Sunday 29 August 2010

let it go

Bam be lam!
Up, Down, Appendices, Postscript.

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.
   Whoa Black Betty
Bam be lam

let it go ‐ the
smashed word broken
open vow or
the oath cracked length
wise - let it go it
was sworn to

let them go ‐ the
truthful liars and
the false fair friends
and the boths and
neithers ‐ you must let them go they
were born
to go

let all go ‐ the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things ‐ let all go

so comes love

   The cat’s in the well
The wolf is looking down
The cat’s in the well
The wolf is looking down
He got a big bushy tail
Dragging all over the ground

The cat’s in the well
The gentle lady is asleep
The cat’s in the well
The gentle lady is asleep
She ain’t hearing a thing
The silence is stickin’ her deep

The cat’s in the well
And grief is showing its face
The world’s being slaughtered
It’s such a bloody disgrace

The cat’s in the well
The horse is going bumpety bump
The cat’s in the well
And the horse is going bumpety bump
Back Alley Sally
Is doing the American jump

The cat’s in the well
And Papa is reading the news
His hair’s falling out
And all of his daughters need shoes

The cat’s in the well
And the barn is full of the bull
The cat’s in the well
And the barn is full of the bull
The night is so long
And the table is oh so full

The cat’s in the well
And the servant is at the door
The drinks are ready
And the dogs are going to war

The cat’s in the well
The leaves are starting to fall
The cat’s in the well
Leaves are starting to fall
Goodnight my love
May the Lord have mercy on us all

My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple
[They will say: 'But how his arms and legs are thin!']
   Black Betty had a baby
Bam be lam
Damn thing gone blind

Adoration of the Magi, Balthazar detail, Hieronymus BoschAll this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.

I do not like this cummings' poem, it is lame, unpoetic, stupid even (I mean, 'so comes love' ? give me a break, puh-leeze), and I considered leaving off the last two lines which would about half fix it, but I didn't, respect for the dead I suppose,

and you know, they make Eliot out to be such an intellectual (and he was certainly) but there are touches ... the pause you see here before 'pin' and twice before 'This' are in the typography of the 1940/1968 Faber & Faber edition I hold in my hands tonight though they are not always shown on Internet versions, so, not 'entirely' intellectual then ...

dawn is coming, the racoons are hissing and scrapping in the parking lot, rabid I wonder? the first gull sits on his lamp-post shouting out so shrilly, "It's all about ME!"

ok, just for the Halibut, here's another bit of bum-boy comic relief from Paul Krugman ... and Johnny Cash with the Orange Blossom Special to take us right on outta here.

And I ain't comin' back 'till I don't have to. I don't care if I do die do die do die do die do. :-)how long can I do without this Internet shit I wonder? probably not long ... have to find out the hard way I guess ... be well gentle reader.

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

   The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Lord, it's a bourgeois town
Uh, the bourgeois town
I got the bourgeois blues
Gonna spread the news all around
  Oh the baby had blue eyes
Well it must have been the captain's
Whoa Black Betty
Bam be lam


nothing I have seen on the Internet, however, not the porn certainly, is as daemonic as HTML, a syntax so arbitrary & arcane has to be the work of the Devil doesn't it? and can anyone who knows it really think properly about anything else? the revenge of the know-nothing self-serving nerds, and just when you have learned enough to survive comes another wrinkle, another layer, CSS? one has to laugh]

SockeyeSpencer Tunick, Big ChillMyfi BaronMyfi Baron
Spencer Tunick's latest at the Big Chill festival in England is apparently on a global warming theme, and the first image I saw of it was the one above, black two shades of blue & white, and I thought, "oh, colour! he's branching out," and then when it seemed the black arms & hands were somehow beseeching, "ahh that's it, he's getting at the racial aspect," (which is central to me f'rinstance), but if you Google for more images you will see pink & yellow as well ... so, I have no idea what he's on about, (and neither, I think, does he) ...
Tuira Kayapo 2009Get Out of Belo Monte - Altamira 2010The last rays of sunset shining on my tree.Sockeye

Theo Colborn's admin flunky, Chris Ribbens, don't take no shit from the hoi polloi, Nosiree Bob! ... maybe they are just getting old and cranky, I can't say ... ask a simple question and get stonewall incomprehension & bafflegab, whatever ... fuck 'em then!

so tonight I am thankful for the press, a 2007 Guardian article eventually led me to an international organization, AMAP - Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, and to a US government one, NIEHS - National Institute of Environmental Health Science, and their journal, EHP - Environmental Health Perspectives, and a substantive update on the subject since Theo Colborn's Our Stolen Future in 1995/6:

Declines in Sex Ratio at Birth and Fetal Deaths in Japan, and in U.S. Whites but Not African Americans, EHP, July 2006.

and some direct downloads from AMAP (you have to download 'em to read 'em): 2009 Human Health Report & Arctic Pollution 2009, and there are others of interest on the Assessment Results sidebar at their site.

this looked interesting too - especially since it is so recent, the abstract says that the excess of girls in the North, or Greenland at least, has now swung to an excess of boys - but this Arctic Institute of North America is a k-k-Canadian outfit and they keep their articles well locked up ... at least they are more-or-less apologetic about it.

and last thing of all, and the best thing of all, here's a bright ray of hope coming from Christine, a 15 minute video, Coalition of the Willing from a group of UK filmmakers that sums things up very well indeed.

(they have hosted it on Vimeo which is not the best, pause it while it loads, or, if that doesn't work - use KeepVid under IE, right-click and 'Save Target As' for a local copy you can view on whatever you use)

1. Man-made chemicals blamed as many more girls than boys are born in Arctic, Paul Brown, September 12 2007.
2. Population, Sex Ratios and Development in Greenland, Hamilton & Rasmussen, March 2010.
3. This Is Not a Recovery, Paul Krugman, August 26 2010.

Man-made chemicals blamed as many more girls than boys are born in Arctic, Paul Brown, September 12 2007.

· High levels can change sex of child during pregnancy
· Survey of Greenland and east Russia puts ratio at 2:1

Twice as many girls as boys are being born in some Arctic villages because of high levels of man-made chemicals in the blood of pregnant women, according to scientists from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (Amap).

The scientists, who say the findings could explain the recent excess of girl babies across much of the northern hemisphere, are widening their investigation across the most acutely affected communities in Russia, Greenland and Canada to try to discover the size of the imbalance in Inuit communities of the far north.

In the communities of Greenland and eastern Russia monitored so far, the ratio was found to be two girls to one boy. In one village in Greenland only girls have been born.

The scientists measured the man-made chemicals in women's blood that mimic human hormones and concluded that they were capable of triggering changes in the sex of unborn children in the first three weeks of gestation. The chemicals are carried in the mother's bloodstream through the placenta to the foetus, switching hormones to create girl children.

Lars-Otto Reierson, executive secretary for Amap, said: "We knew that the levels of man-made chemicals were accumulating in the food chain, and that seals, whales and particularly polar bears were getting a dose a million times higher than that existing in plankton, and that this could be toxic to humans who ate these higher animals. What was shocking was that they were also able to change the sex of children before birth."

The sex balance of the human race - historically a slight excess of boys over girls - has recently begun to change. A paper published in the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences earlier this year said that in Japan and the US there were 250,000 boys fewer than would have been expected had the sex ratio existing in 1970 remained unchanged. The paper was unable to pin down a cause for the new excess of girls over boys.

The Arctic scientists have discovered that many of the babies born in Russia are premature and the boys are far smaller than girls. Possible links between the pollutants and high infant mortality in the first year of life is also being investigated.

Scientists believe a number of man-made chemicals used in electrical equipment from generators, televisions and computers that mimic human hormones are implicated. They are carried by winds and rivers to the Arctic where they accumulate in the food chain and in the bloodstreams of the largely meat- and fish-eating Inuit communities.

The first results of the survey were disclosed at a symposium of religious, scientific and environmental leaders in Greenland's capital, Nuuk, yesterday, organised by the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Bartholomew I, which is looking at the effects of environmental pollution on the Arctic.

Dr Reierson said the accumulation of DDT, PCBs, flame-retardants and other endocrine disrupters has been known for some time and young women had been advised to avoid eating some Arctic animals to avoid excess contamination and possible damage to their unborn children.

Dr Reierson, said blood samples from pregnant women were subsequently matched with the sex of their baby. Women with elevated levels of PCBs in their blood above two to four micrograms per litre and upwards were checked in three northern peninsula's in Russia's far east - the Kola, Taimyr and Chukotka - plus the Pechora River Basin.

To check the results the survey was widened and further communities, including those on Commodore Island, were investigated. The results were now in for 480 families and the ratio remained the same.

He said full results for the widening of the survey would not be published until next year but preliminary results for Greenland showed the same 2:1 ratio in the north.

Aqqaluk Lynge, the former chairman of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference who hails from Greenland, said: "This is a disaster, especially for some 1,500 people who make up the Inuit nations in the far north east of Russia.

"Here in the north of Greenland, in the villages near the Thule American base, only girl babies are being born to Inuit families.

"The problem is acute in the north and east of Greenland where people still have the traditional diet.

"This has become a critical question of people's survival but few governments want to talk about the problem of hormone mimickers because it means thinking about the chemicals you use.

"I think they need to be tested much more stringently before they are allowed on the market."


The Inuit are nomadic in nature, having survived for thousands of years using formidable hunting skills to seek out the bowhead whale, seal, caribou and walrus. The Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), an international body, was founded in 1977 to represent the rights of the approximately 150,000 Inuit of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka (Russia). With relatively low levels of educational attainment and few opportunities, violence, alcohol and drug dependency are a growing problem as the Inuit try to safeguard its traditions.

Population, Sex Ratios and Development in Greenland, Hamilton & Rasmussen, March 2010.


During the 20th century, Greenland society experienced a dramatic transformation from scattered settlements based on hunting, with mostly turf dwellings, to an urbanizing post-industrial economy. This transformation compressed socioeconomic development that took centuries to millennia elsewhere into a few generations. The incomplete demographic transition that accompanied this development broadly followed the classical pattern, but with distinctive variations relating to Greenland’s Arctic environment, sparse population, and historical interactions between two cultures: an indigenous Inuit majority and an influential Danish minority. One heritage from Danish colonial administration, and continued more recently under Greenland Home Rule, has been the maintenance of population statistics. Time series of demographic indicators, some going back into the 18th century, provide a uniquely detailed view of the rapid hunting-to-post-industrial transition. Changing sex ratios—an early excess of females, shifting more recently to an excess of males—reflect differential impacts of social, economic, and technological developments.

This Is Not a Recovery, Paul Krugman, August 26 2010.

What will Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, say in his big speech Friday in Jackson Hole, Wyo.? Will he hint at new steps to boost the economy? Stay tuned.

But we can safely predict what he and other officials will say about where we are right now: that the economy is continuing to recover, albeit more slowly than they would like. Unfortunately, that’s not true: this isn’t a recovery, in any sense that matters. And policy makers should be doing everything they can to change that fact.

The small sliver of truth in claims of continuing recovery is the fact that G.D.P. is still rising: we’re not in a classic recession, in which everything goes down. But so what?

The important question is whether growth is fast enough to bring down sky-high unemployment. We need about 2.5 percent growth just to keep unemployment from rising, and much faster growth to bring it significantly down. Yet growth is currently running somewhere between 1 and 2 percent, with a good chance that it will slow even further in the months ahead. Will the economy actually enter a double dip, with G.D.P. shrinking? Who cares? If unemployment rises for the rest of this year, which seems likely, it won’t matter whether the G.D.P. numbers are slightly positive or slightly negative.

All of this is obvious. Yet policy makers are in denial.

After its last monetary policy meeting, the Fed released a statement declaring that it “anticipates a gradual return to higher levels of resource utilization” — Fedspeak for falling unemployment. Nothing in the data supports that kind of optimism. Meanwhile, Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, says that “we’re on the road to recovery.” No, we aren’t.

Why are people who know better sugar-coating economic reality? The answer, I’m sorry to say, is that it’s all about evading responsibility.

In the case of the Fed, admitting that the economy isn’t recovering would put the institution under pressure to do more. And so far, at least, the Fed seems more afraid of the possible loss of face if it tries to help the economy and fails than it is of the costs to the American people if it does nothing, and settles for a recovery that isn’t.

In the case of the Obama administration, officials seem loath to admit that the original stimulus was too small. True, it was enough to limit the depth of the slump — a recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office says unemployment would probably be well into double digits now without the stimulus — but it wasn’t big enough to bring unemployment down significantly.

Now, it’s arguable that even in early 2009, when President Obama was at the peak of his popularity, he couldn’t have gotten a bigger plan through the Senate. And he certainly couldn’t pass a supplemental stimulus now. So officials could, with considerable justification, place the onus for the non-recovery on Republican obstructionism. But they’ve chosen, instead, to draw smiley faces on a grim picture, convincing nobody. And the likely result in November — big gains for the obstructionists — will paralyze policy for years to come.

So what should officials be doing, aside from telling the truth about the economy?

The Fed has a number of options. It can buy more long-term and private debt; it can push down long-term interest rates by announcing its intention to keep short-term rates low; it can raise its medium-term target for inflation, making it less attractive for businesses to simply sit on their cash. Nobody can be sure how well these measures would work, but it’s better to try something that might not work than to make excuses while workers suffer.

The administration has less freedom of action, since it can’t get legislation past the Republican blockade. But it still has options. It can revamp its deeply unsuccessful attempt to aid troubled homeowners. It can use Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored lenders, to engineer mortgage refinancing that puts money in the hands of American families — yes, Republicans will howl, but they’re doing that anyway. It can finally get serious about confronting China over its currency manipulation: how many times do the Chinese have to promise to change their policies, then renege, before the administration decides that it’s time to act?

Which of these options should policy makers pursue? If I had my way, all of them.

I know what some players both at the Fed and in the administration will say: they’ll warn about the risks of doing anything unconventional. But we’ve already seen the consequences of playing it safe, and waiting for recovery to happen all by itself: it’s landed us in what looks increasingly like a permanent state of stagnation and high unemployment. It’s time to admit that what we have now isn’t a recovery, and do whatever we can to change that situation.

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