Stoking the Conspiracy Fantasists: Like A Spark to Tinder

I haven’t wanted to post about the California wildfires because, from this distance, it feels like indulging in disaster porn. “We” have seriously fvcked up another gorgeous chunk of the only planet currently available, and the locals are paying for that in some of the most dramatic footage possible, thoughts & prayers.

But there’s no “natural” tragedy that can’t be made worse… Per the Washington Post:

The arrest was made as more than 18 fires across the state continue to endanger the lives of thousands, including hundreds of firefighters and first responders working around the clock. One, the Mendocino Complex Fire in Northern California, is the largest wildfire in California history. Yosemite National Park has been closed “indefinitely” because of smoke from another fire…

The Holy Fire, which started in the Holy Jim Canyon area, has been burning in Southern California since Monday, with more than 600 firefighters assigned to fight it. Two firefighters have been treated for heat-related injuries. The fire remains only 5 percent contained.

Mike Milligan, 71, who calls himself a volunteer fire firefighter and chief, said in an interview with The Washington Post that he has been flagging problems with suspect Forrest Gordon Clark for more than three years. He said he alerted the U.S. Forest Service that “you have to do something or he’s going to kill someone or burn this place down.”

Milligan said he received several texts from Clark last week threatening to start a fire.

“In a text, he said this place ‘is going to burn just like we planned,’ ” Milligan said, adding that he reported it to the sheriff’s office and again to the U.S. Forest Service. “Why the hell didn’t they respond? I reported this over and over again.”
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Excellent Read(s): Hot Enough For Ya?

From Joshua Keating, at the Washington Post: “This is what happens when climate change forces an entire country to seek higher ground”

Small island states like Kiribati and the Maldives have become symbols of the potential impacts of global warming. At the 2015 Paris climate summit, they pressured larger countries to accept the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, rather than two degrees, over preindustrial levels. (It was mostly a symbolic victory: Barring unforeseen circumstances, particularly since the Trump administration pulled the United States out of the accord, both targets will be exceeded.) They are also working to develop first-line defenses against the effects of sea-level rise, including planting mangroves to prevent coastal erosion and improving rainwater-collection systems to protect water quality.

But if none of that works, they may have to consider more drastic options. And so, in 2014, Kiribati purchased about eight square miles on the Fijian island of Vanua Levu for a little less than $9 million, potentially for the purpose of moving its population there one day. “We would hope not to put everyone on one piece of land,” the country’s then-president, Anote Tong, said. “But if it became absolutely necessary, yes, we could do it.” Fiji would become the new home of the nation’s inhabitants, known as the I-Kiribati.

The relocation of people due to climate change isn’t unprecedented. Papua New Guinea has already begun moving the population of the Carteret Islands, a group of low-lying atolls, to the mainland. But this would be the first time an entire country had to relocate because the land on which it was built no longer existed. This raises a new and frightening question: If a country no longer exists in physical form, can it still exist as a political entity? Can a nation just up and move?
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Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Happy Fourth!

Not that you guys are liable to need it, but handy format for sharing…


(Plenty humans not crazy about ‘spontaneous’ bang-bangs, either. Have a thought for your friends & neighbors with PTSD, as well as the fourfoots among you.)
 
But at least it’s a day off, mostly…

Do we need or want a separate post for the many amazing #SecondCivilWar tweets? So many great examples have been shared in various comment threads already, not to mention that twitter feed in the right-hand column —->



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Hot, HOT… Cold!

It’s all fun’n’games until the cops start pleading “Ma’am, this is *not* a clothing-optional area… “


 
… But at least we’re not facing the brutal chill of getting iced out on the Vineyard…


Of course, I too remember the fvcktons of media grief our most recent Democratic presidents took over their MV vacations…



Kilauea Erupts in a Housing Subdivision

Cracks in the ground are spewing lava in the Leilani Estates subdivision on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The USGS Volcanoes Twitter account is a good one to follow for information.

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Apocalypse Very Soon

Via Alexander C. Kaufman at HuffPo, we learn that the EPA has decided that we’ve all just got to sit back and fry — and like it too, dammit:

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday evening sent employees a list of eight approved talking points on climate change from its Office of Public Affairs ― guidelines that promote a message of uncertainty about climate science and gloss over proposed cuts to key adaptation programs.

Here a couple of samples of the new guidance:

“Human activity impacts our changing climate in some manner,” one point reads. “The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue.”

The other states: “While there has been extensive research and a host of published reports on climate change, clear gaps remain including our understanding of the role of human activity and what we can do about it.”

It’s clear enough what Scott Pruitt’s and Donald Trump’s EPA thinks we should do about the global test-to-destruction experiment on which we are now engaged.  F**k-all.  Hades here we come.
As Eric Levitz at New York magazine reminds us, this actually isn’t the limit of GOP and Trump climate sabotage:

It would be bleak enough if these talking points were an accurate reflection of our government’s position on climate change. “We will do nothing to stop this calamity from happening, but will help you prepare for its onset” isn’t the most uplifting sentiment. But the Trump administration’s actual position on the matter is even worse.

In truth, Scott Pruitt’s EPA is about as opposed to helping communities prepare for climate catastrophe as it is to regulating carbon emissions: Last year, the EPA shut down its climate-adaptation program, and proposed funding cuts* to another initiative dedicated to studying the effects of rising sea levels. [links in the original]

Again, as Levitz points out, unchecked climate change will (and almost certainly has already) kill a lot of people. Which is to say this isn’t garden valley Republican robbery of most of us to serve the interests of our former Secretary of State and his ilk.  Reckless doesn’t begin to describe what the GOP in general and the current administration in particular are doing to the planet, and to Americans’ well being, safety and security.

The climate change debacle is not only down to the United States, of course. But nowhere else has the power that we do to shift international action on this.  We’re doing the opposite, and the FSM knows how high the bill will go.

On that note: top of the evening to the jackals. Open thread, y’all

*Most of the cuts were undone in the omni-budget bill, but if we have a minor respite from environmental despoilation, it’s not thanks to Trump and Pruitt.

Image: D. Howard Hitchcock, Halemaumau, Lake of Fire, 1888



This Is Only a Test

So, this morning, I’m having my coffee, catching up on the Snarkosphere, etc., when I notice an alert on my iPhone screen:

Never heard of a tsunami hitting the west coast of Florida, but shit, the world quit making sense a while back, so maybe? I clicked through to the Accuweather app, which had the little red exclamation point and the same message on the app screen: tsunami warning for my (low-lying, coastal) area.

I mentally reviewed the location of my husband and daughter (higher ground, both, insofar as there IS higher ground on this accursed peninsula) and started figuring out how to single-handedly catch and crate the chickens and then drag the dog and a crate of chickens up to the roof. Or perhaps chance fleeing in my car with the dog and chickens in the cabin with me? Neither seemed a good option.

But before putting either plan into action, I figured I’d better go straight to the horse’s mouth and make sure this warning wasn’t some Accuweather fuckery and that the U.S. National Weather Service was really predicting a tsunami right here in Cockroach Acres. Turns out, nah:

I appreciate getting severe weather alerts when an actual threat exists, just as I’m sure the folks in Hawaii are glad there’s a way to alert them of incoming ballistic missiles. But maybe we need to take a step back and rethink how these alerts are disseminated.

In Hawaii, perhaps it shouldn’t be possible for one person to fuck up and push the wrong button and send the population into a panic. And maybe the National Weather Service should work more closely with the weather apps that are authorized to push NWS alerts to make sure “this is a test” is part of the alert message when testing the system. Just saying.

Open thread!