Massive Forest Die-Off Predicted

A dying forest in Colorado: Bare branches and rust-colored foliage denote dead and dying trees in Colorado’s Front Range.

Doubters and climate change believers, draw near. Scientists have collated new data about climate change, and this is probably the most stunning news ever.

According to tree-ring growth data combined with historical information, climate records, and computer-model projections of future climate trends, widespread tree death is likely, researchers report this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.

A group of scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory, the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Arizona and other groups used this data from 13,000 tree core samples with known temperature and moisture data. They also blended events from archaeological and other paleorecords, such as the late 1200s megadrought that drove the ancient Pueblo Indians out of longtime settlements such as those at Mesa Verde, Colo. The result was a new “drought index” to help them measure the combined effects of drought and disease.

“This new drought index has the strongest correlation with combined tree growth, tree death from drought and insects, and area burned by forest fires that I have ever seen,” says co-author Thomas W. Swetnam, director of the UA Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.

By comparing the tree-ring record to climate data collected in the Southwest since the late 1800s, the scientists identified two climate variables that estimate annual southwestern tree-growth variability with exceptional accuracy: total winter precipitation and average summer-fall atmospheric evaporative demand, a measure of the overall dryness of the environment.

“Atmospheric evaporative demand is primarily driven by temperature. When air is warmer, it can hold more water vapor, thus increasing the pace at which soil and plants dry out. The air literally sucks the moisture out of the soil and plants,” says A. Park Williams of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the lead author of the paper.

These trends, the researchers noted, are already occurring in the Southwest, where temperatures generally have been increasing for the past century and are expected to continue to do so because of accumulating greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

There still will be wet winters, but increased frequency of warmer summers will put more stress on trees and limit their growth after wet winters, the study reports.

“We can use the past to learn about the future,” Williams said. “For example, satellite fire data from the past 30 years show that there has been a strong and exponential relationship between the regional tree-ring drought-stress record and the area of southwestern forests killed by wildfire each year. This suggests that if drought intensifies, we can expect forests not only to grow more slowly, but also to die more quickly.”

The study points out that very large and severe wildfires, bark-beetle outbreaks and a doubling of the proportion of dead trees in response to early 21st-century warmth and drought conditions are evidence that a transition of southwestern forest landscapes toward more open and drought-tolerant ecosystems may already be underway.

“When we look at our tree-ring record, we see this huge dip in the 1580s when all the tree rings are really tiny,” Williams said. “Following the 1500s megadrought, tree rings get wider, and there was a major boom in new trees. Nearly all trees we see in the Southwest today were established after the late-1500s drought, even though the species we evaluated can easily live longer than 400 years. So that event is a benchmark for us today. If forest drought stress exceeds late 1500 levels, we expect that a lot of trees are going to be dying.”

Sorry. I have no smartass remark to add to this. Just sucks to be us, I guess.

Suspicious voter registration forms found in 10 Florida counties –

Source: Yahoo
Source: Yahoo

Suspicious voter registration forms found in 10 Florida

And whilst they cry foul against others. My father – a lifelong and proud Republican – is rolling in his grave. I see members in my church – also life long and ardent supporters of the GOP, wincing and shaking their sad grey heads. Alas, imitation begets the reality.

Perhaps they thought they were “evening the score” – just in case AARP and the NAACP ran their own fraudulent voter schemes. Were I the GOP leadership, this is one maneuver I would have never imagined doing. Not only did they try to stack the voter roles with FAKE GOP voters, but they deliberately disenfranchise other voters. The question now isn’t whether Romney and the GOP will lose this November, but how badly.

Ryan Booed, Obama Good, Romney goes down in smoke

Source: Yahoo
Source: Yahoo

Make no mistake – I’m about as liberal as they come (actually, truth be told, I’m a socialist). You can imagine my delight when I read today’s LA TIMES article about Paul Ryan receiving steady and sustained boos when he tried to explain his criticism of Obamacare and Medicare. Yeah baby! BOO!

“The first step to a stronger Medicare is to repeal Obamacare, because it represents the worst of both worlds,” Ryan said as the crowd in New Orleans booed audibly.

Fellow liberal and borderline socialist Ruth Baker of Palm Beach, FL told me that the audience was “absolutely hostile.”

All well and good for the 47% moochers who do not fit the statistical model: American citizens who support Obama and pay income tax. In my case, over $10,000 last year.

After describing the trouble that the Romney-Ryan ticket is having with their bungling and bad messaging, Times writers, Mascaro, Hennessey and Reston, pivot with a counterpoint from Obama who distinguishes earned entitlements from just plain old entitlements.

“Given the conversations that have been out there in the political arena lately, I want to emphasize: Medicare and Social Security are not handouts,” Obama said. “You’ve paid into these programs your whole lives. You’ve earned them. And as president, it’s my job to make sure that Medicare and Social Security remain strong for today’s seniors and for future generations.”

You can see my head nodding. Even the most ardent teapartier ought to admit that once a transaction is engaged, there is an obligation to deliver. Unless of course you suggest that the federal government should break promises to retirees and basically tell them to go screw themselves. Unfortunately for Romney-Ryan, that’s precisely what the Ruth Baker’s in the country are hearing these days.

But then then the article takes another pivot that makes my head spin.

Meanwhile, Ann Romney landed safely in California on Friday evening, hours after the 10-seat charter plane carrying her from Omaha to the West Coast filled with smoke and was forced to make an emergency landing in Denver.

What the heck does that have to do with Ryan getting booed or Obama splitting hairs on entitlements? Read the article and tell me that it doesn’t bounce a bit on the subconscious.

The message I get from the article is almost mnemonic in form: Ryan Booed, Obama Good, Romney goes down in smoke. Accidental editing? Intentional op/ed? LOL.

Geeze. No wonder the Conservatives complain about a liberal bias.

Romney’s 47%

There’s already a horde of commentary that tries to compare Mitt Romney’s now infamous words to Barack Obama’s equally dumb remark: how in bad economic times, “people get bitter, they cling to their guns and religion.”

Okay, let’s cut through the superbole of gotcha and get one thing straight. These words were said to ardent donors – to inform the wallet warriors about policy ideas, but more important, to learn more about the candidate’s intimate notions, underlying motives, and true agendas. In both cases, Romney and Obama are merely chalking out the outlines that define followers versus detractors.

But I think the problem for Romney is that he played to the fences a bit overmuch. Did he really have to cast nearly HALF of the population as wonton freeloaders? I’m a liberal voting for Obama, and if I wasn’t supposed to be paying taxes, I’d better give my accountant a call. The fact is, Romney’s “47%” includes retirees. Like Ol’ Kemp – 87 years old with a face like crabgrass. He was a former USAF operative during Vietnam who later busted his ass to earn an engineering degree and worked for about 30 years for Hughes Aircraft as a ground systems analyst and trainer. He’s an old Texan Democrat (if you know what I mean). I’m sure that ‘ol’ bag o’bones’ will give me an earful about Romney’s blunder. I hope Mittens isn’t planning to hold a rally around Amarillo, TX any time soon. Thurman might go “second amendment” on him, if you know what I mean. But I digress.

Personally, I want to cut Romney some slack. He has the right to define his followers and cheer his donors. You must admit that the post-gaffe period is a lot less messy than it could have been. He gains buko respect points for sticking to his guns today. And here’s the bonus for the rest of us moochers and lazy liberals, the chalk lines were never more clearer; the mission never more urgent.

Barack Obama 2012

Weary and Wary

Say “aye” if you’re weary and wary of rump-headed politicians and their insipid slogans. They say it’s for the sake of democracy, but is it really? I reached my saturation point during the runup to the primaries – made my choice once it became clear that RMONEY was going to win the GOP nomination. Lacking any dazzling alternative, RMONEY seems worse than the usual “lesser of evils.” The SOB is evil because of the interests he represents. But I digress…

The campaigning only exemplifies the terrible lack of choice our so-called democracy gives us. But… can I successfully argue non-participation? Nope. Gotta vote. Gotta stand up and be counted. I’m weary of the campaign, wary of the promises, but there’s no way in hell that I’m going to allow the lowest common denominator be our only voice. No way in hell.


Parents who shouldn’t be allowed on planes

See this article on CNN:

The problem is as old as air travel itself: Adults seated next to misbehaving kids while confined to a pressurized aluminum tube. But it seemed like until now, at least, we knew whose side the parents were on. Like the mom on Meador’s flight, they did everything they could to keep their offspring from driving the rest of the passengers quietly mad.

To echo a part of this article – on a 2 hour flight, our otherwise mild mannered 2yo daughter, began a pitched screaming fit that lasted almost the entire flight. I tried everything. I even gave her rum. To no avail. I drank the rest of the rum and ordered a round of drinks for the adults around us (those who wanted a drink). Then I banned our family from jets until both kids were rational and sensible. We took our first jet ride when they were 8 and 5. And I haven’t had a drop of rum since.

File under: Stupid Human Tricks

Gothic Hello KittyHolly Crawford, a dog groomer from Northern Pennsylvania, was found guilty for one count of animal cruelty. Her crime? Opportunism and supreme superbole!

She took kittens and pierced their ears, necks (according to MSNBC), and other body parts. Then she attempted to market the animals on eBay under the headline: “Gothic Kitties.”

A picture of the kittens on eBay, taken on a pet bed with ears weighed down by belly button rings, was noticed by a woman who contacted Crawford and subsequently authorities. Pennsylvania Humane Society officers and police removed four, three month old kittens and one cat from Crawford’s home.

The kittens had multiple piercings on their ears and necks. One kitten’s tail was docked and another’s banded.

The case grabbed attention from animal rights activists nationwide. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) condemned Crawford and describe the piercings as “barbaric”

No laws specifically state that docking cat’s tails or piercing cats is illegal.

Many Pennsylvanians are outraged by the case, citing it a waste of time and money. Supporters of Crawford claim that there is little difference between declawing a cat, spaying/neutering an animal, tagging wild game or wrapping a show dogs ears.

Carol Morrison, a Pennsylvania Humane Officer, testified the total expense to treat and rehabilitate the kittens was over $1,000.

Upon hearing the verdict, Crawford was distraught. Her defense attorney John Pike told reporters, “She really loves animals and is upset because in her heart she considers herself a true animal lover”

Crawford is to be sentenced March 31, 2010 and faces up to 5 years in prison. Reports say that the prosecutor is seeking a sentence of 12 to 18 months.

Ah, but this story only scratches the surface! Apparently there’s a real trade in “gothic” pets. According to the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, PA – Northern PA again, of all places – three kittens with ear, neck and tail piercings were removed from a home in Ross Township.

One of the officers from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Luzerne County said the pierced kittens were being sold as “gothic kittens” on an Internet auction site.

“This is a first,” said Officer Carol Morrison. “It’s unbelievable anybody would do this to kittens.” Yeah, well, surprize, surprize.

Once again, the investigation started when somebody noticed “gothic kittens” being sold on eBay. The animals were also being sold on a pet classified Web site with an attached picture of a pierced kitten.

“You’re not allowed to sell live animals on eBay,” Morrison said. Nor ones that have been tortured and mutilated, I’ll bet.

Aside from the cats, a dog was also found with various piercings. Here’s another big fat “guess what happened next.” The perp had a pet grooming business in the basement of the residence. Several signs advertising “Pawside Parlor” were adorned on the front of the home. Hmm… nothing about body mutilations?

Morrison said the kittens will be checked by a veterinarian before deciding if the kittens will be placed for adoption. Or have a wooden stake driven through their hears (yeah, okay – bad joke).

Women Jokes

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

I have collected dozens of them. I never had a problem with women. Never bought into the “battle of the sexes,” I just like jokes. Especially the funny ones. Like this one – sent to me by a true believer in the battle – a woman, by the way – who relishes every example, every bit of evidence of the “male dominated society.” The jokes, she says, are more about how we perceive societal interaction than how we actually behave. “In real life,” she says, “people tend to be more cruel. The jokes allow us to laugh about it.”

LOL…  yah. Okay, whatever. This list is titled “Women are like…”


They always think that they must have the last word.

Saran Wrap…

Useful but clingy.

Credit cards…

You never know how much you spend on them, and when you find out all you can do is cry.

Hi-tech gadgets

It takes forever to figure out how they work and a better gadget always comes along once you’ve gotten used to your old one.


Even the smallest foible is stored in long-term memory for later retrieval.

Cell phones…

Handy, but beware of the roaming charges.

The stock market…

Alluring but impossible to predict, and they will bankrupt you if you’re not careful.

Fax machines…

Useful for one very specific purpose, otherwise they’re just high-maintenance paperweights.

Political campaign contributors…

If you let them talk about themselves long enough you wind up in bed with them.


They’re always cold and never seem to have a beer when you need one.

Country western songs…

They’re annoying, they all sound alike, and if you really listen to them you’ll get depressed and drink a lot.


At first they come at you all wet and wild, but when they leave they take your house, your car, your cat, your boat…

So much for that.

That g_oddamn stupid fa__ot sunovabitch

Source: Wikipedia
This photo has nothing to do with the article. I just thought it was really cool

Let me tell you a little story about a friend of mine who is a lifetime Texan. He served with my dad in the Air Force as a NCO during Korea (replaced propellers on B29 bombers). He had a short stint as some kind of intelligence officer during Vietnam. He retired to a small ranch southwest of Amarillo that’s been in his family for some untold decades. We talk on the phone every once in a while; he doesn’t own a “g__damn computer” and doesn’t have time for the “g__damn Internet.”

You see, old Thurman Kemp is a man who walks firmly and proudly in the rut of his ancestors. His “internet” is a white and red 1974 Ford pickup has a gun rack in the cab with two weapons: an old 12-gauge pump and a baseball bat. He takes the truck (and accessories) to the local watering hole for ‘chat sessions’ that he says is better than that “g_damn CNN or any other of those fa__ot journalists” – present company excluded. The bat says he is ready for anybody he doesn’t like that needs an “impression”; the shotgun is there to help emphasize any point that the bat fails to make.

He has brown hands that look like cracked mud and lines on his face like old leather. He still clings to the dream that history will eventually see that LBJ was one of this country’s best presidents. He is a bitter-minded, opinionated, foul-mouthed, beer swilling old fart that loves “old” country music (“none of that g_ddamn sonovabitch fa__ot music” that the “young humps” listen to these days).

Now that you have a firm picture in your mind of this old Texan’s outward character, you can appreciate what he has to say about Mr. Perry’s recent tirade about secession: “That g_oddamn stupid fa__ot sunovabitch is right off the book – made us [Texans] look like we’re nuttier than a sack of weasels. I don’t need that kind of f__king grief, I gotta tell you. Not one f__king g_ddamn bit. That f__king stupid treasonous sonovabitch fa__ot is f__king gone, I’ll tell you whut.”

I’m no Texan and I really don’t know Rick Perry from a hole in the ground, but I get the point, tell you whut.


Dick Sez I was thinking of the various forms of superbole. Usually, it’s the market-speak variety designed to provoke a buying frenzy. Then there are the multi-syllabic brain-pokers; the erudite rants that nobody really understands anyhow (but we nod anyhow to feign comprehension). Of course, we shant forget colorful scatological metaphors that we learn on the playground before we work up to more sophisticated assaults. Then there are the uniquely succinct ones that just sneek up and poke you in the eye, like whatDick Cheney did the other night.

ABC‘s Martha Raddatz had him on-camera for a recent interview. She peppered him with the usual round of political questions du Jour. Then, late in the interview she cited polling that shows that two-thirds of Americans believe that the Iraq War is not worth the cost.

“They’re looking at the value gain versus the cost in American lives, certainly, and Iraqi lives,” she emphasized.

To whit, Dick said, “So?”

Obviously astonished by the cavalier toss off, Raddatz countered, “So you don’t care what the American people think?”

For a moment, Dick stared at her – to emphasize that, yes, indeed, he didn’t. I believe he almost chuckled before he finally smugly replied, “No.”

Of course, there is context. He went on to make the case that leaders should not be “blown off course” by ever-moving and ever-changing public opinion. And I would agree with that point and might have let this pass were it not for his obvious display of utter disregard for the question, especially in his position as a servant of the people.

Many in the foreign press also commented and several made great emphasis of Dick’s personality: a man of great arrogance. By my lights, Mr Cheney gets the award for the least number of syllables uttered in superbole.