Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Weather Update

Although The Old Swamper's Almanac is your source for old wives' tales and weather wisdom, over here at The Journal, I'll be carrying on the tradition of providing a boxed link to the National Hurricane Center throughout this North Atlantic Tropical Storm Season. I'll update storm status as situations warrant.
I'll provide NOAA information on each event in the sidebar on the left of this page.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

As a Courtesy....

... to the ludicrous antagonistic talk radio hosts, their contentious callers and any others who noisily and benightedly ridicule the concept of climate change, broadcasting any and all manufactured controversies or cherry-picked statistics in order to deride political opponents and malign "greens," "enviros," or "Al Gore," here's some of the The Sunday Times of London's recent retraction of the erroneous, false, and misdirecting nonsense that you've been exploiting for few months:

The article "UN climate panel shamed by bogus rainforest claim" (News, Jan 31) stated that the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report had included an “unsubstantiated claim” that up to 40% of the Amazon rainforest could be sensitive to future changes in rainfall.
The IPCC had referenced the claim to a report prepared for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) by Andrew Rowell and Peter Moore, whom the article described as “green campaigners” with “little scientific expertise.” The article also stated
that the authors’ research had been based on a scientific paper that dealt with the impact of human activity rather than climate change.In fact, the IPCC’s Amazon statement is supported by peer-reviewed scientific evidence. In the case
of the WWF report, the figure . . . was based on research by the respected Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) which did relate to the impact of climate change. We also understand and accept that . . . Dr Moore is an expert
in forest management, and apologise for any suggestion to the contrary.The article also quoted criticism of the IPCC’s use of the WWF report by Dr Simon Lewis, a Royal Society research fellow at the University of Leeds and leading
specialist in tropical forest ecology. We accept that, in his quoted remarks, Dr Lewis was making the general point that both the IPCC and WWF should have cited the appropriate peer-reviewed scientific research literature. As he made clear to us at the time, including by sending us some of the research literature, Dr Lewis does not dispute the scientific basis for both the IPCC and the WWF reports’ statements on the potential vulnerability of the Amazon rainforest to droughts caused by climate change. . . . A version of our article that had been checked with Dr Lewis underwent significant late editing and so did not give a fair or accurate account of his views on these points. We apologise for this.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

“A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.” - Ibsen

I am so relieved that the local radio-training station, operated under the auspices of the Dartmouth-based subsidiary of the University of Massachusetts (D-UMass) has decided to rev itself back up to actual real-ether broadcasting power. I've decided to print the whole John Hoey-penned press release, punctuation missteps and HTML misses included. It's over-long, superfluously-detailed, and eventually just plain boring. Yet, I understand that in a university public relations setting, one never knows when somebody is going to pull the plug -- and who's going to be offended by omissions -- so you'd best get out as much as practicable when afforded the opportunity. Congratulations, WUMD 89.3 FM!

UMass Dartmouth's radio station -- WUMD 89.3 FM -- has been restored to its full 10,000 watts of power following a 2008 flood that damaged its transmitter. Southeastern Massachusetts' only public radio station will celebrate its revival with a live broadcast of the July 2 UMass Dartmouth Freedom Festival, which will feature music by regional favorites Entrain(http://www.entrain.com/ ) and Santa Mamba(http://www.santamamba.com/), as well as the region's most exciting fireworks display.
At full power, the station's signal reaches from the SouthCoast to Greater Boston, Cape Cod and Rhode Island. WUMD is also streamed live on the web at http://www.893wumd.org/ .
The Freedom Festival, an alcohol-free, family-oriented event that is free and open to the public, is made possible by a grant from the Bristol County Savings Bank. The fun begins at 6:15 p.m. A large turnout is expected. Guests are invited to arrive any time after 3 p.m. to find the best available seating. Visitors are encouraged to bring along picnic suppers, lawn chairs, bug spray and blankets to make themselves comfortable. While travelling to the festival and while awaiting the festivities, attendees will be able to tune in to WUMD 89.3 FM to listen to Entrain and Santa Mamba recordings.
"What a great way to re-launch WUMD," said Station Manager Jennifer Mulcare-Sullivan.
"Our station is all about bringing the community together through great music, and that is what the Freedom Festival is about. We hope people tune in to 89.3FM on their way to campus. We promise to help them get in the mood for an
exciting night."In keeping with the University's civic engagement mission, WUMD (http://www.893wumd.org/ ) has also unveiled a new program schedule that stays true to its roots as an eclectic source of alternative music but adds news and public affairs programming designed to ignite regional dialogue about global issues. The station is also a sub-carrier for the Talking Information Center (http://www.ticnetwork.com/ ), which provides news, literature and other information to the blind and vision impaired through specialized equipment.
In addition, the station has begun working with local high schools and the Teen Youth Council of the New Bedford Free Public Library to develop Rock and Roll High School -- a show intended to engage high school students from the region in producing radio programming. The show is expected to hit the airwaves this fall.WUMD (http://www.893wumd.org/ ) relies on volunteers from the community and the campus to produce much of its local programming. The station is also developing internship and learning opportunities for UMass Dartmouth students interested in all facets of radio, including on-air talent, marketing, technology management, producing, and fundraising. Currently, two dozen students are actively involved in operating the station.Among WUMD's popular music programs produced by community volunteers, alumni, and students:Roots Radical Connection (Reggae), Braziliance (Brazilian music), Music 4 Sunday(Jazz); Big Pile of Bones, Access All Areas and Citibeat (Alternative); Show Tunes in the Afternoon, Root and Branch, and Celtic Stew (Folk); Blitzkrieg and Extreme Aggressions (Metal); and Wreck Time and Fuzzy's Lounge (Hip Hop/R&B). Several additional student-hosted shows are in development and will be launched in September.
The station has also reorganized its news and public affairs programming by rejoining Radio Pacifica(http://pacificanetwork.org/radio/ ), a listener-supported community radio network that supplies cutting edge shows designed to stimulate dialogue about human rights, the environment, media and other global issues. Among the recently added shows are: Democracy Now, Free Speech Radio News, Are We Alone, Sierra Club Radio, This Way Out, Law and Disorder, and Wings. WUMD is retaining other public affairs programming, including: Counterspin, The Media Project, Commonwealth Journal (from UMass Boston), and State of the Queer Nation (hostedn by UMass Dartmouth student Adam Lawrence).
"It's exciting to know we're reaching so many people with our new transmitter," said WUMD DJ and program host Adam Lawrence. "Being at full power gives so many more people in the surrounding communities a chance to hear the music and public affairs programming that so many others already know and enjoy. I'm excited at our new ability to share the love with more folks than ever. The more ears, the better! To our existing fan base, I hope you'll enjoy hearing us in a much larger radius, and to our new fans, I say, 'welcome aboard.'"WUMD, meanwhile, is also planning to launch a radio version of UMass Dartmouth Magazine this fall. The print version of the magazine, which features news about the University's economic and social impact, is delivered to 35,000 UMass Dartmouth alumni, faculty, staff, and friends twice per year. The radio version of the magazine will feature interviews with UMass Dartmouth faculty, students, and staff on issues of interest to citizens of the region and state and will run throughout the day and evening. The station will soon be launching an underwriting campaign to support the magazine and other shows.For the full schedule, please visit 893wumd.org.
On Twitter at 893WUMDFM
On Facebook at WUMD FM 89.3
On MySpace at www.myspace.com/893wumd

Try to emotionally circumvent the MySpace reliquary. I also have no clue as to how UMass and WUMD's new "civic engagement mission" dovetails with the local New Bedford community's annual weekend music festival -- Summerfest -- and a certain Dartmouth businessman's investment in New Bedford's Fourth of July fireworks.
I'm sure that July 2 was the only possible date for this auspicious event (which I'm sure will feature someone handing out anti-choice and Rand Paul literature). I'll have to check to see if there's any hurricanes or anything planned for all of the other weekends in the entire Southcoast Summer.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Repost: Fathers. Day.

forgiving our fathers
by dick lourie

maybe in a dream: he's in your power
you twist his arm but you're not sure it was
he that stole your money you feel calmer
and you decide to let him go free

or he's the one (as in a dream of mine)
I must pull from the water but I never
knew it or wouldn't have done it until
I saw the street-theater play so close up
I was moved to actions I'd never before taken

maybe for leaving us too often or
forever when we were little maybe
for scaring us with unexpected rage
or making us nervous because there seemed
never to be any rage there at all

for marrying or not marrying our mothers
for divorcing or not divorcing our mothers
and shall we forgive them for their excesses
of warmth or coldness shall we forgive them

for pushing or leaning for shutting doors
for speaking only through layers of cloth
or never speaking or never being silent

in our age or in theirs or in their deaths
saying it to them or not saying it -
if we forgive our fathers what is left

Monday, June 14, 2010

Healthful? Well, at least helpful.

from today's Standard-Times:

New Bedford police to hand out coupons for free
Slurpees in exchange for positive youth behavior
By Brian Fraga
June 14, 2010 12:00 AM
The Police Department recently received 5,000 coupons from 7-Eleven as part of the chain's "Operation Chill" program aimed at rewarding positive activity.

"We're always looking for something to encourage good behavior, including in the schools," said police Sgt. Amos Melo [sic], the supervisor of the department's school resource officers.

Mello said the coupons for free Slurpees are being distributed to patrol officers, who will give them to youths who help the community.

The coupons will also be distributed to other local law enforcement entities, including the Bristol County District Attorney's Office.

"It could be for passing along information to police, reporting a crime, helping someone across the street," Mello said.

The program is reminiscent of when patrol officers used to hand out free passes to Hot Wheels, the popular roller skating rink on Nash Road.

"This is probably the new Hot Wheels pass," Mello said.

More than 10 million "Operation Chill" coupons have been distributed nationally since 7-Eleven instituted the program in 1995. In 2010, 1 million coupons have been issued nationally to participating law enforcement agencies across the country.

"It's an icebreaker, a way to encourage dialogue in a non-threatening, non-law-enforcement situation," said John Power, a loss prevention specialist for 7-Eleven.

Officials said the coupons will be redeemable at any 7-Eleven location.

Apparently, 7-11's hope is that the kids will also pick up a couple of Bomb Burritos and some TWIX™ or LaffyTaffy™ so that Seven & I Holdings can break into the impending more lucrative 'Tween Heart Disease and Type-Two Diabetes market.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Annual "Chamber of Horrors" Entry

As an economist, I have never been wrong .
The fact that I have never been noted as "an economist" because I am in no way an economist doesn't matter; after all, this is the Internet in its still-earliest days, before reason completely abandoned discourse and anyone could blather on incoherently and incorrectly about anything, cheapening any sensible argument and thereby nullifying it.
So, I have to disagree with Mike Moran regarding one point in his recent essay.
I do not disagree with my media colleague -- or with the copy editor who inked the header -- that "FRCA will be missed." I'm certain that the august waterfront festival will be missed. (I really really thought that some self-congratulating someone would have saved the day by now. But such heroes don't just step forward in Fall River if it's not an election year.)
Mike points out in his weekly opinion column in the Fall River The Herald News: "Perhaps we’ve taken FRCA for granted for too long because, for a generation, it’s always been there." Taken at or near FRCAI had some experience with Fall River Celebrates America, (although I wasn't Entertainment Chair like some people). Besides submitting to it while my house was berthed there, I knocked together and dithered into some ducttape-swathed equipment for that local radio station that I worked at. I got to see and work with the keen coterie that produced the event, and I also got to see the low-enders who indulged in it. There were carnival rides; the real carneys were the ones not on the rides.
A Fall River Area Chamber Foundation joint, FRCA was billed as "a family-friendly event," which meant that it was alcohol-free. If that arrangement didn't insult your maturity, you could enjoy the food court, which featured the best food on Earth. Because it was Fall River, where Portuguese chouriço and Greek souvlaki and Lebanese falafels and Coney Island hot dogs and all manner of carnival comestible live together in convivial cholesterol-laden concordance all the year through. And we have the heart disease statistics to prove it.
I am no fan of the National Chamber of Commerce and its stands against unions, a fair minimum wage and legal protections for workers. But I'm sure that none of the local members that I know are paying membership dues in order to help the National Chamber of Commerce commit $144,000,000 worth of lobbying to remind lawmakers to disregard workers and the environment because those concerns eat into profits. That's pretty rich for local blood. You see, local business success is measured in Lincolns -- the cars and the fives.
Fives and tens. Nickels and dimes. Local business has perfected this. Outsource work, lay off workers, move out of Fall River, close the mill. Jack up the rent. Skimp on portion size. Cut hours. Blame it all on the poor economy. Even in a good economy.
The Chamber, though, provides support. As a nonprofit business group, it awards local entrepreneurs who open knick-knack shops -- in this poor economy. The Chamber can mention the poor economy in a press release so that other, lazier "entrepreneurs" can glumly recite that "poor economy" mantra and shrug impotently when they close their knick-knack shop. This is "providing support."
So this is providing support for FRCA? (The Chamber's $50 fundraiser will be held at the waterfront, however, on July 23.)
Mike reminds the reader of the "agonizing" decision to stop the show, that the Chamberers "deserve our respect and gratitude for creating and sustaining Fall River Celebrates America for as long as they could."
Did anybody else hear "... in this poor economy?"
Mike is a terrific guy -- as I have attested elsewhere -- and a treasured friend to and advocate for Fall River, its businesses, and its people. Unfortunately, he's asking me to praise the Chamber for a complete and miserable failure.
Which I am loathe to do.
6:25... A New Bedford Update (heard before AHA! tonight) from The Standard-Times' Alexis Hauk:

Mayor Scott Lang announced Thursday that two companies had come forward to sponsor the city’s annual patriotic event, the fireworks spectacular: Hawthorn Medical LLC and DeMoulas Super Markets LLC.

“Fireworks are as American as Yankee Doodle, apple pie and spotted dogs,” Lang quipped during a press conference. “With the economic times that we have, it’s a tremendous contribution.”

The fireworks display will be held July 4 at 10 p.m.

But that’s not the only thing that will draw crowds over the holiday weekend. The 15th annual Summerfest will take place downtown from July 2-4, with international folk music and arts events galore.
Try to overlook the "spotted dog" bit. Spotted Dog is actually a traditional raisin-afflicted Irish soda bread.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


'Voyages' where, precisely? I am a navigator, Ms. McGowen. According to the Coast Guard.The other day, I received an e-missive (a "forward," actually, of a local newpaperjournalist's online musings -- in this case called a "blog"). Since I was preparing to hold my nose and watch my back while publishing my own musings about the state of SouthCoast tributism, I was taken aback by this fluke parallel; since it was both "addressed to" and "sent from" my own e-mail, I thought that I had sent the thing to myself while under the spell of the Green Fairy. Which everyone now knows doesn't mean what everyone used to think it did.
The link in question is this: http://blogs.southcoasttoday.com/new-bedford-politics/2010/06/03/tributing-fishermen-stalls/#comments You'll love its succinct summary of the issue in question, which I shall attempt to even further abridge: "NB Fishermens Memorial: Who's the cheap shit who keeps not paying to build it?" One sentiment from the brilliantly ironic (or "ironically brilliant") Jack Spillane is actually a delightful summation of all that is wrong about fundraising in New Bedford:

"...people who make lucrative livings in the fishing industry — the big fishing boat owners and the big seafood processing houses — have to get on board."
New Bedford is the highest-grossing seafood-producing port on the planet. Because scallops are wicked expensive. And the hundreds of ships which comprise the fleet, until very recently, harvested the produce of the North Atlantic better than any other. With the possible exceptions of Gloucester and the others.Seriously incorrect footwear.Except of course for the corporations who own 350-foot factory ships that decimate entire populations of animals that may or may not become groceries (sharks, whales, dolphins). Legislators from great seaports in Oklahoma and Arkansas are constantly loved and lobbied by cat food and fertilizer producers and usually blame extinctions ("low catches") on New Bedford and Gloucester's 90-footers. Britt's vetting your catch. Or whatever you kids are calling it these days.May 1 was the beginning of the "Amendment 16 Era." The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reduced the season's allowable catch and ordered "sector management" of fishing boat cooperatives. (In general, the guys from whom I buy seafood.) The new regulations have cut the New Bedford fishing fleet down to nearly a third of what it once was. New Bedford and Gloucester have filed a suit against the Federal Gubmint, claiming that the system should be amended or abolished because the gubmint didn't do its due diligence -- study the impact of the changes they imposed. Ah, but it's obvious that the gubmint did exactly that, and discovered that its dependence on foreign corporate monies is more important than the continued success of independent fishing concerns.
At least Liz is doing some WORK.For a century, the world has been splashed with branding. Every product, service, organization, manufacturer has a well-recognized shape color and motto. One might think that "New Bedford Scallopers" or "NB Fishy Somethingorothers" would be logoed all over Downtown New Bedford, at highway exits, on the sides of buses. Tourism brochures and museum catalogs should be swimming in their branding; they could sponsor family concerts and educational programs in schools; they might invest in local non-profits. They might even sponsor one of those AHA! nights or First Fridays or the many other community cultural festivities, Mending your nets? Is that like ''sharpening your skates'' or something?
like Third Eye Open or the Madeira Feast. Is it Scandinavian reticence or Cape Verdean insularity or Portuguese apprehensiveness that keeps the checkbooks closed? Or is it an even more SouthCoast malady? Some are trying, and you can read about the Fishermens Tribute Fund and Monument here. But they've been coming up a bit up short. Not for lack of trying, but for lack of others trying.
What keeps those with the means from erecting a monument to their forebears? Or from rebuilding the Seamen's Bethel that served them for centuries? That long-standing expectation -- for decades epidemic among both the privileged poor and the entitled old money -- that someone else will put up the cash for the health center, or the museum, or the weekend festival or the monument or the housing or the parking...
(This presentation includes photographs of Rose McGowan, Mitzi Gaynor, Britt Ekland, Elizabeth Taylor, and Yvonne DeCarlo.)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

If You're Anything Like Me...

... well, good luck with that.
You may likewise appreciate the tradition of music that has come out of the Crescent City. Clifton Chenier, Jelly Roll Morton, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Dr. John, Eddie Bo, Champion Jack Dupree, Queen Ida, John Boutté, Allen Toussaint, Boozoo Chavis, Henry Butler, the Guitars Slim, The Meters and various Neville Brothers, Buckwheat Zydeco, Smiley Lewis, Professor Longhair, Katie Webster, and even Louis Prima, Fats Domino, Harry Connick Jr., and Branford Marsalis. And his family.
In light of the present unpleasantness in The Gulf, it is easy to recognize the citizens whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed by the effects of corporate inveiglement and congressional intrigue and confounded incompetence. (The Minerals Management Service is still allowing drilling off the Louisiana coast -- just not as deep. Because there's a moratorium.)

Oysters, crabs, shrimp and the people who fish them and sell them? The boy who grew up watching neighbors offload quahogs, clams, and lobsters understads what happens when they're gone. The culture of those communities, the diversity of this once-great nation?
Well, there's always Red Lobster.
The heritage of Gulf fishers is the story of the American people. Its loss is humanity's loss; each crab shack that closes forever is the end of another chapter of American history.
And every musician in Louisiana who falls ill is another page lost, expositions and explanations and jubilations gone.
With traditions of performance and musicianship listed (and not listed) above, one might assume that New Orleans has the healthiest and wealthiest musicians in the world. Well, the names I mention are (besides, of course, the dead ones). They're not going to be personally effected this August First, when the federal government yanks its 90% of funding from the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic. According to its website, the NOMC
is a medical clinic offering comprehensive health services housed within the offices of our partner, the LSU Healthcare Network. It is funded through donations and grants to the New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation. Its medical referral network includes the resources of the LSU Medical Faculty, the University Hospital System, and Tulane Medical School, St. Anna's Musicians Medical Mission, the Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans and community providers within our referral network.
We provide NOMC patients with access to discounted prescriptions, patient assistance programs, lab work and vaccinations.
Sure, the hoax paradigm fancies that musicians are notorious for their profligate, unhealthy lifestyles. I tired of hearing that tired flak from the imaginary class war, the one that appreciates the existence of a servant class of expendable entertainers. A lot of New Orleans' musicians work from gig to gig, and since the insurance mandate isn't exactly a universal health care plan, some need a community health clinic. That's why I'm helping Save the Clinic.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

2010 North Atlantic "Tropical Storm" Season

... or if you're a New Englander, the year that Hurricane (pick one)

or Walter
wrecked something that you hadn't bothered to secure.
Have a safe one.