78 rpm Records of Indian Music: Kumar Birendra Narayan

Here is a beautiful pair of bansuri performances by Kumar Birendra Narayan, whom I gather was an important instrumentalist in Bengali light and film music, thanks to an en passant mention by Durbadal Chattopadhyay:

Since my father was a musician, many eminent personalities visited our place. He also had an orchestra of which I was the monitor. I started taking music lessons from several people in instruments like the banjo, piano and violin. Musicians like Kumar Birendra Narayan (flute), who accompanied SD Burman on numerous Bangla songs, AS Dubey and others were there. I learnt the violin from my father. Then I took lessons in classical music under the baton of Professor Robin Ghosh…

He has beautiful classical chops; these are very attractive and lilting performances. Enjoy!

Raga “Pradeep” (Patdeep)


Year 2, Month 6, Day 13: The Florida Land Bust

The Saint Petersburg Times has an excellent editorial citing Chicago’s greening programs as worthwhile models for Floridian cities. Governor Rick Scott, of course, is a typical denialist (and a crook, too!). Poor Florida — soon to be submerged:

As the New York Times recently reported, in 2006 then-Mayor Richard M. Daley embraced climatologist predictions the city was warming at such an alarming pace that by the end of this century Chicago could be facing as many as 72 days a year with temperatures in the 90s, along with increasing precipitation. So Chicago has embarked on a massive green initiative with increased tree plantings, environmentally sensitive building efforts and improved reclaimed water systems. And what of Florida, perhaps the most ecologically sensitive state in the union? For starters, there is Gov. Rick Scott, who doesn’t believe — despite proof to the contrary from the scientific community — that global warming even exists. As sea levels have risen, Tallahassee continues to whistle past the environmental graveyard, abolishing the Florida Energy and Climate Commission and even attempting to repeal the Florida Climate Protection Act on the dubious and misinformed logic it is no longer needed. While Chicago acknowledges global warming and develops forward-thinking strategies, Florida’s leaders ignore scientific reality even as the seas slowly and steadily erode the peninsula.

Good stuff. It’s always enjoyable to mock the twisted thinking of denialists. Too bad they’re for real. Sent May 30:

As the evidence for global climate change piles up ever higher, it would seem that conservative “skeptics” would eventually be won over to the side of science-based policy. To be sure, this does happen occasionally. But in general, this is not the way the denialist mind works. If past history is any guide, a far more likely response will be intensified advocacy of increasingly improbable and complex conspiracy theories. Al Gore heading an international cabal of climate scientists? Check. IPCC Director Rajendra Pachauri secretly planning a One-World Government, complete with mandatory re-education camps for SUV drivers? Check. The ninety-seven percent of the world’s climate experts who agree on the human causes of global warming and the terrifying threats it poses are, in the denialist mind, more likely to be avaricious hypocrites out to make a quick buck than conscientious scientists reporting their findings to the world. Projection, anyone?

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 5, Day 29: Happy Whatever.

Another response to the UK plan to reduce GG emissions 50% by 2027, this one going to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Sent May 17:

Britain’s plans for drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions show that at least one government in the industrialized West is taking the threat of climate change seriously — which implies that the UK’s political establishment is capable of thinking in the long term. America, however, is paralyzed — incapable of any meaningful response, let alone one that unleashes our country’s creative and adaptive potential. The climate-change denialists currently in controlling the House of Representatives have a pathological resistance to scientific evidence, a proven inability to think beyond the next electoral cycle, and fiscal ties to the fossil fuel industry — a deadly combination of ignorance, cupidity and shortsightedness that should be an immediate disqualification for any elected office in this country. With our country’s unique combination of expertise and imagination, we could handily outdo Great Britain in emissions reduction — if we can stop denying the existence of climate change.

Warren Senders

May 29 is my birthday. I’m 53.

Year 2, Month 4, Day 25: Speaking Of Good Examples

It’s always nice to see a whole nation do the right thing. Too bad it’s never the USA.

Developing countries taking the climate initiative
by Marwaan Macan-Markar
April 15, 2011

BANGKOK — Led by countries like Indonesia, 48 developing nations are rolling out a range of pledges to voluntarily cut their respective emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) by 2020, the year climate scientists say the earth’s rising temperature should peak by if an environmental catastrophe is to be avoided.

Indonesian negotiators confirmed during a U.N. climate change conference here that Jakarta is prepared to cut its GHG emissions by 26 percent on its own accord. But that is not all: the world’s most populous Muslim country is prepared to increase emissions cuts to 41 percent if it receives development assistance that industrialised nations have committed to providing.

“It is a pledge that sends out an important message: Indonesia is prepared to do its share to shoulder the burden of reducing greenhouse gases,” says Shalimar Vitan, economic and justice campaigns coordinator for the East Asia office of Oxfam, the British humanitarian agency. “It also is informing the citizens of the country that Indonesia is eyeing a low carbon development agenda.”

This article was in the Madison Times (WI), and since Bill O’Reilly says Madison is full of “satan-worshipers” I guess I’m probably preaching to the choir in this letter, but what the heaven. Sent April 15:

Indonesia’s readiness to commit to drastic emissions reductions is an object lesson to the United States about the meaning of responsibility. Compared with the industrialized West, the island nation’s contribution to the climate crisis is quite small — but it will feel the effects sooner and more severely. If our nation suffered the effects of climate change proportionally to our contribution, we’d already be deep underwater. Climate-change deniers don’t want to face the environmental consequences of our fossil-fueled economic engine, and who can blame them? I wouldn’t want to face a future of increasingly severe weather, acidified oceans, devastated agriculture and crippled infrastructure either — but we oil- and coal-burning humans unwittingly started all those things. It’s time for Americans to face the reality of our national contribution to a global problem — and follow Indonesia’s lead in emissions reduction. Let’s be ethical citizens of the world — for a change.

Warren Senders

Turing Time!

This is interesting. There are comments showing up (very occasionally, since this is a pretty low-traffic blog) which specifically address the content of posts — and which are from fairly obvious spam sources. For example, on the “Playing For The Planet” page, I just got this:

19 Apr 2011, 8:34am
by Can I Get a Mortgage

Please post an update and pictures if possible after the next concert. Love the picture about the Sindhoor dance theater. Beautiful detail.

Have the spambots evolved to actually generate meaningful content relationships? Is there actually a human being named “Can I Get A Mortgage?”

Year 2, Month 3, Day 13: Could Robert Service Have Written Tales Of The Temperate North?

The Montreal Gazette reports on yet another detailed, comprehensive scientific study showing dramatic, terrifying stuff going on that our policy-makers will resolutely ignore because their paymasters want them to. To wit:

Forecasting profound changes to all Arctic ecosystems “fuelled by human- induced global warming,” the U.S.-led team of scientists has mapped the expected vanishing of moss- and lichen-covered land across much of the Canadian North, where up to 44 per cent of the terrain now classified as tundra could be replaced by invading boreal forest or shrub environments by 2099.

Sent on March 5:

There is plenty to be worried about in the “Climate Dynamics” study, but perhaps the most ominous thing of all isn’t mentioned in the article. Climate change’s devastating impact on the tundra is an ecological disaster-in-the-making, but the real import of this study lies in the fact that here it is not just an individual species that faces extinction, but an entire complex ecosystem extinguished all at once, in the blink of a geological eye. How many slow millennia of life’s adaptation and evolution are to be found in a few square meters of tundra? And how quickly, by contrast, is it to be destroyed? And yet the real tragedy is not restricted to the world’s Northern latitudes; the tundra is only one among many unique and irreplaceable ecologies everywhere around the world that will soon pass into history, as global warming transforms the planet in unexpected ways.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 2, Day 11: What The Hell’s The Matter With Kansas?

The Kansas City Star:

WASHINGTON — Legislation that would limit the regulatory power of the Environmental Protection Agency regarding greenhouse gases has been introduced by Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, R-Kan.

The legislation, also sponsored by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., would require the EPA to seek congressional approval before regulating greenhouse gas emissions for the sole purpose of addressing climate change.

Called the Defending America’s Affordable Energy and Jobs Act, the legislation seeks to pre-empt existing rules and prohibit future federal restrictions on greenhouse gases in the absence of congressional authorization.

The Obama Administration vows a veto. Good. But these people are not going to quit. Climate Zombies. I used to think the term was metaphorical. Now I know better.

Mailed on February 4:

The blinkered condition of Republican climate denialists notwithstanding, the facts on global climate change have been in for a long time, and the scientific consensus on the human causes of global warming is universal (absent only the dissenting voices of petroleum-funded professional contrarians). Senators Murray, Moran and Barrasso, in attempting to prevent the EPA from doing its job, are motivated by a dangerous combination of electoral exigency, fiscal avarice and scientific ignorance. The recent snowfalls that have immobilized much of the country are an early manifestation of the kind of weather chaos we can expect to experience over the coming years, as the gradually warming atmosphere becomes ever more disruptive to our ways of life. Greenhouse gases need to be regulated right away; our dysfunctional Congress certainly won’t do it. Before the Senators drastically weaken the EPA, let them find a better way to protect Americans from environmental dangers.

Warren Senders

About The Timing Of Things

Later on this year I will be taking a trip to India. During that time I’m planning on having as close as possible to a climate-free mental environment.

But I don’t want to miss a daily letter. So when I can, I’m writing two letters instead of one, thereby getting a bit of a jump on things.

At the moment, I’m four days ahead. The letter that will appear here on January 25, for example, was sent a few minutes ago.

This explains why the letters may seem to be responding to articles that are five or six days old. They are — but they’ve already been submitted much closer to the original date of publication.

Month 12, Day 1: We’re Number One!

The Guardian’s US Environment correspondent, Suzanne Goldenberg, reports on America’s stance going into the Cancun talks. My country really really really needs a talking to.

It is a curious irony that the Republican champions of American exceptionalism currently poised to take over the U.S. House of Representatives are opposed to any sort of meaningful action on climate change — because it is “too hard” on businesses, taxpayers and consumers. Trumpeting the notion that America is the only country that has a “can-do” spirit, they simultaneously assert that American industries are too fragile to participate in a world economy with rules have drastically changed by environmental exigencies. Apparently, since its participation in World War II was crucial to an Allied victory, America deserves a lifetime free pass from the rest of the globe. While it’s unfortunate for the likelihood of a genuine emissions agreement that climate change is represented by massed statistics rather than mustached dictators, the deaths and tragedies brought about by this more insidious enemy will exceed all of humanity’s wars combined.

Warren Senders

By The Way…

…I know it’s been a long time since I did any music posting. Once this harrowing election is over I’ve got some goodies I’ll be posting. Until then…GOTV!