Sunday, October 27, 2019

Notes from the dystopia

My wife and I left Santa Rosa Thursday afternoon for a long-planned long weekend away at Lake Tahoe. We left even though I’d been awake since around 2 am Thursday tracking the Kincade fire, about twenty five miles north of us, on Twitter and anywhere else I thought I might get an update. We had a “wind event” Wednesday night and in anticipation, Pacific Gas & Electric had shut down power to tens of thousands of Sonoma County residents, hoping to avoid having the wind bring one of their power lines down and burning up another California city. For some reason, though, they did leave power running through some high tension lines up near The Geysers geothermal plant above Geyserville and one of these, it seems, came down and sparked this fire. By daybreak on Thursday the fire was 10,000 acres with zero containment. Oops.

So with that, we thought of staying home, but with another, more severe wind event due this today and the prospect of having the power shut off this afternoon and continuing through the weekend and smoke filled skies at home, we decided to go on our trip. And we’re glad we did, because it’s beautiful up here, one of the prettiest places in the country, with spectacular weather and clear blue skies. But we’ve been hiking and driving around the lake and enjoying our meals with an eye on what’s going on back home, getting updates by text message and phone calls and twitter. Sonoma State University, thirty five miles from the fire in Rohnert Park, shut down on Friday and will remain closed, except for those students who won’t leave and a skeleton staff to feed them, at least through Monday. The cities of Healdsburg and Windsor (aka, the heart of the wine country) have been ordered evacuated (yes, completely evacuated) by 4 pm on Saturday. This is in addition to Geyserville, evacuated on Thursday, and more than a dozen other communities between the current fire zone and the Pacific Ocean that lie in the evacuation warning zone, as well as much of northern Santa Rosa. I was told early this afternoon that US 101, the only freeway in and out of the wine country, was already bumper to bumper heading south to Santa Rosa by 1:00 this afternoon. Most of Santa Rosa and the rest of Sonoma County will be without power by nightfall after PG&E cuts it off.

The conditions tonight are more dire than when the Tubbs and associated fires started in October two years ago. The winds tonight are expected to exceed those in 2017 by about 20 mph, we’re a couple weeks later into the season without rain than we were then, and we already have a major uncontrolled fire to try to contain. The Tubbs fire was the worst one that awful weekend in 2017, but other major fires also started throughout Solano, Napa, and Sonoma counties. I fear the same tonight. Oh, and if these fires strike, the people in their paths and those trying to fight them will be doing so without electricity, because PG&E, having spent years ignoring this problem, has no way to cope with it now other than to turn off the power.

This is life in California in 2019. Southern California right now is already experiencing what I fear will happen here. The Tubbs fire in 2017 and last year’s Carr, Camp, and Mendocino Complex fires are the new normal, except that’s not even accurate because every year’s fires are worse than before. And it’s only going to continue because for decades we didn’t want to face the costs of global warming, not as a society and not the individual companies that have contributed to the problem. And people will die and lose their homes and communities will be lost.

Anyway, I’m sitting here two hundred miles from home wondering if I should drive home now instead of Monday so that I can sit in my house in the dark breathing thick acrid air and be there when my house burns down if it comes to that (though I think that unlikely, perhaps out of false optimism). And this post is my way of coping.

Labels: , ,


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Just Wondering

Saw a headline that said, "Virginia Mother and Two Kids Who Disappeared Under Suspicious Circumstances Found Safe, Police Say."

Can one "disappear" under non-suspicious circumstances?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

About last week...

Hello...hello? Is this thing on.

Due to the events of last week, I may be dusting this thing off and beginning anew.

Not a situation I am happy about.

More to follow.


Thursday, August 01, 2013

In Memorium

I return to this neglected outpost to note with sadness the passing of Hoosier blogger Doghouse Riley, proprietor of Bats Left/Throws Right. Doghouse, the nom de blog of Douglas M. Case, passed away Saturday in Indianapolis, at the unconscionably young age of 59. The interwebs will miss him.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Today in Casual Sexism

Can you spot the sexism in this article that, ironically enough, is about racism? The lede says: "A black police officer and his family said they fled their upscale Orange County community after rocks were thrown through their windows, their tires were slashed and racial taunts were shouted by passing motorists." Four paragraphs down we get a bigger description of the family: "The father is a police officer in Inglewood. His wife is a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy. They and their two children moved to Yorba Linda in 2011." So, it's a family of a police officer...the male police officer in the family. The wife is just part of his family. Is it really 2012?

Labels: , ,


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Before Occupy

Wow, this seems pretty prescient... "Unions are finding it increasingly difficult to establish themselves in the "new economy." I think they are widely viewed by the working public as being irrelevant or, worse, a hindrance to America's economic expansion. The American worker is a strangely optimistic creature. As individuals, they want to believe that they are exceptional, that through perseverance and hard work they can rise to the top. They think that through this they will eventually rise to the top 20, or 10, or 1% of American wage earners. They think that what prevents them from doing this is a stagnant economy unnecessarily and unfairly hampered by labor unions, too much government regulation and frivolous lawsuits. Once all that clutter is cleared away, free enterprise will thrive, producing a rising tide that will float all boats. They have a President and a pundit class that persistently work at polishing and pushing this myth. They want to believe that just by being exceptional individual workers they could gain on their own in a market competing for their services those benefits unions have won through collective bargaining and years of struggle. This is true only in limited highly competetive industries and, even there, usually only for brief periods of time. They want to believe that government regulation of business has been born out of the fevered dreams of vile overreaching bureaucrats intent on killing the American dream, not out of the need to contain the rapacious greed of business men and women who have no concern for the health and well-being of America or its people or, often, even the long-term health of their own companies and will trample on any right and break any law for their own short term gain. The savings and loan scandals of the eighties, Michael Miliken, Ivan Boesky, Enron, et al, belies this belief. They want to believe that trial lawyers are always greedy self-interested leeches drawing their sustenance from the honest work of others, and not that they may be our last guardians, when those running our government have formed common cause with the worst of the robber barons to ignore, undermine, and undo the restraints experience has shown us must be placed on their rapaciousness, at the expense, and with the deliberate intent, of permanently subjugating the working class." I can't believe I wrote that in January 2005.

Labels: , ,


Monday, January 30, 2012

Emancipated Compensation

For those, like Ron Paul, who believe that the Civil War could and should have been avoided by means of compensated emancipation, I ask, how much should this slave’s owner have been compensated for being deprived of the ability to further inflict this kind of punishment on a human being? What would be a just amount?

If the cost in human lives that it took to end slavery in America was too great, as Paul believes, what is the cost of this? How to you weigh further immiseration in this equation? And, finally, why would you believe, as Paul does, that a society that so valued its enslavement of others that it would be willing to wage war against its own country and sacrifice the lives of hundreds of thousands of its own in that endeavor would be willing to give up that “privilege” for mere money?

After I posted this at Tumblr, somebody who reposted this wrote, “And you do know the Civil War wasn’t fought to free the slaves, right?” That’s an interesting non-sequiter, no? The paradox in the question is that he or she is correct; the Civil War was not fought by the north to free the slaves, while it was fought by the south to preserve slavery.

(Picture stolen from The Atlantic)

Labels: ,

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by