Sep 012015
 

I’m swamped!  That’s always the case at the first of the month.  Between today’s normal research and collecting the data for tomorrow’s Monthly Report, I have already put in over eight hours on the4 blog today.  in addition, I’m waiting for Store to Door to call for my grocery order.  Tomorrow is a grocery delivery day.  I have bills to pay, and a guy has been using a jackhammer in the street below me for the last three hours.  Other than that, not much is going on.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:37 (average 5:16).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From: I Side With (Hat-Tip Mamabear): Answer the following questions to see how your beliefs match each political party

Click through to take the quiz to see which candidate is most like you.  Mt Results:  Bernie Sanders 98%, Hillary Clinton 85%, Martin O’Malley 80%.

From The New Yorker: As America’s bridges, roads, and other infrastructure dangerously deteriorate from decades of neglect, there is a mounting sense of urgency that it is time to build a giant wall.

Across the U.S., whose rail system is a rickety antique plagued by deadly accidents, Americans are increasingly recognizing that building a wall with Mexico, and possibly another one with Canada, should be the country’s top priority.

Harland Dorrinson, the executive director of a Washington-based think tank called the Center for Responsible Immigration, believes that most Americans favor the building of border walls over extravagant pet projects like structurally sound freeway overpasses.

“The estimated cost of a border wall with Mexico is five billion dollars,” he said. “We could easily blow the same amount of money on infrastructure repairs and have nothing to show for it but functioning highways.”

Andy is clearly doing straight news again.

From NY Times: President Obama on Monday issued a global call for urgent action to address climate change, declaring that the United States was partly to blame for what he called the defining challenge of the century and would rally the world to counter it.

“Climate change is no longer some far-off problem; it is happening here, it is happening now,” Mr. Obama said here at an international conference on the Arctic. “We’re not acting fast enough. I have come here today, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and its second-largest emitter, to say that the United States recognizes our role in creating the problem, and we embrace our responsibility to help solve it.”

Clearly Obama has dome more to combat climate change than any other president in history. Now he needs to shut down drilling in the arctic.

Cartoon:

0901Cartoon

Share
Aug 292015
 

I’m starting a little late, because a thunderstorm interfered with my Wi-Fi. On the plus side, steam rose from the asphalt street.  What a relief!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me  2:58 (average 4:53).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (Hat-Tip Lynn Squance): Harperman is a protest song against the Conservative government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. We are organizing a cross-Canada singalong of Harperman on September 17, just a month before the expected date of the Canadian federal election. Please contribute, if you can, to helping organize the singalong. Our first crowdfunding program on Indiegogo has finished and a new campaign has been launched at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/cro…

 

Thanks Squatch!! This could apply to any US Republican too!!

From Daily Kos: In recent weeks, there has been a lot of political debate among the Republican presidential candidates about immigrants and aspiring citizens in our country.

And frankly, it has become ugly and dangerous.

Please take a minute to hear my thoughts below.

In Solidarity,

Rich.

 

I couldn’t have said it better.

From NY Times: …As Mr. Obama comes north for what the White House has described as an examination of the effects of climate change, Alaska is battling over oil — its chief source of revenue — and the thorny implications of drilling. Oil prices have fallen to multiyear lows, and production has declined from aging oil fields — with consequences rippling through a state that pays for just about everything with taxes from oil.

Mr. Walker, in an interview in his Anchorage office, said he planned to press Mr. Obama to loosen restrictions on exploration and to pledge support for a natural gas pipeline. More broadly, Mr. Walker said, he hoped to help the president understand Alaska’s dependence, because of climate and geography, on what can be extracted from the land or sea.

“From oil and gas development to fish caught in the ocean, we literally live off the resources,” Mr. Walker said.

But fossil fuels are also blamed for human-caused climate change, and that reality has set up a competing claim for the president’s attention. More drilling for energy, climate advocates say, is not the answer for Alaska or the planet. With a three-day trip for Mr. Obama planned out by the White House — including the first visit by a sitting president to some of Alaska’s most remote Arctic communities — the uncertainties and stakes are high, people on all sides of the energy fight say.

I hope that environmentalists hound President Obama wherever he goes. Allowing Shell to drill in the Arctic was one of his worst decisions while in office.

Cartoon:

0829Cartoon

Share
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.

0819methane

Share
Aug 022015
 

Yesterday it reached 97°.  Today will be almost as hot.  We may have a couple of temperate days Wednesday and Thursday.  I’m staying heat hunkered.  I would love to have a nice rain storm, but this Republican-climate summer appears locked in.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:06 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Just a few short weeks ago, the Kochs and the Republican party were in what one Republican operative said was an "all-out war" over who would control the party going forward. The Kochs have been systematically putting a ground force in place across the nation to build their own extremely sophisticated database, one that they would allow Republican candidates to use (excepting Trump). This alarmed the RNC because all that valuable information was not being held by them. That and the whole thing about how "it’s very dangerous and wrong to allow a group of very strong, well-financed individuals who have no accountability to anyone to have control over who gets access to the data when, why and how," in the words of Katie Walsh, the RNC’s chief of staff.

But now it looks like the RNC has given up the fight.

Since then, the rhetoric has ratcheted down. Last week, i360 [the Koch data arm] and Data Trust [the RNC group] signed a deal to share data for the 2016 cycle.

"I do think there’s a value to making sure we’re all working together to ensure that we’re doing things efficiently and effectively. We appreciate everything the Kochs are doing, and it’s a huge help," Walsh told The Washington Post. "But at the end of the day, our focus is making sure that the voter file and the field staff are ready for the nominee to come in." […]

The RMC wanted to BE those “very strong, well financed individuals who have no accountability to anyone”, but now it’s official. The entire Republican Party is sucking nevermind.

From NY Times: Ken Paxton, the Republican attorney general of Texas and a former state legislator, has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of securities fraud and of failing to register with the state securities board, officials said.

The grand jury in the northern Dallas suburb of McKinney handed up a three-count indictment against Mr. Paxton on Tuesday, the officials said. The indictment is to be unsealed on Monday, when Mr. Paxton is expected to turn himself in to the authorities at the Collin County Jail.

The charges — two counts of first-degree securities fraud and one count of third-degree failure to register — are tied to Mr. Paxton’s work soliciting clients and investors for two companies while he was a member of the Texas House of Representatives, before he was elected attorney general in November.

What could be more natural for Republicans than to put one of their fellow criminals in charge of prosecuting lawbreakers.

From The Hill: President Obama is looking to cement his legacy on climate change.

His administration will finalize sweeping new regulations on power plants on Monday, which is sure to spark a fight with Republicans in Congress.

In a video released early Sunday, Obama called the plan "the biggest, most important step we’ve ever taken to combat climate change."

 

Kudos to Obama. Because this will hit the Koch Brothers right in the wallet, expect the entire Republican Party to become so frantic that a WA-A-A-A-A-Ambulance will be needed.

Cartoon:

0802Cartoon

Share
Jul 312015
 

Dang!  Being out and about in that heat is miserable.  I’m sure glad I took water along.  The surgery went very well, it was painless, and my foot was much more painful when I went in than when I left.  I had to walk over a block from the lift bus to get home.  It was 95° at the time, and that really wiped me out.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:39 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

I am so proud of my fellow Portlanders’ heroism in yesterdays 103° heat, I just had to include this.

Cartoon:

0731Cartoon-TCHotOut

Share
Jul 282015
 

I’m hurrying to get today’s articles up as early as I can, as later I’m going to prison to do volunteer work.  Tomorrow is a grocery delivery day.  Portland us under a heat advisory.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:20 (average 4:56).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From PRWatch: At the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) 2015 annual meeting in San Diego, California, dirty energy companies and their supporters–including ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Duke Energy–continue to dominate the funding of activities, according to a list of conference sponsors obtained jointly by the Center for Media and Democracy and Greenpeace. At the top of the agenda, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker spoke to ALEC delegates over breakfast on Thursday. Walker is now campaigning on a promise to destroy the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) if elected President in 2016, a plan which was earlier debated by ALEC at its December 2014 conference and is in line with ALEC’s long-term legislative agenda. At ALEC conferences and meetings, rhetoric against the EPA–and in particular the Obama administration’s proposed Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution–is frequently extreme.

Click through for more, including a list of sponsors to boycott.

From Daily Kos: Spot the difference

Last year, a Nevada rancher who boasts that he doesn’t “recognize the United States government as even existing” become a hero of Fox News pundits and other conservative commentators for refusing to pay grazing fees he owes the government.

But when a black woman named Sandra Bland was forced out of her car and to the ground by a Texas police officer after she reportedly failed to signal during a lane switch and declined to put out a cigarette, Fox News thinks this is a time to lecture viewers on how to be respectful to law enforcement. Bland later died in police custody in what investigators ruled was a suicide. –

White men defending a criminal, facing down gubbmint agencies with many, many guns, good.

African American Woman armed with a cigarette, bad. The policeman was being exposed to second hand smoke for crissakes!

The contrast is absurd, intolerable, and Republican.

From NY Times: His family called him unstable and violent, so John R. Houser was ordered by a judge to be taken against his will to a mental hospital in 2008. Despite that sign that Mr. Houser was mentally troubled, he passed a background check and was able to legally purchase the gun he used last week to kill two people in a Louisiana movie theater, because that hospital stay was not defined by officials as an involuntary commitment.

Dylann Roof, who is charged with shooting nine people to death in a Charleston, S.C., church last month, was also able to buy the gun he used in the massacre. He should have failed a background check, federal officials said, because he had previously admitted to illegal drug possession. Yet because of a clerical error in South Carolina and the confusion that caused the federal authorities who examined his record, he was not stopped from his making his purchase.

As these two cases show, the one system that gun rights and gun control advocates both agree on, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is supposed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, is riddled with problems. While the system, in operation since 1998, has prevented more than 2.4 million sales, it still has major gaps, with spotty cooperation from the states and a narrow definition of who is considered too mentally ill to own a gun.

Republicans work overtime to keep the system ridden with loopholes, because enabling criminal gun purchases maximizes gun industry profits.

Cartoon:

0728Cartoon

Share
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!

Share