Where’s the water?

Well, it ain’t in California, that’s for sure. For the first time since 1993 (15 years–that’s no so long) are cutting their water delivery levels to cities and farmers by an extreme amount. It is estimated that cities and farmers will get no more than 15% of the water they request. 15%? That is insane. I mean, I don’t know how much water is requested, but to not get 85% of it seems like a real problem, especially for the farmers.

I mean, cities are smelly places anyway, so brief showers, or showers every two or three days really isn’t going to hurt anybody. Yeah I know, we all like to smell nice, and we hate it when some stinky dude stands next to us and makes our eyes water, but whatever. That is a small price to pay to be able to drink the stuff we need to survive, use it to cook, and you know, grow food.

Without water, farmers face a variety of problems. The biggest (and most obvious) is that if they don’t have the water, they cannot grow crops. Plants need water to grow, simple as that. So farmers will not be able to grow as much food, which means that there will be less food available to California and the world, which will undoubtedly increase the amount of world hunger. So we are in the midst of a financial crisis, California is facing a drought and water crisis, and world hunger and starvation are approaching all time highs. Thins do not look good. I know the state of California cannot force it to rain and snow, though it would be nice if they could because then they wouldn’t have this problem. However, since they cannot control the weather, they should at least learn to control their water.

By that I mean (and I’ve said it before) California is no stranger to droughts. We were plagued by a series of them in the 80’s, and I’m sure they were a fact of life in Cali before that. And yet, year after year we are still faced with the prospect of water rationing and drought. There have been good years too, when water reserved exceeded averages, and everything was okay, but where is that water now? Gone. Why wasn’t some of it saved? I have no idea. It seems to me, though, that we should do like the Fremen in Dune did, and start creating water caches, lots of them, for times like these. I mean we have banks for our money, so why not have banks for our water. Sure, O’Shaughnessy Dam exists, and others too, but obviously these are not enough. It’s too late right now to start stockpiling the water, but at some point California needs to do just that, otherwise the whole state (or at least most of it) will end up looking like the Mojave desert, beautiful sure, but not what I want my state to look like:

But onto the other problems for farmers. Less water equals less food, but it also equals less jobs and money. Farmers hire field hands to help harvest, grow, plant (not in that order, obviously). If they are going to be growing less food, then they will not have a need for so many workers.

This means that those folks who were counting on their seasonal job as a field worker now have to look somewhere else for a source of income, and they can’t look to another farm. We are already in a time where unemployment is skyrocketing, and the dollar’s buying power is steadily declining. And now, people are losing their jobs because the state of California is irresponsible with its water. Again, I do not blame the state for the drought, but I do blame them for not recognizing the drought cycle and trying to do something about it. It is a cycle, which means that sooner or later it will come back around again, and our leaders should be smart enought to recognize this and take action.

And of course, with less jobs and less food being sold, there will be less money for the farmers, which in a time when there already is a shortage of money could be catastrophic. Farmers (both owners and workers) might not be able to pay their bills, maintain their equipment, or feed their families. This is a bad situation that could get worse real fast. And if people can’t come to California for work (like they did during the Great Depression of the 1930’s) where can they go?

All is not hopeless of course. We are just entering the winter season, and it is possible that there will be enough rain and snow to allow farmers and cities to get more than 15% of their requested water. I hope this is the case, and I also hope that the state will take some kind of meaningful action to help avoid such water rationing in the future.


Russians in Libya

So in response to the US’s plans in Europe, and lack of embracing Colonel Mummar Gadafi, the country has entered talks with Russia which would allow the Russians to build a naval base there. They are also considering buying 2 billion dollars worth of Russian weapons in a deal that they hope will once again put the two countries on good terms.

So we have a US missile shield in Europe, a war in the middle east that is going badly for both sides (people are dying every day and no real gains are being made for Iraq, the insurgents, or the US and its allies), another war in Afghanistan which is going even worse, and now we have a potential Russian naval base at the north of Africa, positioned near Iraq and just south of Europe.

The United States, despite their tolerance of Libya and Colonel Gaddafi will probably be none too pleased with this. They will accuse the Russians of expanding their military ambitions and of aggressive behavior, all the while ignoring the fact that they too have been constantly looking for ways to increase their military ambitions and have acted excessively aggressivley (that sound horrible, but I’m going to let it stand because it’s got a nice bit consonance going on) in the region over the past six or so years.

And then there is the US missile shield in Europe, which hasn’t gone away no matter how much people aren’t talking about it. So with US policy concerning Syria and Pakistan (launch attacks across their borders without their permission or cooperation) we are looking at a possible World War Three scenario, especially if we elect someone who has said that they will keep the US in Iraq until victory is achieved (whatever that means). And now Russia dealing with Libya, expanding its influence in Georgia (read sowing dissent among some separatist factions there, and fighting a war to bring them into Russia proper) we are looking at a possible Cold War revisited scenario.

Personally, I’ll take the Cold War sceanario because at least then we are mutually guaranteed of destruction, which means that nothing too bad will happen. The other scenario, the one where we are involved in a World War that starts in the Middle East and spreads everywhere is much scarier, and I am loathe to admit, much more likely (of course that could just be the cynic in me).

At any rate, the whole thing is scary, and I am forced to wonder what Libya is going to do with those weapons. Will they use them just to increase their national security (nations need weapons after all), or will they be used to arm “liberation armies” much like the Iranians are doing? Or, another possibility, will they start a campaign in Africa, a continent that is already torn by war and ripe for the picking? I think this last option is very unlikely, but unlikely things do happen. If they didn’t there is no way GW Bush would have been elected…TWICE!

Wings No Match

Sorry Adrienne, but our boys in teal beat your boys of the red and white. And they did it coming from behind to stay a perfect 6-0 at home. Granted, it wasn’t much of a come from behind, as Detroit only led by one, but still it is a come from behinder, so…. Anyway, Marleau scored for his 5th goal of the season, and Thornotn got the assist for his 7th. Then San Jose went wild, scoring three more goals before Detroit got their second goal with less than a minute to go (that’s a little disconcerting cause you never want to give up a goal in the final minute, no matter how large your lead is).

So the Sharks are 9-2 now, the best season start in franchise history, and the Wings go to 7-2-2, which puts them second in the whole West, to the Sharks first. It’s early still, but this is promising. Let’s (Sharks fans anyway) hope that they can maintain this momentum and carry it through the year, into the playoffs, and all the way to the Stanley Cup.

I’m In!

I just registered for National Novel Writing Month, and I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve never really done anything like this, though I have been writing for most of my life, mostly fiction. The difference, though, is that I have never really sat down to make a concentrated effort to write a novel, or anything longer than say 12,000 words.

It’s a bit daunting to think about, especially since I really have no idea what I am going to write about. Well, that’s not exactly true, I have lots and lots of ideas of things to write about, but I do not know how many (if any) of them will hold my interest enough for a month of sustained writing.

I am also a bit worried that I will not meet the 50,000 word mark due to lack of creativity, time, and effort. I have a tendency to start strong, but then I get bored, or lose energy. When that happens it is nearly impossible for me to start up again. I do not want that to happen this time as I want to prove to myself that I am capable of something like this. I want to work at this, and finish it so I can feel better about myself. I know that completion of the novel of 50,000 words in 30 days will not make me a better person by any stretch of the imaginiation, but it will give me one more thing to say that I have done in my life. Like reading Ulysses, Infinite Jest, as well as living and teaching English in the Czech Republic. Sure, people have done these things, but they are in the minority.

As my friend Anna wouls say, this will be another feather in my cap, and that is always a nice feeling. Plus, if (when) I actually do this thing I will be able to say that I’ve written a novel. Again, other people can make this claim, published or not, but again they are in the minority. I am not all about doing things that others haven’t, but it does feel nice to be able to say that I’ve done these things.

I am a little worried that my teaching and planning will suffer because of the time I’m going to have to put into NaNo, but that’s okay. I have lots of time (no girlfriend, no social clubs belonged to, hell I don’t even have a boardgaming night anymore due to lack of games on hand and a group to play with).

The contest starts November 1st, just a day and a half away. Wish me luck, and join up if you think you have what it takes. It’s easy (to sign up) and free. So why not?

It’s Sarah’s Fault

At least that is what some in the McCain camp want his supporters to believe. Things are looking grim for Johnny, even though he somehow managed to gain a few more electoral votes in the polls, and as we all know when things start to go bad there has to be someone to blame. I mean, whoever heard of taking responisbility for our actions? Apparently that word does not exist in McCain’s vocabulary (or at least his aides and advisors) because now, faced with low poll numbers and a slew of high profile Republicans jumping ship to Obama, the McCain camp is placing the blame for their faliures squarely on Sarah Palin.

I can’t say that I blame them, I mean that wink is just aggrevating, really. It makes me want to smack her, and I am not a violent person generally. But there is just something about that wink and that smirk that gets under my skin and feeds my rage. Maybe it’s because it reminds me so much of GW’s smirks and laughs, and he is definitely someone I would punch, slap, kick in the gonads, if given the chance.

But to place the blame on Palin for the McCain camp’s failures is ridiculous. Sure, she sucks, there is no doubt about that. She is racist and ignorant, has some skeletons in her closet concerning her “Maverick reformer one of you” image. She has demonstrated on countless occasions that she is not ready to be Vice President, let alone President. But you know what? She did not pick herself to be VPILF candidate. No, that was John McCain and his campaign.

This angry man chose her to be his running mate (did you ever notice how similar their faces look when they’re all scrunched up and squinty like–I wonder if that’s why he picked her in the first place, or at least one of the reasons.) and now he is angry that his campaign is failing and in immediate dange of becoming not only an eternal joke, but the single thing that brought the Republican Party to its knees. McCain and company need to admit that it is their fault for Palin’s prescence on the campaign trail. Sure, they’re mad because she is no longer doing what they tell her, but hey, she’s a maverick–what did they expect?

Of course, I know it is unreasonable of me to expect McCain or anyone in his camp to accept anything resembling responsibility for anything. After all, he was a proponent of deregulation, and when that failed, did he say “Hey I was wrong, maybe deregulation isn’t the way to go, maybe I should come up with another plan?” No, instead he called for less regualtion, and condemned the bailout–which he voted for!

This man is bonkers. I truly think that he is senile and has lost it. Sure he puts on a decent face, and is somehow able to fake it well enough to rally people behind his cause, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is losing his mind, and if he gets elected he will take all of America with him. He seems to have forgotten that he chose Palin to be on his ticket, and that she has his full support. I guess that only applies when it is convenient.

And what if (god forbid) he wins? What then? How will he heal the rift sure to be created between them because of this? I mean, these people are supposed to work together, right? How can you work with someone you can’t trust? One minute he touts her as the best thing to happen to America, and then when things start to go downhill, he blames her. How is this trustworthy, or even appropriate behavior?

If we needed any more reasons not to vote McCain/Palin, this is a good one. We do not necessarily want a President and a VP who will agree on everything, but we do want a pair where trust and respect exist. With his condemnation of Palin, though she is still on his ticket, McCain has shown us all that he does not know the meanings of the words respect, trust, or responsibility. Is that really someone we want to lead us in this world that is slowly (but increasingly gaining speed) heading toward a global depression and world war 3?

Start Giving the Money Out!

What’s the one thing that could make the bailout fail? Okay, there are lots of things, but there is one thing that all but guarantees the bailout’s failure, and that is that the banks will not lend the money out. And that is exactly what is happening right now.

It’s such a big problem, in fact, that the White House has told them to start lending out that money, but really, why should they? What incentive do they have to lend that money? Already people cannot pay their bills, that includes individuals/small businesses/and corporations. How can they be expected to pay off new debt? They can’t, and that is why banks are giving out the money. They are doing what banks do best, hoarding, and they will continue to hoard until the financial landscape looks better. Of course, it won’t look better until they start lending. Classic Catch-22, and all the more reason why the government should have given the money to the people, rather than to corporations (that is, if they were going to give the money away, anyway–and they were, obviously, because they did).

So the banks now have the money that they so needed to stop the credit freeze. The freeze is still in efffect and the banks still have the money. Washingtons is calling for them to lend that money out, and in the meantime tens of millions of Americans are wondering how they will afford their next meal, car/house payment, electric bill.

How long will this last, and when will it be too late to repair the damage caused by irresponisble corporate leadership coupled with irresponsible governmental leadership?

Sovereign State? No, They All Belong to US!

Attacks into Syria: violation of a sovereign nation’s borders.

Drone missile attacks into Pakistan: more violation of borders.

Both Syria and Pakistan have condemned these types of attacks, and have asked the US to stop. In fact, both have said they consider these attacks to be a violation of their sovereignty, and could be considered acts of war.

The US has committed these operations because we don’t believe Syria and Pakistan have not done enough to stem the flow/operation of terrorist activities within those borders. Yeah, we hate terrorists, but we can’t fight the world–no matter how hard we try. It is time that we start respecting sovereign nation’s borders and rights, and maybe *gasp* start working with them instead of against them. If we continue this poklicy of striking across borders without permission, then we are sure to make things worse.

Terrorist and anti-US sympathizers will become emboldened, they will garner support (moreso than they already have) from the countries in which they operate, and then the US will really be facing problems with these nations as they bite their thumbs at us because of our lack of respect for their sovereignty and borders.

If we do not change our policies, World War Three is coming. It’s only a matter of time.