T-Day 2012

November 22, 2012

My favorite/standard Thanksgiving screed, via Mr. Mark Twain:

“Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for — annually, not oftener — if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians.
Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man’s side, consequently on the Lord’s side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments.”

Looks like it’s here again and ain’t much to do about it.

Crystal-clear and chilly on this alliterated early morning — the sound of the Pacific Ocean moaning softly in the distance as northern California basks in twinkling stars and quiet.

Soon, however, the nauseous noise of chomping teeth will resonate across the US in a loud burst to eating — even in a drought, this year’s bird-day cost averages only $49.48: With the United States having experienced its worst drought in decades this summer, there has been much concern about rising food prices. Yet the price of a Thanksgiving dinner in 2012 increased just slightly from its cost of $49.20 in 2011. In fact, of the 12 items calculated by the AFBF for the dinner, eight got cheaper compared to last year, while only three became more expensive.

Stuff it, go ahead and stuff it!

(Illustration: Salvador Dalí’s Millet’s “Angelus,” found here).

Weather and economics, whose to know?
Despite the drought, US farmers may have one of the most-profitable years ever — a jump of 6.9 percent to $144 billion — yet it’s all in bad-news risk management: “Crop insurance was a savior this year,” said Kyle Wendland, 29, whose corn yields plunged 36 percent and soybean output dropped 11 percent on the 1,030 acres he farms near Fredericksburg, Iowa. “It was the difference between making a profit or sustaining a loss.”
Yet how long will this continue when those insurance payouts may top $28 billion?
Especially if that drought has no sign of letting up.

From NBC News this morning on the latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor Report:

The report showed that 60.1 percent of the lower 48 states were in some form of drought as of Tuesday, up from 58.8 percent the previous week.
The amount of land in extreme or exceptional drought — the two worst classifications — increased from 18.3 percent to 19.04 percent.

And this guy, Richard Heim, a meteorologist with the NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, should have his badge taken away:

He said there was no clear, scientific explanation for why the drought was lingering or estimate for how long it would last.
“What’s driving the weather? It’s kind of a car with no one at the steering wheel,” Heim said.
“None of the atmospheric indicators are really strong.
A lot of them are tickling around the edges and fighting about who wants to be king of the hill, but none of them are dominant.”

One, it’s NEVER going to end, and two, the major nub here bub, is climate change. Just why couldn’t Heim say it? Say those little words, ‘global warming,’ and be done with it, instead of bullshit-horsing around with a future that’s really, really shitty.
Any numbskull has only to read here, and here, and here, and here.

The problem is that we’re already f*cked — from HuffPost:

“These billions of tonnes of additional carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will remain there for centuries, causing our planet to warm further and impacting on all aspects of life on earth,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, in a statement issued Tuesday. “Future emissions will only compound the situation.”
On Sunday, the World Bank issued a report suggesting that the climate could warm a full 4 degrees by the end of the century — less than 90 years from now — even if countries fulfill the modest emissions-reduction pledges they’ve already made.
A 4-degree uptick in temperatures is significantly higher than what has long been deemed the maximum amount — 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit — that average global temperatures could rise while still maintaining a climate similar to that in which human civilization has evolved.
That number, measured against things as they existed before the industrial-scale use of fossil fuels got underway, was not considered absolute.
But the best evidence seemed to suggest that keeping the Earth’s average temperature from rising much beyond 2 degrees was a worthy goal, not least because larger increases would raise the odds of many unpleasant things: forbidding sea levels, searing heat waves, grinding droughts and the like.

But increasing evidence suggests that such distinctions may no longer matter.
Nearly 30 years after the benchmark was proffered, about half the distance to a 2-degree temperature increase, or about 0.8 degrees, has already been achieved.
Further, enough carbon dioxide, the chief planet warming gas that arises when coal, oil and natural gas are burned, is already in the atmosphere to raise future temperatures by another 0.8 degrees, even if all the pollution stopped immediately.
As it is, atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are at an all-time high and are projected to continue booming.

And that timeline, end of the century and all that, might just be twaddle.
Even as I write, the Greenland rate of ice melt is accelerating, and who really knows what next Thanksgiving will look like.
Remember, Mr. Andrews: Yes. In an hour or so, all of this will be at the bottom of the Atlantic.

Gurgle, gurgle, not gobble, gobble.

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