the bank workers in the Cayman Islands!  Looks like the rich do sometimes create jobs.  /snark

4.DougJ over at Balloon Juice makes an excellent point:  The Republicans created the current fiscal crisis we are in with the Bush Tax Cuts, the wars, and the Recession that have pushed up our Debt to unacceptable levels and it will eventually threaten funding for Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.  They also have purposely obstructed any attempts to make the economy better (reduce Health Care Costs, provide sufficient stimulus, etc).  So they created this huge economic problem, they are doing everything in their power to make that problem continue, and they are using it not only as a campaign point but also as an excuse to gut Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.  This is the new GOP playbook.  It happened in Wisconsin under Gov. Walker.  When he entered office he had a surplus of $56.3 million and then he gave a huge tax cut to corporations, which created a big deficit.  Walker then used the existence of the deficit as an excuse to gut the unions.  In the military this called “false flag” operations.  In psychology, there is a syndrome for individuals called “Munchausen by Proxy” or “Induced Illness”.  Ironically, while the GOP has been using this strategy ever since Pres. Obama has been elected, you will see that there are many cons online that will accuse Pres. Obama has engaging in “artificial crisis creation” in order to gain more power for himself and “soshulism”.  And that my friends is called “projection.

I am still crazy busy preparing for the move this weekend so here’s a bunch of quick thoughts:

1. The poor town of Crown King was severely damaged just last year by wild fires and now it’s in the crosshairs again. As of last night, the Gladiator fire was 0% contained.

2. I stand corrected on my assertion that George Zimmerman, accused of shooting unarmed teenager Treyvon Martin, had no visible injuries. Evidence presented during his trial does corroborate the fight that he claims took place. That doesn’t, however, prove Zimmerman’s innocence.

3. Smoke from all of the wildfires was blowing into Phoenix Monday of this week but the wind has shifted and is now blowing it away from us. However, it isn’t enough wind to blow away the horrid brown smog that blankets the city at this time of the year (see the image below). As I was driving into work today my eyes were so irritated that I couldn’t even put on make-up. This place makes me sick sometimes, literally and figuratively.

Phoenix Smog

Phoenix Smog

4. The title of a story on AZCentral.com pissed me off. It says, “Gilbert shooting victim declined to file for protection”. Is there some particular reason the Arizona Republic decided to go with a story lede that focuses on what a murder victim failed to do versus what the murderer actually did? Why not say, “Gilbert shooter’s history of violence” or “Gilbert shooter’s behavior increasingly violent” or “J.T. Ready’s domestic violence history” or “The hidden side of Gilbert Shooter” or etc, etc, etc….I could come up with about 20 different ledes for this story. But no, they had to use a lede that is phrased in such a way as to be victim-centric and victim-blaming. It appears that the story is actually trying to educate people on how to get orders of protection and other related issues. If that’s the case, why not title it something like, “Victims of violence have options” or “Gilbert shooting illustrates need for Protection Orders”, again, about a dozen other ledes would have been better. Maybe I am just being nitpicky…..

5. Arizona reigns supreme in slimy politics. The race for Tempe Mayor got so heated, that one of the candidates, the Republican (go figure) accused the other, a Democrat, of child molestation. Wow….They’re counting the votes as we speak.

6. Now the most important news of the day, IMHO, is the fact that I found a good home for my aging kitty, Dusty. A very nice couple who lives her in Phoenix has agreed to adopt her. This is a huge relief after having talked to the Humane Society yesterday, whose representative reduced me to tears with the bad knews that my kitty would surely be put to sleep. Thanks to Anne Laurie, poster over at Balloon Juice, who broadcast my plea for an adoptive family and the wonderful people who responded that they would take Dusty, she has yet another chance at a long life.

That’s all the news from the state of D. Ranged for now!

If you live in the Phoenix area you already know this but for those in distant places, you may have missed this titillating event.  We had a massive sandstorm sweep through the Valley of the Sun last night. Local weathermen are labeling it a “haboob” and indicating it was 70 miles wide.  I would call it a “herboob” but what do I know?  In any case, 70 miles wide is a pretty large nipple.  Us mortal women are clearly not worthy.

NOTE:  The author accepts no liability for the failure of the reader to understand snark in the above post or any of the posts on this blog, their failure to laugh or even smile at said humor, or the sad, sad  sound of crickets chirping in the resulting silence.

I have been reporting on several fires burning within the state of Arizona that have threatened several communities and causing an incredible amount of damage in a state that is already reeling from a huge budget deficit, the recession and piss poor management.  A couple of days ago Sen. John McCain in his usual heavy handed fashion decided to make political hay out of the wildfires and stir up the racists base of the GOP by making the following statement.

There is substantial evidence that some of these fires have been caused by people who have crossed our border illegally

Without citing a shred of evidence, this declaration was accepted by all the GOP supporters in the state, because misfortune is always the fault of someone else and those brown, poor people are such easy scapegoats.  Of course activists from the left were quick to jump his shit about it, as they should have done.  Demanding the so-called proof they did not receive an answer, nor did they expect one from Sen. McCan’t.  The only thing that law enforcement knows is that the three major fires burning in Arizona right now (Wallow, Monument, and Horseshoe 2) were human caused.  Beyond that they don’t have a clue yet.  So there is no substantial evidence.

When challenged on this, Sen. Get Off My Lawn McCan’t issued a joint statement with his GOP lockstep buddies Sen. Jon Kyle and Rep. Paul Gosar who claimed that anyone criticizing the statement were trying to take advantage of the tragedy for political gain. That, my friends, is some serious projection they’ve got going on.

It’s true that someone is trying to gain a political advantage from the fires, but sure as hell ain’t the liberal activists calling Sen. McCan’t out on his bullshit.  Meanwhile Arizona still burns, idiotic GOP supporters think that Sen. McCain actually serves the state well and everyone continues to suffer.

Now in addition to the Wallow fire in the eastern part of the state (as of this morning it was only 33% contained), we are now having to deal with a second large wildfire that has exploded in the southern part of the state. The Monument fire, which started on June 12, occupies over 18,000 acres near in the south central section of the state and over the Mexican border.

As of this morning the Monument fire had consumed 40 houses and one church, but within the last 24 hours had doubled in size.  There is also another fire nearby called the Horseshoe Two fire which has been burning at least since June 15th.  Taking just these three wildfires together, it would appear that the following area within Arizona is an active battleground of man v. fire:

Wildfires

2011 Summer Wildfires

The majority of the land is Federal Park land and therefore the majority of the cost is borne by the U.S. Government.  See all of the colored land below versus the colorless areas and the red circle that show the wildfires?  It is either Federally managed land or it is an Indian Reservation (which means more Federally Managed land*).  Do you see how little Gov. Brewer is actually responsible for?**

Wildfires compared to Federal v State Lands

Wildfires compared to Federal v State Lands

Gov. Brewer has declared a state of emergency so that extra funds can be allocated to deal with those area that the state controls.  I think it is important to note this discrepancy but I am willing to bet that if the fires are controlled successfully that  Gov. Brewer  will take credit for it and if they aren’t, she’ll be blaming the Feds.  After all, that is her MO.  Make note, I am making a bet on how she will behave, anyone want to bet on the outcome? I don’t mean to trivialize what the residents (human, domesticated pets, wild animals, etc) are going through as a result of these fires.  I AM being cynical about how our esteemed Gov. will behave.

Notes:

*Yes, the Indian Reservations are sovereign nations but no nation is sovereign absolutely, in a de facto sense, not even the U.S., no matter what right wing conservatards may say or believe.  Indian Nations govern themselves, but they receive a great deal of money and support from the Federal Government particularly in the area of law enforcement and safety support such as wildfire fighting.  From a practical standpoint it would be absurd for the Feds to sit back and wait for an Indian nation to deal with a rapidly spreading wildfire because it would then spread to non-Reservation land and they’d have to become engaged once more anyway and it would have more momentum.

**So after two or three or four glasses of vodka and Cranberry Juice, I took the map of Arizona from AZCentral showing the fire locations (although I don’t think they take into account the acreage affected, it seems more like they are giving dots for the center of the fires) and then combined that with the map of Federal Lands). So what we get is what you see here, as best as I can muster at midnight, Arizona time after a few cocktails.  So sue  me……

Sources:

http://www.azcentral.com/news/wildfires/monument/monument-fire-timeline.php

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/06/17/20110617arizona-fires-monument-fire-evacuation.html

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/06/15/20110615arizona-fires-horseshoe-two-fire-0615.html

http://www.abc15.com/generic/news/state/wildfires-horseshoe2-fire-map