Friday, April 13, 2007

Otters and Camille Paglia: What they have in common.

Here are two very different stories with one common them. First, we shall look at the plight of some sad sea otters in trouble. Next, we will discuss Camille Paglia coming out of the closet -- again.

I happen to love sea otters for the same reason most of love certain animals -- they’re cute. You rarely find anyone mounting a campaign to save ugly animals. It seems that some of these frisky little fiends are in trouble in Alaska because of too much ice. Yep, folks, everything frozen is melting!

These otters are in the Port Heiden/Resurrection Bay area and the thick sea ice, caused by the fact that Alaska is unusually cold this year, is preventing them from foraging for food. As a result the creatures are taking to land in search of food. But sea otters are not made for land and are easy prey to other animals and local Eskimos who kill them to make gloves -- they are exempt from laws forbidding the killing of this endangered species.

An usually cold winter for Alaska? Stubborn sea ice blocking the otters from foraging for food? Of course, it must be global warming.

And now to that other endangered species Camille Paglia. I’ve always enjoyed this woman and her thinking. I haven’t always agreed with it but found it interesting. I think she was once described as Ayn Rand on acid but I’m not so sure about that.

Paglia says she’s been thinking a lot about global warming lately. She notes she lives in a valley that was cut by glaciers retreating during a previous bout of global warming before Al Gore was around to blame you for it. And she has come out of the closet as a skeptic. Here are a few excerpts:

However, I am a skeptic about what is currently called global warming. I have been highly suspicious for years about the political agenda that has slowly accrued around this issue. As a lapsed Catholic, I detest dogma in any area. Too many of my fellow Democrats seem peculiarly credulous at the moment, as if, having ground down organized religion into nonjudgmental, feel-good therapy, they are hungry for visions of apocalypse. From my perspective, virtually all of the major claims about global warming and its causes still remain to be proved.

Climate change, keyed to solar cycles, is built into Earth's system. Cooling and warming will go on forever. Slowly rising sea levels will at some point doubtless flood lower Manhattan and seaside houses everywhere from Cape Cod to Florida -- as happened to Native American encampments on those very shores. Human habitation is always fragile and provisional. People will migrate for the hills, as they have always done.
As for the Gore docu-horror film, An Inconvenient Truth, Paglia says she “wasn't able to get past the first 10 minutes. I was snorting with disgust at its manipulations and distortions and laughing at Gore's lugubrious sentimentality, which was painfully revelatory of his indecisive, self-thwarting character.”

Obviously she must be in the pay of Big Oil. At the next meeting of the Learned Elders of Warming Skeptics I must ask Camille how the Fat Cats are paying her. My checks just never seem to arrive. I think the “postal delivery person” is pinching them. Damn, it’s rough being a hack of Big Oil.

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