La Santa Cecilia. From left, Marisol “La Marisoul” Hernandez, Miguel “Oso” Ramirez, Alex Bendaña, Jose “Pepe” Carlos.
Humberto Howard/Courtesy of the artist
Grammy Award-winning group La Santa Cecilia takes its name from the Catholic saint of musicians. It’s a fitting moniker; as if by divine intervention, the members of the band — Marisol Hernandez, Jose “Pepe” Carlos, Miguel “Oso” Ramirez, and Alex Bendaña — found each other in the sprawl of Los Angeles.
“I met Pepe Carlos on Olvera Street,” lead singer Marisol “La Marisoul” Hernandez recalls. “I was busking with the older musicians — my teachers who I learned all that beautiful, traditional Latin-American music from — and Pepe was busking with his little brother on the other side of the street.”
They formed a connection, and years later Hernandez roped in her friend, Oso, along with Alex Bendaña, to create La Santa Cecilia, a band “where we could make our own music, write about our own experiences [and] experiment with our influences,” she says. Those influences were vast. They heard Mexican accordions and horns in mariachi bands and fused those sounds with bossa nova, jazz and pop.
They came together to act on their individual, forward-thinking visions.
Some of that fusion is showcased on the centerpiece of the band’s self-titled album, out on Oct. 18. The song, “I’ve Been Thinking,” is about a shared, tragic experience.
“Oso, Alex, and I lost our fathers at different times,” Hernandez says. “It was a very big, big, big blow to the band and to us personally. We were all very close to our fathers, and I don’t know if I could go through this without my bandmates. I feel like this united us even more and we needed to write something and let out these feelings.”
La Santa Cecilia’s members have also all been affected to some degree by the recent political climate and the debate surrounding immigration. “Our band member, Pepe Carlos, was undocumented for 27 years of his life. So much of our family history and lineage has to do with immigration and coming to this country and our experiences as bicultural people,” Ramirez says. “We chose to write a song called ‘Ice El Hielo’ in 2013. It was a song that changed our lives because we chose to write about our story from our perspective, what we live, what we feel. We chose to humanize the experience of the immigrant and what happens through deportations and separation of families. For us, it’s really important to always reflect that and use the platform that we have to speak out on issues.”
Still, for Hernandez, the band’s political messaging brims with hope.
“In La Santa Cecilia, we will always continue to raise, with pride, our flag of love, of where we come from: of being Mexican American, of being from Latin America and being born here in the United States,” Hernandez says. “And whether people like it or not, we are as American as apple pie and tacos.”
Everyone should know the steps. If you have a boss you definitely need to practice. That’s just the way it’s always been … dance a little dance …
The “loyalty dance,” or zhongziwu (忠字舞), was a collective dance that became prevalent during the Cultural Revolution, at a time when Mao Zedong and his image reigned supreme over all aspects of life in China. The dancers, grasping their copies of the “little red book,” Quotations From Chairman Mao, would dance, leap and shout to the impassioned ring of the music – all to express their boundless loyalty to the Chairman.
La Moneda, Chile’s presidential palace in Santiago, is bombed by the nation’s armed forces on September 11, 1973. Salvador Allende, the country’s democratically elected socialist president, died during the U.S.-backed coup that brought to power Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who imposed neoliberalism through military dictatorship. (Photo: Bettmann via Getty Images)
The Other 9/11′: Progressives Remember Allende’s Chile”On this day in 1973, Salvador Allende’s democratically elected socialist government was overthrown in a military coup led by the U.S.-backed fascist Augusto Pinochet.”
As people reflect on the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, progressives drew attention to another horrifying event less well-known in the U.S. but referred to elsewhere as “the other 9/11“: the bombing of Chile’s presidential palace on September 11, 1973 by the nation’s armed forces during a right-wing coup supported by Washington and other capitalist regimes
Salvador Allende, Chile’s democratically elected socialist president, died during the assault on La Moneda in Santiago, which brought to power Gen. Augusto Pinochet, whose brutal military junta imposed neoliberalism through deadly force, torture, and the “disappearance” of thousands of leftists. Despite its awareness of Pinochet’s human rights abuses, including his execution of political opponents, the U.S. continued to support the pro-market dictator during his bloody, 17-year-long reign.”
On this day in 1973, Salvador Allende’s democratically elected socialist government was overthrown in a military coup led by the U.S.-backed fascist Augusto Pinochet,” Progressive International, a global coalition of social justice groups fighting for a more egalitarian and sustainable world, said Saturday on social media.
Journalist Alan Macleod pointed out that “Chile would be ruled by a gruesome fascist dictatorship for decades, the scars of which are still very fresh.”
“But people in the West,” MacLeod argued, “are largely insulated from the realities of empire thanks to a pliant media, which never shows you the effect of the bombs, sanctions, coups, etc.”
Progressive International noted that “Allende was elected Chile’s first socialist president in 1970 as the candidate of Popular Unity, a socialist-communist coalition. He quickly went to work reorganizing the society he inherited, characterized by poverty and confined by the greed of international corporations.”
The organization highlighted some of what the Popular Unity government accomplished during its three years in power:
The Allende government nationalized Chile’s foreign-owned copper industry, which was responsible for 75% of exports. Rather than compensate the former owners, Allende sought payment for the unfairly extracted resource. He did not stop with copper.
In its first year, the government nationalized 91 industries, redistributed 5.5 [million] acres of land, granted wage rises to the working class, and built quality homes for the poor.
Allende hoped to build a sovereign, developed, democratic, and humane nation—and one whose foreign policy was built on principles of friendship.
The democratic socialist alternative pursued in Chile, however, “was intolerable to the forces of empire,” Progressive International added. “Fearing that Allende would set a good example for other nations to follow, U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered the Central Intelligence Agency to ‘make the economy scream,'” in an effort to bring down the Popular Unity government.
Other rich and powerful countries also worked to sabotage the Allende administration. As The Guardian reported Friday, declassified government documents verify how the Australian Secret Intelligence Service opened a base in Santiago in 1971 and conducted covert operations alongside the U.S. CIA for 18 months, contributing to the destabilization of Chile’s economy that preceded Pinochet’s violent overthrow of Popular Unity.
As his offices were being bombarded on September 11, Allende gave his last speech. MacLeod on Saturday shared a clip from John Pilger’s 2007 documentary, The War on Democracy, showcasing the former Chilean president’s “final words, broadcast to the nation.”
At this definitive moment, the last moment when I can address you, I wish you to take advantage of the lesson: foreign capital, imperialism, together with the reaction, created the climate in which the armed forces broke their tradition… victims of the same social sector who today are hoping, with foreign assistance, to reconquer the power to continue defending their profits and their privileges,” said Allende.”
Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny,” Allende continued. “Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Go forward knowing that, sooner rather than later, the great avenues will open again and free men will walk through them to construct a better society.”
“Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!” he added. “These are my last words, and I am certain that my sacrifice will not be in vain.”
If recent events in Chile are any indication, it would appear that Allende’s sacrifice was not made in vain.
Last October, as Common Dreamsreported, Chileans voted in a 4-to-1 landslide to rewrite the country’s right-wing constitution, which was implemented under anti-democratic conditions in 1980 with long-lasting negative repurcussions.
While there have been attempts to curb market fundamentalism in Chile since the post-dictatorship period began in 1990, the neoliberal constitution crafted during the Pinochet era has continued to exacerbate inequalities and put up barriers to egalitarian reform long after the murderous dictator’s demise.
Progressives worldwide rejoiced as the nation once deemed the “laboratory” of neoliberalism—where University of Chicago-trained economists experimented with widespread privatization on an unwilling population—had, through a massive popular rebellion against years of austerity, created an opportunity to “bury Pinochet’s legacy… and rebuild the country on a truly democratic basis,” as political theorist Melany Cruz put it at the time.
Following last year’s historic referendum—the product of a decades-long revolt against the denial of guaranteed access to public goods such as water, education, healthcare, pensions, and other necessities—Chileans earlier this year took another major step toward defeating Pinochetismo once and for all.
As Common Dreamsreported, Chilean voters in May elected a progressive slate of delegates to the constituent assembly tasked with rewriting Pinochet’s constitution.
A large majority of the 155 delegates responsible for reshaping the nation’s political framework over the next several months are expected to bring progressive perspectives rather than pro-corporate orthodoxy to the table, giving Chileans—who will be asked next year in another national referendum whether they accept the new constitution—a real shot to turn neoliberalism’s birthplace into its graveyard.
A glimpse into the history of the Colorado River Basin system, how it was designed and the impacts of climate change shed light on why it was destined to fail
By Becky BolingerToday at 9:14 a.m. EDT75
For the first time, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation issued a water shortage for Lake Mead starting in 2022. Located between southern Nevada and northwestern Arizona, Lake Mead provides water and generates electricity for the more than 20 million people in the lower Colorado River Basin.
This shortage isn’t a surprise. Water levels at Lake Mead and Lake Powell to the northeast have already reached historic lows amid the summer drought. By January, the bureau projects water levels at Lake Mead to fall to 1,065.85 feet — nine feet below the first shortage trigger elevation. Levels on Lake Powell, which stores water for the Upper Colorado River Basin, are only marginally better, projected to be just 45 feet above the required elevation to produce hydropower.
The overall situation is not good, but why? This whole reservoir system along the Colorado River Basin was designed to get us through the drought years. Why isn’t it working? A glimpse into the history of the system, how it was designed and the impacts of climate change sheds light on why it was destined to fail — and why it may never recover.
As Americans began moving west, they found that Western rivers behaved very differently from those found in the Midwest and East Coast.
Western rivers were fed by snow from the peaks of the Rocky Mountains. During the winter, river flows would decrease, sometimes even freeze over. As spring and summer arrived, the warmer temperatures melted snowpack that accumulated on the mountains over the winter. Then the melt would run off at exactly the perfect time — the beginning of the growing season. Water would be abundant for farming and other needs during the warm season.
But issues arose with this “perfect” system. People learned less snowfall in one winter would result in less water flowing in the spring and summer. Water might not be as abundant as desired.
Then came an issue of who could use the water. Consider a farmer named Joseph. He and his family would settle on their land and pull from the river during the warm season. It had been a good winter so they expected high river flows that spring. Instead, the flows were really low. Where was his water?
He would go upstream to find that another farmer named William had settled his family there, and he was taking the water. Joseph told William that he couldn’t have the water. But William said it flowed through his land and therefore it was his. Joseph argued that it would actually flow through this land, and he was here first — it was his.
Thus was born the idea of water appropriation, albeit this is an extremely simplified and embellished version of the story.
Later, the Colorado River Compact of 1922 determined the river belonged to all parties where the river and its tributaries flowed. Everyone would share it equitably. This would include the upper basin states (Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico) and the lower basin (Arizona, Nevada, and California).
The compact stated the upper basin would share 7.5 million acre-feet per year and the lower basin would also share 7.5 million acre-feet per year. Since the majority of this water originates in the Rocky Mountains of the upper basin states, those states must ensure the consistent delivery of water to the lower basin.
Lake Mead (initially formed by the Hoover Dam in 1935) was designed to hold water for the lower basin states. As an “insurance policy,” the upper basin had Lake Powell, which began filling in 1963. If drought meant the upper basin states couldn’t deliver their promised amount to the lower basin, they could deliver it with water in the savings account of Lake Powell.
While this plan initially seemed to work well, it was doomed from the beginning, for three reasons.
1. The water was already overallocated
How did the compact come up with the number 15 million acre-feet? Well, the number wasn’t just picked out of hat. There was a bit of analyzing of annual precipitation and runoff to come up with the estimate. In the early 1920s, data from the previous 10 to 20 years would be used to calculate the estimate. Unfortunately, the 1910s was a relatively wet decade and skewed the estimates higher than they should have been.
The chart above shows the basin-averaged runoff since 1920, as recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey. There is a lot of year-to-year variability, which is why building reservoirs to store during the wet periods became essential.
The gray line shows what the average runoff was when the compact was written in the early 1920s. Extending the gray line beyond its initiating point, you can see it’s much more common for total annual runoff to come up short. And with each passing year, reaching that gray line becomes even more improbable. The upper basin states consistently owed water to the lower basin that couldn’t realistically and consistently be achieved.
2. Population increases
Today, the Bureau of Reclamation estimates 40 million people rely on water from the Colorado River Basin. When the compact was signed in 1922, the total population of the seven basin states was not even 6 million people.
While the majority of the water from the Colorado River is used for agriculture, the smaller percentage of municipal use can’t be ignored when considering significant population increases. The old rule of thumb is that one acre-foot of water is enough for two households for a year. An increasing number of households throughout the Southwest puts further strain on the already overallocated Colorado River system.
3. Climate change will further reduce water availability in the basin
Temperatures throughout the Colorado River Basin are increasing, with particular “hot spots” in the Rocky Mountains. Scientists are still parsing out precipitation and snowpack trends on the mountains, but higher temperatures alone will reduce the water supply provided by the Colorado River.
For one, an earlier peak snowpack and earlier melt because of a warmer environment reduces runoff efficiency. Higher temperatures allow more water to evaporate into the atmosphere. This increased evaporative demand also means the same level of crop production requires more water.
Climate change is also increasing the frequency and severity of droughts in the Southwest. We’ve seen this quite obviously play out in the 21st century — repeated and prolonged droughts have chipped away at the available water supply while fewer opportunities for recovery have occurred. These trends will continue.
No going back
For many in the upper basin states, the situation became clear after the 2002 drought. The chart below shows how volume has changed in Lake Powell since it was built in the early 1960s. Wetter periods in the 1980s and 1990s helped bring it to “full pool” levels.
The 2002 drought was the most severe drought in the Upper Colorado River Basin in recorded history. To this day, cumulative flows on the Colorado River near the Colorado-Utah state line have not been lower.
While the lower basin states continued a business-as-usual path, it became clear in the upper basin that the system would not quickly recover from this drought. But with each step forward in recovery, another drought would take the system two steps back again.
Upper basin and lower basin states have worked on drought contingency planning, and new adjustments were written after the 2002 drought to prepare for a time when Lake Mead might get too low.
This year, we reached that point. Moving forward, we need to explore other solutions to meet our population and agriculture demands and preserve our forests, rivers and wildlife.
We all must accept that the question is not: “How do we recover Lakes Powell and Mead and get them back to good water levels again?” Instead, we need to ask: “How do we continue to meet the needs of the Southwest without Lakes Powell and Mead?”
Becky Bolinger is the assistant state climatologist for Colorado and a research scientist at Colorado State University.
Of course, a dry winter will result in meager flows in spring and summer. But there are other reasons snow from the mountains won’t reach a river below. One growing area of research is exploring how droughts can lead to chronically dry soil that sucks up more water than normal. This water also refills the groundwater below.
There are two ways moisture can be lost to the atmosphere before it reaches a creek or river.
The first is through evaporation. When water absorbs enough energy from the Sun, the water molecules will change into a gas called water vapor. This floating water vapor is then stored in the air. Most of this evaporation happens from the surface of lakes, from water in the soil or as snow melts and the water flows over rocks or other surfaces.
Another way moisture can be lost to the atmosphere is one you might be less familiar with: sublimation. Sublimation is when a solid turns directly into a gas – think of dry ice. The same can happen to water when snow or ice turns directly into water vapor. When the air is colder than freezing, sublimation happens when molecules of ice and snow absorb so much energy that they skip the liquid form and jump straight to a gas.
It is relatively easy to measure how much water is flowing through a river or in a lake. And using satellites and snow surveys, hydrologists can get decent estimates of how much snow is on a mountain range. Measuring evaporation, and especially sublimation, is much harder to do.
When moisture is lost into the atmosphere, it will fall to the surface as rain or snow eventually. But that could be on the other side of the Earth and is not helpful to drought-stricken areas.
It is hard to say how important loss of moisture to the atmosphere is to the total water cycle in any given mountain range. Automated snow monitoring systems – especially at high elevations above the treeline – can help researchers better understand what is happening to the snow and the conditions that cause losses to the atmosphere.
The amount of water in rivers – and when that water appears – influences agriculture, ecosystems and how people live. When there is a water shortage, problems occur. With climate change leading to more droughts and variable weather, filling a knowledge gap of the water cycle like the one around sublimation is important
Lustful Olympic athletes should think twice before making the bed rock in Tokyo.
The world’s best sports competitors are set to spend their nights on cardboard beds — allegedly designed to collapse under the weight of fornicators to discourage sex amid COVID-19.
Olympic officials — who already warned 2021 Games participants to avoid two-person push-ups because of the coronavirus — have set up 18,000 of the cardboard beds in the notoriously sex-crazed athletes’ village, according to Dezeen magazine.
“Beds to be installed in Tokyo Olympic Village will be made of cardboard, this is aimed at avoiding intimacy among athletes,” American distance runner Paul Chelimo tweeted.
“Beds will be able to withstand the weight of a single person to avoid situations beyond sports,” Chelimo cracked. “I see no problem for distance runners, even 4 of us can do.”
Olympic athletes have never shied away from hanky panky, but officials have warned it could spell particular trouble this year amid the pandemic.
The 100 percent recyclable cardboard beds were designed by the Japanese company Airweave.
But officials are apparently aware it’s going to take a lot more than the makeshift berths to keep players out of the pole position.
They are distributing a cache of condoms to the athletes, as they have at every Olympic Games since 1988. This year, the condom tally is 160,000. Still, that’s a far cry from the 450,000 doled out for the last summer Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016.
This year, Olympic officials insist the rubber is for athletes to bring home to spread the message of safe sex.
“Our intent and goal is not for athletes to use the condoms at the Olympic Village, but to help with awareness by taking them back to their own countries,” the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee said in a statement to Japan Today.
Desperados is a true American (Texas) ballad that stands up to time … there are some great stories in the lyrics. Definitely one of my all-time favorites. Guy Clark was a classic Texas singer/songwriter … rŌbert
“Desperados Waiting for a Train” is a song written by Guy Clark and originally recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker for his 1973 album Viva Terlingua. Clark said that the song is about his grandmother’s boyfriend named Jack who was a grandfather figure to him.
“Desperados Waiting For The Train”
And I played the Red River Valley And he’d sit in the kitchen and cry Run his fingers through seventy years of livin’ And wonder, “Lord, has every well I’ve drilled gone dry?” We was friends, me and this old man Was like desperados waitin’ for a train Like desperados waitin’ for a train
Well, he’s a drifter and a driller of oil wells And an old school man of the world He taught me how to drive his car when he was too drunk to And he’d wink and give me money for the girls And our lives was like some old western movie Like desperados waitin’ for a train Like desperados waitin’ for a train
From the time that I could walk, he’d take me with him To a bar called the Green Frog Cafe And there was old men with beer guts and dominoes Lying ’bout their lives while they played And I was just a kid, but they all called me “sidekick” Was like desperados waitin’ for a train Like desperados waitin’ for a train
And one day I looked up and he’s pushin’ eighty And has brown tobacco stains all down his chin Well, to me, he’s one of the heroes of this country So why’s he all dressed up like them old men Drinkin’ beer and playin’ Moon and Forty-two Just like a desperado waitin’ for a train Like a desperado waitin’ for a train
And then the day before he died I went to see him I was grown and he was almost gone So we just closed our eyes and dreamed us up a kitchen And sang another verse to that old song Come on, Jack, that son-of-a-bitch is comin’ We’re desperados waitin’ for a train Was like desperados waitin’ for a train Like desperados waitin’ for a train Like desperados waitin’ for a train