Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monopolistic Utilities Know Renewable Energy Will Cut Their Profits, So They Stall It

From Truthout:  Please go here for the full story:

Monopolistic Utilities Know Renewable Energy Will Cut Their Profits, So They Stall It....no duh!

Last Friday, I wrote a commentary on a Hawaii for-profit electrical utility company that was taking new measures to dampen the selling (called "net metering" in the industry) of excessive solar energy back for distribution to other utility customers. The commentary was entitled, "Booming Solar Energy Halted by Hawaii Utility Because Sun Produces Too Much Power!"
The BuzzFlash at Truthout column was based on information provided in a Scientific American (no bastion of leftist bias) article entitled, "A Solar Boom So Successful, It's Been Halted: Photovoltaics proved so successful in Hawaii that the local utility, HECO, has instituted policies to block further expansion." Thus far, the BuzzFlash at Truthout commentary has received 11,000 Facebook likes and a lot of shocked readers.
However, there was a small number of alleged electrical engineers (and they may have very well been, instead of paid company shills which has become a common and legal practice in comments sections) who objected to both the Scientific American article and the BF/TO account of it.  They argued that "liberals" and "eco-types" don't know about how complicated and aged the electrical grids in the US generally are (although this was conceded in both the BF and Scientific American accounts).  That was the claim of the Hawaiian utility in question, HECO, which asserts on their website that they are avid supporters of renewable energy, just like Chevron or Shell does.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Poison In Our Waters: A Brief Overview of the Proposed Militarization of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

The U.S. has long viewed the island of Guam, an unincorporated U.S. territory that already hosts two of the Department of Defense’s most “valuable” bases in the world, an indispensable part of its “Pacific Century.” Prior to talk of the “Pacific Pivot,” the Governments of Japan (“GOJ”) and the United States agreed to reduce the number of Marines on Okinawa in response to intense local pressure. Defense Department planning for Guam is closely bound up with changing plans for basing in Okinawa. In 2006, the governments of Japan and the US formalized a “roadmap” to move 8,600 Marines from Okinawa to Guam. The plan was contingent, however, on closing the dangerous Futenma Base and expanding an existing base at Henoko, an approach fiercely resisted by Okinawan people and politicians.

Go here for the full article:Poison In Our Waters: A Brief Overview of the Proposed Militarization of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Are you too CHICKEN to eat chicken? Holy Moly, here we go again!

Consumer Reports has recently turned its independent testing laboratory to investigating our broken food production system with a report on the American poultry industry. The results of its testing are unsettling:
  • Every one of the four major brands we tested (Perdue, Pilgrim’s, Sanderson Farms, and Tyson) contained worrisome amounts of bacteria, even the chicken breasts labeled “no antibiotics” or “organic.” (See a list of all of the brands we tested (PDF), including those with a "No Antibiotics" or "Organic" label.)
  • Almost none of the brands was free of bacteria. And we found no significant difference in the average number of types of bacteria between conventional samples and those labeled “no antibiotics” or “organic.”
  • More than half of the chicken breasts were tainted with fecal contaminants (enterococcus and E. coli), which can cause blood and urinary-tract infections, among other problems.
  • Enterococcus was the most common bacterium we found, occurring in 79.8 percent of our samples. Next was E. coli, in 65.2 percent of them; campylobacter, 43 percent; klebsiella pneumoniae, 13.6 percent; salmonella, 10.8 percent, and staphylococcus aureus, 9.2 percent.
  • About half of our samples (49.7 percent) tested positive for at least one multidrug-­resistant bacterium, and 11.5 percent ­carried two or more types of multidrug-­resistant bacteria.
  • Of the 65.2 percent of samples testing positive for E. coli, 17.5 percent of the bugs were “ExPEC” bacteria, a nasty type of E. coli that’s more likely than other types to make you sick with a urinary-tract infection.
More here: Consumer Reports: 97% of all purchased chicken contaminated
How safe is that chicken? Most tested broilers were contaminated
and even more here:A A Improper use of antibiotics kills thousands and harms millions every year, CDC says Simple steps in the doctor's office and the supermarket can help keep you safe

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The financial sector has a lot to celebrate as 2013 draws to a close.

UPDATE: Volcker Rule Made Meaningless by Abundant Exemptions
The financial sector has a lot to celebrate as 2013 draws to a close. The banksters of Wall street have a lot of good news to dance about starting with the gutting of the so-called Volker rule! Some say that because the banks are tasked to "self report" violations and can treat other banks as "clients" rather than as institutions that fall under more strict regulations that the rule is fatally flawed.
1.) More questions than answers: The Volcker rule From the Economist:
Daniel Gallagher, a dissenting member of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), one of the five agencies that approved the rule this week, complained that he and his colleagues had been given only five days to review the revised draft of the rule before deciding on it. “All we can say for sure is that the final rule set jettisons scores of flawed assumptions and incorrect conclusions in favour of new, unproven assumptions and conclusions,” he noted dryly, calling its hasty adoption “the height of regulatory hubris”.
From the NYT: Finally, the Volcker Rule
The success of the Volcker Rule, unveiled this week, depends on federal regulators doing what they failed to do in the run-up to the financial crisis and have done only haltingly since then: Enforce the spirit as well as the letter of the law against the wishes of powerful banks.
2.) At Truthdig: Climate threatens retirement savings
LONDON—The Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) asked the world’s thousand largest asset owners what they were doing to guard against the possibility that their investments in fossil fuels could, in future, become worthless. Together, the owners manage more than US$70 trillion of funds. The Project found that only 27 of the 460 investment funds replying to its request are currently addressing climate risk at what it considers a responsible level. Only five of the 460 achieved the AODP’s top AAA, with an additional 29 rated A or above. Only these groups, says the Project, “will survive a carbon crash in any kind of good shape”. . Of the 1,000 asset owners approached, 80% are either D rated (abysmal) or X rated (doing nothing). A further 540 funds did not disclose sufficient information to allow a rating.
3.) A Government of the Billionaires, for the Billionaires, by the Billionaires 4.) Are Economic Royalists Leading the US Over a Precipice? 5.) When Lenders Sue, Quick Cash Can Turn Into a Lifetime of Debt 6.) Let's Get This Straight: AIG Execs Got Bailout Bonuses, but Pensioners Get Cuts 7.) Three Ways the Super-Rich Suck Wealth Out of the Rest of Us 8.) Iceland Sends Four Bank Bosses to the Slammer 9.) The Pension-Busters' Playbook 10.)And as a final insight you might like to take a look at this video.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Student Science Experiment Finds Plants won’t Grow near Wi-Fi Router

Full Story here:Student Science Experiment Finds Plants won’t Grow near Wi-Fi Router
Ninth-graders design science experiment to test the effect of cellphone radiation on plants. The results may surprise you. Five ninth-grade young women from Denmark recently created a science experiment that is causing a stir in the scientific community. It started with an observation and a question. The girls noticed that if they slept with their mobile phones near their heads at night, they often had difficulty concentrating at school the next day. They wanted to test the effect of a cellphone’s radiation on humans, but their school, Hjallerup School in Denmark, did not have the equipment to handle such an experiment. So the girls designed an experiment that would test the effect of cellphone radiation on a plant instead.
              Photo courtesy of Kim Horsevad, teacher at Hjallerup Skole in Denmark.

Monday, December 9, 2013

More Fukushima News and a calabash of other stuff....


Go here for the full story: Obama Faces Backlash Over New Corporate Powers In Secret Trade Deal
UPDATE:  “TPP Conflicts Exposed: Many Areas Of Dispute, Negotiations In Crisis” (w/Wikileaks File Links!) 
"The United States, as in previous rounds, has shown no flexibility on its proposal, being one of the most significant barriers to closing the chapter, since under the concept of Investment Agreement nearly all significant contracts that can be made between a state and a foreign investor are included," the memo reads. "Only the U.S. and Japan support the proposal."
Under NAFTA, companies including Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical and Eli Lilly have attempted to overrule Canadian regulations on offshore oil drilling, fracking, pesticides, drug patents and other issues. Companies could challenge an even broader array of rules under the TPP language.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Like a drip from a toxic faucet: Fukushima Cesium in North Atlantic Ocean Fish?

UPDATE:Measuring Fukushima Radioactivity in the Ocean: Why does it take so long?

The Fukushima Demon
                                              Signed Prints of this artwork are available

 Daily Kos Article: Fukushima Cesium in North Atlantic Ocean Fish
A recently published study by Kanisch and Aust of the Th√ľnen Institute of Fisheries Ecology in Hamburg reports that Fukushima sourced cesium (Cs) has been detected in fish collected in the north Atlantic Ocean. Like fish sampled thus far in the north Pacific the contribution of Cs to overall exposure of human consumers to radiation by consuming these fish is very small. In the Atlantic given that only modest atmospheric deposition of Cs has occurred radiation from Cs isotopes to human fish consumers is 26000-fold lower than the naturally occurring isotope polonium-210.  The authors conclude that the typical consumption of 10kg of affected fish per year: "...is not expected to cause concern according to present guidelines for radiation protection."
 Good Resource:  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration US Department of Commerce Anthropogenic Radionuclides in the Marine Environment: A Selected Bibliography

Monday, November 18, 2013

This is funny as hell!

Moving Toward the Solstice

Winter Solstice 2013

The year is coming to an end with the normal angst and stress of the season.  Inspirational movies and television specials are the order of the day.  Each year I remember that our holiday at this time of year was first observed thousands of years ago long before Christ was born most likely when the first primates walked upright and noticed the changing of the seasons.  And I recall that this, the winter solstice is the marker that many of man’s religions observe by different names and with different traditions.  As Wikipedia observes:

The Winter Solstice, also known as Midwinter, occurs around December 21 or 22 each year in the Northern hemisphere, and June 20 or 21 in the Southern Hemisphere. It occurs on the shortest day or longest night of the year, sometimes said to mark the beginning of a hemisphere's astronomical winter. The word solstice derives from Latin, Winter Solstice meaning Sun set still in winter. Worldwide, interpretation of the event varies from culture to culture, but most hold a recognition of rebirth, involving festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations. Many cultures celebrate or celebrated a holiday near the winter solstice; examples of these include Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years, Pongal, Yalda and many other festivals of light.

Our planet moves through space the days change getting longer until December 21 or 22 depending upon your geographical position on earth and then moving away from winter, the days becoming shorter until the summer solstice when the whole pattern repeats.  My mood like that of many other humans I have found at this time is manifest with anxiety and trepidation.  “The light” folks always say when I complain about this phenomena.  I don’t know why or if it is the declining light but this is always a difficult time for me.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Medical Marijuana Industry Sprouts Up in Israel

Medical Marijuana Industry Sprouts Up in Israel

Israel's medical-marijuana industry is thriving, and the Israeli government is funding breakthrough research on the healing potential of the cannabis plant.
Mimi Peleg, director of large-scale cannabis distribution for Israel's state-run medical program stands with cannabis plants.
Photo Credit: Photo by Ori Sharon. Courtesy of Mimi Peleg.

Go here for the full story!!!!!
Medical Marijuana Industry Sprouts Up in Israel

Friday, August 30, 2013

American-Led Strike in Syria Risks Return to Reckless Cowboy Era

American-Led Strike in Syria Risks Return to Reckless Cowboy Era

But what is being prepared -- by most accounts a two-day bombardment of Syrian installations with cruise missiles fired from American destroyers -- is an act of war. It may well prove to be a justified act of war, provided it is supported by a community of nations and based on credible intelligence. But war is what this is.
War, it ought to go without saying, is a risky, unpredictable pursuit. You fire missiles at another country and people will die. If we have learned anything from the past decade, it's that military campaigns have unintended consequences. We could miss the intended targets or learn that the things we were aiming at had other uses than those we understood. We could provoke a strike on Israel from Iran. We could incite unforeseen violence from the Assad regime. And when one of those things happens and some fresh hell breaks loose, genuine moral leadership capable of speaking for international norms had best be supported by more than a couple of far-flung allies going along on a ride that has not been adequately mapped out.
For Obama, this poorly sold, as-yet ill-defined intervention into another seething conflict in the Middle East presents grave risks: He could wind up representing the sort of American power defined by his predecessor, the shoot first-contemplate later mode of operation that has served no interests beyond the Islamist militants for whom such violence functions as a valuable recruiting aid.

The Saudis should bomb Syria. The USA should stay away from this fight!

The Ghost of Iraq haunts Obama on Syria as British Parliament Defects
In 2002-2003, then PM Tony Blair alleged that Iraq had weapons that could menace Europe and could be deployed in 45 minutes. To this day, I have no idea what he was talking about. The head of MI6 came back from a meeting in Washington and alleged that the intelligence was being fixed around the policy (of seeking a war). There were allegations of a “dodgy dossier,” a government file of bad intel presented to parliament. Bush’s chief of staff Andy Card said of the deceptively quiet August of 2002 that you don’t launch a major new product in August. In September, the Bush administration tried to scare the world into thinking that Saddam Hussein was on the brink of having a nuclear bomb. Breathless allegations were made. Iraq was training al-Qaeda in use of chemical weapons. Iraq had VX poison gas. All lies. It came out that Blair and Bush discussed the possibility of trying to get Saddam to shoot down a UN-flagged aircraft as a provocation justifying military action.
Kerry Forgot US Helped Iraq Use Chemical Weapons, Makes Other Odd Statements On Syria

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I can see for miles and miles and ......

As the song goes, "I can see for miles and miles and ......"  Sometimes I think that I can predict with pretty fair accuracy what events will unfold in our cultural stream.  Often in fact I am astounded at how accurate our predictions can be if we focus.  Here are the top 5 of my predictions 07/14/13:

1.)  Jesse Jackson Jr. will come out of prison with a book and movie deal that will wipe out his debt to his campaign fund and he will be once again farting through silk.  Jesse Jackson Jr. Sentenced For Defrauding Campaign

2.) After the month long crackdown in Egypt, things will not have settled down, but in fact will be worse.  This Egyptian conflict will stretch out at least into the spring of 2014.  Egyptian Security Forces Clear Pro-Morsi Sit-Ins, Dozens Dead (UPDATED) Egyptian Police Clear Brotherhood Sit-Ins, at cost of Scores of deaths, injuries

3.)  With all the uproar about privacy and security and balance, the scale will tip toward security in the near and distant future.  Other security considerations, such as "food security," "internet security," and "financial security" will override any privacy concerns and the American public will bend over as NSA and others bend the rules. 
Google Sends Clear Message: There’s No Privacy on Gmail ,and   Restore Honor and Pardon Edward Snowden  and Email service used by Snowden shuts itself down, warns against using US-based companies

4.) As an ex-prison worker I might suggest that the new series on Netflix will be recognized for the silly lightweight bullshit piece of crap it really is.  It is full of low hanging fruit replete with crudely presented stereotypes and hackneyed writing.  Silly, stupid and just write for the audience it might reach, this series, Orange is the New Black, will be rewarded for being a piece of doo doo by accolades from a public starved for anything just a little different than the vanillla poo served up by the networks and cable.  The Real Story Behind ‘Orange is the New Black’

5.)  Drones will become an increasing part of our culture for the near and distant future.  Drones are here to stay.  From pollinating flowers to spying on our industrial competitors the technology of drone surveillance and actions will continue to grow and is "here to stay."  Better get used to it.  Air Force's New Idea for Spying on China: Swarms of Tiny Bug Drones