Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Truest statement of the week

 In the days since her win, Walton has been hailed as the first “socialist” mayor of a large American city since Milwaukee’s Frank Zeidler left office in 1960. Following her win, she received congratulations from Congress members Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and has been covered positively in the New York Times as an example of how “progressives” can win in working class cities.
In reality, the DSA has counted a number of mayors of major cities as members of its socialist-in-name-only organization, including Ron Dellums of Oakland and the right-wing Democrat Mayor David Dinkins of New York City. Apparently, the DSA is hoping no one remembers its history of slapping the “socialist” label on candidates who are later exposed to be thoroughly conventional capitalist politicians.
In Walton’s own political program posted on her website, there is no mention of capitalism or socialism. If one were to read her program, one would have no idea that the problems of Buffalo—extreme poverty, low wages, a poor education system, police violence and political corruption—are endemic across capitalist America and the entire world.
Instead, her program is filled with typical left-liberal capitalist reform policies such as prioritizing “small and minority-owned local businesses” and targeting “infrastructure investments to create safe streets, calming traffic and increasing accessibility for people of all ages and abilities.”
The promotion of India Walton by the DSA, the WFP, the union bureaucracy, the New York Times and factions of the Democratic Party is in essence an attempt to “rebrand” an increasingly discredited capitalist political party.

Jason Melanovski, "DSA-backed mayoral candidate wins Buffalo, New York Democratic Party

Truest statement of the week II

Any of the numerous 5th Dimension anthologies still available are filled with treasures, some buried. The McCoo showcase “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All” is one the most beautifully melancholic pop songs ever. Their version of Nyro’s “Stoned Soul Picnic” isn’t as earthy as Nyro’s own, but it glides on air, and their jubilant covers of her “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Save the Country,” and “Sweet Blindness” make you wish they’d also cut an album entirely of Nyro songs. Listen as McCoo and Davis (who would marry in 1969) exalt in each other in “Together Let’s Find Love,” one of their later and sometimes forgotten hits.


-- David Browne, "‘Let the Sunshine In’: Remembering the 5th Dimension’s Quiet Revolution" (ROLLING STONE).




A note to our readers

Hey --

It's Wednesday night.

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?






-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.









TV: Some stories aren't really worth telling

Once upon a time, we called for women's stories to be told. These days, we think the call should have been more specific. In fact, watching SEX/LIFE, we're left with the obvious reality that not all women have stories to tell.


If there's a story to tell in NETFLIX's latest TV series offering, it's that some people's lives are so good they really need to stop whining.

Billie Connelly (played by Sarah Shahi and her forever pointed nipples) has it all but is too damn stupid to grasp that. She has the kids she always wanted, a dream husband who is the envy of the world (Cooper Connelly played by Mike Vogel), a dream house, a wonderful best friend (Sasha Snow played by Margaret Odette). And it's just, honestly, never enough.

She lives the song "Never Enough" from Olivia Newton-John's TOTALLY HOT album (written by John Farrar, Pat Carroll, Alan Tarney and Trevor Spencer):


What more can he do but give her his heart
Wrapped up in a love so sincere
Lookin' around at all that they have
It seems clear
That it's never enough, never never enough
Why is all that we have simply never enough?
No it's never enough, never never enough
It's so sad
Is anything ever enough?
She ran out of time for people who loved her
Their love couldn't get her nowhere

Nowhere. That pretty much describes SEX/LIFE in one word.

Adam Demos is nowhere personified. He shows up as an ex-boyfriend Brad from before she got married and he shows up looking ten years younger (he's only actually five years younger) and determined to tame Billie's profusely erect nipples.

There's so much wrong with this show that it's difficult to know where to start. Let's move away from its premise to note one thing that's clear from episode one -- Billie loves her some boys.


Not men.

We're presented with a montage of past lovers and her engaging in sex with them. It's a parade of Ziegfeld Boys with no feather boas or anything else touching their well-waxed chests. Did no man in NYC have a single chest hair? Or did Billie just keep a bottle of Nair in her purse for any chance encounters?

If only to help you differentiate the multitude of men on display, a stray chest hair or two -- or even a scar -- might have helped.

While we're talking bodies, Mike Vogel deserves credit for letting his knob bounce around. It's not as prominent as all of Sarah Shahi's body but it is there if you squint and look close and it's much more than Adam Demos offers.

We'll note that Mike and Sarah have chemistry on screen while there is no spark between Sarah and Adam (who, in real life, are actually a couple).

There's no spark of life in the series either and that really disappointed us. Like those involved in the show, we're Carly Simon fans. But what she captured in her cinematic song "The Wives Are In Connecticut" is not on display in the series that uses the song title for its first episode.

Billie is not a smart woman. That's a point we'll get back to but when Demos shows up as the ex-boyfriend, Billie becomes even more stupid. She writes about him and about their past sex life. She writes about it on her laptop. She writes about it on her laptop that she leaves open.

When Coop reads it, he sees his wife in a different light and they have satisfying sex -- smething Billie's been whining about in voice overs from the moment the first episode starts.

Billie then conspires with Sasha to turn the diary into a sex manual for Coop without his knowledge and all it does is harm their marriage and their understanding of one another.

Does she want sex? Does she want romance? Does she want to go back to work?

Billie wants it all -- she's Dyan Cannon in MASTER OF THE GAME! But, unlike Dyan, she won't be straightforward about anything.

Instead of creating a mythical diary that's actually a manual for Cooper, why didn't she just talk to him?

We have no sympathy for her.

She's whining in a voice over that he hasn't gone down on her in eight months.

Why's she telling us?

We're not going to go down on her.

Maybe if she told her husband, he might.

She wants to have sex with him and then gets upset because, while they're doing it, his attention is elsewhere. Are we supposed to be surprised? And how in the hell can she be? She comes into the bedroom with him watching sports on TV. She never turns off the TV. Did she really think leaving a game on the TV right in front of the bed wasn't going to be a distraction?

She has no common sense and wants to forever play helpless and be a victim. We don't see her as a victim, we see her as someone who needs to learn to voice her needs and someone who needs to stop trying to earn pity.

For starters, people would be thrilled to have her life. And most people who had her life would have the guts and ownership to tell their partner, "I need you to go down on me." Even the most reserved who might be embarrassed to say that (hard to believe possible in this day and age) would still be able to say, "Honey, turn off the TV."

She can't do anything and that's the only consistent quality to her character: She's always been a dumb bitch.

In a flashback to years ago, we see how she met Brad. She and Sasha went to a night club to dance and listen to a band. Billie's ready to go but finds Sasha in front of the stage going down on a band member. Rather than leave, she watches for a bit while engaging Sasha in conversation -- Sasha mainly keeps up her end via hand signals. Billie heads out, apparently planning to walk home. On the sidewalk outside the club, a man accosts her and you fear she's about to be attacked but then Brad shows up, tells the man to go away, gives him money to get something to eat and introduces himself to Billie.

Meet desperate? Has that replaced meet cute?

Billie has never met him before but immediately gets into his car and lets him take her to his home. Again, dumb bitch.

Minutes ago, you could have been raped by a stranger and now you're going home with another stranger -- one who doesn't answer your most basic questions before you get into his car?

"B-b-but, Ava and C.I., he saved her from possible rape!"

Uh-huh, however, we believe the proper etiquette in that situation is a "thank you," not putting out.

Certainly, not putting yourself and your safety as risk.

It's hard to believe that so many women were involved in writing, directing and producing this series since it's so divorced from women's reality. Most women do not respond to potential rape by, seconds later, going off with a stranger.

And most women won't respond to Billie's supposed plight. Most will see her as pretty much already having it all. Kids, a husband who adores for her, bills that are paid, etc. She really lacks for nothing. "Bad sex life." Okay, and we'd agree. But Billie's supposedly a feminist. Yet instead of being a grown woman and voicing her needs to her husband, she comes up with a hair brained scheme that you couldn't even imagine Lucy Ricardo attempting to pull off.

Vary little in SEX/LIFE rings true or reads real. Mike Vogel and Margaret Odette deserve credit for making their poorly written characters come to life and this would have been a better show -- even with the bad scripts and premise -- had they starred opposite one another as Coop and Billie.







Jim: Roundtable time again. .  Remember our e-mail address is  Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't):  First up, Iraq.  Are elections going to take place this year?

Wally: They're scheduled for October.

Jim: But will they take place?

Ava: I hope so.  I don't think the Iraqi people would put up with very much of a delay.  Past elections have had delays because certain legislation wasn't passed.  That could take place again and postpone it some weeks.  That's why the press seems to be doing their job right now and actually using terms like "scheduled for" and not just saying that in October elections will be held.  

Jim: Who's going to end up vying for prime minister.  

Dona: Let's back up first.  Iraq elects members to Parliament.  Based on the turnout, a party or slate will vie for the role of prime minister-designate.  That's someone that the president of Iraq declares -- based on the turnout -- and they have 30 days to assemble a Cabinet -- nominate and get the nominees approved by the Parliament.  

Jim: Good point.  So who's vying?

Mike: Nouri al-Maliki, a two-time holder of the office, wants back in.  Moqtada al-Sadr has wanted the post before and seems to still hunger for it.  The current prime minister is Mustafa al-Kadhimi and he would like to have a second term.

Elaine: Which is something he insisted he didn't want. But after he got into office, instead of moving for early elections and focusing on corruption as he stated he would, he's done damn little and he's worked to postpone the elections.  In fact, if the elections were not to take place in October, a good chance might be him postponing for some 'reason' or another.

Isaiah: He did insist that he wouldn't run, didn't he?  Mustafa was just going into office and he was going to do some serious work and get right out.  But now he's addicted to the office and even being a failure he won't let it go.

Jim: How many see him as a failure?

Ruth: I think we all do.  No one has been held responsible for any of the assassinations of the activists.  People who attack protesters at protests, they're not even held accountable.  And 'people' are the Iraqi forces to be clear, the people attacking the protesters.  This is done during the protests, in public, and no one is held accountable.  He is a failure.

Mike: Which more people would realize if he didn't have so many former co-works in the media.  He worked for a number of outlets -- a fact they don't disclose when they write their glowing pieces about Mustafa The Wonderful.  

Cedric: But it's all nonsense anyway.  Our current president made that clear back in 2010 when he was vice president.  Joe Biden overturned the election results with The Erbil Agreement to give Nouri al-Maliki a second term.  That second term leads to the rise of ISIS.  The Iraqi people rejected Nouri but the US government -- especially Samantha Power -- insisted that Nouri had to have a second term so Joe oversaw The Erbil Agreement.  It was clear, when the votes were tossed aside, that elections didn't matter in Iraq.  

Ann: And participation in the elections after that one suffered as a result.

Cedric: Which was no surprise.  When you see your votes tossed aside, you realize you risked your own life to vote for no real reason.

Jim: Jess?

Jess: Yeah, I wanted to talk about the vaccines for COVID. Trina, you wrote about the issue of insulin and other medications being delivered at the start of the pandemic and how it effected some more severely. You wrote about that in "." I know you and C.I. have done stuff for the various community newsletters regarding the vaccine and I was hoping you might just talk about that because they weren't available to all in the sense that a lot of people in a bubble think they were.

Trina: C.I. and I addressed that in all the newsletters but kept our focus on that in HILDA'S MIX because that's the one that's intended to highlight issues effecting the challenged and disabled and Hilda was so good about passing on any issues that members had. But basically, let's use me as an example. Say I'm at risk or in the right age group for the shots. So I am a woman with a husband, a woman with adult children. Forget that I'm a nurse. I have ample means of getting somewhere. Now let's pretend that I live a different life. Let's pretend that I'm in a wheel chair or use a cane. Let's use that one, a cane. So I have difficulty getting around. And I don't have the same support group. I have to be taken to two appointments for the shots. How am I getting there. If my community planned carefully, the shots are linked to a bus line. But that didn't happen for a lot of low income people. So you had people who either could not drive or who did not have cars and they had to use a taxi -- which is an expense. But taxis not hailed in the street don't always run on time. And you might have to request one for forty-five minutes before your shot was scheduled to ensure you got there in time. And then you needed to wait. So the cab wasn't going to wait for you. You had to wait in line, you had to get the shot and then they wanted you to wait after the shot for a bit to make sure there were no side effects. I get in my car and go. No problem for me. But everyone's not me.

Jess: I think that's the biggest problem today. We expect -- sometimes demand -- that everyone be just like us. There's a line in a Chase Rice song -- forgetting which one -- that goes, " Whatever happened to we all make mistakes? Let's put a little more amazing back in the grace."

C.I.: What? Oh, it's "Belong."

Kat: She said "what" because she's taking notes and looked up when we all stopped talking and she saw that those not participating by phone were staring at her.

Jess: Waiting for the answer.

Trina: I love THE ALBUM, his new album. And I think you're right, Jess. We don't have enough empathy or even realization that we're not all blessed in the same ways. And I do love that song and the sentiment that it's expressing in those lines. But someone taking a taxi to shots is going to have a very long day because they have to wait until they are 'released' to request the cab in most cases --

Wally: There are cabs that want you to call when you're ready and then they want you to wait for them. If you admit you don't know you're ready, that you think you will be, the dispatcher will tell you to call back.

Trina: So it's a lot to juggle. And a lot of people don't realize that.

Jess: I think C.I. did a better job presenting than most sites, I'm talking about sites outside the community..

Trina: I agree. And so did the government. Right after her last post where she called out the continued 'science, science' talk a new PSA drops that talks about your mother instead. The PSAs were tailored poorly and only for one group of people, the group that was already responding. There's a lot more I'd like to say on this but I'll table it with the hopes that we can right a piece on it in the future. But I do praise C.I. especially for her honesty. She talked about getting ill after the shot. She talked about you making your own decisions. And when you respect people, when you're honest with them and you trust them, you're more likely to reach them. We need new strategies to reach the people who aren't yet vaccinated. And insulting and shaming and attacking is not going to work.

Marcia: Nor is lying.


Jim: Want to note  Chase Rice.  His new album is THE ALBUM and Kat reviewed it, see "Kat's Korner: Chase Rice serves up a masterpiece." It's a really popular album with the community and since Elaine noted the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin and the country legend C.I. voted to sit in on that roundtable, see her "Jonathan Turley, Chase Rice ," I wanted to ask C.I. about the album.  In terms of why she, C.I., is promoting it?

C.I.: When I have an album that really moves me, I promote it to my friends.  You can ask Rebecca and Elaine who've had to suffer over the years but it's true of anyone I'm close to especially if I think they'll love it too.

Rebecca: I heard both Liz Phair's EXILE IN GUYVILLE and Lauryn Hill's THE MISEDUCATION OF LAURYN HILL over the phone first -- both during phone calls with C.I.  Both times she said, I've got to play three songs for you.  And she did.  There are other albums as well and she also gifts albums that she loves.  I know for a fact that she bought nearly 1,000 copies of COMING AROUND AGAIN when it came out because she loved the album and wanted Carly Simon to have another hit.  And on Lauryn, C.I. also gave interviews talking up MISEDUCATION.  She's always been very passionate about championing artists who really deliver something amazing.

Jim: Back to Chase Rice, you think this is an important album like that or the Afghan Whigs' GENTLEMAN to name one Elaine noted?

C.I.: I do.  I think it's a classic album.  It may or may not be a big seller -- I hope it will sell huge -- but it's an album people will remember that will grow in reputation over the years.

Jim: As opposed to?

C.I.: Jim's not telling people who will be reading this that he heard my friend and I talking after the gina & krista round-robin and what he's really wanting, clearly, is the comparison I offered that my friend agreed with.  So, fine, I'm not scared to say it.  Chase has made an album that matters.  It's a great album.  And it's worth so much more than the nutless -- yes, that is the term I used -- work of Tim McGraw. Chase's work is alive.  Tim's dead on arrival.  That's what you wanted, right, Jim?

Jim: Uh-huh.

C.I.: Tim's had a ton of hits mainly by selling a lifestyle.  His hits are generic and worthless and sound as though a computer wrote the lyrics.  You don't believe them.  His wife Faith Hill has recorded a lot of crap as well but she probably has at least 20 songs that will be remembered -- half of which are poorly produced but she is a great singer and that's why she has a legacy.  Tim's not a bad singer, but he's not a great one.  So he really should have thought about a legacy.  You're starting out -- in any field -- you take what you can get.  But at some point, you need to think about a legacy.  Debra Winger's addressed that topic very well over the years -- quality versus a body of work and how you try to mange both.  Ben Harper is a good example of someone who makes choices.  He's popular but he's not as popular as some others.  He could easily do "Diamonds On The Inside" over and over and just try to consolidate the popularity; however, he has the respect of the industry because he's instead attempted to stretch repeatedly in his career with various projects.  He's created -- and is creating -- art.  Some people, like Tim McGraw, offer nothing.  He's popular today, he'll be forgotten by country music fans ten years after he retires -- if not sooner.  He's done nothing outstanding and has coasted on his lifestyle and not his art.  People confuse popularity with art all the time, they aren't the same.  Bob Dylan and Barbra Streisand started out at the same time and people didn't think they'd make it -- even at COLUMBIA RECORDS -- which signed both.  Many artists were more popular than them -- Connie Francis, to name one.  She got by on lifestyle too, Tim McGraw might need to grasp that.  But all these years later, Bob and Barbra are artists and recognized as such.  Connie's not popular today and no one really considers her work art -- not even kitsch art.  Chase is a good singer but it's as a songwriter that he's really building his legacy.  He has shown talent since the beginning of his career but THE ALBUM was a huge step forward for him.  Kat?

Kat: I'd agree with that.  I think it is a masterpiece, the album.  BLUE just hit fifty, Joni Mitchell's BLUE.  There are a ton of albums that outsold BLUE -- probably over 500,000, maybe a million, in the US alone.  But most are forgotten.  And will remain that way.  C.I.'s right that popularity is not legacy, it's not art.  I do agree with her that Tim McGraw coasts on his lifestyle and uses that to sell recordings.  The recordings themselves are bland and lifeless, nutless is a good term for when men record those kind of banal and superficial songs.THE ALBUM feels like someone's sharing their life, the songs move you, they capture moments you can relate to. He digs in deep.  

Mike: You can't listen to THE ALBUM and not love it.  It feels real and lived in.  If you had told me last year that my favorite album of 2021 would be a country music album, I wouldn't have believed you.  But there are just so many great songs -- "Bedroom," for example. 


 Jim: Okay, so this is a rush transcript.  Thank you for reading.







The climate crisis

To say it's a dry and hot summer would be putting it mildly. In Iraq's city of Erbil, even the puppies need relief from the heat. 

It is 0930am in Erbil (where the shelter is located) and the temperature is already at a whopping 42 degrees celsius (107 degrees fahrenheit) these pups have found a perfect way to keep cool whilst they wait for the ice delivery Smiling face with 3 hearts #HEATWAVE #puppies #weather #dogs #rescue #Heat

And watching the coverage, it feels like we're trapped in HBO's YEARS AND YEARS. Examples? Let's start with Tuesday's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED (NPR) which aired a segment on water:

AILSA CHANG, HOST: In the drought-stricken Klamath Basin along the California-Oregon border, water is precious. This year, Native American tribes and farmers are competing for this shrinking resource. It's an indicator of future water wars in the West. Jefferson Public Radio's Erik Neumann explains.


ERIK NEUMANN, BYLINE: Biologist Alex Gonyaw aims his Boston Whaler along the eastern shore of Upper Klamath Lake. He's showing off what he says used to be abundant habitat.

ALEX GONYAW: It's a mosaic of cattails and willows and tules, or bullrushes.

NEUMANN: At almost 30 miles long, Upper Klamath Lake is home to several fish species that only live here.

GONYAW: So the more hiding places for juvenile creatures, the better they generally tend to do.

NEUMANN: Two of them are called C’waam and Koptu in the traditional Klamath Tribes' language or, in English, the lost river and shortnose sucker. Gonyaw says in recent years, the Koptu population dropped to near extinction levels from 20,000 to just 3,400 fish. The likely cause - poor water quality and habitat loss driven by low water in this shallow lake.

GONYAW: There's a catastrophic event likely in the next few years.

NEUMANN: Besides being protected under the Endangered Species Act, the fish are culturally significant to the Klamath Tribes. They've historically subsisted on them.

At a recent rally in nearby Klamath Falls, tribal chairman Don Gentry talked about how the Klamath people prayed for the fish to return after hard winters.

Water crises around the world.  Melissa Montalvo (CALMATTERS) reports:

This is how California’s water crisis is going these days: The only functioning well in the rural community of Teviston broke in early June, leaving more than 700 residents without running water as temperatures in the Central Valley soared to triple-digits in a drought.
“It’s day to day” for the people of Teviston, said Frank Galaviz, a board member of the Teviston Community Services District, in an interview with The Fresno Bee.
Teviston residents are relying on limited bottled water for necessities such as staying hydrated, cooking, bathing and flushing toilets. Some residents, like Galaviz, are traveling to neighboring towns to stay with family or friends to shower and wash clothes.

Meanwhile, Kennith Lipp (NEWS TIMES) reports of Oregon:

During its regular meeting Monday, the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners declared a local disaster and drought emergency, and it asked the governor to make a similar declaration.
Last week, the board declared its first ever “drought watch,” essentially a signal that full drought status was imminent and the public should be prepared for changes in water use. Ninety percent of the American West and 99 percent of Oregon was already in some stage of drought, according the U.S. Drought Monitor.
There is no specific threshold that triggers a county drought declaration. It is based on a determination that water supplies are or soon will be low enough that typical local resources are not sufficient to respond — “extraordinary measures” will be needed to ease human suffering, environmental damage and economic losses and to respond to the threat of wildfire.

Moving to the north and to the east, Maine's WABI reports:

The South Berwick Water District has banned outdoor water use due to the worsening drought conditions.
The ban includes the use of hoses, sprinklers and irrigation systems. Washing of vehicles and the filling of swimming or wading pools is prohibited.
The water district said the outdoor water use ban is needed to help conserve water.
The district’s superintendent said the ban could last all summer depending on the conditions.

The drought has real life consequences. Some are minor -- such as banning fireworks in some areas due to the drought (in the US, July 4th is a day where people traditionally set off fireworks) and some major. impacts. Noah Wicks (AG-PULSE) reports:

North Dakota producer Mike Rott is one of thousands of farmers and ranchers across the western half of the United States struggling with drought this year, and the impact on Rott's crops is evident in field after field.
Rott's wheat is ankle-high this week at a time when, in a good year, it should be knee-high. From the road, the upper leaves of the plants appear green, hiding the brown stems and leaves — the most obvious signs of lack of moisture — below.
The junegrass in his pasture, which can grow to be 10 to 20 inches, is only about 2 to 4 inches tall at its peak month of June. Even his corn and soybeans, which are currently “doing OK” thanks to moisture from small shots of rain, are shorter than they should be.
“Some fields, you can look and you can see right down to the road all the way, and you shouldn't,” Rott, who raises cattle and farms corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and forage with his brother, told Agri-Pulse. “You shouldn't see rows at this stage of the game.”
States in the West and the High Plains are currently facing what Brad Rippey, a USDA meteorologist in the Office of the Chief Economist, calls the “most expansive” drought the U.S. has seen since 2012 and 2013.
“We're looking at now almost a year of drier than normal conditions that sapped, not just topsoil moisture, but subsoil moisture with really dire impacts on rangeland, and pastures, and then eventually winter grains and now spring zone crops,” Rippey said.

And Tara Lohan (THE REVELATOR) notes:

Extreme drought conditions gripping the West have stirred familiar struggles over water in the Klamath Basin, which straddles the Oregon-California border. Even in a good year, there’s often not enough water to keep ecosystems healthy and farms green — and this year is anything but good.
For the past two decades critics have simplistically reduced water woes in the basin to “fish vs. farms” in the battle for an increasingly scarce resource. This year, which is expected to be the lowest water year on record, it’s clear there aren’t any winners.
The Bureau of Reclamation, a Department of the Interior agency that oversees water resources in the West, has already shut the tap on irrigation water for farms in the area in order to maintain water levels in Klamath Lake needed to protect endangered suckers. It also halted releases into the Klamath River that help keep fish healthy. Following that, high temperatures and low flows fed an outbreak of the parasite Ceratonova shasta, causing a massive die-off of hundreds of thousands of juvenile salmon this past spring.
And another dire casualty hovers in the wings — birds.
Millions of birds migrate through the basin each year, relying on a complex of wildlife refuges that are quickly running dry. Last year drought conditions forced too many birds into too small a space, and 60,000 perished of avian botulism that spread quickly in close quarters.
Experts predict this year will be worse, and the problems could extend south to California’s Central Valley. Both places are critical stops on the Pacific Flyway, used by more than 320 bird species to feed and rest as they travel up and down the west coasts of North and South America.

A climate crisis. That's what we're in the midst of. And we've got a government that not only unprepared but also unaware.












In 2018, community sites took turns covering a book every week.  You can see "In 2018, we read books" to review that coverage.  We didn't want to repeat ourselves in 2019 or 2020.  So when Marcia came up with a way to cover books but with a twist, we were all for it.  Marcia's idea was for us to digital books -- we're largely a printed text crowd -- and to use AMAZON's KINDLE UNLIMITED.  So for 2021, we'll be doing a book a week and trying to just use KINDLE UNLIMITED. This week, we're talking with Ruth about her "Margaret Atwood's THE HANDMAID'S TALE."


You were surprised by how much you enjoyed the book?

Ruth: I really was. If my review is geared towards anyone, it is geared towards those who read the book years ago and now feel disconnected from it -- due to years passed, the TV show, or whatever. I easily reconnected with it. It is a master work that should be read by any who love North American novels.

You credit KINDLE UNLIMITED with the re-read.

Ruth: Fully credit. I was done with the book and had no thoughts of ever reading it again, the TV show so soured me on Atwood's tale. But it was a free read and I had not yet contributed anything regarding KINDLE UNLIMITED so I grabbed it.

You are otherwise unimpressed with KINDLE UNLIMITED?

Ruth: I really am. I am not thrilled with the selections offered. Let me explain something about the way I am. If I go into a store, unless someone is extremely rude, I buy something. I do not leave empty handed. I say that to explain that KINDLE UNLIMITED, to me, is like visiting a book store because a book I love has come out, then seeing that it is not in stock, so grabbing one of those clearance books on the way out -- not because I really want the book but just to have something to show for my time. That is how I see the selection of books that are offered by the service.

Do you think you will be renewing your subscription at the end of the year?

Ruth: I have desperately tried to get the grandchildren and my sons and their wives interested in using it. Finally, one of my daughter-in-laws is using the service. If she continues to do so, I will re-up at the end of the year, otherwise, no. There is just not enough offered to justify it for me all by myself.







Tweet of the week

Fiorella Isabel Tweets:

The US is granted permission to appeal UK judge Vanessa Barreister’s decision not to extradite Julian Assange, putting him in grave danger, right as pressure builds for his release. #FreeAssange

Track to check out

Diana Ross' "Thank You."




A track from her upcoming album  THANK YOU.






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