The United States just had its wettest winter on record

The Rōbert [Cholo] Report (pron: Rō'bear Re'por)

Precipitation differences from normal over the winter months of December, January and February. (NOAA)

March 6 at 4:39 PM

Boosted by February’s relentless low-elevation rains and blockbuster mountain snows, the United States notched its wettest winter on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The average precipitation, including rain and melted snow, was 9.01 inches during meteorological winter, which spans December, January and February. That amount was 2.22 inches above normal and broke the record of 8.99 inches set during the winter of 1997-1998.

Both the winters of 1997-1998 and the present featured El Niño events, which tend to increase the flow of Pacific moisture into the Lower 48 states.

Of the three winter months this year, the finale was particularly soggy, ranking second-wettest on record. Nineteen states posted one of their 10 wettest Februaries. Tennessee registered its wettest February, while the month ranked…

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Federal judge casts doubt on Trump’s drilling plans across the U.S. because they ignore climate change … The Washington Post

The ruling temporarily halts drilling on 300,000 acres of leases in Wyoming.

How Trump is hindering the fight to stop climate change

 

Screen Shot 2019-03-20 at 9.16.49 AM.pngScientists say global warming nears an irreversible level, President Trump has been promoting business growth instead of climate change.

A federal judge ruled late Tuesday that the Interior Department violated federal law by failing to take into account the climate impact of its oil and gas leasing in the West.

The decision by U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Rudolph Contreras marks the first time the Trump administration has been held to account for the climate impact of its energy-dominance agenda, and it could have sweeping implications for the president’s plan to boost fossil fuel production across the country. Contreras concluded that Interior’s Bureau of Land Management “did not sufficiently consider climate change” when making decisions to auction off federal land in Wyoming to oil and gas drilling. The judge temporarily blocked drilling on roughly 300,000 acres of land in the state.

The initial ruling in the case brought by two advocacy groups, WildEarth Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility, has implications for oil and gas drilling on federal land throughout the West. In the decision, Contreras—a Barack Obama appointee–faulted the agency’s environmental assessments as inadequate because it did not detail how individual drilling projects contributed to the nation’s overall carbon output. Since greenhouse gas emissions are driving climate change, the judge wrote, these analyses did not provide policymakers and the public with a sufficient understanding of drilling’s impact, as required under the National Environmental Policy Act.

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The Mountain Poems of STONEHOUSE ~Shiwu (石屋 ~ translated by Red Pine.

The Rōbert [Cholo] Report (pron: Rō'bear Re'por)

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#44

I searched high and low without success

by chance I found this forested peak

my thatch hut pokes through the clouds and sky

a moss-covered trail cuts through the bamboo

the greedy are worried about favor and shame

I spend my time in the stillness of meditation

bizarre rocks and gnarled pines remain unknown

to those who look for the mind with the mind

~~~

The Zen master and mountain hermit Stonehouse—considered one of the greatest Chinese Buddhist poets—used poetry as his medium of instruction. Near the end of his life, monks asked him to record what he found of interest on his mountain; Stonehouse delivered to them hundreds of poems and an admonition: “Do not to try singing these poems. Only if you sit on them will they do you any good.”

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At 83, Mary Lane Upholds The Blues Tradition: ‘I Still Got It’

When blues legend Buddy Guy calls you the real deal, that’s no small compliment. Recently, Guy bestowed that honor on Mary Lane. After years of flying under the national radar, Lane has released a new album and is getting a well-deserved burst of recognition.

The 83-year-old singer began performing as a kid on the street corners of Clarendon, Ark. before making her way north to Chicago as part of the Great Migration. There, Lane developed a local following playing in clubs, alongside members of the blues pantheon including Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, Magic Sam and Junior Wells. Along the way, she recorded just one album more than 20 years ago. Now, Lane is back with a new collection called Travelin’ Woman, out now.

Lane remembers her earliest days performing in Arkansas, where she would sing for the workers in the cotton fields. “I used to go to the field and all the people were out there picking cotton and everything. I’d always be behind. I’d be back there just singing and everybody say, ‘Come and sing, Mary. Go on and sing.’ And I kept on doing it for years and years as I came up.”

Lane’s talent and drive took her from the countryside of Arkansas to the city of Chicago in 1957, where she became known in the city for her showmanship, her spontaneous songwriting — “I just sing what I feel” — and working solely off the inspiration blues music gives her.

“The music got to be right. You know, I gotta feel it,” Lane says. “A lot of musicians out here, they play and they sound good. But you got to have that feel for the blues.”

On, Travelin’ Woman, produced by Jim Tullio, Lane sings of migration, heartbreak and country troubles, all delivered with the signature expression and spirit of traditional blues greats. Lane says she still sings the blues because it upholds the tradition of what the blues meant to her generation. The younger generation of blues artists coming up now, she explains, just don’t play it the same.

“For real, they haven’t experienced the things that I have,” Lane says. “Most of the older musicians, they singing about life and the things they feel, and that’s how they play the blues and sing the blues. So the younger guys, what they got to sing about? A lot of them don’t even know what the blues is.”

Lane was the subject of the documentary I Can Only Be Mary Lane and released Travelin’ Woman under the new Women of The Blues record label as the label’s first artist. Lane is taking the recent accolades in stride. “Until I can’t do it no more, I’ll be out here,” she says. “I still got it.”

Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s San Francisco and his City Lights

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Lawrence Ferlinghetti had a lasting influence on the literary world, particularly on the Beat Generation, which included Jack Kerouac. Above, Jack Kerouac Alley. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times

 

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the poet, publisher, painter, social activist and bookstore owner, has been San Francisco’s de facto poet laureate and literary Pied Piper for seven decades. He turns 100 this month, and the city is making preparations to celebrate him in style. The mayor’s office has proclaimed March 24, his birthday, Lawrence Ferlinghetti Day. Readings and performances and an open house will take place at City Lights, the venerable bookstore he co-founded in 1953. Parties and happenings and the screening of documentaries are planned at many other locations as well.

The most unlikely celebration will be the release party this month for “Little Boy,” Mr. Ferlinghetti’s slim new autobiographical novel, which is also a love song to his adopted hometown, a place with “endless street movies passing in cars and trams of desire.”

Mr. Ferlinghetti opened City Lights in 1953, and it quickly became a nerve center for writers and readers. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times

Any reader’s trip to San Francisco should start with a visit to City Lights. On a cool, damp late morning in February, my wife and I walked the mile from the downtown Union Square area to the store, which sits near the border of Chinatown and its raffish North Beach neighborhood, and is within a stone’s throw of more than one faded, gloomy topless joint.

Pound for pound, City Lights is almost certainly the best bookstore in the United States. It’s not as sprawling as the Strand, in Manhattan, or Moe’s Books, in Berkeley. But it’s so dense with serious world literature of every stripe, and so absent trinkets and elaborate bookmarks and candles and other foofaraw, that it’s a Platonic ideal. It can inspire, even in jaded bookstore-goers, something close to religious awe.

Mr. Ferlinghetti opened City Lights in 1953 when he was in his early 30s, with a business partner who soon departed. The store survived an obscenity trial in 1957 after its publishing arm issued Allen Ginsberg’s revolutionary “Howl and Other Poems.” The trial made Ginsberg and Mr. Ferlinghetti internationally famous almost overnight.

City Lights became a nerve center for the Beats and other writers. Allen Ginsberg wrote “Howl” while living in an apartment at 1010 Montgomery Street, a few blocks from the bookstore. Jack Kerouac often blew in. In the original scroll of “On the Road,” he wrote: “once again I wanted to get to San Francisco, everybody wants to get to San Francisco and what for? In God’s name and under the stars what for? For joy, for kicks, for something burning in the night.”

Vesuvio Cafe, where Jack Kerouac occasionally hung out, is still going strong. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times

 

Not everyone loved the Beats, even in wide-open San Francisco. The columnist Herb Caen, nonplused, invented the term “Beatnik” in 1958, which made the Beats sound like something you’d want to flick off, like fleas.

Ginsberg, Kerouac and other writers from that era were Easterners who dropped into San Francisco for a spell. But San Francisco’s mid-20th-century literary reputation extends far beyond the Beats. Richard Brautigan, the author of “Trout Fishing in America,” arrived in 1956 and stayed nearly 20 years. Among the more intensely local writers were the poet Kenneth Rexroth, a father figure to some of the Beats, as well as the poets Gary Snyder, who was born in the city, Michael McClure and Diane di Prima, who moved to San Francisco in 1968 after leaving Timothy Leary’s intentional community in upstate New York. Today, writers like R.O. Kwon, the author of “The Incendiaries,” the poet D.H. Powell, and Dave Eggers make San Francisco their home.

In the 1950s and until recently, with the slow demise of snail mail, City Lights was the post office that kept writers’ mail while they traveled. The store carried early gay and lesbian publications. Its bulletin boards were the unruly alternative press of their time. They were where you’d announce a political rally or seek a ride, a roommate, a job, a scene or a sex partner.

For many years the store was open until 2 a.m. It remains open until midnight seven days a week, a fact that should humble New York’s bookshops, which tuck in much earlier. City Lights was known, back in the day, as the place to go if you wanted to stick a book down your pants and walk out with it. (Security has improved.) Over the years, it has become an institution, so much so that in 2001 it was made an official historic landmark.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti in front of his book shop, circa 2015. Credit Stacey Lewis

If City Lights is a San Francisco institution, Mr. Ferlinghetti himself is as much of one. Tall, shy, mischievous, blue-eyed, gray-bearded and balding (he’s looked old since he was young), sometimes seen in Nehru jackets or on tatami mats during the 1960s and 70s, he has loomed over the city’s literary life.

As a poet, he’s never been a critical favorite. But his flexible and plain-spoken and often lusty work — he has published more than 50 volumes — has found a wide audience. His collection “A Coney Island of the Mind” (1958) has sold more than a million copies, making it one of the best-selling American poetry books ever published.

Mr. Ferlinghetti has become part of San Francisco’s civic furniture, speaking out when something needs to be saved — for example the Gold Dust Lounge, where Janis Joplin and Tony Bennett hung out, and which once upon a time was a burlesque bar owned in part by Bing Crosby. In 2013 the bar moved into the heavily touristed Fisherman’s Wharf area, where its gritty dive-bar ambience makes it a welcome morsel of authenticity.

 

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Archaeologists Find Trove Of Maya Artifacts Dating Back 1,000 Years ~ NPR

Mexican archaeologists announced last week that they discovered a trove of more than 200 Maya artifacts beneath the ancient city of Chichén Itzá in Mexico.

The discovery of the Yucatán Peninsula cave – and the artifacts, which appear to date back to 1,000 A.D. – was not the team’s original goal, National Geographic Explorer Guillermo de Anda, who helped lead the team, told NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro for Weekend Edition.

A local resident told the archeologists about the secret cave, known as Balamku or “Jaguar God.” It had been known to locals for decades and about 50 years ago some of them told archeologist Víctor Segovia Pinto about the cave, but he ordered it sealed for unknown reasons, causing it to be forgotten. This time, the explorers decided to search the cave chambers, which involved crawling on their stomachs for hours to reach the coveted artifacts.

“When I get to the first offering, which is about an hour and a half crawling from the entrance, you know, the thrill that I feel, I started crying actually, and I realized I was in a very very very sacred place,” de Anda said. He traveled alone in the cave for that first exploring trip.

The archeologists were initially looking for a connection between flooded caves to try to access a cenote – natural sinkholes the ancient Maya believed were sacred and openings to the underworld – that is supposed to be under a main pyramid in the area, known as both El Castillo and the Temple of Kukulkan.

Before entering the cave system, the group performed a six-hour purification ritual with a Maya priest to ensure they would have a safe journey.

The offering for the guardians of the cave is vast: honey, pozol (a fermented drink with dough), water and tobacco — a modern version with a box of Marlboro cigarettes.

Courtesy of Karla Ortega

The water drip over hundreds of years has resulted in the concretion of some of the objects, including this incense burner in the shape of Mayan rain God Tlaloc.

Courtesy of Karla Ortega

 

The discovered artifacts are in an “excellent state of preservation” and include ceramic incense holders, decorated plates, and other items. This collection may help researchers in their quest to learn more information about the rise and fall of the ancient Maya civilization.

The archeologists’ next step is completing analysis of the cave and artifacts, along with creating a virtual reality 3-D scanned model replica of the cave.

And while de Anda, also the director of the Great Mayan Aquifer Project, said getting to the artifacts was a difficult task, it gave him a new respect for the Maya culture.

“For us, it was very hard, but thinking about Maya in ancient times going there through those passageways crawling with a big incense burner and a torch – how they managed to do that – I mean, you have to think about them with even more respect than we have always had because you see how important these caves were for them,” he said.

VOICES OF WOMEN IN THE HOUSE ~ RollingStone

Nancy Pelosi and the New Voices of the House

Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Jahana Hayes on what brought them to Washington

‘Menopause lasts longer than that’: Manafort’s ‘shockingly lenient’ sentence ridiculed

Thursday’s news also did not sit well with late-night comics, who jumped at the chance to ridicule Manafort.

On CBS, Stephen Colbert ripped the sentence, calling it “shockingly lenient.”

“Manafort’s lawyers tried everything to get their client a reduced sentence, except representing an innocent man,” Colbert said, describing the disgraced consultant as a “man with resting indicted face.”

The host noted that though lawyers argued the sentencing guidelines were unfair for a first-time offender, prosecutors pointed out that for a decade, Manafort had “repeatedly and brazenly violated the law.”

“He wasn’t so much a first-time offender as a first-time gettin’-caughter,” Colbert cracked.

But Thursday wasn’t the end of Manafort’s legal troubles, Colbert gleefully informed his audience. Manafort will face a federal judge in D.C. next week for a second sentencing — this time for related conspiracy charges. He could receive an additional 10 years, The Washington Post reported.

“You know you’re in trouble when the only time you get out of jail is to go get sentenced to more jail,” Colbert said.

Black in Boulder ~ A black man was picking up trash outside his home. Then police pulled a gun on him.

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Colorado officers confront black man picking up trash

Police in Boulder, Colo., are investigating a March 1 confrontation between officers and a black man picking up trash.

March 7 at 7:08 PM

The Boulder, Colo., police department is conducting an internal investigation after video surfaced of an officer questioning a black man who was picking up garbage in front of his residence. The officer has been placed on administrative leave until the investigation is complete.

On March 1, an officer approached the man as he was sitting in an area behind a private property sign and asked him if he had permission to be there, according to a department release. The Daily Camera reported that the man is a student at Naropa University in Boulder, and the building is listed as a school residence. Police have not publicly named the man or the officer.

The man gave the officer his school identification card and said he both worked and lived in the building. However, the officer continued to investigate and called for backup, “indicating that the person was uncooperative and unwilling to put down a blunt object.”

In the 16-minute video, which appears to have been taken by a friend and fellow building resident after the encounter began, the man can be seen holding a bucket and a trash picker.

“You’re on my property with a gun in your hand threatening to shoot me because I’m picking up trash?” the man with the trash picker says.

The man being questioned repeatedly says of the officer, “He’s got a gun!”

“Just relax, man,” the officer responds as sirens are heard and more officers arrive and surround him.

Though a police spokeswoman would not release the number of officers involved, citing the ongoing investigation, at one point the man can be heard saying there are eight officers “with guns drawn.” The video appears to show at least one officer, on the far left, holding a gun before putting it away.

Police chief Greg Testa rebutted these particular claims made in the video at a city council meeting on Tuesday, saying “Body-worn camera video indicates that only one officer had a handgun out and it was pointed in the ground.”

The man who was stopped by police and the person taking the video repeatedly assert to the officers that the man lived there and was only picking up garbage.

An officer can be heard assuring the man, who is agitated by the encounter, that “my plan is not to shoot you.” The encounter continues for several minutes until an officer says “we’ve decided we’re going to end things at this point.”

“Officers ultimately determined that the man had a legal right to be on the property and returned the man’s school identification card,” the Boulder police department release states. “All officers left the area and no further action was taken.”

“We began looking into the incident on Friday, shortly after it occurred, and quickly made the decision that we needed to launch an internal affairs investigation,” Boulder police spokeswoman Shannon Aulabaugh said in an emailed statement.

“Our internal affairs investigation will include a review of all body worn camera video, interviews of everyone involved which includes both officers and community members, reports and all other related information,” she said.

Testa said in a prepared statement before the city council that “this is an extremely concerning issue and one that we are taking very seriously.” Members of the public who attended the hearing carried signs and trash pickers, the Daily Camera reported.

“While it appears that the officers responding to the requests for backup followed standard procedures given the information they heard over the radio, all aspects of this incident, specifically the actions of the initial officer, are being investigated,” he said.

“I am not aware of any information that the man did anything unlawful or wrong,” Testa said.

Charles Lief, president of Naropa University, also spoke at the hearing. “I do not want to underestimate the amount of trauma that was experienced by our student, who was the victim in this situation,” he said. He noted that he spoke to the man’s mother and “she has made clear that her son is not interested in becoming a symbol for any issue that we have to deal with in this city.”

“The incident that impacted him is going to be one that’s going to take him a long time to deal with,” Lief said. “The city can’t wait that long for us to talk about the broader issues that we have to address.”

‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Coming to Netflix ~ NYT

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painting by Columbian artist Carlos Dunque 
By Concepción de León

Netflix announced on Wednesday that it had acquired the rights to develop Gabriel García Márquez’s seminal novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude” more than 50 years after it was originally published, in 1967. It will be the first time the novel is adapted for the screen.

It was not for lack of interest. In a recent call, the Nobel Prize winning novelist’s son Rodrigo García who will be an executive producer on the project along with his brother Gonzalo, said that his father had received many offers over the years to adapt the book to film. But, while some of his shorter books were adapted, his father was concerned that “One Hundred Years of Solitude” would not translate well or fit within a single movie (or even two), he added. García Márquez was also committed to the story being told in Spanish, so many offers were “non-starters” to him.

“In the last three or four years, the level and prestige and success of series and limited series has grown so much,” García said about his family’s decision to sell the development rights now. “Netflix was among the first to prove that people are more willing than ever to see series that are produced in foreign languages with subtitles. All that seems to be a problem that is no longer a problem.”

Francisco Ramos, the vice president for Spanish language originals at Netflix, said the company had tried before to obtain rights to the novel, but had been met with resistance. He noted the success of series like “Narcos” and movies like “Roma,” which recently won the Oscar for best foreign language film, that have shown “we can make Spanish-language content for the world.”

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” spans a century in the lives of the Buendía family, whose patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, founded the fictitious Colombian town of Macondo. It’s considered a masterpiece of Latin American literature, bringing García Márquez to the forefront of the so-called Latin American Boom of the 1960s and ’70s and popularizing the genre of magical realism. Since its publication, the book has sold an estimated 50 million copies and has been translated into 46 languages.

It’s still too early to know who will write for or be cast in the series, but Ramos said Netflix was committed to working with the best Latin American talent, and that the show would be shot in Colombia. The financial details of the arrangement were not disclosed.

For Latin America — and Colombia — it’s the story of 100 years that “shaped us as a continent,” Ramos said, “through dictatorships, through births of new countries, through colonialism.” But he emphasized the story’s broad appeal: “We know it’s going to be very magical and very important for Colombians and Latin America, but the novel is universal.”

“I’ve been hearing the discussion about whether or not to sell the rights to ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ since I was 8,” García said. “It was not an uncomplicated decision to make, for myself and my brother and my mom. It feels like a great chapter opened, but also a long chapter has closed.”

~~~

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Compay  Gabo y Fidel

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One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women — brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul — this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.