Tag Archives: water

“Strangers In Their Own Land”

“Strangers In Their Own Land”

“Anger and Mourning on the American Right” is the subtitle of this book by Arlie Russel Hochschild, a Berkeley sociologist. Based mainly on interviews with Tea Party Republicans in Louisiana, she delves into the “why” of poor white votes for Trump and other Republicans. Louisiana is one of the poorest and least-healthy states. It is heavily polluted because weak enforcement of weak regulations make it attractive to oil and chemical plants. Polluting industries seek the “least resistant personality profile” in the residents of the area they plan to poison (page 81):

  • Longtime residents of small towns in the South or Midwest
  • High school educated only
  • Catholic
  • Uninvolved in social issues, and without a culture of activism
  • Involved in “nature exploitative occupations” such as mining, farming, ranching
  • Conservative
  • Republican
  • Advocates of the free market

Hochschild develops a “deep story” to explain their traditional values of loyalty, sacrifice, and endurance. Polluting industries manipulate them into fearing the loss of their income if they don’t turn a blind eye to the secret pollution, the dying trees, the disappearing fish, the increasing illness. Church, state, and politicians tug their loyalty strings to believe in Capitalism at the expense of the environment. They endure the secret spillage into their waterways, staying close to home and their traditional values. They resent Liberals who point to the contamination and tell them they “are not feeling the right feelings.”

These white people work hard and they scorn the shiftless, no ‘count people below them in the social order who live on government handouts and never work. They identify with the white plantation owners, the 1%, and believe that through hard work, luck and family connections, they too will live in the white-columned mansions along the Mississippi River. But they don’t go to college and they don’t learn new technology or new ways of thinking.

They are resentful of affirmative-action types (women, blacks, refugees) who “cut in front of them in line” for the good jobs. They believe the government paid for Obama’s education, and for Michelle’s Harvard education, too. Because they never bought and read his books, they don’t realize that their education loans were paid for with the book royalties. They believe the government subsidizes this “line-cutting” that has stagnated their wages and lives.

They don’t want to feel like downtrodden victims like blacks, women and gays. They want to feel like the white 1%. Their endurance is a matter of honor. Honor is sacrifice. With their tight communities and limited education, their feedback loop is small and fed by Fox News.

Trump cashed in on Identity Politics for white men who felt trapped in 1950s ethics and values. The ones holding the KKK signs in Atchafalaya.

Woman Lives Undersea for 8 Days

Woman Lives Undersea for 8 Days


Here I am with Dr. Dawn Kernagis, a member of Women Diver’s Hall of Fame, who spoke at SRJC today about doing biomedical research on the effects living underwater for eight days as part of NASA’s NEEMO 21 crew. Here is a video of her talk, “Dr Dawn Kernagis talks about life undersea during NASA s NEEMO 21 Mission.” So impressive! This was part of Women’s History Month.

Ludwigia Removal in Piner Creek

Ludwigia Removal in Piner Creek

Ludwigia, an aquatic plant that originates from South America, has become an invasive pest in the creeks and Laguna de Santa Rosa, a large seasonal wetland that is a nesting area for migrating birds. Sonoma County citizens work hard to protect the health of the Laguna and the creeks that supply it. Ludwigia was probably introduced by tropical fish fanciers who carelessly flushed this decorative plant into the creek. Like so many plants, it grows vigorously here, mainly along shallow areas of the Laguna’s main channel and tributary creeks.
ludwigia615w

Piner Creek, which runs behind our house, has an open, sunny spot where ducks raise their young and children like to throw bits of bread from the nearby bridge. Larger migratory birds like egrets sometimes fish here because there are lots of small fish.

Ludwigia anchors is roots in the mud at the waterline and grows large mats that cover the surface of the water, preventing the fish from getting insects and preventing birds from fishing. Ludwigia appeared for the first time this spring and by Labor Day had covered almost all of the surface of the creek behind our house. Saturday, Howard and I hauled out several sacks of it.

A about a half-mile farther down Piner Creek, it merges with Paulin Creek and this is a prime fishing area for birds. It is a beautiful spot and it was starting to become choked with Ludwigia also, so Sunday morning I went down there by myself to clean it up. I gathered up two bags of weeks but hurt my back and had to ask a passing jogger to help me haul the second bag up the creek. The next morning, Labor Day, it looked like much of the Ludwigia had grown back! (see photo left above)

Monday evening, Howard helped me haul up another four bags of weeds (see photo right above). Let’s see how long this cleanup lasts. We may have to resort to some targeted herbicide along the damp soil at the waterline.

Piner Creek is supposed to be part of the steelhead hatchery system, but Ludwigiacreates a barrier to migrating steelhead and other fish, and its bacterial decomposition threatens oxygen-dependent wildlife in the water. The Laguna Foundation is working with USDA-ARS researchers and local agencies to find a long-term solution to the problem.