Nothing will get me back to blogging quite like sheer frustration. And this week in local Oregon politics has been, well, infuriating.

So last week, the Oregon House of Representatives passed HB2020–a carbon cap and trade bill. It’s not a perfect bill. If you ask me, we’re too late as it is and nothing we do now will reverse the coming climate catastrophe. But I will be happy if we can slow it down or decrease it, and this bill is a step in the right direction. The ultimate goal is to slash emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

I will add that this is personal for me. I have gone to the Capitol to lobby for this bill, I have called and e-mailed my legislators about it, I have donated to the organizations fighting the good fight. When the bill passed the House, my friends and I celebrated. “Now all it needs to do is pass the Senate!” I enthused to my husband.

“Oh, is that ALL,” he chuckled. Smart man.

Piece of cake, right? Oregon has a Democratic supermajority in both the House and the Senate at the moment.

And then…the Republicans did what you do when you’re about to lose a vote and you don’t like it.

They ran away.

Yep. Conservatives love to fling the word “snowflake” around, but these Republicans acted like complete snowflakes. They couldn’t handle being in the minority, so they threw a temper tantrum, took their toys and went home. Or in this case, just vanished. Word is, they escaped across state lines to Idaho. Governor Kate Brown has sent out the Oregon State Police to look for them and bring them back to vote, so they apparently felt they would be safer out of state.

By going missing, the GOP have denied the Senate the quorum needed to actually vote on the bill. The Oregon Constitution stipulates that at least 67% of the Senate needs to be present for a vote to take place.

Mind you, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Earlier this session, the GOP Senators did the exact same thing when there was an education funding bill they objected to. They returned after four days and the education bill passed, but in return they negotiated with the Dems to kill a couple of other bills they didn’t like–a vaccine exemption bill and a gun control bill (grrrrr). Part of the deal was a promise from the Republicans that they wouldn’t walk out again. That explains why the Governor isn’t messing around this time, and has indicated she is willing to have the escapees arrested.

So where do we go from here? It’s hard to tell. The Senate was going to continue in special session over the weekend, but that was called off because local right-wing groups were planning a Saturday rally which was to include armed militia members, and legislators were scared for their safety. If you think they’re being paranoid, consider that one of the Republican Senators hinted that if the state police were to come after him, they better be “bachelors” and “heavily armed.” The mood both in our state and our country is growing more and more unpleasant….

Over the past few years, my family and I have been watching the climate in Oregon change. Temperatures in the summer are much hotter than they were when we first moved here. Rain has decreased. Winters are colder and drier. We’ve had a couple of years in a row now during which thick smoke from wildfires has plagued us and made it difficult to breathe.

So if this bill, this last-ditch effort to help, goes down in flames, I’m left with some very uncharitable thoughts. The people in rural districts who oppose this bill so vehemently…if their farms and businesses are affected by drought or other climate disasters in the future, I hope they don’t come crying to me about it. I certainly hope they don’t ask for financial help from us Portlanders. After all, we’re just stupid city folk who bought into the climate change conspiracy, right?

Sigh. I realize that is unkind and I should be looking for my better angels, but I am having a hard time finding them right now. As much as I have been MIA from this blog, I will try to update either in posts or comments about how this whole mess ultimately works out.

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According to the weather forecasts, the polar vortex will be coming back this week.  Chris Christie must be breathing a sigh of relief, as his hijinks might get swept from the headlines by more sensationalized reporting of Unprecedented Ice And Snow!  …also known as winter weather in the Midwest.

In fact, who knows, maybe Christie engineered it all, like he did the traffic snarl in Fort Lee?  I can see the internal e-mails now:

“They’re on to me.  Time for some climate problems in the East.”

And voila, a conspiracy theory is born.  These are easier to create than I thought they were.  I’m ready for my gig as the substitute host on Coast To Coast AM!

We had two big storms come through this weekend with lots of wind and rain.  The storms were actually remnants of typhoon Pabuk which had skirted Japan last week, and together they made for the rainiest September ever measured in Portland.  I’m happy to say that the damage was limited to a few toppled trees and some areas in the city which lost power.  In the Northwest, even record-breaking weather is relatively mild, unless you’re afraid of getting soggy.

Yep, weather events in this country continue to break all kinds of records.  I’m glad to hear that all this climate change stuff is complete nonsense and that I’m just imagining it all.  There has been a United Nations report issued which tells us that scientists are “extremely confident” man-made activity is causing the climate to warm up.  But after all, the United Nations is just a global conspiracy, and all those scientists have been bribed to be a part of it.

More than anything else, it’s a relief to know that Rush Limbaugh can “dispel” all the global warming evidence with his religious beliefs, as he said on his show.  Or…it would be a relief, if I knew exactly what Rush’s religious beliefs were.  I’m pretty sure the man worships the Golden Calf, so that’s not reassuring at all.  I suspect that Rush’s beliefs probably heat up the Earth even more.

Well, September isn’t quite over yet for a few hours, and here it sounds like it’s raining again.  Or am I imagining the rain?  What does reality have to do with it, anyway? 

 

I don’t know if it’s global warming or cooling, don’t know if it’s long-term climate change, man-made or just a freak natural occurrence, but my corner of the world has gotten colder and rainier over the past few years.  And yes, I know, it’s the Pacific Northwest—it’s cold and rainy.  But I moved here back in the mid-90s and I remember the weather being very different:  milder temps in the winter and summer, more sun in the spring.

Now, the winters are getting frostier.  We are running the heat more.  January-style rain and wind continue through the spring and all the way into the start of summer, with cold snaps which threaten our backyard veggie garden.  The weather is very unstable, with more thunderstorms and hail, more sudden storms.  When the sun finally does kick in, things turn hot quickly.  I have memories (maybe delusional ones?) of weeks and weeks of temps in the 70s…now they go from highs in the mid-50s straight into the upper 80s, and in turn we end up running the AC more than we used to.

Again, I don’t necessarily see any kind of abnormal trend here.  For all I know, this is a natural process of climate flux.  (I’m still hoping it’s temporary).   All I know is that our climate is gradually becoming more of a northern one.  I have sometimes fantasized of living in Scandinavia, but come on.  Still, even if there is an Ice Age apocalypse approaching, the Northwest remains a lot milder than most places out there.  I just miss the perfectly temperate Paradise I remember…or, perhaps, have only imagined in a fit of nostalgia.