Nov 252015

I’m getting as much done early as I can, because I expect a very busy day.  Sometime this afternoon my interim prosthetic leg will arrive.  I will use it for about six months, shrink out of it, and have a new cup made.  Today I will take my first baby steps on two feet.  I also expect visits from PT and OT.  OT plans to help me use the shower.  I’ll just have to suffer through that.  Winking smile

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2014 there was a huge increase in sexually transmitted diseases in the United States.

The CDC estimates that nearly 20 million new STD infections happen each year in the U.S., with the majority affecting 15 to 24-year-olds.

Reports of gonorrhea and syphilis also increased in 2014. There was a 2.8% increase in chlamydia since 2013, and reports of syphilis, which has three stages, increased for the most infectious stages of the disease by 15.1%.

One of the reasons for this rise in STDs is the war being waged on public health in this country over the last couple of decades.

The increase in STDs is in many ways a result of cuts in funding to public health clinics, Gail Bolan, director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, told NBC.

“Most recently, there have been significant erosions of state and local STD control programs,” Bolan said. “Most people don’t recognize that the direct clinical care of individuals with sexually transmitted diseases is supported by state and local funds and federal funds.”

This leads to men and women not getting tested and treated early, before further infections occur. As the CDC report notes, it’s not particularly economic to cut our public health and then have to pay it out on the other end.

This is a direct result of the Republican sequester.  Thanks, Republicans!

From The New YorkerIn an announcement on Monday morning, Pfizer, the big drug company, whose headquarters are on East 42nd Street, in Manhattan, said that it is merging with one of its competitors, Allergan PLC. Ian Read, a Scottish-born accountant who is Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive, said that the proposed deal, which is valued at a hundred and sixty billion dollars, would “create a leading global pharmaceutical company with the strength to research, discover and deliver more medicines and therapies to more people around the world.”

On Wall Street and in the world of big pharma, that statement will raise chuckles. It is widely acknowledged that the primary impetus for the deal is a financial one. In merging with Allergan, which is based in Dublin, Pfizer intends to move its corporate residency to Ireland, where the corporate tax rate is just 12.5 per cent, compared to thirty-five per cent for a company of its size in the United States. Over the next few years, the merger could save Pfizer billions of dollars in taxes and deprive the U.S. Treasury of the same amount.

Tax-driven deals of this nature are known as “inversions,” and they are becoming increasingly common. Burger King, Liberty Global, and Medtronic are among the U.S. corporations to have carried out mergers that moved their headquarters abroad. Last year, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said that inversions were “wrong,” and that he would try and restrict them. Only last week, the Treasury Department issued some new administrative guidelines in this area. Without actual legislation, though, there isn’t very much the Obama Administration can do to prevent these exercises in corporate tax-dodging, and Republicans on Capitol Hill have displayed little eagerness to coöperate in a crackdown.

It’s simple. If a company wants to do business in our marketplace, they should have to pay taxes here. To make this happen we must flush the Republican Party.

From NY Times: For more than a year, a rare coalition of liberal groups and libertarian-minded conservatives has joined the Obama administration in pushing for the most significant liberalization of America’s criminal justice laws since the beginning of the drug war. That effort has had perhaps no ally more important than Koch Industries, the conglomerate owned by a pair of brothers who are well-known conservative billionaires.

Now, as Congress works to turn those goals into legislation, that joint effort is facing its most significant test — over a House bill that Koch Industries says would make the criminal justice system fairer, but that the Justice Department says would make it significantly harder to prosecute corporate polluters, producers of tainted food and other white-collar criminals.

The tension among the unlikely allies emerged over the last week as the House Judiciary Committee, with bipartisan support, approved a package of bills intended to simplify the criminal code and reduce unnecessarily severe sentences.

This makes it crystal clear that Republicans really don’t give a damn about sentencing reform. They’re just using it to mask protecting big corporate criminals from responsibility for their crimes.



Nov 252015

Hmmmmmmmmmmm . . . it was an ordinary day with nothing untoward happening.  Something must be wrong! Even the weather was great and no sibling rivalries from the feline side of the family!  I'll celebrate while I can!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:42 (average 4:41). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

Daily Kos  While Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning and John Kiriakou are vilified for revealing vital information about spying and bombing and torture, a man who conspired with Goldman Sachs to make billions of dollars on the planned failure of subprime mortgages was honored by New York University for his "Outstanding Contributions to Society." 

This is one example of the distorted thinking leading to the demise of a once-vibrant American society. There are other signs of decay: 

1. A House Bill Would View Corporate Crimes as 'Honest Mistakes' 

Wealthy conservatives are pushing a bill that would excuse corporate leaders from financial fraud, environmental pollution, and other crimes that America's greatest criminals deem simply reckless or negligent. The Heritage Foundation attempts to rationalize, saying "someone who simply has an accident by being slightly careless can hardly be said to have acted with a 'guilty mind.'" 

One must wonder, then, what extremes of evil, in the minds of conservatives, led to criminal charges against people apparently aware of their actions: the Ohio woman who took coins from a fountain to buy food; the California man who broke into a church kitchen to find something to eat; and the 90-year-old Florida activist who boldly tried to feed the homeless

Of course, even without the explicit protection of Congress, CEOs are rarely charged for their crimes. Not a single Wall Street executive faced prosecution for the fraud-ridden 2008 financial crisis. 

Click through for 4 more signs of a decaying society.  These bring to mind scenes in Detroit where water and sanitation was cut off to thousands because they couldn't pay for water etc, bills usually being a couple hundred dollars.  But some golf courses etc owned and used by the wealthy, with arrears in the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars, had no water cut offs.  It isn't hard to see who has their priorities screwed up.

Politicususa — Now, it appears that Fox News, the religious right, and conservative pundits have another “war on Christmas” enemy to add to their growing list of atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Wiccans, Heathens, and Muslims who they say hate Christmas. The newest combatant joining the fake war on Christmas went beyond opposing saying Merry Christmas or protesting against Christian Christmas displays on government property and actually assailed the holiday celebration as a farce; likely because he is the supreme leader of the Catholic Church and not involved in conservative America’s silly Christmas outrage.

Pope On War

During a Mass at Casa Santa Maria, Pope Francis quietly committed one of the most heinous sins to American conservatives and religious right fanatics. There have been a world of things this “progressive” Pope has said to incite Republicans, conservatives, and evangelicals to abject anger and outrage, and each and every time it is because he talks like the Christian bible’s humanitarian Jesus. This latest incident is no different and is another signal that on a couple of important issues, Francis is a progressive pope; and an honest-to-dog humanitarian.

Click through for the rest.  I can hear Bill O'Reilly now, totally apoplectic, screaming that the Pope has no idea what he's talking about!  I am not a catholic, but I can definitely get behind him on some issues, and this is one.  I have felt for years that Christmas is about excessive and conspicuous consumption.  The real Christmas comes every day wrapped in plain, unadorned paper.  It is the extended hand to refugees, a kind word, volunteering in a soup kitchen or a food bank so others might have food, holding the hand of someone who is afraid, and many more.

Talking Points Memo — Writing for the 7th Circuit majority, Judge Richard Posner called the contention that the law would protect women's health "nonexistent." He said the law would put more women in danger by increasing the waiting times for abortions, which could push some procedures into the second trimester.

"What makes no sense is to abridge the constitutional right to abortion on the basis of spurious contentions regarding women's health — and the abridgement challenged in this case would actually endanger women's health," he wrote.

He also said that a woman who experiences complications from an abortion will go to the nearest hospital, which will treat her regardless of whether her abortion doctor has admitting privileges there.

Click through to read the rest.  Of course the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a Texas case come spring which will affect all states.

My Universe h/t John Gray, Care2

At least this young lady got the kitten's bumb and not claws as was my misfortune when I was the trampoline 7 yearrs ago!

Nov 242015

It has been a busy day, first with physio and then teaching.  All was going well, although I was very tired, until we received a call from from my student's 10 year old son.  His middle school was in lock down because there was one, maybe two men with guns near the school.  That put everybody on edge until it was over and I could get over to the school to pick him up.  That stretched out my day and my planned cat nap had to wait.  But all is well that ends well.  Men with guns, other than police constables, is not something we are used to, thankfully.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:12 (average 5:01). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Fantasy Football

Rank Team Status W-L-T Pct Stk Waiver For Against

Monster MashersMonster Mashers


7-3-0 .700 L1 7 1,002.34 748.84

BALCO BombersBALCO Bombers


7-3-0 .700 W4 9 950.96 793.22

Progressive UnderdogsProgressive Underdogs


6-4-0 .600 W2 8 1,016.66 906.92

Lefty HillbilliesLefty Hillbillies


6-4-0 .600 W1 6 948.50 844.04



6-4-0 .600 W1 5 926.22 796.88

Purple DemonPurple Demon


5-5-0 .500 W3 4 948.16 970.96

Size 9 StompersSize 9 Stompers


5-5-0 .500 L1 3 851.08 851.16

Playing without a helmetPlaying without a helmet


4-6-0 .400 L3 2 824.80 953.40

TomCat Teabag TrashersTomCat Teabag Trashers


3-7-0 .300 L3 10 884.98 1,059.66



1-9-0 .100 L9 1 633.20 1,061.82

* Rank change shown is from week 9 – 10

Short Takes

Truth in Mediah/t Lona Goudswaard — In this episode of Truth in Media, Ben Swann explores the origin of ISIS that has already been long forgotten by American media. Swann takes on the central issue of whether or not ISIS was created by "inaction" by the United States government or by "direct" action.

Although this video is 8 months old, it bears watching again and again until we get it straight and can hold politicians, no matter the party, accountable.

Alternet — “The Pfizer-Allergan merger would be a disaster for American consumers who already pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs,” Sanders said, in a statement issued by his U.S. Senate office. It also would "allow another major American corporation to hide its profits overseas.”

Click through for the rest of the story.  I kept hearing about this proposed sale on the radio as I went about my business.  What makes this deal different from most so far (I'm sure that others will follow) is that Allergan, the Irish company, is making the purchase thereby getting around US laws regarding "inversions".  Bernie is right to call on Obama to squash this.

Think Progress — The mayor of Dallas is pushing back against politicians who say Americans should be skeptical ofSyrian refugees, saying he is “more fearful” of armed white men than people fleeing civil war in the Middle East.

Speaking to MSNBC on Saturday morning, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings was asked to discuss the growing anxiety over Syrian refugees entering the United States, purportedly over concerns they could be potential agents for militant groups such as ISIS. Rawlings staunchly rejected the assertion that Syrians are somehow uniquely prone to violence, saying he is more concerned with the rise of white supremacy and the recent flurry of mass shootings committed by white men.

Click through for the rest and a video from the Rachel Maddow Show.  

My Universe — h/t to John Gray, Care2

Oct 202015

For me, today has been hectic.  When I finally arrived home about 5 pm, I wanted to check on election results but that had to wait until I indulged in one of Lona's cat naps.  And what would a cat nap be without furry critters purring away?  Now, if I could only convince the critters not to shed!  But at least Canadians shed the Harper government!!!  Today's thread is a little longer with the Canadian election results included.  To say the least, I am a happy Canuck!!!  Too bad Harper wasn't defeated in his own constituency though.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:34 (average 4:45). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes 

Huffington Post — No, John Oliver's not going to a Canadian jail. He can also keep that $5,000 he was apparently ready to dish over to Canadian authorities.

The comedian devoted a segment to Canada's election on his HBO show, "Last Week Tonight," which culminated in mockery of a law forbidding foreigners from influencing Canadian elections.

He ridiculed its maximum six-month prison penalty and $5,000 fine. Oliver's seeming desire to fight the re-election of Stephen Harper was apparently so great that he was willing to risk it all, tossing money at the camera and practically daring Canada to arrest him.

Today, Monday 19/10/2015, is election day here in Canada.  It is 7:30 pm and the polls in BC and the Yukon are now closed and the counting begins.  We already know that the Liberals, headed by Justin Trudeau, have taken Atlantic Canada with 31 of 32 seats.  By all anecdotal accounts, the polling stations have been very busy, some with long line ups, but none to rival Florida's line ups in the last US election.  It will be interesting to see what the final results and the turn out are.  Enjoy John Oliver "reporting" on our election process with the aid of Canadian ex-pat, Mike Meyers.  It had me laughing!

Think Progress — “Whether it is in mosques, education or charities, the strategy will reinforce perceptions that all aspects of Muslim life must undergo a ‘compliance’ test to prove our loyalty to this country,” Shuja Shafi, the Muslim Council of Britain’s Secretary General, told Reuters.

And according to Reuters, an independent reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation named David Anderson warned that such measures could actually backfire, driving members of the Muslim community toward extremism and terrorism.

It seems that conservatives, whether American, Canadian, British, or any other, operate in a climate of fear rather than hope and reconciliation. Cameron's policies seem to have caught even some in his own party by surprise and with concern.  Is it correct to tar and feather everyone in a group, in this case British Muslims, along with extremists?

CBC — Canadians, he said, had sent a clear message that it's "time for change in this country my friends. Real change."

"We beat fear with hope," Trudeau said. "We beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together."

At dissolution of the last government, the Conservatives held 159 seats, NDP 95, Liberal 36, Bloc Québécois 2, Green Party 2, Strength in Democracy 2, Independent 8, and 4 vacant seats.  As a result of the last census, 30 new seats were created for a total of 338.  For a majority government, a party will have to win 170 seats.  The results of today's election have Liberals with 184 seats, Conservatives 99, NDP 44, Bloc Québécois 10, and Green Party 1.  Stephen Harper retained his seat but has stepped down as the Conservative leader.  Justin Trudeau is the new Prime Minister of Canada.  Phew!!!

Huffington Post — Monday's federal election saw the biggest voter turnout in the country in over 20 years, according to preliminary results from Elections Canada.

The government organization said 17.5 million of 25.6 million registered voters cast a ballot — a turnout of 68.3 per cent.

This is what 'get out the vote' looks like, and yet, this turnout is nowhere near the 1958 turnout of 79.4% that brought Progressive Conservative John Diefenbaker to power, nor the 79.2% turnout that ousted Diefenbaker in favour of Liberal Lester Pearson.

Daily Kos — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman keeps cracking down on wage theft, and around 250 workers will be sharing in a nearly $500,000 settlement from four current and former Papa John's franchisees.

Papa John's pizza sign

This is great news for the workers, but when will justice be served and these corporate criminals go to prison?  If you or I stole something and were caught, we would go to jail.  Why not these corporate criminals who have stolen wages etc?

My Universe — 

dogs fault


Oct 052015

Mother Jones has an excellent article about the coal industry and one of its big players, Don Blankenship.  As the former CEO of Massey Energy Co., Blankenship is charged with conspiracy to violate safety laws, defrauding the federal government, securities fraud and making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission.  If convicted in this corporate accountability case, he could face 31 years in prison.  Not enough in my opinion for the misery and death he created and left in his wake.  Perhaps his golden parachute, nay platinum parachute he received from Massey Energy Co in 2010 when he left, will be taken back and distributed to the families of miners killed at a Blankenship operation.  That would be an attempt at justice for those families.


…he was a harsh taskmaster whose cutthroat management style transformed what was once a modest family business into the region's largest coal producer.  

Blankenship cultivated an image as a Mingo County son made good—a good ol' boy who ran a multibillion-dollar company from a double-wide trailer. And he saw himself as a heroic figure who brought jobs to the depressed enclaves of his native West Virginia. But with his gaze fixed on the bottom line, Blankenship crushed the mine workers union that was baptized in his backyard. Voluminous court records and government investigations show that he presided over a company that padded its profits by running some of themost dangerous workplaces in the country. Massey polluted the waterwaysthat had sustained Blankenship's forebears, rained coal dust on the schoolyards where his miners' children played, and subjected the men he grew up with in southern West Virginia to unsafe working conditions.

A mascot of the coal industry's worst excesses, Blankenship pumped millions of dollars into West Virginia's political system to promote an anti-regulatory agenda and curry favor with state lawmakers and officials.

The irony is that, even at the nadir of Blankenship's power, his ideology is ascendant. He transformed West Virginia not just physically (entire towns have been wiped out by Massey's footprint), but politically. Now, by playing off fears of creeping government involvement, the coal industry has strengthened its grip on state politics. Lawmakers friendly to the industry, with financial support from Blankenship, have won sweeping victories at the ballot box and used their mandate to roll back health and safety regulations while trumpeting the survival-of-the-fittest capitalism that was Blankenship's gospel. The man on the mountaintop may have fallen, but the widespread impact of his legacy shows no signs of diminishing.  

Down the road from Upper Big Branch, a memorial funded in part by Alpha touted the job-creating legacy of the coal industry. By a back entrance to the now-shuttered mine was a more informal installation—29 hard hats and two mourning angels. Their wings were solar powered.  



These are pictures of mountain top removal . . . from lush forested mountain tops to wastelands that resemble tar sands mines like those in Alberta.

From Alternet

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. had this to say about Blankenship in a report on EcoWatch last fall:

Don Blankenship once boasted to me that it was impossible to conduct mountaintop removal mining without violating the law. He prided himself on his cold-blooded capacity for turning America’s purple mountains majesty into coal company cash. His criminal mind allowed him to view the human beings of Appalachia as disposable production units. He is a sociopath and gangster whose gift was felonious greed and a stone-cold heart that allowed him to put his yearning for money and power ahead of human lives. Those qualities had great value to his friends and investors: the Wall Street robber barons. But they were poison and destruction to the noble communities of coal country.  We can’t bring back the towns he destroyed, the lives he took, the mountains he flattened, the rivers he poisoned, but there is some consolation in knowing that he’s getting what he deserves: three hots and a cot and long days in the company of fellow criminals of lesser appetites and lesser distinction.

Blankenship's trial has begun with the jury selection expected to be completed by today.  I understand that he has top notch counsel and is pleading innocent to all charges.  I wonder how far his cultivated political connections will get him?  Any doubt that he is a Republican!


Please sign the Protect Communities from Hazardous Coal Mining Waste prepared by the Sierra Club.


Sep 272015

The first part of the day was steady with trying to finish some research and work on a more involved article.  Then it was off to see my mother who lives in a care centre.  She needs 24/7 care as she is in the late stages of dementia.  I fed her dinner which smelled really good.  There was an extra dinner at the table which staff said I should eat, so I did and it tasted even better than it smelled.  As a member of the Family Council advocating for family members, I will be able to report back on the quality of food.  Again this evening, I was breaking up fisticuffs between several women — I wonder if the full moon has anything to do with it.  In addition to sitting with my mother and rubbing her back and shoulders which she really likes, I am an extra pair of eyes and hands to help staff.  When I arrived home, I was exhausted but also anxious.  It is hard to watch a parent die a little bit every day.  So now I am calm again and I am off to bed.  My three cats will be soothing to me, their gentle breathing and purring.  Good night all.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:13 (average 4:34). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes

CBC — A U.S. drug company is taking the Canadian government to court for its attempt to lower the price of what has been called the world's most expensive drug.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals has filed a motion in Federal Court, arguing that Canada's drug price watchdog has no authority to force the company to lower its price for Soliris.

A University of Ottawa professor who specializes in health law said he was shocked that Alexion would challenge Canada's authority to regulate drug prices. If Alexion's case is successful, it could end Ottawa's ability to control the cost of patented drugs, Amir Attaran told CBC News.

"This is the single greatest threat to pricing of drugs in Canada ever," he said Thursday.

The provincial governments in Canada negotiate drug prices directly. Medical associations are currently pushing the federal government to do this nationally.  In the past, some Americans have also arranged to get their medications from Canadian pharmacies to take advantage of our lower prices.  So, if Alexion Pharmaceuticals wins this case, the whole idea of affordable medicines goes out the door.  For Alexion, this is all about their profits.  For Canada, this is all about healthcare for 33 million Canadians.  Watch also the rise in such things should the TPP come to fruition.

Daily Kos — Each week, TIME Magazine designs covers for four markets: the U.S., Europe, Asia and the South Pacific. Often, America's cover is quite, well – different. This week offers a stark example.

time magazine

How much does this contribute to the "dumbing down" of the US population (and Canada's since we get the same US cover)?  In general, the US population is wildly ignorant on international events, and often ignorant on domestic issues.  Have a look at the current political rhetoric, particularly from the Republican side.  It's a lot of marketing by fear . . . fear of diversity, fear of Iran, fear of Islam, and the list goes on.  Faux Noise aka Fox (I refuse to call Fox news because it is at best, opinion) is a prime example, but not the only one by far.  The author asks "do these moments of marketing (through a choice in covers) reveal more about Americans, or about the state of American journalism?"  I think both because the magazine in this case is pandering to make more money and increase its market share.  But it also serves to increase American xenophodia.

The Nation — Not content with alienating single women, Latinos and the LGBT community, the two front-runners for the Republican nomination indulged in some naked Islamophobia this past week.

Then Ben Carson appeared on Meet The Press, where he told Chuck Todd that Islam was inconsistent with the Constitution and said that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” 

…and there’s no evidence that they embrace extremism at a higher rate than Christians or Jews. 

It’s time for this to stop. After 400 years in the Americas, and having helped build and defend this country, we need to accept that American Muslims are just as American—and just as loyal—as anyone else. 

An excellent piece from The Natiion which I hope you'll read in its entirety. No one people or religion has a lock on extremism.  Timothy McVeigh, a white Anglo Saxon Roman Catholic, blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK where 168 were killed and over 680 were wounded.  

My Universe — The Box!

Aug 192015

Only Republicans still insist that man-made global climate change is not a critical reality, and I have no doubt that the stupidity exhibited by the leadership is completely willful.  I’m sad to say that the level of methane pollution by the Natural Gas industry is much worse than previously thought because of a combination of the industry lying about it and EPA underestimation.

0819polluteNatural gas gathering and processing plants leak much more methane than producers have reported, and even more than the Environmental Protection Agency has estimated, according to a study released Tuesday.

Researchers at Colorado State University found that U.S. gathering and processing facilities — where natural gas from nearby wells is consolidated for distribution through pipelines — leak 2,421,000 metric tons of methane each year. The facilities emit 100 billion cubic feet of natural gas every year, roughly eight times the amount previously estimated by the EPA.

Gathering facilities “could be responsible for something like 30 percent of emissions for all natural gas production,” the study’s lead researcher, Anthony Marchese, said on a press call Tuesday.

Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 86 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame. It is the primary ingredient in natural gas.

The amount of emissions tracked in the study has roughly the same 20-year climate impact as 37 coal-fired power plants, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) said. The study, published in Environmental Science and Technology, is part of a series of studies organized by EDF that will compose the largest inventory of methane leaks in the U.S. natural gas industry to date. An earlier report in the series found that oil and gas operations on federal and tribal lands leaked $360 million worth of fuel in 2013.

Controlling methane emissions, especially as the United States increasingly extracts and uses natural gas, plays an important role in the effort to curtail climate change. On Tuesday, the Obama Administration proposed a new rule that seeks to regulate methane emissions from the oil and gas sector… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Think Progress>

Since the study and the new rule were released in the same day, I consoler it highly likely that the new rule is based in an outdated estimate of the problem and needs to be strengthened right away.  I trust that the Obama Administration will respond appropriately, but we need to keep our eyes open to make sure.

However, the EDF contention that the Natural Gas industry is the the biggest source of methane leaks in the nation may not be correct.  I think there is one larger.


Jul 112015

Looking back to thirty four years ago, I was vaguely aware of the greenhouse effect and knew some scientists were sounding warnings, but the issue seemed distant.  At the time, I was more concerned that a second-rate actor, who had been upstaged by a chimp, had his finger on the nuclear trigger and was talking about evil empires.  But someone did know how serious the problem is.  Their identity makes their subsequent actions all the more criminal.

0711Exxon“Pope Francis blasts global warming deniers,” the Washington Post wrote last month. The Pope’s climate encyclical focused on the immorality of climate inaction — which makes the immorality of knowingly spreading disinformation for the purpose of delaying action all the more base.

Now the Union of Concerned Scientists has disclosed an email revealing that Exxon understood the scientific reality of climate change as far back as 1981. “Other companies, such as Mobil, only became aware of the issue in 1988, when it first became a political issue,” Exxon’s former in-house climate expert, chemical engineer Leonard S. Bernstein wrote last year. The 30-year veteran of Mobil and Exxon explained:

Exxon first got interested in climate change in 1981 because it was seeking to develop the Natuna gas field off Indonesia. This is an immense reserve of natural gas, but it is 70% CO2. That CO2 would have to be separated to make the natural gas usable.

And yet despite a growing understanding of the scientific reality of climate change in the 1980s and 1990s, Exxon became one of the biggest funders of scientists and think tanks and others who do little but deny and cast doubt on the scientific understanding of human-caused global warming.

As recently as February 2015, a New York Times exposé revealed that a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who routinely casts doubt on widely accepted climate science had “accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers.” This included funding from ExxonMobil and “at least $230,000 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Think Progress>

I just can’t get my head around how criminal greed can be so pervasive that they did this for all these years, when they had a better understanding than most Americans do now.  Only one word is sufficient to describe it: Republican!

Jun 222015

Outside there is a huge racket as the maintenance people are working on my side of the building this week.  I’m not complaining, but I do hate being blasted out of a cat nap, after sleeping poorly, and if I want to do any solar basking, I’m likely to get drenched while walking out of range.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:55 (average 4:25).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Recruiting:

We still need two new players for Lefty Blog Friends, our fantasy football league.  How about you?  For more information, click here.

Short Takes:



The Reich on the left pulled a fast one on me and came up with number 11, but true to form, our Reich is right, and the Reich in the right, the Republican Reich, is wrong. I could not find this on MoveOn, so please click through to Robert Reich, and share it from there.

From Daily Kos (classic: 1/2013): A reporter for NPR discovered a strange new light (see circled area above) where there used to be only North Dakota grassland.  The light is produced by a massive 15,000 square mile area of fracking natural gas flareoffs produced by over 150 companies who have determined that it’s cheaper to burn-off about 29% of the natural gas that is produced by their oil wells.  

The current levels of burning gas from the field inject two million tons of carbon dioxide into the air each year which is the equivalent amount of pollution caused by 2.5 million cars.  The flares produce carbon oxides, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulates.

The burnoff is equivalent to 30% of the total U.S. natural gas production. Currently, there is no legislation that requires fracking companies to recapture the natural gas they produce through fracking, although it’s only slightly more expensive to recapture the natural gas.  Most of the companies have obtained government permission for the flare-offs with annual renewals.  The industry argues that until the wells are completed it’s too expensive to recapture the natural gas. 

NASA image acquired April 18 - October 23, 2012

This image of the United States of America at night is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012. The image was made possible by the new satellite’s “day-night band” of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals such as city lights, gas flares, auroras, wildfires, and reflected moonlight.

“Nighttime light is the most interesting data that I’ve had a chance to work with,” says Chris Elvidge, who leads the Earth Observation Group at NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center. “I’m always amazed at what city light images show us about human activity.” His research group has been approached by scientists seeking to model the distribution of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and to monitor the activity of commercial fishing fleets. Biologists have examined how urban growth has fragmented animal habitat. Elvidge even learned once of a study of dictatorships in various parts of the world and how nighttime lights had a tendency to expand in the dictator’s hometown or province.

Named for satellite meteorology pioneer Verner Suomi, NPP flies over any given point on Earth's surface twice each day at roughly 1:30 a.m. and p.m. The polar-orbiting satellite flies 824 kilometers (512 miles) above the surface, sending its data once per orbit to a ground station in Svalbard, Norway, and continuously to local direct broadcast users distributed around the world. Suomi NPP is managed by NASA with operational support from NOAA and its Joint Polar Satellite System, which manages the satellite's ground system.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data provided courtesy of Chris Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center). Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Defense. Caption by Mike Carlowicz.

Instrument: Suomi NPP - VIIRS 

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What a bunch of mother frackers!! Since this is visible from outer space, at least aliens touring the solar system will know that the earth is not a safe place to land, without having to risk being gunned down by a Republican Ammosexuals.

From NY Times: The leader of a white supremacist group that has been linked to Dylann Roof, the suspect in the murder of nine African-Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church last week, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns, including those of 2016 presidential contenders such as Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Rand Paul, records show.

"Uranus Inspector" said he’ll return the money, and I suspect that "Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot" and "Frothmeister" will both do likewise, although none had any objection to taking money, in the first place, from an organization widely known as White Supremacist and listed as such by SPLC. They will get the money funneled back into their campaigns through white supremacist Republicans that haven’t been caught killing anyone recently.  Click through for more Republicans in thrall to murderous white supremacists.



May 192015

Year after year, the major oil companies and other corporate energy giants have been spending $millions to sell people on the myths that burning fossil fuels does not contribute to global climate change, and that global climate change does not exits.  They have bought the entire Republican Party to assist them in propagating those myths, and to slash regulations that limit their pollution.  The oil giants know better, and now we have proof that what they sell is not what they believe.


Royal Dutch Shell has been accused of pursuing a strategy that would lead to potentially catastrophic climate change after an internal document acknowledged a global temperature rise of 4C, twice the level considered safe for the planet.

A paper used for guiding future business planning at the Anglo-Dutch multinational assumes that carbon dioxide emissions will fail to limit temperature increases to 2C, the internationally agreed threshold to prevent widespread flooding, famine and desertification.

Instead, the New Lens Scenarios document refers to a forecast by the independent International Energy Agency (IEA) that points to a temperature rise of up to 4C in the short term, rising later to 6C… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <The Guardian>

Hat Tip and Photo Credit: Daily Kos

This is the future Big Oil and the Republican Party plan for YOU.


May 022015

It’s afternoon and writing today’s Monthly Report has occupied most of the day.  So please color me in rush mode..

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:16 (average 5:01).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube: Sen. Merkley: We Shouldn’t Have to Choose Between Two Budgets for the Best Off


Oregon’s Jeff Merkley still leads the way.

From Upworthy: On the latest episode of "Last Week Tonight," John Oliver takes a look at the fashion industry’s repeated promises to stop using child labor.


In my opinion, all clothing made using child labor should be seized at the border and burned. All Republicans who help the corporate criminals gut the regulations should be seized at the ballot box and unemployed.

From NY Times: No matter how Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey spins the George Washington Bridge scandal as he eyes a run for president, one thing should be clear: These are his people, charged with a conspiracy to exact revenge against a local mayor by closing lanes to one of the world’s busiest bridges.

David Wildstein, a Christie associate who once held a top job at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges related to the incident. Two others indicted on Friday for allegedly participating in the scheme were also members of Mr. Christie’s inner circle.

Their behavior shows Mr. Christie’s inability to choose employees, to manage them and, most important, to keep them from abusing their power. His failure to do so created a culture that allowed his underlings to bully the mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, by creating a monster traffic jam in 2013 and then lying about it.

I still hope that, after formal indictments are handed down, and the real plea bargaining starts, PIGnocchio will be spitted and served with an apple in his mouth.



Apr 292015

I’m still feeling considerable pain and can barely walk, but I have to be up waiting for Store to Door to deliver groceries, so here are a couple quick articles.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:27 (average 4:16).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: But there’s a four-letter acronym that allows food companies to pretty much add what they want to foods without FDA interference. It’s known as "GRAS" and refers to food additives "generally regarded as safe."

Horrifyingly, this practice has allegedly led to at least one death — that of 11-year-old Miles Bengco, whose story is featured after the video below. He thought he was eating just a burger, but his family didn’t know it had an additive related to fungi in it, something they otherwise would have avoided given his preexisting respiratory problems.


This loophole clearly needs to be closed, but Republicans stand in the way. Click through for detail on how this corporate criminals murdered Miles Bengco.

From Daily Kos: Sweet Cakes By Melissa is the Oregon bakery whose owners refused to bake a same-sex couple’s wedding cake. The couple took the owners to court and won the case. Oregon is one of the states that provides civil rights protections for gay folks. The judge in the case has proposed a settlement of $135K. So, a GoFundMe account was set up to help raise the funds. However, now GoFundMe has cancelled the account.

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

Friday, after nearly two years in court, an Oregon judge recommended Aaron and Melissa Klein be fined $135,000 for discriminating against a same-sex couple. The Kleins, who own Sweet Cakes by Melissa, had refused to bake a wedding cake for the couple.

On their Facebook page yesterday, the Kleins posted a link to a GoFundMe fundraising campaign set up for them. In just four hours it had reached over $20,000. It quickly increased to a reported $109,000 before GoFundMe canceled it.


GoFundMe says it does not allow money to be raised on their site for people who have been found to be in violation of the law.

And you say I don’t bring you GOOD news. :-)

From The New Yorker: As Justice Antonin Scalia weighed in on same-sex marriage at the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg interrupted the proceedings by announcing, “Someone wake me up when he stops talking.”

There was stunned silence in the courtroom after the pronouncement by Justice Ginsburg, who had been visibly nodding off during Scalia’s remarks, her head jerking upward violently at various junctures.

“Look, it’s not like he’s going to say anything on this subject that I haven’t heard him say nine zillion times before,” she said. “I’m gonna get me some shut-eye.”

Andy should also note that is she had chosen to sleep until Injustice "Teabag" Thomas actually says something, she would sleep through her own funeral.