Archive for July, 2013

“Still No Support for Global Warming ‘Slowdown'”

29 July 2013

“Still No Support for Global Warming ‘Slowdown'”

For quite a while now, I’d been wondering about the validity of a supposed slowdown in global warming. Of course, the articles crowing about this never provided any links or data. They just said it was so. Well, it ain’t.


Warning: Morality Inversion

11 July 2013

George Orwell predicted today. Thought control. Restricted language. And now, morality inversions, not only in America but in nations all over the world. Most of the examples are small, but some capture headlines worldwide. Who do we blame? Orwell? Machiavelli? Ourselves? Even if you are not historically inclined, answer these questions: In the last few years, when did doing what most people would agree is a morally right thing sometimes become a costly wrong thing? When did doing the right thing sometimes become outright illegal? And why aren’t we all out in the street with pitchforks?

The high profile cases regarding whistleblowers are everywhere of course. Manning, Assange, and Snowden come to mind immediately, but little bits of nastiness pop out all over.

I first noticed this trend in regard to animal abuse. When presented with undercover video proof that animal abuse occurred within their borders, several states attempted to pass laws punishing those who went to work on premises with the intention of documenting abuse.

For example, there’s video of Tennessee Walking horse abuse where a (former) Hall of Fame trainer beats, shocks, and creatively tortures the horses in his care. The courts punished this man. But this video also inspired Tennessee’s state government to go after whistleblowers. Hello?

US governments aren’t alone in hammering whistleblowers. In Ontario, Canada, a Wal-Mart employee lost her job–even a job at Wal-Mart is a job, I guess–because she did the right thing and quite possibly saved a dog’s life: “Walmart Fires Employee for Asking Customer Not to Leave Dog in Hot Car.”

In Europe, individuals and resources like Epona TV attempt to capture behind the scenes animal abuse at horse shows. The result? Bloggers have been threatened with law suits. And now use of cameras is being restricted at the top level championships to be held in Denmark in August.

It remains to be seen what happens with the current instance of Max the Rottweiler, shot four times and killed by a policeman. Lots of people are hot about this one. There’s a Justice for Max page on Facebook. Petitions abound. The shooter cop is getting death threats. (I’m responsible for none of those threats, but I am smiling.) Watch the video only if you have a strong stomach. The way the policemen handled this situation has resulted in a viral howl from animal lovers and free speech sorts.

But so far among the yelps about the Max incident, I haven’t heard anyone mention that the man whose dog was shot indeed broke a law when he took out his cell phone and filmed the police. Furthermore, no one has mentioned that the guys who recorded the cops arresting the man with the cell phone also broke the law. Technically at least. It’s against the law to record the actions of the police in California.

A hopeless believer in the Constitution, I must admit this was news to me, but I found‘s “7 Rules for Recording Police” rich with useful info.

I also recommend reading “Who Let the Dogs Out” in Law Enforcement Today. Synopsis: Civilians get pissed when cops shoot family pets.

What’s really going on here? It’s be too easy to assume that the police felt emboldened because the dog was shot in California, the site of the infamous Rodney King beating by police. The out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality occurs everywhere now. Missouri’s not on the no-video list, but recently a judge in St. Louis didn’t watch an available video with this result: “Cop Found Not Guilty Of Assault After Judge Refuses To Watch The Assault Video (Video)” Of course, if the judge had watched it, could she have said the cop didn’t assault the suspect? Not seeing is believing?

While I pondered that, more news emerged on the national level. Here’s the latest: leaked the plan. Ironic, isn’t it? The crackdown on whistleblowers brought out a whistleblower.

These days morality loses more often than it wins. Of course Oregon proved, once again, to be a rare exception. In June a story broke that a small town in Oregon featured horse tripping. Within weeks, a ban on horse tripping passed the Oregon House and Senate.

Now, wanna bet whether or not the governor will sign this into law?


Fear of the Unknown

10 July 2013

Click for a great cartoon:

Fear of the Unknown.

Now who was it who said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”? Today, we should add “and the our government” to that. Then it still fits.


New evidence that dispersants are bad news for fish

6 July 2013

Out of sight, out of our minds–in more ways than one. We will be the death of many species, likely us included.

Summit County Citizens Voice

Detailed study shows that fish exposed to oil-dispersant mix are less able to respond to subsequent environmental challenges

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A new European study once again shows that using dispersants to treat oil spills can be bad news for many marine organisms, even as it prevents massive slicks from reaching the shoreline.

The results of the study will be presented formally at the July 6 meeting of the Society for Experimental Biology meeting in Valencia. The increased contamination under the water reduces the ability for fish and other organisms to cope with subsequent environmental challenges, the research team found.

Led by professor Guy Claireaux, of the University of Brest,  the biologists for the first time looked at the effects of chemically dispersed oil on the performance of European seabass to subsequent environmental challenges.

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Nothing to Fear

4 July 2013

Nothing to Fear.

Brain Factories

2 July 2013

Back in the 18th Century, Adam Smith pointed out that companies with stockholders were not nearly as beholden to their customers as to their stockholders, and that truism now shows up in America everywhere we look.

For example, we now have major appliances that last, on average, not the twenty to thirty years as did the major appliances of our grandparents, but around six years. Current dishwasher companystockholders are delighted because people now have to replace expired machines with regularity. In fact, since our lightly used dishwasher died five days ago, I’m now reading reviews that indicate the current generation of dishwashers most likely won’t last as long as the dead one, but, hey, I’m going to have to pay twice as much to replace it.

I am not happy. And then I click up Raw Story and see this:

“For-profit Schools Blamed for Denigration of Sweden’s School System”

Sweden’s example is just another indication that under corporate capitalism, one does NOT always get what one pays for. My deceased twenty-first century dishwasher is more proof. While I’m grudgingly willing to replace a dishwasher, I want young Americans to have a basic education that lasts a lifetime.


Update: Oregon may well have found a way around part of our current higher education mess: “Pay It Forward: Innovative Oregon Proposal Could Solve Problem of Student Loan Debt.”