Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra are expecting -- twins! -- according to today's Boston Globe (scroll down to 4th item). This brings me to my favorite celebrity game, which kids of famous athletes will be the best athletes? I have my money on the Hamm-Garciaparra kids, over the Agassi-Graf kids, because of the combining of two sports.

Well, anyway, that's a little good news to contemplate at your Thanksgiving table. Back next week.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

History Lessons

Damage done to a black-owned newspaper office in 1898. Courtesy of the New Hanover Public Library (Charlotte Observer)

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana

The Charlotte Observer has written a huge special report documenting the racist campaign of the late 1800s that culminated in the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898, which led to the adoption of the Jim Crow laws.

Charlotte Observer: The Ghosts of 1898
(you may need to register to read, or use

which contains this:
Blot on N.C. history
We apologize for Observer's role in racist 1898 campaign

An apology to our readers

An apology is inadequate to atone for the Observer's role in promoting the white supremacist campaign. But an apology is due. As Mr. Faulkner observed, the past is not dead. For much of the 20th century black citizens were denied political rights, adequate education and economic opportunity because of their race. The legacy of that era helped shape North Carolina for decades. Only in recent years has our state begun to reap the benefits of talented blacks' full participation in its economic, cultural and political life.

We apologize to the black citizens and their descendants whose rights and interests we disregarded, and to all North Carolinians, whose trust we betrayed by our failure to fairly report the news and to stand firmly against injustice.

I was alerted to this series by this diary on dailykos: N Carolina Newspaper Exposes The Riot That Began Jim Crow and Interviews the Descendents.

Flooded with Disinformation

Richard Perry/The New York Times

In June, a road was washed out in Roscoe, by the Beaverkill River in the Catskill region.

NYTimes: Our Towns
TimesSelect After 3 Floods, Trying to Brace for No. 4
(TimesSelect wall)

Here’s what’s at stake: The Delaware River is the longest nondammed river east of the Mississippi, extending 330 miles from the Catskills to the mouth of the Delaware Bay. Nearly 15 million people — about 5 percent of the nation’s population — rely on it and 216 tributaries for drinking water and industrial uses. New York City gets half of its water from three reservoirs on the Delaware, and countless towns from here to the Atlantic exist because the river does.

From 1955 to 1996, there were no major floods. Now, it seems, there’s one every year. The Delaware River Basin Commission, which manages the river system, has begun a flood mitigation study, but on Thursday you could hear the frustration in the voice of every resident who spoke.

“I hear the word rain, and I hear a four-letter word,” said Joan Homovich, a retired teacher, who estimates her basement has flooded 10 times since 2003 and now obsessively goes online studying water releases from the reservoirs on the river. “When I thought about this rain I couldn’t eat.”

Part of the difficulty is a blizzard of conflicting agendas.

New York City, which controls the reservoirs, wants to be assured of drinking water for more than eight million people. Upstate residents want the city to also use the reservoirs to manage river flows and minimize flooding. Fishermen and environmentalists want to protect fisheries and limit man-made disruptions on the river. Towns want to be able to dredge and clean out streams to improve water flows that would prevent flooding.


Residents want the agency to release water and lower the reservoir levels, creating a void that could trap rainfall that could otherwise cause flooding. The agency says its options are limited because the reservoirs are not built for flood control. But for the first time it has said it would make efforts in that direction.

Residents say the city is already failing to deliver. (The agency says reservoirs are now at 100.5 percent of capacity. Normal is 70 percent.)


This year in the Catskills is among the wettest on record, but who knows what to read into a few years of wet weather. Freak of nature? Global warming? Thirty-year rainfall cycle? Act of God?

No one knows, and there are acts of nature that are beyond the machinations of man.

But despite the weaselly words with which the NYTimes ends its piece on the floods in the Catskills, these types of floods are predicted by the science of climate change. I heard Al Gore describe this type of weather scenario in An Inconvenient Truth.

Al Gore, transcript (unofficial), An Inconvenient Truth

What is often unnoticed the fact that global warming causes more precipitation but more of it coming in one time big storm events because the evaporation off the ocean puts all the moisture up there when storm conditions trigger the downpour before it falls down.


The places where people live were chosen because of the climate pattern that had been pretty much the same on Earth since the end of the last ice age. Here on [my] farm, patterns are changing. It seems gradual in the course of a human lifetime but in the course of time as defined by this river, it's happening very, very quickly.

Misc. Football Links

Portsmouth 2-1 Watford: Jay DeMerit scores first for the struggling Hornets, nodding a corner past David James (

The Beckhams are interviewed by Ali G. Before there was Borat, there was Ali G. (YouTube video):
Da Ali G show - david and victoria beckham

12 photoshopped pics of Teddy Sheringham (Guardian [uk])

Freddy Adu's US coach says if he's going to play in Europe, he's going to have to work hard even in practice. So I guess he doesn't do that here. (

Brad Friedel's gonna come home to the US after he retires, dodgy British accent and all, and run a top-tier football academy in Cleveland, Ohio (BBC Sport)

Mexican tabloid reports that the USMNT coaching job has been offered to Jose Pekerman of Argentina, and that Fernando Clavijo would be his assistant. If so, Sunil Gulati should be drawn and quartered. Klinsmann, Sunil, not the Peckerman. (Du Nord)

The Iraq SNAFU

Sunday's Guardian (uk) has a video of the insanity that is the US presence in Iraq. It's too real, and of course would never be in any major US newspaper.

Guardian (uk): Iraq: The Real Story. A film by Sean Smith

Sean Smith, the Guardian's award-winning war photographer, spent nearly six weeks with the 101st Division of the US army in Iraq. Watch his haunting observational film that explodes the myth around the claims that the Iraqis are preparing to take control of their own country.