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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Shooting at Canadian Parliament (or Chrissy Teigen is correct)

As we share the sadness for our neighbors to the north, after their tragedy yesterday, it is worth remembering our own past experience in our capital building, as part of sharing both empathy and sympathy.

This is a kind of tragedy we share in common, along with our border.

h/t to Laci, cross posted from MikeB's blog:

Let's not forget the 1998 US Capital shooting, where two Capital Police officers were killed and three people wounded:It seems there are other shooting incidents, but unlike this one, which actually occurred inside the Capital, they are usually on Capital grounds.




Note how people act as if it is a normal event in the above clip.

There was another shooting inside the Capital in 1954.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Coburn 'out-Foxes' his idiot Conservative followers - AGAIN




Audit of BP claims facility results in $64 million in additional payments
- from the New Orleans Tribune http://www.tribunetalk.com/?p=3343[/

The ever-corrupt Tom Coburn, who lives his life amid the lint of the deep pockets of big oil, big pharm and other big money spent on PAID-triots. It's no secret who buys members of the House and Senate to do their bidding.

And it's no secret that Coburn, leaving this year due to ill health, has NEVER really been against waste. He's just a hatchet man for his buyers, a long term buy-to-lie guy.

On his way out the door, he's done his donor's bidding one last time, this time via the right wing propaganda machine over at Fox (not really)News. It's good to use Fox to lie to the gullible conservatives; neither Fox, nor the Conservatives who consume their drivel, will ever fact check anything. They tend to be science illiterates on both sides of the television - the sending and the receiving, and they are consistently wilfully ignorant.

Let's look at the recent Fox dishonest headline:
$10G to watch grass grow: Coburn report details worst examples of gov't waste

As American taxpayers worried about the terror threat from the Islamic State, the crisis at the border and the economy, the U.S. government spent their money to give rabbits massages, to teach sea monkeys to synchronize swim and to literally watch grass grow.

These and other examples of wasteful government spending were detailed by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn in his annual “Wastebook,” his final edition since he is retiring early next year.

...Other examples vary from the serious, to the aggravating, to just plain bizarre. One that takes the cake is the $10,000 the government spent to watch grass grow --- seriously.

That project is the brainchild of the Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is paying for the growth of the smooth cordgrass to be observed on a Florida reserve. The money covers “the cost to monitor grasses, restore two acres as a demonstration and publish a guide on best practices for cultivating the cordgrass, known formally as Spartina alterniflora.”
So.......IS the government wasting money on Spartina alterniflora, just 'watching grass grow'? OR is there a connection to Coburn trying to discourage funding something useful on behalf of big oil, again?

Guess.

Here is the actual study, INCLUDING the actual purpose, which is completely and totally different from the description of the research in Coburn's 'wastebook'. The biggest waste here is the wastebook itself.

Here is the link to the study and the information about this very special kind of grass, with some excerpts below of the pertinent parts:
Smooth cordgrass provides cover for waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds,
and muskrats; and habitat for commercially important fish and shellfish.
VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES :
Smooth cordgrass was direct-seeded successfully on damaged marshes found
on dredge spoils from Connecticut to Virginia. Lower littoral zones
were seeded in locations where heavy wave action caused by storms did
not erode away the often top-heavy plants before their root systems
developed sufficiently. Smooth cordgrass seeds and seedlings were also
planted successfully on dredge spoils produced in the maintenance of
navigational channels within sounds and estuaries

Smooth cordgrass is an important component of Gulf Coast salt marshes
which stabilize shorelines against erosion and filter heavy metals and
toxic materials from the water column [13].

The presence of smooth cordgrass indicates sites with high salinity,
which can be managed for shrimp ponds [20].

OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS :
Gulf Coast marshes, because they provide soil stabilization and enhance
water quality, receive the highest priority for protection in
comprehensive oil spill response plans for coastal areas [13]. Effects
of oil spills on salt marshes vary depending on oil type, plant
coverage, season, and marsh elevation [24]. Flushing with seas water is
the most effective clean-up method for oil-contaminated salt marshes at
present. However, once oil penetrates the sediment, not even flushing
will remove it. Flushing is also ineffective at reducing damage to
cordgrass and enhancing long-term plant recovery. If natural tidal
flushing occurs, no other clean-up measures are recommended because
impacts on the community cause more harm than good. Overall, clean-up
responses have limited effectiveness; therefore, primary emphasis should
be placed on contingency planning and protection of salt marsh habitat
from oil spills.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

We’re SO lucky NOT to have a Republican majority — Elections and Voter ID

Unlike the poor citizens struggling under a Republican Governor and a Republican majority in their legislature, we have honest and well-run elections, without right wing voter suppression and racism ruining the foundational premise of a free nation -- honest and open elections by citizens.

As Ruth Bader Ginsburg blisters Voter ID in her recent dissenting opinion on the Jim Crow-like legislation of backward and benighted Texas, it is worth a review not only of her comments, which are widely reviewed elsewhere, but also a couple of studies that directly reflect on this American tragedy of racist Voter ID/ Voter Suppression.

One of the more interesting academic studies that got the WI Voter ID tossed by the courts was this one:
Employment and Training Institute banner

Research Update

Voter Photo ID Law Court Cases Utilize ETI Research
A research report by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute on The Driver License Status of the Voting Age Population in Wisconsin has received renewed attention as public officials and the courts assess disparate impacts of state and local laws requiring photo IDs as a condition for voting and the Supreme Court examines challenges to the photo ID voter law.

In May 2014 federal Judge Lynn Adelman found Wisconsin's state photo ID law unconstitutional given its adverse impact on many Wisconsin citizens. The 90-page decision is posted online. In it, in note 32 Adelman cites the ETI research that only 47% of black adults and 43% of Hispanic adults compared to 73% of white adults in Milwaukee County hold valid driver's licenses as do 85% of white adults in the rest of Wisconsin compared to 53% of black adults and 52% of Hispanic adults. In October 2014 a three-judge federal appeals court panel found the law constitutional based on the Supreme Court Indiana decision. Here, in the court's decision Judge Frank Easterbrook referenced the 2005 ETI data but suggested that it was evidence that fewer nonwhites without licenses have registered to vote (putting aside the "felon-disenfranchisement" issue). Subsequently, the full 10-member panel deadlocked 5-5 on rehearing the case. On October 9, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 to block the law's implementation for the immediate Wisconsin elections scheduled in November.

The Employment and Training Institute study was the first research available that measured driver's license disparities by race and age. The ETI was able to measure possession of driver's licenses for subpopulations in Wisconsin, having reviewed the state license files for employment-related research, and particularly for lack of licenses among working age African Americans and Latinos in Milwaukee County.
And the quite excellent and exhaustive report goes on for many more pages of similar information.

Now of course, Conservatives BRISTLE with anger whenever they are called out on right wing racism, and they bitterly protest concerns about honest elections, and at most inadvertently insist that their restrictive voter laws, not just Voter ID, but reducing voting hours and polling places, and cutting early voting, are perhaps PARTISAN, but NO! NO! NEVER EVER Racist!


Bullpuckey!


Take a look at the ethnicity and racial make up of those who are disenfranchised under Wisconsin law. Wisconsin law is pretty consistent with other right wing voter legislation (thank ALEC for that 'coincidence', since the right lets ALEC special interests write the legislation they sponsor), including the Texas law addressed by Justice Ginsburg, in which she specifically and in detail calls it racist.


NOW, take a look at this study from the University of Delaware, a study published shortly before the LAST election:

Friday, October 17, 2014

Not Ebola, Not ISIL that we should be worrying about MOST

Fossil fuels are over, antiquated, obsolete. Time to MOVE ON, before doing more harm

Conservative failed ideology. Again.

It is a difference in Conservative philosophy to prefer the punitive, no matter how harsh, to the supportive or constructive.

Via facebook, the contrast was made visually.  We could easily do the social safety network solutions, but instead waste money on the unsuccessful military option, waging combat against ourselves -- but conservatives love it, whether it works or not. GUNS GUNS GUNS, and BIGGER GUNS, and GUN RELATED SHIT!  YAY!

No.  Conservative ideology is a failure, a failure we cannot afford, not philosophically, not in actual policy.  It is a misspending of our money, and our future.