Thursday, June 22, 2017

New Buffalo

This nice little video of Lake Michigan at New Buffalo, MI, where I grew up, was taken by my brother Bob on Tuesday.




The lake on that day was what I'd call mildly displeased. It can get pretty angry with waves of twenty feet and more that occasionally sink the ships that traverse the Great Lakes -- ocean going ships that come up the St Lawrence River and even the huge ore boats that carry iron from Michigan's Upper Peninsula to the steel mills that line the lake near Chicago.

New Buffalo's population was 1,883 in 2010, according to Wikipedia, where I found this picture of the beach on a sunnier day. It was taken from almost the same place as Bob was standing to shoot his video.



We always said New Buffalo's population was 2,500 so I don't know what's caused the decline. A lot of people have left there like I did. Also, being across the bottom of the lake from Chicago it's a resort town. People from the Chicago area and northern Indiana have summer homes there but 20 or 30 years ago began buying homes in New Buffalo and the surrounding countryside. Perhaps they've displaced some of the permanent residents. "Chicago people" as we called them once owned primarily the houses along or near the lake, which now sell more than one million dollars.

Those big gray rocks in the left part of Bob's video extend from either side of the mouth of the Galien River and form a little manmade harbor. It was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers just before I graduated from NBHS in 1971 and was a big deal.

Before, every year the mouth of the river would fill up with sand washed up by waves until it was only a few feet deep and would have to dredged out so motor boats from the marina that stretches along the river and a couple of the creeks that empty into it could reach the lake.






Sunday, June 11, 2017

Next Blog >> gems



Contd










Why Corbyn Won


"For too long now the rich have got ever richer whilst those struggling have had no hope of improving their lot. That’s just wrong as well. We cannot continue along this path. There is a new movement in Britain demanding social change and the millions who voted for the Labour Party cannot and should not be denied." Jeremy Corbyn



Corbyn campaigned on an explicitly Socialist platform of free college tuition, saving Britian's universal health care system and re-nationalizing industries that had been privatized by Margaret Thatcher and her successor, the architect of "New Labour" -- the UK's Bill Clinton -- Tony Blair.

In America the rich still get richer and the poor poorer and Democrats show zero inclination to do anything about it. Read through their public utterances in the press and on social media and see for yourself that they post absolutely nothing, ever, about wealth and income inequality in the US. It's pathetic. We're going down and they're attending LGBT and green energy photo ops with people who are doing pretty well. A wave of public revulsion over how the Democratic Party has sold out the working class may yet drive it back to its roots, but Neoliberal, Reaganomics Democrats are still in control of all party mechanisms so there's no reason to think it will be any time soon.

In any event, change originates outside the political system and it will require an uprising of the people, and it must be an informed, class conscious people or we'll end up right back where we are now.






Saturday, June 10, 2017

Again Number One In Badness

Atzlan Entrepreneurs Turn Dusty Settlement Into Bustling Business Center

Albuquerque Free Press has a story about our surge to becoming number one in the country in car thefts, but it never once mentions the titans of the industry, Mexicano entrepreneurs who masterminded big, profitable business enterprises, that support thousands of well-paid professional jobs. From CEO to crack car liberator to people spread across an international distribution network to the grandmother who makes a deposit on the other side from time to time. These are bad ass Mexicanos. They made us number one and are due their proper due.












Friday, June 2, 2017

The West West

My house seems like it was designed in such a way that if you stand in the hallway you have a good, clear rifle shot at the front doorway.


Anyone coming into the house from a sun lit outdoors wouldn't see you standing in the shadow and you could get off several rounds before they knew what hit them.

Was the house designed that way? It's the basic tract house of a type built in 1949. Whether you needed that defensive feature in New Mexico in 1949, I don't know. In other ways, however, the house is exactly suited for its environment and its environment shaped how the house was designed and built. It has inch thick concrete walls covered with an insulating fiberboard and then stucco that stay cool practically all day and warm pretty much all night. A slight breeze will ventilate the entire house. Air flowing over the flat roof creates a vacuum on the leeward side windows and the layout of the rooms and opening between them aids in the circulation process. The people who designed and built it knew what they were doing. Would they have also put some thought into making the house easy to defend if need be?

I like to say New Mexico is the last remnant of the wild, wild west. That's a play on the name of the old TV series The Wild, Wild West, but I say it because of the close connection between present day New Mexico and its past, which, after all, represents the real American West that was here centuries before the Anglo west of dime store novels and Hollywood movies got conjured up in creative 20th century minds. 

The actual West of New Mexico's past is carried on in the culture here. The past remains in force in many ways and compared to many places remains relatively undiluted. Much of New Mexico has remained relatively physically isolated. The closest big cities, that might have been the source of other cultural influences, are at least 500 miles in any direction and probably more than a week's travel away before paved roads became common.

Those strong cultural influences may explain why Native and Native Hispanic New Mexico are wild, or untamed you might say, in another sense; people here never submitted and became servile to an outside government. That's also true in parts of the US South, but the prevailing culture here has been in place much longer and is not so much a reaction to the prevailing American culture as it predates it by several centuries.









409.org

I assume everyone has heard by now that the "Paris Climate Accord" President Trump announced he is pulling out of was actually nothing but a publicity stunt engineered by Barak Obama that didn't obligate the United States or any other country to reduce greenhouse gasses by one iota.

Although Obama left office with a reputation as an environmental president, during his tenure the concentration of Co2 and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere increased at the same rate it had been increasing before that, and if anything sped up, and a big reason is that every year Obama would go to that climate summit in Paris and make sure the final declaration didn't contain any language that obligated anybody to do anything to reduce greenhouse gasses. They agreed instead that each country would voluntarily come up with their own greenhouse gas and pollution "targets."

The conventional wisdom for why Obama did that is that since he knew he'd be judged by how the economy did while he was in office and not by the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, he wasn't going to do anything that would hurt the economy such as impose regulations on the business world. That's correct except that Obama did it not so much to help the economy as to make sure he didn't interrupt the flow of campaign cash from Wall Street and big corporations into the accounts of the Democratic Party, the same reason he did everything else, the same reason he never allowed any legislation to be introduced that would increase wages or strengthen unions or in any other way redistribute any wealth back into the accounts of the people whose labor had originally created it. Conservative Democrats like Obama, the Clintons, and the kind we have in New Mexico decided a long time ago that they'd try to cling to power by doing the bidding of the wealthy, and an affluent layer of  feminists, Blacks, gays and other identity politics adherents, instead of serving the interests of the mass of working class Americans.



Note: One of the big environmental groups is 350.org. They want to decrease the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere until it's down to 350 parts per million, or 350 ppm. As of now it's at 409 ppm. Below are two graphs that show how CO2 concentration has increased in recent years and over the long haul.