Friday, July 26, 2013

July 26

Halliburton admits destroying evidence in Deepwater Horizon disaster


To cap the recent discussion of 'people who should never be put in a position to abuse the authority they crave', a snippet from NYMag:

"Pepper spraying a bunch of seated student protesters might turn out to be one of the best career decisions John Pike ever made, despite the fact that the former University of California at Davis police lieutenant lost his job over it. Pike is now seeking worker's compensation benefits from the university, for psychiatric injury. If the State Department of Industrial Relations awards him disability benefits, "it will cover income, health and other benefits until he turns 65," the Davis Enterprise reports. Pike, who made $121,680 a year with the university, was 39 when his employment with Davis ended last year…"

I try to be sensitive to others' pain, but I'm finding it hard to muster sympathy for "Waaah, after I made myself unemployable, people were mean to me on the internet!" as an excuse for a permanent disability waiver.


Apparently it's not nice to poison Mother Nature:

Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch's brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once.

When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae. The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight ag chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite.

Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they're designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples.

"There's growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own and I think what it highlights is a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals," Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study's lead author, told Quartz.

Here's the actual study.

So now that we know what is happening, much like we know what is happening with climate change, what are we going to do about it?

Here is what will happen. The Koch brothers and their allies in the petrochemical industry will fund some new start-up organization to dismiss the science and defend fungicide use. The shitbirds at existing "think tanks" like the degenerates at the Competitive Enterprise Institute will pen op-ed after op-ed and all the right wing nutjobs will link to them. In no time, DeMint and the Heritage foundation will release their own studies "proving" that there is nothing wrong with bees and fungicide and Instapundit and Reason Magazine will "heh-indeed" the studies and link approvingly, and Nick Gillespie, the Fonzi of Freedom, will make a couple weepy youtube videos whining about all the excess regulations that might come down the road if we move too quickly. Because freedom, duh. Fox news will now grab the baton and run to the front of the pack telling us it is all a hoax, and within weeks it will be the received view among Republicans and "centrist" stooges in the Democratic party that not only do fungicides not hurt bees, but there is no such thing as a bee colony collapse.

The entire sick farce and eventual death of all the bee colonies will then be punctuated with Steve Doocy or Brian Kilmeade on the Fox morning show, grinning, and announcing to America "Of course the bees aren't sick. I just stepped on one last week and let me tell you, he was healthy because the sting hurt for days."

You're welcome.


Gun Advocacy Group Sends Zimmerman $12,000 To Buy Guns

ABC News: The only minority on the all-female jury that voted to acquit George Zimmerman said today that Zimmerman "got away with murder" for killing Trayvon Martin and feels she owes an apology Martin's parents.

"You can't put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty," said the woman who was identified only as Juror B29 during the trial. "But we had to grab our hearts and put it aside and look at the evidence."

She said the jury was following Florida law and the evidence, she said, did not prove murder.

Did Steve King Just Compare Himself To Jesus?

BREAKING: Justice Department Will Ask Court To Reinstate Voting Rights Act In Texas


What if Americans like Obamacare? That's the question on the minds of many Republican strategists and operatives, but FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperty aren't willing to rely on what-ifs and are trying to convince young people that they don't need healthcare.

FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, a conservative issue group financed by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, known for funding conservative causes, are planning separate media and grassroots campaigns aimed at adults in their 20s and 30s – the very people Obama needs to have sign up for healthcare coverage in new online insurance exchanges if his reforms are to succeed.

"We're trying to make it socially acceptable to skip the exchange," said Dean Clancy, vice president for public policy at FreedomWorks, which boasts 6 million supporters. The group is designing a symbolic "Obamacare card" that college students can burn during campus protests.

This is purely political. And it's anti-business.

They spent years and millions of dollars trying to convince Americans that Obamacare was a "government takeover of healthcare" and that healthcare should be left up to the private sector, but now their goal is to convince Americans that they don't need to sign up for private healthcare.

Conservatism is a mental illness.


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