Oct 15/WaPo: Dr Richard Besser on the risk of catching Ebola.
In all the media hype over the nurse in Maine, I thought what my former PHS classmate had to say on the subject was timely: “You are putting yourself in much greater danger if you don’t get a flu shot than if you talk to someone from West Africa.” Read the entire piece.
The Atlantic: It’s Coming - $65 Oil.
A welcome reprieve. I still maintain most of Clinton’s ‘good economy’ was the result of lower energy prices. Notice the Fed is making noise about ending the stimulus. Interesting timing. I hope this puts the kibosh on new fracking starts - they want to encroach Chaco. That’s a big NO from me.
DeSmogBlog: When the Shale Runs Dry - A Look at the Future of Fracking.
“... the cement plugs have a life expectancy of roughly 20 years. This means that every two decades, it is necessary to drill through the old plugs and install new ones. Some wells are even costlier and more complicated to seal because they are now underwater, requiring the deployment of barges and scuba divers.” Fracking is a ‘gift’ that keeps on giving to taxpayers, long after the oil and gas folks are gone with their profits.
NY Times: Toxic Partisanship? Bill Clinton Says He Had It Worse, Yet Got Things Done.
For those who lived through it, yes - Bill had it worse. Much worse. The Fairness Doctrine was shredded shortly before, and talk radio had just hit its stride. The wave of conservative partisanship (Gingrich’s GOPAC memo, that document and philosophy that shaped our modern news media and political culture) was to hit hard in the run-up to the ‘94 Congressional elections. These wolverines didn’t just go after Bill, but Hillary as well. Turning on the radio took a great deal of grit and bravery, given the millions of cubic feet of methane being generated.
Obama is the butt of racist attacks (veiled and otherwise), even I look askance at his lack of experience prior to the Presidency ... but the level is dialed down significantly in comparison. Who could forget the weeks of Republican ravings over the Vince Foster suicide? And the insinuations that Hillary and Foster had an affair, and that she offed him? Pound a conspiracy theory hard enough on radio in multiple markets, people start to accept it.
The conservatives hated Clinton because he was the most Centrist Democrat to ever win the Party’s nomination. Even longtime Dems were concerned. The Repubs feared losing a portion of their Southern/Midwestern bloc, as well as corporate donors ... feared it so, they pulled out every stop. Satan and Lilith were in the White House!
I suppose this is part of growing older. Seeing the facts as we lived them get challenged, watered down into a haze of ... ‘history.’
NY Times: The Bushes, Led by W., Rally to Make Jeb ‘45’.
I’m betting he will. In spite of media assumptions, Hillary is no shoe-in. If he campaigns center and moves right after election, he has a strong chance. Question is, what can he do about the bozos in his own party? Hefty baggage.
NY Times: Joan Quigley, Astrologer to a First Lady, Is Dead at 87.
“... an astrologer had set the time for summit meetings, presidential debates, Reagan’s 1985 cancer surgery, State of the Union addresses and much more. Without an O.K. from the astrologer, he said, Air Force One did not take off.” The unelected woman who ran the US government. We all knew about this, yet noone really wanted to believe it. No wonder politics is so screwed up.
Guardian.UK: The half-life of disaster.
“As long as disaster capitalism reigns – which no doubt will be as long as capitalism itself reigns – the world will be caught in a vicious circle: that of responding by increasingly draconian and ill-advised means to a threat environment whose dangers the response only contributes to intensifying.” Via wood s lot.
bruegel: Uber Economics - There is no such thing as bad publicity.
Be circumspect how you oppose. I’ve contemplated this for ages, particularly during Presidential elections years. Some things I just won’t blog, in order to keep the signal level lower.
OilPrice: Low Oil Prices Hurting U.S. Shale Operations.
“Much rides on the decision making of officials in Saudi Arabia. Although exact calculations vary, the world’s only swing producer needs oil prices between $83 and $93 per barrel for its budget to break even. But that may not be as important of a metric as it appears. Saudi Arabia has an enormous stash of foreign exchange, and could run deficits for quite a while without too many problems. With average costs of oil production from wells in the Middle East sitting at only $25 per barrel, the Saudis can clearly wait out U.S. shale if they really want to.” So, OPEC could bankrupt US shale operations? That’s interesting.
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.”