Sunday Reads: Joan Leslie, Workers’ Comp and Dubya 


Good Afternoon

A few days ago we lost an actress from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Joan Leslie, who starred in films with James Cagney…Fred Astaire. Gary Cooper, Ida Lupino, and others….(my favorites being Sargent York and The Hard WayThe Hard Way.) She was 90 years old.

Joan Leslie, a Hollywood Girl Next Door, Dies at 90 – The New York Times

Joan Leslie, an actress remembered for fresh-faced ingénue roles in movies of the 1940s, including “High Sierra,” “Sergeant York” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” died on Monday in Los Angeles. She was 90.

Her family confirmed the death.

Ms. Leslie, who was known in private life as Joan Leslie Caldwell, began her career in a vaudeville act with her two older sisters. Before she was out of her teens she had become known for film roles including Velma, the young disabled woman with whom Humphrey Bogart falls in love in “High Sierra” (1941); Gracie, the love interest of Gary Cooper in “Sergeant York” (1941), a role she landed on her 16th birthday; and Mary, the bride of George M. Cohan (played by James Cagney) in “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” released in 1942.18928fd7f1c4f870d8ea0f30d0e70876


The young, red-haired Ms. Leslie was admired by moviegoers for the girl-next-door innocence she brought to the screen.

“In my case, I really was a nice girl; my family sheltered me,” she told The Toronto Star in 1990. “Once, at a reception for exhibitors, Errol Flynn approached me” — he was a notorious roué — “and the photographers clicked away. Studio head Jack Warner was furious. He ordered the pictures destroyed, because it might damage my good-girl reputation!”

Joan Leslie Dead at 90: Starred in Sergeant York, Yankee Doodle Dandy | Variety

Joan Leslie Dead

Born in Detroit, Michigan on January 26, 1925, Leslie’s career began when her family relocated to Burbank, after Leslie’s older sister Mary was signed to a contract at MGM. Her first role was an uncredited part in George Cukor’s “Camille” at age 11.

2ab586bddf24e31fd69c41911652a848After marrying physician William G. Caldwell in 1950, Leslie shifted her focus to family, with occasional appearances on television shows and in commercials.


Leslie died on Oct. 12 in Los Angeles, her family announced. Funeral mass will be celebrated at 10:00 am on October 19 at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church.

On a personal note:

In March 1950, she married William Caldwell, an obstetrician.[6][45] Their identical twin daughters, Patrice and Ellen, were born on January 7, 1951.[46] Both daughters eventually became doctors.[47]

3c222461f50f4b1cad654dc67495995fLeslie was in the business of designing clothes, with her own eponymous brand. William died in 2000. A year later, she founded the Dr. William G. and Joan L. Caldwell Chair in Gynecologic Oncology for the University of Louisville. Leslie was an adopted alumna of the university for over 32 years.[48] She was involved with charity work for the St. Anne’s Maternity Home for more than 50 years.[49]

Joan Leslie dies at 90; actress of Hollywood’s Golden Age – LA Times

In the 1941 film noir classic “High Sierra,” Humphrey Bogart plays a tough guy who falls in love with a seemingly sweet, naive teenager played by Joan Leslie.

fb237896c0e710bc87ee6a7a72264e4aThe Bogie character later finds out, to his dismay, that the girl is not as naive as he thought.

The film industry made the same mistake about Leslie.

Though demure in most of her teen roles, as a young woman Leslie filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros. to get her out of a contract she described as “slavery.” And she persevered for years until studio executives finally gave in.

“They know I put up a fight for what I believed as right,” she said in a 1949 Times interview. “They know I didn’t weaken, and they don’t consider me now a perpetual ingenue.”




413113cc2f4e929e18ddfc7730dd969dLeslie was a show business veteran by the time she got the role in “High Sierra.” When she was child, she and her two older sisters had a vaudeville singing and dancing act that toured widely in the U.S. and Canada. And she had several small, mostly uncredited parts in movies.

But getting that plum role in the film that also starred Ida Lupino (then a bigger star than Bogart, and thus top billed), directed by Raoul Walsh and co-written by John Huston, was a life-changer.

“I was only 15, you know,” she said in a 1994 interview with a fan, Barry Iddon, while in London to support a children’s hospital. “I wish I had gotten it a little bit later in my career. I think I could have done better by it.”

1ca300427adfa3e6b721626673a3dff6But she was entirely believable as Velma, a partly disabled small-town girl traveling west with her family in a beat-up car when they have an encounter with Roy “Mad Dog” Earle, played by Bogart.

In a memorable, tender scene early in the film, the two gaze at the stars and he talks about how the earth feels “like a little ball that’s turning through the night, with us hanging on to it.”

“Why that sounds like poetry, Roy,” she tells him. “It’s pretty.”

When Leslie was 16, Warner Bros., which had her under contract, gave her a new Buick and more importantly, the female lead part opposite Gary Cooper in the biopic “Sergeant York,” about an unlikely World War I hero.

0b2c2e6d76ecf28f1968cfffa4b5d6d4Despite the car, she was still treated by some, including Cooper, as a child. “Gary gave me a doll on the set,” Leslie said in a 1990 Toronto Star interview. “That’s how he saw me.”

Her screen persona was even immortalized in song. In the wartime “Hollywood Canteen” (1944), the Andrews Sisters sang “Corns for My Country” about the condition of their feet after dancing long hours with soldiers on leave. One line of the song:

We’re not petite as sweet Joan Leslie.

But by the mid-1940s, Leslie had had it with the roles Warner Bros. gave her, and when the studio refused to offer her meatier parts, she sued, claiming the contract she signed as a teenager was invalid. She won her case in lower courts, but the studio won in the state Supreme Court.

4b822593edaa38e089133b9f1f29f79bLeslie pushed on, saying she would file a $2-million civil suit against Warner Bros. The studio gave in, canceling her contract. “I hope this will present me as an entirely new personality,” she said in the Times interview.

But the damage was done to her career, in part because she had been out of the public eye while the court battle dragged on. “I couldn’t work those two years, not even on radio,” she told the Toronto Star. “It was a huge setback for me.”


Remembering Joan Leslie | Leonard Maltin

I was saddened to hear of Joan Leslie’s death earlier this week at the age of 90. She was one of my favorite interviews in recent years. She was incredibly nice, yet at the same time she belied her screen image as a sweet young thing, as you’ll see in this excerpt from our conversation. 67d8cc8c4ed28139a2000e2c1cc3e2c3She had savvy and ambition, and it was no accident that she succeeded in Hollywood. (You can read the complete interview in the book Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy, compiled from back issues of my newsletter of the same name.) She even endured a studio blackballing in the 1950s after leaving her longtime home at Warner Bros. and was forced to work at Republic Pictures—which she did, without complaint.

In 1940 the pretty, adolescent Joan Brodel won the leading role in a Warner Bros. short-subject called Alice in Movieland about a girl’s dreamlike experience in Hollywood: spotted on the set, given the lead in a major movie, becoming a star and winning an Academy Award. Never was casting more ironic—or prophetic—because Brodel’s real-life story wasn’t so different from that piece of fluffy fiction. 59863f161658c95ded9793b1e06e16dfAfter several years of appearing in tiny roles she was signed by Warner Bros. and, as Joan Leslie, costarred with Gary Cooper in Sergeant York, Humphrey Bogart in High Sierra, James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy, and Fred Astaire in The Sky’s The Limit—all before she turned eighteen!  (Not so incidentally, Warner Bros. reissued Alice in Movieland and re-filmed the main titles to feature Leslie’s “new” name as well as her star billing. You can see the short on Turner Classic Movies, or on the Warner Home Video DVD of The Sea Hawk)

Joan Leslie gave many interviews about her career and her notable costars—she adds a great deal to the hour-long DVD documentary on the making of Yankee Doodle Dandyf7be4ed9ae1fba83a8b152ffd7d0c056but I was curious about her earliest experiences in Hollywood, and I wanted to learn more about day-to-day life as a contract player under the studio system. She was happy to oblige, in 2006, although when I made the mistake of referring to her as a onetime extra she politely but firmly corrected me.

Be sure to look at that link and read the interview. it is great….

Okay, remember during the debate I mentioned how Bernie Sanders reminded me of Larry David’s George Steinbrenner?

Well, check this out…

Larry David Just Played Bernie Sanders on SNL—And the Internet Is Going Nuts Over It | Mother Jones


e494d0b1a8e46001cdc4782e3bb9e7d0“We’re doomed!” Larry David plays the best Bernie Sanders yet on “Saturday Night Live” –

When Larry David was on “Saturday Night Live” he only got one sketch on the air and the audience didn’t laugh. Thirty years later, the Seinfeld creator returned as Bernie Sanders and the Internet lost its mind with David trending on Twitter well into this morning. […]

The sketch mocked the first democratic debate with a smiley Lincoln Chafee talking about how fun it was to be a senator, Alec Baldwin as Jim Webb who was angry, of course, because he didn’t get to talk before he was introduced, the Hillary Clinton her staff put together for the debate, and Bernie “We’re Doomed” Sanders.

43e691af5b293b23769d4ec904e34144With a perfect Sanders accent and broad hand gestures and finger points, David shouted about revolution asking why the hell the big banks chain all their pens to the desk. His solution for Wall Street reform was to break up the big banks into little pieces and then flush them down the toilet. “Then ya make the bankers pay for college for everyone, and America is fixed! Hey!” he said shrugging and gesticulating wildly. Hillary puts a damper on the idealism saying Bernie is promising a “golden goose” but Bernie assured the debate audience he’s found geese before and he can find them again. “They congregate near ponds. It’s not rocket science!”

 After Bernie repeated the famous email line Hillary shook his hand and thanked him, commenting that it must be nice to scream and cuss in public. “I have to do it into tiny little jars.”




67b59fd4a5534460fcf75dc094d07912Bernie Sanders to Larry David: Come join on me campaign trail! –

Bernie Sanders has a pretty good sense of humor. He responded to Larry David’s “Saturday Night Live” impression of him by telling George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” that he’d like to take him out campaigning with him.

 “I think we’ll use Larry at our next rally. He does better than I do,” Sanders said.

Now that is all for laughs, because the next link is disturbing as hell.

Opting out: Inside corporate America’s push to ditch workers’ comp – ProPublica

This is an important article, read it in full. I think a this quote will be a good example:

Minick and other proponents say while plans can make exceptions, such rules ensure workers get medical care as soon as possible, speeding their recovery.

996f90cfa5c46ad37643d8d6d488f205But public health experts say workers might not report minor injuries right away for valid reasons: They fear looking like troublemakers or worry about child care if they need to see a doctor or stay late filling out forms.

Or, like Rebecca Amador, they simply might not realize an injury’s severity.

Amador, a nursing assistant, was helping a patient transfer to a wheelchair at a Stephenville, Texas, nursing home in November 2013, when the chair’s brake unlocked, causing her to support the patient’s weight.

“I felt like a pinch in my back and I thought well, it’s been a long day, I’m tired,” said Amador, then 51. “So I paid no mind to it. I figured it would go away. Usually it goes away.”

21a3587f3f28ef72f55c6238dab5fdb8She took a hot shower and went to bed. By the next morning, she remembers being in so much pain she could hardly breathe.

As soon as she got to work, Amador told her supervisor, who sent her to the hospital. Only 19 hours had passed. But her employer, Fundamental Long Term Care, rejected her claim, saying she had failed to report it by the end of her shift.

The company’s decision left Amador in a Catch-22. Even though her injury happened at work, the company’s Texas plan wouldn’t cover it. But because it was work-related, neither would her health insurance or short-term disability plan. Had she worked for Fundamental in one of the other states where it operates, her injury would have been covered under workers’ comp.

7a928ee09b17bfd72821fbef48e04038Amador sought help at a publicly funded health clinic, where her doctor recommended a specialist. But she couldn’t afford one. She tried light-duty work until her doctor warned she could do further damage.

Since then, Amador said, she’s been living off her son’s Social Security benefits and borrowing from a lawsuit settlement fund set up for him after his father died of mesothelioma. Her daughters help pay for medications, and she’s applying for Social Security disability.

Sitting in her trailer nearly two years after the incident, she said her back burns like she’s in a fire, and she can’t even carry a two-liter soda bottle.

“I would probably still be working there” if Fundamental had workers’ comp, Amador said. “Maybe I could have gotten better, maybe I could have gotten my therapy done, and I wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in.”

5342d5d5bcbc3cfd257c858d8e6db7d8That story is mild compared to some of the others….

More stories of horror here, from March of this year:

The Fallout of Workers’ Comp ‘Reforms’: 5 Tales of Harm – ProPublica

Injured workers share their stories, revealing the real-life impact of rollbacks that have been spreading across the country.

Price Check: How Companies Value Body Parts

Injured workers are entitled to compensation for permanent disabilities under state workers’ comp laws. But Texas has long allowed companies to opt out and write their own benefit plans. Benefits for the same body part can differ dramatically depending on which company you work for.

a35eeb405b88474fab2c6d135d459b94And a couple other articles from the series, these from earlier in the year.

The Demolition of Workers’ Compensation – ProPublica

Over the past decade, states have slashed workers’ compensation benefits, denying injured workers help when they need it most and shifting the costs of workplace accidents to taxpayers.

How Much Is Your Arm Worth? For Workers’ Compensation, That Depends on Where You Work – ProPublica

Each state determines its own workers’ compensation benefits, which means workers in neighboring states can end up with dramatically different compensation for identical injuries.

For the entire series of articles, photos and updates:

Insult to Injury – ProPublica


There are 17 articles at that link. You can spend a shitload of time at that page….

The rest of the links below in dump fashion, because the day is getting late.

2d426f81026c3f5873a85299b1f4cc39Was George W. Bush President On 9/11? An Investigation Into The Controversy Tearing The GOP Apart | ThinkProgress

On Friday, Donald Trump generated substantial controversy when he asserted that George W. Bush was president at the time of the 9/11 attacks.

“When you talk about George Bush, I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time,” Trump said. “He was president, O.K.?

Jeb Bush immediately pushed back, calling Trump’s comments “pathetic” and insisting “my brother kept us safe.”

The media jumped on to the burgeoning controversy. According to The New York Times the idea that Bush was president on 9/11 and failed to stop the attack is a “break from the GOP.”

f135e48ef422eb57a5837ae1785035a8CNN host destroys Jeb Bush: You blame Hillary for Benghazi but insist brother blameless for 9/11

epublican presidential candidate Jeb Bush struggled on Sunday to explain how he could blame Hillary Clinton for the attacks in Benghazi while insisting that George W. Bush was blameless for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

While speaking to Bloomberg last week, Trump reminded the interviewer that George Bush was president when the World Trade Center was attacked in New York.

“He was president, OK?” Trump said. “Blame him, or don’t blame him, but he was president. The World Trade Center came down during his reign.”

The comments sparked Bush to respond by calling Trump “pathetic” in a Twitter post. And on Sunday, he continued to defend the 43rd president during an interview with CNN.

dfc8829c5617f143c2d53be1515fd394“My brother responded to a crisis and united the country, he organized our country and he kept us safe,” the GOP hopeful told Tapper. “And there’s no denying that. And the great majority of Americans believe that. And I don’t know why he keeps bringing this up.”

Tapper wondered if Bush’s loyalty to his brother “might be in some ways a political or policy liability blinding you to mistakes he made.”

“It’s what you do after that matters,” Bush insisted. “Does anybody actually blame my brother for the attacks on 9/11? If they do, they’re totally marginalized in our society. It’s what he did afterwards that mattered, and I’m proud of him. And so are a bunch of other people.”

bd6c62e0d9349d2b939a771fac9e0246“Obviously al Qaeda was responsible for the terrorist attacks of 9/11,” the CNN host pressed. “But how do you respond to critics who ask if your brother and his administration bear no responsibility at all, how do you then make the jump that President Obama and Secretary Clinton are responsible for what happened at Benghazi?”

Bush stammered in response: “Well, I — the question on Benghazi, which we will now finally get the truth to, is was the place secure? They had a responsibility at the Department of State to have proper security.”

“And how was the response in the aftermath of the attack?” he continued. “Was there a chance that these four American lives could have been saved? That’s what the investigation is about, it’s not a political issue… Were we doing the job of protecting our embassies and our consulates, and during the period, those hours after the attacks started, could they have been saved?”

6bc6d342d77e563d7e16dcb99038721a“That’s kind of proving the point of the critics,” Tapper noted. “You don’t want you brother to bear responsibility for 9/11 — and I understand that argument and al Qaeda is responsible — but why are the terrorists not the ones that are responsible for these attacks in Libya?”

“They are!” Bush replied. “But if the ambassador was asking for additional security and they didn’t get it, that’s a proper point. And if it’s proven that the security was adequate compared to other embassies, then fine, we’ll move on.”


b83b725d1dadb29ad5675bd9d2a9f5a1CNN’s Jake Tapper Exposes Republicans’ Double Standard In Assigning Blame For 9/11 And Benghazi | Video | Media Matters for America

Jeb Bush, Donald Trump continue 9/11 fight – Business Insider

4398fe1fb694d6ba9f54debafc4305e2Jeb Bush: Trump’s 9/11 comments prove he’s an ‘actor’ in candidate’s clothes | US news | The Guardian

Would-be Speaker could lose his House seat next year | TheHill

Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) is running full-steam ahead in his long-shot bid for Speaker, while looming redistricting plans in his state threaten his congressional seat.

Webster’s reelection chances in his current district suffered a severe blow Oct. 9 when a circuit court judge give tentative approval to a redistricting proposal favoring Democrats in his area.

While the map plans have yet to be finalized, it raises the prospect that if successful in his leadership bid, Webster could assume the Speaker’s gavel without having solid reelection prospects.


a32fc13e54763e9ddd335f1e26e79ae8Dumbghazi » Balloon Juice

Well, it turns out that Hillary’s emails do contain some scandalous info.   The Daily Mail:

A bombshell White House memo has revealed for the first time details of the ‘deal in blood’ forged by Tony Blair and George Bush over the Iraq War.

The sensational leak shows that Blair had given an unqualified pledge to sign up to the conflict a year before the invasion started.

It flies in the face of the Prime Minister’s public claims at the time that he was seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis.1be5f67feba2766c2910fadc65fa5a6b

He told voters: ‘We’re not proposing military action’ – in direct contrast to what the secret email now reveals.


The documents, obtained by The Mail on Sunday, are part of a batch of secret emails held on the private server of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton which U.S. courts have forced her to reveal.

Breathless tabloid prose aside, it’s still pretty funny that perhaps the most important discovery from a committee that has held almost as many hearings as the 9/11 committee concerns one of W’s fuckups.

a5543dd9bf92ea59e57f6c2eceae7e8cMiss. judge: People charged w crimes are criminals | Al Jazeera America


Hillary bashes closures of AL driver’s license offices in black communities as ‘blast from Jim Crow past’


Former mistress of GOPer David Vitter claims he got her pregnant and asked her to abort


Mitt Romney: I’m Glad I’m Not In The 2016 GOP Race


edf0dcbe4d1cfb1e4a3b1145e7141614California mudslides and chaos offer a preview of what El Niño could bring – LA Times


Reputed NY mobster faces trial for 1978 ‘Goodfellas’ heist

For nearly four decades, it remained one of America’s most infamous unsolved crimes: on Dec. 11, 1978, a crew of masked men stole $6 million in cash and jewelry from a Lufthansa Airlines cargo building at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

The brazen heist, which helped inspire the gangster movie “Goodfellas,” left authorities largely frustrated until last year, when federal prosecutors in Brooklyn charged Vincent Asaro, a member of the Bonanno organized crime family, with participating in the theft.

df1c75e086c34019a3f22461d716f07cHis criminal trial is set to begin on Monday in Brooklyn federal court before an anonymous jury.

Most of the other suspected participants in the robbery disappeared, were killed or died, making it difficult for authorities to piece the case together.

“Once you kill one guy, you gotta kill them all, because otherwise they’ll get scared,” said Howard Abadinsky, an organized crime expert and a professor at St John’s University in New York. “He’s one of the few guys that’s still alive.”


1b685b803243687f2ea7bfccbdf4311bIn Honor of Angela Lansbury’s 90th Birthday, Here Are 90 Photos of Angela Lansbury

Pictures of Joan Leslie: (5) JOAN LESLIE 1925-2015 on Pinterest | Dandy, Actresses and Photo Galleries


So what are you all reading about today?


Woman in Red: Debate, Election and the Shutdown…The GOP’s Albescent-churian Candidate



Good Morning

As promised…I bring you the latest edition of The Woman in Red….(It has taken me days, in fact almost the last 24 hours has been straight on through.)

You can read the earlier issues at these links:

The Woman in Red: Protector of the Uteri, Defender of Vajayjay Rights and Fighter Against the #WarOnWomen | Sky Dancing

The Woman In Red: Against The Monsters On The Hill… A comic-ill perspective observation | Sky Dancing

The Woman In Red: Battle of the Sexes…Fight Until the Vacuum Cleaner is Broken | Sky Dancing

As before, click the image to see the full size…and then click on the image itself to enlarge the picture, otherwise you will not be able to read the captions.

So….here we go!

Woman in Red:


Debate, Election and the Shutdown…

The GOP’s Albescent-churian Candidate

6947293c4905e79cc9ba71531ba17361 (1)


Tonight is the Republican Presidential Candidate Debate…..

4 things to watch in Wednesday’s Republican debate | MSNBC

Republican Presidential Debate 2015: Start Time, TV Channel, Radio Info For Second GOP Debate

Gloves likely to come off at second GOP 2016 debate – NY Daily News


Let’s take you to the debate venue, shortly before the event is to begin……


wir debate


wir debate2


wir debate3




outside of debate


immgr lgbt


debate in progress


fox cover debate


debate result





wir spe

wir spe c



wir spe com




Bloody hell, I am exhausted!

Hope you enjoyed this edition of The Woman in Red, and the introduction of the new arch nemesis…S.P.Ermand…The Sperm Man!

This is an open thread.

Tuesday Reads: September Heat Wave


Good Morning!!

It’s September, but it feels like July here in Boston. We’re having another heat wave, and the same is true in many other parts of the country. Fortunately, most of us will get some relief later in the week.

From Pattern Change to Bring Heat Relief to Midwest, Plains, East; West Coast Heats Up.

Hot temperatures have dominated parts of the Midwest, Plains and East during the first week of September, with highs topping out well into the 80s and 90s at times. While some might be enjoying this late-summer heat and humidity, others are probably ready for the air to have more of a fall feel east of the Rockies. For those in the latterI’ camp, we do have some good news on the horizon thanks to a rearrangement of the jet stream pattern.

For the Midwest and parts of the East, temperatures will drop to near-average or even below-average levels as the week progresses. In fact, some cities in the Midwest may see high temperatures fall 20 degrees or more from early week into mid or late week. Even more impressive is the temperature drop from highs early this week to lows later in the week. For example, Chicago had a high of 92 degrees on Sunday but will see lows in the 50s late in the week, a drop of more than 30 degrees.

Before the cooler air arrives in the Northeast, daily record high temperatures will be threatened in multiple locations, including New York City, Philadelphia, Hartford and Boston on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the West Coast will see the opposite impact from this pattern change with temperatures soaring above average all the way into the Pacific Northwest.

Read all the details at the link.

People cool off at fountains on Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston

People cool off at fountains on Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston

From the Weather Wisdom column at The Boston Globe: September heat wave begins today and continues through Wednesday.

Back in 1881, the mercury rose to a stifling 102 degrees in Boston for the hottest temperature in the record books during the month of September. This was also one of the hottest days ever in Boston.

Typically our highs would be in the 70s closing out the first week of September, during a cool year we might stay in the 60s while other warmer years would reach the 80s. Today marks only the 5th time since records began in Boston we have reached 90 degrees on September 7th.

Heat Wave Number 2
Having already eclipsed the 90 mark, it’s almost a sure bet we are beginning a 3 day heat wave. Remember, heat waves are 3 days or more in a row when the high temperature reaches at least 90 degrees. Tomorrow and Wednesday are even hotter and as the humidity slowly climbs the heat indices could get near 100 degrees for a few hours either or both days.

The map below shows highs in the mid-90s tomorrow. This would be the 9th time Boston has reached 90 on the 8th of September. The record for tomorrow is 95 and there is a chance would could tie that record.

Another 90 degree day on Wednesday will make it an official heat wave. There are only 3 days where it’s reached 90 on the 9th and this year should make 4. The record Wednesday is 91 and we would likely set a new record.


On days like this, I can’t help thinking about our changing climate and how it will affect future generations. This is another reason why we must elect a Democratic president next year. President Obama has been able to make some progress on this issue through executive orders; to build on his efforts, we desperately need to elect Hillary Clinton president and hope that she can bring along enough Democrats to regain the Senate.

From The Hill: Democrats pin hopes on Hillary for winning back the Senate.

The battle for control of the Senate rests on the outcome of the presidential race, strategists in both parties say.

Since 1860, no party has been able to climb out of the minority to capture the Senate during a presidential election year without also winning the White House….

Democrats appear well positioned to knock off two Republican incumbents, but whether they can stretch the number of Senate pick-ups to the necessary four or five while defending two of their own vulnerable seats remains to be seen.

The election map favors Democrats. They are defending only 10 Senate seats, while Republicans are protecting 24, including seven in states carried by President Obama in 2012.

But Democrats are running against the grain of history by trying to keep the White House for three consecutive terms — a feat last accomplished by Republicans in 1988, when Ronald Reagan left office with a 53-percent approval rating. Obama’s approval rating, by comparison, stands at 45 percent, according to Gallup.


Just one more reason why we need to support Hillary. “The article quotes “Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic strategist, lobbyist and fundraiser.”

“Ted Strickland can beat Rob Portman if Hillary Clinton is winning Ohio. Pat Toomey, no matter how good he looks on paper and the problems we’re having with the primary, I think if you get to November and Democrats are winning Pennsylvania by a huge number, Toomey’s in a lot of trouble,” he said

“If Democrats don’t win the presidential race, I don’t think we’ll win the Senate,” he added.

The map of key Senate races largely matches up with the map of presidential battlegrounds.

Aside from Wisconsin and Illinois, where Republican incumbent Sens. Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) are fighting for their political lives in blue states, the most competitive Senate contests are in presidential swing states.

Johnson trails former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold in Wisconsin by five points, according to a mid-August Marquette Law School poll, and Democrats predict Feingold will raise more money.

Kirk, meanwhile, lagged six points behind Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) in a late-July survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm.

More details at the link.


Getting back to climate change, The Washington Post had an important article yesterday: New studies deepen concerns about a climate-change ‘wild card.’

Two new studies are adding to concerns about one of the most troubling scenarios for future climate change: the possibility that global warming could slow or shut down the Atlantic’s great ocean circulation systems, with dramatic implications for North America and Europe.

The research, by separate teams of scientists, bolsters predictions of disruptions to global ocean currents — such as the Gulf Stream — that transfer tropical warmth from the equator to northern latitudes, as well as a larger conveyor system that cycles colder water into the ocean’s depths. Both systems help ensure relatively mild conditions in parts of Northern Europe that would otherwise be much colder.

The papers offer new insight into how rapidly melting Arctic ice could slow or even temporarily halt the ocean’s normal circulation, with possible effects ranging from plunging temperatures in northern latitudes to centuries-long droughts in Southeast Asia….

One study, by three scientists from Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute, uses computers to model how Greenland’s rapid thawing could affect the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, the system that pushes cold, dense saltwater into the deep ocean and helps transport warm water northward, helping to warm Europe’s climate.

Their report, in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, says previous research may have underestimated changes to the ocean from the huge influx of fresh, cold water from melting ice sheets. Using new methods, the German scientists were able to estimate more precisely how much ice would melt and how all that added freshwater would affect ocean circulation. In the ocean, colder water normally tends to sink, but cold freshwater — less dense than saltwater — stays near the surface, disrupting the normal flow.


The researchers concluded that we’ve already gone pretty far down the road on climate change, but there are still things society can do the prevent the worst scenarios from coming to pass.

A second paper, by a team of Texas scientists, sheds new light on how the Earth’s climate responded during a similar thaw from the planet’s geological past. About 12,000 years ago, rising temperatures at the end of the last ice age released huge volumes of cold freshwater, disrupting the ocean’s circulation systems and sending parts of the Northern Hemisphere back in to the freezer. Scientists refer to the era as the Younger Dryas period.

The study in the journal Nature Climate found a wide range of impacts, some of which lingered for centuries. While the far-northern latitudes experienced rapid changes — including an 18-degree Fahrenheit temperature drop in Greenland in less than a decade — droughts and other weather anomalies in the southern Pacific persisted for 1,000 years.

Read the rest at the WaPo.

Is it possible we’ve reached a turning point? Jonathan Chait thinks so: This is the year humans finally got serious about saving themselves from themselves.

Here on planet Earth, things could be going better. The rise in atmospheric temperatures from greenhouse gases poses the most dire threat to humanity, measured on a scale of potential suffering, since Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany launched near-simultaneous wars of conquest. And the problem has turned out to be much harder to solve. It’s not the money. The cost of transitioning away from fossil fuels, measured as a share of the economy, may amount to a fraction of the cost of defeating the Axis powers. Rather, it is the politics that have proved so fiendish. Fighting a war is relatively straightforward: You spend all the money you can to build a giant military and send it off to do battle. Climate change is a problem that politics is almost designed not to solve. Its costs lie mostly in the distant future, whereas politics is built to respond to immediate conditions. (And of the wonders the internet has brought us, a lengthening of mental time horizons is not among them.) Its solution requires coordination not of a handful of allies but of scores of countries with wildly disparate economies and political structures. There has not yet been a galvanizing Pearl Harbor moment, when the urgency of action becomes instantly clear and isolationists melt away. Instead, it breeds counterproductive mental reactions: denial, fatalism, and depression.


It’s a long read. Chait covers the history of efforts to reverse climate change and then offers hope.

For human to wean ourselves off carbon-emitting fossil fuel, we will have to use some combination of edict and invention — there is no other plausible way around it. The task before the world is best envisioned not as a singular event but as two distinct but interrelated revolutions, one in political willpower and the other in technological innovation. It has taken a long time for each to materialize, in part because the absence of one has compounded the difficulty of the other. It is extremely hard to force a shift to clean energy when dirty energy is much cheaper, and it is extremely hard to achieve economies of scale in new energy technologies when the political system has not yet nudged you to do so.

And yet, if you formed a viewpoint about the cost effectiveness of green energy a generation ago (when, for instance, Ronald Reagan tore the costly solar panels installed by his predecessor off the White House roof), or even just a few years ago, your beliefs are out of date. That technological revolution is well under way.

For one thing, the price of solar is falling, and rapidly. In a March 2011post for Scientific American’s website, Ramez Naam, a computer scientist and technological enthusiast, compared the rapid progress of solar power to Moore’s Law, the famous dictum that described the process by which microchips grew steadily more useful over time, doubling in efficiency every two years. The price of solar power had fallen in two decades from nearly $10 a watt to about $3. By 2030, he predicted, the price could drop to just 50 cents a watt.

Read the whole thing at New York Magazine.

Those are my offerings for today. I’m going to turn was feeling sick on Sunday and Monday and I’m still a little wobbly today. Take, care, Sky Dancers and I hope the floor over to you now, because I’m recovering from a nasty stomach virus. I hope you have an enjoyable day.


Sunday Reads: A blunt look at things.

1320965117exhaustedGood Afternoon

We have a variety of links for you today. Typical of an average Sunday…unfortunately, I could not muster up the creativity and string a theme together. So the images will have to do, they are from the website (I think some of them are funny…hope you do too.)

Anyway, let’s get this shit rolling.

Whether Jewish Refugees in ’30s or Syrians today, USA Falls Short of own Ideals | Informed Comment

22-year-old anti-Nazi song rises to the top of German charts to show support for refugees – Europe – World – The Independent

1308950027wrongnumber‘Spurred on by the Fear of Death’: Refugees and Displaced Populations during the Mongol Invasion of Hungar –

Sensitized by the grim headlines which daily announce the appalling plight of twentieth-century refugees in eastern Europe, I was motivated to investigate the behavior and conditions of medieval refugees fleeing the Mongols. In reviewing the sources I was struck by the abundance and vividness of the surviving evidence. My original plan was to study the Hungarian situation in comparison with similar experiences of other peoples who had been invaded by the Mongols, then to follow this with a comparative treatment of Hungarian refugees with parallels elsewhere in medieval Europe. This had to be discarded when I learned that the presumed secondary literature on this topic meager and peripheral. The systematic historical study of medieval refugees is yet to be written. The question of what where the experiences of medieval refugees appears seldom to have been raised and even less often answered.

Click here to read this article from De Re Militari


Okay enough on that…up next, a big ass hole: Crater in Russia triples in size in ten months to become 120m wide sinkhole – Asia – World – The Independent

Crater in Russia triples in size in ten months to become 120m wide sinkhole Asia World The Independent

The latest images taken by helicopters shows that earlier reassurance from an expert inspecting the site in April that the hole was “more or less stable” was incorrect, the Siberian Times reports.

The images show the nearby homes are now at risk of collapsing into the hole but local officials have said that no one is in physical danger.

1246840609mommaThe hole was caused by flood erosion in a underground mine…maybe this is what that sinkhole in Louisiana looks like under all that water?

Let’s look at another hole: Greece crisis: Cancer patients suffer as health system fails – BBC News

As Greece careers towards another election later this month, the country’s healthcare system is continuing to crumble.

Funding for state-run hospitals has been cut by more than 50% since the debt crisis started in 2009.

They suffer from severe shortages in everything, from sheets, gauzes and syringes, to doctors and nurses.

1302384066bitcheaccelerantTake a look at that article it is really good.

Skyscrapers correlated with economic doom – Business Insider

Nothing suggests the height of human achievement and economic prowess quite like a skyscraper.

The newly completed 2,073-foot-tall Shanghai Tower is officially the second-tallest building in the world (behind Dubai’s Burj Khalifa) and the tallest in China.

And taller skyscrapers are planned, such as China’s Sky City and Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Tower.

But as “cool” as all of these buildings are, glitzy construction booms have historically coincided with the beginnings of economic downturns, according to Barclays’ “Skyscraper Index.” (For all you economics wonks out there, basically, skyscrapers can be considered a sentiment indicator.)

Using Barclays’ index, we pulled together 10 skyscrapers whose constructions overlapped with financial crises.


getoutFrom Lawyers Guns and Money:


This Francisco Goldman article in The New Yorker is a good run-down of what is going on in Guatemala.Citizens finally came together to stand up to the kleptocracy that has run the country since the end of the civil war of the 80s. Protests have brought down Otto Pérez Molina after already taking out most of his administration. This is a great moment of democratic protest in a nation where political violence has been endemic for a very long time.

Book Review: Adam Rothman: Beyond Freedom’s Reach: A Kidnapping in the Twilight of Slavery 

…we are in a renaissance of excellent historical writing for a general public that wants to read something more than hagiographic narratives. Add Adam Rothman’s Beyond Freedom’s Reach to the list. Rothman tells the story of Rose Herera, a New Orleans slave whose children were spirited away to Cuba by her master during the Civil War. Centering kidnapping in the slave experience, Rothman takes what could be a fairly slender story based upon a relative paucity of evidence to build a tale of great bravery and persistence within a rapidly changing world where African-Americans had relatively little power even in the immediate aftermath of the war.

lookinatQuick look around the US political scene:

Imagine If Hillary Clinton’s Security Detail Had Done This | Crooks and Liars

Fetid Jackass Open Thread: Your Modern GOP » Balloon Juice

Foxified: CNN Taps Sarah Palin And Hugh Hewitt For 2016 Campaign Coverage | News Corpse

A White Supremacist Holds an Entire American City Hostage – The Daily Beast

Feds will investigate after Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington state is hit by arson

lovevodkaAn update on a story from a while back….Cops Who Killed Man with Down Syndrome Over a Movie Ticket Blame Paramedics Who Tried to Save Him | Alternet

…the case of Ethan Saylor.

Saylor, a 26-year-old with Down syndrome, was at a movie theater with a health care aide watching “Zero Dark Thirty.” The movie had finished, but Ethan didn’t want to leave the theater after the film ended, hoping to watch it again.

The cinema manager, angry that the mentally-handicapped man didn’t quite understand that one ticket is only good for one viewing, called three off-duty-deputies who were moonlighting as security guards. The cops decided to forcibly evict Saylor from the theater, refusing to listen to his aide, who had already contacted Saylor’s mother in an effort to defuse the situation.

idontgiveashitYou must remember this story….

Instead, as is all too common the case, the cops got violent, taking Saylor to the ground and piling on top of him as they attempted to handcuff him. In the process, this young man’s trachea was fractured, and he died of asphyxiation.

The autopsy report indicated that Saylor died from asphyxiation, and had sustained a fracture to his larynx, with the coroner listing his cause of death as homicide.

While Saylor’s death was ruled a homicide, an internal “investigation” cleared the three officers, Lt. Scott Jewell, Sgt. Rich Rochford and Deputy First Class James Harris, of any wrongdoing. No charges were brought against any of the officers involved in his death.

Much to the dismay of almost everyone involved in the case, a Frederick County grand jury declined to indict the deputies after their review of the case.

After the failure of the state to hold these officers criminally accountable for Saylor death, as is often the case when law enforcement kills a citizen, the family filed a wrongful-death suit against the deputies.

whereisshegoingAs you would expect, that suit is not going very well…

According to a report in The Frederick News Post:

In the initial complaint, filed in October 2013, Saylor’s family alleged violations of his civil rights and of the Americans with Disabilities Act by the state, county sheriff’s deputies and the companies that employed the men as security guards at the Regal Cinemas Westview Stadium 16 theater.

A year later, a federal judge dismissed all of the claims against the theater company, and also dismissed a simple negligence claim against the deputies and a wrongful-death claim against the state.

Claims that the deputies — Richard Rochford, Scott Jewell and James Harris — were grossly negligent and that the state failed to train them were allowed to go forward.

While the family is certain that the fractured larynx was a result of the violent altercation, defense attorneys for the cops claimed in their latest court filings that the injuries found on Saylor were from the paramedic’s efforts to save his life, and not their brutal attack.

sassOne of the experts identified by the defense was Dr. Jeffrey Fillmore, the emergency department physician who treated Saylor at Frederick Memorial Hospital. According to court filing by the defense, Fillmore would testify that the autopsy and other evidence are not consistent with asphyxia as the cause of Saylor’s death.

On Tuesday, attorney for Saylor’s family, Joseph Espo, told the AP that his expert witnesses disagree with almost everything in the filing by the deputies’ attorneys. Records indicate that those witnesses include a disabilities expert, a police liabilities expert, a pathologist and another medical doctor.

Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking aspects of this case is the fact that Saylor was an avid fan of law enforcement and was reportedly fascinated by police. Some may argue that the cops did not intend to kill Ethan, but the fact that they couldn’t de-escalate a simple situation over a movie ticket, and instead resorted to deadly violence speaks to the corrupting sickness that is prevalent in policing today.

heyIt is disgusting.

More crazy in the judicial system:

Jailed at 17 for a drug crime in 1988, Rick Wershe Jr is still behind bars. Why? | US news | The Guardian

A Surreptitious Courtroom Video Prompts Changes in a Georgia Town –

An explosion of cellphone videos has brought renewed attention to police practices, provoking criticism, indictments and talk of criminal justice overhaul. Courtroom videos of judges in action, however, are far rarer.

But one surreptitious video in a small-town Georgia court has led to an overhaul of court practices there. The video showed the judge threatening to jail traffic violators who could not come up with an immediate payment toward their fines.

preciousangelsNext grouping, science-ish links:

Here’s What the Earth Will Look Like After All the Ice Melts | Mother Jones

Supermoon And Lunar Eclipse Will Wow Skywatchers On Sept. 27: What Time To Look Up : SCIENCE : Tech Times

UFO Watchers Abuzz Over ‘Ships’ In Orbit Around The Sun : SCIENCE : Tech Times

Life with HIV has changed enormously. It’s time public perception followed suit | Tom Hayes | Comment is free | The Guardian

On with some reviews of movies that look like something we all would find interesting:

The Resonance and Relevance of ‘Suffragette’ | Women and Hollywood

1262661979hateyouEach September brings severe disappointment for those of us interested in seeing women taken seriously in the Oscar race. And by that, I mean women on screen and behind the scenes. It seems that the conversation for some time has been about important men doing important historical things and changing the world, while the contributions of women were made as wives and assistants. They weren’t the center of the action. It is worth noting that, last year, none of the best-picture nominees had a female protagonist and only one had a female director.

“Suffragette” bursts onto the screen and shows the power and presence of women in history. AND it is written, directed and produced by women. It is a movie that shows us a struggle that few know anything about — the women’s battle for the vote in the UK — but that is resonant today, in this country, because of the assault to voting rights going on right now. It is a reminder that, not too long ago, women had no power, no access to money and were thought to lack the brains to participate in issues related to governance. We still have much to do on the issue of women’s rights. Girls around the world are not being educated because they are girls. Girls are sold into marriage. Women are not allowed to leave their homes in places, women are still raped and assaulted everywhere and we are not paid equally.

blurbsdangerousTelluride film festival day two: Suffragette, He Named Me Malala and Anomalisa – video reviews | Film | The Guardian

‘Suffragette’ Review: Carey Mulligan Fights for Women’s Rights | Variety

Black Mass review – compelling true crime drama is mighty comeback for Johnny Depp | Film | The Guardian

I don’t know how to end this post, so just consider it an open thread.

Monday Reads

downloadGood Afternoon!

In the latest binge of white privilege hissy fits, Republicans and Fox News are up in arms about changing the official name of the tallest mountain in the country back to the name that it was known by historically. It’s also the preferred name of the mountain for the folks that live in Alaska. Denali National Park has been in existence for some time.  Denali mountain was renamed Mt McKinley in 1896 in a commonly done thing to do when privileged white men discover or climb natural wonders and regions that the folks living there have done, known, and named for thousands of years.  I never knew the backstory on this event. It’s a typical story of appropriation.

Here’s the history of the name Denali and what caused it to be renamed.

Numerous native peoples of the area had their own names for this prominent peak. The local Koyukon Athabaskan name for the mountain, the name used by the Native Americans with access to the flanks of the mountain (living in the Yukon, Tanana and Kuskokwim basins), is Dinale or Denali /dɨˈnæli/or /dɨˈnɑːli/).[2] To the South the Dena’ina people in the Susitna River valley used the name Dghelay Ka’a (anglicized as Doleika or Traleika in Traleika Glacier), meaning “the big mountain”.[3][4]

The historical first European sighting of Denali took place on May 6, 1794, when George Vancouver was surveying the Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet and mentioned “distant stupendous mountains” in his journal. However, he uncharacteristically left the mountain unnamed. The mountain is first named on a map by Ferdinand von Wrangel in 1839; the names Tschigmit and Tenada correspond to the locations of Mount Foraker and Denali, respectively. Von Wrangell had been chief administrator of the Russian settlements in North America from 1829–1835.[4]

During the Russian ownership of Alaska, the common name for the mountain was Bolshaya Gora (Большая Гора, “big mountain” in Russian), which is the Russian translation of Denali.[5] The first English name applied to the peak was Densmore’s Mountain or Densmore’s Peak, for the gold prospector Frank Densmore who in 1889 had fervently praised the mountain’s majesty; however, the name persevered only locally and informally.[2]

The name Mount McKinley was chosen by William Dickey, a New Hampshire-born Seattleite who led four gold prospectors digging the sands of the Susitna River in June 1896. An account written on his return to the lower 48 appeared in The New York Sun on January 24, 1897, under the title Discoveries in Alaska (1896).[6][7] Dickey wrote, “We named our great peak Mount McKinley, after William McKinley of Ohio, who had been nominated for the Presidency, and that fact was the first news we received on our way out of that wonderful wilderness.”[7][6] By most accounts, the naming was politically driven; Dickey had met many silver miners who zealously promoted Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan‘s ideal of a silver standard, inspiring him to retaliate by naming the mountain after a strong proponent of the gold standard.[7]

In the 1900 report of the US Geological Survey (USGS), Josiah Edward Spurr refers to “the giant mountain variously known to Americans as Mount Allen, Mount McKinley, or Bulshaia, the latter being a corruption of the Russian adjective meaning big”.[8] The 1900 report otherwise calls it Mount McKinley,[8] as does the 1911 USGS report The Mount McKinley Region, Alaska.[9]

McKinley was assassinated early in his second term, shot by Leon Czolgosz on September 6, 1901, and dying of his wounds on September 14. This led to sentiment favoring commemoration of his memory. The Federal government officially adopted the name Mount McKinley in 1917 when Congress passed and President Woodrow Wilson signed into law “An Act to establish the Mount McKinley National Park in the territory of Alaska”, which singled out the area in the Mount McKinley region.[10]

So, originally, some crazy gold bug from Seattle via New Hampshire decided to make a political statement by renaming the big mountain and it stuck. I guess it’s the Ohio delegation that’s stopped the Alaskan’s delegation’s annual attempt to put the name of the mountain back to the one given it by its indigenous peoples. So, of course, Boehner’s orange face has gone a slight shade of red with the announcement. Well, it’s just another excuse for a Republican and Fox News hate and anger fest.  How dare the President do something that so many folks–mostly Alaskans–have asked him to do for so long?

It’s official: Denali is now the mountain formerly known as Mount McKinley.

With the approval of President Barack Obama, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has signed a “secretarial order” to officially change the name, the White House and Interior Department announced Sunday. The announcement comes roughly 24 hours before Obama touches down in Anchorage for a whirlwind tour of Alaska.

Talk of the name change has swirled in Alaska this year since the National Park Service officially registered no objection in a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C.

The tallest mountain in North America has long been known to Alaskans as Denali, its Koyukon Athabascan name, but its official name was not changed with the creation of Denali National Park and Preserve in 1980, 6 million acres carved out for federal protection under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The state changed the name of the park’s tallest mountain to Denali at that time, but the federal government did not.

Jewell’s authority stems from a 1947 federal law that allows her to make changes to geographic names through the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, according to the department.

“I think for people like myself that have known the mountain as Denali for years and certainly for Alaskans, it’s something that’s been a long time coming,” Jewell told Alaska Dispatch News Sunday.

Every year, the same story plays out in Washington, D.C.: Alaska legislators sometimes file bills to change the name from Mount McKinley to Denali, and every year, someone in the Ohio congressional delegation — the home state of the 25th President William McKinley — files legislation to block a name change.

Members of Alaska’s congressional delegation said they were happy with the action.

“I’d like to thank the president for working with us to achieve this significant change to show honor, respect, and gratitude to the Athabascan people of Alaska,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said in a video statement recorded on the Ruth Glacier below the mountain.

Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, said in an email that “Denali belongs to Alaska and its citizens. The naming rights already went to ancestors of the Alaska Native people, like those of my wife’s family. For decades, Alaskans and members of our congressional delegation have been fighting for Denali to be recognized by the federal government by its true name. I’m gratified that the president respected this.”

Alaska. The George Parks highway looking south to Mt McKinley (20,320 ft) in autumn.

Alaska. The George Parks highway looking south to Mt McKinley (20,320 ft) in autumn.

It seems McKinley never even visited Alaska or showed any interest in the place.  Most of the National Parks and historic sites that have Presidential names actually have some relationship to that president.  Like I said, I never even knew any of this before but I know it now and it’s amazing to me it’s taken this long.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said on Monday morning he was “deeply disappointed” by President Barack Obama’s decision to rename North America’s tallest peak.

Here’s his statement in full:

There is a reason President McKinley’s name has served atop the highest peak in North America for more than 100 years, and that is because it is a testament to his great legacy. McKinley served our country with distinction during the Civil War as a member of the Army. He made a difference for his constituents and his state as a member of the House of Representatives and as Governor of the great state of Ohio. And he led this nation to prosperity and victory in the Spanish-American War as the 25th President of the United States. I’m deeply disappointed in this decision.

Obama announced Sunday ahead of a historic visit to Alaska that the mountain’s name will revert back to Denali, its traditional Alaska Native name.

article-alaska-glaciers_001Frankly, McKinley isn’t one of the Presidents whose name routinely comes up with “great legacy”.  He also has nothing to do with Alaska and Alaskans basically wanted the name returned to Denali.  

It is the latest bid by the president to fulfill his 2008 campaign promise to improve relations between the federal government and the nation’s Native American tribes, an important political constituency that has a long history of grievances against the government.

Denali’s name has long been seen as one such slight, regarded as an example of cultural imperialism in which a Native American name with historical roots was replaced by an American one having little to do with the place.

The central Alaska mountain has officially been called Mount McKinley for almost a century. In announcing that Sally Jewell, the secretary of the interior, had used her power to rename it, Mr. Obama was paying tribute to the state’s Native population, which has referred to the site for generations as Denali, meaning “the high one” or “the great one.”

The peak, at more than 20,000 feet, plays a central role in the creation story of the Koyukon Athabascans, a group that has lived in Alaska for thousands of years.

Mr. Obama, freed from the political constraints of an impending election in the latter half of his second term, was also moving to put to rest a years long fight over the name of the mountain that has pit Alaska against electorally powerful Ohio, the birthplace of President William McKinley, for whom it was christened in 1896.

The government formally recognized the name in 1917, and efforts to reverse the move began in Alaska in 1975. In an awkward compromise struck in 1980, the national park surrounding it was named Denali National Park and Preserve, but the mountain continued to be called Mount McKinley.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, introduced legislation in January to rename the peak, but Ohio lawmakers sought to block the move. In June, an Interior Department official said in testimony before Congress that the administration had “no objection” to Ms. Murkowski’s proposed change.

There’s more interesting, record breaking news that’s undoubtedly associated with climate change.  That’s something the President will speak about

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) mother and cubs. Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) mother and cubs. Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

in Alaska on his visit.  There are 4 category 4 hurricanes in the Pacific.

NASA’s Terra satellite just released this August 29 image of Hurricanes Kilo, Ignacio, and Jimena, all Category Four Hurricanes. According to the Weather Channel:

This is the first recorded occurrence of three Category 4 hurricanes in the central and eastern Pacific basins at the same time. In addition, it’s also the first time with three major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger) in those basins simultaneously, according to hurricane specialist Eric Blake of the National Hurricane Center.

The Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) in Honolulu Hawaii is issuing advisories on all of the hurricanes. On Sunday, August 30, from west to east, Hurricane Kilo was located 1,210 miles west-southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii, Hurricane Ignacio was located 515 miles east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii, and Hurricane Jimena was located 1,815 miles east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii.

Obama will be visiting many folks in Alaska just shortly after visiting folks here in New Orleans.  His focus will be on how much lives have been changed by climate change.  His trip to Lousiana focused on the amount of wetlands and Louisiana itself, lost to the Gulf and how that played into the destruction around the Gulf.  Loss of Glaciers is one noticeable climate change in Alaska.  I’m really confused, however, why Shell gets to drill in the Arctic when the President has visited two states whose oil and gas industry has ruined the environment while enriching oil interests.  Here’s another thing I never knew.  President Obama will be the first sitting president to visit Alaska.

The trip to the Alaskan Arctic — the first by a sitting president — is the culmination of an increasingly forceful climate change policy push over the past two years by the Obama administration.

The White House has honed in on climate change as a core policy priority with a domestic and international approach that has met with mixed response among both liberals and conservatives. This week alone he invoked the perils of climate change during visits to the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas and New Orleans’ storm ravaged Lower Ninth Ward to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

“No challenge poses a greater threat to our future than climate change,” the president told a crowd in Las Vegas.

With these trips, along with his trek to Alaska where he will speak at a State Department-sponsored conference on the Arctic, Obama is attempting to set the stage for a major international climate change agreement he hopes will come from a summit in Paris in December.

That agreement could help secure his legacy as the first sitting president to address global climate change in a substantive way, environmental policy experts said.

“The president has from the beginning recognized that climate change is an existential challenge to the country and the world. It may be the issue that is the most important long-term issue of his presidency,” said Paul Bledsoe, a former adviser to the Clinton White House on climate policy. “Future generations will look back at him as the first global leader to take decisive action on climate change.”

The Obama administration’s work of lifting the issue of climate change from the periphery to the fore began in a series of fits and starts.

There will be a Climate Change Conference in Paris this coming November.  The President hopes to move the United States more into line with other countries seeking to reverse the damage caused by overuse of fossil fuels.  Obama has announced his desire to reduce US carbon emissions. Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are committed to the cause.

Obama’s announcement of a final rule to reduce carbon emissions on Monday (03.08.2015) drew international attention to the United States. The administration appears to have responded to a growing desire for politicians to take the fight against climate change more seriously. The American public has been demanding more government action as severe droughts and forest fires ravage the western US.

The 21st Conference of Parties in Paris this December will be the real test for this seemingly renewed American environmental consciousness. World leaders will be hoping to sign a new, legally binding international agreement on reducing emissions.

Although momentum toward taking action on climate change does appear to be building in the US, whether the US can truly lead in these negotiations remains uncertain.

On the one side, Obama’s new legislation is only one sign of mounting political will on tackling climate change. Environmental discussions are taking center stage in the Democrat nominee race.

Candidate Hillary Clinton has promised that 33 percent of the country’s electricity will come from renewables by 2027. Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s opponent with a strong environmental record, has called climate change “the single biggest threat to our planet.”

For Philip Wallach, a policy analyst at the Brookings Institute, this green surge is a strategy to appease public opinion ahead of elections in November 2016.

“[Democrats] think [climate] puts Republican candidates in an awkward position, where in order to satisfy some of their voter base, they’re pressured to reject [climate] science,” Wallach told DW.

Candidates for the Republican nomination were quick to criticize Obama’s new regulations – but remained mum about plans to tackle climate change during recent debates.

Hopefully, this will start a conversation on what seems like more years of excessive heat, land loss, extreme weather, drought, and fires ahead.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?




Wednesday Reads: Anything but real news…

01c1d471a1cb07ba84ebd92c8bd9893b56d71af011Hey, I just can’t bring myself to post anything serious and depressing so here are a few links to other interesting news.

Images in the post are from the Dolce&Gabbana magazine Swide: Saint of the day

Swide’s Saint of the Day Calendar. Swide has commissioned illustrator Lucio Palmieri and Daniel Fields to illustrate and tell the story of each saint of the calendar for 2014.

Alright, big news out of Egypt, as far as archaeology is concerned. Queen Nefertiti: Has the tomb of Tutankhamun’s mother been found hiding in plain sight? via The Independent

Queen Nefertiti has fascinated and perplexed ancient Egyptian scholars in equal measure.

The legendary beauty ruled alongside Pharaoh Akhenaten in 14BC. During her reign she accrued status as an icon of power and elegance.

Despite her prominence in ancient Egyptian history, her resting place has remained a mystery – but now a new theory by a leading historian claims to have finally found the Queen’s burial place.A diagram of Nefertiti's possible resting place. Two secret doorways may exist coming from the walls of the main chamber.

A diagram of Nefertiti’s possible resting place. Two secret doorways may exist coming from the walls of the main chamber.

Nicholas Reeves, an archaeologist at the University of Arizona, has made bold new claims that he believes she has been laid to rest in Tutankhamun’s burial chamber. The pharaoh’s tomb was found fully intact and untouched by explorer Howard Carter in 1922.

01283b9f4a9630b19cc1b3f192d17446608112a3adMore at that link, including an image of a young lady mummy who may be Nefertiti.

And if you take a look here you can read more on the ghost doors: Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb may contain hidden passages leading to Queen Nefertiti’s burial place: Claim

Ghosts in the walls

Dr Reeves has been scouring ultra high-resolution scans of the famous tomb, discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter, for clues to its origins and constructions.

In particular, he’s been looking at the overlooked details in the painted walls of Tutankhamun’s inner sanctum, the burial chamber which contains his sarcophagus.

He’s found depressions and edges in the plasterwork which indicates the wall structure behind.

Among this is what he describes as two lintelled, walled-off passages which have long since been painted over with the scenes depicting Tutankhamun’s life and last rites.

0182bc032747f56b00dd137eda085161760d125a94“The implications are extraordinary: for, if digital appearance translates into physical reality, it seems we are now faced not merely with the prospect of a new, Tutankhamun-era storeroom to the west; to the north appears to be signalled a continuation of tomb … and within these uncharted depths an earlier royal interment – that of Nefertiti herself, celebrated consort, co-regent, and eventual successor of pharaoh Akhenaten,” Reeves writes.

Go and see the images at that link. It is very cool.

The original paper can be found here: The Burial of Nefertiti?

Hey, what do you know…there’s some tomb/burial news in our own country that is making headlines as well: The Roanoke Island Colony: Lost, and Found? – The New York Times

Under a blistering sun, Nicholas M. Luccketti swatted at mosquitoes as he watched his archaeology team at work in a shallow pit on a hillside above the shimmering waters of Albemarle Sound. On a table in the shade, a pile of plastic bags filled with artifacts was growing. Fragments of earthenware and pottery. A mashed metal rivet. A piece of a hand-wrought nail.

A secluded cove off Salmon Creek near the dig site in North Carolina where archaeologists have discovered several pieces of Border ware and other materials that may suggest an early English settlement in the area. CreditTravis Dove for The New York Times

0159c2fb95398c02cdaf8a99445e3cdca476f6c47dThey call the spot Site X. Down a dusty road winding through soybean fields, the clearing lies between two cypress swamps teeming with venomous snakes. It is a suitably mysterious name for a location that may shed light on an enigma at the heart of America’s founding: the fate of the “lost colonists” who vanished from a sandy outpost on Roanoke Island, about 60 miles east, in the late 16th century.

 Next up, a bit of history…yet still dealing with death, well…near death:

The last kamikaze: two Japanese pilots tell how they cheated death | World news | The Guardian

Hisao Horiyama first learned how he was due to die from a simple slip of white paper. On it were written three options: to volunteer willingly, to simply volunteer, or to say no.

017e25753d60d1f03f7bdec1a503e601961ee8d2abWith that one act of destruction, he would end his life and the lives of many others, in the name of his emperor as a member of an elite, and supposedly invincible, group of young men whose sacrifice would deliver victory to Japan: the kamikaze.

VE Day: The last British Dambuster – BBC News

…the last British survivor of the famous Dambusters raid explains what it was like to take part.

“I feel privileged and honoured to have taken part,” says George “Johnny” Johnson. “It’s what we were there for. We were determined to do our bit.”

Johnson, now aged 93, is the last British survivor of the original Dambusters, the Royal Air Force’s 617 Squadron, who conducted a night of raids on German dams in 1943 in an effort to disable Hitler’s industrial heartland.

010a3b8cd60d1306c14a4dcad0f9bf27f3309a81a6Their exploits were legendary even before being made into a film, The Dam Busters, released in 1955. A scene showing back-spinning cylindrical bombs, designed by engineer Barnes Wallis, bouncing along the water to avoid protective nets before sinking and breaching the dams with their explosive power, is one of the most famous in British film history. The Dam Busters March is still played at military events.

But Johnson isn’t entirely happy with the film’s depiction of the operation,codenamed “Chastise”, on that night of 16-17 May. “The thing that was disappointing from our point of view was that the raid carried out by my crew, on the Sorpe dam, wasn’t mentioned,” he says.

If you ever get to see Dam Busters on TCM, it is a riot….The Dam Busters (1955) – Overview –

Video clips to the film can be seen here: Videos for The Dam Busters

Moving on to movies…women in film:  15 Women of Cinema History You Should Know | Mental Floss

You know Spielberg, Scorsese, Lucas, and Hitchcock. But did you know that the success of each of these iconic directors depended on a lesser-known woman behind the scenes? Dig into the hidden history of film and discover the women who shaped cinema into what it is today.


Because of the hands-on nature of film editing, early Hollywood considered it women’s work, like sewing. “Cutters” were often working-class women willing to take low pay to be a part of filmmaking. But despite the sexism surrounding them, this position allowed these female film lovers a unique place to make critical choices about a film’s final cut. Booth was not only one of the earliest pioneers of the craft, but also the one for whom the term “film editor” was coined.

012a26155dd04cfd7f8568d74f9e207cb4b69e0776Right out of high school in 1915, the Los Angeles native got a $10 a week job working underBirth of a Nation director D.W. Griffith as a patcher, eventually making her way up to negative cutter. By the time the controversial filmmaker moved to the East Coast, Booth was in complete charge of print production, managing everything from inspection to cutting to shipping the prints out. Booth would then get a job at the newly formed MGM, where her expertise was quickly recognized by the studio’s head of production, Irving Thalberg. Together the pair would watch and discuss dailies, and Booth’s insightful contributions inspired Thalberg to call her a “film editor,” a move that would forever leave the common term “cutter” behind.

She went on to cut a long list of films, including 1935’s Mutiny on the Bounty, which earned her only Oscar nomination. In 1978, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences awarded Booth an honorary Oscar for “her exceptional contribution to the art of film editing in the motion picture industry.”

See the other 14 women editors at the link.

Now, following the next connection…comes to our article on young women: Study finds unexpected biases against teen girls’ leadership: Not only many teen boys but many teen girls, some parents appear to have biases against teen girls as leaders, research finds — ScienceDaily

01f19941f1cb4e50bd958cf3c0c247af2a3a9a3d02Making Caring Common (MCC), a project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, today released new research that suggests that many teen boys and teen girls–and some of their parents–have biases against teen girls as leaders. These biases could be powerful barriers to leadership for a generation of teen girls with historically high levels of education who are key to closing our nation’s gender gap in leadership. The report also suggests that much can be done to prevent and reduce gender biases in children.

Titled “Leaning Out: Teen Girls and Gender Biases,” the research report assesses the explicit (conscious) and implicit (unconscious) biases of teen girls, teen boys, and parents with regard to gender and leadership. Findings suggest that many teen boys and teen girls have biases against female leaders in powerful professions such as politics, that many teen girls have biases against other teen girls as leaders, and that many teens perceive their peers as biased against female leaders. Further, the research suggests that some mothers have implicit biases against teen girls as leaders.

“Our study points to insidious bias against girls as leaders that comes from many sources” said Richard Weissbourd, a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and co-director of Making Caring Common. “Bias can be a powerful–and invisible–barrier to teen girls’ leadership. Yet parents and teachers can do a great deal to stem these biases and help children manage them.”

01f371d53ba1d0285e4bec09ec2e563a4dfbf0047fHilary is in the news, and it seems like bias against teen girls as leaders stay with the girls when they grow up.

Hillary Clinton To Give Justice Department Entire Private Email Server

New poll puts Bernie Sanders ahead of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire | US news | The Guardian

I will go ahead and put some newsy links here:

UN Peacekeepers Accused of Rape, Killing | Al Jazeera America

Why is the GOP listening to Netanyahu on Iran? They just hate Obama & anything he does | Informed Comment

Texas Cop Fired in Killing of Christian Taylor — NYMag

Woman found dead in jail fears for her life in video – NY Daily News

01df59ac3283a2acdeff093ff514e393faa2e51cceLet’s update you on the toxic spill: Toxic spill from Colorado mine creeps through US southwest (Update)

Environmental scientists tested a key US river Tuesday for signs of a toxic waste spill from a botched Colorado mine clean-up that prompted a state of emergency in the desert Southwest.

What started as a three-million-gallon (11.4 million liter) orange-hued plume last Wednesday in the swift-moving Animas River dissolved from view as it made its way down the slower San Juan River in New Mexico.

No longer easily visible, it was nevertheless flowing on into Utah and the Lake Powell reservoir in the direction of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon, leaving behind questions as to its long-term impact.

“It’s so diluted, you can’t really see it,” Donna Spangler, a spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, told AFP by telephone.

Intensive water testing is nevertheless underway for signs of such cancer-causing toxins as lead and arsenic, with results expected in a matter of days.

018c7bca856d496239c9ea821a6372d5344fc1052dContinue with environmental issues: This video about the aging pipeline below the Great Lakes should be this summer’s top horror flick | Grist

You know that feeling you get when you’re watching a scary movie, and something bad is about to happen? The music gets weird, the action starts to slow down, someone says something meaningful like “I’ll always be there for you.” That’s the feeling you might get watching this video from Motherboardabout an aging oil pipeline lying at the bottom of the Great Lakes.

Here’s the gist: A company called Enbridge (appropriately evil-sounding) owns a 62-year-old pipeline running between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan along the Straits of Mackinac. The pipeline was originally built to last 50 years and is in questionable shape, but don’t worry — Enbridge says they have everything under control. Sure, the company had 800 spills between 1999 and 2010, according to Motherboard, and yes, one of those spills was the worst inland spill in U.S. 0185cb0070e65cce7dc2d4771bab5c66d67b6875fchistory, causing more than 800,000 gallons of oil to spew into the Kalamazoo River in 2010. But no matter — there’s a very nice Enbridge employee in the video who says that the company doesn’t want to have any more spills.

More than 5,000 earthquakes hit northwest Nevada

Seismologists studying a year-long swarm of thousands of mostly minor earthquakes in northwest Nevada say they could be the precursor for a “big one,” although speculation that they’re related to a series of extinct volcanoes can’t be ruled out.

The University of Nevada’s Reno Nevada Seismological Laboratory announced Tuesday that there have been 5,610 earthquakes in a swarm that started in July 2014 in the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge near the Oregon border.

019d3e48512ff990b6e6d7eefc968e1ca72b9fe3b9More than 200 have registered at a magnitude of 3 or greater, which is enough to be felt by ranchers and residents nearby. The largest one hit on Nov. 6 with a magnitude of 4.7, although there’s also been a recent flare-up since mid-July.

“It’s kind of unusual that it has lasted so long,” said Ken Smith, a seismologist.

It’s been a topic of discussion whether or not those quakes stem from the extinct volcanos in the Sheldon refuge collectively known as the High Rock Caldera, which is at least 15 million years old.

That hasn’t been conclusively ruled out yet, but Smith said there’s no direct evidence of volcanic activity driving the earthquakes. To rule it out would require more seismic and geodetic measurements.

Such a repetition of small earthquakes is often associated with , but the latest ones point to a fairly typical tectonic sequence that is characteristic of the western Great Basin region.

Extinct volcanoes, 15 million years old, the next couple of links are about history, but not that far back in time.

01f6707e0836ffc5d06de7ca8d61908125df5204f9History News Network | Ancient Vikings Settled Greenland for the Ivory

After Erik the Red killed his enemies in Iceland, he found himself banished and sailing westward. Around 985 CE, Erik settled his family on an unexplored island, and, in what is widely regarded as the first act of real estate branding, named the place “Greenland,” hoping to attract other Vikings with the implicit promise of rich farmland. But as archaeologists are now learning, Erik may have been better off naming the place “Walrusland.”

Scholars have long thought that Erik’s branding deception worked, and that Vikings flocked to Greenland to set up farms—even though the growing season is short and raising livestock difficult. Archaeologist Thomas McGovern and colleagues, however, are testing a new idea: that Vikings settled Greenland to provide European markets with luxury trade goods such as furs, eiderdown, hides, and walrus tusk ivory.

‘God helped thee; The eagle got food afresh’: Norse Crusaders and the Pleasure of Killing –

The 12th century minstrel Bertran de Born told in a war hymn of  what gave him great pleasure: ‘I tell you, that neither eating, drinking, nor sleep has as much savour for me as when I hear the cry “Forwards!” from both sides, and horses without riders shying and whinnying, and the cry “Help! Help!”, and to see the small and the great fall to the grass at the ditches and the dead pierced by  the wood of the lances decked with banners.’ To Norbert Elias this was a clear example of the relationship between pleasure and killing in medieval society. Knights often took great pleasure in killing and torturing people, something that according to Elias was a socially permitted pleasure caused by a lack of social control.015a689f9bf0850c3d5f42da029d19ea8ec25560fb It was, however, these warriors that pope Urban II wanted to recruit to his new undertaking; the new kind of armed pilgrimage that was later to be known as the First Crusade.

This paper, however, will not focus on the relationship between the emotion of pleasure and killing on crusade from the perspective of the European knightly class, but rather from the perspective of crusaders from the northernmost periphery of Christendom, the kingdom of Norway. The men of the north are often depicted in the Norse sagas as taking great pleasure in killing, even doing it for no good reason; as famously illustrated in the comment of Þórgeirr Hávarsson, who struck the head of a shepherd for no other reason than that “he was well placed to receive a blow.” How then did these men behave on crusade?

Alright, the last few links have no connections whatsoever to the other links above.

Link between intestinal bacteria, depression found — ScienceDaily

Reverse Graffiti Creates Murals By Cleaning | Mental Floss

This is some cool artwork, check it out:


And your last story of the day: New Study Finds Earth’s Core Will Be Most Habitable Part Of Planet By 2060 – The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

015a5dc616112d8dd1aa770884b07e25faeb0b1a20According to a study published Wednesday by geologists at Georgetown University, the earth’s solid inner core will be the most livable part of the planet by the year 2060. “Provided that current trends continue as anticipated, within half a century the most favorable conditions for supporting human life will be located roughly 3,200 miles below the earth’s surface, atop its superheated central 011a72a5e7bc11d7184ed442350aaf745d95e78460sphere of iron and nickel,” said study co-author Lance Zelowski, who predicted that by mid-century, the inner core’s year-round temperature of 9,700 degrees Fahrenheit and its pressure of 3.5 million atmospheres would make it the most attractive location on the planet in which to live, work, and raise a family. “In order to ensure future generations grow up and reside in the best environment available, people will need to make preparations in the coming years to move their families to this highly compressed metallic ball surrounded by swirling liquid metal.” Zelowski acknowledged that, due to its limited surface area, only the wealthiest would likely be able to purchase property on the inner core, leaving most of the world’s population to make do in magma chambers directly beneath earth’s crust.

This is a long ass post for a Wednesday.  Have a good day…share what your thinking and reading about today.

Thursday Reads: Wild Weather, Climate Change, and Other News

 reading-lady-matisse-henri-fauvism-oil-on-cardboard-genre-terminartors-1372947212_orgGood Morning!!

It has been close to 90 degrees here for the past several days, and it’s technically still spring. I’m beginning to wonder if we are going to have a summer from hell as a follow-up to the worst winter in the half-century I’ve lived in Boston.

In addition to the unusually hot weather, the pollen is so bad that every morning when I wake up it takes a few hours for my scratchy, watery eyes to clear up enough for me to read comfortably.

I’m on a regimen of Flonase, Allegra, and Mucinex; but I still feel stuffed up most of the time. Sometimes I feel itchy and even dizzy and nauseated; and I think it’s from allergies. The itchy skin would be unbearable without the Allegra.

Is anyone else noticing worse-than-usual allergies this year? Last year’s spring allergy season was very bad; this year is far worse. Anyone who actually claims to believe that there isn’t something dramatic happening with our weather is either deluded or lying. I wonder if we will manage to do something about climate change before it’s too late.

What about all that awful weather down in Texas?

Here’s a story from the Texas Tribune, via KXON: Climate change, a factor in Texas floods, largely ignored.

“We have observed an increase of heavy rain events, at least in the South-Central United States, including Texas,” said Nielsen-Gammon, who was appointed by former Gov. George W. Bush in 2000. “And it’s consistent with what we would expect from climate change.”

But the state’s Republican leaders are deeply skeptical of the scientific consensus that human activity is changing the climate, with top environmental regulators in Texas questioning whether the planet is warming at all. And attempts by Democratic lawmakers during the 2015 legislative session to discuss the issue have come up short.

“In part, it’s ideologically driven and intellectually lazy,” said state Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, who earlier this year invited national security experts to the state Capitol to testify at a hearing on the risks of climate change. “My question is: What are people scared of? Are they scared of the truth?”

Asked about the role of climate change in the floods, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz declined to weigh in Wednesday. “At a time of tragedy, I think it’s wrong to try to politicize a natural disaster,” the Republican presidential candidate said during a news conference in San Marcos after surveying damage.


How does discussing scientific research on climate constitute “politicizing a natural disaster?”

Extreme weather events, and more of them, are among the most agreed-upon effects of global warming in all the scientific literature on the subject, said Nielsen-Gammon, who is also a professor at Texas A&M University. Part of the explanation is that ocean temperatures are rising, bringing more moist air into the state that can create storm systems. In the past century, precipitation in Texas is up 7 to 10 percent, and the frequency of two-day heavy rainfall spells has nearly doubled.

The scientific consensus is much stronger on this point than on whether climate change can directly cause droughts. Nielsen-Gammon’s own research has shown that warmer temperatures due to global warming did make the drought in Texas measurably worse than it otherwise would have been.

But for the last several years, legislation calling for climate-change studies has not succeeded in the Capitol.

It’s a pretty long article, and very interesting. I hope you’ll go read the whole thing.

Hypocrisy personified

Hypocrisy personified

More on Ted Cruz’s remarks from CNN: Texas flooding puts Cruz, GOP in bind on climate change.

The Republican presidential contender has held two press conferences over the past two days to address the flooding and the government’s response. At each one, he was asked about the impact of climate change on natural disasters like the Texas flooding, and at each one, he dodged the question….

“I think the focus now is on caring for those who have lost their lives and lost their homes,” he said.

At least 31 people have died in Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma from the storm since this weekend, while another 11 remain missing in Texas. Cruz promised to do all he could to ensure that Texans get access to the resources they need during the recovery.

Wait a minute. Anti-government Ted Cruz wants the Feds to help Texas? Didn’t he oppose aid to survivors of Hurricane Sandy?


Politicus USA: Ted Cruz Demands Federal Money For Texas Floods After Blocking Hurricane Sandy Relief.

During a press conference on the deadly flooding in Texas, Cruz said, “The federal government’s role, once the Governor declares a disaster area and makes a request, I am confident that the Texas congressional delegation, Sen. Cornyn and I, and the members of Congress both Republicans and Democrats will stand united as Texans in support of the federal government fulfilling its statutory obligations, and stepping in to respond to this natural disaster.

Sen. Cruz sang a completely different tune in 2013 when he called federal aid for the victims of Hurricane Sandy wasteful:

Two-thirds of this spending is not remotely “emergency”; the Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 30% of the authorized funds would be spent in the next 20 months, and over a billion dollars will be spent as late as 2021.

This bill is symptomatic of a larger problem in Washington – an addiction to spending money we do not have. The United States Senate should not be in the business of exploiting victims of natural disasters to fund pork projects that further expand our debt.


Back to the CNN article for more Cruz climate change philosophy:

“It used to be [that] it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier,” he said in an interview with the Texas Tribune.

Cruz also argued that “global warming alarmists” aren’t basing their arguments on facts, because “the satellite data demonstrate that there has been no significant warming whatsoever for 17 years.”

Oh really? The point of the article is that Cruz and other Republicans may be leaning toward more moderate attitudes toward climate change research. I’ll believe that when I see it.

More interesting recent articles on climate change:

Think Progress: If You’ve Wondered Why So Many Politicians Deny Climate Change, Science Has Your Answer.

Washington Post: Climate change could shrink Mount Everest’s glaciers by 70 percent, study finds.

Dallas Morning News: Exxon CEO holds line on climate change at annual meeting.

Mother Jones Exclusive: The CIA Is Shuttering a Secretive Climate Research Program.


In other news . . .

Bobby Jindal got some attention in Politico for attacking another member of the GOP clown car: Bobby Jindal slams Rand Paul as unfit to be commander in chief.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal lashed out at Sen. Rand Paul for his recent comments about the Islamic State, saying the presidential contender is unfit to be commander in chief and is taking the “weakest, most liberal Democrat position” when it comes to fighting the militant group.

Using unusually harsh rhetoric and an unusual forum, Jindal posted a statement condemning Paul on Wednesday on his “office of the governor” website.

Story Continued Below

“This is a perfect example of why Senator Paul is unsuited to be Commander-in-Chief,” Jindal said. “We have men and women in the military who are in the field trying to fight ISIS right now, and Senator Paul is taking the weakest, most liberal Democrat position. It’s one thing for Senator Paul to take an outlandish position as a Senator at Washington cocktail parties, but being Commander-in-Chief is an entirely different job. We should all be clear that evil and Radical Islam are at fault for the rise of ISIS, and people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton exacerbate it.”

The statement from Jindal, who is also a likely GOP presidential contender, came after the Kentucky Republican suggested Wednesday morning that hawkish members of his party were to blame for the rise of the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS.

Paul said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that “ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS.”

Joseph Hutchens

Joseph Hutchens

In Touch Weekly has more breaking Duggar news.


In 2006, Jim Bob told Springdale police that he took Josh to see State Trooper Joseph Hutchens and that Josh “admitted to Hutchens what [Josh, redacted] had done,” according to the police report, obtained exclusively by In Touch through the Freedom of Information Act. At this point, there were five victims and multiple molestations by Josh….

Hutchens is serving 56 years in prison for child pornography and admits his “reputation is shot.” He was interviewed by a representative of a local law firm at In Touch‘s request and promised nothing in return for his recollections.

Hutchens’ failure to report the abuse caused the police to halt their 2006 investigation because the statute of limitations ran out.

In the new interview from prison, Hutchens said he was told by Jim Bob and Josh that “Josh had inappropriately touched [redacted] during the time she was asleep. He said he touched her through her clothing and he said it only happened one time.”

He said the fact that it was a one-time incident influenced his decision not to report it. “I did what I thought was right and obviously it wasn’t,” he says. “If I had to do it over again, I would have told him immediately I am going to call the hotline and contacted the trooper that worked those cases and have a full report made. I thought I could handle it myself.

The Duggar family is so corrupt that I expect there could be new revelations about them for months to come.

Jim Bob and Josh

Here’s a little tidbit that Allie Jones of Gawker Defamer found: Duggar Dad’s Political Platform: Incest Should Be Punishable by Death.

[W]hat does Jim Bob think of his own response to his son’s familial abuse? In a brief statement to People, Jim Bob and Michelle said last week that “that dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before.” Maybe that’s because Jim Bob publicly stated during his 2002 campaign for U.S. Senate that he thinks incest should be punishable by death.

Jim Bob’s platform on his campaign website—preserved via web cache—states that he believes “rape and incest represent heinous crimes and as such should be treated as capital crimes.” Jim Bob offered this belief to explain his position on abortion (only acceptable if both the mother and the baby were going to die anyway, of course)

See the screen shot at the link.

Other stories worth checking out, links only

A story from Politico that will make you–if not Charles Pierce–want to drink antifreeze: Dems view Sanders as bigger threat than O’Malley.

Since O’Malley is no threat at all, how worried could Dems really be?

Ezra Klein pontificates at length about why the SCOTUS anti-Obamacare case is total B.S.: The New York Times blows a hole in the case against Obamacare.

A poll from Qunnipac University: May 28, 2015 – Five Leaders In 2016 Republican White House Race, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Rubio, Paul Are Only Republicans Even Close To Clinton.

I haven’t read this story from the NYT yet, but I’ll bet it’s hilarious: What George PatakiWould Need to Do to Win. One more clown for the clown car.

NYT reports Climate news from India: Indians Scramble for Heat Relief, but Many Must Still Work.

Washington Post: Breakthrough HIV study could change course of treatment for millions.

BBC News: ‘New species’ of ancient human found.

What stories are you following today? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a tremendous Thursday!