By Robert A. Vella. It may seem paradoxical to laypeople that we would have severe cold weather spells in wintertime given that the world is rapidly warming up due to manmade climate change; and, climate change deniers are quick to exploit this paradox for political reasons. But, it is true. Global warming is increasing the incidence of extreme weather events of every kind from prolonged droughts and powerful storms to deadly heat waves and brutal cold snaps. The following details the basic science behind the phenomenon popularly, though inaccurately, known as the “polar vortex.” The real polar vortex is something else altogether…
Co-Sponsors of Green New Deal Resolution, Five goals of Green New Deal, Green New Deal Resolution, November 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment: Volume II Impacts Risks and Adaptation in the United States, October 2018 Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5℃ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), Sen. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts), Sunrise Movement
Sunrise Movement protesters outside then Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s Office – December 10, 2018
Photo Credit: Sunrise Movement
While our president is fixated on building a wall along our southern border to keep us safe from the invasion of “bad hombres,” he refuses to acknowledge our greatest existential threat: climate change disruption. Young climate change activists, clamoring for bold action, have found a champion in the newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York). At twenty-nine years, she is the youngest member of the US House of Representatives.
On February 7, 2019, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced a nonbinding resolution that sets out the framework for the Green New Deal. The proposal has gathered 64 House and nine Senate Co-Sponsors, including presidential hopefuls Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. In an interview with Politico, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), not present at the unveiling, referred to the proposal as a mere suggestion.
“It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive,” Pelosi said. “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is but they’re for it right?”
The Green New Deal Resolution – List of Co-Sponsors
Photo Credit: Sunrise Movement
In the preamble, the Green New Deal Resolution cites the critical findings of the October 2018 “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5℃” by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the November 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment: Volume II Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States. Continue reading
The Great Wall of China and Hadrian’s Wall
surviving projections of great power
of ancient dynasties and empires
defense against barbarian attacks
breached by invaders and internal strife.
East Germany’s Berlin Wall of our times
projection of fear and intolerance
of the communist Soviet Union
defense against divergent policies
razed by cries for freedom and inclusion.
The USA-Mexico border wall
projection of fear and intolerance
defense against criminal invaders
withdrawal from global alliances
to stoke dispersion of moral decay.
The flame of Lady Liberty sputters
a refuge no more for Earth’s dispossessed
freedom, inclusion, human dignity
hostages of cries for former glory
strangled in the empire’s fading light.
Year 2018 was filled with disappointments, self-doubt, and loss of direction. After completing my second novel, The Twisted Circle, in September 2017, I failed to grab the attention of literary agents or publishers.
“Not quite the right fit for us,” respondents said.
“You’re not good enough,” my inner critic said.
Drowning in self-doubt, I clung to the recognition that my yet-to-be-published first novel, Under the Tamarind Tree, had received when shortlisted for the 2014 Dundee International Book Prize.
Each attempt to get started on my third novel, to be set in Brazil, fizzled out. The Top Boss in the White House held my afflicted heart in his grip. My mind became a barren landscape of shifting sand dunes. In September, I abandoned my writing project.
Where do I go from here? The answer still evades me. Continue reading
With thousands of migrants from Central America currently stranded just south of the US border in Mexico, it’s time to ignore the political rhetoric coming from Washington for a few minutes and focus on the reasons so many choose to leave country, culture and family behind and walk 2,500 miles (4,000 kms) to an unknown […]
This Christmas, I find no reason for celebration. My thoughts are with the desperate mothers and fathers from Guatemala and other Central American countries who seek only a secure life for their children. If we, the world’s largest economy, cannot provide them with refuge, who will?
Learn about Henry Lewis, my guest blogger.
Aerial view of Paradise off of Clark Road – Camp Fire, Northern California
November 15, 2018
Photo Credit: San Francisco Examiner (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)
As California burns and super-storms ravage our southern and eastern coastal states, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Reverend Jim Jones and the People’s Temple. Today, November 18th, is the fortieth anniversary of the mass murder-suicide of 916 Americans at the People’s Temple Agricultural Project at Jonestown in the northwest forested region of Guyana.
The 276 dead American children had no choice.
Teacher with Children Singing – Jonestown – Guyana
Photo Credit: California Digital Library
Victim of his own megalomania and alternate reality, the Pentecostal leader coerced his followers into ingesting cyanide-laced, grape-flavored Flavor Aid.
“Revolutionary suicide,” the Reverend Jim Jones called his final, defiant act. Continue reading
Charlottesville/Virginia, Displaced peoples, Divisiveness in America, Fear and hate in America, Honduran migrants, Make America Great Again, Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting, We reap what we sow, White nationalists
White NATIONALISTS in Charlottesville – Virginia – August 2017
Photo Credit: Vox (Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency)
We want our country back
rile white nationalists
goose-stepping through the streets
waving tiki torches
emboldened and blinded
by their chosen fuhrer
ruling in the White House.
Homo sapiens. Wise man. Where is the wisdom, our superior intelligence, when we know not that we know not? How soon we forget that we live on the ancestral lands of conquered Native Americans: over 500 tribes occupying these lands for more than 15,000 years. How soon we forget that the good life we have enjoyed for generations has come with the sacrifice of non-white bodies to the gods of greed, plunder, and dispossession. Continue reading
Brett Kavanaugh, Christine Blasey Ford, Creation accounts in the Bible, Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), Equal rights for girls and women, International Day of the Girl Child, Sexual assault, Sexual predators, U.S. Supreme Court
Brett Kavanaugh sworn in to the U.S. Supreme Court – October 6, 2018
Photo Credit: The Press Democrat
Despite sexual assault allegations, on October 6, 2018, Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in to the U.S. Supreme Court. His contentious nomination process before the male-dominated Senate Committee hammered home the gnawing reality: Women have yet to achieve equal footing with men under our legal system.
To achieve what may have been a lifelong ambition, Kavanaugh exposed his “two spirited daughters” to the public bashing of his integrity. Has he used the sexual allegations – which he has denied with tears and anger – as a teaching moment for his ten- and thirteen-year old daughters? Has he considered the possibility that his daughters could one day suffer the same trauma as his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford?
Ford did not tell her parents what had happened that summer day while she was out with trusted friends. Like so many of us born female, she kept the sexual assault a secret. Continue reading
Chronic coastal flooding, Coastal real estate market, Global warming, High-risk coastal cities, Sea level rise, Underwater: Rising Seas Chronic Floods and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate June 2018
Price Reduced Waterfront Property – East Coast USA
Photo Credit: Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) June 2018 Report
On September 14th, Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina coast. With warmer oceans driven by climate change, the massive, slow-moving storm dumped more than 20 inches of rain on its arrival. The storm surge reached levels of 9 to 13 feet. Hundreds of inundated home owners may never recover from the damages.
Ten years ago, on September 15, 2008, another kind of disaster struck our nation with the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the insurance giant AIG. The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression sent rogue waves across our nation and worldwide. The fallout—foreclosures, shrinking home values, and millions of job losses—battered Americans.
With rising sea levels—the result of ongoing heating of our oceans and atmosphere—another massive, slow-moving crisis is brewing. Hundreds of thousands of coastal properties will increasingly face chronic high-tide flooding. Their falling property values will threaten local and regional real estate markets that could cascade nationwide into a coastal real estate bust. Continue reading
United States Counterterror War Locations 2015-2017
Photo Credit: TomDispatch
Embarrassing spectacle. Treasonous. National security crisis. These are some of the reactions to the Helsinki Summit between Presidents Trump and Putin on July 16, 2018. Some among us believe that Trump is responsible for all that’s wrong with America. Not so, Tom Engelhardt reminds us in his latest book, A Nation Unmade by War (Haymarket Books, May 2018).
In A Nation Unmade by War, Engelhardt focuses on “a nation increasingly unsettled and transformed by spreading wars to which most of its citizens were, at best, only half paying attention.” He views Trump’s election as “part of the costs of those wars come home” and envisages that America’s 45th president “might preside over the most precipitous decline of a truly dominant power in history, one only recently considered at the height of its glory.”
When the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, the United States became the sole superpower. Dreams of creating a planetary Pax Americana led to the build-up of this country’s military might. The realization of that dream came on September 11, 2001, with al-Qaeda’s attack on the World Trade Center, and the subsequent launch of America’s Global War on Terror. This never-ending war has now consumed an estimated $5.6 trillion from September 2001 through fiscal year 2018 (Costs of War Project, Brown University, November 2017). Continue reading