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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Tricounty DFA Update: Meeting Report, Petitions, Gov. Dean, Green Sky
Hello Everybody;

In This Update:

1. Meetup Report: Lisa Manzi
2. Warren Dems Schedule Petition Meeting
3. Governor Dean On Iraq
4. DFA Night School: Fundraising!
5. Campaign Finance Reform: Clean Money/Clean Elections
6. How The World Ends: A Very Scary Review Of A Very Important Book
7. Friday Night Film Fest

1. Meetup Report: Lisa Manzi

We had another fine DFA Meeting last Wednesday at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe on Exchange Street in downtown Glens Falls. The evening was dominated by a brief presentation and Q&A with Rep. Gillibrand's regional representative Liza Manzi, who works out of the Glens Falls office. Liza gave a very impressive presentation, and then listened and took notes on the group's views on a wide variety of issues, particularly the war in Iraq. Towards the end, Rep. Gillibrand's District Manager Mike Russo also dropped in. Mike answered a few questions, too. Thanks to both of them for coming!

I also reminded everyone of the DFA Training weekend in Albany on the 23rd and 24th at the SEIU Hall, and we discussed possible candidate forums.

We also discussed the use of electronic voting machines by some area school boards during the recent school board district votes. Since Lt. Governor David Patterson recently came out in favor of standardizing on PB/OS-- Paper Ballots Optically scanned-- we decided to take a wait and see position and see if the Executive Branch takes action on this issue. Governor Spitzer, at DFNY urging, came out in favor of PB/OS prior to the last election.

Because of the Fourth Of July Holiday, which is on the first wednesday of the month, our usual meeting day, we agreed to meet on the following Wednesday, July 11th.

2. Warren Dems Schedule Petition Meeting

The regular meeting of the Warren County Democratic Committee will be on Wednesday June 13 at the K of C Hall, Route 9 in Queensbury. Petitions need to be distributed at this meeting and if one wants to help circulate petitions, one must come to this meeting to pick up the petitions. Committee vacancies will also be filled at this time along with endorsement of local candidates.

3. Governor Dean On Iraq

Governor Dean has not really been heard from lately, but he spoke out with a roar this weekend when he gave the Democrat's response to Bush's weekly address. Dean addressed the war in Iraq, and it demonstrates how dearly his clarion voice on the war is missed. Says, Dean,

"Last week, President Bush compared the Iraq War to our ongoing commitment in South Korea, suggesting a plan for a 50-year presence in Iraq. By saying this, President Bush and the Republicans showed once again that they simply do not get it.

"It's time to end the war, not escalate it. A 50-year plan for Iraq is a continuation of an ineffective strategy and it is not acceptable.
Our brave men and women in uniform deserve better. They have served with honor and distinction, but its time for the mission to change. It's time for the mission in Iraq to focus on a political solution, not a military one. It's time for a responsible end to this war.


"The American people hired Democrats last November to ensure that we end this war. So let me be clear, we know that if we don't keep our promise, we may find ourselves the minority again." and "one way to truly ensure we end this war... elect a Democrat as president in 2008."

For the full text

4. DFA Night School: Fundraising!

Those who have logged in know DFA's online Night School sessions are excellent. They start against this Tuesday with "one of the most challenging parts of running for any office: Fundraising.

"Difficulty raising money is a primary reason many great candidates never get their campaigns off the ground. Despite the understandable cynicism about how campaigns are funded today, the ability to fundraise effectively for progressive candidates and causes is essential to taking back our country.

"Developing a Finance Plan
Tuesday June 12th -- 8:30pm Eastern

"Night School is DFA's free online training program. Last semester, thousands of DFA members from across the country participated in the web presentation and conference call. It's easy, it's fun and it doesn't cost a thing!

"Throughout June, DFA trainers with decades of experience will show you the secrets of effective fundraising for your cause or candidate. Take a look at what is coming up later this month:

"Fundraising: Events and Call Time
Tuesday June 19th -- 8:30pm Eastern

"Fundraising: Online and Email
Tuesday June 26th -- 8:30pm Eastern

Don't forget the Training Day in Albany on June 23 and 24:

5. Campaign Finance Reform: Clean Money/Clean Elections

Fundraising as an isssue points out there is probably no more important reform than Clean Money, Clean Elections, which get big cash out of our elections. That would return American democracy to the people.

Spitzer wants Clean Money/Clean Elections. Now Citizen Action is organizing an email blitz to committee chairs before the end of the legislative session. From our DFHM group:

"The end of session is coming and the statewide campaign finance
coalition needs all our help. One easy way is to particpate in Give a
Hoot part II-e mails sent to the election chairs. Read below:

Common Cause-NY generated over 1500 emails to Senate Majority Leader
Joe Bruno from constitituents who "give a hoot" about campaign finance
OF THE ELECTION REFORM COMITTEES! Please take a moment to once again
tell Albany you give a hoot, and forward the link to your members and

6. How The World Ends: A Very Scary Review Of A Very Important Book

A review of Under A Green Sky, a new book on Global Warming/Global Climate Change contains some of the most troubling information on climate change I have seen so for. The author uses fossil data of past extinctions to understand what might happen in the future, particularly if the ocean conveyor belts stop flowing. That happened during the Permian Layer extinction, which killed 90% of all the species on earth, and did it within a fairly short period of time.

If ocean currents cease because of too much heat, anerobic bacteria flourish, filling the atmosphere with hydrogen sulfide. The sky literally turned green and temperatures soared. Could this happen again? Possibly yes. Sorry to disturb everyone's sleep! I will paste this must read at the bottom of this posting.

7. Friday Night Progressive Film Fest

The Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe's Friday Night Film fest continues at 7:30 with:

June 15 DOING TIME: Life In The Big House (1991) Alan & Susan Raymond &
Lewisberg is one of the most feared jails in the entire American penitentiary system. The facility has garnered its reputation due to its incredibly high security and a bunch of inmates who have been incarcerated with no hope of reaching the outside world ever again. This documentary takes a look at Lewisberg, talking to both the highly dangerous criminals who lurk behind its bars and the officers who work there. Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary.

Thanks everyone! Make sure you read the review below!

Larry Dudley

Today's Review From

Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us about Our Future
by Peter D. Ward

Read today's review in HTML at:

Voice your opinion by posting a comment on the blog:


This Is How the World Ends
A review by Doug Brown

Many books on global warming are based upon crude computer models
(crude compared to our planet's actual climate) and hypothetical
what-ifs. Thus they are easily dismissed by skeptics as alarmist
litanies of, "Here are some really bad things that could maybe
possibly happen if the worst-case outcomes of this model which
is built on untested assumptions turn out to be right." Peter
Ward, a paleontology professor at the University of Washington
(and astrobiologist for NASA), takes a different and much scarier
approach. Rather than hypothetical speculations into the future,
he starts with actual data from the past. Can we examine the fossil
and climate record to identify past instances of greenhouse global
warming, and see what happened then? The answer, very disturbingly,
is yes.

The first section of Under a Green Sky covers how scientists have
examined mass extinctions over time, and how causes are determined.
After the Cretaceous-Tertiary event (a.k.a. the extinction of
the non-avian dinosaurs) was shown to have been largely caused
by a meteor slamming into the earth, extraterrestrial impacts
became the assumed cause of all mass extinctions. Everyone ran
around looking for craters of the approximate correct age to have
caused other events. Ward espoused a more systematic approach,
where the fossil record itself was first examined in detail to
see if extinctions happened slowly, in phases, or all at once
(only the latter favoring an impact). The granddaddy of all mass
extinctions, the Permian extinction, was a study target for both
Ward and the impact crowd. In the Permian event, almost 90% of
species died. To find the cause of this event would garner much
fame. Thus, when the impact folks thought they found their crater,
they promptly reported to the press the extinction had been solved.
The fossil data said otherwise. Ward's wonderfully written book
Gorgon discusses this particular debate in more depth, but the
short story is the crater turned out to be the wrong age by several
million years, and the fossil record indicated waves of extinctions
over a short period of time.

If not an impact, what could have made so many things die so quickly?
Here's where global warming enters the picture. When carbon dioxide
and other greenhouse gas levels were indirectly measured (via
isotope ratios in rocks and counting stomata in fossil leaves),
it was found a greenhouse event did take place at the end of the
Permian, and also at the end of the Triassic (the first part of
the "age of the dinosaurs"). Okay, so it got warm and stuffy,
but so what? Don't reptiles like the heat? Heat, yes, noxious
gases like hydrogen sulfide, no. It was the examination of ocean
floor extinctions that finally completed the picture. In impacts
like the Cretaceous-Tertiary event, things in the upper half of
the ocean die, but not so much in the lower half. In the Permian
and Triassic events, the opposite trend was seen; the extinctions
started on the ocean floor. Also, dark bands in the rocks signaled
the presence of anoxic bacteria in deep water.

Ordinarily, there is a conveyor belt running through all the oceans,
both at the surface and at deep levels. The Gulf Stream is a famous
part of this conveyor. Warm water moves toward the poles, then
sinks down to the ocean floor and heads back towards the equator.
This deep water, having come from the surface in polar regions,
is well oxygenated. In previous global warming events such as
the Permian and Triassic, changes in atmospheric gases were enough
to stop the conveyor. With no oxygenated water on the ocean floor,
everything there died and anoxic bacteria took over. Ward posits
these bacteria produced large amounts of hydrogen sulfide (the
gas made by rotten eggs), which then burped up to the surface
in large bubbles. Ward and his colleagues calculated there was
plenty enough of this nasty gas to account for the extinctions.
The scary thing is how fast the conveyor stops. In a matter of
decades, the climate can significantly alter, and within a hundred
years extinction is the order of the day.

Which brings us to the present. Thanks to us tool-pushing primates,
carbon dioxide levels are rising precipitously, setting up circumstances
very similar to those seen before. And when those circumstances
arose, really bad things happened. Ward closes Under a Green Sky
with three hypothetical scenarios for the future, based in part
on past occurrences. In the first, we get our act together and
cut emissions drastically. If we can keep atmospheric CO2 below
450 ppm (parts per million) come the year 2100, things will get
a bit warmer and some ice will melt, but otherwise we should largely
be okay. However, this is unlikely, as the current level is 360
ppm (and rising at 2 ppm per year), and much of the world is industrializing
as fast as it can, which may push the rate of increase to 4 ppm
per year. In scenario two, Ward assumes we hit CO2 levels of 700
ppm by the year 2100. Sea level will have risen several feet,
the ocean conveyor will have recently shut down triggering climatic
changes, resulting in massive numbers of refugees. In scenario
three, Ward assumes year 2100 CO2 levels of 1,100 ppm. Earth would
be 10 degrees Celsius warmer. All of the world's ice would be
melting, and much of the world's population displaced by rising
waters. The conveyor would have shut down decades earlier, and
signs of deep ocean anoxic bacteria beginning to show. Due to
changes in the atmosphere, the sky would be turning a sickly shade
of green. The sixth great mass extinction would be underway.

What makes this such a terrifying book is it isn't based on theoretical
mathematics. Rapid increases in greenhouse gases have shut down
the ocean conveyor several times before, resulting in severe climate
change and mass extinction. If Ward's analysis is correct, we
know what caused it and we know how to make it not happen again.
The question is: can we save us from ourselves? Perhaps if people
read Under a Green Sky and tell their friends about it, we might
have a chance. Many people are apathetic about global warming
because the press concentrates on superficial metrics like mean
temperature and sea levels rising a few feet. So we grow oranges
in Alaska, who cares? Peter Ward offers a reason why we should
all care, and right now.

Read the review online at:

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