Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Tabasco Sauce HQ is in deep trouble as sea levels rise!

I keep one eye open for important stories about worsening climate change. There's certainly no shortage of those these days.

This article is about one spot where the results of warming and the accompanying rise in sea levels is affecting the heart of Cajun country. It's a place where many folks hold strongly conservative beliefs and where warnings about climate change from scientists and treehuggers are at considerable risk of being ignored or blithely explained away.

Avery Island--where Tabasco Sauce has been made for over 150 years--is slowly sinking. But the main problem is that the water surrounding most of it is rising very fast. Faster than almost anywhere else on the planet.

It's not actually an island in the technical or scientific sense, but it's going to become one soon. By 2050, according to recent estimates.

The Island rises 163' above sea level now, but the marshes surrounding it are retreating by a staggering 30' per year. At that rate, the 2,200 acres of Avery Island will shrink dramatically before the mid-century mark, leaving only its core above water. That's hardly enough real estate to support the growth of peppers and the production of the hot sauce which has made Tabasco one of the best known brands in the food industry and made the McIlhenny family very, very rich.

The Guardian published an article just this morning by writer Oliver Milman which lays out skillfully and in detail how this unhappy development is unfolding. I strongly recommend this piece to anyone who's interested in climate change, great hot sauce, or contemporary events affecting life in the American south.

Climate change is real. The seas are rising. And regardless of how long it takes for some Americans to see what's actually happening all around us, we're going to have to meet the challenges caused by the damage we've done to our planet, and we're going to have to be for real.

The denying, the explaining away and the foot dragging have got to stop. If we still have a lot of people and a lot of corporations--who have a financial interest in maintaining the status quo--pulling in the wrong direction, wondering how we're going to keep our favorite hot sauce on the store shelves will be the least of our worries.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, March 26, 2018

Working: a tweet sums it up quite well

This tweet from the Dalai Lama came out a couple of weeks ago; on March 12th, to be precise.

And I think it speaks volumes about where we are in the U.S. as far as issues of money, work and the relationship of people to our economic system is concerned. Here is that tweet:

"In today's materialistic world there is a risk of people becoming slaves to money, as though they were simply cogs in a huge money-making machine. This does nothing for human dignity, freedom, and genuine well-being. Wealth should serve humanity, and not the other way around."

The sad truth is that in America, the term free enterprise has become code language for a flavor of unfettered, laissez-faire capitalism where there are zero safeguards or regulations of any kind and the working class just does whatever they're told by their corporate masters.

This is a terrible, shitty, no good situation for people who depend on a paycheck and it's simply not sustainable.

Corporations have had the upper hand in matters affecting those of us who work for a living for quite a few years. It's a bad situation and is likely to keep getting worse.

There are many ways in which recent technologies and business practices have made this very difficult situation for working people much worse.  On-demand services and the use of smart phone apps for virtually everything have forever changed the way people earn a living.

Even before the advent of the "gig economy", the off-shoring of jobs, the conversion of almost all workers to part-timers and the explosion of executive salaries all made financial survival way more difficult than it should ever have been. (The concerted effort to strangle unions is another whole facet of this sad story but that could easily be material for a different post on a different day.)

So many working Americans now clearly see that our lives and our jobs are nothing at all like they were a generation ago, when our parents took their turn.

This is especially true for the millions who're toiling away in a part time job (or three) with no job security, no retirement, no healthcare and no hope that any of this is going to change.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

The alarming rise of Cult 45

The Bulldog Barks

For bloggers, it's insane how many potentially "blog worthy" stories are right there for the taking at any moment.

I recently came across an article from Salon magazine that looks at the ways in which adoration of our #PoserPrez suggest a cult-like phenomenon.

Because I have deep roots in religious practices which I now believe to be extreme and are what I would describe as semi-cultish, this article caught my attention right away.

Yeah, "semi-cultish" ain't a real word; I made it up! But it fits; I think I'll go with it.

Chauncey DeVega is the author of the article. It's mostly a distillation of cult expert Steven Hassan's insight into cults and how they operate. DeVega's article is clear, well-reasoned and thorough without being overly-detailed or too clinical for the typical reader.

I recommend it highly, especially for those of you who share my distaste for Mr tRump, his temperament, his methods and his actions.

So take a look at the article if you're so inclined. It's a compelling read for Americans who are troubled by what's happening to our country under the non-leadership of con artist Donald tRump.

As we observe the goings-on inside this bizarro carnival that passes for his administration, you may be wondering how the Clown-in-Chief holds on to the support of most of the folks who bought tickets.

I've been wondering too. A thorough read of DeVega's piece here can help.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Bulldog was camping at the Tosohatchee...

I was camping at the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area over the last couple of nights. Located near beautiful Christmas, Florida.

I had a great time.

There was a full moon last night and I took a photo or two.

As I always do...

Hope you're doing some good stuff. Stuff that makes you feel better for having done it.

Bulldog Ben Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile