Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Last Call For Smoke On The Lack Of Water

The 2015 wildfire season has been record-setting in more ways than one, and given that there's no end in sight to the brutal drought in the Western US right now, expect this scenario to get worse and worse as the years roll on.  In the short-term, firefighters battling these massive blazes are in desperate need of outside help and are getting it from as far away as Australia.

As of Monday morning, at least 13 large fires burned across the central and eastern portion of Washington, while 11 burned across Oregon. All told, 65 major wildfires are currently burning across seven Western states. According to the National Interagency Fire Center statistics, more than 27,000 firefighters are deployed across the country. To date, this years’ fire season has burned 7,487,737 total acres, more than any other season in the last 10 years. 
“Nationally, the system is pretty tapped,” Rob Allen, the deputy incident commander for the fires around the Cascade Mountain resort town of Chelan, told the Associated Press last Wednesday. “Everything is being used right now, so competition for resources is fierce.” 
Last week, for the first time since 2006, the National Interagency Fire Center mobilized 200 active-duty military troops to help control the fires that are spreading throughout the West. Along with active-duty soldiers, members of the National Guard and Air Force have already been called to help fight the fires. This weekend, dozens of firefighters from Australia and New Zealand were deployed to help fight blazes in Idaho, Washington, Montana, Oregon, and California. This isn’t the first time that firefighters have come from Australia to help fight U.S. fires — under an exchange program, Australian firefighters have come to the United States 11 times since 2000, according to the Strait Times
The military and foreign firefighters will provide crucial manpower for Western firefighting teams that have all but exhausted their local resources. Last week, the Los Angeles Times published a story about Rick Anderson, a fire chief in Stevens County, Washington who was forced to fight a fire with just 11 other firefighters and pickup trucks carrying 300-gallon water tanks. When Anderson called surrounding fire agencies to ask for reinforcements, he was told that none had extra manpower to spare — they were all busy fighting their own fires. 
Anderson’s story is just one example of a fire season that has pushed local and federal fire agencies to the brink. 
“It’s like the fire season gas pedal has been pushed to the floor in a really short period of time, and that’s stressed our resources,” Ken Frederick, a spokesman for the National Interagency Fire Center, told the Associated Press. “And that’s got us relying on help from resources we don’t normally use.”

More wildfires, more firefighters needed to battle them.  The costs in money, property, and of course lives will only continue to increase as climate change and growing populations in Western US states makes droughts worse, taxes water and infrastructure resources, and leads to more incidents of accidents with fire and in some cases arson.

Welcome to the new normal.

Full-Blown Art Attack

Some days in life you trip and fall and just have to pick yourself up.  Other times, you trip and fall and put your hand through a million-and-a-half dollar painting.

A 12-year-old tripped at a museum in Taiwan this weekend; luckily a $1.5 million painting was there to break his fall. The kid is reportedly fine, the $1.5 million painting, not so much: according to reports, it now has a kid-sized hole in it.
And this is why art restoration experts exist.

According to the Telegraph, the boy was “nervous” he’d be held financially responsible—lol, duh—but by the grace of god, his family reportedly won’t have to pay any restoration costs for the 17th century Paolo Porpora oil painting, titled “Flowers.”
Life happens.  For everything else, there's insurance.

But you might want to fix those barriers, guys.

The Best Case For The Iran Nuclear Deal... the fact that warmonger and generally awful supervillain prototype Dick Cheney is speaking out against any agreement with Iran and is trying to undermine this president once again,

Dick Cheney will speak out against the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran during a speech next month at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. 
According to an AEI news release, the former vice president will share his concerns about the deal’s “consequences for the security and interests of the United States and its allies in the Middle East.”

In July, Cheney said on Fox News that the deal would make the use of nuclear weapons more likely. 
“What Obama has done has, in effect, sanctioned the acquisition by Iran of nuclear capability. And it can be a few years down the road. It doesn’t make any difference. It’s a matter of months until we’re going to see a situation where other people feel they have to defend themselves by acquiring their own capability,” he said. “And that will, in fact, I think put us closer to use — actual use of nuclear weapons than we’ve been at any time since Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.” 
Cheney will speak on Sept. 8 — just a week ahead of the Sept. 17 deadline for Congress to vote on the deal’s authorization.

The guy behind lying us into a war with Iraq wants us to go to war with Iran.

That's all I need to dispel any doubts I may have ever had about this Iran nuclear agreement and that it's a massive win for the US, the world, and President Obama.

What possible credibility on foreign policy issues does this madman have?  He should be giving this speech at a federal prison, not a think tank.  By all means, Dick, let's have you on America's teevee screens to remind us once again what another four years of insane Republican rule will bring in 2017: hundreds of thousands of US troops fighting and dying for another massive lie in yet another idiotic war in the Middle East.

Please proceed, Dick.


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