How Hot Is It?
Armageddon will start next week said the supermarket tabloid I passed at the checkout. Maybe I should have checked the date. What's going on in the Middle East looks like the start of it.
Meanwhile, most of the U.S. is gripped by the other apocalypse--just as this story asserted that this year so far has been the hottest in the U.S. ever, and it's not even August yet, most of the nation was broiling. Our little coastal strip is foggy but cool, so I wasn't that aware of the high heat elsewhere today, until I posted Climate Crisis "Fix It and Stop It" piece on the usual community blogs, and got some comments at dkos about how insanely hot it was today in the high Rockies and upper Michigan. Southern California is choking, and vast forest fires continue.
So I looked at the Weather Channel tonight for the first time in awhile, and saw a weather map that was solid red--all 80s, 90s and over 100 degree F highs in the east, midwest, south, southwest, west, north, everywhere but a few coastal strips. And the forecast for the coming week is equally brutal. DC over 100, and Detroit mighty close. Boston and New York, Pittsburgh and Philly in the upper 90s.
There is now ongoing drought, the above cited article says, in 45% of the US. And though 2006 may turn out to be the hottest year on record, it would only be beating out 2005.
So how is the Weather Channel, and hence the nation, handling this? They are now outfront about linking global heating to longer, hotter and more frequent heat waves, with thousands of deaths because of them. But that report comes and goes. While we're looking at the very red map (meaning all heat, though it does give a certain meaning to that other red signification on US maps), the weather man is cheerily advising ways to "beat the heat," like playing with water balloons.
After the forecast (cheerful delivery to horrendous information), we return to the ongoing taped dramas of super storms, the Weather Channel's equivalent of horror movies, or maybe reality shows.As bizarre as this schzoid imagery is, it looks familiar. Where have I seen this before?
Then it hits me--this is America in the 50s and 60s, coping with nuclear weapons that could obliterate life as we know it in a second. But the government assured us there was nothing to worry about, nuclear weapons were our friend, and so we were officially cheerful about them, while we were told to duck and cover. In the meantime, the movie theatres and drive-ins were showing horror films about radiation monsters and invaders from space with invincible heat-rays.
This is how we behave in the face of official denial. Our government won't admit or face the problem and so obviously is not going to do anything about it, so our only defense is to not think about it. Or we'd go crazy. Although in trying to pretend we aren't thinkng about it, and we don't know the government is failing us, we are going crazy anyway.
How hot is it? Our leaders have thrown enough money down the sinkhole of Iraqnam to stop the Climate Crisis in its tracks, and go a long way towards fixing the problems it is causing. They have thrown enough destruction into Iraqnam to destabilize the Middle East, and they've crippled our ability to deal with other countries, including those fighting there, and including allies elsewhere, so the American people can only watch as the world tears itself apart.
Any sane government would have a cabinet level Climate Crisis team working on fixing it and stopping it. But then, no sane government would have lied and blundered its way into the Iraqmire. Both failings are crippling the future, and making a lot of people suffer in the present.
So before you duck and cover, don't forget your water balloon.
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