Monday, June 23, 2008

Once again, Mugabe wins & Zimbabwe loses

I was saddened but not surprised to read that after months of seeing his supporters beaten, kidnapped, jailed and murdered, Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from the Zimbabwean presidential runoff election. His decision was a shrewd one, that now places great political pressure on the few remaining supporters of Mugabe, as well as all African leaders, to now distance themselves from his regime. Tsvangirai saw no advantange in staying in the race, where it was almost certain that the violence would only intensify. With over 70 of his supporters dead, and tens of thousands of people displaced, the cost was just too high to justify continuing. Tsvangirai is now seeking refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare. It's shocking to see how brutal and oppressive Mugabe's regime is. He's committed countless crimes against his own people, while African leaders praise him. His status as a liberator allowed him to become a tyrant under the noses of his neighbors, while his people now need to be liberated from him. I only hope the story does not end here, and that Tsvangirai lives to fight another day.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer Solstice

Behold! The sacrificial lamb harkens the arrival of the sun!

For millenia, the summer solstice has been celebrated by cultures all over the world, perhaps because agrarian societies depended on the changing of the seasons to bring them bountiful crops. After a long dark winter, people could begin to enjoy the fruits of the land.

In our modern world, global farming and instantaneous transportation of goods means we no longer have to consider the pulse of the planet when it comes to food production. And in Los Angeles, the changing of seasons can be measured by the weight of t shirt one wears out on the town.

Everywhere I look I can see the proof of summer's arrival:

In San Francisco, Megan's backyard vibrated with the hum of ten thousand honey bees flying all over Mission Delores harvesting pollen for their queens.

Last Friday, at Julia's good bye dinner, I couldn't help but notice greenish/golden clusters of ripening grapes.

On Saturday, I drove to Seal Beach for a studio visit with artist Ryan Callis and marveled at his crop of tomatoes and other vegetables.

Along with these verdant observations, there is the less welcome proof of what I can only explain as the continuing shift of our global climate:

In Santa Cruz, forest fires rage throughout the county, and now threaten wine country.

Los Angeles now faces a "water supply alert" due to continuing drought conditions affecting the entire Western United States. So far, that has not stopped people from hosing the dirt off their driveways. In a sign of desperation, L.A. County is now implementing a "cloud seeding" program in hopes of increasing rainfall. 

Record setting heat in L.A. resulted in record setting energy usage in the Southland, with outages being blamed on our aging eletrical transmission infrastructure. Can't wait for July and August!!!