I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
Well Newshoggers has closed it's doors so Middle Earth Journal is active once again.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Review, Murdoch’s world: The Last of the Old Media (via The Moderate Voice)

Murdoch’s world: The Last of the Old Media Empires’ by David Folkenflik gives us a look at Rupert Murdoch from the time his father died to the middle of 2013.  Rupert Murdoch was 21 when his father died and he inherited a small regional Newspaper…

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The CBS Benghazi Story (via The Moderate Voice)
I had been waiting for a former journalist and our bloglord, Joe to cover this but since he hasn’t I thought I would jump in.  A disclaimer up front, Iv’e always considered Lara Logan to be more of a propagandist than a journalist.  As it turns…

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

I am a Vietnam War era veteran.  Although I never served in S.E. Asia I knew many who did and lost both relatives and friends in that misbegotten war.  To those of us in the United States it was a battle between Communism and Democracy/Capitalism.  That was not what it was about to the Vietnamese however.  It was always about throwing off the yoke of colonialism - first the French and then the United States and it's allies.  That's why we lost as Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap knew we would.  The Vietnamese were fighting for their country while we were fighting for ... I don't think we ever really knew.  In the end the politicians all thought it would be political suicide do admit defeat - that's why 10s of thousands of Americans died. Well General Giap has died at 102 and former prisoner of war John McCain has written his eulogy in the Wall Street Journal.  It's not what you might suspect it would be.  McCain met General Giap twice.  Once when he was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam and again in 1990:
Giap greeted me warmly beneath an enormous bust of Ho Chi Minh, who had led Vietnam in the wars against the French and the United States. Both of us clasped each other's shoulders as if we were reunited comrades rather than former enemies. I had hoped our discussion would concentrate on his historical role. After I came home from Vietnam in 1973, I read everything I could get my hands on about both the French and American wars there, starting with Bernard Fall's "Hell in a Very Small Place," his classic study of the 1954 siege of Dien Bien Phu, where French colonial rule effectively ended and Giap's genius first became apparent to an astonished world. I wanted to hear Giap describe that nearly two-month long battle, to explain how his forces had shocked the French by managing the impossible feat of bringing artillery across mountains and through the densest jungles. I wanted to talk to him about that other marvel of logistics, the Ho Chi Minh Trail. I knew he was proud of his reputation as the "Red Napoleon," and I presumed he would welcome an opportunity to indulge my curiosity about his triumphs. I wanted us to behave as two retired military officers and former enemies recounting the historical events in which he had played a critical part and I a small one. But he answered most of my questions briefly, adding little to what I already knew, and then waved his hand to indicate disinterest.
He told John McCain that it was time to think of the future and not the past - to figure out how our countries could become friends.  John McCain was impressed.  After reading this I was impressed with both General Giap and John McCain.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Book Review - A Great Aridness

A few months ago I did a post on an article by William deBuys  Exodus From Phoenix.  This article was just an introduction to his book A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest.
DeBuys says that this book did not start out to be a book on climate change but as a general environmental history of the Southwest.  It was already becoming obvious that the growth in the Southwest could not continue, this was especially true of the Phoenix area but applied to the entire region.  He could see that the environmental factors that were the subject of the book were being exacerbated by climate change and that end was going to come a lot sooner.

It becomes at once obvious that William deBuys loves the desert Southwest.  His prose is almost poetic sometimes making it a wonderful read.  It is full of history and science, politics and human stories.

Lake Mead
So what's the problem?  The problem is the lack of water.  The dams on the Colorado River no longer fill up.  As the area continues to grow the available water continues to decline.  This is not the first drought to hit the area and not even the first to bring an advanced society down. He gives us a history of the 12th century drought that brought down several advance societies in Arizona.  Of course it's not just man made climate change man has had other impacts.  Because of mismanagement the forests are more susceptible to forest fires.  Of course climate change plays a part in this too - dryer and warmer winters make insect infestation more severe.  
I recommend this book to everyone.  There are human stories as well as history and science.  While the desert Southwest is on the frontlines climate change is already impacting us all.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Illegal Monsanto Wheat Found in Oregon(Updated)

Most of Oregon's wheat crop is exported and most of that to countries that don't allow genetically modified wheat.  So when a small patch of Monsanto's wheat found in an eastern Oregon wheat field there was fear it could threaten the wheat industry.

Field workers at an Eastern Oregon wheat farm were clearing acres for the bare offseason when they came across a patch of wheat that didn't belong.
The workers sprayed it and sprayed it, but the wheat wouldn't die. Their confused boss grabbed a few stalks and sent it to a university lab in early May.
A few weeks later, Oregon State wheat scientists made a startling discovery: The wheat was genetically modified, in clear violation of U.S. law, although there's no evidence that modified wheat entered the marketplace.
They contacted federal authorities, who ran more tests and confirmed their discovery.
"It looked like regular wheat ," said Bob Zemetra, Oregon State's wheat breeder.
Monsanto tested the herbicide resistant wheat  in Oregon test fields between 1998 and 2005 but it was never approved for use.  The problem with genetically modified plants is they can't be contained.
Japan has halted wheat imports from the United States.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dow hits new record on strong economic data

Dow hits new record on strong economic data (via AFP)
The Dow closed at a new all-time high Tuesday after strong gains in US home prices and consumer confidence boosted stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 106.29 (0.69 percent) at 15,409.39, a new all-time high. The S&P 500 put on 10.46 (0.63 percent) at 1,660.06, while the Nasdaq Composite…

Monday, May 27, 2013

Remembering The Vietnam War

I graduated from high school in June of 1964.  The US had placed military advisors in Vietnam since the French left in 1954.  In August of 1964, a few weeks after my high school graduation, the North Vietnamese  allegedly fired on 2 US ships in the Gulf of Tonkin and congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution giving President Johnson unprecedented power to wage war.  The first action was the aerial bombing of military and industrial targets in North Vietnam.  It was anticipated that this action would bring the North to it's knees within 8 weeks.  That should remind you of "shock and awe" in Iraq.  Well it didn't work out that way.  The North Vietnamese and the Vietcong started attacking the US air bases in Vietnam.  In my freshman year in college the first US ground troops were sent to Vietnam to protect the air bases in March of 1965.

During my college career the war continued to escalate and a few months before my graduation in January of 1968 there was a coordinated attack by the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong - the Tet offensive.  As a result even more troops were sent and the draft boards were very busy.  Unlike the recent operations in the Middle East most Americans knew someone who served in Vietnam and many knew someone who died there.  When the war ended in 1973 over two and a half million had served there and 58,272 had died there.

The Vietnam war shaped my political thinking.  While over 58,000 of America's finest died for nothing I had hoped that we had learned a lesson.  But that was not to be the case.  The Bush/Cheney cabal and the military industrial complex made all the same wrong assumptions and there are still some who want to involve us in unwinnable military adventures.

I fear for the future.  The Middle East is a powder keg about to explode.  There are those who insist the US needs to show "leadership."  Leadership equals more of America's finest dying for nothing and resources needed to fix the homeland will be squandered elsewhere.  

This is what I'm thinking on this Memorial Day.  

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day

It's Memorial day.  I have reached the point in my life where I have far more people to remember than still live.  It's been almost 11 years since my father died and a little over 4 months since my mother passed away.  I will spend the day remembering the good times.
My father lived to be 87 but last 10 years lacked quality because of assorted medical problems but 77 good years is not bad.  He was in India during WWII and was lucky enough to make it back home after three years.  The communication back then was nothing like today - it was letters only and they would take weeks or months.  When my father was awarded the Bronze Star my mother found out about it in the newspaper.  The bottom picture of mom and dad was taken when I took dad to see the Battleship Missouri when it was docked in Astoria.  Dad wanted to see it because the Missouri was where the Japanese surrendered.

Mom lived to be over 90 and all but the last year and a half were pretty good.  Up until then she still walked every day, worked in her garden and baked goodies for the neighbors.  After my father passed away she could not have stayed in her house alone however and I feel fortunate that I could make it possible for her to stay in her house and in fact die there.
As I hinted above there are many others I remember this day.  I had several friends and relatives that died in SE Asia during the Vietnam War while I spent my military time on the frontiers of freedom in Downtown Munich Germany.

I must honestly say that I don't know of any friends or family that died or had their lives changed forever in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I realize I'm not alone and that is certainly one of the things that is very wrong with the Bush/Cheney misadventure in the Middle East.  I will be thinking of their families never the less.
Dad in Burma - 1943 (Right)

Mom on her 85th Birthday

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

 I have not contributed much much original content recently because I have been busy getting ready to move and recovering from a broken collar bone.
I suddenly realized today that this was the first Mother's Day since mom passed away in January.  The first picture was take 65 years ago on my second birthday.  Every few years my birthday happen on Mother's Day.
I will be moving on Tuesday and hope to have the time to contribute some original content once again.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Carbon Dioxide Passes 400 PPM Milestone, NOAA Finds

Carbon Dioxide Passes 400 PPM Milestone, NOAA Finds (via Climate Central)
By Andrew Freedman Follow @afreedma On May 9, the amount of carbon dioxide in the air exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in the observational record since 1958, and very likely for the first time in at least 800,000 years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA…