Friday, August 05, 2011

Friday Hope Blogging

Wisconsin's recall elections are coming up on Tuesday. If your politics are to the left of Glenn Beck's, or you earn less than $500K per annum, or you don't believe the 1870s were a golden age for women, or you suspect that climatologists know more about the climate than retired mining executives, or you'd rather see 10-year-olds in a schoolroom than in a coal pit, this is your fight. Please consider donating a dollar (at least) to each of the Democratic challengers, or participating in GOTV efforts.

While we're on the topic, here's a list of companies that are funding the annual meeting of ALEC. Why a retailer like Amazon would support a group whose goal is to leave the middle class with less disposable income is beyond me, but I'm sure one of Ayn Rand's books has some six-page paragraph that explains it.

In other news, the DoJ is taking action against Alabama's anti-immigrant law:

The government has filed a suit against Alabama’s draconian anti-immigrant law, which it said conflicts with federal laws and makes it too easy for police to detain people suspected of being in the country illegally.

Modeled on Arizona’s infamous SB 1070 but taking it to even greater extremes, the Alabama law is considered the most pernicious of a series of state anti-immigrant laws passed this year.

Incidentally, here's what Alabama's state constitution has to say on the matter:
[I]mmigration shall be encouraged; emigration shall not be prohibited, and no citizen shall be exiled.
The APA has come out in favor of same-sex marriage:
The American Psychological Association (APA) has endorsed gay marriage ahead of its annual convention in Washington. With a unanimous 157-0 vote, the APA’s policymaking body approved the resolution on Wednesday.
As has the Suquamish Tribal Council:

"We wanted to continue our values of being accepting and tolerant and generous to the rights of our people," Leonard Forsman, the tribal chairman, told me. "We want to allow our people to be happy and free. Our tradition is to be open"....

Thomas Mabe, 68, told me of having his hair cut off by the principal at the public school, and of the relative who came home from war, riddled with scars, only to be refused service at a local tavern.

All these years later, those things still sting. As a result, the Suquamish never want anyone else to hurt that way, to be singled out, or turned away or forced to suffer for being who they are.

Apparently, we have a new national fuel standard:

Building on the Obama administration’s agreement for Model Years 2012-2016 vehicles, which will raise fuel efficiency to 35.5 mpg and begin saving families money at the pump this year, the next round of standards will require performance equivalent to 54.5 mpg or 163 grams/ mile of CO2 for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. Achieving the goals of this historic agreement will rely on innovative technologies and manufacturing that will spur economic growth and create high-quality domestic jobs in cutting edge industries across America.

Controversial new research suggests that public health spending may improve public health:

The study examined whether changes in spending by local public health agencies over a 13-year period contributed to changes in rates of community mortality from preventable causes of death, including infant mortality and deaths due to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

The researchers found for every 10 percent increase in local public health spending, mortality rates from the four causes of death analyzed dropped anywhere from 1 percent to almost 7 percent.

To which the only rational response is: OMG SOCIALISM!!

Speaking of which:

Physicians in the United States spend nearly four times as much dealing with health insurers and payers compared with doctors in Canada. Most of the difference stems from the fact that Canadian physicians deal with a single payer, in contrast to the multiple payers in the United States.
More proof that freedom isn't free.

In Wyoming, ESA protections have been restored to an endangered field mouse, which demonstrates yet again that the real endangered species in this country is wealthy white males:
Effective Aug. 6, 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will reinstate protections for the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act throughout its range. Protections had been removed for the mouse in 2007 in the Wyoming portions of its range, while it remained protected in Colorado.
In Tennessee, a rare flower has recovered from near-extinction:

In a rare, but hard-fought victory, officials announced plans to remove the Tennessee purple coneflower from the endangered species list. The flower had the unfortunate distinction of being one of the first plants placed on the list when it was added back in 1979 -- but that was just the first in series of conservation efforts that would take place over the following thirty years aimed at saving it from extinction.

Once the coneflower is officially delisted in September, it will be one of only five plants whose recovery has been so profound as to warrant a loosening of protections.

Atlantic cod seem to be on the rebound as well:

Comebacks. Sports teams and aging rockers have them. Fish rarely do. But in a bit of good news for fisheries scientists, one ecosystem devastated by overfishing off the coast of Nova Scotia is showing early signs of recovery, a new study suggests. Here, Atlantic cod and other predatory fish, whose numbers nosedived in the early 1990s, seem to be struggling back, pointing to the resilience of marine communities, researchers say.

H/t: Karin, who also passes this along:
Cash-strapped California is in the midst of a Solar Schools initiative that will help the state save over $1.5 billion in energy costs over the next 30 years. In partnership with SunPower, the California Solar Schools program helps K-12 and higher education institutions across the state take advantage of local solar subsidies that will partially fund the installation of solar panels on their buildings. In addition to helping the schools onto the clean energy boat, the initiative aims to teach kids in those schools about professions in the renewable energy sector.
Shell has admitted its responsibility for the disastrous oil spills in Nigeria:
After long denying responsibility for the massive 2008 spills, which sent 11 million gallons of crude oil into a region of the Niger Delta, Shell has finally taken responsibility for the disaster. A class action lawsuit was filed against the company, prompting them to admit that more than 275 times the amount of oil they reported was actually spilled. The U.N. has harshly criticized the oil company, and says that the region requires the world’s largest ever oil spill clean up which will take up to 30 years and cost potentially more than $1 billion.
But never mind about that. We must look ahead, not backward.

New York's city council has passed several bills that support urban gardening:

In an effort to ramp up support for the consumption and production of local food, the City Council passed a package of bills on Thursday to facilitate the building of rooftop greenhouses and free up land for urban gardens.

Under the legislation, a building’s rooftop greenhouse would not be considered an additional story by the Department of Buildings, and would be exempt from height limits, if it occupies less than one-third of the rooftop. The city would also begin compiling a database of property that it owns or leases so that it can better identify unused spaces to be turned into urban gardens.

Here's a sentence I didn't expect to be writing today: It's possible that Ukrainian bears will no longer be forced to drink vodka:
Some bars have a pool table or a dart board to entertain customers. Others might have a bunch of flat-screen TVs, or even a mechanical bull. In Ukraine, dozens of drinking establishments have a bear. A real, live bear. That gets forced to drink vodka for patrons' amusement. It's a cruel practice that the country's environment minister has vowed to bring to an end.
God's own Earth. The Cine-Tourist (could it be the greatest site ever?). A Philippa Schuyler moment. Flickr's hydraulic engineering pool. Juno's passengers. Metal on the plains of Mars. Star trails and fireflies.

Toys and souvenirs. Rockaway frolics. A tour of the stratosphere. Estonian book covers. A page devoted to "collecting blades for shaving and if to be more exact, that of labels (wrappers) from them." And posters by A.M. Cassandre:

Here's a cartoon, also:

(Image at top: "Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville" by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, 1865)


Provider_UNE said...

Great one Phila,

Glad to see that you have the time for blogging again.

I enjoyed your comments on that atrocious thread on Edroso's Village Voice piece a couple weeks back.

I do miss running into you in real time in cyberspace though, and many others as well...

Keep up the good work, much love, and I hope that this finds you well.


some guy said...

good to have you back, buddy. we missed you.