Things That Stink

So sorry, dear readers, I got distracted and forgot to blog! I’ll try to set up an RSS feed this week so folks can just subscribe and get new nuggets right when they drop.

What I’ve been up to in my blog absence: Went to Vancouver very briefly; working on a commission painting (still!); watching “Torchwood” (fun) and “Battlestar Galactica” (f’ing fantastic — don’t believe me? Read what the New Yorker thought.) And writing a lot of protest letters but more on that in a minute.

Meanwhile here in the studio I’ve been noticing two things: Baku wants to spend all her waking hours by the sliding screen doors watching and chasing flies, and there is an awful smell wafting around. I thought maybe it was something gnarly going sour in a trash can so I dumped ’em all out, then I thought maybe my paint rinsing buckets and cans had turned toxic so I washed them all out too. Still Stinksville. Finally I put two and two together: flies + awful smell = something dead. Dammit, something crawled under the deck behind my studio and took a dirt nap. And is decaying. And fouling up the joint. So that’s really unfortunate.

Other things that stink: the planned aerial spraying of pesticide here in the Bay Area — planes flying around spraying urban areas to fight a harmless and well established moth that poses no serious threat to agriculture. Brilliant!

What? You think that’s crazy? I do too. Read more here, especially if you live in the area and don’t feel like sucking up a lungful of evil this summer — they’re planning to start spraying in August. With stuff that has not been tested on humans. Dispersed in little plastic pellets that you can suck into your deep lung tissue. To try and wipe out a moth that has been here for 30 years and hasn’t caused a single dollar’s worth of damage yet. (The Light Brown Apple Moth, or LBAM to his buds, has been in Hawaii and New Zealand for over 100 years and they don’t consider it a pest or do anything to try and eradicate it.)

Interesting tidbit: Stewart Resnick who owns the company that makes the pesticide spray, Checkmate, is a buddy and contributor to Gov. Arnold’s campaign to the tune of $144,600. Each spraying will cost about $3.5 million and about $3 million of that will go right to Resnick’s company, Suterra. The current plan is to spray us every 30-90 days for 2 – 10 YEARS. So it’ll cost California tax payers somewhere in the area of $500 million (five times the projected losses to agriculture even if the moth were to suddenly become a problem). We’ll get massively dosed with this crap and Resnick will get rich. You can read more here and here as well.

UPDATE: Gov. Arnold has temporarily halted the planned spraying while they do a toxicity test.  Unfortunately, one of the scarier things is the plastic pellets the spray is encapsulated in, which will not be tested.  Some studies by Knepp and Haferman suggest it will raise air pollution levels.  By adding the deadly burden of aerial CheckMate spraying, Dr. Knepp has calculated that 1480 more deaths from pneumonia and cardiovascular disease would occur within 2-3 days after each spraying.  Similarly the average 17,000 admissions to hospital from pneumonia will increase by 4600.  CDFA intends to spray about 700 square miles, up to 5 nights a month, 9 months a year, for up to 10 or more years. The number of additional deaths will be increased accordingly.  These calculations are based on long-term medical studies involving the effects of particulate air pollution in many large U.S. cities.  Similar statistical studies in the past resulted in the recognition of coal miner’s disease, the effects of asbestos, and of tobacco where not all the exposed population is immediately affected.

And so the fight must continue!

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