That's "Campana-stan" or ''Land of Campana." It reflects the Weltanschauung of Michael E. Campana, President-for-Life of the Republic of Campanastan. Welcome to Campanastan - no passports or visas required!
Thirsty in Suburbia Gayle Leonard documents things from the world of water that make us smile: particularly funny, amusing and weird items on bottled water, water towers, water marketing, recycling, the art-water nexus and working.
WaSH Resources New publications, web sites and multi-media on water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH).
Water 50/50 From Jay Famiglietti at UC-Irvine. Fifty lectures in fifty weeks: The 2012 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lectureship. A global lecture tour delivering the message about our changing water cycle, groundwater depletion, and the future of freshwater availability.
Water For The Ages Abby, another PNWer, writes about global water issues with passion and concern.
I just finished Timothy Snyder'sBloodlands, a book describing, in painstaking detail, the murder of over 14,000,000 people in the region between what is now central Poland to western Russia and north to the Baltic Sea and south to the Black Sea.
That region is what Snyder calls 'bloodlands'. On the accompanying map the bloodlands are the areas with the diagonal lines (from Anne Applebaum's review).
The slaughter occurred during the period 1933-1945 when Hitler and Stalin were murdering Jews, Poles, Ukrainians, Belarusians, et al. These people did not die because of war, but because deliberate decisions were made to murder them.
The book is one of the mist difficult I've ever read. But I am glad I did. Here is the Preface.
Americans call the Second World War "The Good War". But before it even began, America's wartime ally Josef Stalin had killed millions of his own citizens — and kept killing them during and after the war. Before Hitler was finally defeated, he had murdered six million Jews and nearly as many other Europeans. At war's end, both the German and the Soviet killing sites fell behind the iron curtain, leaving the history of mass killing in darkness.
Bloodlands is a new kind of European history, presenting the mass murders committed by the Nazi and Stalinist regimes as two aspects of a single history, in the time and place where they occurred: between Germany and Russia, when Hitler and Stalin both held power. Assiduously researched, deeply humane, and utterly definitive, Bloodlandswill be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the central tragedy of modern history.
Unforgettable and compelling. And did I say 'disturbing'?
But so necessary.
"No major war or act of mass killing in the twentieth century began without the aggressors or perpetrators first claiming innocence and victimhood. In the twenty-first century, we see a second wave of aggressive wars with victim claims, in which leaders not only present their peoples as victims but make explicit reference to the mass murders of the twentieth century. The human capacity for subjective victimhood is apparently limitless, and people who believe that they are victims can be motivated to perform acts of great violence." - Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands, p. 399-400.
Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr ,,who would have turned 83 yesterday. I have come to appreciate and admire him (and all the civil rights workers) by reading Taylor Branch's brillianttrilogyof the civil rights era: Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63; Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65; and At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years 1965-68.
What thoroughly amazes me were the toughness, resiliency, and resolve of the civil rights workers, and how they honored King's insistence upon nonviolent resistance. Along with King, the names of heroes such as John Lewis, Ralph Abernathy, Hosea Williams, Rosa Parks, Coretta King, Septima Clark, James Meredith, Andrew Young, Marian Wright, Diane Nash, Fannie Lou Hamer, James Bevel, Bob Moses, et al., are forever burned in my mind. Similarly, I shall not soon forget place names like Selma and Montgomery, or people like Lester Maddox, George Wallace, Bull Connor, Orval Faubus, Strom Thurmond, and their ilk.
As I read the aforementioned books, cringing at what humans can do to each other, one thought haunted me: what would I have done had I been a Southern white person during that time (I am actually half-North Carolina Scots-Irish WASP)? I've concluded that I probably would not have been one of the segregationist ringleaders, but certainly would not have risen to the defense of the oppressed. I probably would have (very quietly) supported their cause, but not done anything to jeopardize my comfortable middle-class lifestyle (see the quote below). Certainly Northerners were no better than Southerners when it came to desegregation; recall the Boston busing "incidents" of the 1970s.
Another thing also amazes me: how much the Southern poor whites ("poor white trash") and blacks had in common. Both were horribly oppressed, but skillful politicians kept the poor whites riled about the "uppity Negroes". If the two groups had united, there would have been hell to pay.
I do have a few interesting memories about that period, as I was a student in Virginia (College of William and Mary) from 1966-1970. Just after I arrived in Virginia, Sen. Harry F. Byrd died - he was the scion of the infamous Byrd (members of theFFV) political dynasty in Virginia, and the whole state mourned his death. What I remember most about that time is the characterization of Byrd by a local columnist:
"Never was there a man who so dragged his feet through the sands of time."
"I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr., 28 August 1963
Thanks to Jerry Sehlke and Natalie Burtenshaw for this item.
Fascinating map created by Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto. It covers the period from 1945 through 1998.
From the WWW site:
Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful, undeniably scary time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project's "Trinity" test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan's nuclear tests in May of 1998. This leaves out North Korea's two alleged nuclear tests in this past decade (the legitimacy of both of which is not 100% clear).
Each nation gets a blip and a flashing dot on the map whenever they detonate a nuclear weapon, with a running tally kept on the top and bottom bars of the screen. Hashimoto, who began the project in 2003, says that he created it with the goal of showing"the fear and folly of nuclear weapons." It starts really slow — if you want to see real action, skip ahead to 1962 or so — but the buildup becomes overwhelming.
"Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war that we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living." -Gen. Omar N. Bradley
"They're not 'bombs'; they are 'devices'! They are only called 'bombs' when we drop them from the sky." -an especially irritating Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory physicist, educating yours truly on the correct nomenclature for nuclear devices, 1976
Got this from a Paul Krugman Tweet, 'Why Is Tom Friedman Still Writing for the New York Times?'
Here's Tom Friedman with Charlie Rose in 2003 talking about the Iraq War.
What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, um and basically saying, “Which part of this sentence don’t you understand?” You don’t think, you know, we care about our open society, you think this bubble fantasy, we’re just gonna to let it grow? Well, Suck. On. This. ..We could have hit Saudi Arabia. It was part of that bubble. Could have hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could. That’s the real truth…'- Tom Friedman (from the above video)
Friedman should remember that bubbles are often full of hot air, just like he is.
Here is what Friedman is saying these days (thanks toJay Ackroyd):
As I never bought the argument that Saddam had nukes that had to be taken out, the decision to go to war stemmed, for me, from a different choice: Could we collaborate with the people of Iraq to change the political trajectory of this pivotal state in the heart of the Arab world and help tilt it and the region onto a democratizing track? After 9/11, the idea of helping to change the context of Arab politics and address the root causes of Arab state dysfunction and Islamist terrorism — which were identified in the 2002 Arab Human Development Report as a deficit of freedom, a deficit of knowledge and a deficit of women’s empowerment — seemed to me to be a legitimate strategic choice.
You go, Tom!
'We hit Iraq because we could. That’s the real truth…' - Tom Friedman, 29 May 2003
In a late entry for most absurd human rights story of 2011, the Arab League has appointed Sudanese General Mohammad Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi to head their observer mission to Syria. As David Kenner points out in an article titled "The World's Worst Human Rights Observer," Dabi is implicated in the Bashir regime's organization of atrocity-committing janjaweed militias in Darfur, making him rather an unconventional choice for a human rights observer mission.
An anonymous reader suggests that Dabi's background as an (alleged) participant in genocide mean he's overqualified to monitor mere crimes against humanity. But I'm kind of thinking the Arab League might be onto something. I mean, it's like home alarm system companies using ex-burglars as "security consultants," right? Who better to catch a war criminal?
Hmmm....What goes around, comes around? Nope - better still:
"As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities." -Voltaire
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - attributed to Edmund Burke
You can go here to find links to my early posts about the project, including some of the scientific aspects.
Intending to do an update, I went to the project's WWW site and Dr. Farouk El-Baz's blog, only to find both defunct. So I emailed El-Baz and received his prompt reply on 31 December 2011:
There is still fighting in Darfur, but hopefully that will end soon after the death of the rebel leader Ibrahim.
In the meantime there are several efforts continuing, including student volunteers who are collecting funds for a well in the name of their institution. Boston Univ. students collected $7,300 of the $10,000 needed for one.
The effort will be initiated as soon as the Doha peace agreement is fully accepted.
I appreciate Dr. El-Baz's reply and encourage him to reactivate the project WWW site/blog to keep people apprised of the project's progress.
We'll see what happens. Let's hope for good things in 2012. I am afraid I am not very optimistic.
"The Darfur initiative will bring hope to the people of northwestern Sudan; it will allow the migration of the labour force to locations where economic development is suitable and environmentally sustainable. This initiative can be a starting point for ameliorating the human suffering in the region and raising the quality of life and capacity of its people." -- Dr. Farouk El-Baz, 25 June 2007
Circle of Blue Circle of Blue uses journalism, scientific research, and conversations from around the world to bring the story of the global freshwater crisis to life. Here you’ll find new water reports, news headlines, and hear from leading scientists.
Drink Water For Life The idea is simple. Drink water or other cheap beverages instead of expensive lattes, sodas, and bottled water for a set period of time. A day, a week, a month, Lent, Ramadan, Passover, or some other holiday period.
eFlowNet Newsletter From the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) this newsletter has lots of information about environmental flows and related issues.
Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable Since 2002, the Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable (SWRR) has brought together federal, state, corporate, non-profit and academic sectors to advance our understanding of the nation’s water resources and to develop tools for their sustainable management.