Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Texas Drought Could Cost More Than Irene

By Steve Hynd

Think Progress Green:

While the the damage Hurricane Irene left in its wake is still being talled, it is already projected to be one of the top 10 costliest disasters in U.S. history. Estimates put the cost at $7 billion to $10 billion after the storm knocked out power, destroyed crops, and flooded towns throughout the East Coast.

But the cost of the Texas drought, which climate change pushed to extremes, may be greater economic disaster. Earlier this month, Texas Agrilife Extension Service estimated losses to be at $5.2 billion � already greater than the $4.1 billion of losses from the 2006 drought. �This drought is just strangling our agricultural economy,� professor Travis Miller, of Texas A&M University�s Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. Losses, told TIME Magazine.

The extended heat wave that has exacerbated the drought is expected to break soon, but without rain, farmers will have no relief before planting winter wheat in September or October. Texas produces one-third of winter wheat in the U.S., so analysts expect price increases if there is not enough rain for the wheat crop. Already from the summer, Texas, which produces 55 percent of U.S. cotton, has lost half its cotton crop. And scant summer rain has led to a scarce hay crop, so some ranchers are selling off cattle herds because they can�t afford to continue providing feed and water. The short-term price in beef may drop, but the long-term implications of losing entire herds will push up the price soon enough.

Some weather scientists are already predicting a recurrence this winter of La Ni�onditions in Pacific waters which caused this extended drought - meaning the winter could be light on rain and next summer would be another dry scorcher.

Texas is already water-poor before such droughts begin. The only way cities like San Antonio can be so large is by plundering aquifers and piping in water from out-of-state. Other areas, like Midland and the Permian basin, must put up with drinking water contaminated to hell and back by decades of leakage from drilling. Texas doesn't much care about water quality and the EPA has been neutered - although Austin would likely ignore anything the EPA said anyway. Most of the state -  a sizeable fraction of 25 million people - is in danger of water scarcity making life untenable, and matters will only get worse as climate change accelerates.

The governor, and prospective president, has a simple response. Pray for rain. The rain hasn't come yet.

1 comment:

  1. Bad news for Perry - his economic miracle is about to turn into hell on earth and force him to ask for economic help from the dreaded Federal Government.