1. Sierra Club and Golden Gate Audubon sue on unneeded bridge over Yosemite Slough
2. Mayor trying to oust HANC Recycling Center?
3. Stones and trees speak slowly
4. Ban on single-use plastic bag fails
5. Three items from the Presidio
6. SF's LED Streetlight Conversion Program - from Project Manager
7. Neighborhood Parks Council hosts supervisorial candidate forums that focus specifically on park, recreation, and open space issues
8. SF Botanical Garden Docent Training to begin
9. News from East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden
10. Thoughts about the mountain lion killed in downtown Berkeley
11. Kind words for a mulch-maligned mammal, the wolverine
12. Open House at old Public Health Service Hospital, rehabbed in very green manner
13. Whatever happened to the huge plaster relief map of CA that used to be in the Ferry Building?
14. Sweepstakes contest for home solar system - benefit Restore Hetch Hetchy
15. The Art and Science of Imitating Nature
16. Calendar dates for Green Hairstreak Project
17. Scientific American potpourri - oh, what questions!
18. Feedback about importance of a strong middle class
19. Goldenrods, by Jake Sigg
20. Some tongue-in-cheek war reflections
21. The elusive price tag of the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan
1. Threats to Wildlife, Air Quality and Taxpayers Lead to Legal Challenge of Proposed Bridge across San Francisco Bay Slough;
Costly, Damaging Bridge Not Necessary for Responsible Redevelopment of Hunters Point
San Francisco, CA – Citing threats to local residents and wetland habitat, the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter and the Golden Gate Audubon Society filed a legal challenge today in California Superior Court against the proposed bridge across San Francisco Bay’s Yosemite Slough. The groups cited reports by experts that the bridge is an unnecessary component of redevelopment in Hunters Point and that it would waste taxpayer money and cause unnecessary pollution to air and water.
"This is a community that has been denied the essential services afforded to the other neighborhoods of San Francisco," said Arthur Feinstein, Vice Chair of the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter Executive Committee. "One of the most important of these is easy access to world-class parks such as the Presidio and Golden Gate Park that other parts of the city enjoy. Taking away 23 acres of land from Candlestick Point State Park and putting a bridge through the park’s nature area is just another example of how the needs of this community are being ignored."
The proposed 900-foot long, 40-foot wide bridge would cut through Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, San Francisco’s only state park. The bridge would require filling in about one acre of San Francisco Bay’s tidal wetlands and mudflats, threatening habitat for migratory waterfowl and nesting shorebirds and a planned wetland restoration project. In addition, the constant flow of traffic over the wetlands would bring noise and air pollution to the state park detracting from its usefulness as a park. Further damage to the Park includes the construction of high-end housing on 23.5 acres of the existing Candlestick Point State Park land.
"The community has long opposed the bridge," said Espanola Jackson, a long-time Bayview resident and community leader. "We refuse to have a bridge in back of us with Highways 101 and 280 around us. With our high asthma and cancer rates, health should be our first priority."
The Sierra Club and Golden Gate Audubon fully support redevelopment of San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point. Redevelopment of this area would bring new jobs, remediate lingering toxic contaminants and create open space for a community that has long endured the worst pollution in the city. Unfortunately, the proposed bridge over Yosemite Slough would only detract from these benefits and the city failed to consider an alternative driving route proposed by the Sierra Club and Golden Gate Audubon that would feasibly take traffic around the state park on existing roads.
"The old shipyard has been an abandoned toxic hotspot for a generation and we support cleaning it up and creating jobs and housing for the community," said Mark Welther, Conservation Director of the Golden Gate Audubon Society. "At the same time, we are working with local schools to reconnect students and their families with the few natural areas left intact in their neighborhood. Yosemite Slough represents one of the last chances to save such a waterfront treasure, and this bridge cuts it in two. It would be like driving an unnecessary highway through Crissy Field."
2. From Ed Dunn, Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC)
San Francisco’s Green Mayor Threatens Local Recycling Center With Eviction?
Ten Green Jobs On The Line
5,000 Native Plants Endangered
Thousands of SF Residents Will Miss City’s #1 Recycling Center
Anonymous sources in the Mayors Office, the Department of the Environment and Recreation and Parks all confirm that the Mayor wants the Haight Ashbury Nieghborhood Council (HANC) Recycling and Native Plant Nursery out by the end of his term. The Mayor mistakenly believes this draconian act will reduce illegal street activity in the Neighborhood and in Golden Gate Park.
HANC Operations Manager Charlie Lamar disputes the connection. “Only about 1 in 5 of our customers sleep outside and more than half come in cars” says Lamar who has worked there over twenty years. He added “If you watch the short video petition you’ll see how our customer base is really quite diverse and representative of the City as a whole”.
This misguided decision to evict HANC, which founded the Recycling Center in 1974, will leave the ten San Franciscans who work there without a job. HANC pays a living wage and provides health care. Given the high unemployment rate, many of these workers will be out of a work for a long time and may well end up homeless.
Thousands of San Franciscans who recycle at HANC will be forced to use one of the other rapidly diminishing recycling centers across town. San Francisco is notoriously underserved by recycling centers.
“San Francisco has only one recycling center for every 44,000 residents whereas across the State you’ll find one for every 18,000”, says Ed Dunn, HANC's Executive Director whose father founded the Recycling Center 36 years ago.
The fate of the Native Plant Nursery and its 5,000 plants remains unclear. Whether or not it would be incorporated into a new proposed “Garden Resource Center” at the HANC site is an open question. HANC already plans to offer free soil to community gardeners in the near future. And its Native Plant Nursery and Garden has been a destination for those interested in habitat restoration and gardening with native plants for years.
by Garrison Keillor
Stones and trees speak slowly
and may take a week
to get out a single sentence.
And there are few men,
unfortunately, with the
patience to wait
for an oak to finish a thought.
4. Environment California
Unfortunately, our bill to ban single-use plastic bags failed to pass the state Senate late Tuesday night.
The American Chemistry Council, a lobbying group representing ExxonMobil and DuPont, used every political trick to stall out the bill. They contributed money directly to swing votes, made tortured arguments about the bag ban being anti-environmental, ran TV ads, and swarmed the Capitol with lobbyists.
We took on an industry that sells 19 billion bags in California every year.
We're disappointed, but not defeated. We will keep advancing bans in cities, counties, universities, and continue making progress in our work to cut the unneeded plastic and styrofoam waste that is building up in the ocean. Already, we've seen 40 local bans up and down the state.
"Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor." Truman Capote
5. Three from the Presidio
Presidio Habitats: Special September Programs
*Log Cabin Series: The Art of Patience with Architect Mark Jensen on Thursday, September 9, at 7 pm – Jensen will describe his work Patience, dramatically austere yellow chairs that afford visitors a unique perspective on the Great Blue Heron.
*Guided Walk with the Presidio Habitats Curator on Saturday, September 11, from 10 am to Noon (RSVP to 415-561-5418)
Presidio Habitats is an outdoor art exhibition celebrating the wild Presidio. Details are on the website.
Running Dry: A Journey from Source to Sea Down the Colorado River
The Presidio’s Sports Basement is hosting a presentation by award-winning author Jonathan Waterman on Wednesday, September 8, at 6:30 pm. In 2008, Waterman emptied his mother’s ashes in the Colorado River headwaters and began a paddling journey to the river’s last trickle in the Sonoran desert and down the Mexican Delta to the sea - the first time anyone had traveled from the river’s source in Colorado to the Gulf of California. He will discuss his book Running Dry: A Journey from Source to Sea Down the Colorado River. For more information, visit the Sports Basement website. Sports Basement is located at 610 Mason Street at Crissy Field.
Public comment for Battery Caulfield Road extended to October 15
The public comment period for Battery Caulfield Road has been extended to October 15, and a public meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 5 at 6:30 pm at the Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop. The Presidio Trust is considering two approaches to limit vehicular use of a portion of the roadway in the Public Health Service District: 1) limitation of vehicular use during weekday peak AM and PM hours, 7 to 9 am and 5 to 7 pm, as well as on weekends (Alternative 1); or 2) limitation of vehicular use at all times (Alternative 2). Complete details are located on the website. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. LED Streetlight Conversion Program
Hi Jake, I received a copy of the Nature News e-mail, and as the SFPUC Project Manager for the LED Streetlight Conversion Program, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with some important information about our LED program.
The LED program will reduce light pollution and enhance dark skies in San Francisco. Our LED fixtures will be “full cut-off” fixtures, emitting a negligible amount of light above the fixture. This is much better than the existing high-pressure sodium cobra-head streetlights, which are mostly “cut-off” and “semi cut-off” fixtures.
The color temperature of the LED pilot project in the Tenderloin District is not representative of the color temperature of the LED
street lights that will be installed city-wide. The new installation will emit light at a color temperature of 4,100 degrees Kelvin (K) or less, not upwards of 6,000 degrees K like some of the Pilot Project lights in the Tenderloin. The proposed color temperature of 4,100 degrees K will be a warmer light than the Tenderloin LEDs. At 4,100 degrees (K), the light will not be bluish, but more of a neutral white because 4,100 degrees K is midway between yellow and white in the color temperature spectrum.
The neutral white light will significantly improve nighttime visibility for drivers and pedestrians by enabling better color
rendering and better peripheral vision under nighttime conditions. The specified lower color temperature provides a very good balance between superior night-time lighting conditions for drivers and pedestrians, while increasing energy savings and minimizing glare.
Converting the high-pressure sodium cobra-head fixtures will result in up to 50% in energy savings and drastically reduce our operating and maintenance costs while improving street lighting for drivers and pedestrians. Long-term, the LED Streetlight Conversion Program will help the City reduce its environmental footprint and save on energy costs.
Let me know if you have any further questions.
Mary Tienken, Project Manager, SFPUC
7. Each election year, Neighborhood Parks Council (NPC) hosts supervisorial candidate forums that focus specifically on park, recreation, and open space issues. Our goal is to give San Francisco voters the opportunity to learn more about each candidate's knowledge of and positions on these subjects. Please join us at your district's forum!
While we do not endorse candidates, we do give them "park-friendly" ratings based on a questionnaire that we ask them to complete. Candidate responses will be posted on our website in early September.
Forum Details (http://www.sfnpc.org/2010candidateforums)
D2: Date and location TBA
D4: Wednesday, September 8th, 6-8pm, South Sunset Clubhouse <http://www.sfnpc.org/files/District4flyer.pdf>
D6: Thursday, October 7th, 6-8pm, Genentech Auditorium, UCSF Mission Bay*
D8: Tuesday, October 12th, 6-8pm, Glen Park Elementary School Auditorium
D10: Wednesday, October 13th, 6-8pm, Joe Lee Rec Center
8. SF Botanical Garden Docent Training begins Saturday, Sept 18. 2010
Learn about the exciting and unique plants and their natural history found in the gardens of the San Francisco Botanical Garden located at Ninth and Lincoln. After the ten week session you will share your knowledge with garden visitors. All classes will be held on Saturday mornings. Contact Tom Laursen, volunteer manager at 415-661-1316 x 412.
“The decent docent doesn’t doze;
He teaches standing on his toes.
His student dassn’t doze and does,
And that’s what teaching is and was.”
David McCord (1897-1997) American poet
9. The September 2010 issue of the always interesting newsletter of the East Bay Regional Parks District Botanic Garden is at http://us1.campaign-archive.com/?u=01091d83e4aa193c78a888704&id=c9aa638f49&e=dc1584429c
You will find a lead article with map explaining what the California Floristic Province is, a 1949 picture of the iconic Garden founder James Roof in 1949 as well as a quick look at the Garden's evolution, information about the monthly meeting of Seedy Friends at the botanic garden, and information on California native plants for reliable autumn color in the Bay Area. Perhaps, needless to say, it doesn't include poison oak, our most reliable and most beautiful seasonal color.
10. From Kay Loughman
Early on the morning of August 31, a female mountain lion was spotted and ultimately dispatched in Berkeley’s ‘gourmet ghetto.’ Several newspapers and bloggers have written something, so there’s no need to go into detail here. We can allow ourselves a three-second chuckle about this cougar just wanting a decent meal; but the important thing is that she made a mistake, and paid with her life.
Most readers will already know that mountain lions belong to a group of animals called “top predators,” i.e. they have no predators except humans. It’s a group whose numbers are shrinking. But a large and increasing number of ecologists believe that maintenance of healthy populations of predators is essential to the balance of our whole ecosystem. An excellent book on this topic is William Stolzenberg's highly readable Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators. Published to critical acclaim in 2008, it’s a passionate and compelling investigation into the balance between life and death, predator and prey.
So shed a tear for the Berkeley mountain lion,
Also, shed a tear for the Berkeley Police Officers, who likely are not hunters and did not want to kill this cat; but felt they had no choice. They will remember long after we have forgotten--or celebrate her too-short life by listening to a musical tribute (!) at:
http://blogs.sfweekly.com/shookdown/2010/09/ - the_lion_sleeps_tonight_a_trib.php
I wish that cougar had walked south to Claremont Canyon!
"Nature is what she is--amoral and persistent." Stephen Jay Gould
"Life is richest where the greatest diversity exists in the natural order" Adolph Murie
11. Kind words for a much-maligned mammal
The Wolverine Way, by Douglas Chadwick
Wolverines do not have a romantic history. Early trappers and pioneers loathed these carnivores for their elusive, gnarly behavior. Tall tales were told about vicious, crotchety beasts hunting humans in the woods, and by the early part of the 20th century, traps and poisons had ravaged the wolverine population.
Today, only around 300 wolverines roam Montana, Idaho and the Yellowstone-Grand Teton area; a few can be found in Washington's North Cascades. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is slated to decide whether to add wolverines to the endangered species list by the end of the year.
The Glacier Wolverine Project, which ran from 2002 to 2007 in Glacier National Park, investigated the animals' relationships with each other as well as their habitat preferences and mating behavior. Douglas Chadwick, a volunteer with the project, takes us with him as he goes wolverine chasing. In the Wolverine Way, he writes, "What seemed odd was that in the 21st century we understood so remarkably little about one of the most intriguing creatures to ever walk the wild."
Project staff witnessed wolverines engaged in rarely seen social behavior -- adults and yearlings patrolling territory together, even playing in the snow. The anecdotes bring the project's science to life. One researcher used an AM/FM radio as a "surrogate human voice" to slow down a rowdy wolverine trying to claw its way out of one of the study's log boxes. The radio noise, combined with packed snow on top of the box, kept the wolverine from breaking loose, allowing the researcher to catch a nap before coming back at dawn to continue his work. The dedicated staff made late-night ski treks in brutal winter cold to outfit wolverines with transmitters. This is truly on-the-ground, hands-on science.
But the wolverines are the real stars of the book. Their audacious character makes The Wolverine Way an astounding account of a truly unique animal.
"If wolverines have a strategy, it's this: Go hard, and high, and steep, and never back down, not even from the biggest grizzly, and least of all from a mountain," Chadwick declares. "Climb everything; trees, cliffs, avalanche chutes, summits. Eat everybody: alive, dead, long-dead, moose, mouse, fox, frog, its still-warm heart or its frozen bones."
Review - From the August 20, 2010 issue of High Country News by Brian Park
12. Open House alert for the old Public Health Service Hospital in the Presidio, now completely rehabbed in a very green manner and renamed the Landmark. Free shuttle to the site every 15 min. from the Main Parade.
13. Hi Jake, Carl Nolte is running an article on the huge WPA-made relief map of SF that apparently was on display at Treasure Island in 1940 that I recently discovered in a UC warehouse. That got us all wondering whatever happened to the huge plaster relief map of CA that used to be in the Ferry Building. Do you have any idea of who might know? Apparently, around 1986 it was sold for a dollar and crated up, but no one seems to know where it went. David Brower told me he wanted to find and reassemble it so that people could see what the state was like in 1924 when it was apparently built (it was not WPA.) Gray Brechin
14. Sweepstakes contest for home solar system - benefit Restore Hetch Hetchy
We have a generous offering from our friends at Real Goods Solar, a leading solar electric company. They are currently running a sweepstakes, the winner of which will receive a home solar system in California or Colorado. We encourage you to enter to win!
For those of you who do not win, Real Goods Solar will donate $500 to Restore Hetch Hetchy for each supporter who signs a contract. You save money and protect the environment, and we have more resources to restore Hetch Hetchy Valley.
Real Goods Solar offer a FREE site evaluation, so it's certainly worth looking at. If you've been thinking about solar, now is the time to act and benefit Restore Hetch Hetchy!
15. PAX Scientific: The Art and Science of Imitating Nature
Onno Koelman, Director of Sales at PAX Scientific, a Bay area engineering firm that specializes in applying the concept of biomimicry to design energy-efficient and non-polluting products, willshare ideas for incorporating revolutionary design principles into a wide range of industrial processes.
Co-sponsored by Acterra’s Be the Change program and the annual Bioneers Conference, where PAX speakers have wowed audiences with their technological breakthroughs, the talk will be on Wednesday night, September 15th, 7 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto (UUCPA), 505 East Charleston, Palo Alto. Come at 6:30 for networking and light refreshments. Cost: $15 per person (pay at the door). For more information about this event, please visit the PAX Scientific event announcement (PDF).
Hear more inspiring speakers at the Bioneers Conference, October 15 -17 in San Rafael. Register now for 10% off the price listed on their website, or get 15% off if you become a Bioneers member. To register please visit the Bioneers Conference website.
16. CALENDAR DATES for Green Hairstreak Corridor Project:
Sat Sept 4 10:00 am White Crane Springs Community Garden, 7th & Lawton, Liam O'Brien will speak on the Green Hairstreak Butterfly
Tues Sept 7 6:00 pm - Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood Assoc. presentation for support
Sun Sept 12 10:00 am – next Monthly Meeting, 14th & Pacheco
11:00 am – 2:00 pm – next Workday, 14th & Pacheco
17. Scientific American
OBSERVATIONS: If the world is going to hell, why are humans doing so well?
Environmentalists (and others) have warned of humanity's imminent doom, yet, at the exact same time, humanity has never been better
("...imminent doom, yet, at the exact same time, humanity has never been better". Need I mention the Titanic, or Pompeii?)
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MAGAZINE: The Deepening Crisis: When Will We Face the Planet's Environmental Problems?
Failure to act on threats to global sustainability brings the world closer to disaster
(When will we face our problems? I don't think we will. The power of denial--especially when money is involved.)
60-SECOND EARTH: The Price of Traffic in China
It's not just the inconveniences of traffic jams that may last for months outside of Beijing, it's also the global climate
("...it's also the global climate". Gee, no kiddin'. That's the first thing I thought of--not all those people late for work.)
EXTINCTION COUNTDOWN: Toxic avenger: One man's desperate idea to save the rhinos--poison their horns
With rhinoceros poaching in Africa approaching an all-time high, one nature preserve owner has had enough
60-SECOND SCIENCE PODCAST: Lower Cost Lighting May Not Lower Cost
Artificial lighting, despite huge efficiency improvements, has cost a constant percentage of GDP for three centuries
NEWS: Light Diet: Eating Food without Seeing It May Impede Ability to Judge Hunger
When you cannot see what you are eating, you lose your ability to accurately evaluate satiety
NEWS: Can Exercise Make You Feel More Full?
A study of fat swimming and running rats indicated that exercise induces brain chemistry changes that decrease appetite
NEWS: Closeted Calamity: The Hidden HIV Epidemic of Men Who Have Sex with Men
A paucity of research on men who have sex with other men has done a disservice to efforts to prevent the spread of HIV
> Doug Allshouse:
>> Jake: Concerning your promotion of a strong middle class--I couldn't agree more. Here's an enlightening example of what might be in our future if things keep going as they are.
>> A fellow co-worker went on vacation to visit family in the Philippines. He was strictly a middle-class guy like me, but one of this uncles there was the equivalent of a senator. They were out playing golf at the local country club when they began talking about conditions in the Philippine economy. His uncle replied, "George, in the Philippines you either have a caddy or you are a caddy."
19. Goldenrods, by Jake Sigg
Here it is mid-September, and goldenrods are blooming in our natural areas. Now the hills are dry, and the matrix of weedy grasses that it grows in are long since dead, so it is not a tidy picture such as we might see in wildflower fields in February or March. But seeing is an art that must be cultivated. To begin with, isn't it amazing that a plant can not only stay alive through the long dry summer, but can actually send up a flower spike and produce seed for the next generation--something a plant physiologist will tell you requires a tremendous amount of energy? For humans, seeing it is primarily an aesthetic experience, but if you're a bee or other insect dependent on pollen or nectar, there is not a lot to choose from at this time of year. This is where the Compositae, or sunflower family, excels. You may also find the coast aster and pearly everlasting growing nearby--both late-flowering composites, or 'comps'.
Start with focusing on the plant itself--artists and photographers know this--and be rewarded by the myriad felicities of its design. The shape, texture, and venation of the leaf are distinctive, and a practiced eye can identify a goldenrod by the leaf alone. The golden-yellow flowers are arranged in a spike. The grassland on the east side of Mt. Davidson has two kinds of goldenrods in bloom now. The California goldenrod is the showier but less common of the two, and it occurs in colonies, arising from a travelling root.
Goldenrods have gotten a bad rap; people think they cause hayfever or other allergic reactions. Allergenic plants are those that are wind-pollinated, such as grasses, ragweed, pines and oaks. Their pollen grains are individual, not gathered into a clump or ball, in order to maximize the chances of landing on the female organs of another flower of its kind. Wind-pollinated plants do not invest energy in showy petals. Petals are designed to attract the attention of insect pollinators, and when an insect finds the flower, pollen hitches a ride on its hairy legs or body, and a whole bunch of pollen grains want to go along on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. They are sticky in order to adhere to each other, and the balls are too big to travel up to the sinuses of humans; for that, the fine individual grains of wind-borne pollen is needed. So discard what you may have been told about goldenrod and, like an insect, just savor its beauty, interest, and utility.
All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee. Alexander Pope, "An Essay on Man" in Four Epistles
"A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what's left of your unit." In the August 1993 issue of PS Magazine, the Army's magazine of preventive maintenance
Civil War’s General John Sedgwick, whose last recorded words were: “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.”
"I think the Union army had something to do with it."
Gen. George Pickett , years afterward on why his charge at Gettysburg failed.
The elusive price tag of the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan
Heard on NPR's Marketplace
Kai Ryssdal talks to professor and author Andrew Bacevich about his new book "Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War."
Kai Ryssdal: In Baghdad this morning, Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Robert Gates took up where the president left off in his speech last night. The new era in Iraq has officially started. Operation New Dawn began with a ceremony in one of Saddam Hussein's old palaces. Seven and a half years, and by most estimates, something between $1 trillion and $3 trillion later, the news of the day provides an opportunity to take stock. To try to figure out what the United States got for its money.
Ryssdal: Is there a way for us to figure out how much this war in Iraq and also in Afghanistan has cost us?
Bacevich: No, I think we'll never know. And we'll never know, because the people in Washington don't want us to know. If indeed, we could tally up the actual dollar costs, I think they would end up being so large that there would be a great hew-and-cry from the people. That will be one of those numbers that I think will tend to be very elusive.
Ryssdal: We can't figure out then in pure, bottom-line return on investment, right? I mean, we had a set of goals, but we don't know how much we spent, and so we're at sea a little bit.
Bacevich: Well, it's worse than that, because the goals, of course, shifted over time. I mean, in the immediate wake of the fall of Baghdad, we were told that the goals included the transformation of Iraq into a liberal democracy, in which the rights of Iraqi women would be protected in perpetuity. More than seven years later, we're certainly settling for quite a bit less. So the longer the war lasted, the more it cost, and in a sense, the lower the objectives came to be. The unwillingness to demand anything like strict accountability has become a deeply ingrained habit in Washington D.C., and it's a habit that neither Democrats nor Republicans are willing to challenge.
Ryssdal: What about the people of the United States though? Because we are finely attuned, domestically, to how much money we have spent on the TARP, on how much money we've spent on the bail out. And yet it does not translate, it seems, that curiosity, into foreign politics.
Bacevich: It doesn't, because in terms of the average American, the number is a theoretical one that doesn't have any direct personal, immediate impact. If indeed we've spent roughly a trillion dollars on the Iraq War alone, that hasn't resulted in me or you paying higher taxes. So this enormous expenditure of money hasn't affected you and me directly. It will end up affecting your children, my grandchildren. I expect that future generations will probably curse us for our unwillingness to pay for wars that were undertaken in our name.
Ryssdal: We've been talking about the Iraq War. The general press buzz the past couple of days has been combat operations are over, and now what we have is this advise-and-assist mission over there. But that does not close the financial books. I mean, we're still spending huge amounts of money over there.
Bacevich: Oh absolutely. I mean, the fact of the matter is we have combat brigades still in Iraq, we've just attached a different label to those combat brigades, and we're keeping our fingers crossed that we'll be able to keep them out of further combat. But we'll continue to spend billions in Iraq. And as others have pointed out, we'll continue to spend hundreds of billio