The Hunger Games

It’s just going to get worse:

Prices for meat, poultry, fish and eggs across the nation shot up to all-time highs in May, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The price index for these items, which BLS has kept records of since 1967, “rose 1.4 percent in May after a 1.5 percent increase in April, with virtually all of its major components increasing,” the agency said in a news release.

The rise was part of a broad trend among food prices — bacon has risen sharply also in recent months, thanks to a virus that has killed millions of American pigs — as five of the six major grocery store food group indexes also saw their prices jump in May. Only cereal and bakery products declined last month, falling 0.1 percent.

What’s to blame for the record high prices? A combination of long-term drought in the nation’s biggest agricultural states and winter storms that killed off thousands of cattle last year, noted Paul Walsh, vice president for weather analytics at The Weather Company, the parent of The Weather Channel and

The cumulative effects of climate change on agriculture, the fact we are poisoning the bee population added on to the fact that wage stagnation and income inequality are at near unprecedented levels, and all those dystopian science fiction writers might have been on to something. Here’s a terrifying story about the upcoming water wars we are going to be facing.

Meanwhile, here in Appalachia, where we get plenty of rain and the water tables are full and flash flooding is more of a concern than drought, we are letting frackers and coal miners poison our water. America, fuck yeah!

102 replies
  1. 1
    BGK says:

    No sarcasm: why do smart people keep telling me we have no inflation? Food is a nontrivial part of CPI isn’t it?

  2. 2
    Hunter Gathers says:

    Doing something about climate change would be nice, but we’d rather argue about welfare and the lazy poors.

  3. 3
    Anoniminous says:


    We do have inflation. The thing is it’s not that important, at these rates, at this time.

  4. 4
    Talentless Hack says:

    @BGK: Because, if you bothered to read the article, you would know that the causes of the high food prices have nothing at all to do with the currency. Drought, disease, you know, the usual shit that happens when you do agriculture. There’s just more of it right now.

  5. 5
    beltane says:

    @BGK: I thought they measure the cost of goods and services excluding food and energy, they two things that are universally essential. But hey, flat screen TVs are cheaper than they were five years ago so shut up libtards.

  6. 6
    Joel says:

    I’m no vegetarian, but it’s worth knowing how to prepare some vegetarian staples. It’s not like people aren’t eating a ton of tofu anyways – any meat that is not explicitly labeled as such (think Taco Bell or Aramark) probably contains ~50% soy to begin with.

  7. 7
    beltane says:

    The ruling class was wise to invest in a highly militarized police force. It would be a tragedy if their tranquility and repose was adversely affected by the activities of hungry people.

  8. 8
    Anoniminous says:


    If we had a proper political-economy (= vaguely congruent with Reality) the rise in food prices wouldn’t be worrying. We don’t, so it is.

  9. 9
    beltane says:

    @Joel: Even beans have doubled in price over the past couple of years.

  10. 10
    🌷 Martin says:

    Thanks, Obama.

  11. 11
    WaterGirl says:

    Cole, this is one of your best posts in awhile.

    If anyone needs me, I’ll be the one rocking in the corner over there.

  12. 12
    Joel says:

    @beltane: true, but still extremely cheap in the grand scheme of things.

  13. 13
    beltane says:

    @Anoniminous: It’s a farce that cost of living raises, for those who are fortunate enough to receive them in the first place, do not take rising food prices into account. It is beyond farce that we have a billionaire class that sincerely believes raising the minimum wage is worse than Hitler’s gas chambers.

  14. 14
    LanceThruster says:

    But the good news is that the price of Soylent Green will be dropping dramatically as supplies increase.

  15. 15
    Anoniminous says:


    It’s not a farce. It’s criminal.

    (and I have to run)

  16. 16
    Howard Beale IV says:

    The Phoenix area is home to scores of data centers due to the lack of lack of tornadoes – how ironic if they were to become inhospitable.

  17. 17
    Duane says:

    The bit about fracking is oh so key. The shortsightedness of folks in the midwest to not realize that in the not to distant future having high quality water is going to be more valuable than that oil or natural gas.

  18. 18
    feebog says:

    The second link is pretty scary, but if you have ever been to Phoenix, you might think it is unlivable right now. Fifteen years ago or so, when I still worked for the Federal Gubmint, I inherited the entire state of Arizona to oversee Labor Relations for the agency. First time I flew in was in mid-August. It was 116. Now I was fully prepared, because we used to have a place in Palm Springs, and it can get that hot. The difference is that 116 in a golf resort, with plenty of grass, trees and water, is far different than having the heat bounce off every surface. Plus, whoever did the planning for the downtown area sucked, big time.

  19. 19
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Anoniminous: Yeah, food prices are at a historic low. Unfortunately, so are wages.

  20. 20
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @beltane: Food and energy are excluded from one set of calculations because they’re volatile, not because they’re (un)important. Including them affects the signal-to-noise ratio.

    BLS has a nice Common Misconceptions about the Consumer Price Index.

  21. 21
    gbear says:

    I clicked the link to that article about climate vulnerabilities in Phoenix, which was pretty scary. Then I made the mistake of going to the comments which were also very scary but for the opposite reason.

    To steal a phrase; I don’t think everyone who comments on the internet is stupid, but it seems like everyone who is stupid posts comments on the internet.

  22. 22
    FlyingToaster says:

    Weird. The roast I just bought (a new local vendor, for me, since they’re at the new farmer’s market in my town) was $10 cheaper than the end of last October.

    I’m wondering if the local grass fed contingent is doing just fine, up here where the major cash crops are rocks, rain, and cranberries. Yes, we’ll be getting our wheat flour on the expensive side, but I’m not planning on buying any meat at the store until about November.

  23. 23
    🌷 Martin says:

    We spend about $2,000 per household on food, about $200B annually. A 10% increase in food prices for the entire nation could be easily covered by the bonuses handed out at our investment banks each year.

  24. 24
    Jeffro says:

    Let’s not forget we’ve just about fished out the oceans. All of them.

  25. 25
    gene108 says:


    I thought they measure the cost of goods and services excluding food and energy, they two things that are universally essential.

    But their cost can be impacted by Acts of God – floods, droughts, hurricanes, etc. – and/or political problems, like ISIS trying to take over oil refineries in Iraq or the Libyan Civil War that cut off crude oil supplies to Europe.

    The ups and downs of food and energy may not be indicative of any trends in the rest of the economy.

  26. 26
    Talentless Hack says:

    @beltane: Maybe if you did some actual work instead of banging out reams of BS on the Internet, you might get a raise.

  27. 27
    beltane says:

    @🌷 Martin: But you would be taking away the investment bankers’ incentive to work. Without the promise of multi-million dollar bonuses these people would leave banking to pursue their dreams of being Wal-Mart cashiers and home health care workers.

  28. 28
    Morzer says:


    Obama’s just announced a plan to create a huge marine sanctuary:


    U.S. President Barack Obama announced a plan for creating the world’s largest marine sanctuary on Tuesday, covering hundreds of thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean, along with new pledges to fight illegal fishing and seafood fraud.

    Obama’s proposal would expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the central Pacific from around 87,000 square miles to nearly 782,000 square miles (225,000 to 2 million square kilometers).

    It would make the monument the largest protected area on the planet—either on land or in the sea—and two times larger than the currently largest protected area, which is in Greenland. (See: “U.S. Invites Public to Submit Nominations for Marine Sanctuaries.”) The sanctuary would cover the full 200-mile (322-kilometer) U.S. exclusive economic zone around seven uninhabited islands and atolls.

  29. 29
    Mike in NC says:

    Cue Newt Gingrich to spout off on FOX News about how America’s poor people are too fat.

  30. 30
    BGK says:


    That’s what I was driving at. With something of a shove and more reading, I understand better now that inflation is a function of currency valuation, and CPI, well, isn’t. Both have the ability to erode my purchasing power. Which, if one is at the lower end of the income spectrum, and without the fortunate advantages of some education and access to information I have, might seem an overly fine distinction.

  31. 31
    Morzer says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Probably while standing next to Chris Christie.

  32. 32
    BGK says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Didn’t Bill Clinton’s philandering make Newt lose his moral compass and drive him to gluttony? Or was that what got him schnogging his staffer?

  33. 33
    Cacti says:

    Here in the desert southwest, the State predicts that if we don’t build the infrastructure to start piping in outside water sources, we’ll start having shortages sometime in the 2040s.

    My plan? Be gone before then.

  34. 34
    Morzer says:


    Newt had been parsing the adulterous significance of “fellate” in the passive voice long before Bill Clinton showed up.

  35. 35
    geg6 says:

    This is a good reason to garden here in wet Western PA.

    Fracking is a problem, but not in my immediate area. Yet.

  36. 36
    Hal says:

    Speaking of the Hunger Games, that third book is a real clunker in the last third. The author did not seem to know how to finish her series. Also, cheese slices at my local supermarket went up 60 cents in the last two months. Real cheese, not the fake kraft stuff that taste like cheese flavored paper.

  37. 37
    Cacti says:

    The report about the urban heat island effect is also spot on.

    Go out at midnight on a summer night in greater Phoenix, and it will still be close to 100 degrees.

  38. 38
    WaterGirl says:

    Has anyone heard of the TV show Defiance? An acquaintance recommended it to me, but I see that it’s been on for a year, so I wondered if anyone here can make a recommendation.

  39. 39
    Botsplainer says:

    Finally watching the documentary, Jesus Camp.

    Fuck, I hate these people. I want FEMA re-education camps for white Christian conservatives.

  40. 40
    Howard Beale IV says:

    OMG: Megan Kelly tells Cheney he’s full of shit.

  41. 41
    WaterGirl says:

    @Howard Beale IV: Isn’t she one of those FOX people?

  42. 42
    Cacti says:

    Not to mention the insane amount of water that gets wasted here on golf course fairways and people’s lawns.

    It’s a desert ya doofuses. We’re not supposed to have lots of green grass and broad leaf trees.

  43. 43
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @WaterGirl: Yes, she is-which makes it even more remarkable.

  44. 44
    beltane says:

    @Hal: My husband works in the dairy industry. He tells me cheese sales are way down compared to this time last year due to higher prices.

  45. 45
    WaterGirl says:

    @Howard Beale IV: Maybe she was just confused! Were they discussing Iraq? Then or now?

  46. 46
    beltane says:

    @WaterGirl: Here’s the clip:

    Dick and Liz are probably seen as liabilities for the GOP so it’s in Fox’s interest to give them a bit of rough treatment.

  47. 47
    Baud says:

    Meh. Canada has a ton of water if we need it. I’m sure they’ll great us as liberators.

  48. 48
    Howard Beale IV says:

    Maybe it was the O’reiley blowback….

  49. 49
    Pogonip says:

    Are wingnuts edible?

  50. 50
    Cacti says:


    Dick and Liz are probably seen as liabilities for the GOP so it’s in Fox’s interest to give them a bit of rough treatment.

    Dick’s reaction seemed to be one of genuine surprise when a Murdoch employee treated him with something other than fawning obsequiousness.

  51. 51
    BGK says:


    I see these stories about largely residential areas and how people still water their lawns and golf courses stay green and all that. There’s a constant lament about how difficult it is to get people to “voluntarily” cut back on water uses like that. Here in the South Florida Water Management District, there have been year-round watering restrictions for as long as I can remember, backed by enforcement and hefty fines for violation. Hell, we have a wastewater recovery system for irrigation, and I’m not even allowed to use that outside of very limited windows.

    edit: My point being, are there not water authorities with use-enforcement power under law in the…um…desert?

  52. 52
    mark says:

    When I left the hospital where I work in Georgia, my cars thermometer read 104 degrees. There seemed to be an especially bright glare off all the cars and huge pickup trucks. But…..there is no global warming!!!

    We really need a French Revolution-light and throw all these climate change deniers like Limbaugh and George Will into a gulch in Barstow.

    Limbaugh has been sneering at and smearing climate scientists and conservationists for 20 years “environmentalists are green on the outside but red (commies) on the inside” was one of the 1st things I ever heard that piece of shit claim. I told my buddy “You can tell that guy doesn’t have any kids. He doesn’t care about posterity” He started to equivocate and I replied:

    So his position is that Global Warming is a hoax and we will waste all these big companies time and money if we do anything about it. Thats his worst case scenario. My worst case scenario (and it almost happened to me today) is one day I go outside to check my mailbox and I burst into flames.

    I mean, even the Pentagon is on board but what do the Republican House of Reps do? Pass a bill to remove funding that would allow the Dept. of Defense from addressing the climate change problems:

    These people are evil. There has to be a way to remove them from power peacefully. Right? Before its too late! Right?

  53. 53
    Cassidy says:

    @Pogonip: Anything is edible mid you cook it right.

    Start watching Survivorman. It’ll be good stuff to know.

  54. 54
    WaterGirl says:

    @Howard Beale IV: I am truly shocked.

  55. 55
    Howard Beale IV says:


    These people are evil. There has to be a way to remove them from power peacefully. Right? Before its too late! Right?

    A good-sized dose of Versed with a one-way ticket on Delta/KLM to Schipol with a taxi ride to The Hague should do the trick…..

  56. 56
    beltane says:

    @Cacti: He shouldn’t take it so personally. We are all expendable in one way or another. Dick has outlived his usefulness to the cause and can now be safely be thrown under the RW bus.

  57. 57
    Chris T. says:


    I understand better now that inflation is a function of currency valuation, and CPI, well, isn’t.

    I use a slightly different set of definitions. Inflation occurs when, over time (one must pick one or more time periods for computing), some thing(s) you will buy (you must pick some things) will cost more.

    In this case, if food prices go up over a six month period, and that’s your sample period and item, then yes, there was food price inflation.

    If college is your sample item, the fact that college costs have been climbing at double digit year-over-year percentages means that there is a whole lot of inflation.

    If medical goods and services are your sample items, there was a whole lot of inflation but it’s backed off enormously in the last couple of years.

    If flat-screen TVs are your sample items, there was a whole lot of deflation.

    All of these are easy to define and thus measure. But of course, what we (collectively) buy is a very large and ever-changing mix of these things, which becomes much more difficult to define. This is where the BLS statistics become much more helpful: they have a whole slew of different “shopping baskets” they track. You simply pick the one(s) closest to your own spending, and use that.

    Over time, we (humans in general, BLS statisticians in particular) find that food and fuel undergo frequent periods of inflation and deflation, sometimes at the same time (beef goes way up, chicken comes down, bananas get absurdly expensive but beans become cheap; gasoline hits $5 while natural gas drops to $2; and so on). Simply ignoring those inputs gives a much better read on multi-year trends.

    If you’re in a particular situation (such as a college student or a retired senior) the CPI-U and CPI-W can be wildly inapplicable. I would argue that Social Security payments should go way up, for instance, because the CPI that’s been used for that has been seriously understating medical inflation.

  58. 58
    BGK says:


    I usually see Tweety’s “Let Me Finish” bit just before Chris Hayes starts. These days he seems to be not-so-subtly suggesting he really, really thought the Iraq war was a bad idea all along. Um, didn’t he pretty much say seeing Dubya in the flight suit gave him a boner? Or am I mis-remembering?

  59. 59
    Jeffro says:

    @Howard Beale IV: Almost as good as the Harry Reid quote about being on the wrong side of Dick Cheney…

    …ok, better.

  60. 60
    thruppence says:

    @WaterGirl: I watched the first few episodes and was not impressed; haven’t been back since then. All the characters look like TV actors, all the dialog sounded like TV dialog, all the situations seemed familiar and constantly interrupted by blizzards of commercials.
    I like sci-fi, but I guess I’m jaded and spoiled by shows like Breaking Bad and Deadwood. I want to see things I haven’t seen a thousand times before.

  61. 61
    MattR says:

    @WaterGirl: Showed promise at times though a bit uneven. IIRC, pretty big “cliffhanger” in the season one finale that could shift the type of plots in the second. Also, it is based on a video game(s) so at times it felt like there were some things going over my head as a non-gamer (EDIT: FWIW, I left the last 4 episodes unwatched on my DVR for several months before I finished off the season. I also set my DVR to catch the premiere tonight)

    @Morzer: So there actually was a good reason to “own” those uninhabited islands after all. Who knew?

  62. 62
    JPL says:

    @Pogonip: Depends on whether or not you can abide the smell.

  63. 63

    All my goodies that I had brought from India are coming to an end. Except for the spices, of course. I brought about a half a pound of tamarind candy which is almost over. I has a sad.

  64. 64
    JPL says:

    @efgoldman: You missed the section where Elizabeth Warren was on and he accused her of not being able to do anything. After all, the dems have the Senate and the Executive Office. She did remarkably good considering Chris was a raving lunatic.

  65. 65
    mark says:

    @Howard Beale IV: I’ll be glad to escort them as far as Amsterdam. However, once there I’m heading to Barneys for hash and eggs.

  66. 66
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @mark: Why go to Amsterdam when I can go to Colorado and get some decent indica-based comestible combustibles on dirt cheap tickets?

  67. 67
    Tom Q says:

    @BGK: Yes, you’re remembering correctly, but Tweety isn’t lying when he said he opposed the Iraq war. He did, quite forcefully and repeatedly, on the air, when it wasn’t easy to do so in the Beltway community. However, when, after the quick march to Baghdad, victory fever was in the air, he succumbed to the general euphoria for a while, and it was during that period he fell in love with Bush-in-flightsuit.

    Which is to say, Matthews has always been a bit bipolar in his political allegiances. But he is telling the truth here.

  68. 68
    Baud says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    You’ll just have to go back.

  69. 69
    Morzer says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    Just make sure not to MoDo yourself. Read the instructions first!

  70. 70
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Morzer: No way am I gonna do any edibles.

  71. 71
    PurpleGirl says:

    @WaterGirl: I began watching one episode and had trouble following the story line with the aliens. I think to watch it now you would need to see the previous episodes to catch up. It didn’t catch my interest enough to do that. YMMV.

  72. 72

    @Baud: With candy but it won’t be tamarind candy.

  73. 73
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I was in Phoenix two years ago in May, and daytime temps were 113° (down to almost 100° at night). I know, and like, many people who live there (by choice or necessity), but I hated Phoenix with the heat of a thousand suns. Pardon the redundancy.

    (“But it’s a dry heat!” “Yeah. So’s cremation.”)

  74. 74
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Pogonip: They’d probably cause indigestion and lots of gas.

  75. 75

    I have just the thing to welcome the warmer temps of late June and July a recipe for Mango Lassi.

    ETA: If you like mangoes, you should definitely try Hapoos or the Alfonso mango, there is nothing quite like it.

  76. 76
    SuperHrefna says:

    I’m really excited about the Kickstarter for this excellent $4 a day cookbook, Good and Cheap. The cookbook itself is free to download and distribute as a PDF (there’s a download link on the kickstarter page) the fundraising is to print up paper copies to distribute to people without computer access. It’s an excellent idea, this book would be so great for so many of the clients at the food pantry where I volunteer. They want to eat healthy, but they aren’t sure how it can be done with SNAP as low as it is and food prices as high as they are. This cookbook is a great nudge in the right direction, yummy recipes and methods beautifully presented.

  77. 77
    Cervantes says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: There’s a reason they called it Phoenix.

  78. 78
    Cervantes says:

    @SuperHrefna: A worth-while project. Thanks for the link.

  79. 79
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Thanks for the link! I’ll donate as soon as my SS comes in.

  80. 80
    Kropadope says:

    To hear some people tell it, we’re having outrageous levels of inflation, prices are doubling year after year. That’s obviously not true, it’s a measured value and it’s been 2 to 3 percent consistently for a while. That isn’t nothing, but it is pretty low, historically.

  81. 81
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    Yum! On my list.

  82. 82
    Anoniminous says:


    Inflation isn’t the problem. This is the problem.

  83. 83
    Kropadope says:

    @Anoniminous: The Huffington post is the problem? I’ll buy that.

    No, you’re right, the productivity compensation thing is disgusting. Not only is it supporting obscene profits, but it’s supporting high unemployment also.

    However, what can you do about your employer wanting to double your work and hold you to 1.25% raises year after year? Pretty much all the employers got together and decided that’s what they want to do. There’s no protection for unions. We’re hosed.

  84. 84
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Yes indeed, LOL! And maybe there’s a reason I live in a city whose symbol is the Phoenix.

  85. 85
    moonbat says:

    @SuperHrefna: Thank you for this link!

  86. 86
    Anoniminous says:


    I know it’s hard out there. All I can do is say what I did: started my own businesses. All but one burned up, fell over, and sank in a swamp. Ah, but the last one stayed up and has been paying the bills ever since.

  87. 87
    Kropadope says:

    @Anoniminous: I actually got pretty lucky and managed to get out of the retail trap I was in for 14 years. It was crazy though, the job I had before this paid less than my first job ever, while requiring being licensed (paid for it myself) and had way more responsibilities.

  88. 88
    Linnaeus says:

    Water wars? Maybe it’s time for me to start thinking about moving back to the Great Lakes.

  89. 89
    catclub says:

    @beltane: Things like education, healthcare and housing are bigger parts of the CPI than food. healthcare and housing are not skyrocketing at the moment.

    Also, we in the USA spend far smaller fraction of our income on food than Europe, much larger fraction on healthcare and housing. That may be changing.

  90. 90
    catclub says:


    it’s a measured value and it’s been 2 to 3 percent consistently for a while. That isn’t nothing, but it is pretty low, historically.

    Not only that, but the Fed will tell you they would prefer slightly higher inflation than we have had.
    (they also will only let 2% be a mximum, not an average, when they say they want 2% inflation. We need higher
    to return to average 2% over the past X years.) So they are lying when they say they want 2% inflation.

    If we had 8% inflation and 1.5% unemployment, they would have employed tools to change that situation.
    When we have the inverse, they appear to be powerless. Dual
    mandate my ass.

  91. 91
    catclub says:

    @SuperHrefna: One section of MFK Fisher’s book was ‘How to cook a Wolf’
    on keeping the wolf from one’s door cheaply. Horribly out of date, but the idea is probably similar.
    I do remember a description of a boring, but relatively nutritious sludge of beans, rice and lentils.

  92. 92
    jibeaux says:

    @BGK: well, I was in the audience for a live show of his in maybe 2003, he was interviewing John Edwards. Edwards was pro-invasion, Tweety talked with much more hesitation — what’s the end game, exit plan, why would they greet us as liberators, etc. There’s a lot of selective memory about Edwards.

  93. 93
    mai naem says:

    I’m a vegetarian and I think prices have gone up a lot. I say this as a person who really doesn’t notice price changes unless it’s something I buy very regularly and the price gets hiked. I think milk has gone up in general. The sales’ prices don’t see to go to the level they used. Bread’s gone up. Some veggies have definitely gone up. I’m not sure about this but it seems like stuff used to go on sale much more and at lower prices. At the same time I live in Phoenix which has had a tough tough market for grocery stores and I think we have fewer stores in total than we used to.

  94. 94
    seaboogie says:

    Ahhhhh, but we do subsidize the crop farmer, even if that farmer’s name is Archer Daniels Midland because of the romance of the “family” farm….animal and vegetable farmers, not so much. And what the animal farmers have to do to keep prices low (rather than quality high – because these are our values), is inhumane and ultimately self-defeating.

    You can’t buy a chicken sandwich off the dollar menu and have good food in your mouth. Instead, it is massivly processed by-products rendered in the shape of what you were hoping for, with a massive dose of animal fat to make it easier to swallow.

  95. 95
    ruemara says:

    @WaterGirl: ok you’re getting misinfoed, so here’s my 2¢. Defiance is better than most dreck, tries very hard to do hard dystopic sci first and has some genuinely interesting things happening in the story. Not as awesome as Orphan Black. It isn’t based on a video game, SyFy deal decided to create a video game that also impacted storyline to have a total worldbuilding experience. Jury is still out on that working. It’s a bit of Babylon 5, a bit of Have Gun, Will Travel. Not a bad way to spend an hour.

  96. 96
    ruemara says:

    And yes, food is hella expensive. It costs me nearly 85$ every week to stay in lean proteins and veg. Annoying at best, chilling if I think about the future.

  97. 97
    TriassicSands says:

    Phoenix has pretty much always been on an unsustainable path. And it’s not alone. The lack of foresight — or more accurately the willful stupidity and denial that characterizes water use and planning (?) in the Southwest is an old story. Twenty years ago in Albuquerque they brought in Intel with its incredibly water intensive manufacturing process. Anyone with an ounce of common sense could have told you that Albuquerque is not the place for that kind of industry, but what the hell, they were already over taxing the local water supplies, so why not fuel unsustainable growth with the worst possible kinds of industry. From the disastrous dams,Hoover and Glen Canyon (silt anyone?), to the Central Arizona Project, all of which are as much water evaporation projects as anything, Arizona has mindlessly lumbered into a future with no future.

    The water in the Colorado River was originally divvied up based on an unusually heavy water time frame, which meant that there has always been a problem with promising more water than can normally be delivered. Lake Mead is approaching a level it hasn’t seen since it was originally filled — only it’s now headed in the wrong direction, and the bathtub ring on Lake Powell keeps getting higher — no wait, the ring stays in the same place, it’s the water that is getting lower. In the case of Lake Powell, in one of the worst ever environmental trade offs, the environmentalists, led by David Brower, “saved” the Green River in Utah by sacrificing one of the most archaeological rich areas filled with scenic wonders enough for dozens of lifetimes. After making the deal, Brower traveled down the Colorado River through what would become Lake Powell, and when it was already too late, the disaster was set, he realized the horrible mistake that had been made.

    The late Marc Reisner wrote a wonderful book, Cadillac Desert, which apart from an inexplicable error of fact in the opening pages (he somehow placed Long’s Peak in RMNP on the Continental Divide, when it lies east of it), is an important cautionary tale — all but ignored.

    When people are as willfully negligent as people in the Southwest have been with respect to water and growth, it’s hard to feel sorry for people who have contributed to such an environmental disaster.

  98. 98
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @BGK: Not in a liberty-tard land like Arizona. I mean, you’re talking about a place that keeps re-electing Joe Arpaio. You know… fascists.

    I have no doubt that there are plenty of restrictions and fines for water use… by wetbacks.

  99. 99
    evodevo says:

    @BGK: Yes, you are correct. His “turnaround” has been one of the most egregious in recent memory.

  100. 100
    Spinoza Is My Co-pilot says:


    Arizona has mindlessly lumbered into a future with no future.

    I live in the Phoenix area, as I have for over 3 decades (after escaping the economic downturn of the late-70s in my Rust Belt hometown). Was a young man with a growing family who needed a decent job, this was a good place for one, and after more than 30 years it still is compared to dear old Cleveland.

    Phoenix and its environs are no worse off for water than southern California, which has 6 times the population and immensely more water-guzzling agriculture (every bit if which is irrigated). Any commentary about the unsustainability of Phoenix (which contains a lot of truth, of course) is equally applicable to LA, San Diego, and all points in, around, and in between. And from Bakersfield on up to Sacramento, too.

    Most of California – including the agricultural juggernaut in the Central Valley – is just as dependent on dammed-up snow-melt as Arizona. California pulls more water from the Colorado for irrigating crops in the desert than Phoenix does for all uses (which anymore is very little agriculture).

    I don’t mean that Phoenix as currently constructed isn’t ultimately unsustainable – I believe it obviously is, most especially because global warming is pretty much going to fuck over huge swaths of the world in the next 50-100 years, with the SW U.S. being very much one of those swaths.

    It’s just that the ramifications of that water-related unsustainability pale in comparison to the exact same unsustainability in California. Phoenix shrinking back to, say, a pre-1970 population will be of relatively minor consequence when agriculture in California is first shut down so the cities can have water, followed by massive emigration from those CA cities when even that is not enough (“reverse Okies”).

    I won’t live long enough to see that, but my grandchildren very likely will. Which is why I have advised my grown son (who still lives near me in the Phoenix area) to acquire some property for the future in the ancestral homeland of NE Ohio.

    Someday in the not-too-distant poor, downtrodden Cleveland will no longer be known as the “Mistake by the Lake” – its proud denizens will be all, “Look motherfuckers, we’ve got a big-assed fucking freshwater lake!”. And the vast majority of the rest of the world will desperately wish they could say the same.

  101. 101
    johnny aquitard says:

    @Talentless Hack:

    @beltane: Maybe if you did some actual work instead of banging out reams of BS on the Internet, you might get a raise.

    Uh-oh, beltane. Your boss is onto you!

  102. 102
    johnny aquitard says:


    The lack of foresight — or more accurately the willful stupidity and denial that characterizes water use and planning (?) in the Southwest is an old story.

    It’s the entire country, and it’s not just water use.

    The oil embargo in 1973 was a wake-up call. Reagan hit the snooze button.

    We’ve been bound to the middle east region (and to Israel) because of oil. We meddling in Iran. A couple hundred marines got blown up in Lebanon. We fought a war in Kuwait. We went into Iraq.

    None of this would have happened if not for the oil. No one gives a fuck about a bunch of backward countries full of nothing but sand. It’s why we don’t give a shit about Sudan or Somalia.

    And Saudia Arabia and Iran and Iraq and the UAE and all the armchair jihaddis with oil-money to spend would not have the scratch to fund these fundamentalist groups. There would not have been a bin Laden or AQ or even Iranian students because these were responses to US involvement and meddling in the first place. The ’73 oil embargo itself was a response to US involvement.

    If we had instead spent the trillions on wind and solar energy that we spent on the wars in the middle east, we could’ve covered every damn rooftop in this country with solar panels.

    And we would have saved at least a million lives.

    This country’s got a long proven track record of willful stupidity and denial about almost every resource it depends on.

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