Jul 04 2015
(My apologies to Thomas Jefferson)
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the citizen long guaranteed by our Constitution, a decent respect to the opinions of humankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to that separation.
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all humans are created equal, and that the People of the United States of America are endowed not only with certain unalienable rights, but also with certain rights and liberties given to them by the Founding Fathers via the Constitution of the country adopted at the birth of these United States, as well as via laws passed throughout the past 239 years. That to secure these rights and liberties, the Government has been instituted among people, deriving their power from the consent of the governed, and that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or abolish it.
Jun 27 2015
I don’t think I can actually describe the emotions I’ve felt today; they’ve run the entire gamut. I’m not LGBT, so technically, this ruling legally doesn’t affect me directly, but I have really felt strongly today. Strongly proud. Strongly jubilant. Strongly angry at a select few.
The decision came down around 9am Central, just as I got to work. My phone, with its many news notifications, went absolutely nuts. I did my first work stuff, then got online and it was so early it wasn’t even in my regular newsfeeds. But I got to Facebook. That graphic of the guy with the rainbow coming out from his computer – that was it – that captured the moment perfectly.
I was very emotional. This surprised me. I don’t even think I can adequately convey it in words. I got really choked up. I’m still really choked up, but this morning was just something else.
Jun 16 2015
Today I have 3 articles on that Sunday Times Ed Snowden hit piece.
First, Glenn Greenwald’s dissection of just how bad it was:
Unless he cooked an extra-juicy steak, how does Snowden “have blood on his hands” if there is “no evidence of anyone being harmed?” As one observer put it last night in describing the government instructions these Sunday Times journalists appear to have obeyed: “There’s no evidence anyone’s been harmed but we’d like the phrase ‘blood on his hands’ somewhere in the piece.”
The whole article does literally nothing other than quote anonymous British officials. It gives voice to banal but inflammatory accusations that are made about every whistleblower from Daniel Ellsberg to Chelsea Manning. It offers zero evidence or confirmation for any of its claims. The “journalists” who wrote it neither questioned any of the official assertions nor even quoted anyone who denies them. It’s pure stenography of the worst kind: some government officials whispered these inflammatory claims in our ears and told us to print them, but not reveal who they are, and we’re obeying. Breaking!
Jun 15 2015
Well, this is a big week in climate change what with the Pope’s encyclical due t be released Thursday, so today is gonna be climate change Monday!
First, a couple about the upcoming encyclical:
The first clue of the pope’s interest in the environment came when he chose his name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the 13th century friar who dedicated himself to the poor and is considered the patron saint of animals and the environment. Francis had shown interest from his days in Argentina, when he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires.
There, he played a major role in convening different leaders to seek solutions for Argentina’s social ills. Francesca Ambrogetti, who co-wrote a biography of Francis, said he pushed for scientists at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina to investigate the impact of environmental issues on humanity. As far back as September 2004, Cardinal Bergoglio cited the “destruction of the environment” as contributing to inequality and the need for social reforms. At a 2007 meeting of Latin American bishops in Aparecida, Brazil, he oversaw the drafting of a broad mission statement that included an emphasis on the environment.
Pablo Canziani, an atmospheric physicist who researches climate change, said Francis, who had once trained as a chemist, became very interested in the links between environmental destruction and social ills, including a dispute over paper pulp mills on the border with Uruguay, which Argentina claimed were polluting local drinking water.
Jun 09 2015
Hello! I have 3 articles for your perusal this Tuesday morning!
First up, California’s got some trouble:
Last summer, scientists recorded the worst sinking in at least 50 years. This summer, all-time records are expected across the state as thousands of miles of land in the Central Valley and elsewhere sink.
But the extent of the problem and how much it will cost taxpayers to fix are part of the mystery of the state’s unfolding drought. No agency is tracking the sinking statewide, little public money has been put toward studying it and California allows agriculture businesses to keep crucial parts of their operations secret.
The cause is known: People are pulling unsustainable amounts of water out of underground aquifers, primarily for food production. With the water sucked out to irrigate crops, a practice that has accelerated during the drought, tens of thousands of square miles are deflating like a leaky air mattress, inch by inch.
Jun 08 2015
Well, I have 3 articles for you this morning!
We’re very fickle apparently when it comes to climate change:
Opinion surveys on climate change are often reported as national averages, but national opinion is not the most important thing to most politicians. They respond to regional and local opinion, the opinions of their constituents. With that in mind, a new study attempts to map public opinion on climate change and climate policy in geographic detail, down to the level of counties and congressional districts.
Jun 02 2015
I have 4 articles for you this morning!
First, a sad but needed project The Guardian is undertaking:
The Counted is a project by the Guardian – and you – working to count the number of people killed by police and other law enforcement agencies in the United States throughout 2015, to monitor their demographics and to tell the stories of how they died.
The database will combine Guardian reporting with verified crowdsourced information to build a more comprehensive record of such fatalities. The Counted is the most thorough public accounting for deadly use of force in the US, but it will operate as an imperfect work in progress – and will be updated by Guardian reporters and interactive journalists as frequently and as promptly as possible.
Jun 01 2015
Happy first day of Hurricane Season everyone! I have 3 articles for your perusal this morning!
First, boy we’ve come along way from FDR:
These days, prominent experts and politicians seem determined to keep the American people in a perpetual state of trembling fear. Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations thinks “the question is not whether the world will continue to unravel but how fast and how far.” The outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey, told Congress last year that “[the world is] more dangerous than it has ever been.” (Someone really ought to tell the general about the Cold War, the Cuban missile crisis, and a little episode known as World War II.) Not to be outdone, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger believes the United States “has not faced a more diverse and complex array of crises since the end of the Second World War.” And then there’s CNN and Fox News, which seem to think that most news stories should be a variation on Fear Factor.
One could multiply alarming forecasts such as these almost endlessly. As investigative journalist David Sirota tweeted in response to a recent speech by New Jersey governor and erstwhile presidential aspirant Chris Christie, where FDR told Americans the “only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” today’s politicians and pundits mostly tell us to “Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.”
May 26 2015
Hey there! I have 3 small articles for ya while you nurse your weekend hangover this morning!
First, yep, no such thing as climate change:
Going from one extreme to another is a hallmark of climate change. Scientists predict more droughts in the coming decades, as well as more intense rainstorms. In the midwest, the number of storms that drop more than three inches of rain have increased by 50 percent, according to an analysis from the Rocky Mountain Institute.
May 25 2015
Well, Happy Memorial Day! Hope you all have a good day today and that you take a moment to reflect those who have fallen. And since it’s a holiday, I’ve got mostly fluff for your morning – but good fluff!
First, the non-fluff:
There will be prayer vigils and pilgrimages, policy briefings and seminars, and sermons in parishes from the U.S. to the Philippines.
When Pope Francis releases his much-anticipated teaching document on the environment and climate change in the coming weeks, a network of Roman Catholics will be ready. These environmental advocates – who work with bishops, religious orders, Catholic universities and lay movements – have been preparing for months to help maximize the effect of the statement, hoping for a transformative impact in the fight against global warming.
May 12 2015
Every May 12th is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. It is celebrated by raising awareness of the disease in the hopes of giving those who may be suffering with it some hope as well as provide opportunities for anyone to express support for those suffering with the disease.
So what exactly is Fibromyalgia? It sounds kinda funky, maybe even pretend? Isn’t this some sort of cop-out for lazy people or people with hypochondria?
The answer to the above is a resounding NO!
Fibromyalgia is a largely misunderstood disease that afflicts anywhere from 2-6% of our population (depending on source), primarily women but there have been concerns that the gender disparity may be that men tend to under report pain and fatigue.
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May 12 2015
Good Morning! I have 3 articles for you on the NSA’s speech recognition program today.
First, an intro on the program:
Most people realize that emails and other digital communications they once considered private can now become part of their permanent record.
But even as they increasingly use apps that understand what they say, most people don’t realize that the words they speak are not so private anymore, either.
Top-secret documents from the archive of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show the National Security Agency can now automatically recognize the content within phone calls by creating rough transcripts and phonetic representations that can be easily searched and stored.