Stealth Bananas!!!




…The normal, cautious thing is to say that there’s no way to attribute any particular event, like a heat wave in the Ukraine, to global warming — and news media have basically been bullied by this argument into rarely mentioning climate change even when reporting on extreme weather. But Hansen et al make an important point: this argument is much weaker when we’re talking about really extreme events, like temperatures more than 3 standard deviations above historical norms. Such events would almost never happen if there weren’t a rising trend in global temperatures; so when they become quite common, as they have, it’s fair to call them evidence of warming.

The second point is how we know that climate change is a bad thing — a question I sometimes get asked. The questioners wonder why the fact that, say, more of Canada becomes agriculturally viable doesn’t offset the damage in places that get too hot.

My first-pass answer is that we have a global economy that is adapted to historically normal climate — not just in terms of what is grown where, but in terms of where we locate our cities. In the long run, after a couple of centuries’ worth of urban development and infrastructure has been drowned by rising sea levels and/or made useless because previously habitable regions need to be abandoned, we might be able to reconstruct an equally productive economy; but in the long run …

But Hansen et al make a stronger point: life as we know it evolved to fit the historical range of planetary temperatures. In the long run it might be able to adapt to a changed world — but now we’re talking millions of years.

In the long run, we are all extinct.

Growth of real hourly compensation (inclusive of benefits) for production / nonsupervisory workers and productivity, 1948-2011.

Growth of real hourly compensation (inclusive of benefits) for production / nonsupervisory workers and productivity, 1948-2011.

I get a bit annoyed when people claim that we can’t “afford” more government intervention or, god-forbid, single-payer. That kind of statement willfully ignores the fact that every country that has MORE government intervention spends LESS.

I get a bit annoyed by the claim that an expansion of government insurance leads to lines and waiting when lots of countries have universal access and less of a wait-time problem than we do. Moreover, almost no one makes this argument when we expand private insurance, only government.

I get a bit annoyed by blanket claims that doctors won’t accept Medicaid. Such statements often ignore the fact that the majority of Medicaid beneficiaries are children and pregnant women. We don’t need all types of doctors to accept Medicaid patients in equal numbers. They also ignore the fact that lots of doctors won’t accept new patients with Medicare or private insurance, either.

I get a bit annoyed when people just claim government programs are “unpopular”. Like Medicare? I don’t think so. Is there any evidence that Medicaid is unpopular? I’d like to see it. Personally, I think that the fact that (a) all 50 states have bought in over time and (b) the Supreme Court just ruled that threatening to take it away is “coercive” speaks to the opposite. Additionally, polling shows the opposite of what Tyler (and lots of others) suggest.

I get a bit annoyed at the blanket acceptance of the awesomeness of the free market in health care, when there is no phenomenal evidence of its success. And again, those countries with less free market are cheaper, universal, and often just as good. So why are we always trying to run away from them?

Look, I get that people may not like the political implications of those systems. They may not like the governments that produce them. They may not like the lack of choice inherent in such systems. They may not like the potential  limitations within them for making money, and therefore for innovation. But we need to stop making stuff up about them.

“The goal of the future is full unemployment, so we can play. That’s why we have to destroy the present politico-economic system.” This may sound like the pronouncement of some bong-smoking anarchist, but it was actually Arthur C. Clarke, who found time between scuba diving and pinball games to write “Childhood’s End” and think up communications satellites. My old colleague Ted Rall recently wrote a column proposing that we divorce income from work and give each citizen a guaranteed paycheck, which sounds like the kind of lunatic notion that’ll be considered a basic human right in about a century, like abolition, universal suffrage and eight-hour workdays.
…There’s an unsightly churning phenomena that takes place within the right-wing media these days and it revolves around the constant need for unsavory content. There does not actually exist enough shocking news and information to sustain the Obama-hating press apparatus, or The Outrage Machine. Therefore, lots of the outrages have to be not only exaggerated, but at times completely fabricated or even recycled….

…In other words, despite 20 years of effort by Big Food to make organic friendly to GMOs, monocrops, dodgy fertilizers like sewage sludge, and more, the organic label remains the single most accessible way for consumers to avoid supporting the worst ecological practices of industrial agriculture. And consumers should know this, and not get the idea that the organic label has been drained of all meaning. (Consumers can also seek out nearby farmers and learn directly about their practices, but not everyone has the time or resources to do that.)…

…this story, of one of the richest countries in minerals and natural resources (Democratic Republic of Congo) who has seen up to ten million of its people killed while Western companies and foreign governments help themselves to Congo’s treasures, is unworthy of even the faintest of mention. Coupled with a 2010 UN report that found Rwanda guilty of serious war crimes, resource exploitation, and even went so far as to suggest that what Rwanda did in Congo was genocide, Simons’ silence is even more troubling.

In Simons’ defense, she is not alone. The New York Times — as a whole — has provided very poor coverage of the recent UN report. They have only published one article—”Congo: Rwanda Tied to Rebels“—consisting of 90 words, where they describe rebels as being “aided by neighboring Rwanda.” There is no mention of the extent of the “aid,” or how the U.S. used its power in the Security Council to try and derail the release of the 2012 UN report.

How this squares with the Times’ slogan of “all the news fit to print” is a mystery. Elsewhere it can be noted that it is Rwanda who is fuelling the conflict in Congo, not Joseph Kony, or Thomas Lubanga, or Bosco Ntaganda, but the U.S-backed Rwanda. But the New York Times finds such an important story unworthy of attention, cropping it to less than one hundred words, and burying it in the back of its paper.

The New York Times pattern of focusing on real, imagined, or inflated crimes of “enemies” while ignoring the U.S. and its allies raises serious questions about the Times as a media institution. Is it an impartial news source informing the general public with journalistic integrity, or is it a public relations firm manipulating the opinions of the general public in service of the prevailing economic and political power systems?

…Now 84, the American academic has dedicated most of his life to the study of the bold, some might say reckless, idea that nonviolence — rather than violence — is the most effective way of overthrowing corrupt, repressive regimes….

…His practical manual on how to overthrow dictatorships, “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” has spread like a virus since he wrote it 20 years ago and has been translated by activists into more than 30 languages.

He has also listed “198 Methods of Nonviolent Action” — powerful, sometimes surprising, ways to tear power from the hands of regimes. Examples of their use by demonstrators and revolutionaries pop up over and over again….

As Mohandas Gandhi said, “”Things undreamt of are daily being seen, the impossible is ever becoming possible. We are constantly being astonished these days at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence. But I maintain that far more undreamt of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of nonviolence.”

We haven’t even begun to explore a world without war. for instance, tho’ it’s visibly more achievable ever sooner . .. :)

Wow. Well, not actually ‘wow’ cuz I totally expect to see big protests get virtually no coverage in the media, but still, wow, no coverage of the protests in my Google news aggregator.

Wow. Well, not actually ‘wow’ cuz I totally expect to see big protests get virtually no coverage in the media, but still, wow, no coverage of the protests in my Google news aggregator.


"…Since 2001, at least half of Americans have consistently chosen the middle position, saying abortion should be legal under certain circumstances, and the 52% saying this today is similar to the 50% in May 2011. The 25% currently wanting abortion to be legal in all cases and the 20% in favor of making it illegal in all cases are also similar to last year’s findings…" 

So a large majority—77 percent—of Americans support abortion being legal in all or “certain circumstances,” and just 20 percent of Americans are actually “pro-life” in the sense that opponents of legalized abortion understand the term. Another way of saying this is that most Americans are actually pro-choice even if they sometimes identify as pro-life. In fact, there are more Americans who think abortion should be legal in all circumstances (25 percent) than think it should be illegal in all circumstances (20 percent)….

What if the male Avengers posed like the female one?

What if the male Avengers posed like the female one?

…the police department decided it would work better to “recruit” these useless individuals, feed them marijuana and possibly other drugs, then observe their behavior as part of a police “training” program that teaches state patrol officers what different kinds of intoxication look like. Others were apparently given weed if they would simply rat on fellow protesters….

…this is a real, official, taxpayer-funded thing. The police are “trying to observe the characteristics of certain drugs so when [police] pull people over they know what they’re looking at,” she told the documentary filmmakers. It’s called the Drug Recognition Evaluator program, and it’s run by the Minnesota State Patrol….

Because, kids, the police-state _needs_ more & more ‘bad guys’ or they become irrelevant. & unemployed ….  :/

10 Top Tips to End Rape

By popular demand, the gender-neutral version:

1) Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks.

2) When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone.

3) If you pull over to help a person whose car has broken down, remember not to rape them.

4) If you are in a lift and someone gets in, don’t rape them.

5) Never creep into a person’s home through an unlocked door or window, or spring out at them from between parked cars, or rape them.

6) USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

7) Don’t forget: it’s not sex with someone who’s asleep or unconscious — it’s RAPE!

8) Carry a whistle if you are worried you might assault someone ‘by accident’, you can hand it to the person you are with so they can call for help.

9) Don’t forget: Honesty is the best policy. If you have every intention of having sex later on with the person you’re dating regardless of how they feel about it, tell them directly that there is every chance you will rape them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, they may take it as a sign that you do not plan to rape them and inadvertently feel safe.

10) Don’t rape.

[Adapted from:]