No Rain Is Apparently Not News

By: Saturday December 1, 2012 9:01 am

While the Pacific coast is getting battered by storms, and while the Northeast coast continues to recover from Sandy, the only falling water that farmers in Nebraska, Kansas, and the great plains can see are the tears on their own faces. Drought may not make for gripping television, and it didn’t end once October’s lower temperatures arrived. Things are still dry — exceptionally so — and in many places, it’s getting worse.

Yet to the national media, “no rain today” in the Midwest and Plains remains “not news”.

 

Drought Impacting Shipping On the Mississippi River

By: Tuesday August 21, 2012 2:05 pm

Marcy Wheeler alerts me to the huge economic consequences of the drought of 2012 as it relates to the Mississippi River. Since those canny Ron Paul supporters shut down the NAFTA Superhighway, the might Mississippi remains the key shipping highway connecting north and south in America. And because of the drought, the water level has dropped so significantly, that barges have to delay their passage.

US Drought Update

By: Thursday August 2, 2012 7:15 pm

The current US Drought Monitor map was published today.

All but four Chicago-area counties in the US state of Illinois are disaster counties. Illinois has 102 counties. In short, Illinois, and I mean the whole of this giant Midwest state, is a government-listed, aid eligible disaster area. Illinois is, in pertinent part a leading US producer of corn, soybeans and swine, with 76,000 farms covering 28 million acres amounting to nearly eighty percent of Illinois total land acreage.

Floods, Floodways, and Katrina in Reverse

By: Saturday May 14, 2011 10:15 am

Sometime today, the US Army Corps of Engineers will open the Morganza Floodway in Louisiana for the second time in its history. The object is to divert some of the huge flow of water coming down the Mississippi away from the usual path that streams past Baton Rouge and New Orleans into the Mississippi delta, and into a largely agricultural region of Louisiana instead. It’s a Hobson’s choice, where agricultural fields and various small towns will be flooded in order to help save many the lives and livelihoods, and communities of millions of Louisiana residents nearer to the Mississippi’s regular pathways.

This is Katrina in reverse, with the water coming from the north rather than from the Gulf. Let’s hope the lessons learned from flooding in the past that led to the creation of the floodways will help, and that the post-disaster recovery efforts that failed so spectacularly with Katrina have been improved this time around.

Sisyphus Happy

By: Sunday November 28, 2010 9:30 am

It’s hard these days to keep faith in a progressive American future, but a lonely Mississippi ship’s whistle and Albert Camus’ advice that we “must imagine Sisyphus happy” help show the way.

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