WaPo: Brace yourself. The 2016 Republican field is going to be HUGE.
Another Muppet Show of candidates. Happy-happy, joy-joy. [Equal time - I’ve used this phrase since the Democratic field for the ‘04 election.]
WaPo: The government wants to study ‘social pollution’ on Twitter.
“Hmm. A government-funded initiative is going to ‘assist in the preservation of open debate’ by monitoring social media for ‘subversive propaganda’ and combating what it considers to be ‘the diffusion of false and misleading ideas’? The concept seems to have come straight out of a George Orwell novel.”
BBC: Is the oil crash a secret US war on Russia?
LRB: Adam Shatz reviews ‘Congo’ by David Van Reybrouck.
Boston Review: Conservatives Are Driving Americans Away from Religion.
The Appendix: Photographing the Guillotine.
“... this will be and this has been.” Yes, exactly. Good article.
NY Times: Forecast for Ebola Worsens as Mortality Rate Rises.
Mortality rate seems to have jumped from 50% to 70%. Caveat: the particular type of Ebola in the current outbreak has been, from my previous reading during the early press, always been pegged at 70%.
CBD: Billions of Gallons of Oil Industry Wastewater Illegally Injected Into California Aquifers.
“Almost 3 billion gallons of oil industry wastewater have been illegally dumped into central California aquifers that supply drinking water and farming irrigation, according to state documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity. The wastewater entered the aquifers through at least nine injection disposal wells used by the oil industry to dispose of waste contaminated with fracking fluids and other pollutants.” Woof. What a bunch of maroons.
NY Times: Highway Guardrail May Be Deadly, States Say.
If the ends aren’t properly installed and maintained, they become spears. It is truly amazing how many people manage to skewer themselves on the ends of guardrails. There’s been an uptick with smartphones and texting, in my observations.
Mashable: Should the West Negotiate With ISIS?
“While ISIS’s extreme ideology and brutal tactics obviously pose problems for its legitimacy among the population it now rules, it has taken many steps to try to win local people’s hearts and minds and to build local alliances. It has set up local governing structures, a tax system, a judicial system and formed an education policy.” This same thing could be said of the Nazis before Hitler won the Chancellorship.
Slate: Democrats invoke Republican leaders before the president.
“What’s a poor Democrat to do? The answer, it seems, is to attach yourself to a different president. If possible, a Republican.” Hitching yourself to a wagon from the past brings a whole lot o’ baggage. File under “blech.”
I seriously don’t know if I can last blogging through another Presidential election season. Perhaps I’ll switch to photos of fluffy bunnies.
NY Times: In Texas, a Fight Over Fracking.
“In the end, the fight will not end with the referendum. The producers say only state regulators are empowered to put restrictions on production, but fracking opponents here say they will not be intimidated by lawsuits, which have already begun. Republicans in the state legislature are already preparing legislation to prohibit local governments from banning fracking.” When they can’t get their way locally, it’s time to call in markers from the State legislators.
Salon: Fracking company teams with Susan G. Komen, introduces pink drill bits “for the cure&rd
Truly bizarre. Ammonia, benzine, toluene, diesel are all so very beneficial for cancer sufferers. I remind those who say fracking fluids will not surface in our lifetimes because they’re deposited under ‘impermeable rock layers’, that Los Alamos National Labs is experiencing this exact scenario - chemicals injected that were not supposed to surface for hundreds of years are appearing in ever-greater concentrations in local wells.
Dissent: The Rise of Reagan’s America.
“... the only way to avoid the distortions of memory and the snap-shot bias of journalism is deep and critical engagement with archival sources.” Example of how one can look at the same set of facts, and cherry-pick them into a very different conclusion. I’ll probably borrow this from the library so I can get mad at it.
SciAm: Ebola in the U.S.—Politics and Public Health Don’t Mix.
“We don’t need high tech to control Ebola. This has been demonstrated repeatedly. In the 1995 Kikwit oubreak, we learned that transmission was not airborne and that the epidemic could be controlled with very basic personal protective equipment. PAPRs and HazMat suits may, in fact, be more of a risk, given they complicate care.”
[Note: I hate to have to dive into the whole Ebola thing, but after watching a few silent minutes of cable news on a neighboring treadmill (mine was blank), I feel a little commonsense might help things along. The cable newscasters were, on one hand, saying coughing and sneezing on airplanes was safe, but encountering it in your home, you need surgical masks. The amount of wrong and disinformation getting broadcast, along with the thinly veiled ‘informative fear-and-panic’, is getting up my nose. There are no health hypochondriacs like American health hypochondriacs. Tell someone you have a fever, see what happens.]
SF Reporter: New Mexico Oil and Gas Convention Draws Karl Rove.
“Organizers for the oil and gas conference, which started with a golf tournament sponsored by Halliburton on Saturday and ends tomorrow, also refused to let reporters attend today’s luncheon at La Fonda Hotel.”
OpenCulture: In Her Final Lecture, Ayn Rand Denounces Ronald Reagan, the Moral Majority, etc.
How short our collective cultural memories. I didn’t recall this, either.
Vox: An expert thinks Obama’s “arm the rebels” strategy in Syria could be a disaster.
“It’s called the Afghan model because we debuted it in its fullest in Afghanistan 2001, but it’s just the idea that Western air power, coupled with limited special operations forces on the ground, working in conjunction with local allies, can be a way to sort of cheaply, and with less human cost to us, achieve a limited political objective.” And that’s worked out so well over the years.
Ghost in the Machine: Then the Rich Got Richer.
The Mischiefs of Faction: Will Republicans fall in line behind Romney?
FAA: FAA Exemptions for Commercial UAS Movie and TV Production.
“In their applications, the firms said the operators will hold private pilot certificates, keep the UAS within line of sight at all times and restrict flights to the ‘sterile area’ on the set.” This sort of indicates how the agency is going to deal with drones. Operators need to have a knowledge of airspace, weather and more. Just because it looks and costs the same as a toy, doesn’t mean that operation in public airspace is without dangers.
SciAm: Lower IQ in Children Linked to Chemical in Water.
Esquire: The U.S. Forest Service Wants to Fine You $1,000 for Taking Pictures in the Forest.
I suspect it is just badly-worded; that they’re intending to just corral large commercial shoots in a safe, predictable manner. Amateur video is breaking through a barrier with all these fancy tracking rigs and tripods and things ... it is up to the USFS to contain any damage. So put a bungee on any knee-jerk reactions until it settles down.
NY Review of Books: Age of Ignorance.
Gawker: Iranians Sentenced to Six Months, 91 Lashes for Dancing to “Happy”.
Can we talk about implementing a worldwide “Prime Directive” now? Between IS and this. Those who want to go back in time and be medieval, well ... they can be medieval. Noone in the modern world does business with them. No arms. No supplies of food. No internet. No health advances. You break with the modern world, the modern world cuts you off until you choose to rejoin it. Enjoy the dentists.