Monday, April 03, 2006

Global Warming - Raise Your Voice/Where Poetry Counted/Nuthatch

(Osip Mandelstam and Anna Akhmatova - see (P2) Philosophical- "Where Poetry Counted"- below)

(P1) Political

Global Warming is Not a Joke

Sometimes I feel like Michael Corleone, "Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in. Just when, on "60 Minutes," we've received irrefutable brave evidence from the government's top climate scientist (who yanked off his muzzle to courageously and calmly vent his conscience) that we've got, maybe, 10 years, not to reverse things, but hold them where they are, out come the right wing pundits led by George Will with their paragraphs of question marks and straw man "controversies." There is no controversy. Face it, the only reason Bush doesn't sign the Kyoto Accords on Global Warming is to pander to the greedy corporate bottom line. This all-too-obviously short sighted approach contains what can only be termed an environmental death wish.

Mr. Bush, if Global Warming is not a catastrophic threat to the planet and our way of life, why then does your own Environmental Protection Agency instruct the Insurance Industry in the best ways to protect their pocket books against the effects of -yes- "Global Warming"? It's easy for any reader to follow the money to the truth.

Here's the E.P.A.'s Advice to Insurance Companies on Global Warming. Hit the link and go down about 22 lines or so to the words "Global Warming."

For a really good site about Climate Science, go to

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(P2) Philosophical

Where Expression Trumped Death and Torture

That wonderful Russian poet Osip Mandelstam once told his wife, What are you complaining about, only in our country is poetry truly respected: people are even killed because of it. That happens nowhere else.

Mandelstam was imprisoned for a poem he'd written about Stalin, but the following "perfect" poem is one of Mandelstam's last. He wrote it shortly before his death in prison in 1937.

If our antagonists take me
And people stop talking with me;
If they confiscate the whole world-
The right to breathe & open doors
And affirm that existence will exist
And that the people, like a judge, will judge;
If they dare to keep me like an animal
And fling my food on the floor-
I won't fall silent or deaden the agony,
But will write what I am free to write,
And yoking ten oxen to my voice
Will move my hand in the darkness like a plough
And fall with the full heaviness of the harvest...

Imprisoned under similar circumstances, Anna Akhmatova relates a sadly touching and uplifting story from 1957:

Instead of a Preface

In the terrible years of Yezhovism I spent seventeen months standing in line in front of the Leningrad prisons. One day someone thought he recognized me. Then, a woman with bluish lips who was behind me and to whom my name meant nothing, came out of the torpor to which we were all accustomed and said, softly (for we spoke only in whispers),

"--And that, could you describe that?"
And I said, "Yes, I can."
And then a sort of smile slid across what had been her face.

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(P3) Poetical


I've yet to see
a nuthatch
hatch a nut
a nuthatch
nuts would
surely also be
a nut.

- Edward Coletti -In Light Year '87, (Bits Press, Robert Wallace, Ed.)


Anonymous said...

If current record wet weather is caused by global warming, does that mean we also had it in 1904?

Edward Coletti said...

Dear "Anonymous," In the future, please include name or initials in your text. I don't believe we are talking about rain when we speak of Global Warming.I believe we're speaking about (among other things), (1)melting ice caps, (2)increasing the power of hurricanes as they pass over warmed waters, and, (3)the melting ice swelling oceans which will flood, destroy and eliminate our coasts and seaports. But who am I? Read the scientists (not the purchased charlatans). Thank you for reading and commenting. Please remember to at least partially identify yourself in the future.


Katherine H. said...

Lovely posting on the poets. Akhmatova was so wise to write this lyric ("Then something like a smile passed fleetingly over what had once been her face)" on Lot's wife -- how does one look back on what no longer exists? I mentioned Irina Ratushinskaya to you -- another imprisoned Russian poet (still living, free) whose poems transform loss into memory. Most of the poems in her collection, BEYOND THE LIMIT, were written with a matchstick on a bar of soap. She'd etch, memorize, wash, etch again. Amazing what we poets will do.

Thanks, Ed, for bringing both of these poets (and because of them Ratushinskaya) back to the forefront of my mind. Another one I think of again is Nazim Hikmet. Are you familiar with him? A Turk who, when arrested and thrown into the hold of a ship knee-high in human excrement, sang his poems at the top of his lungs to keep from going insane. It worked.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ed!

LOL! We do think along the same lines! I was thinking Will's column would be great fodder for your blog and have been meaning to email you about that.

The most intersting part, to me anyway, of George Will's article was the citing of articles from the early to mid seventies on Global Cooling.

While worrying about Montana's receding glaciers, Schweitzer, who is 50, should also worry about the fact that when he was 20 he was told to be worried, very worried, about global cooling. Science magazine (Dec. 10, 1976) warned of "extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation." Science Digest (February 1973) reported that "the world's climatologists are agreed" that we must "prepare for the next ice age." The Christian Science Monitor ("Warning: Earth's Climate is Changing Faster Than Even Experts Expect," Aug. 27, 1974) reported that glaciers "have begun to advance," "growing seasons in England and Scandinavia are getting shorter" and "the North Atlantic is cooling down about as fast as an ocean can cool." Newsweek agreed ("The Cooling World," April 28, 1975) that meteorologists "are almost unanimous" that catastrophic famines might result from the global cooling that the New York Times (Sept. 14, 1975) said "may mark the return to another ice age." The Times (May 21, 1975) also said "a major cooling of the climate is widely considered inevitable" now that it is "well established" that the Northern Hemisphere's climate "has been getting cooler since about 1950."

Are the citings true? Was Global Cooling a mass scare during the seventies?



Edward Coletti said...

It doesn't surprise me that you sent the global cooling thing. I've been receiving this from conservative folk for months. However, the science today is what needs to be considered. If folks want to ignore today's science in favor of citing past possible mistakes and be "cautious," and IF, perchance the climate scientists today are correct about global warming (which I believe they are), and if there were only a 50% chance it were true (but it's closer to 100), then, doesn't it make sense to place the welfare of people and the environment over the contingencies of business? And (as evidenced by the EPA advice to Insurance Carriers)might not the impending effects of global warming negatively impact industry, shipping , and commerce far worse than ignoring it in the short term? I recently read a biography of Mao which demonstrated to me the effects of government only pretending to care about people and environment while subjecting everything to short term power grabs. Mao believed that nothing would matter once he died. Selfishness in the long run is Selfishness. It's time for political commentators to get rid of the question marks.


Duncan said...

Americans wonder why so many in the world hate us. We have become arrogant, bullying pigs. We consume 25% of world's oil and create, what, 30 - 40% of the pollution? We try to force our so called "democracy" on everyone, now by military force. We refuse to join the world in dealing with global warming (of course it exists, it's happening), refuse to deal with industrial pollution, refuse to change our transportation addiction to conserve fuel and reduce pollution and refuse to reform our government to stop corruption which is now virtually out of control. At the same time, we invade sovereign nations on false pretenses, incarcerate people and deny them due process while insisting the invaded countries adopt our form of "free" democracy, we invent devious ways to circumvent the Geneva Convention ban on torture, we have the most sophisticated, deadly, all-powerful military force ever created by mankind which we use at will.
To all US citizens who read this, I recommend living in a foreign country for a few years. Walk in someone else's shoes for awhile and look through someone else's eyes. As you observe the USA from a different perspective,you'll be looking in a mirror and you won't like what you see.

Everyman said...


Your spare articulate response to the global warming issue is so brilliant that it requires me to respond once more but do so without inflicting my photo again.I've long espoused living abroad as the cure for xenophobia. Recall that our dear "president" never set foot outside this continent prior to being elected and invading the places he'd hardly heard of much less visited. To him, Iraq could as well have been Iroleum. Kudos!

Eddie C.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ed!

So you, me, and George Will seem to be in agreement. The Global Warming Debate is about studying the science and not getting caught up in the media fueled hysteria. I like the web site you posted and will look into the information.

Also, I was looking Goerge's citings of Global Cooling articles more from a historical perspective than commentary. I was in grammar school in the early seventies. I was hoping someone could confirm there was or was not a media fueled scare on the topic.

By the way I liked the Mandelstam poerty.



Duncan said...

I've applied for a visa to Iroleum. Sounds like a great place!
I've also ordered "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq", by Stephen Rinzer. Rinzer is a former bureau chief for the NY Times and has published a book on the US involvement in Iran. He was interviewed yesterday (4/5) by Terri Gross on "Fresh Air". It sounds like his book lends credibility to my "Arrogant, bullying pigs" theory, as it chronicles 12 to 14 instances of the US government instigating or encouraging overthrows and coups of foreign governments.
Sorry this is off the global warming topic, but the current US position on that subject is a symptom of our "international personality disorder".

Edward Coletti said...

Duncan and Everybody,

Recall also my recent piece called "Bumper Sticker" - scroll down to March 13, 2006 - That's where I ran some of our reasons for war that always seem to come out the same -"grab something" - In fact it's so prevalent that I wonder if anything can be done, particularly with the dullness and greediness of leaders. The only recent bright spot on the horizon, in my opinion is Montana's brilliant, folksy, environmental active, idea-active governor Brian Schweitzer. Guys like him who think, lead, and act with vision "could" be the answer.

J. Arlo W. said...

Regarding the banned poetry- the problem is an overemphisis on obeying the rules. The school is merrely sticking to the rules it has set up. Do we teach children that it's alright to ignore the rules?
Well I guess somtimes it's best to ignore the rules. And then that means we are not a nation under law but under judge each thing as it comes. Holy Anarchy!
Yes indeed, Holy Anarchy. Wasn't Jesus an anarchist? Crucified by the conservatives of his day.