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Texas Drought Goes On And On—Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

Here is the most recent Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.

TPA members are citizen-bloggers who are working everyday for a better Texas.

Every Texan and every American has the ability to attend a public meeting, attend or organize a protest, write or call an elected official, talk to friends and family, start a blog, donate money, write a letter to the editor, volunteer for candidates and causes, engage in acts of civil disobedience, and to run for public office.

The work of democracy and freedom is up to each of us.

With the round-up this week is the latest Texas drought map from the federal government. I swear the map is not a federal trick to convince Texans that it is dry when it is fact it is raining.

It is very dry.

Here is the full U.S. drought map.

Here is a history of droughts in Texas from the excellent Handbook of Texas Online.

From that history—

“In 1720 a summer dry spell in Coahuila killed 3,500 of the 4,000 horses that the Marqués de Aguayo, governor of Texas, was prepared to bring to Texas. A drought in Central Texas dried up the San Gabriel River in 1756, forcing the abandonment of a settlement of missionaries and Indians.Stephen F. Austin’s first colonists also were hurt by drought. In 1822 their initial food crop of corn died from lack of moisture.”

The fact that Texas has always had severe droughts makes it clear that this current drought is not necessarily a result of climate change.

However, it is fully possible that global warming does have something to do with the drought conditions we are seeing across Texas.

Regretfully, with Rick Perry as Governor and with Republicans in strong control of the Texas legislature, there will not even be any discussion of the possible impact of climate change on Texas.

Here is the  round-up—

Off the Kuff discusses the latest Texas polling data and what a Rick Perry candidacy might mean for downballot Democrats.

On a night during which both Georgia and Texas put men to death, Letters From Texasvisits the moral and practical implications.

Amy Price, the progressive running for Houston’s city council at large #4 seat, had a great week of news coverage. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs collected the stories, audio, and video. Continue reading

October 2, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sea Levels Rising Ever Faster—But Don’t Tell Anybody

A new study says that sea levels are rising at the fastest rate in 2000 years.

(Above–The sea is all around us.)

Is this complete proof that global warming is taking place and causing the seas to rise?

You can’t prove it for 100%.

Any bit of doubt allows corporate intrests–and the Republican Party that corporate interests own–to avoid discussing this issue in any serious fashion.

Here is the EPA climate change website.

I know— The EPA website is socialist plot to take away our SUV’s and make us all drive Yugos.

The new sea level study has been completed with funding from the National Science Foundation. 

Here are some facts about the NSF

“The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…” With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion (FY 2010), we are the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.”

If we would just cut all funding for the NSF, than the problem of global warming and rising sea levels would go away.

Here are some details from the NSF sea level study—

“The rate of sea level rise along the U.S. Atlantic coast is greater now than at any time in the past 2,000 years–and has shown a consistent link between changes in global mean surface temperature and sea level…. The team found that sea level was relatively stable from 200 BC to 1,000 AD. Then in the 11th century, sea level rose by about half a millimeter each year for 400 years, linked with a warm climate period known as the Medieval Climate Anomaly. Then there was a second period of stable sea level during a cooler period called the Little Ice Age. It persisted until the late 19th century. Since the late 19th century, sea level has risen by more than 2 millimeters per year on average, the steepest rate for more than 2,100 years.”

Of course, as is often the case, it is not just conservatives that are the problem when it comes to the inability to have a serious discussion over important national issues.

Former Vice President Al Gore recently criticized President Obama for a lackluster approace to global warming concerns.

As it is with so many issues before us in our nation, everyday people are going to have to decide to take the lead and are going to have to pressure political and corporate leaders for more action.

At the moment, we seem unable to even discuss the matter because the Republican Party takes opposition to the idea of climate change as a matter of faith.

But the fact is that faith is faith and science is science. The two are separate for someone who has confidence in their faith and hope for our future.

June 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Record Dead Zone Projected In Gulf Of Mexico—The Gulf Is America’s Drainage Basin

A record s0-called dead zone has been predicted for the Gulf of Mexico for 2011.

(Above–One small patch of the Gulf of Mexico. Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)

From USA Today

“The so-called dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico — a region of oxygen-depleted water off the Louisiana and Texas coasts that is harmful to sea life — is predicted to be the largest ever recorded when it develops later this summer, scientists report. The unusually large size of the zone is due to the extreme flooding of the Mississippi River this spring, which equaled or surpassed the historic floods of 1927 and 1937, according to the National Weather Service. The dead zone occurs at the bottom of the Gulf when there is not enough oxygen in the water to support marine life. Also known as hypoxia, it is created by nutrient runoff, mostly from over-application of fertilizer on agricultural fields….What happens to the sea life in that dead zone? Don Scavia, a professor of natural resources at the University of Michigan, says that most anything that can swim away leaves, but that anything that can’t leave, such as the bottom-dwelling bugs that fish and shrimp feed on, will die.”

While the dead zones end each year in September and are in some degree natural occurrences, they are greatly expanded by man-made cause and are symptomatic of our abuse of natural resources. The cause of the ever-larger dead zones is the flow of the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico. It should be recalled though that the Mississippi has many different inland rivers flowing into it, and that what ends up in the Gulf are contaminates from all across the nation.

Agricultural experts in Missouri are looking for ways of planting crops that will reduce the size of the dead zone in the future.

Everything is connected.

Here are some general facts about the Gulf of Mexico from the EPA.

From these facts—

The Gulf of Mexico yields more finfish, shrimp, and shellfish annually than the south and mid-Atlantic, Chesapeake, and New England areas combined.

The coastal population of the five states of the Gulf of Mexico is projected by the Census Bureau to increase from a total of 44.2 million in 1995 to an estimated 61.4 million in 2025, nearly a 40% increase.

The Gulf of Mexico is a source of income for many with fishing and energy exploration. There is also the income that is genertaed from tourism from folks who enjoy the beach.

Regretfully, the Gulf is also a dumping ground of waste and filth and for accidents that spew nasty oil into the water.

I’m certain that additional steps can be taken to protect the Gulf. These steps however will require an active public that demands action. The work of a better nation is up to each of us.

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment