Saturday, August 27, 2016

A brief look at some national parks

Bacevich again

This time it's an article in Foreign Affairs, 'Ending Endless War'. He introduces here the role of the people in our war-making endeavors. That's something you don't see very much. He brings up something I've have been advocating - restore the draft. Bacevich modifies this so that there are fewer exemptions. He introduces the idea of increasing taxes to pay for the cost of wars we enter in the future.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Governor LePage of Maine speaks

“Mr. Gattine, this is Gov. Paul Richard LePage,” a recording of the governor’s phone message says. “I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you (expletive). I want to talk to you. I want you to prove that I’m a racist. I’ve spent my life helping black people and you little son-of-a-bitch, socialist (expletive). You … I need you to, just friggin. I want you to record this and make it public because I am after you. Thank you.”

Gattine is a Democratic State Representative whom LePage thinks called him a racist.

Subsequently, LePage was reported saying to a reporter,“When a snot-nosed little guy from Westbrook calls me a racist, now I’d like him to come up here because, tell you right now, I wish it were 1825. And we would have a duel, that’s how angry I am, and I would not put my gun in the air, I guarantee you, I would not be (Alexander) Hamilton. I would point it right between his eyes, because he is a snot-nosed little runt and he has not done a damn thing since he’s been in this Legislature to help move the state forward.”

Would President Trump act similarly?

Another War on Drugs

Look carefully and.. will see human hands holding on to the toilet.

A friend of Cato Berntsen Larsen, a 20 year-old Norwegian, dropped his phone down the toilet while urinating. So, Larsen climbed feet-first into the facility to rescue it. While he could get into the toilet, he could not get out. He was stuck for an hour. He had company in the toilet as he was bitten more than once. He also hurt his upper arms.

He did not retrieve the phone but the toilet was destroyed by the authorities.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

One more protest

Let me see your DNA

When you fly into Kuwait, not only will you have to present your passport. You will also stop at a center at Kuwait International Airport to have a DNA sample taken. The sample will be stored in a government data base. The government will also collect DNA samples from citizens and expatriates. It's all in the name of making Kuwait safe.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Come to Proxima b

Scientists say their investigations of the closest star, Proxima Centauri, show it to have an Earth-sized planet orbiting about it. What is more, this rocky globe is moving in a zone that would make liquid water on its surface a possibility.

An opponent of the F-35

None other than Chuck Yaeger.  He thinks it's a waste of money.   See this article

From our Florida correspondent

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Gotta make the sales

Why else would pharmaceutical companies pay physicians for consulting and other activities? It doesn't matter much whether the doctors are in good standing with government agencies. ProPublica did a study of disciplinary records between August 2013 and December 2015 for doctors in five states, California, Texas, New York, Florida and New Jersey. It discovered that 400 pharmaceutical and medical device makers made payments to at least 2,300 doctors after they were disciplined by their state medical boards.

While many doctors were sanctioned for minor offenses such as failing to attend required continuing medical education courses, hundreds were disciplined for more severe offenses, including providing poor care, inappropriately prescribing addictive medications, bilking public insurance programs, and even sexual misconduct. At least 40 physicians had their licenses revoked or surrendered them, in most cases permanently. More than 180 had their licenses temporarily suspended or restricted. Almost 250 were placed on probation.

How much have things changed?

Texas oil wells

The EPA believes that there is a "significant possibility” that recent earthquakes in North Texas are linked to oil and gas activity. The state regulators won’t say one way or the other. Texas has thousands of injection and disposal wells that dot state oilfields — underground resting places for millions of gallons of toxic waste from fracking and other drilling activities. It is the third-most at-risk state for man-made earthquakes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey — behind only Oklahoma and Kansas.

Monday, August 22, 2016


The Congressional Budget Office published the following chart. Note that distribution among the nation’s families was more unequal in 2013 than it had been in 1989.

Charter Schools Have a Problem

Sunday, August 21, 2016

It's not looking good

Dahr Jamail has a survey article about climate change around the world. Read it and be frightened. 

His comments after having spent the summer in Alaska:
I've yet to have a conversation with national park rangers, glaciologists or simply avid outdoors-people that has not included a story of disbelief, amazement and often shock over the impacts of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) across their beloved state. Whether it is rivers causing massive erosion after being turbo-charged by rapidly melting glaciers, dramatically warmer temperatures throughout the year, or the increasingly rapid melting and retreat of the glaciers themselves, everyone who is out there, seeing the impacts firsthand, has a grave experience to share.
Glaciers are losing in excess of 75 billion tons of ice annually.
The temperature has reached 85 degrees.
The permafrost underneath the highway continues to melt at an ever-quickening pace, large fissures, cracks and bulges are causing it to break apart.
Given that there is no way to know what other kinds of deadly bacterium remain frozen in the Arctic's permafrost, we will find out only as the ice melts the bacteria, which will then re-animate as it did in Russia.