Thursday, September 29, 2011

Melting Ice, To The Right's Delight

I guess this is not enough proof to the people who think everything is a theory, except the notion that a 2,000 year old dead carpenter is coming back at any moment to take them to a nice place after they die.

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Canadian Arctic nearly loses entire ice shelf

TORONTO (AP) — Two ice shelves that existed before Canada was settled by Europeans diminished significantly this summer, one nearly disappearing altogether, Canadian scientists say in newly published research.

The loss is important as a marker of global warming, returning the Canadian Arctic to conditions that date back thousands of years, scientists say. Floating icebergs that have broken free as a result pose a risk to offshore oil facilities and potentially to shipping lanes. The breaking apart of the ice shelves also reduces the environment that supports microbial life and changes the look of Canada's coastline.
Luke Copland is an associate professor in the geography department at the University of Ottawa who co-authored the research published on Carleton University's website. He said the Serson Ice Shelf shrank from 79.15 square miles (205 square kilometers) to two remnant sections five years ago, and was further diminished this past summer.

Copland said the shelf went from a 16-square-mile (42-square-kilometer) floating glacier tongue to 9.65 square miles (25 square kilometers), and the second section from 13.51 square miles (35 square kilometers) to 2 square miles (7 square kilometers), off Ellesmere Island's northern coastline.

This past summer, Ward Hunt Ice Shelf's central area disintegrated into drifting ice masses, leaving two separate ice shelves measuring 87.65 and 28.75 square miles (227 and 74 square kilometers) respectively, reduced from 131.7 square miles (340 square kilometers) the previous year.

"It has dramatically broken apart in two separate areas and there's nothing in between now but water," said Copland.

Copland said those two losses are significant, especially since the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf has always been the biggest, the farthest north and the one scientists thought might have been the most stable.
"Recent (ice shelf) loss has been very rapid, and goes hand-in-hand with the rapid sea ice decline we have seen in this decade and the increasing warmth and extensive melt in the Arctic regions," said Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, remarking on the research.

Copland, who uses satellite imagery and who has conducted field work in the Arctic every May for the past five years, said since the end of July, pieces equaling one and a half times the size of Manhattan Island have broken off. Co-researcher Derek Mueller, an assistant professor at Carleton University's geography and environmental studies department, said the loss this past summer equals up to three billion tons. Copland said their findings have not yet been peer reviewed since the research is new, but a number of scientists contacted by The Associated Press reviewed the findings, agreeing the loss in volume of ice shelves is significant.

Scambos said the loss of the Arctic shelves is significant because they are old and their rapid loss underscores the severity of the warming trend scientists see now relative to past fluctuations such as the Medieval Warm Period or the warmer times in the pre-Current Era (B.C.).

Ice shelves, which began forming at least 4,500 years ago, are much thicker than sea ice, which is typically less than a few feet (meters) thick and survives up to several years.


Canada has the most extensive ice shelves in the Arctic along the northern coast of Ellesmere Island. These floating ice masses are typically 131 feet (40 meters) thick (equivalent to a 10-story building), but can be as much as 328 feet (100 meters) thick. They thickened over time via snow and sea ice accumulation, along with glacier inflow in certain places.

The northern coast of Ellesmere Island contains the last remaining ice shelves in Canada, with an estimated area of 402 square miles (1,043 square kilometers), said Mueller.

Between 1906 and 1982, there has been a 90 percent reduction in the areal extent of ice shelves along the entire coastline, according to data published by W.F. Vincent at Quebec's Laval University. The former extensive "Ellesmere Island Ice Sheet" was reduced to six smaller, separate ice shelves: Serson, Petersen, Milne, Ayles, Ward Hunt and Markham. In 2005, the Ayles Ice Shelf whittled almost completely away, as did the Markham Ice Shelf in 2008 and the Serson this year.

"The impact is significant and yet only a piece of the ongoing and accelerating response to warming of the Arctic," said Dr. Robert Bindschadler, emeritus scientist at the Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Bindschadler said the loss is an indication of another threshold being passed, as well as the likely acceleration of buttressed glaciers able to flow faster into the ocean, which accelerates their contribution to global sea level.

Copland said mean winter temperatures have risen by about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade for the past five to six decades on northern Ellesmere Island.

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How about that, hoaxers?  I guess you owe an apology to Al Gore after all.  Of course, I am sure it will be forthcoming, just like the way teabagger and ex-Congressman/current Governor of Georgia decided to ax his state's climatologist out of fear at the chance he might say something about global warming.

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Gov. Nathan Deal signs executive order to replace state climatologist David Stooksbury

ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal has dismissed Georgia's longtime state climatologist, but there was confusion about what transpired and the climatologist says he was never told of the development.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (http://bit.ly/oXjVfI) that Deal signed an executive order Tuesday appointing a state employee to take over the state climatologist's job.

The new state climatologist, Bill Murphey, works in a meteorology unit for the state's Environmental Protection Division in Atlanta. Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said in an email that Deal wanted to consolidate the work within the division.

Murphey would replace state climatologist David Stooksbury, who is also an associate professor of engineering and atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia.

Stooksbury told the Journal-Constitution that he has had no direct communication from the governor's office about the change.
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Notice, Mr. Stooksbury went out of his way not even mention his views on climate change, knowing what would likely happen to him in a state filled with folks who view corporations are more human than us (not including fetuses, naturally).  Apparently, even that was not enough to save his job, since Stooksbury's lack of slavishness and willingness to be controlled by the governor meant the possibility he could commit the heresy of saying what we already know about climate change.  If only our budding John Waynes were as critical-minded of their own myths as they are of scientific fact.  If only.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guardian of Wall Street: Anthony Bologna

By now, many of you know that there was a demonstration recently in New York City, protesting the criminal enterprise that is the managerial class on Madison Avenue, the same gang of unconvicted felons who destroyed our economy and way of life, and will probably pauperize us again before long (thanks in no small part to a two party system that represents the interests of these corporate campaign sponsors).  Low and behold, our nemesis on Wall Street apparently have nothing to worry about because they have some close and good friends on the New York City Police Department.  Enter the newest hero of the upper 1% income tax bracket of this country, officer Anthony Bologna.

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Occupy Wall Street: 'Pepper-spray' officer named in Bush protest claim
Anthony Bologna, NYPD officer named in pepper-spray incident, is accused of civil rights violations at the time of the 2004 Republican national convention protests

by Karen McVeigh

A senior New York police officer accused of pepper-spraying young women on the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations is the subject of a pending legal action over his conduct at another protest in the city.

The Guardian has learned that the officer, named by activists as deputy inspector Anthony Bologna, stands accused of false arrest and civil rights violations in a claim brought by a protester involved in the 2004 demonstrations at the Republican national convention.

Then, 1,800 people were arrested during protests against the Iraq war and the policies of president George W Bush.

Alan Levine, a civil rights lawyer representing Post A Posr, a protester at the 2004 event, told the Guardian that he filed an action against Bologna and another officer, Tulio Camejo, in 2007. The case, filed at the New York Southern District Court, is expected to be heard next year.

Levine said that when he heard about the pepper spray incident "a bunch of us were wondering if any of the same guys were involved".

The lawyer said Posr was arrested on 31 August 2004, after he approached the driver of a Volkswagen festooned with anti-abortion slogans.

His arrest was not directly related to the protest against the Republican convention, but was at a time of heightened tension in New York.

Levine said: "Police contend that Posr hit the man with a rolled-up newspaper. He said he was just talking to the guy. Bologna ordered another officer, Camejo, to arrest Posr."

Posr was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct and one count of second degree harassment, and held until September 2. On November 8, all charges against him were dropped.

Levine said that, in a departure from normal police procedure, his client was held in a special detention facility, at Pier 57, where he and others arrested were held until the protests were over.

The Guardian asked the NYPD to respond to the naming of the officer and the allegation that he was previously the subject of a civil rights complaint, but a spokesman said the department had not yet decided whether to comment.

Bologna's name appeared on Twitter and on activists' websites after the incident on Saturday. YouTube footage appears to show a white-shirted NYPD officer firing the spray into the eyes of the protesters, who are penned in by other officers with orange netting. As the officer walks away, two of the women crumple to the ground, screaming in pain.

There were a number of clashes between protesters and police at the march, when protesters moved uptown from their base at a park in the Financial District. There were about 80 arrests.

Hacker collective Anonymous claimed responsibility on Monday for posting Bologna's details, which they said was in retribution for the pepper-spray incident.

The online postings identified Bologna as a deputy inspector of Patrol Borough Manhattan South, and revealed his phone number and family details.

The information, posted on a site called Pastebin, included a statement which read: "As we watched your officers kettle innocent women, we observed you barbarically pepper-spray wildly into the group of kettled women. We were shocked and disgusted by your behaviour."

"You know who the innocent women were; now they will have the chance to know who you are. Before you commit atrocities against innocent people, think twice. WE ARE WATCHING!!! Expect Us!"

Since the post, other activists have followed suit, urging people to call his precinct to complain or to call him directly.

The move drew a mixed response from the Occupy Wall Street activists who have been camped out in Zuccotti Park for nine days. Many say they were angry about the "brutal and unnecessary" tactics used by police at the weekend.

Hero Vincent, 28, an artist from the Bronx, said: "I think it should be out there, so that people know what's going on and if people want to enter his precinct and ask that he should be fired, they can. We are a peaceful protest. For them to attack us is wrong."

Vincent, who was arrested for resisting arrest on Saturday, claimed he was kicked in the stomach by officers.

But there was also disquiet over the officer's family details being made public.

Another protester, who did not want to be named, told the Guardian: "My dad is a police officer and he got a lot of death threats. I don't know if his family details should be out there. But if the information is correct and he has a rights case against him, I'm extremely concerned that he was put into what was a very tense situation."

One protester, Jeanne Mansfield – who said she was standing so close to the women sprayed in the face that her own eyes burned – claimed other NYPD officers had expressed disbelief at the actions of the senior officer.

In a vivid account of the incident in the Boston Review, Mansfield said: "A white-shirt, now known to be NYPD Lieutenant Anthony Bologna, comes from the left, walks straight up to the three young girls at the front of the crowd, and pepper-sprays them in the face for a few seconds, continuing as they scream 'No! Why are you doing that?!'"

Despite her attempts to turn away from the "unavoidable" spray, Mansfield, who took part in Saturday's march with her boyfriend on a whim after "stumbling across" it, said she suffered burning and temporary blindness in her left eye and tears streaming down her face.

She continued: "In the street I shout for water to rinse my eyes or give to the girls on the ground. But no one responds. One of the blue-shirts, tall and bald, stares in disbelief and says, 'I can't believe he just fuckin' maced her.'"

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Officer Bologna, it takes a really brave 240 pound man to pepper spray and assault peaceful demonstrators, not the least people who are unarmed, not harming you or anyone else around them.  

Just in case any of you would like to have the professional contact information for this swell member of the law enforcement community, here it is:
Anthony Bologna 
NYPD Deputy Inspector
Patrol Boro Manhattan South
Phone:  212-477-6181

Oh, and by the way, Anthony, on the off chance you are reading this.  From one Italian-American to another, which I write with its full meaning and intent: Fuck You.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Southwest Airlines: Where Only Straight & Heavily Clothed Can Fly

In the past several years, I have made light of the clothing policies of the commissars that masquerade as stewards/stewardesses of Southwest Airlines.  As a class, the employees of this company are starting to remind me of so many of the bullies who become cops in this country.  Apparently, the Republican voters of this country do not want you kissing in front of them, either--that is, if you are gay or a lesbian, of course.

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'L-Word' star kisses girl, gets escorted off plane


A lesbian actress who starred in "The L-Word" said she kissed a girl — and got escorted off of a Southwest Airlines flight on Monday for doing it.

Leisha Hailey took to Twitter to call for a boycott of the carrier after a flight attendant told them other passengers had complained after witnessing the affection.

Her first tweet said: "I have been discriminated against." She later added, "Since when is showing affection to someone you love illegal?"

Southwest Airlines Co. responded on its website that Hailey was approached "based solely on behavior and not gender." The airline's four-sentence response said passengers were characterizing the behavior as excessive.

A discussion followed on the flight, and the airline said it "escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground."
Hailey was a musician before joining the cast of the Showtime drama featuring the lives of lesbian friends and lovers living in Los Angeles. She played the character Alice Pieszecki.

The actress and her unidentified girlfriend were on a flight from Baltimore to St. Louis. The kissing occurred in the air and a discussion followed when the plane landed.

Hailey said the encounter between the couple and a flight attendant was recorded.

A message seeking comment from Halley's spokeswoman, Libby Coffey, was not immediately returned.

Southwest's website says it is the official airline of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Herndon Graddick, senior director of programs at GLAAD, said in an email that "GLAAD contacted Southwest to call for additional actions beyond tonight's statement that ensure all customers feel comfortable and welcomed while traveling."

[snipped...b.s. paragraphs about Green Day singer and director Kevin Smith getting kicked off Southwest flights, which have nothing to do with what the hate-filled wretch who 'escorted' Leisha Halley and her girlfriend from their seats]

Halley is preparing to launch a 21-city tour to promote breast cancer awareness.

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Congratulations, Southwest.  Prohibiting lesbian pda apparently is OK.  After all, you are the official airline of the people you discriminate against.  Maybe we should find out who the 'offended' employee was at Southwest and stage a gay and lesbian kiss-in at his/her office.  I am sure the official airline of gay people everywhere would appreciate that, and sadly probably not an infrequent number of young Republican men who are in the closet and hating themselves and everyone around them for it.  I cannot wait for the day when stories like this are relegated to history texts (assuming anyone will be able to read in the next generation).

And to that tightwad Southwest employee, I have a gift, just for you.

Wait for it.......

Wait for it.......


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Real Call For Life

For those in the U.S. paying attention to the news, and probably many outside of America at this point, in about two hours or so the state of Georgia is about to murder Troy Davis.  He was convicted of murdering a police officer back in 1989 on the manufactured evidence of coerced 'eyewitnesses' (thanks to the threats by the police to those witnesses [if you believe those who recanted]).  Amazingly, one of the to two remaining eyewitnesses who maintains Troy Davis's guilt is the second murder suspect.

Do I know that Troy Davis is innocent?  To be honest, I do not.  There is a chance he might have done it, although it seems unlikely.

What I do know is that there is probably not too many prosecutors in the U.S. today who could re-try this case, with what is left of the crumbling 'evidence' that condemned Troy Davis two decades ago, and gain a conviction with any reasonable jury.

Then why would I call such an act murder, if I do not know the man is innocent?  For the same reason I would oppose taking the life of the man who murdered James Byrd in Texas.  Because we are sinking ourselves to barbarism by killing people who are restrained from violence and unable to harm anyone.  We are a society that because of the death penalty, our penchant for violence, which includes cheering throngs at the thought of killing people, even if they are probably innocent.  Because at the end of the day, when all else is said and done, while justice dictates that we imprison someone guilty of a serious offense, or set them free if he or she turns out to be innocent, we gain absolutely nothing by physically destroying people as a political statement against the act of the very thing we perpetrate on others.

I understand that makes me an evil doer in league with criminals, according to the law and order fetishists (people who usually vote for a party that allows companies to blow up their employees in a mine and call it commerce, coincidentally).  Such is the mentality of so many of my fellow citizens at not being allowed to gain some masturbatory kick out of killing people, which in their mind makes you the moral equivalent of the convicts they want to kill.  I understand that there are some decent folk who believe the only way to govern society is through retribution (and who do not give standing ovations to the death penalty in debates), but consider what we have reduced ourselves to.  A country with otherwise normal people who become consumed by the desire to take life, the same desire we hypocritically claim to oppose when another filled with such similar passions commits the act of murdering the wrong person.  But killing people who are restrained and with no ability to defend themselves (I have yet to see a case where an executed person in this country was anything else), people we deem unworthy of life for a previous act, that is somehow perfectly acceptable.

For any reader who considers him/herself a Christian, imagine your most favored carpenter reacting like this:


Or this:


That is what a culture of death (not the one you contrive out of concern for the status of the pre-born or a piece of tissue) does to you, to all of us.  We have created a system where any honest person in a position of authority has to know there would never be enough to put Mr. Davis on death row today, but cannot own up to the mistake, out of concern for costing the state in a lawsuit, and because deep down too many prosecutors in this country prefer to protect their careers over anyone they have wrongly convicted and/or killed.  We pretend to hate bureaucracy in so many ways in this country, but when it comes to that apparently imperfection is the preference of the day.  More than anything, that is why Troy Davis should not be killed. His life, even if he is by some chance guilty (and it is more than doubtful that he is), should not be snuffed out by the state but preserved, as we practice what we preach when we lecture the Chinas and Saudi Arabias of the world about the importance of respecting the lives of its citizenry. If we cannot respect the lives of our citizens (and that includes those convicted of criminal offenses), then we have no right or business to expect any peace towards those these same elements the respectables deem worthier of life.  In a society in which we allow the state to kill in our name, it makes murderers of us all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tea Party: Let the Uninsured Die.....

This is the contemporary face of the Republican Party folks.  The party of Lincoln to the party of social Darwinism, unless you are a corporation or fetus, of course.

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Audience at tea party debate cheers leaving uninsured to die

by Rachel Hartman

If you're uninsured and on the brink of death, that's apparently a laughing matter to some audience members at last night's tea party Republican presidential debate.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a doctor, was asked a hypothetical question by CNN host Wolf Blitzer about how society should respond if a healthy 30-year-old man who decided against buying health insurance suddenly goes into a coma and requires intensive care for six months. Paul--a fierce limited-government advocate-- said it shouldn't be the government's responsibility. "That's what freedom is all about, taking your own risks," Paul said and was drowned out by audience applause as he added, "this whole idea that you have to prepare to take care of everybody …"

"Are you saying that society should just let him die?" Blitzer pressed Paul. And that's when the audience got involved.

Several loud cheers of "yeah!" followed by laughter could be heard in the Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds in response to Blitzer's question.

You can watch the exchange below:


Paul disagreed with the audience on that front. "No," he responded, noting he practiced medicine before Medicaid when churches took care of medical costs--a comment that drew wide audience applause. "We never turned anybody away from the hospital."

Paul voiced support for legalizing alternative health care and argued that the reason medical costs have skyrocketed is that individuals have stopped taking personal responsibility for their health care.

Though Paul spoke to the larger issues of health care and government-backed health insurance--both pivotal in the 2012 election--the audience's reaction has overshadowed the substance of the exchange between the candidates. And the day after the event, Texas Gov. Rick Perry offered his own criticism of the audience response.

"I was a bit taken aback by that myself," Perry told NBC News and the Miami Herald of the audience reaction after appearing at a breakfast fundraiser in Tampa Tuesday morning.

"We're the party of life. We ought to be coming up with ways to save lives."

The campaigns for Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann did not immediately respond to The Ticket's request for comment.

Conservative Andrew Sullivan writing for The Daily Beast's The Dish Tuesday noted that the United States obligates society to save someone in an emergency room. "America, moreover, has a law on the books that makes it a crime not to treat and try to save a human being who walks into an emergency room. So we have already made that collective decision and if the GOP wants to revisit it, they can," Sullivan wrote.

Sullivan also decried the audience reaction, writing: "Maybe a tragedy like the death of a feckless twentysomething is inevitable if we are to restrain healthcare costs. But it is still a tragedy. It is not something a decent person cheers."

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Imagine

This is how I choose to commemorate tens years of war and a government that tortures, spies on, and kills people under the guise of freedom.


If only....