Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Global Warming - Fact or Fiction?

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Is Global Warming Something We Should Be Concerned About? What If It Is In Fact Underway?

Mountain House--The #1 Backpacking Food. Global Warming.

The United States government tells us that there is no proof that global warming is taking place and that the issue requires more study. President Bush has refused to endorse the Kyoto Treaty saying that compliance would "cost us billions".

The Damn Naked Blogger says that "I don't know how much compliance would cost but with the cost of hurricanes Katrina and Rita approaching the two hundred billion dollar mark noncompliance certainly seems have it's own risk of
high costs. I wonder how much it would cost to restore New York City if it were under 18 feet of salt water?"

While additional scientific research may be necessary to prove beyond a doubt that global warming is taking place common sense suggests that we had better not take the issue lightly. Rather freakish weather patterns have developed over the past few years and at least some of it could be caused by global warming.

The hurricane season of 2005 is a prime example. There were a record number of named storms and several storms were of unusual intensity. Take Katrina for example. Katrina went from a category 1 to a category 5 storm in less than 24 hours. This was some pretty amazing powerful intensifying within a very short time period. Could global warming be the cause?

The well paid weather men at the National Weather Center say no, global warming hasn't a thing to do with it. They cite the long term patterns of fairly mild storm seasons followed by several years of higher intensity storm seasons as being a normal condition of weather cycle patterns. They say that we are now in a time period in the long term cycle where we should expect to experience stronger storms.

Maybe so. However, we do know for certain that the water temperature in the Gulf of Mexico was a degree or so above normal levels all through the 2005 hurricane season. We also know that while a one degree temperature change nay not sound like much it in fact supplied Katrina and the other Gulf storms with a powerful shot of additional energy. That is why the storms intensified so rapidly once they entered Gulf waters. Could global warming be at work here?

We also know that the polar ice packs are receding at an alarming rate. How do we know? From NASA photos taken from satellites for one. And from on going scientific studies from a few concerned scientists for another. And from plain old observation, as unscientific as it may be. I recently saw a TV program about the possibility of global warming taking place that documented huge chunks of glacier ice falling into the sea from I believe Greenland. Of course, ice falls into the ocean all of the time but this glacier is melting away at record rates and is involved in a disappearing act. Could this be caused by global warming? Seems to be a reasonable assumption to me.

What do you think?

Here is the deal, folks. We are in, as the TV weather men experts state, a period of time where long term weather cycles suggest that we will experience stronger more intense storm activity than normal. Normal being in the past 50 years or so. However true that may be, it does not in my view preclude the strong possibility that we are also in a period of global warming. One does not exclude the other.

If in fact we are in a long term cycle of stronger storm activity AND in a period of global warming we are in for some terrifying storms and altered weather patterns for many years to come. That is a possibility that none of the TV talking heads and well dressed TV weather men have even mentioned. Maybe they fear they will scare the hell out of everyone if they start forecasting 300-350 kilometer an hour hurricanes rolling into Florida at the rate of three or four a year for the next 15 to 20 years.

One thing is certain, at least to me, though I am far from being a climate expert. The changes in sea levels that continued global warming will bring are going to be disastrous. One recent study, I wish I could remember where I saw it, forecasts an increase in ocean levels of up to eighteen feet. Folks if that wouldn't be a disaster on an epic scale for anyone living near any coastline or in a low lying area anywhere in the world I don't what would be. In fact it would be a disaster for most of the human race as hundreds of millions of people would be displaced. What would they do and where would they go?

To date most US government officials haven't taken the matter very seriously except to have a committee meeting or two at which time the committee members probably agreed to have lunch together at an expensive Washington establishment. At tax payer expense, of course. Perhaps as New York and other great American cities slip into watery chaos the government will pay more attention and launch a special commission to study the matter further.

Global warming may not have been proven but if it is in fact taking place as many folks think it is just from good old fashioned personal observation we, and I mean all of us on this planet, are in for a period of pain and forced relocations, food shortages, outbreaks of diseases, and general misery such that the world has never seen. Ferocious hurricanes, thunderstorms, and tornadoes are only part of the story.

Worldwide weather patterns will be altered. Floods will take place in desert regions and rain will stop falling in what used to be productive farming areas. Global warming may not be proven but can we afford to ignore the possibility that it may be underway when the effects will be so disastrous for the entire planet?

While I realize that these fine days we probably have the most worthless and corrupt group of self serving rascals in United States history strutting around Washington, global warming is an issue that, if global warming is really underway, will deeply impact everyone. Even Congressmen and Congresswomen and the President himself. Surely they will start to pay attention should the waters in Washington, D.C. gradually reach levels somewhat above the knees.

Why not write or call the rascals in Washington and at least express some concern over the global warming issue? If global warming is in process the effects will likely become more severe within a very short time frame. Once natural processes reach a critical point they tend to accelerate. While it is probably already too late to completely reverse the process of global warming careful emergency preparedness planning now could save a lot of lives and property in the near future. Is anyone out there paying attention?

Monday, December 12, 2005

A Wicked Storm Surely Comes Our Way.

For a few years I was a New York City commodity futures broker. This was back in the eighties when I still had the energy such a job requires. Working 12 hours a day, mostly on the phones, trying, often quite successfully, to seperate the suckers, oops, I mean the investors, from their money, takes a lot out of a guy.

After a while I finally figured out that my job was really simple. All I had to do to please the boss and earn nice fat bonuses was to keep the money flowing one way. I didn't get paid to worry about what happened after the money arrived in the Big Apple.

In fact no one at the brokerage house seemed to worry too much about that. Everyone was too busy fishing for the next big client. It takes a lot of fishing and money to fill a damn big black hole.

Hey, it's expensive to live in the Big City.

If the rubes money is converted into commissions or lost to the market ASAP, so be it. Any fool eager to send his money off to someone he has never met to be "invested" in something that he doesn't understand, deserves to pick up the tab for his brokers' travels in the NYC fast lane. OK or not, at that time that was the prevailing sentiment from the NYC brokers' community.

I doubt if the altitude is much different today.

If a sucker decided that he wanted to take what was left of his money back I quickly did the smart thing and turned him over to the retention specialist. What an optimistic fellow this twenty something kid was. By the time he finished with the client the greedy fellow was more likely to throw more money into the pot than salvage what was left. You see painting an optimistic picture usually pays. For the one painting the picture, that is.

I kid you not.

Which brings me to the wicked storm part. As a super storm brews we trusting and optimistic Americans are being turned over to the retention specialists.

An entire team of them in fact. The Presidents new main job, and the job of his faithful and loyal hard hitting hardball first team, is to convince the lumps that all is OK. Deficits no longer matter. We can spend more than we take in forever. No problem we are told.

The rest of the world saves too much money. They are happy to lend it to us so that we can spend it for them. After all, this is America. Our economy is strong. It is the strongest, most flexible in the world. Stay the course, all will be fine. The Iraqis want to be just like us. Democracy will save Iraq, then the region, then the world. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda.

Sound familiar? Are the retention specialists doing a great job or what? Damn they are good. And always so optimistic. Who wants to jump ship and try to salvage whatever little remains of the United States of America when all is going so well in expanding the Empire? A new world order must be created even if more than a few countries seem to be happy having their own unique cultures and don't want to convert to McDonaldism. What's wrong with them, anyhow?

Can't they see that our American culture is far superior? Just look at all of the SUV's on our roads.

Wait a second. Please. With Gold soaring well above $500 an oz, something out of the ordinary must be brewing. Is it possible that the rest of the world is growing alarmed at our appetite for their money? The US is currently consuming about 80% of the worlds savings just to stay afloat. And with the debt service grinding away at us it takes more money flowing into the US every day just to stay where we are. No problem?

The Damn Naked Blogger thinks it's just about wicked storm time.

When the first nation is brave enough to ask for it's money back an every man for himself unruly stampede is likely to follow. Things could get very messy faster than an American shopper can spend money at a Wal-Mart sale. If communist China decides to stop lending us huge amounts of money everyday to support our late stage capitialism spending habits we will be in deep do-do.

The Damn Naked Blogger says, "damn! a wicked storm surely comes our way. There is just no f***ing way that current trends in debt creation and spending more than we make can be maintained. Buy gold and prepare for the worst. Bettter stock up on some survival gear as well. On second thought food might soon become more valuable than gold. Better buy both."

In New York when all of the poor clients' money was consumed by the market and commission beasts the retention specialist had a problem. Optimistic forecasts suddenly weren't enough to sastify. Bitter sounds could be heard coming from the retention specialists' office. His face turned beet red as he shouted into the phone. Sweat ran down his forehead and dripped from his nose. He obviously was under a bit of stress.

No matter how good you are it's hard to sell another dose of optimisim when the client finally realizes that the account is down to zero. Even a lump has some intelligence. And even a mild mannered man can turn violent.

Threats of law suits and threats of bodily harm had to be taken seriously. Especially the threats of bodily harm.

Like "I'm going to kill you."

Remember the day trader in Atlanta who gunned down a high percentage of the unlucky folks working in his brokerage house office once he realized all of his money had vaporized? He was a better shot than a trader. Something his broker didn't know until too late.

If present trends continue for much longer perhaps President Bush, the ultimate retention man, God help him, should bring at least a few troops back from Iraq and position them around The White House. Just in case the voters finally realize that they have been sold an unrealistic dream of Empire. But dreams usually don't come true. And the Bush dream is fatally flawed. When enought folks wake up things could get very messy very fast.

God help us all, underserving as we may be. We are going to need divine assistance to escape the mismanagement of the past five years without a world of pain.

Beware. Damn Naked Blogger on the Loose.

The hardest part of just about anything is getting started. I've been thinking about writing a blog ever since I begin to follow one soldiers blog of the Iraq War. Hells bells. If a 20 something old kid man soldier can write a blog from a war zone I should be able to knock one out from the comfort zone of Pattaya, Thailand. But that young kid could write. People liked his unvarnished style. He picked up quite a following until the Army shut him down. You know, national security and all of that good stuff.

But I never got around to starting my own blog, that is until now.

My step father recently passed away. He was 83 years old so it was no surprise. His passing got me motivated in a strange sort of way. He was only twenty years older than I. The thought hit me, and hit me hard, like slamming into a brick wall at 60 miles an hour. If I want to do anything I had better get on with it. Twenty years goes by mighty fast, especially when you are having fun.

Yesterday, I saw the news about Richard Prior. Dead at 65. Whoa now. While Richard didn't exactly live a healthy lifestyle he was a successful man who had money. In America money can still get you some pretty good medical care. If he taps out at 65 who knows, I may be next.

So here I am at 2:18 AM Pattaya time writing my first post. I've got a few things to say before I zip into the white light so I want to get on with it.

Beware, the Damn Naked Blogger is on the loose. Much more to come and soon.