05 September 2009

A Confluence of Dogmas: El Nino, Part Two

I'm probably the only person in the world with daily, up-to-the-minute, ongoing Google News search filters for both Calvinism, and Rick Renzi.

I have Google scour the news for mentions of Calvinism [Wikipedia] because I enjoy reading almost anything either for or against this particularly contentious theological position. I think it's fundamentally one of the most important religious debates of all time. But that's just my opinion.

I likewise have Google comb through the news for mentions of Rick Renzi [Wikipedia] because I simply never liked having a resident of the state of Virginia as my Representative in Congress. Our differing political persuasions notwithstanding, I just always thought it was wrong, in a Constitutional-sense, that he could be allowed to do that, chiefly because he had lots of money, enough anyway to buy a house in the district, a house in which he never really lived. When he got into other trouble a while back, and chose to not run for reelection, I must admit to being pleased. He may be gone from Congress and Arizona Congressional District 1 now, but in my heart he's not forgotten. And, as he awaits trial on a number of serious charges, I read each update with great interest. I try not to gloat. But it's hard not to feel a little bit vindicated even though what he's accused of has nothing to do with his lack of concern for the democratic principles established by our Constitution.

But, these days, in the midst of this strange confluence of dogmas, there's my new favorite Gooogle News filter. I created it just a couple of weeks ago and it looks for news about El Niño every day. Not a day has gone by recently where Google hasn't aggregated a host of fascinating El Niño [Wikipedia] headlines, which seem to uniformly point to an ever-strengthening El Niño situation building in the eastern Pacific. If you live in Arizona, like I do, and you've lived through an El Niño winter or two in the past, as I have, this news makes you very optimistic about the prospect of big, deep snow on the mountain this winter. For both Argentine soybean farmers, and skiers in North America's southwestern region, El Niño winters are often a real boon, as they usually tend to be abundant producers of rain and snow.

Of course, if you're an Australian wheat farmer, or a Chilean sea lion pup, El Niño's nothing but bad news all around... starvation, reduced crop yields, and even death.

And that probably really sucks.