North Carolina executed the 1,000th person since the U.S. reinstated capital punishment in 1976, putting us 1,000 ahead of our friends and allies in the contest to become the most barbarous democracy on earth.
I don't have time at the moment to go over the problems with the death penalty, except to note that the Jeanine Nicarico case is back in the newspapers in Chicago. The man most likely responsible for Nicarico's murder is finally on trial for it 20 years after a man who couldn't possibly have killed her was sentenced to death for the crime.
There are myriad reasons why no other country in the OECD still kills its prisoners, reasons I will articulate in future posts. For now, though, let me reflect on the passing of this milestone, and sigh.
...that Rosa Parks was jailed for not giving up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Ala.
Thanks to eagle-eyed attorney Angela Riccetti for a correction to this item.
New Scientist is reporting this hour on findings published today in the journal Nature, showing a 30% reduction in warm-water flows in the Atlantic Gulf Stream. This is a long-predicted effect of global warming, similar to changes in the flow that may have caused the so-called "mini ice-age" of the 14th and 15th centuries—and the major ice age of 110,000 years ago.
Not to be alarmist or anything, but this news is the climatic equivalent of seeing fifteen "for sale" signs on your block. It shows that something is very, very wrong, and the effects will be very, very bad. Think: ice skating straight across the Thames from the London Eye to Westminster. Think: Western Ireland under three feet of snow. Think: Madrid with Denver's climate.
Think I'm exaggerating? Nature is, after all, an alarmist publication. And New Scientist is only repeating the party line. You've got to be skeptical of the evidence-based community, you know.
Look, we've known for decades that we were influencing the climate. Journalist James Burke talked about exactly this happening in his 1991 miniseries After the Warming. Only, he speculated the slowdown happening in 2050, not 1995.
I've always thought global warming would benefit Chicago, even as it punished cities like Edinburgh. I just didn't think it would happen in my lifetime.
(Why the sheep? He's in Western Ireland, and he's cute, and ten years from now his descendants will be glad they have wool coats.)
I just got a voice message from the National Republican Campaign Committee, asking for survey input.
As a matter of fact, I do have some ideas for the 2006 campaign...
The National Hurricane Center just a few minutes ago released this report:
...TROPICAL STORM EPSILON...THE 26TH NAMED STORM OF THE 2005
ATLANTIC SEASON...FORMS OVER THE CENTRAL ATLANTIC OCEAN...
AT 11 AM AST...1500Z...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM EPSILON WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 31.6 NORTH... LONGITUDE 50.4 WEST OR ABOUT
845 MILES...1360 KM...EAST OF BERMUDA AND ABOUT 1395 MILES...2245
KM... WEST OF THE AZORES ISLANDS.
For those of you keeping score at home, this means we've seen 7 more named storms than the previous record (19, in 1995), and 5 more than the record for all tropical storms and hurricanes in a season (21, in 1933), since we started keeping track in 1851.
Now, the NHC admits the evidence doesn't fully support a link between global warming and storm frequency, but the hypothesis supporting the connection continues to gain evidence. Evidence like, for example, the most intense tropical storm season on record, including the only known tropical cyclone ever to reach Europe (Vince, October 11th).
Aren't you glad the best President we have right decided to make us the only Industrial country to refuse the Kyoto Protocol?
I told the credit card woman that it was because I was boycotting J. Crew because they sell fur. She actually had the nerve to say, "I can assure you that the fur that we sell comes from reputable breeders and not from animal destruction."
I think that was off-script, huh? I just said, "I think by definition it comes from animal destruction."
I encourage everyone who is getting J. Crew's catalogs to call (800) 562-0258 and ask to be taken off their lists--and be sure to tell them why.
I didn't even know we had a J. Crew card...
The owners of this property in Carmel, Calif., wanted to build a starter castle. The California Coastal Commission generally doesn't allow new building in coastal communities, especially ugly starter castles. So the dude decided to "remodel" his existing home:
Apparently, this fits the definition of "remodeling" in Monterey County, believe it or not. The CCC, however, required him to take 4 m (12.5 ft) off the top of his proposed refit, so it will wind up being only 3 stories tall.
Gotta draw the line somewhere, I guess.
What I'm reading right now (and what Anne can't wait to borrow):
It appears we're finally going to have an impartial, thorough investigation into the run-up to the Iraq war, conducted by an governmental organization with the power and motivation to do it right: the U.K. House of Commons.
That's what happens when you have a 36% approval rating.
I'm glad someone agrees with me. :)
From today's Chicago Tribune:
"The president could take the politics out of Iraq once and for all if he would simply go on television and say to the American people: 'Yes, we made mistakes. Yes, there are things that I would have done differently. But now that I'm here, I'm going to work with both Republicans and Democrats to find the most responsible way out,'" [Illinois U.S. Senator Barack] Obama said. "Imagine if he did that, how it would transform the politics of our country."
—Guest blogger Anne