Friday, January 2, 2009

Another list: under-reported current events

1. Food riots - erupting in locations throughout the world as food prices soar.

2. Palestinian and Israeli casualty figures - cutting to the chase, here's an estimate by Physicians for Human Rights and quoted by the BBC: since September 29, 2000, 4,897 Palestinians and 1,062 Israelis have died. The Palestinian figure is considered conservative.
Corollary to 2: The Israeli military operation on November 4th to destroy a tunnel from which a rocket attack could be launched, which precipitated rocket attacks by Hamas, which precipitated bombing strikes by Israel... And yes, I realize there musta been something which precipitated the November 4th operation. How far back do you want to go?

3. Children imprisoned in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo by the Bush Administration - some estimates run in the thousands. The low thousands, Don Rumsfeld would say by way of reassurance.

4. Peak oil - the time at which oil extraction peaks, followed by a relentless and irreversible decline in production. Some folks (like Sadad al Husseini, formerly of Saudi Aramco; and Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens) say that we're there. Now.

5. The number of times the Republican minority in the Senate used filibuster, or the threat of filibuster, to block passage of legislation. It's a lot. Because, despite repeated failures to clarify this by the mainstream media, the number of votes needed to pass a bill in the Senate is 51, not 60. 60 is the number needed to cut off debate on a bill - it's called cloture, and failing to reach cloture is the definition of a filibuster.

6. The number of tornadoes in the US during 2008. There were a lot of them. Statistics show a gradual trend towards more tornadoes over the last 50 years or so, but 2008 was a biggie: 16oo+ of the little buggers through October (with reports for the last two months of the year not yet available). The next biggest year in recent memory was 2004, when we had 1800+. That was also under-reported.
Corollary to 6: Frequency of floods isn't getting as much ink as it should, either. Some folks (like Eugene Takle and Elwynn Taylor of Iowa State University) say that megafloods, like the one that wiped out big chunks of my hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa in June, are on the rise.

Update: Yeah, already. No sooner had I clicked on the Publish button when I remembered something I'm still waiting to hear about: the extent of the damage to Galveston by Hurricane Ike in September. How many dead? How many missing? How much property damage? Where's the reporting?

Anything to add? Put it in the comments.

No comments: