For the U.S. Military, there is no debate over climate change

March 2010 was the warmest month on record when combining land and ocean temperatures worldwide, says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, whose records go back to 1880. Is this a fluke, a one-time spike in temperatures? Could be, but the Pentagon sure doesn’t think so.

In their recently released Quadrennial Defense Review, the Department of Defense says climate change effects are being seen in every region of the planet, as measured by multiple federal agencies. These effects include increased rainfall, receding glaciers, rising oceans, and prolonged growing seasons.

So, while climate change might be beneficial if you live in an area with longer growing seasons, it’s maybe not so fine if you live on a coastline, and having Arctic shipping lanes open year round could change global commerce.

In the report, the Pentagon says “climate change, energy security, and economic stability are inextricably linked” and that climate change could bring geopolitical instability, poverty, mass migrations, food and water shortages, and act as an “accelerant” towards conflict. As of 2008, they had already identified 30 military installations that were facing risk from rising sea levels.

Read the whole article.

Mujahideen Victory Day: Afghans still voiceless decades later

I am the Afghanistan Blogging Fellow for The Seminal and Brave New Foundation. You can read my work on The Seminal or at Rethink Afghanistan. The views expressed below are my own.

Happy Mujahideen Victory Day! This is the national holiday when Afghans celebrate their victory over the communists in the 1980’s. We remember the Mujahideen of course, they’re the folks we gave all that CIA training and Stinger missiles to kill Soviets with. We all at least saw the film version of Charlie Wilson’s War, right?

Basically the historical narrative is that the Soviet superpower (who incidentally invaded in the name of democracy and development), the bad guys, are defeated by the heroic Americans, the good guys, who saved the hapless, incoherent hillbillies, the Afghans, by giving them lots of weapons to kill each other with. Yay for freedom fighters! The danger, our story warns, is that we abandoned Afghanistan after Mujahideen Victory Day, causing America to become the victims. Blowback! Poor, foolish America should have interfered more with Afghanistan I suppose. But we’re ignoring the Afghan version of history, and completely missing the point of Mujahideen Victory Day. Continue reading “Mujahideen Victory Day: Afghans still voiceless decades later”

Party on, Dave

I’m a party person. I like to enrich my calendar with the occasional rage. If there’s a turn on somewhere, I’ll be there — usually in the kitchen in close proximity to the refrigerator. Although my tipple has changed over the years, I imbibe more than the odd glass.

In four states, I’ve partied. I’ve B(ought) my O(wn) G(rog) to many a domestic venue excused with such terms as “house warming”, “birthday”, “twenty-first” and “fundraiser”. My partying has taken my ear from Bob Dylan to Arrested Development. I’m a veteran.

When I’m told to, “Maintain your rage!” I just think that’s so hip! . All I want is to party on.

But what’s a party person to do? When I first took up partying seriously my first stop was a party who had elected reps. I then drifted into another in search of a crowd more my kind. Selling the “Party Press” (“the only paper your boss doesn’t own or print”) and standing on picket lines seemed more fruitful than hanging around the doorway rubbing shoulders with the notables and fixing up the numbers at state conventions.

Maybe I was just too keen to be where the action was, and somehow neither of my early experiments could put on a good turn. I’d always come home embarrassed over some incident or someone’s behavior.

But I was lucky. I could pull up after all this without so much as a hangover. Still keen to do it again, rather than partake in the hair of the dog I sought out a new crowd.

When you have some fire in your belly, you don’t want it to turn into an ulcer, do you?

Back then, parties seemed to be going on all over. Each one promising to party on until a new dawn. They all raged and each one insisted that they had their own special something which made them different from their neighbor. None of them were big. A French bloke I know referred to them all as “groupuscules”. It was almost as though you could call together your own party then wait and see who turned up after the invites had been posted.

Even with so many pre- and proto-parties around, there was also a line offered in Claytons — the party you have when you don’t have a party. Come the moment when it was time to go out and rage there would be a wide choice to select from.

Nowadays, partying is not seen as the “in” thing to do. But I think the people who run the activity down are mistaken. Parties are the best way to maintain your rage. We all get hot under the collar every now and then. For a time we each embrace social life in a big way.

There’s nothing wrong with that — I’m all for spontaneity — but there always seems to be a reason to party. Maybe the good times don’t roll as often as they should and more folk than usual decide to stay at home. But if they don’t turn up again, who is there to tell the tale of rages past? There’s more to it than sending out for pizza.

So how would you know a good party if you came across it? The answer is simple: the one that returns to rage again and again. That’s how I judge them, and I should know because I’ve been in a few. Maybe you’d like to join me and we could perhaps … party on.

Dave Riley

Cape Wind approved. First US offshore wind farm

The Kennedy’s and other limousine liberals tried their best to block it, saying all that environmental stuff is wonderful as long as they don’t have to look out their porch and see turbines on the horizon. Oh, the horror.

But, after nine years, it’s been approved. 130 turbines off Cape Cod. Finally.

Interior Secretary Salazar said, “I am approving the Cape Wind project. This will be the first of many projects up and down the Atlantic coast.”