Update: The Still Wild West

14 April 2014

Bundy. I’m starting to wonder if there’s something about this name. Ted, the family in Married with Children, and now Cliven Bundy, the guy who obeys the laws of Nevada and doesn’t recognize the federal government. All Bundys. Coincidence? Simply bad luck for the many wonderful people who also carry this surname? I don’t know.

In any event, this article from ThinkProgress provides some possible solutions for Cliven and his followers:

“Three Ways That Nevada Rancher and His Right-Wing Militia Supporters Could Wind Up Behind Bars”

These are all reasonable possibilities. I’m ashamed to say I keep fantasizing about drone strikes. That’s probably because I suspect the underlying issue here has less to do with political freedom and more to do with wanting a free lunch–or in this case free grazing land.


The Still Wild West

13 April 2014

I fail to see how failure to pay grazing fees, which are ridiculously cheap, constitutes government interference. I especially don’t understand how failure to pay grazing fees is a First Amendment issues.

I also wonder what took the government so long to act.

“Koch Groups Back Rancher Making Violent Threats Against Federal Government”

And then THIS happens?

“Feds Halt High-Profile Seizure of Nevada Rancher’s Cattle Due to Safety Fears”

“Feds Release Cows Gathered in Nevada Roundup”

National government cowed by lawbreaker? The USA gets weirder by the day.


“Fox News Climate Change Coverage Is Now 28% Accurate, up from 7%”

9 April 2014

A 21% improvement sounds good, doesn’t it?

“Fox News Climate Change Coverage Is Now 28% Accurate, up from 7%”

Of course, sometimes it just means there’s a lot of room for vast improvement.


Study: CO2 buildup could affect food quality

9 April 2014


As if our food quality hadn’t already declined enough because of the quantity over quality methods of modern farming.

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

Wheat field in Upper Austria

A wheat field in Upper Austria ripens under a summer sun. bberwyn photo.

Protein levels in key grains could decline by 3 percent

Staff Report

FRISCO — Along with cutting yields of some key crops, increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide is also expected to affect the nutritional quality of food crops. Field tests by UC Davis scientists show that elevated levels of carbon dioxide make it harder for some plants to convert nitrogen into proteins.

“Food quality is declining under the rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide that we are experiencing,” said lead author Arnold Bloom, a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. “Several explanations for this decline have been put forward, but this is the first study to demonstrate that elevated carbon dioxide inhibits the conversion of nitrate into protein in a field-grown crop,” Bloom said.

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Energy: Anadarko to pay $5.15 billion fine for fraud

6 April 2014


If I remember correctly, the policy of reaping profits and then declaring bankruptcy was the historic tactic of mining companies in Montana and elsewhere. Make a fortune, split it among top officials, then wave hands in the air and say, “Now bankrupt. Can’t clean up mess. So sorry.”

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:


Trail of toxic waste catches up with corporate polluters.

Largest ever toxic waste settlement will help communities around the country

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A trail of toxic waste sites around the country finally caught up with Kerr-McGee and various subsidiaries of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation last week.

Under a settlement agreement with the EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice,  Anadarko will pay $5.15 billion to a litigation trust. According to the EPA, the settlement is the largest recovery for the cleanup of environmental contamination in history.

The award came after a bankruptcy court in New York found that Kerr-McGee and the Anadarko subsidiaries played a shell game, selling off assets to try and evade their liabilities for cleanups at toxic sites around the country.

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Expletive Deleted Cheney

2 April 2014

“Students Walk out on Dick Cheney During Speech”

One question: Why only a couple dozen?


News Flash–Stock Market Rigged!!

31 March 2014

“Is the U.S. Stock Market Rigged?”

Short answer–YES!!

I’m not at all surprised, but I am surprised that someone caught on and did something about it.


Plants LOVE Climate Change: Grapefruit Trees in Idaho Soon?

25 March 2014

Plants love climate change. I ran into this on a denier website yesterday and had the strength not to comment there. Instead, when I saw this old bromide rise once again, I wondered if this indicated reality was intruding. Of late I’ve been seeing more and more skeptics writing of the positive effects of climate change. Indeed there are some–although perhaps not for us.

At least this bit about plants needing carbon dioxide is true, unlike many points I’ve seen put forth by skeptics. Primary school science classes explain how plants require carbon dioxide to grow. However, before anyone starts planning on planting grapefruit trees in Idaho, I’ll mention that studies started coming out well over a decade ago indicating plants often suffered negative effects from increased carbon dioxide. I remember reading about good early growth but stunted growth during the fruiting phase for vegetables, problems with grass on grazing land, stuff like that. But then those came from studies done by pesky old (and young) scientists.

I haven’t seen any of these studies cited on the denier sites so far. Perhaps I haven’t read widely enough. Then again, folks who do primary research and controlled studies are a real buzz kill for climate change skeptics. Mostly, skeptics spend time attacking computer models. A worthy task, I grant. However, here’s a new study. No computer models were involved.

“In Ranchers Vs. Weeds, Climate Change Gives Weeds An Edge”

Oh well. Toadflax is quite pretty.


Global warming: What we know

24 March 2014

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

A potential for abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts


February 2014 marked the 29th consecutive year with global temperatures running above the 20th century average. Map courtesy NASA.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Making informed choices about climate change and greenhouse gas emissions will help reduce risks for present and future generations and help communities adapt to climate change, scientists said last week, announcing a new initiative to inform the public about climate change.

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US fishermen throw back 20% of their catch—often after the fish are already injured or dead

21 March 2014


The articles and studies I’ve read suggest that commercially viable fishing populations will be gone by mid-century. Then I find an article like this and wonder if we have that long.

Originally posted on Quartz:

Each year, the 41 Alaskan trawlers licensed to sift the seas for flatfish—such as flounder and sole—haul back around $6 million worth of fish. Boat space is limited, so fishermen save it for only the priciest fish. That means the less-valuable fish go back over the side, along with the hundreds of other sea creatures that these fishermen can’t sell back on land, because they’re funny-tasting, too small, simply wrong kind of fish, or even an endangered species.

By the time they’re tossed back, many of these animals are already dead (pdf, p.7). Just how destructive is this practice?

A new report by Oceana (pdf), an NGO concerned with ocean wildlife conservation, estimates that these Alaskan flatfish trawlers are throwing back around $17.7 million worth of fish a year. That’s right: nearly three times the value of what those fishermen actually sell.

What gets cast back into the Gulf of Alaska, dead or alive. What flatfish trawlers cast back into the Gulf…

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