Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Meltdown

TPM has a little ditty on GOP chairman Michael Steele claiming that the warming of our climate is part of the global cooling process. That's a good one. The planet is cooling down. I wonder what that is based on, what evidence.
I was thinking about climate change just yesterday. I had heard or read somewhere that Germany has cut 4,000 miles off the shipping lanes from Japan to Germany by using the channel in northern Canada, open in 2008 for the first time in thousands of years or tens of thousands or something to that effect. Global cooling my ass.
But yesterday I was wondering if maybe there's something about these wide temperature swings that science has yet to recognize. This isn't the first time that average global temperatures have been on the move. There have been both ice ages and times of extreme temperatures at other times in earth's history. Is it just something dependent on solar activity or is there something more significant at play here?
After all, it's the temperature of the biosphere that keeps changing. The biosphere is that part of earth's atmosphere where plant and animal life lives. One could argue that it also includes the oceans and surface soils. Global climate change happens where life exists so why wouldn't it make sense that it is life that alters the temperature of the biosphere?
How?
Well the global warming people have been telling us for a long time now that it is the "greenhouse effect" that is causing global temperatures to rise. The greenhouse effect is what happens in air containing an excess of water vapor, carbon dioxide, and/or methane gas. These gasses form a layer that retains heat and radiates it back to the earth's surface rather than allowing it to escape into space. Yes the heat comes from the sun but the greenhouse effect causes the biosphere to retain more of the sun's energy than would be retained otherwise.
Plants use carbon dioxide in their life process. They convert carbon dioxide into organic (carbon-based) substances and give off oxygen into the atmosphere as a byproduct.
Animals do just the opposite. Animals use organic fuels and combine them with oxygen from the atmosphere to generate energy giving off carbon dioxide as a byproduct.
So what I was thinking is that maybe nature has a little war going on here between plant life and animal life. Maybe there are periods in the history of life on earth where plants were dominant and thus carbon was stored up in hydrocarbons (oils, coal, peat, sea bottoms, etc.). With reduced greenhouse gasses, the biosphere would cool down. This would have a self-limiting effect if it brought on an ice age and perhaps water vapor or methane gas from decomposition or even carbon dioxide from animal life would reverse the trend.
Maybe there are other periods where animal life dominates and the resulting increase in greenhouse gasses causes warming of the biosphere.
What is happening right now makes sense if you look at this overall process. We are living in an age dominated by animal life, an age where humans are not only reducing the amount of plant life but also using the world's stored hydrocarbons to once again release them as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Using hydrocarbons for fuel is serving to rapidly alter the temperature of the biosphere in a way that would otherwise take nature thousands of years to accomplish.
The thing is, there's a very long ways to go still before we reach any sort of limits. The upper latitudes have been much warmer than they are now. There is a lot of carbon remaining in reserve still, carbon that was at some point in the history of the biosphere available for life, both plant and animal, and available for use as greenhouse gasses.
We have a very long way to go yet before we reach earth's limits.
But to claim that the warming we are seeing is part of the larger cooling process? Ummmmm.... What cooling process are we talking about here? Entropy?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Bogus Woes

I hate this. I'm starting to be an Obama critic and I hate it! What ever happened to the Barack Obama that ran for President last year?
The latest?
MSNBC has this which they get from The New York Times, "Bracing for a Bailout Backlash".
In it we discover that President Obama is upset at AIG for awarding its executives $165 million in executive bonuses despite their dire plight which has required the US to give them $170 billion in "government assistance".
It seems that Obama is worried that the public might somehow hold him and congress responsible instead of AIG.
Gee, I wonder why he would worry about that?
But hey, we can't afford to govern out of anger, says the White House, and it's not as though we have any legal recourse? We have to give this money to Wall Street after all if we expect Wall Street to go along with getting us out of this recession we're in. But hey maybe the White House can "tap" this "sentiment" to "push through" the Obama agenda in Congress.
Wow! Hey! How cool is that, huh?
Am I being victimized by the Mainstream Media trying to sensationalize this story and polarize the electorate, or is Obama just simply not the man I thought I was voting for last year?
What ever became of Obama's promises to us?
Backlash indeed...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Inside Out

Today I feel like I have been turned inside out. Maybe it has something to do with the warmer weather. Yesterday my wife and I took our dog and went hiking out on the ice on Moosehead Lake. It was a beautiful sunny day, a bit hazy or smoggy from the still chilled westerly wind, and still below freezing anywhere out of the sun. There wasn't a lot of melting going on. But it was pleasant in the sunshine anywhere out of the wind. So maybe it's just getting outside after the long winter hibernation.
Maybe not.
Yesterday I was doing my usual news blog reading and I came across a post at TPMDC concerning a Republican lawmaker's proposal for a bill that would require presidential candidates to present a valid birth certificate. The question of Obama's place of birth has been ongoing for several years now but is generally considered inconsequential by Obama supporters. When I began reading the comments posted to this TPM article, I quickly realized that the comments didn't represent rational debate. The comments were ad homonym in nature, setting exactly the same tone that conservatives set whenever George W. Bush's authority was challenged.
Well this concerned me enough to actually register to comment at TPM and post a comment about how odd the comments were and about how simple the issue seems to be. I proudly voted for Obama. Showing his birth certificate to prove his qualifications for the Presidency is no big deal. I had to show mine to renew my drivers license this year after holding the license for the past 45 years! So like sheesh!
Well they lit into me for that. I am a bad bad person to question anything about Obama, I guess. How George W. Bush can you get! Where's the change Obama promised? Where's the openness?
Well in my run down that rabbit trail I stumbled on a website that really set the ball rolling for me, really tossed my warm Obama heart out in the cold Maine snow. I've been holding it back for quite awhile now but the Obama era hasn't exactly been going the way I expected it would go. I went to the Obama rally in Bangor last year, heard his pitch to us, understood what a lot of others that day understood, the message about the need to change how things are done in Washington, the need to put what is best for the people back in control, not what is best for the special interests.
The first thing Obama did was to appoint as his chief of staff someone whose father reportedly was a Zionist terrorist, or so it is claimed. What bigger special interest group is there in the US if not AIPAC, the Israel lobby?
Then he started giving hundreds of billions of dollars to the bankers.
Then he started bombing people in Pakistan.
Then he signed into law a bogus stimulus bill that was more of a wish list for socialist reform than anything else.
Then he signed a budget bill full of earmarks because they were just the leftovers from last year. Say what? I mean...... say what?????????
Then Obama retains the right to hold terrorism suspects indefinitely, same as Bush but without the catch phrase "enemy combatant." Orwell anyone?
Trillion plus dollar deficit...
The whole world wondering what America is up to...
China threatening to cash in its US holdings...
Obama's arch political foe Hillary Clinton running the State Department...
War first, diplomacy as a last resort...
A Wall Street guru running the Treasury...
And then there's a rumor that some news article is reporting that Wikipedia's Obama biography has been scrubbed squeeky clean?
What change? I'm waiting. What is the change? How can the pandering to special interests be ongoing if we voted in change? And I'm not asking this as some conservative naysayer. I'm saying it as a concerned progressive.
OK so everyone says wait and see. The change is coming. I know, that's what I've been saying too for the past two months. Change takes time. I know that. But change has to start somewhere and as far as I can see, it hasn't begun yet. What we all heard at that rally in Bangor would never have led us to believe what we have seen since the November election.
And now this idea that we can treat any doubters the same way that George W. Bush supporters treated Bush doubters, with ad homonym attacks against the doubter's character and worthiness as a human being?
Well anyway, back to that rabbit trail, I stumbled on this nearly two hour-long online video that I absolutely was not prepared to see. So I didn't. But if you watch it and can stomach watching it all the way through, could you please let me know how it ends?