jebbypal: (Default)
Proving Republicans only care about national security if terrorists are invovled.

So here's the sitch: there's an animal infectious disease lab located on Plum Island - isolated from the mainland and any other livestock by water on all sides, accessible only by ferry or helicopter. For some insane, unknown reason, the Bush administration thinks it would be helpful to move this laboratory to the mainland. So much so, there's already a list of finalist states -- Kansas, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas (San Antonio to be specific). Hmmmm, all those states have a lot of Republican representation. And most of the representatives are trying to say that this plan is perfectly safe. (ETA - Hmm, wonder what effect a hurricane or tornado would have on research in those locals as well.)

Except, wait, wait for it ---- THERE HAVE BEEN ACCIDENTS ON PLUM ISLAND. The only thing that prevented catastrophe of a nationwide foot and mouth disease was the isolation of the island. Many of the diseases studied there can be carried by wildlife.

But you know, putting the lab in the middle of some of the country's most productive ranches won't cause any problems at all. Nope, not one whit.

Now might be a good time for me to figure out how to go vegetarian even with my allergy issues. This isn't a done deal, but the farm bill with the provision is being voted on -- try to talk some sense into your representatives, k?
jebbypal: (Default)
FISA is back before congress and of course, Cheney insists it must be passed. Fortunately, Dodd has declared he and Feingold will filibuster and Edwards is asking folks to support them.

Palestinians are flooding into Egypt. This follows after Israel instigated a fuel blockade of Gaza after a section of the wall separating Israel from the Palestinian sections was bombed. More here.

So, Bushco has been having a big push for nuclear power of late. One itty bitty problem with that: for nuclear power plants, you need one thing (other than uranium and a way to bury your waste that won't leak into the groundwater etc): WATER. The southern drought in the US may cause many of the nuclear plants to have to shut down there. As a result, people in these states may be soon paying astronomical prices for power as the state seeks to buy energy off the grid from other plants --- which I predict will spike all of our prices as well (anyone remember the fun of California deregulation in 2000?) One thing I don't see the article mentioning is if the plants will run on a minimum level or not Read more... ) Not quite the panacea for coal, at least, not if making sure that affordable electricity is available to everyone. Oh, wait, I forgot, Bushco.

Not that it's news if you've been following, but just for the record, biofuels hurt the environment too. 1) It drives food prices up. 2) In places where land is scarce, say oh - IndoAsia, they promote deforestation. 3) If you live somewhere that there are water shortages, again - India and China, crops require a TON of water to make into fuels. That is one of the small pluses of oil actually, it's the distallation to remove water and separate the components that gives you gas etc. (assuming I remember enough of my organic chemistry...)

Speaking of India,there have been mysterious crocodile deaths. No clue yet if it's parasites, pollution, or a combo.

By the way, the Supreme Court has refused to hear the Enron case...

US Army Foces Command has recommended reducing the current tours from 15 months to 12 months to relieve stress on the forces. Of course, this would be contingent on changing needs in Afghanistan and Iraq and Petraeus's recommendation to Congress in the summer.

In Indiana, if you don't have photo ID, you don't vote., unless of course, you use a mail in ballot. The GOP in Kansas is trying to pass a similar law. The US Supreme court is scrutinizing if this violates the 14th amendment - especially in light of how hard it is nowadays for folks who don't have a copy of their birth certificate to get any form of photo ID.

Congress and the White House are movign ahead with a stimulus plan. Please tell me we at least learned enough from the 70s and 80s to not be printing more money??? Deja vu sucks. Don't forgot, this recession is the Iraq recession!

Donor marrow + donor organ may allow transplant patients to avoid long courses of anti-rejection drugs. As someone who has read many of the articles from the clinical trials of this procedure, I like how the possibility of graft vs host disease isn't mentioned at all. However, they don't get into specifics and if they make sure that the marrow transplanted has no mature immune cells (ie, stem cells and progenitor cells only), the risk of that is lowered greatly.

A gene has been identified that may explain why some don't respond to antidepressants.

Last native speaker of Alaskan Eyeak language has died. Fortunately, she helped researchers make a Eyeak dictionary.

The US attorney-gate probe deepens:
But recent behind-the-scenes activity in several investigations suggests that the issue that roiled Congress in 2007 could re-emerge in the heat of the election year. Two inquiries by the House and Senate ethics committees are examining whether several congressional Republicans, including one running for the Senate this year, improperly interfered with investigations.

Over 900 lies were told by the White House in the lead up to the Iraq war. The sad thing -- it will someday be a subdiscipline in political history to try to quantify the entire number of lies during the Bush administration. Let alone, attributing them to a specific liar.

Like everyone else, I was shocked by Ledger's death - and very glad that the news came over the radio as I parked my car instead of earlier. However, not everyone is in the same condolence phase. For starters, Gibson mocked Ledger's death and carerr on the air. And the Baptist-Westboro church that is famous for protesting funerals of military veterans has declared that it will protest Ledger's funeral because he lived in defiance of God. Their reason? Apparently playing a gay character in the movies is equivalent of calling God a liar. Can someone mail them a bible with the relevant passages about glass houses and all that highlighted?

On his cable channel, Al Gore declared he's for marriage equality. Oh my lord, excuse me as I go mourn once again what might have been for this country in the past 7 years.

In case it happened too quietly (and assuming you even knew he was in the race), Fred Thompson officially dropped out of the presidential race.

New manifesto suggests preemptive Nuclear strikes - written for the pentagon by retired NATO officers and strategists. Oh boy...again with the deja vu!

Female genital mutilation is not unique to Africa - it also occurs among Muslim populations in Indonesia.
jebbypal: (Default)
[ profile] twistedchick has an incredibly interesting take on world events for the past couple of months. It's an analysis that could all too well be 100% true.

In other news, I've actually kind of found it difficult to the news blogging for the past week or so. Between all the shit hitting the fan with global warming and Bush/Putin trying to put us back into the days of the Cuban Missile crisis, it's a little too draining. I'm sure my outrage will lead me to continue it, but for the moment, I may be backing off a bit.

I do have to throw these out there though - It's not just honey bees that are dying. Bumble bees are dying too.

And as if you didn't have enough to worry about with MRSA and the emergence of deadly bacteria that cause ear infections, Six American Military hospitals have been affected by outbreaks of deadly bacteria Acinetobacter baumannii isn't new, but in the past, it was pretty much considered an oportunistic infection. Now though, drug resistant forms of it have developed.
jebbypal: (ff pilot)
Biofuels are not quite as carbon neutral as some would have you believe

"Just growing corn requires expending energy – plowing, planting,fertilizing, and harvesting all require machinery that burns fossilfuel. Modern agriculture relies on large amounts of fertilizer andpesticides, both of which are produced by methods that consume fossilfuels. Then there's the cost of transporting the corn to an ethanolplant, where the fermentation and distillation processes consume yetmore energy. Finally, there's the cost of transporting the fuel tofilling stations. And because ethanol is more corrosive than gasoline,it can't be pumped through relatively efficient pipelines, but must betransported by rail or tanker truck."

"Intensive harvesting erodes soil; massive use of fertilizerscontributes to the eutrophication of rivers and lakes and the reductionof fish and aquatic life habitat; widespread use of pesticidescontaminates water and soil; and extensive irrigation for cornmonoculture depletes water resources."

Plus, remember, the push for biofuels (at least in the US) isn't being driven by market forces. Because the corn farming lobby has never met a subsidy it couldn't increase (and these aren't your mom and pop farms either. Corn farms are almost exclusively commercial and I haven't seen any gasoline marketed as "organic" yet, have you?).

"Left on its own, the market in time would find a balance between foodand fuel production. As it is, the billions in subsidies areencouraging a dramatic rise in biofuel production that would nototherwise occur. "This is partly why the UN food agencies are worried.Too much biofuel is coming to the market too quickly and the casualtiesmight be the poor who can't afford the sharply rising food prices."
jebbypal: (Default)
One note chowders disturb fishermen (ny times, reg required).

“The only stable fishery is a diverse fishery,” he said. No place in the world is richer in lobster than the waters around Stonington today, but the population explosion was caused, in part, by the vanishing of the groundfish. “They fed on the young lobsters, the spats,” he said, “but the large fin fish are also part of an ecosystem that actually protects the lobster.” Even with good management, he said, the lobster, too, could disappear.

“And when they go,” he added, grasping one of the crustaceans from the counter of the church kitchen and in a single flourish twisting off its claws and tail, “the last of America’s Colonial industries will go with them.”

What chowder eater, nourished on soups rich with many kinds of fish, could listen to the scientists who began to worry in the 1970s about the effects of river damming, pollution and overfishing? Like most, Mr. Bridges continued to lower his metal-link scallop nets to the bottom of the ocean. He continued to plot his own course and to keep his whereabouts to himself. He continued to haul thousands of pounds of fish every few hours and he continued to ravage the ocean floor.

In 1985 fishermen landed seven million pounds of groundfish in Stonington alone. Ten years later those fish disappeared from Penobscot Bay, and for the first time in nearly two centuries, chowder changed.
jebbypal: (Default)
Both the recent news about the artic melting and ice shelf break today as well as the penguin documentary I saw two nights ago on PBS has me very thoughtful. Mostly, I can't get over what a difference a decade makes in my opinions.

My parents always said it --- you'll change your views as you get older, and to an extent, it's true. I'm both more and less cynical now and slightly more empathetic, though I do my best to block it a lot because it tends to fuel my depression more often than not. Still, once again, they were right.

Ten years ago, I wasn't positive global warming was occuring --- after all, I'd lived through OK droughts before and knew that seasons varied etc. Of course, we didn't have as much data as we do now either. Still, it didn't really matter to me -- rather, I was almost cynically rooting for global warming etc to knock humans all off because god knows we'd screwed things up enough and didn't really deserve any more chances.

see why I try to suppress my empathy s much as possible )

Okay, this is all too depressing. Going to lj-cut the above.
jebbypal: (Default)
California farmers just can't catch a break from E coli

Interestingly, contamination of food products with E coli can be directly linked to overuse of antibiotics in cattle, chickens and pigs, but especially cattle. Antibiotics (as well as feeding cattle corn feed exclusively, but that's another rant) upset the natural intestinal flora of cattle, though it does cause them to gain more weight faster. However, the increased bacterial load, especially of E coli, gets passed on to the environment in their feces which then contaminate runoff water sources as well as "natural" fertilizers.

The only good thing is that so far, few of these outbreaks are from any sort of antibiotic resistant strain.
jebbypal: (Default)
Mermaid tears may be polluting the ocean's food chains

I love how we always have to wait for a problem to be proven multiple times before we do anything. I know I'm definitely going to think twice before using plastic bags from now on.

*pets the poor Earth*
jebbypal: (Default)
Saw this article in the Baltimore Sun today and it almost made me cry. Sentinels under attack - It's about the effect of a toxic algae on sea lions and the history of it's increased growth due to fertilizer run off. Just heartbreaking.

For those that are interested, they are doing a five part series Altered Oceans.
jebbypal: (critic by)
Think Chicken is healthier than beef? turns out not (NYTimes, reg req).

The long and the short of it is that chickens have been fed feed containing arsenic for years to combat illness and promote growth...which wasn't a problem until chicken consumption raised in the 80s.

The good news: anti-biotic free and organic chicken brands are arsenic free. in 2004, Tyson stopped using arsenic as well.

However, any fast food chicken is almost certainly contaminated with detectable amounts of arsenic. Removing the skin reduces the levels somewhat. But arsenic is a heavy metal and exposure is cumulative. Added to the problem is Chickens are not the only environmental source of arsenic. In addition to drinking water, for which the Environmental Protection Agencynow sets a level of 10 parts per billion, other poultry, rice, fish anda number of foods also contain the poison. Soils are contaminated witharsenical pesticides from chicken manure; chicken litter containingarsenic is fed to other animals; and until 2003, arsenic was used inpressure-treated wood for decks and playground equipment.

Weighing the risks of potentially problems from mad-cow versus known risks of arsenic. I'll take the non-spinal cuts of beef, thank you very much.


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