Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ariadne auf Naxos

Ariadne, deserted by Theseus, sleeps on the Island of Naxos
My dad, Doc, came down from the Cape for this season's last performance in his annual Metropolitan Opera subscription, Ariadne auf Naxos.  I once was one of those kids other kids made fun of...always parked in the musty stone stacks in the foundation of the old town library with my nose stuck in a moldering book.  My mother had to sign a special release for me to venture into the adult section, since I had read all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder novels several times already, and had the entire orangey historical series of biographies of every conceivably important person memorized.

During one extended phase as often as not, I was immersed first in the dynamic compilations of fairy tales (Red, Blue, Yellow and Green), and later was absorbed by different interpretations of classical myths - uninhibited adventures which I adored as wild high-brow, bodice-ripping fantasies.  They have everything a feverishly romantic pre-adolescent imagination can dream of - unrestrained passion inevitably leading to treachery and tragedy, and eventually, salvation through love.  Or maybe instead, eternal but poetic despair.
Bacchus rescues Ariadne from her desolate isolation on Naxos
Ariadne is a tale rich in love and abandonment, loneliness - and ecstatic discovery.  The Strauss opera version is two tales - an opera within an opera - ingeniously woven together to great satiric effect, including the artistic frustration suffered by the composer, whose libretto is debased by the crass bourgeois ignorami.  Even so, the singing and the music were sublime, as would be expected!
It's quite funny that just a few days after the matinee, I missed the flashmob protest in this exact location where David KochRoach has donated enough money to buy himself a room with his name on it - at the Met.  Next time!
Back in the country, all these esoteric pursuits are of course usurped by the prospect of total ecosystem collapse - and besides, I can't be expected to go into all the nuances of betrayal and redemption when first daughter is to be married this Saturday - so click here for pictures of the performance, and links to briefly tantalizing sound clips.  
This blog is about dying trees, and so I'm going to revert to that topic now and post some recent articles that are relevant - okay, and a few pictures from the bridal shower, because...why not?  I don't expect to be posting much if anything substantive about trees and ozone until after the weekend (assuming the 21st isn't actually the Judgment Day, as predicted by certain fundamentalists!), but not for lack of material.  Every day I find new studies about the lethal threat posed by ozone, not to mention the dire prospects for the future of food...and follow the rising chorus of doomsayers, both online and in print, that have picked up on some dangerous trends.

Once a person undergoes enlightenment and understands the inevitability of our trajectory toward oblivion, it becomes impossible to ignore the simple truth that growth cannot be sustained indefinitely on a finite planet.  In fact it's quite amazing how many literate, erudite, educated people manage to fantasize that we can prosper on technological innovation forever.  I came across this shocking quote from Bob Solow, co-inventor of the Solow-Swan neo-classical growth model, who according to his wiki profile said:  "If is is very easy to substitute other factors for natural resources, then there is, in principle, no problem.  The world can, in effect, get along without natural resources."  This man's theories still inform such popular contemporary authors as Nobel laureate Michael Spence, even though I can't imagine how that could work, unless he's prepared for Soylent Green.

I guess that is why most people - chief among them economists, businessmen and politicians - avoid any intimation of that essential verity...because it follows pretty quickly once you start down the rabbit's hole that the consequences are unbearable.  The crunch is unavoidable, whether it's from exponential human population growth, unrestrained resource depletion, rampant pollution, or extreme weather from climate change...not to mention all of the aforementioned converging together.  David Attenborough wrote an essay that focuses on population in NewStatesman, which is a worthy exposition of that aspect of the problem.

I left a sort of random comment earlier this week to a story speculating about what aging women fear most, published on the Huffington Post - and received a number of responses that lend credence to the notion that average folk have a visceral understanding of the multiplying risks that threaten human civilization, whereas our esteemed civic, business and political leadership is far too busy raking in profits to pause long enough to take stock.  I got a kick out of the replies, so here's my comment and the responses (oh, and pictures of a tree that fell over onto a little shed):

This is yet another completely fatuous fantasy. It is more distraction from the real problems that are going to lead to society abandoning the elderly, the poor, the disabled, the insane and the criminal: total social and ecosystem collapse. Didn't you ever hear of peak oil, peak resources, pollution and climate change?

Everything along the Mississippi is drowning and Texas is frying. The west is going to run out of water, and that happens to be where most of our produce comes from.

The country and indeed the entire world has been living an unsustainable ponzi scheme ever since the industrial revolution, and it's about to catch up with us.

No wonder people are nervous - but they won't find out why by listening to the corporate-owned media, including HuffPo. The rich are pillaging as fast as they can before there's nothing left for them but their armed compounds, and nothing left for the rest but famine.
posted May 15, 2011 at 20:14:00     Reply     Link
seajewel I hope everyone reads your post. Fanned for seeing America for what it is, a huge ponzi scheme that's catching up with us. That should be taught in grade schools along with business classes and how to budget money.

joannevlavender on May 15, 2011 at 22:17:26

“Check your grocery store produce aisle. VERY little comes out of CA anymore. Most of our produce is labeled: Product of Mexico. 

The water problem out here is we live in a DESERT. Our population keeps expanding with the immigration problems. There is little rainfall. 

When I first moved here thirty years ago, everything was an orange grove. Now it's all housing developments.”

RogerHWerner on May 15, 2011 at 21:47:30
“What surprises me is how so many people can be convinced that perpetual growth is sustainable when world population is rapidly increasing and natural resources are depleting. What part of the unsustainability of this system is unclear I wonder? The question is what to do about it...corporations control virtually everything and as long as they can milk people a little more that's what they will continue to do. Wasn't it Marx or Lenin who said capitalists will sell the ropes that hang them? These men may have been crazy but the comment at least is all too true.”

homelessinportland on May 15, 2011 at 21:14:08

“I agree with what you said about the rich. I just wish I could have said it that well. A couple of points. It's natural for the Mississippi to flood, it's natural for Texas (and elsewhere) to burn. It's natural for the Southwest to be dry. These are not things to fret about. BTW, most of the produce I've seen lately is from Mexico or Chile and that's a different story. Anyway, your comment was well-written. I wish you would let me post it on my blog.

homelessinportland.tumblr.com









Wendy Davis on May 15, 2011 at 21:12:01

“Famine is what I worry about the most for the US.  Especially in light of ag deals between the US and China.  The highest bidder may be China.
 
 
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/20/us-usa-china-soybeans-idUSTRE70J7C420110120

JayDDrew on May 15, 2011 at 20:53:30

“There is a lot of truth in your statement, except this really didn't start until the Reagan administration ushered in trickle down/voodoo economics with progressively increasing tax cuts for the wealthiest. The baby boomers of the middle and upper class have fallen for it hook, line and sinker. Everyone thought they would be in that upper echelon, but poverty is just a few missed paychecks away without the social safety nets we are dismantling little by little.”
The black stuff is rot.

KatK on May 15, 2011 at 20:44:20

“You've said it perfectly. F&F. I work with biologists and they all see the mass destruction of the ecosystem including the resources humans need to survive. 

People are too busy playing video games to notice and corporate owned news - Fox or Huffpost - brings only the news people want to hear.”
This is the top of the tree - you can barely see the shed's roof on the right.
Last month a paper was published in the journal Science by researchers from Stanford and Columbia U that caused quite a stir, because it linked warming from climate change with crop yield reductions at a time when warnings of food shortages and rising prices are being issued from one international agency after another.  Naturally, I sent the lead author the following email:
On 5/5/2011 6:47 PM, Wit's End wrote:
Dear Dr. Lobell,

I am writing in reference to your paper which links warming temperatures to reduced agricultural yield.  Did you consider the reductions in yield and quality that result from exposure to background tropospheric ozone when you made the correlation?

Here is a link to one study about the damage done to crops by ozone, which says for instance:  "Ozone poses a critical threat and a challenging problem to world food security, fiber and timber production, conservation and genetic diversity of natural plant communiteis (Krupa et al. 2001; Fuhrer and Booker 2003; Ashmore 2005)."

There are many more links to published research on ozone here:


Thanking you in advance, 
Gail Zawacki
I promptly received the typical, polite, but discouraging reply:


"Gail

Thanks for your email. Our study doesn't consider ozone and as you mention it has important effects in many regions. it should not bias our estimates of temperature or precipitation effects, but i suspect ozone trends are also having an effect on yield trends. most of what i have seen are estimates of its current or future effect, but not how much things have trended in recent years.
best,
David"

I found the same insouciant neglect in this list of papers recently published by AGW Observer, about global vegetation climate feedback, with nary a mention of ozone's effects.  Sigh.  All sorts of models of how leaf cover will impact albedo, evapotranspiration and precipitation, drying soils, leaf litter composition rates according to temperature variation - an endless array of all the poorly understood effects on the system now being studied - but NO OZONE!  You'd think it doesn't exist.
SOMETHING in the atmosphere is causing huge trees of all species to die back - and young trees too.
Here's a sort of typical abstract from that assemblage with the colossal omission I have learned is ubiquitous:

"While the earth's climate can affect the structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems, the process also works in reverse. As a result, changes in terrestrial ecosystems may influence climate through both biophysical and biogeochemical processes. This two-way link between the physical climate system and the biosphere is under increasing scrutiny. We review recent developments in the analysis of this interaction, focusing in particular on how alterations in the structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems, through either human land-use practices or global climate change, may affect the future of the earth's climate."
Last Saturday Wit's End was spruced up for first daughter's bridal shower.  The wisteria held out, fragrant and magnificent, and the mayapples nodded in the woods.
We had just a few ladies come to afternoon tea.
The table was set with the shimmering silk cloth that middle daughter Sophie brought home as a gift from her trip to Thailand. 
As I put out the china, a hodgepodge gathered piecemeal over the years at yard sales and antique shops, and the precious Victorian silver that came from deep in the vaults under London, I reflected that each acquisition has a memory associated with it, and it gave me a sudden pause to think of the many people around the world who have already lost their treasured mementos in floods and fires.
Of course, it's just stuff.  But we humans have a habit of infusing things with meaning.  Given the extravagant menu you would never know we are on the verge of a food crisis.
We feasted immodestly on shrimp stuffed with scallops, bruschetta toasted with garlic and parmesan spread with a puree of white beans and fresh oregano, topped with the very special dried olives I brought home from the Santa Monica farmer's market (thanks Mike!), the sweetest fresh pineapple outside of Hawaii, and deviled eggs courtesy of the chicken flock.
Yes *confession* there was beef - grilled skewered tenderloin and red pepper, and melting gorgonzola dolce mashed with mascarpone.
For desert, we served a family favorite since it is the height of the season for rhubarb strawberry mousse.
A jolly time was had by all but Moxie, who had to endure severe penury in the form of torture by ribbon.

She tried daintily to escape, to no avail.
This sort of humiliation warrants an investigation by PETA...not the first time first daughter has faced the inquisition!
As usual, at least one of my offspring had to stick out a tongue at the camera.
One more personal note before we veer back to the purpose of this blog...Much rejoicing that founding member of Romm'n'Legions, consummate seafarer Leif of the great Pacific Northwest, was reunited happily with wife Joan after a brief incarceration in the hospital (where I have it on good authority he flirted outrageously with the nurses).  And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...
Every now and then the primary subject at Wit's End drifts away from the effects of ozone on trees to the health effects on humans.  Either one is overwhelmingly complex - a vortex of science, politics, and history, all laden with emotion and, all too often, rigid ideology.  The blatant political contrivances that inhibit a thorough and accurate understanding of health effects such as asthma is illuminating when considering the parallel suppression of information on the effects on vegetation.
Spring is a good season to examine the correlation.  The New York times reports:

"Americans are suffering from asthma in record numbers, according to a study released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly one in 10 children and almost one in 12 Americans of all ages now has asthma, government researchers said.

According to the report, from 2001 to 2009 the prevalence of asthma increased among all demographic groups studied, including men, women, whites, blacks and Hispanics.  Black children are most acutely affected; the study found that 17 percent of black children - nearly one in five - had a diagnosis of asthma in 2009, up form 11.4 percent, or about one in nine, in 2001.

While officials at the Centers for Disease Control emphasized that asthma could be controlled if managed effectively they were at a loss to explain why it had become more widespread even as important triggers like cigarette smoking had become less common.

"We don't know exactly why the number is going up, but, importantly, we know there are measures individuals with asthma can take to control symptoms," said Ileana Arias, principal deputy director of the centers.

Agency officials declined to comment on budgetary proposals that would reduce money for the National Asthma control Program."

Notice that while they claim to not know why asthma is on the increase, rather than investigate the cause, they put the emphasis on "controlling symptoms" - which means buying drugs and enriching big Pharma.  The same prejudice taints the cancer industry.

There was a similar story on yahoo news, which announced  "Allergy Season Here with a Vengeance," where extraordinarily bad reactions are blamed on, get ready...Wind, Snow, Sun, Rain, Trees, Grass, Mold, Warm Temperatures and Cold Temperatures!!! 
(Does this sound at all similar to blaming dying trees on:  insects, disease, fungus, too much precipitation, too little precipitation, leaking natural gas lines, and road salt?)  Oh, and the fact that people report that they are getting sicker is blamed on their imagination:
"'What is certain is that allergy seasons in general have been getting longer and more challenging,' said Angel Waldron, spokeswoman for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation.  'We do know that climate change and warmer temperatures are allowing trees to pollinate longer than usual,' she said. [Do we really know that?  Is the amount of pollen they produce a factor of the length of the growing season?]  'Although people feel things are worse than ever before, it's actually because of the longer season. It's a longer time to endure.'"
Ah hah!  So, people just think their allergies are worse, when really the problem is the season is lasting longer.  Except they interview people who haven't ever had allergies before and now have them.  So how does that result from their misperception of a longer season?
In any event, when you think about it, the "longer season" hypothesis of extended suffering actually makes NO SENSE as an explanation for more medication being prescribed, more hospital visits, and more misery being reported by patients.  First of all, there used to be many, many more trees and flowering shrubs.  They have been cut down by the millions...countless acres of them - so if anything, asthma rates should have been far, far worse before "development" ie mowing down the natural landscape and replacing it with pavement.
It is a certainty that the quickest google search reveals page after page of links making the medical connection between ozone and asthma, allergies, and other respiratory diseases.  Here by example is an excerpt from kidsource.com:
"For those with asthma and other respiratory problems -- who already experience breathing difficulty -- these high ozone levels can lead to further respiratory distress, and even hospitalization. At these levels, ozone can irritate the respiratory system, causing symptoms such as coughing, throat irritation, and chest tightness. Lung function is reduced, air intake can feel strained, and breathing, especially outside, can become shallow, rapid, and uncomfortable.
During ozone alerts, many asthmatics have attacks that require more frequent use of medication, a doctor's care, or even hospitalization. Ozone can also increase asthmatics' sensitivity to allergens -- substances that can trigger allergy and asthma attacks. Airborne allergens can include pollens, molds, dust mites, cockroaches, and animal dander. In addition to affecting those with asthma, ozone can impact those with other chronic lung diseases, such as emphysema and bronchitis, and may increase the risk of respiratory infections.

Children are at special risk during high ozone alert days because they breathe more rapidly than adults, taking in more pollution per pound of body weight. Because their airways are smaller, they are more likely to become blocked when irritated. Children with asthma are even more likely to experience the harmful impact of high ozone levels. It is estimated that 5 million children suffer from asthma, making it the leading chronic illness of children in the U.S. 'Ozone exposure is especially bad if the patient is already having some problems. It can push them over the edge and send them to the emergency room," says Dr. Wasserman.'"

Notice they don't understand why it's worse.  Let's go way way back to 2007, to an article I just came across, titled "Road Traffic Increases Ozone levels even in remote regions" which notes that models have been underestimating the impact by 30% because they do not account for hydrocarbons and long-range transport:
"The four researchers, led by Sigrun Matthes, are from the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.
Three main emissions from road vehicles are known to affect ozone levels in the lower atmosphere, or troposphere: oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. Oxides of nitrogen (NOx) cause either destruction or creation of ozone, depending on the temperature, amount of sunlight and concentrations of other chemicals. Carbon monoxide (CO) and small hydrocarbons like alkanes are indirectly involved because they oxidize to form the hydroperoxyl radical (HO2), which affects reactions between ozone and NOx.
To see how these pollutants influence ozone globally, the researchers combined a climate model with a model of atmospheric chemistry including several hundred different reactions. They dissected the effects of the three pollutant groups by running their model omitting each group in turn and comparing the resulting ozone distributions with a control run.The results showed that over the northern hemisphere, road traffic emissions are responsible for more than 12% of ozone in air near the surface in summer, including over the Arctic.
In winter, the contribution is less, because there is less sunlight.'People are normally interested in the effects of road traffic on local air quality," says Robert Sausen of DLR, who oversaw the work. "But we have shown that there are remote effects, such as over eastern Asia from European emissions.  Ours is one of the first studies to show this.
'In the southern hemisphere, there are fewer vehicles and emissions are twenty times lower. But even there, car exhausts contribute 8% of the ozone near the surface in summer.A key finding of this work is that hydrocarbons like ethane have a substantial effect on ozone concentrations in remote areas, such as over the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and the high Arctic. This long-range effect happens because hydrocarbons combine with NOx to form a compound called peroxyacetylnitrate, or PAN. Unlike NOx, this chemical is stable at low temperatures and can be transported long distances in the upper troposphere. When air masses containing PAN descend in places where the air is clean, the PAN decays, releasing NOx.
Previous studies have only considered NOx and CO from vehicles. According to this research, by neglecting hydrocarbons they underestimated the effects of road traffic on ozone by about 30% in remote regions.
Since ozone is a greenhouse gas, these findings will change current understanding of how road traffic contributes to climate change: the team plans to publish a paper on this in the near future. The researchers are also building a global model to assess the combined climate effect of cars, planes and boats. Sausen estimates transport will turn out to be responsible for 10 to 20% of the anthropogenic warming effect. "Transport deserves particular attention because it is still growing fast as a sector," he says.
The researchers reported their findings in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Their work was partly funded by BMW."  [BMW?? Never mind...]
Oh gee, where have we heard of peroxyacetyl nitrate before??  Oops...I have digressed.  
Now here is where the truly fascinating relationship between ozone's effects on human and vegetative health becomes apparent - the google search unveiled not just studies and articles indicating that ozone is harmful - mercy no!  It also uncovered studies and articles saying ozone is NOT harmful to human health! Yes indeed, as ludicrous as it appears, there are a plethora of assiduous efforts to challenge the damage done by ozone, just as there were such attempts made to obfuscate the medical evidence that smoking causes lung disease.
So, let's get back to ozone and human health and just for fun, check out some of the naysayers to figure out who they are!  Here's the first, a press release from the John Locke Foundation centered in North Carolina, titled:  "Study Finds No Ozone - Asthma Link."  Let's read:
"RALEIGH — There is no foundation for a widely suggested link between ground-level ozone, or “smog,” and asthma among children, according to a new study by the John Locke Foundation that cautions policymakers and the news media to “check the facts” before coming to conclusions about scientific issues.
In the study, Dr. Roy Cordato, vice president for research and resident scholar at the Raleigh-based think tank, examined ozone and childhood-asthma data from North Carolina counties. One of his conclusions was that increasing rates of childhood hospitalizations for asthma were hard to connect to levels of ozone pollution, since there was no evidence that the latter — measured in terms of ozone-alert days per monitor — had been increasing at all.
 More importantly, Dr. Cordato wrote in a new Spotlight briefing paper, a careful look at the county-by-county statistics found no basis at all for the alleged asthma-ozone link. In fact, he said, for all four years studied the only detectable correlation was negative -- “the greater the number of ozone exceedences, the lower the rate of asthma hospital admissions.” Previous reports that suggested a link between smog and asthma in North Carolina, Dr. Cordato continued, had apparently made no effort to examine the available data.
 'The idea that high asthma rates among children in North Carolina have been the result of ozone pollution has been a consistent and unquestioned given in debates surrounding air quality regulations, such as the recently enacted Clean Smokestacks Bill,' he said. 'Next time, lawmakers and the media should check the facts before repeating unfounded and politically motivated allegations.'

Dr. Cordato, an economist, is the author of numerous studies on North Carolina air quality, environmental regulation, and related issues for the Locke Foundation and for national research institutes. He argued in the new report that the attempt — by groups such as the American Lung Association, the Public Interest Research Group, and the 'Energy Working Group' at Appalachian State University — to sell new regulations as having a potentially beneficial affect on children could prove counterproductive.
'Unfortunately, such phanton-chasing in the media and elsewhere does a great disservice to those who are suffering from asthma-related problems, as it distracts out attention and our resources from more likely causes,' Dr. Cordato wrote."

Hmmm, Dr. Cordato is...an economist???  Well, at least the John Locke Foundation namesake is quite an illustrious historical personage, although perhaps it's a bit of a stretch to appropriate his legacy, as they do on their website, by interpreting his entire philosophy as:  "...his central political principle: that rights in property are the basis of human freedom and government exists to protect them and to preserve public order."  Apparently, the controversy of states' rights stretches back at least over a couple of centuries, and among other issues (like slavery) pits the rights of locals to pollute against the obligation of the federal government to protect citizens...and continues to this day...but maybe that's a topic for another post.  For now, let's google that organization, and up comes John Locke facts which states:
"The Facts Behind the John Locke Foundation [July 19, 2007, Sylva, NC]
Raleigh-based John Locke Foundation is stepping up its efforts to encourage continued uncontrolled development in Western North Carolina. The political organization has established an office in the mountains and has launched a “Wild West” blog devoted to undermining any local leaders who address the serious negative impacts of development on the health and safety of local residents and the environment. While its spokesmen frequently use terms like “liberty” and “property rights”, the public posturing of the John Locke Foundation conceals the personal agenda and ambitions of its founder, Art Pope.
Former state legislator Richard Morgan, Republican from Moore County, calls Pope: “an eccentric millionaire with gobs of money….I feel compelled to stand up to Art and the people Art influences with his money and try to prevent our party from being turned back in time and turning the state’s clock back 50 years.” Other details on the Pope empire are found in a 2006 News and Observer article written by Rob Christensen: Pope, 49, a Raleigh retail executive, has emerged as an important behind-the-scenes figure in Tar Heel politics, spending millions of dollars on a network whose purpose is to move North Carolina to the political right. You might call it Pope Political Inc.
Pope Political Inc. now has 50 people on its payroll, including academics, journalists, political operatives, lawyers and a former N.C. Supreme Court judge. The Pope fortune was made in hundreds of small towns across the South. Started in the 1930s in Fuquay-Varina, Variety Wholesalers grew over the years to more than 500 discount stores and 10,000 employees under several names, including Rose's, Maxway and Super 10. Privately held, the company competes with the likes of Wal-Mart and Dollar Stores in 14 states. The vehicle for the family's giving is the Pope Foundation, whose assets had a fair market value of $53.6 million in June, according to tax documents.
Even as many conservatives cheer Pope's patronage, he has created enemies who feel that one man has gained too much power. They say Pope is bankrolling half of a civil war in the GOP to purge Republican moderates in the state House of Representatives.
Among his critics is former state Rep. David Miner, a Republican from Cary, whom Pope helped drive from office. "What is scary about Art Pope is that it is one person," Miner said. "There is not any committee. There is no oversight. There is no elected official involved to face the voters every two years or every six years. It's him and his own personal agenda, and he is throwing his money around big time. Art Pope wants to control North Carolina politics."
Beyond its attacks on moderate Republicans and on regulations that would hold developers accountable for negative impacts on local communities, Pope’s John Locke Foundation uses corporate funding to advance its message that “global warming is a myth.”
In a 2005 article for the Independent Weekly, investigative journalist Sue Sturgis exposed how the fossil fuel industry backs the Pope political machine: While Locke does not take money directly from Exxon, it does receive funding from other fossil fuel interests and from organizations that are themselves funded by ExxonMobil. But it does not openly disclose that fact.
According to one of Pope’s assistants at the John Locke Foundation: '…his organization did not receive money from utilities or other fossil fuel concerns in recent years.'  However, complete returns for the past three years obtained through the New York based Foundation Center show Locke received at least $81,500 from organizations with fossil fuel ties during that period.
In fiscal year 2003, the most recent year for which a return was publicly available, Locke's second-largest contributor was the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. One of the Koch Family funds,  the foundation is operated by David and Charles Koch of Koch Industries, the largest privately held oil conglomerate in the United States and a leading contributor among gas and oil companies in the 2004 federal election cycle, according to a recent report by the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity (CPI). 
"Although it is both a top campaign contributor and spends millions on direct lobbying, Koch's chief political influence tool is a web of interconnected, right-wing think tanks and advocacy groups funded by foundations controlled and supported by the two Koch brothers," the CPI report states . In 2001, the John Locke Foundation received $6,500 from the Center for Energy and Economic Development (CEED), an Amarillo, Texas-based nonprofit whose Web site says it is "dedicated to protecting the viability of coalbased electricity."
Locke has also taken money from groups funded by ExxonMobil, according to www.exxonsecrets.org, a database sponsored by Greenpeace USA. In 2002, for example, Locke got $5,000 from The DCI Group of Phoenix, a Republican lobbying firm whose Tech Central Station Web site is sponsored by ExxonMobil, and in 2001 it received $10,000 from the Atlas Economic Research Foundation (AERF) of Fairfax, Va., which in turn has received more than $500,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. In addition…Art Pope has served on the boards of AERF and Citizens for a Sound Economy, a Washington-based organization founded by the Kochs that has received more than $380,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998, according to www.exxonsecrets.org.
The political operatives in Pope’s employ relentlessly crank out opinion pieces, editorials and quasi-academic policy papers aimed at undermined anyone working for clean energy or prudent controls on development. When you read between the lines, the consistent message of the John Locke Foundation is that the protection of local communities and the environment can be, indeed MUST be, sacrificed in the cause of “freedom.” But make no mistake. The “freedom” that the Art Pope juggernaut desires is for corporate interests like utility companies and big developers to continue plundering North Carolina for their own enrichment and without regard for the working people of the state. For the most part, the people of Jackson County are too smart to fall for Pope’s John Locke Foundation propaganda.
Sources – “The Knight of the Right”, Rob Christensen, News and Observer, January 29, 2006. 
“Turning the Warming Tide,” Sue Sturgis, Independent Weekly, May 11, 2005.
Ohhhhh...Jebus H. Christ NOOOOO!
Did I just find another Kochroach scurrying and scuttling...there!  - in the dank depths of the John Locke Foundation?  There is more current analysis of the Popedom here, for anyone who dares delve deeper.
Is it too much of a stretch to think of the Kochroach and Pope as Dr. Evil and Mini-me??
Here's another, more current version of the well-established "ozone has no relationship to asthma" campaign, this one published in the Georgia Rome News-Tribune, which argues the same tired canard of no-guilt by association that was instrumental in delaying action regulating tobacco:
"Earth Day (April 22) has slowly expanded to Earth Week, and this year it brings to Georgia the administrator of the epitome of government mission creep, Lisa Jackson of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But don't expect a celebration of this nation's environmental advances. It's more likely to be an indictment of industry, power plants and Georgians' lifestyle choices (driving) for 'asthma-causing pollution.'
This criticism happens every year as the May-September “Ozone Season” arrives. Newspapers tie high ozone days to asthma, as they have for nearly 30 years. Headlines such as, “Kids with asthma head indoors during smog season” reinforce the association. Unfortunately, it's largely a myth, built mainly on statistical associations between high ozone on hot summer days and hospitalizations for asthma. Yet summer is the season of fewest asthma hospitalizations..."
And who penned this pernicious screed?  Why, none other than a University of Georgia professor emeritus, R. Harold Brown, "adjunct scholar" paid consultant to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, yet ANOTHER right-wing think tank which are proliferating like...kochroaches.  He's also the author of "The Greening of Georgia:  The Improvement of the Environment in the 20th Century" which I suppose is great if you live in select areas in America but maybe not so terrific in places where goods for American consumption are manufactured and disposed of like India, Nigeria or China.  And then too, somebody no doubt reimbursed him for his efforts when he wrote a column ("Americans Cool as Activists Cry Wolf over Global Warming") extolling the 2009 Heartland Institute Conference on Climate Change Denial.  Check that link for a comprehensive and terrifying list of sponsors to get some idea of the spread of the Kochtopus tentacles.  (If anybody wants to register for this year's conference, let me know - I want to go to Washington and fulfill my New Year's pledge to get arrested this year!!)
So, given the dark forces arrayed against objective science, is it any wonder that the "free" media (the one owned by big corporations) isn't reporting the facts - and government regulatory agencies with their revolving door hiring policies for industry lobbyists tip-toe around essential science in a miasma of lies when they are challenged by well-funded right wing think tanks at every turn?  Even though a comprehensive meta-analysis on ozone levels and hospital admissions was just released:
"Meta-analysis of nearly 100 research studies finds clear link between ozone levels and hospital admission for respiratory illnesses.  There is a clear, statistically significant, link between ozone levels and admissions to hospital for respiratory illnesses. This is the conclusion drawn by US researchers who performed a meta-analysis of nearly 100 studies from around the world.


Meng Ji and her colleagues from Yale University and Rice University conducted a meta-analysis of 96 studies from between 1990 and 2008 covering short-term ozone exposure and respiratory hospitalizations.
They found that, despite the fact that some of the individual studies did not find a link, their meta-analysis did find a clear link between ozone exposure and respiratory hospitalization."
What can we expect from the regulatory agency charged by law with protecting the health of humans and the environment?  According to an article in the Huffington Post, it's a  sad, sad, sad situation...
"The Environmental Protection Agency is delaying indefinitely regulations to reduce toxic pollution from boilers and incinerators.
The move comes in response to a request from industry groups.
The announcement Monday was another setback for a rule that the agency claims will avert thousands of heart attacks and asthma cases each year. In February, the EPA announced changes to make it much cheaper to comply with the new standards without diminishing the public health benefits.
Industry groups, and congressional Republicans and Democrats, had been critical of the rule because of its expense and scope.
More than 13,000 large boilers would have to install pollution controls within three years of the regulation taking effect.
The EPA could not say when that would be. It said it would work as expeditiously as possible."
All the more reason to call out the Kochroaches - and their scurrilous multitudinous Mini-Me's, breeding filthy vermin under the cloak of "freedoms" in backwater states.

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