THE BLOG
02/16/2006 08:31 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Um, When Does "Impending Hell" Become "News"?

At this point, I don't care if Cheney guzzled three bottles of Old Crow before deciding to play a little William Tell with his good buddy Harry Whittington. After all, as captivating as this maelstrom about the Vice President is, there are much bigger stories breaking out there, ones that will affect our lives to more dramatic degree. So maybe we should calm down a bit about Dick "Mad Cow" Cheney and honestly start freaking out about the stories that are much bigger.

For instance: today scientists announced that glaciers melting in Greenland are now dumping twice as much ice into the ocean as they were five years ago.

Twice as much.

This, they say, could mean the oceans will rise considerably higher than they had already anticipated. And if the whole Greenland ice sheet melts, the ocean could rise as much as 22 feet. (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060216/sc_nm/environment_glaciers_dc)

Anyone want to guess how many people on this planet live at an altitude of 22 feet or lower? Anyone? I actually have no idea, but I'm guessing it's more than a few.

But is this "news"? Nope.

Apparently, "news" is the image of a kinda fat and woefully inept hunter lurching through the West Texas twilight, firing his gun at will.

Meanwhile, profound events unfold all around us, clear signs of a coming ecological reckoning that are as plain as the vacant gaze on George Bush's face. But, obvious as they are, these facts still somehow lie just beyond the horizon of our mass media's collective attention.

Facts like this: according to a report just released by the British government, we probably have already passed the "tipping point" on global warming, pretty much guaranteeing we'll experience massively destructive climate change in the years ahead. (http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article344690.ece)

Granted, this is all pretty dry stuff. Predictions of flooding, drought, record heat waves on the evening news just can't compete with the Vice President of the United States dryly describing how he shot his friend and watched him fall to the ground. I mean come on; Cheney's a walking Johnny Cash song. You can't beat that.

But still, the facts keep persistently coming, whether the cameras are on them or not. For instance this: because of global warming, over the next decade the methane gasses that have been trapped beneath the Siberian permafrost are going to be released into the atmosphere, leading to a 10 to 20% increase in - yes - global warming. So, global warming makes global warming. (Kind of like babies making babies, only a lot worse.)
(http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,12374,1546824,00.html)

It doesn't take much to find this stuff, someone should be noticing, right? Even here on Huff Po, it's buried beneath a hundred blogs about our trigger happy Veep. But at least it's here. You can find, for instance, a nice Laurie David piece that succinctly describes the effects of climate change today -not in exotic Siberia or distant Greenland - but rather in our very own Ohio. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laurie-david/global-warming-comes-to-t_b_15775.html)

It's a good piece, a piece where our present paints a picture of a future that - if you think about it for a minute - will scare the livin' bejeesus out of you. But come on, can it compete with the image of ol' Dick guzzling down a beer under the shade of a western tree? Can it rival Dick reaching over to his trusty weapon, getting up, dusting himself off, and then sauntering off into the sunset, in search of some easy game?

No, it turns out nothing can top that.

Well, not yet.