The Talking Dog

November 2, 2012, Like a hurricane blew in or something

All is well here in Stately Dog Manor in Brooklyn... alas, Familia TD in the NYC suburbs, especially up in Rockland County, continue to be without power. On a broader note, the Grey Lady gives us this round-up of frustrations associated with the (inevitably) slow recovery in many places from last weekend's Hurricane Sandy.

One of the frustrations that had been a growing irritant was the running of the NYC Marathon (given that there remain hundreds of thousands without power not to mention a seeming inability to get here-- and frustrations involving the intersection of marathoners with hotel reservations and storm refugees-- I would have voted to postpone it as a matter of good taste if nothing else, but as our Lord Mayor reminds us, this is only nominally a democracy). Although, as an entered runner, I was prepared to run the race, my twelfth NYC (just two weeks after my Midwest double of Indianapolis and Columbus in the same weekend), and indeed, I ran 12 or 13 miles yesterday through power-outed lower Manhattan to pick up my race number at the Javits Convention Center... the race has now been canceled. Ramifications to follow... but the short answer is... it just looked bad to do this in a city with hundreds of thousands still without power... or water... or food... As noted above, I fully agree with this call. And now I suppose I am freed up to see if there are [hurricane relief] volunteer opportunities in the area...

Where was I going? The broader point, of course, is that this is the new normal: we now have had a major, regionally disruptive storm here in the Northeast at least every year for the last three years (this year's Sandy, last year's Irene plus the Halloween blizzard, and the crazy Christmas blizzard and lunatic record snow winter of the prior year)... Obviously, Southern coastal climes can also expect more regular and destructive storms too (to go along with oil spills). And we know that inland, tornadoes, droughts and wildfires have gone crazy. Can we really live like this, ever more totally dependent on a complex but vulnerable system itself totally dependent on electric power and gasoline that more and more routinely disappears for a few days or weeks every year... ever more separated from nature by complexity, but thrown right back to nature when the complexity fails? Sure-- most of the world lives like this, but we prefer to believe we're "special" and only "the little people" (See Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia,Yemen, etc., etc.) have to live this way. Hey... what do I know?

Meanwhile, of seeming relevance, in Fake Election News [TM], the Lord Mayor's grudging endorsement of Barack Obama is ostensibly based on this whole climate change issue... But does this matter? Mayor Mike has the cash to hire lobbyists to bribe Congressmen to make real change if he wants. His own empire is dependent on the good will of the financial sector... btw... this may actually be why he canceled the marathon (ING, the title sponsor, seems to have seen the public relations disaster coming.) But... is it really "Advantage Obama"? H/T to TD Mom... who leads me to this... that there are massive power outages in Ohio's most Democratic areas... this has somehow managed not to be reported widely here. Funny that.

The big question, or the little question, or the irrelevant question is... which candidate would buck the status quo (and oil and financial industry campaign contributions) to do anything meaningful on the subject... Barack promised that his nomination would be the day the oceans stopped rising... Seems that hasn't happened, and the likeliest "global warning scenario"-- Katrina as a regular event-- is now the new normal. Best get used to life full of this kind of disruption.

And so, without a decent segue, I jump to hobby horse news, from our nation's permanent moral Katrina down GTMO way, defense lawyers for KSM and minions are asking for the proceedings to be televised. Like the ancient Chinese practice of "rectification of names"... forcing our society to deal with the reality of what it's doing (at least once in a while) would be hugely helpful to its overall health. In other words: there is simply no chance it will happen.

Our nation and society, for all our paranoia with "security," seems pretty much vulnerable to rather elemental forces (the weather? THE WEATHER?) And all this amidst economic malaise (or permanent contraction).

Fortunately, we have plenty of booze in the house... this is definitely a bad week to have given up drinking...