Happy ‘planetary emergency’

January 1, 2013

chickennewyear2Clear and cold this first early morning of a new year here on California’s northern coast, the clear, bright moon hanging up in the eastern sky with just a bit chewed off one side.
It’s not all that real-cold, a few degrees above freezing, but the air will sharpened fairly quick the more inland  — the coast is the way to go.

And good ole Cali-forny starting it off right: A shooting at a New Year’s Eve fireworks show in Sacramento, California, where thousands had gathered, killed two people and wounded at least three others, police said.
A witness was so-last year: “I saw the gun in the hand. He was just screaming and shooting.”

(Illustration found here).

Fortunately, there was no mass stampede as the crowd was estimated to be about 40,000, including children.
And Chicago kept up its pace as a shooting gallery — 500-plus killed by guns there in 2012 — when a guy this early morning was shot in the mouth and shoulder after a fight broke out at a bar on the West Side, and most-likely the trend will continue.

And also this early morning, the worst Congress in US history finally got around the dreaded ‘cliff’ by first going over it, leaving the screaming to the rest of us.
Despite all this last-minute bullshit, the end is still far away, except for some: “Glad it’s over,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, after the vote. “We’ll see if the Republicans in the House can become functional instead of dysfunctional.”
The House is supposed to vote on it today — most-likely on Wednesday — and this the ‘bargain‘ in a nutshell:

Under the deal, taxes would remain steady for the middle class and rise at incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples, levels higher than Obama had campaigned for in his successful drive for a second term in office.
Spending cuts totaling $24 billion over two months aimed at the Pentagon and domestic programs would be deferred.
That would allow the White House and lawmakers time to regroup before plunging very quickly into a new round of budget brinkmanship certain to revolve around Republican calls to rein in the cost of Medicare and other government benefit programs.
Officials also decided at the last minute to use the measure to prevent a $900 pay raise for lawmakers due to take effect this spring.

However, part-n-parcel with this ludicrous bullshit, the ‘milk cliff’ has been averted:

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., told reporters that negotiators had agreed to extend portions of the expired 2008 farm bill through September.
She said that includes language keeping milk prices from rising, but excludes other provisions like energy and disaster aid for farmers.
Stabenow said she considers the slimmed-down extension to be “Mitch McConnell’s version of a farm bill.”
She was referring to the Senate Republican leader from Kentucky, who she said forced bargainers to accept the version of the farm bill that appeared in the deal.

McConnell is one giant asshole.

And that other bigger-than-all-the-other-cliffs-combinded?
The dreaded “climate cliff,” where everybody suffers — the rich a little slower, but it will catch them, too.
In the order of ugly, this is real-ass ugly:

While the public is in shock by extreme weather events that have taken place, environmentalist Bill McKibben and other members of the science community say it is a result of climate change.
“We’ve already passed all kinds of tipping points,” McKibben, the founder of 350.org, tells weekends on All Things Considered host Jacki Lyden.
“The NASA scientist Jim Hansen was saying, ‘There’s no other word for where we are now than planetary emergency.'”

Climate Central has a list of just the top 10 weather shit from 2012, and it ain’t packed for easy digesting.
A little-bitter taste:

The statistics are staggering: The first half of the year was so warm that by early August, the U.S. had already exceeded the number of record-high temperatures set or tied during all of 2011.
July 2012 was the hottest month on record in the U.S., as a desiccating drought enveloped the majority of the lower 48 states, stretching its misery from California to Delaware.
The drought has been the most extensive this country has seen since the 1930s.
Ranchers were forced to sell off their herds as their fields turned to dust and the price of feed rose steeply; the Mississippi River neared a record-low level, threatening to curtail commerce; and drought-fueled wildfires consumed tens of thousands of acres across the West and threatened a large population center in Colorado Springs.

Other than that, boys, we’re on our way.

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