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Category Archives: Environment

Free the Felines!

Free the Felines!

It was one of those warm summer evenings in July 2010, on a Sunday around 6:00 pm, when a pipeline quietly ruptured and over 1 million gallons of diluted bitumen — aka tar sands or heavy crude oil — spilled into Talmadge Creek, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River in southwestern Michigan.  It took 17 hours for Enbridge, the company responsible for the pipeline, to react — that’s three separate shifts of workers who failed to notice a massive problem.  Meanwhile, despite multiple 911 calls by residents who reported unusual petroleum smells, local authorities were clueless; they hadn’t even known there was an oil pipeline in the area.  It was not until a worker from a gas utility company noticed the spill and reported it that Enbridge did anything.  Contaminating some 38 miles of the Kalamazoo River, this disaster resulted in the largest and most expensive inland oil spill in U.S. history (costing over $1 billion to clean up).  Three years later and three days before the anniversary of the spill, three protesters peacefully engaging in non-violent direct action chained themselves to Enbridge machinery in hopes of halting progress of more installed pipelines (to the same line that ruptured earlier), an act of civil disobedience for which they were arrested as felons — a federal crime tantamount to murder or arson, even though all they were found guilty of was trespassing and obstruction.  They were recently convicted and are currently being held in jail without bond until their sentencing on Wednesday, March 5th.  They stand to be imprisoned for three years.  They should be exonerated.  You can help.
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April Fools March Forth

April Fools March Forth

I think the Jews got it right, the marking of the new year in autumn.  Leaving aside any debate about whether life begins at conception or at birth,* there’s something intuitive and irrepressibly hopeful, poetic even, about the seeds of some future beginning taking hold in autumn, lying dormant and warm beneath the earth over the cold, dark, hard winter, to nudge their vernally green buddy heads above the surface of snow-scruff and the pungent mud of spring.  Certainly more intuitive than beginning the year on January 1st – only a week or so after the longest night of the entire year; hell, only a week or so after the season of winter has technically begun – when all the world (well, the northern hemisphere) is dead, still, and frozen.  That’s supposed to represent a new beginning, then?!?  What calendrical maniac hoodwinked a whole culture to swallow hook, line, and all that the new year should begin smack dab in the chapter of death and darkness?  It just doesn’t feel right.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Mined Over Matter

Mined Over Matter

Since my recent mining redux has generated more comments than any scribble in the nearly two-year-long tenure of this blog — even more than the name-calling, rotten produce throw, shit show that the “Unplanned Parenthood” piece inspired (feel free to seek it out if you’re feeling frisky for a cat fight) — what better idea could there be than continue yet anew with it.  Here’s the gist: Part 1 is about the money behind the mine.  Part 2 makes an argument to support Democratic state Senator Tim Cullen’s alternative mining bill.

Ready, set, Gogebic!

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Undermining Credibility

Undermining Credibility

With only three weeks to go til Valentine’s Day, the Republicans in the State Legislature of Wisconsin are doing what no men ever do: shopping for their beloved before the last minute.  Indeed, in what can only be called a sweetheart deal to both Gogebic Taconite and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation – the former an out-of-state mining company, the latter a much-flawed private entity (that used to be a public one before Scott Walker took over) – the Republican juggernaut essentially promises what any sugarcoated candy on February 14th does: “be mine.”  Only in this sense it’s not just a command in the possessive sense; it’s also the Republican diktat that the Gogebic mine be.  Corporate profit and bought-off lawmakers, true love if there ever was.
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A Case for Cold Season Paddling

A Case for Cold Season Paddling

Yes, it’s chilly.  And yes the ground is brown, the leaves long gone.  You might say it’s desolate, even depressing.  Death it seems is all-surrounding and conspiring against you.  It’s taken over the air, the ground, the sun and the trees.  The birds have flown off somewhere sensible, and the hunting season dictates that just about anything on four legs flee for dear life away from the awful crack of a rifle – deer especially.  This is the entrance to the outdoor world, a kingdom that basically looks like the ruins of something since abandoned.
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Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Environment, Pretty Damn Random

 

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May D(ay) in China

May D(ay) in China

Each year on the near-south side of Milwaukee a few hundred folks gather together to commemorate the Bay View Tragedy, the bloodiest day — May 5 1886 — in the history of the labor movement in Wisconsin.  I won’t bother rehashing the clash right now (you’re welcome to read about it here).  Instead, I would like to reconsider it in the context of our contemporary world, from Fox News and Foxconn to Scott Walker and Steve Jobs.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Green Is The New Black: What Ecoterrorism and Crack Cocaine Can Tell Us About Pro-Life Extremists

Green Is The New Black: What Ecoterrorism and Crack Cocaine Can Tell Us About Pro-Life Extremists

First off, an editorial consideration: the last time a scribble indirectly dabbled in abortion and race the shit hit the fan like a fanatic orangutan with a crop duster but no Pepto-Bismol.  From that experience I have not learned that I should not be even scribbling about such emotionally charged issues in the first place, in part because I am by nature a stubborn person, but mostly because it has long been a cherished belief that to elicit a passionate response is generally an indication of doing good work.  That said, if I am reaching out exclusively to a certain segment of the population, then I am being a bad writer.  This blog is admittedly pretty liberal.  But I would regard myself an amateur with written-off irrelevance if I only pissed off some of the people all of the time; far better would it be to piss off all of the people some of the time.  For then, at least occasionally, I must be getting something right.  Not that pissing people off is my intention; I am not a provocateur.  (Actually, I’d like to consider myself a fairly nice guy, who despite a lot of weird stuff was given good manners.)  I personally have no interest in taking up a controversial topic for controversy’s sake — I will leave that kind of dare-devil skullduggery to the stirring pots of schlock-jock op-eds and braggadocio bloggers.  For me the point is to take up a controversial subject unflinchingly when its moment arises.  If I fail to reach out with a requisite amount of tact or only pretend to see things from the opposing perspective so as to seem more reasonable or circumspect, then I am genuinely sorry and I ask that you accept my apology.  In this scribble, as in many of my endeavors, I seek only to speak truth to power, and if I happen to piss off anyone, let it be them — those whose vested interests see living things as commodities and codify justice with dastardly and bastardized double standards. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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