Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nature's Power

The storm is over, but not the pain of loss or the struggle to find some solace when you have nothing left.

The images is still photos and in video clips are crippling to the mind that tries to understand the why’s of nature that cannot be understood with reason or fairness or finite intellect.

Meteorology and science can explain the process of storms in terms of isobars, gradients and computer models. It can predict, but it cannot translate process and predictions into empathy, emotion, and the devastating impact of personal loss.

There is too the fascination of nature’s power. It is magnetic to the soul and confuses logic. It calls for personal attention as it attracts those who will stand in awe of her fierceness and believe they are invincible.

The people who did not vacate their homes in flood zones or on barrier islands are not the ones who deserve our sympathy. They made and live with their choices. Life’s lethal lessons are always hard especially when stuff is more important than life.

Our sympathies go to those who hunkered and huddle in the presumed safety of their homes only to have a tree fall on their house both killing and injuring.

Our sympathies go to those whose homes burned because of downed wires. They are left only with ashes and memories.

Our sympathies go to those who thought they lived on high enough ground to be safe from floodwaters and tidal surges. Nature will always surprise and do what seems unlikely or impossible.

Now comes the time for cleanup and introspection and the awareness that weather patterns have changed globally.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy on Tuesday

Here it is Tuesday morning and the storm is storming. I acknowledge the difficulty of so many because of the storm and I am sorry for their inconvenience. For us here in the Hudson Valley, most of yesterday’s daylight was uneventful.

We had heavy wind gusts, but very little rain as of five O’clock last night. The experts said we could expect much more overnight. I’ll see and alter this post if necessary.

The lights have flickered so I will post this now.

But as a poet I love the feeling that inspires the stormy words.


A tidal surge in full daylight
Bursting waves of abnormal might.
Exploding plumes with dancing grace
In asymmetric saline lace.

Cascading white and crashing swells
Descending deep in ebbing wells.
Erupting forth in thundered rout,
Transcending to a waterspout.

An atavistic fluid flume
Where apogees and nadirs fume.
A roiling tide in lunar pull
Violent, puissant, and beautiful.

The energy in ocean’s wave
Is harmless till the shore’s enclave
Then fathoms’ depth ascends to shoal
As cresting rise begins to roll.

It curls ’fore its shattered smash
As watered pieces make the dash
Upon the rocks and boarded shore
To then return for an encore.

Tides and life are similar:
With highs and lows, yet circular.
This unison, this harmony
Is Source Divine as artistry.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Storm

People are waiting for the storm. Everywhere you go there's storm talk; there’s fear and there’s complaisance. Some of the old time locals don't pay much attention to the professional forecasters. The old one's look for signs in wooly caterpillars, birds and squirrels, and in the fact that moon will be full in the next few days and that will effect the tides.
Preparations are underway and some mandatory evacuations have been in effect for the low-lying areas near the ocean. I live in the mountains north of New York City. Our concerns here are stream flooding, heavy winds, power outages and impassable country roads. We prepare just like everyone else.
We put away the outdoor furniture, filled the extra gas tanks, checked the generator, primed and started the chain saw, cleaned the gutters from the fall's leaves, brought in extra non-perishable food items, wine too and wonder if we will again be without power as we were a year ago when Hurricane Irene became an ill-wind in the northeast. Last year one of our main roads washed out and it took six months to fix it and that was quick.
I have several large trees around my home. I've had some of the tall pines topped just in case and years ago had some the oaks and maples de-winded where several key branches were removed in order to let the wind pass through. Some of the forecasters are calling for sustained high winds and that could be a problem.
There is a sense of excitement, of anticipation before a major storm arrives. Storms invoke an atavistic instinct in humankind. We prepare for a battle, the adrenalin awaits it's calling and we become vigilant and alert. Some people become careless and go where the danger is. Curiosity kills the curious who seemingly see themselves as invincible. It's a strange if not a mystical attraction to danger.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The leaves are down.

It was a colorful Fall here in the Northeast so I thought this warm October morning should have a little poetic tribute to the changing season. Most of the leaves on my trees are now down.

I now know why we call them leaves;
Too soon they fall when frosted thieves
Lure their green to red and golds
In colors soft and dazzling bolds.

Leaves drop from age and sometimes breeze
To land on lawns by shrubs and trees.
They drift in circles to the ground
In crinkling, cracking, scrunching sound.

O' leaves of branch and bush, behold!
Your service lasts despite the cold,
As quilts of warmth for creatures low
Beneath the ground, before the snow.

Some leaves will sail to lawns serene
Where children's smiles can then be seen
Waiting for the rake and pile
To leap upon and lie awhile.

But soon the crumpled stems and flake
Are raked in rows for match to make
A downey flame and spired smoke;
Incense of honor to the oak.

Then barren trees stand naked, strong,
To slice the wind of winters song.
They lean and bow from bending blow,
When snapping, cracking, to and fro.

I know there is a message here,
Where trees with leaves at end of year
Do molt their husks of leafy sheen
So other seasons can be seen.

Thus trees and man are oft' alike,
In time each shed their aging haik.
What's left in silhouette pristine,
Is life below in spirit green.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Deception - Koch Brothers

Here’s a little extended reading for your environmental pleasure. Make no mistake…this is important.

The headline of this following TDC post is self-explanatory.

The Cato Institute does not disclose the funding for this anti-environment report or the fact that the Koch brothers co-founded the Cato Institute in 1977 and David Koch sits on Cato’s board of directors. David and brother Charles are Cato shareholders.

Keep in mind that the Koch Industries makes their money in oil refining, pipelines, tar sands development, chemical production, fossil fuel commodity trading and deforestation. They have an ulterior interest in debunking the real federal report.

The fact that they make it look like the original Federal Report is bordering on criminal.

Shame on the Koch brothers. Shame on Koch Industries. Shame on the Cato Institute. And shame on the people who believe this deceptive and false climate report.

If you'd like to see the graphic similarities log onto this website: otherwise here's the report without the graphics.

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Wednesday, October 24 2012
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Fake 'addendum' by libertarian group tries to undo federal climate report
Oct. 22, 2012
A soon-to-be-released Cato Institute report, posing as an 'addendum' to a 2009 federal summary of climate change impacts, discounts the science in the original.
Cato calls it 'a user's manual' for reversing the EPA's endangerment finding on carbon dioxide.

Updated Oct. 23, 2012
By Douglas Fischer
The Daily Climate
A new "addendum" to be released as soon as this week purports to update with the latest science a 2009 federal assessment on the impacts to the United States of climate change.
The addendum matches the layout and design of the original, published by the U.S. Global Change Research Program: Cover art, "key message" sections, table of contents are all virtually identical, down to the chapter heads, fonts and footnotes. 
But the new report comes from the libertarian Washington, D.C.-based Cato Institute. And its findings – that science is questionable, the impacts negligible and the potential policy solutions ineffective – are more a rebuke than a revision of the original report and of accepted science both then and today.
It's not an addendum. It's a counterfeit.
- John Abraham,
 University of Saint Thomas
"It's not an addendum. It's a counterfeit," said John Abraham, an associate professor at the University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota who studies clean power sources. "It's a continued effort to kick the can down the road: A steady drip, drip, drip of fake reports by false scientists to create a false sense of debate."
The 2009 assessment, titled Global Change Impacts in the United States, was presented to Congress as the federal government's best assessment of the science and potential impacts. It is part of an ongoing effort by the National Climatic Data Center to assess the state of climate change science. 
The Cato Institute bills its report as a "primary reference and a guidepost for those who want to bring science back into environmental protection." In the introduction to a review copy obtained by, Cato president Ed Crane wrote that  the effort "grew out of the recognition that the original document was lacking in scope and relevant scientific detail."
The Cato report does its share of omitting, however, as well as selectively picking data and reviving long-discredited data and arguments.

Smaller subset
The first example is on the cover: Both reports show a satellite image of the United States, with a bar-chart showing temperature changes running along the bottom. Yet the original 2009 report graphs the dramatic rise in global temperatures from 1900 through 2008, while the Cato report uses a much smaller subset – temperatures only from the United States, and just from 1991 through 2010 – to show a seemingly random pattern.
Other examples:
    • The 2009 report warned that widespread climate effects are occurring now and are expected to increase. Climate change, it concluded, will "stress water resources" and challenge crop and livestock production.

      Cato's addendum counters that "observed impacts of climate change have little national significance." Climate change will simply "affect" water resources, while crop and livestock production, it says, can adapt to forecast change.

      The science and evidence since 2009 supports the National Climate Center's assessment, however: Military brass are retooling operations and policies for a changed world, while this summer's drought will cost the U.S. economy an estimated $70 billion to $100 billion.
    • Both reports dedicate a chapter to transportation. Both illustrate key points with a photograph of a big rig, shot low to the ground from the driver's side.

      But while the federal report warns of disruptions and infrastructure damage, the Cato Institute concludes the nation can adapt. Again, evidence this summer supports the federal authors, with drought stranding barge traffic on the Mississippi River and an unprecedented downpour in Duluth, Minn., causing an estimated $100 million in damage to roads and railways.
Omitted from the Cato "addendum," meanwhile, are two chapters in the 2009 report on Pacific and Caribbean islands and the coasts, as well as mention of hardships projected for Native Americans. Cato counters that information on coasts and islands are covered elsewhere in the book.
 It's like they took the simple part of what the U.S. is.
- Michael MacCracken,
 Climate Institute
For Michael MacCracken, chief scientist for climate change programs at the Climate Institute and an official reviewer the 2009 report, the omission of important – and challenging – elements of climate impacts shows the addendum's limited scope. "It's like they took the simple part of what the U.S. is," he said. 
"If you hadn't seen the original report, you wouldn't know," he added. "They made it look really similar. Why would they do that unless they're trying to mislead?"

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