Here’s a cautionary tale of what it’s like living near companies drilling for natural gas.
As long as I can remember, they tell us the pollen is hitting “record highs” this year. All I know is, I’ve been sneezing all week:
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pollen: It’s on your car, in the air and especially in your sinuses.
From Florida to Texas to Colorado, 2010 is shaping up to be a monster of an allergy season. The words “pollen” and “allergy” are among the top 10 trending topics on Twitter in several U.S. cities. Everywhere, it seems, is covered in a fine yellow dust that irritates our lives. Experts say it’s the worst they’ve seen in years in many areas.
“It’s wicked bad this year,” said Dr. Mona Mangat, an allergy specialist in St. Petersburg, Fla., who can’t recall a worse year in the six she’s worked there. “We’re just overwhelmed with patients right now. We’re double- and triple-booked with new patients, trying to work people in because we know how much people are suffering.”
This year is especially bad in the Southeast, weather experts say, likely due to winter’s unseasonably cold weather.
“That may have helped delay some of the plants from blooming as early as they may have wanted to,” said John Feerick, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather. “It’s the fact that everything is coming out all at once.”
High winds in some areas also spread the misery.
“We had a perfect storm this year,” said Dr. William Storms, professor at University of Colorado and a clinician. “It’s the worst I’ve seen in 10 years.”
Obama keeps reminding us, but some people still don’t get it.
Hmm. So Michelle Obama’s organic garden doesn’t actually translate into policy:
WASHINGTON – Sidestepping a stalled Senate confirmation vote, yesterday President Obama recess-appointed Islam Siddiqui to be chief agricultural negotiator in the office of the U.S. trade representative. Dr. Siddiqui’s nomination was held up in the Senate and was opposed by the Center for Biological Diversity and more than 80 other environmental, small-farm, and consumer groups. More than 90,000 concerned citizens contacted the White House and Senate to oppose the nomination. Siddiqui is a former pesticide lobbyist and is currently vice president of science and regulatory affairs at CropLife America, a biotech and pesticide trade group that lobbies to weaken environmental laws.
“Dr. Siddiqui’s confirmation is a step backward,” said Tierra Curry, a scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “His appointment ensures the perpetuation of pesticide- and fossil-fuel-intensive policies, which undermine global food security and imperil public health and wildlife.”
As undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Siddiqui oversaw the development of the first national organic labeling standards, which allowed sewage sludge-fertilized, genetically modified, and irradiated food to be labeled as organic before public outcry forced more stringent standards. Siddiqui has derided the European Union’s ban on hormone-treated beef and has vowed to pressure the European Union to accept more genetically modified crops.
Appointments like this tell us the continuing mixed messages of the Obama administration. Stay tuned!
As the fishing industry goes under, climate change deniers dig in their heels:
YORK, Maine — Red tide warnings forced the Maine Department of Marine Resources to issue its first clam flat closures of the season on Wednesday, a month earlier than usual.
“This is extremely early; we typically don’t do closures until the end of April,” said Darcie Couture, director of the Biotoxin Monitoring Program for the state.
Couture said the unusually warm weather is affecting red tide algae blooms and other plants, which are budding early this year. Also, strong northeast winds are pushing the red tide into shellfish beds, she said.
“I don’t think it will be too much longer that we’ll have additional closures for mussels,” said Couture. “It’s lining up to be a very bad year.”
Yeah, when they start that crazy talk, it makes my head want to explode. (h/t M.R.)
Michael Moore appeared on “The Dylan Ratigan Show” Wednesday and called out Democrats for not standing up to Wall Street.
Taking aim at the financial reform bill unveiled by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Moore called it “watered down” and doubted that it would be enough to change the system. Moore wondered why Democrats aren’t taking a harder line against banks. “I don’t understand. What part don’t the Democrats get when they see the polls and the American people actually think less of Wall Street and the banks than they do of the members of Congress. What prohibits President Obama and these Democrats to just go on TV and say ‘That’s it, you stole this money and we’re coming after you. You’re not going to do this to us again.’
Ratigan ran a clip of Dodd proclaiming that the proposed bill wasn’t intended to punish banks. Moore exploded.
Moore: ‘We don’t wanna punish them?’ Are you shitting me?! Everyone wants to punish them and they want their money back and they want their pensions back!
Moore told Ratigan that until money is removed from the political process, “we’re doomed.”
Krugman on oil. Isn’t that just high-falutin’ talk for oil shortages? You know, the same thing the peak oil people were attacked for?