Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Snopes' Field Guide to Fake News Sites and Hoax Purveyors, updated 7/9/2017

I'm not giving examples of fake news items, because research has shown that when this is done, many people will remember the debunked "news" but not remember that it is false.

It boggles my mind that so many people on Facebook will take seriously obviously satirical items.

http://www.snopes.com/2016/01/14/fake-news-sites/

Kim LaCapria
Jan 14, 2016

The sharp increase in popularity of social media networks (primarily Facebook) has created a predatory secondary market among online publishers seeking to profitably exploit the large reach of those networks and their huge customer bases by spreading fake news and outlandish rumors. Competition for social media’s large supply of willing eyeballs is fierce, and a number of frequent offenders regularly fabricate salacious and attention-grabbing tales simply to drive traffic (and revenue) to their sites.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Free tax preparation from Tax-Aide



Tax-Aide is a free program by volunteers to do tax returns. It's an AARP Foundation program. You don't have to be a member of AARP or retired. The following link tells you about it, how to find a location near you, what documents you need to bring.

https://www.aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_taxaide/

See the following link for what is and is not in Scope

https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/volunteercenter/Resources/Files/AARPFlier.pdf

In Scope:

• Wages, interest, dividends, capital gains/losses,
unemployment compensation, pensions and other
retirement income, Social Security benefits
• Self-employment income if no employees, no
inventory, no losses, no depreciation, no business use
of home, and no other complicating factors
• Most income reported on Form 1099-MISC
• Schedule K-1 that includes only interest, dividends,
capital gains/losses or royalties
• Itemized deductions, including noncash
contributions to charity that total
no more than $5,000
• Cancellation of nonbusiness credit card debt
• IRA contributions — deductible or not
• Most credits, such as earned income tax credit,
education credits, child/additional child tax credits,
child/dependent care credit, premium tax credit,
simplified method foreign tax credit on investments,
and retirement savings credit
• Repayment of first-time homebuyer credit
• Estimated tax payments
• Installment agreement request for taxes due
• Injured spouse allocation, depending on state
• Health Savings Accounts (HSA)*
• Amendments to filed returns
• Prior three tax years’ returns



Saturday, March 31, 2018

Honest Reporting

For the list liberal fake news sites he warns against, see the preceding blog post "If You’re A Liberal, Stop Sharing Links From These Fake News Sites"

I point out that Modern Liberals itself does contain a clearly labeled humor/satire section.

http://modernliberals.com/if-you-are-a-liberal-stop-sharing-links-from-these-fake-news-sites/

•••••

If you want to subscribe to honest reporting on national issues in the United States, there are many reputable and mostly neutral sources like AP, Reuters, BBC out there.

Here are a few of the websites I go to for news or opinion articles.

If You’re A Liberal, Stop Sharing Links From These Fake News Sites, update 7/2/2017

I haven't looked at all of these web sites, but the ones I have I agree should be disregarded.

To avoid confustion, I'll list the sources he recommends is a separate post.

http://modernliberals.com/if-you-are-a-liberal-stop-sharing-links-from-these-fake-news-sites/

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Media bias chart


Pretty much fits my observations of the ones I am familiar with.




Saturday, March 10, 2018

10 Journalism Brands Where You Find Real Facts Rather Than Alternative Facts

I went ahead and went with their headline, although I disagree with their rosy view of WSJ editorials. I have found the WSJ editorials not trustworthy. They are often biased on behalf of the power elite. As this article says, it does provide info on what the non-batty right-wing is saying.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/berlinschoolofcreativeleadership/2017/02/01/10-journalism-brands-where-you-will-find-real-facts-rather-than-alternative-facts/#341d134ae9b5

By Paul Glader
Paul Glader is an associate professor of journalism at The King's College in New York City, a media scholar at The Berlin School of Creative Leadership and is on Twitter @PaulGlader.
Feb 1, 2017

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Links



Fears grow as rightwing billionaires battle to erode US union rights
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/24/rightwing-billionaires-union-rights


East Coast Shatters Temperature Records, Offering Preview to a Warming World
Summer-like temps in February, extreme rainfall, a snow drought. This is happening more often—and in line with what scientists warn to expect with climate change.
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/21022018/february-record-high-temperature-east-coast-arctic-climate-change-nws


The Soul-Crushing Legacy of Billy Graham
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-soul-crushing-legacy-of-billy-graham-w517067


If you live in Florida, doctors say climate change is already affecting your health
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article199310404.html


The evolution of a one-time climate 'skeptic'
https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2018/02/the-evolution-of-a-one-time-climate-skeptic/


Lead and Other Toxic Metals Found in E-Cigarette ‘Vapors’
https://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2018/study-lead-and-other-toxic-metals-found-in-e-cigarette-vapors.html


Feb. 23, 2018
America Public Media's Marketplace just had a piece on why the recovery from the great recession was so slow. They mentioned the possibility of "secular stagnation", and Trump's blaming it on Obama. No mention of the fact that the republican Congress deliberately blocked most of President Obama's attempts to stimulate the economy, in hopes it would result in their own party gaining the presidency. They are loyal to their big donors.


Doctors Said Immunotherapy Would Not Cure Her Cancer. They Were Wrong.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/19/health/ovarian-cancer-immunotherapy.html


http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/375195-job-ad-reveals-work-of-russian-troll-farm-employees


Come the Recession, Don’t Count on That Safety Net
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/20/business/economy/recession-safety-net.html?partner=rss&emc=rss


Examples of Russian Facebook fake ads.
https://www.ajc.com/news/world/did-you-fall-for-these-fake-ads-how-russian-trolls-got-into-your-facebook-feeds/q1BxFh6iIfIb0SgxAutKcP/


Absolute poverty: when necessity displaces desire
http://microeconomicinsights.org/absolute-poverty-necessity-displaces-desire/

Increasing inequality

https://thefuturescentre.org/trend-card/increasing-inequality

Last updated: 4 March 2016

•••••

Income inequality has a tendency to negatively impact subsequent economic growth and can result in a range of health, social and environmental problems. It can also hinder the adoption of sustainable strategies and behaviours such as climate mitigation and adaptation.

•••••

A 2016 report by Oxfam reports that 62 people now own as much wealth as 3.5 billion of the world’s poorest people, who make up 50% of the world’s population. The number of super-rich individuals has increased by 44% since 2010 and tax havens have helped corporations and such individuals stash away an estimated US$7.6 trillion, depriving governments of US$190 billion in tax revenue every year.

On the other hand, half the world’s wealth (defined as the value of assets including property and stock market investments, but excludes debt) is now in the hands of just 1% of the population. According to Credit Suisse, a person needs only US$3,210 in savings to be in the wealthiest 50% of world citizens. About $68,800 secures a place in the top 10%, while the top 1% have more than $759,900.

•••••

Rising income inequality within countries means there is greater potential for social unrest.

•••••

Extremely impoverished people are at most risk from climate change, water scarcity, flooding, limited access to energy and land degradation. This is mainly because they have the fewest resources to adapt or recover quickly from shocks and they often live on the most vulnerable land that tends to be the most affordable, such as homes along creeks that flood or on hillsides prone to landslides, or farmland with limited water access. These issues will continue to have a disproportionate impact on the world’s poorest people, and could form reinforcing feedback loops unless solutions to eradicate poverty and increase resilience are undertaken in earnest.

•••••

Friday, February 23, 2018

Absolute poverty: when necessity displaces desire



20 February 2018 Authors: Robert Allen (New York University, Abu Dhabi)

•••••

There already exists a widely recognized metric for measuring poverty–the World Bank’s famous $-a-day poverty line. However, this measure does not account for differences in basic needs across countries. For example, the clothing, housing, and heating needs for a poor person living in a cold northern country are very different from what is needed for a poor resident of a warm southern country, and the prices of these goods vary across developed and undeveloped nations.

•••••

The World Bank poverty lines account for differences in prices across countries, but there is no allowance for differences in needs. In my paper, I explore an alternative approach to setting a poverty line that specifies a reference budget defined in terms of the basic needs for each country.

•••••

Basic needs include food and non-food goods like clothing, fuel, and housing. I compute the poverty line for twenty countries using data from 2011. The countries in the sample range from very poor countries south of the Sahara to the USA, UK, and France. Many Asian countries including China and India are included. My line comes closest to matching the WBPL for the sub-Saharan countries. In other cases, I compute higher lines reflecting differences in dietary regimes, climate, and real estate markets.

•••••

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals require the World Bank to use its poverty line to track the number of poor people in every country–not just the developing countries that it has been focusing on. It is imperative, therefore, to define the poverty line in a way that allows clothing and heating, for instance, to vary with the temperature. The clothing and fuel needed to survive the winter in Niger are not enough to survive in New York.

•••••

Another surprising result is that the BNPL indicates there are millions of people living in absolute poverty even in the richest countries–0.6% of the population in France, 1% in the UK, and 1.5% in the USA.

•••••

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Economic Roots of the Rise of Trumpism



John Komlos
Jan. 2018

Donald Trump won the election in 2016 largely because enough voters in three states, all in the Rustbelt, who had voted for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012, switched their vote from Democratic to Republican. Economic dislocations played a cruc ial role in these swing states or democratic strongholds to persuade many voters to take the dramatic step to vote for an anti-establishment candidate even if that meant a leap of faith into the unknown. The sources of the dislocation were the development of a dual economy characterized at one end by low and stagnating wages, increasing debt, downward social mobility, declining relative incomes, and the hopelessness accompanying them while at the other end of the income distribution the economy was simply booming. This was longer than a three -decade process that started with Reaganomics and its tax cuts that privileged the rich and conferred immense wealth, and its concomitant, political power, on them. Reaganomics also accelerated the decline in the power o f unions which had supported the middle class. The process continued under Bill Clinton’s administration and its continuing both financial deregulation and of hyper -globalization. George Bush continued to pamper the superrich with his tax policies. The process culminated with Barack Obama’s bailing out the superrich and his benign neglect of Mainstreet.

•••••

Real median household income in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan is still $5,900, $6,000, and $9,300 below its level at the end of the 20th century.

•••••

Links



Flooding in a lot of places in the Americas, including the U.S.
Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Ontario Canada, W. Virginia., Brazil, Bolivia, Kentucky, Virginia, Argentina
http://floodlist.com/america


East Coast Shatters Temperature Records, Offering Preview to a Warming World
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/21022018/february-record-high-temperature-east-coast-arctic-climate-change-nws


People find comfort listening to the same songs over and over, study finds
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-02-people-comfort-songs.html


Living in Switzerland ruined me for America and its lousy work culture
https://getpocket.com/explore/item/living-in-switzerland-ruined-me-for-america-and-its-lousy-work-culture-987981365


What's Actually Behind Cape Town's Water Crisis
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/02/cape-town-water-crisis/553076/


What this provisional data appears to show is that when isolated people who have health problems are supported by community groups and volunteers, the number of emergency admissions to hospital falls spectacularly.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/21/town-cure-illness-community-frome-somerset-isolation


One cigarette a day 'increases heart disease and stroke risk'
[Of course, this implies second hand smoke damages health.]
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-42802191


Hackers stole more than half a billion dollars in cryptocurrencies from Japanese exchange Coincheck last week — and experts say investors can expect more such attacks.
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/29/after-500-million-japan-cryptocurrency-theft-heres-how-to-keep-yours-secure.html

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Links




Climate change 'will push European cities towards breaking point'
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/21/climate-change-will-push-european-cities-towards-breaking-point


Much work needed' to make digital economy environmentally sustainable
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/20/much-work-needed-to-make-digital-economy-environmentally-sustainable


How to Raise a Sweet Son in an Era of Angry Men
[I've seen women tell their little boys "Be a big boy, don't cry", when they are hurt or scared. Then women complain because men are insensitive.]
http://time.com/5045028/raising-boys-faith-salie/

Kratom linked to dozens of illnesses from salmonella
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/kratom-salmonella-fda-cdc-warning/


Ozone at lower latitudes is not recovering, despite Antarctic ozone hole healing
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/icl-oal020218.php


New fuel standards will decrease childhood asthma cases
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uod-nfs020618.php


Increased UV from ozone depletion sterilizes trees
Evidence links volcanoes to Earth's largest mass extinction 252 million years ago
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoc--iuf020118.php


Geologist James Kennett and colleagues provide evidence for a massive biomass burning event at the Younger Dryas Boundary
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoc--tbb020718.php


A combination of archival and experimental studies indicates that exposure to air pollution, either physically or mentally, is linked with unethical behavior such as crime and cheating. The experimental findings suggest that this association may be due, at least in part, to increased anxiety.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/afps-pam020718.php


Thousands of lives would be saved each year, and many more serious illnesses avoided, if U.S. counties met standards set by the American Thoracic Society for the two most important air pollutants
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/ats-tol020718.php


A major new study confirms that a diet high in fruit and vegetables is better for the planet than one high in animal products. The study also finds that organic food provides significant, additional climate benefits for plant-based diets, but not for diets with only moderate contribution from plant products
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/f-ofp020518.php


Small gold mines in Senegal create high mercury contamination
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/du-sgm020818.php


Global warming could cause key culinary crops to release seeds prematurely
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/cp-gwc020718.php


Twenty-five years of satellite data confirm rising sea levels
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uosf-2os020718.php


Lightning Helps Fertilize The Soil
https://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/lightening-helps-fertilize-soil/
http://www.biology-pages.info/N/NitrogenCycle.html


Lightning storms less likely in a warming planet, study suggests
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoe-lsl021218.php


By 2100, arid cities will suffer from more severe heat waves than temperate cities
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/puww-b2a021318.php


This Lady Scientist Defined the Greenhouse Effect But Didn’t Get the Credit, Because of Sexism
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/lady-scientist-helped-revolutionize-climate-science-didnt-get-credit-180961291/#dsyiJGVrwHkT3Pd6.99

Pride tops guilt as a motivator for environmental decisions
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/puww-ptg021318.php


Estrogens in treated wastewater that find their way into temporary wetlands known as vernal pools persist for weeks or even months, according to researchers, who suggest that persistence may have implications for these critical aquatic habitats.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/ps-ppo021318.php


Fracking tied to reduced songbird nesting success
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/aosp-ftt020718.php


A study by Indiana University researchers shows that excess emissions -- which occur with plant shut-downs, start-ups and malfunctions, and not just in connection with natural disasters -- can make serious contributions to overall air pollution.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/iu-em021318.php


Thermal blankets melt snow quickly
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/acs-tbm021418.php


Chemical products that contain compounds refined from petroleum, like household cleaners, pesticides, paints and perfumes, now rival motor vehicle emissions as the top source of urban air pollution
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoca-cai020718.php


Genetics makes Asians, Europeans susceptible to dengue shock syndrome
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/p-gma020718.php


Short kids may have higher future stroke risk
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/aha-skm020918.php


Rapid pollution increases may be as harmful to the heart as absolute levels
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/esoc-rpi021318.php


Eating yogurt may reduce cardiovascular disease risk
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/oupu-eym021418.php


New guideline warns pain benefits of medical cannabis overstated
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoaf-ngw021418.php
tags: drug abuse


Elementary school children who read below grade level may have challenges with their eyesight even if standard tests show they see 20/20,
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uow-eel021418.php


A drug commonly used to control high blood pressure may also help prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes in up to 60 percent of those at risk for the disease, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the University of Florida in Gainesville.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoca-rfe021518.php


Women with asthma who only use short-acting asthma relievers take longer to become pregnant than other women, according to international research led by the University of Adelaide.
However, the study of more than 5600 women in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland also shows that women with asthma who use long-acting asthma preventers conceive as quickly as other women.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoa-aml021518.php


Not being aware of memory problems predicts onset of Alzheimer's disease
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/mu-nba021518.php


Early introduction of peanuts into the diet can prevent the development of peanut allergy in high-risk infants
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/wkh-rpa021518.php


Affordable Care Act lowered uninsured rate for cancer survivors
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/wkh-aca021518.php


Romantic relationships buffer gay and lesbian youth from emotional distress
Romantic involvement was associated with higher psychological distress for bisexual individuals, however, the study also showed.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/nu-rrb021518.php


Hearing loss is common after infant heart surgery
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/chop-hli021518.php


New research in mice has found that a father's stress affects the brain development of his offspring. This stress changes the father's sperm, which can then alter the brain development of the child.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoms-nri021218.php


Women who work as cleaners or regularly use cleaning sprays or other cleaning products at home appear to experience a greater decline in lung function over time than women who do not clean
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/ats-wwc021318.php


High levels of microplastics found in Northwest Atlantic fish
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/f-hlo021618.php


Contemporary population estimates suggest that like cigarette-only smokers, current cigar-only and pipe-only smokers have a higher risk of dying from cancers known to be caused by tobacco, and cigarette and cigar smokers have a higher risk of death from any cause compared with people who never used tobacco.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/jn-aor021518.php


Biodiversity loss raises risk of 'extinction cascades'
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoe-blr021618.php


Electrical implant reduces 'invisible' symptoms of man's spinal cord injury
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uobc-eir021618.php


In Jan. 2014, Russian predicted Trump would become president.
https://politics.myajc.com/news/opinion-blogs/opinion-here-curious-thing/m14AxcrUgHZNmB6y6kA6SO/

January 2018: Earth's 5th Warmest January on Record

https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/january-2018-earths-5th-warmest-january-record

Dr. Jeff Masters · February 19, 2018

January 2018 was the planet's fifth warmest January since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) on Tuesday. NASA also rated January 2018 as the fifth warmest January on record, with the only warmer Januarys being 2016, 2017, 2007 and 2015. Global ocean temperatures during January 2018 were the fifth warmest on record, and global land temperatures were the eighth warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures in January 2018 for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the tenth warmest in the 40-year record, according to the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and RSS.

•••••

La Niña conditions remained over the equatorial Pacific during the past month, said NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) in its February 8 monthly advisory. They predicted that the current weak La Niña event that began in August 2017 is near its end, with a 55% chance that it will transition to a neutral state during the March – May timeframe.

•••••

Arctic sea ice extent during January 2018 was the lowest in the 39-year satellite record, beating the record set in January 2017, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Near-surface air temperatures (about 2,500 feet above sea level) were unusually high over the Arctic Ocean in January, with nearly all of the region 3 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) or more above average. Antarctic sea ice extent in January 2018 was the second lowest on record, behind the record set in 2017.

•••••

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Jill Stein all appear to have been helped by Russian election interference

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/16/17021248/russian-election-interference-sanders-stein-trump

By Rachel Wolfe Feb 16, 2018

Friday afternoon, the Justice Department released an indictment that’s part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The indictment outlines the lengths Russia went to influence the election in favor of Donald Trump and against Hillary Clinton — including by supporting Bernie Sanders (and, later, Jill Stein).

The Russian operations on social media were meant to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton and other candidates, including Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. And they were supposed to support Sanders and Trump.

“Use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump—we support them),” they were directed, according to the indictment.

•••••

Around September 14 in 2016, for example, one “account specialist” of a Russian-controlled Facebook group called “Secured Borders” was reprimanded for having a “low number of posts dedicated to criticizing Hillary Clinton.”

The specialist was also told, “it is imperative to intensify criticizing Hillary Clinton.”

Later on, Russian operatives used accounts they controlled — including an account called “Woke Blacks” and “Blacktivist” — to urge Americans to vote for third-party candidates or not to vote at all. “Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein,” one such message read. “Trust me, it’s not a wasted vote.”

•••••

Newborn survival rates in US only slightly better than in Sri Lanka


Please contribute to The Guardian, so they can continue to operate w/o a pay wall.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/feb/20/newborn-babies-survival-rates-us-united-states-slightly-better-sri-lanka

Karen McVeigh
Tue 20 Feb 2018 01.00 EST
Last modified on Tue 20 Feb 2018 10.16 EST

The risk of dying as a newborn in the US is only slightly lower than the risk for babies in Sri Lanka and Ukraine, according to Unicef.

A report by the UN children’s agency found that five newborn babies die around the world every minute, or about 2.6 million every year. The figure is described as “alarmingly high”, particularly as 80% of these deaths are from preventable causes.

•••••

The risk of dying as a newborn, which is closely linked to income level of countries, varies enormously. Babies born in Japan, Singapore and Iceland stand the best chance of survival, while those in Pakistan, Central African Republic and Afghanistan face the worst odds, according to the report, which looks at the 10 most dangerous places to be born.

A baby born in Pakistan is almost 50 times more likely to die within its first month of life than a baby born in Japan, it found.

But a country’s income explains only part of the story. In Kuwait and the United States, both high-income countries, the newborn mortality rate is 4.4 and 3.7 per 1,000 live births, only slightly better than Sri Lanka and Ukraine, where the rate is 5.3 and 5.4.

•••••

Across the world, babies born into the poorest families are 40% more likely to die in the first month than those born into the richest.

•••••

The report notes that eight of the 10 most dangerous places to be born are in sub-Saharan Africa, where pregnant women are much less likely to receive assistance during delivery due to poverty, conflict and weak institutions.

Rwanda, a low-income country, has halved its newborn mortality rate in the last two decades, due to strong health systems, from 41 in 1990 to 17 in 2016.

Babies born to mothers who have had no education face almost twice the risk of dying than those born to mothers with secondary education, it said.
'I don't live any more': Zika takes a heavy toll on families in Brazil
Read more

More than 80% of newborn deaths are due to prematurity, complications during birth, or infections such as pneumonia and sepsis. Such deaths can be prevented with access to trained midwives, clean water, disinfectants, breastfeeding within the first hour, skin-to-skin contact and good nutrition.

However, the report points out, while there are 218 doctors, nurses and midwives in Norway per 10,000 people, that ratio falls to one per 10,000 in Somalia.

•••••

Monday, February 19, 2018

Links



Ozone at lower latitudes is not recovering, despite Antarctic ozone hole healing
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/icl-oal020218.php


New fuel standards will decrease childhood asthma cases
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uod-nfs020618.php


Increased UV from ozone depletion sterilizes trees
Evidence links volcanoes to Earth's largest mass extinction 252 million years ago
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoc--iuf020118.php


Geologist James Kennett and colleagues provide evidence for a massive biomass burning event at the Younger Dryas Boundary
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoc--tbb020718.php


A combination of archival and experimental studies indicates that exposure to air pollution, either physically or mentally, is linked with unethical behavior such as crime and cheating. The experimental findings suggest that this association may be due, at least in part, to increased anxiety.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/afps-pam020718.php


Thousands of lives would be saved each year, and many more serious illnesses avoided, if U.S. counties met standards set by the American Thoracic Society for the two most important air pollutants
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/ats-tol020718.php


A major new study confirms that a diet high in fruit and vegetables is better for the planet than one high in animal products. The study also finds that organic food provides significant, additional climate benefits for plant-based diets, but not for diets with only moderate contribution from plant products
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/f-ofp020518.php


Small gold mines in Senegal create high mercury contamination
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/du-sgm020818.php


Global warming could cause key culinary crops to release seeds prematurely
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/cp-gwc020718.php


Twenty-five years of satellite data confirm rising sea levels
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uosf-2os020718.php


Lightning Helps Fertilize The Soil
https://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/lightening-helps-fertilize-soil/
http://www.biology-pages.info/N/NitrogenCycle.html


Lightning storms less likely in a warming planet, study suggests
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoe-lsl021218.php


By 2100, arid cities will suffer from more severe heat waves than temperate cities
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/puww-b2a021318.php


This Lady Scientist Defined the Greenhouse Effect But Didn’t Get the Credit, Because of Sexism
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/lady-scientist-helped-revolutionize-climate-science-didnt-get-credit-180961291/#dsyiJGVrwHkT3Pd6.99

Pride tops guilt as a motivator for environmental decisions
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/puww-ptg021318.php


Estrogens in treated wastewater that find their way into temporary wetlands known as vernal pools persist for weeks or even months, according to researchers, who suggest that persistence may have implications for these critical aquatic habitats.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/ps-ppo021318.php


Fracking tied to reduced songbird nesting success
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/aosp-ftt020718.php


A study by Indiana University researchers shows that excess emissions -- which occur with plant shut-downs, start-ups and malfunctions, and not just in connection with natural disasters -- can make serious contributions to overall air pollution.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/iu-em021318.php


Thermal blankets melt snow quickly
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/acs-tbm021418.php


Chemical products that contain compounds refined from petroleum, like household cleaners, pesticides, paints and perfumes, now rival motor vehicle emissions as the top source of urban air pollution
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoca-cai020718.php


Genetics makes Asians, Europeans susceptible to dengue shock syndrome
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/p-gma020718.php


Short kids may have higher future stroke risk
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/aha-skm020918.php


Rapid pollution increases may be as harmful to the heart as absolute levels
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/esoc-rpi021318.php


Eating yogurt may reduce cardiovascular disease risk
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/oupu-eym021418.php


New guideline warns pain benefits of medical cannabis overstated
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoaf-ngw021418.php
tags: drug abuse

Elementary school children who read below grade level may have challenges with their eyesight even if standard tests show they see 20/20,
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uow-eel021418.php


A drug commonly used to control high blood pressure may also help prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes in up to 60 percent of those at risk for the disease, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the University of Florida in Gainesville.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoca-rfe021518.php


Women with asthma who only use short-acting asthma relievers take longer to become pregnant than other women, according to international research led by the University of Adelaide.
However, the study of more than 5600 women in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland also shows that women with asthma who use long-acting asthma preventers conceive as quickly as other women.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoa-aml021518.php


Not being aware of memory problems predicts onset of Alzheimer's disease
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/mu-nba021518.php


Early introduction of peanuts into the diet can prevent the development of peanut allergy in high-risk infants
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/wkh-rpa021518.php


Affordable Care Act lowered uninsured rate for cancer survivors
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/wkh-aca021518.php


Romantic relationships buffer gay and lesbian youth from emotional distress
Romantic involvement was associated with higher psychological distress for bisexual individuals, however, the study also showed.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/nu-rrb021518.php


Hearing loss is common after infant heart surgery
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/chop-hli021518.php


New research in mice has found that a father's stress affects the brain development of his offspring. This stress changes the father's sperm, which can then alter the brain development of the child.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoms-nri021218.php


Women who work as cleaners or regularly use cleaning sprays or other cleaning products at home appear to experience a greater decline in lung function over time than women who do not clean
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/ats-wwc021318.php


High levels of microplastics found in Northwest Atlantic fish
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/f-hlo021618.php


Contemporary population estimates suggest that like cigarette-only smokers, current cigar-only and pipe-only smokers have a higher risk of dying from cancers known to be caused by tobacco, and cigarette and cigar smokers have a higher risk of death from any cause compared with people who never used tobacco.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/jn-aor021518.php


Biodiversity loss raises risk of 'extinction cascades'
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uoe-blr021618.php


Electrical implant reduces 'invisible' symptoms of man's spinal cord injury
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/uobc-eir021618.php


In Jan. 2014, Russian predicted Trump would become president.
https://politics.myajc.com/news/opinion-blogs/opinion-here-curious-thing/m14AxcrUgHZNmB6y6kA6SO/

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Links



Intelligence Agencies Warn of Climate Risks in Worldwide Threat Assessment
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/13022018/climate-change-conflict-disasters-worldwide-threat-assessment-intelligence-agencies-refugees

The Pain-Relieving Response to Being Rejected or Excluded
http://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/am-i-invisible-the-pain-relieving-response-to-being-rejected-or-excluded_1518190386?cid=sm_fbn_pt


Dog food brands recalled over possible euthanasia drug
The FDA said its preliminary evaluation of the testing results of Gravy Train samples indicated the low levels found were unlikely to pose a health risk to pets.
https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/18/health/dog-food-pentobarbital/index.html


Anger causes Violence
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2014/04/anger_causes_violence_treat_it_rather_than_mental_illness_to_stop_mass_murder.html

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Links



If We Want Kids to Stop Killing, the Adults Have to Stop, Too
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/taibbi-parkland-florida-school-shooting-gun-control-nra-w516850


The media exaggerates negative news. This distortion has consequences
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/17/steven-pinker-media-negative-news

The chemicals in common cleaning sprays could be detrimental to your respiratory system, according to a new report. 
[My health is much better since I retired and am not wxposed to the cleaners and "air fresheners" I was forced to breathe at work.]
http://www.ajc.com/news/study-common-household-chore-just-damaging-smoking-cigarettes-day/Chr8aAPKCZxx7COYFLiWwO/


West Virginia gov. declares State of Emergency after heavy rainfall
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/west-virginia-state-of-emergency-weather-rain-forecast-today-02-17-2018/


Flu vaccine works better than feared, but it's still not great
https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/flu-vaccine-works-better-feared-it-s-still-not-great-n848351


Covert Russian propaganda flooded Twitter after the Parkland shooting to stoke America's raw divides.
https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/russian-trolls-flood-twitter-after-parkland-shooting-n848471

Friday, February 16, 2018

Links



Special counsel indicts Russian nationals for interfering with U.S. elections and political processes
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/02/16/special-counsel-indicts-russian-nationals-election-interference/345720002/


Parental Use of Corporal Punishment in Europe
[Behaviour and emotional probems are FAR higher in children whose parents frequently use physical punishment.]
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4326463/
tags: child abuse


Bat Swarms Tracked by Weather Radar Reveal Earlier Migration as Planet Warms
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/14022018/bat-migration-climate-change-texas-agriculture-weather-radar-global-warming-animal-impact


Trump's gas tax would wipe out 60% of tax cut benefit for individuals, analyst estimates
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/15/trumps-gas-tax-would-wipe-out-60-percent-of-tax-cut-benefit.html


Gas Tax Revenue Isn't What It Used to Be
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-02-15/gas-taxes-aren-t-paying-the-bills-for-roads-anymore


We could choose to have a kinder, less mean society. Other societies do so. A sociologist who studied many countries said that the U.S. is the most personally competitive, with people feeling they have to be THE winner, or they are a loser. Trump exemplifies this. This affects how people relate to and treat children. And we have more violence, as well as more people in jail. (Although the rate of violence has been decreasing for a couple of decades.)
I feel very sad for the victims of the Florida school shooting. I also feel sad for the shooter. Someone who does this is miserable. If we cared about children and helped them, we and our children would be safer.


Trump Proposes Deep Cuts In Detecting Disease Outbreaks Worldwide
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/02/12/585119417/trump-proposes-deep-cuts-in-detecting-disease-outbreaks-worldwide


Florida school shooting suspect linked to white supremacist group: ADL
http://abcnews.go.com/US/florida-school-shooting-suspect/story?id=53092753


Cuban embassy staff had concussion-like injuries, doctors say
https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/cuban-embassy-staff-had-concussion-injuries-doctors-say-n848291


Borneo Has Lost 100,000 Orangutans Since 1999
https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/15/585983258/borneo-has-lost-100-000-orangutans-since-1999


FCC watchdog investigates chairman's role in easing way for Sinclair's acquisition of Tribune Media, congressman says
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-fcc-ajit-pai-sinclair-tribune-media-20180215-story.html


Ultra-processed foods 'linked to cancer'
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-43064290


This new text bomb crashes most Mac and iOS apps with a single unicode symbol
https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/15/iphone-text-bomb-ios-mac-crash-apple/?ncid=mobilenavtrend


Last February, Trump signed a bill making it easier for people with mental illness to buy guns
Republicans rolled back even the most modest gun regulations
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/15/17016036/trump-guns-mental-illness


Insider trading has been rife on Wall Street, academics conclude
https://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21736561-one-study-suggests-insiders-profited-even-global-financial-crisis-another

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Spanking Children Leads to Domestic Violence?




Written by Leah Campbell on January 11, 2018

•••••

Over the years, spanking has been the topic of quite a few research studies.

Researchers have said the disciplinary tactic can increase mental illness, make children more aggressive later in life, and even lead to less gray matter in a child’s brain.

The latest research, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, concludes that children who have been spanked have an increased risk of becoming perpetrators of domestic violence in adulthood. This increase was found even when control

•••••

“physical violence typically results in fear. Which may stop a child from repeating the behavior. They’re afraid, so they avoid engaging in whatever challenging behavior it was that produced that fear. But you aren’t actually teaching the child anything. Even if you add a conversation after the spanking, as an adult, you’re modeling physical violence as a means to an end to get a child to change their behavior. We need to think about the message that sends kids: Hitting can be used to get someone else to do what you want.”

Instead, she says, “Parents need to teach their kids to have better emotional control. And they teach that by modeling it themselves.”

•••••

tags: child abuse

Spanking and crime rates

https://www.economist.com/blogs/charlemagne/2013/07/spanking-and-crime-rates

•••••

Christian Pfeiffer, the director of the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony in Hanover.

Mr Pfeiffer has found a correlation between declining rates of children being spanked (or otherwise punished physically) and subsequent decreases in violent crime. In Germany, for example, it used to be common until well into the last century to discipline kids in this way. Not doing so almost amounted to being negligent. But then parents and teachers gradually stopped beating children.

•••••

People who as children experienced the “powerlessness” of frequent spankings report a disproportionately greater interest later in life to own guns, Mr Pfeiffer says. They also demand more draconian prison sentences, including the death penalty, for convicted criminals. And they seem more prone to violence themselves. In a study of 45,000 ninth-graders Mr Pfeiffer conducted in 2007-08, those kids who had been beaten by their parents were five times as likely to commit repeated crimes or to use cannabis, and missed school four times more frequently for ten days a year or more.

Scandinavian countries, in part inspired by the children’s books of Astrid Lindgren, the author of the popular Pippi Longstocking (pictured) series, were the first to make spanking illegal for teachers in the 1950s and 60s. Between 1979 und 1983, they also outlawed spanking by parents. Crime rates, gun ownership and prison populations have been falling since.

By contrast, spanking is still common in large parts of America, especially in the Evangelical milieus of Southern states. This is also where crime remains relatively high, gun ownership common, and incarceration excessive. (America’s incarceration rate is between eight to ten times that of northern European countries.)

Within Europe, countries like Germany followed the Scandinavian example with a law against spanking in 2000, while others, like Britain, fall somewhere between Europe and America (as so often). Again, Mr Pfeiffer notices the expected correlations with crime and punishment.

•••••

Two studies in 2010 showed that only 15% of American children are raised by their parents without any physical violence at all. To Mr Pfeiffer, this is one (of admittedly several and complex) factors, that explain why Americans own more guns, commit more crime and punish more severely than western Europeans. The conclusion, suggests Mr Pfeiffer, is that everybody, including Americans, should try raising kids with what he calls “Liebe statt Hiebe” (love instead of beatings).

•••••

Successful weight loss could be hampered by chemical compounds lurking in everyday products in your house,

https://www.livescience.com/61768-chemicals-food-wrappers-nonstick-pans-weight-gain.html

By Tereza Pultarova, Live Science Contributor | February 15, 2018

Successful weight loss could be hampered by chemical compounds lurking in everyday products in your house, a new study finds.

The study, published Feb. 13 in the journal PLOS Medicine, focused on a group of chemicals called perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs, that are sometimes referred to as "obesogens" because of their effects on weight.

PFASs have been used for more than 60 years in various industries — including in non-stick pans and food packaging — and have since contaminated water resources and made their way into the food chain, according to the study. For example, many shellfish contain the chemicals, said Qi Sun, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and senior author of the study. But they can also leach into food from wrappers and can even enter a person's body through contact with treated carpets and textiles.

Previous studies have shown that PFASs have been linked to obesity, among other health problems, the study said.

"What we observed is that those chemicals … may determine how much weight people regain after dieting," Sun told Live Science. "More specifically, we found that higher levels of those chemicals [in a person's body] were associated with faster weight regain after dieting."

•••••

Interestingly, the PFAS concentrations didn't affect the people's ability to lose weight, the study found. Once the trial ended, however, those with higher levels of PFASs in their system appeared to have a harder time keeping the pounds off, and the effect was worse in women. (The study, however, did not prove-and-effect; rather, it found an association between PFASs and weight gain.)

In addition, the researchers found that "PFAS levels were also associated with a lower resting metabolic rate," Sun said. "If you have a lower resting metabolic rate, your resting metabolism is slow, [so] you are not able to burn too much energy, [and] that's why you gain weight."

•••••

In addition to weight gain, PFASs have been linked to a number of other conditions, including cancer, hormone disruption, high cholesterol and immune system dysfunction, according to the study.

•••••

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Links



3 Trump properties posted 144 openings for seasonal jobs. Only one went to a US worker.
https://www.vox.com/2018/2/13/16466542/trump-h-2b-guest-workers


Proposed Food Stamp Cuts Would Hit Military Families
https://www.military.com/daily-news/2017/05/24/proposed-food-stamp-cuts-would-hit-military-families.html#.WoDzjKYhIhg.facebook


Medicaid Cuts May Force Retirees Out of Nursing Homes
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/24/science/medicaid-cutbacks-elderly-nursing-homes.html


Ants Rescue Their Companions By Licking Their Wounds
https://www.i4u.com/2018/02/127173/ants-rescue-their-warriors-licking-their-wounds


ICE Lawyer Charged With Stealing Immigrants' Identities To Commit Bank Fraud
https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/14/585768681/top-ice-lawyer-charged-with-stealing-immigrants-identities-to-commit-bank-fraud


Trump proposes eliminating federal funding for PBS, NPR
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-proposes-eliminating-federal-funding-for-pbs-npr/ar-BBJ2Jcb

Republicans in Nevada are seeking to recall two senators who were elected in 2016 -- without alleging any wrongdoing on the part of the senators.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/07/politics/nevada-senate-recall/index.html

By Eric Bradner
Feb. 7, 2018

Democrats are going to court in Nevada on Wednesday to try to stop a recall election that they fear could lead to new efforts to wipe out legislative majorities across the country.

Republicans in Nevada are seeking to recall two senators who were elected in 2016 -- without alleging any wrongdoing on the part of the senators.

Why oust Sens. Joyce Woodhouse and Nicole Cannizzaro? Because both are Democrats, and if the GOP can flip two seats, it will take control of the state Senate.

If the recall effort succeeds, it could provide a model to flip legislatures across the nation in the 20 states that allow the process, putting all narrowly divided legislative bodies in those states at risk.

•••••

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a popular Republican, has opposed the recall effort, telling The Nevada Independent it would set a "dangerous precedent."
"It's never happened before, but it probably will likely become another typical arrow in the quiver for both parties," Sandoval said. "I hope it doesn't, but again, if it's successful, and the voters do recall these individuals, I can't see why all of them wouldn't use it going forward."

•••••

Seniors will pay the price for Trump’s Medicare cuts


Ironic, since older people are the biggest supporters of Trump.

I suggest reading the whole article at the following link. I don't want to infringe on their copyright, or I would include the whole article. It is very informative.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/seniors-will-pay-the-price-for-trumps-medicare-cuts-2018-02-14

Published: Feb 14, 2018

•••••

Trump’s plan includes $554 billion in cuts to Medicare, the federal health care program that provides insurance to 55 million Americans who are over age 65 or living with disabilities. The program helps ensure that every American can afford doctor’s appointments, medications, and life-saving treatments after they retire or when they are no longer able to work.

While some of the proposed changes to Medicare would target reimbursements for doctors to ensure they are not charging too much and would pass rebates along to beneficiaries directly, other program savings come from picking winners and losers around changes to the program’s prescription drug coverage.

•••••

The budget also includes billions in cuts to Social Security insurance and disability benefits, $1.4 trillion in Medicaid cuts, and drastic cuts to nutrition and housing assistance programs that help struggling families and seniors keep food on the table.

•••••

The president is proposing such deep cuts because he needs someone to pay for the massive tax giveaways to the wealthy and Wall Street in his tax bill that have increased the deficit by over $1 trillion.

•••••

Interactive Map: The Percent of Children in Small Towns and Rural Areas Covered by Medicaid, 2014/15





Administration’s Budget Proposal Includes $1.4 Trillion in Medicaid Cuts


Note that Medicaid pays for many people in nursing homes.

https://ccf.georgetown.edu/2018/02/12/administrations-budget-proposal-includes-1-4-trillion-in-medicaid-cuts/

February 12, 2018 Andy Schneider

The Administration today released a budget proposal for the fiscal year that starts on October 1 (FY 2019).

•••••

We don’t even have a federal budget for the fiscal year that ends on September 30; once that gets sorted out (hopefully by March 23, the next drop dead date), that FY 2018 budget will likely be the placeholder (via a Continuing Resolution) for FY 2019 until after the mid-term elections on November 6.

There is an important reason to understand the Administration’s Medicaid FY 2019 budget proposal: it could well be back in play next spring. To get ready, here’s what you need to know.

The Administration is proposing to cap federal Medicaid payments to states and to cut federal Medicaid spending by $1.439 trillion – that is trillion with a “t” – over the ten year period 2019 – 2028. [1] That is about 26% of what the Administration projects federal Medicaid spending would otherwise be, and within shouting distance of the $1.455 trillion cost of the tax cuts enacted in December.

Of course, you wouldn’t know it from reading the Administration’s budget narrative.

•••••

But let’s be clear: that’s just the opening bid. It assumes federal spending increases at the rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). Once a cap is in place, it can – and almost certainly will – be dialed down by future Congresses (CPI-U minus 0.5, CPI-U minus 1.0, etc.) to extract additional federal spending cuts at the expense of states and localities.

•••••

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Links



The foods that can help and harm your brain
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/feb/12/its-not-just-in-the-genes-the-foods-that-can-help-and-harm-your-brain


Chemicals in packaging, carpets and non-stick pans 'may contribute to obesity'
Studies have also linked compounds called perfluoroalkyl substances to cancer, high cholesterol and immune problems
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/feb/13/chemicals-in-packaging-carpets-and-non-stick-pans-may-contribute-to-obesity


Miami could be underwater in your kid’s lifetime as sea level rise accelerates
At the current rate of melting, the world's seas will be at least 2 feet higher by the end of the century compared to today
https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/science/2018/02/13/sea-level-rise-accelerating-around-world/333140002/


Microplastics have been found in some of the most remote and uncharted regions of the oceans raising more concerns over the global scale of plastic pollution.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/12/microplastics-pollute-most-remote-and-uncharted-areas-of-the-ocean


Trump's Infrastructure Plan Is Actually Pence's—And It's All About Privatization
http://www.newsweek.com/2017/09/15/donald-trump-infrastructure-plan-mike-pence-privatization-658403.html


White House proposes 25 percent cut to EPA funding
http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/373433-white-house-proposes-nearly-25-percent-in-cuts-to-epa


The EPA debunked Administrator Pruitt’s latest climate misinformation
Until Pruitt deleted the EPA climate webpages.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/feb/12/the-epa-debunked-administrator-pruitts-latest-climate-misinformation


Trump budget would cut health department by 21 percent
http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/373452-health-department-would-see-21-percent-cut-under-trump-budget-proposal


US teacher dies after opting out of costly flu medicine
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43039036


Marijuana users' self-proclaimed holiday is linked with a slight increase in fatal U.S. car crashes, an analysis of 25 years of data found.
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/marijuanas-420-holiday-tied-rise-fatal-car-crashes-53020612
tags: drug abuse


Sea Levels Are Surging at Faster and Faster Rates as Antarctica and Greenland Melt, Satellite Data Reveals
http://www.newsweek.com/sea-level-rise-has-rapidly-accelerated-1992-melting-ice-and-its-not-803326


The president proposes shifting large chunks of money from the space station, satellites studying a warming Earth and a major space telescope toward a multi-year $10.4 billion exploration plan aimed at returning astronauts to the moon in about five or six years.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/trump-wants-nasa-out-of-space-station-by-2025-businesses-in/2018/02/12/33717d9e-101d-11e8-a68c-e9374188170e_story.html?utm_term=.97d53897269a


Trump Administration Wants To Decide What Food SNAP Recipients Will Get
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/02/12/585130274/trump-administration-wants-to-decide-what-food-snap-recipients-will-get


Top 5 Worst Religious Clichés for People in Pain
https://katebowler.com/top-5-worst-religious-cliches-people-pain/


Trump wants to privatize the International Space Station
Ted Cruz blames the idea on “numskulls” over at the Office of Management and Budget.
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/11/17001610/international-space-station-privatize-trump-nasa


Trump Sold a $40 Million Estate to a Russian Oligarch for $100 Million—and a Democratic Senator Wants to Know Why
http://www.newsweek.com/trump-sold-40-million-estate-russian-oligarch-100-million-and-democratic-802613

Monday, February 12, 2018

Trump budget seeks cuts to domestic programs, Medicare, favors military and wall



Ginger Gibson, James Oliphant
Feb. 12, 2018

President Donald Trump proposed a budget on Monday that calls for cuts in domestic spending and social programs such as Medicare and seeks a sharp increase in military spending and funding for a wall on the Mexican border.

While running for president in 2016, Trump pledged to leave popular benefit programs such as Medicare and Social Security untouched, but his new budget proposal would reduce Medicare spending by $236 billion over the next 10 years.

•••••

There is little chance of those cuts becoming real, as presidential budgets are rarely enacted by the U.S. Congress, which controls federal purse strings. Instead, the budget allows the White House to lay out its priorities for the year.

•••••

Trump takes aim at blue states in infrastructure plan


Another ploy to transfer wealth to the power elite.
State and local taxes are regressive, with people paying a larger percentage of income in taxes the smaller their income. Shifting the spending formula for infrastructure to 80% paid by state and local government will increase this unfairness.
And the proposal for "private" investment means toll roads and bridges, which is extremely regressive, and can make roads too expensive for lower-income people to afford to use.

And blue states tend to pay more federal taxes than they get back, the opposite is true for republican states that are largely rural. Trump's plan would increase this unfairness.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/12/trump-infrastructure-blue-states-transit-405993

By DANA RUBINSTEIN and RYAN HUTCHINS
02/12/2018

Major transportation projects in blue states may be in jeopardy in President Donald Trump’s 10-year infrastructure plan, which critics say favors little-populated rural areas to the detriment of urban America.

The White House isn’t being coy about where its priorities lie in the $1.5 trillion proposal, released Monday: Of the $200 billion in actual federal investment called for in the 10-year plan, one-quarter would go to rural areas for purposes as diverse as sewers, highways, airports and broadband. But only 14 percent of people in the U.S. live in non-metropolitan areas.

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"That's a very clear message that urban America is not of very much consequence, and, ironically, it's urban America that needs most of the infrastructure money," said Martin Robins, the founding director of Rutgers University's Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center in New Jersey.

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And it emphasizes finding ways to augment government funding with private sector money, which detractors say would invariably result in more tolls or other passenger fees. It's a tough assignment for public-transit projects that have little prospect of making money.

•••••

he Trump administration wants to rely on local governments and private operators to do the heavy lifting, even as those same local governments — particularly in high-tax blue states — are grappling with the budgetary implications of Trump's tax code changes that took effect last month.

"The Republican tax bill was specifically designed to extract wealth from places that vote Democratic and shift it to places that vote Republican, and so that makes it extremely difficult for us to self-tax to make up for the cuts that are coming from the federal government," said Gabriel Metcalf, president and CEO of SPUR, a San Francisco Bay area-based urban policy think tank.

Trump's plan plays to his base in rural and small-town America, where nearly two thirds of voters chose him in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton. He campaigned on promises of improving job prospects for the parts of the country where they have been dim.

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Koch-backed group fights paid sick leave laws as flu sweeps US


Please consider donating to The Guardian to help them continue their investigative reporting without a pay wall.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/11/paid-sick-leave-koch-brothers-nfib

Renée Feltz
Sun 11 Feb 2018 06.00 EST

This week marks 25 years since Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act, which gives US workers the right to unpaid time off to care for themselves and close family members.

It took another decade for some to win paid sick leave, when San Franciscans approved a ballot initiative in 2006 for private employees to earn an hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Similar measures now benefit 14 million workers in 32 municipalities and nine states.

Paid sick leave advocates cite studies showing flu infection rates decrease in cities where workers earn sick days, and that parents who cannot take leave are two times more likely to send their sick children to school. They also point to a 2012 poll of restaurant servers and cooks that revealed two-thirds had served or cooked food while ill, threatening the health of their co-workers, customers and the companies that employ them.

But with a flu epidemic currently raging across the US, potential new sick leave measures are facing opposition from the same Koch Brothers-backed lobbying group that led the legal assault on Obamacare.

When Maryland lawmakers moved last month to override the governor’s veto of a bill allowing 700,000 workers to earn sick leave, the state’s director of the National Federation of Independent Business – the Koch-backed group – complained it would create job-killing costs and mandate “devastating sanctions” for failure to comply.

On Thursday, the NFIB backed a failed attempt to delay the law, which went into effect on Sunday.

Now it wants Austin city council members to vote no this Thursday on an ordinance that would make the Texas liberal enclave the first city in the south to require paid sick leave from private employers.

Past tax records reveal most of the NFIB’s funding comes from Freedom Partners, whose nine-member board includes eight current or former key figures at Koch Industries and other Koch entities. More than 95% of the candidates it backs are Republican.

While its representatives are often quoted in the media as proponents of small businesses, the group refuses to release its donor list and tends to lobby for policies that benefit billionaires and corporate interests.

•••••

Upping the stakes, NFIB’s Texas Executive Director, Will Newton, has promised to pursue state-level a “pre-emptive” law against paid sick leave next year. Seven states have already enacted similar measures drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, which critics call a corporate bill mill.

•••••

Meanwhile, during a press conference on Tuesday to announce the death of two children from the flu this season in New York City, the health commissioner touted the city’s paid sick leave law as a way to get people with the virus to stay home.

The measure passed in 2014, but a report released last month found fewer than half of low-income workers had heard of it.

Trump unveils infrastructure plan to be paid for mostly by state and local governments


So the tax bill penalizes people in states where they are willing to tax themselves for the public good, now Trump wants the states to be the ones to pay for infrastructure improvements.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/11/trump-to-unveil-165bn-infrastructure-proposal

AP
Feb. 11, 2018

Donald Trump on Monday will unveil his long-awaited infrastructure plan.

It is a $1.5tn proposal that fulfills a number of campaign goals but relies heavily on state and local governments to produce much of the funding.
'One big pothole’: will Trump fix America’s decaying infrastructure?
Read more

The administration’s plan is centered on using $200bn in federal money to leverage local and state tax dollars to fix America’s infrastructure, such as roads, highways, ports and airports.

“Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and where appropriate tapping into private sector investment to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit,” Trump said at last month’s State of the Union address.

The president has repeatedly blamed the “crumbling” state of the nation’s roads and highways for preventing the American economy from reaching its full potential.

•••••

Administration officials previewing the plan said it would feature two key components: an injection of funding for new investments and help speed up repairs of crumbling roads and airports, as well as a streamlined permitting process that would truncate the wait time to get projects underway. Officials said the $200bn in federal support would come from cuts to existing programs.

Half the money would go to grants for transportation, water, flood control, cleanup at some of the country’s most polluted sites and other projects.

States, local governments and other project sponsors could use the grants which administration officials view as incentives for no more than 20% of the cost. Transit agencies generally count on the federal government for half the cost of major construction projects, and federal dollars can make up as much as 80% of some highway projects.

About $50bn would go toward rural projects transportation, broadband, water, waste, power, flood management and ports. That is intended to address criticism from some Republican senators that the administration’s initial emphasis on public-private partnerships would do little to help rural, GOP-leaning states.

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Links



President Trump said in an interview published Sunday that both Israelis and Palestinians are playing roles in hindering peace in the region.
[I agree with Trump on this.]
http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/373350-trump-israel-and-palestinians-both-hindering-peace-plan


The Importance of Infants’ Exposure to Micro-Organisms
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/05/well/live/infant-microbiome-cesarean-childbirth-breastfeeding.html


Trump accuses Democrats of sending him Russia probe memo they knew he would reject
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-accuses-democrats-sending-russia-probe-memo-knew/story?id=52984087


Raw-meat pet food tainted with salmonella sickens 2 Minnesota children
http://www.startribune.com/pet-found-causes-two-child-illnesses/473614903/

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Democratic Senators urge Trump administration to resume Equifax probe



Patrick Rucker
Feb. 5, 2018

Democratic senators and consumer advocates on Monday urged the Trump administration to resume an investigation into how Equifax failed to protect the personal data of millions of consumers after Reuters reported that the head of the U.S. consumer watchdog has pulled back on the existing probe.

•••••

Reuters reported that Mick Mulvaney, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), has dialed back the investigation begun by his predecessor, Richard Cordray.

Specifically, sources said Mulvaney has held back from ordering subpoenas against Equifax - a routine step in launching a full-scale probe. Meanwhile, the CFPB has shelved plans for on-the-ground tests of how Equifax protects data, an idea backed by Cordray.

The CFPB also recently rebuffed bank regulators at the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency when they offered to help with on-site examinations of credit bureaus, said two sources familiar with the matter.

•••••

Equifax hack put more info at risk than consumers knew

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/02/10/equifax-hack-put-more-info-risk-than-consumers-knew/326260002/

Feb. 10, 2018

The Equifax data breach exposed more of consumers’ personal information than the company first disclosed last year, according to documents given to lawmakers.

The credit reporting company announced in September that the personal information of 145.5 million consumers had been compromised in a data breach. It originally said that the information accessed included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and – in some cases – driver’s license numbers and credit card numbers. It also said some consumers’ credit card numbers were among the information exposed, as well as the personal information from thousands of dispute documents.

However, Atlanta-based Equifax Inc. recently disclosed in a document submitted to the Senate Banking Committee, that a forensic investigation found criminals accessed other information from company records. According to the document, provided to The Associated Press by Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office, that included tax identification numbers, email addresses and phone numbers. Finer details, such as the expiration dates for credit cards or issuing states for driver’s licenses, were also included in the list.

•••••

Friday, February 09, 2018

Links



He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you. - Friedrich Nietzsche


It's shameful that people who benefited from adults willing to pay taxes for their college education now are unwilling to do the same for young people today.


If we gave everyone a decent standard of living, could we sustain it?
https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/a-basic-standard-of-living-could-be-environmentally-sustainable/


Climate disruption is increasing flood risks in Europe
[I guess Pruitt would say this is good, because the people who cleanup and repair after these events get more business.]
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/feb/08/climate-change-is-increasing-flood-risks-in-europe


US flu season now as bad as 2009 swine flu epidemic
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/09/us-flu-season-epidemic


Defense Secretary James Mattis said Thursday that “Dreamers” serving in the military will not be deported, even if the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program expires.
http://thehill.com/policy/defense/373021-mattis-vows-dreamers-serving-in-military-will-not-be-deported


What 'Hillbilly Elegy' Won't Tell You About Appalachia
https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/what-hillbilly-elegy-wont-tell-you-about-appalachia?akid=16697.215065.1nllmr&rd=1&src=newsletter1088443&t=6


Robert J. O'Neill, Navy SEAL who says he killed bin Laden: ‘A military parade is third world bullshit’
http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/372941-navy-seal-who-says-he-killed-bin-laden-a-military-parade-is-third


Former President George W. Bush on Thursday said that there is “clear evidence” of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/372879-george-w-bush-russia-meddled-in-election


The data indeed show that children who are spanked do not internalize a notion that their behavior was wrong. They do, however, become more likely to endorse aggression and physical means as acceptable forms of resolving conflicts.
http://quillette.com/2018/02/02/the-spanking-debate-is-over/
tags: child abuse

A National Park Service (NPS) senior official requested the Department of Interior (DOI) make $32,000 worth of design and construction upgrades to an agency-owned housing unit in an attempt to profit from renting out the space as if it were his personal residence, according to an internal report.
[I am guessing they were able to see info on what races people voted in, what primary they voted in, what party they registered with. This could have been used to target voters with fake news via social media.]
http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/372806-nps-official-requested-thousands-in-upgrades-for-park-housing-unit


Russians penetrated U.S. voter systems, says top U.S. official/ There is no evidence that any of the registration rolls were altered in any fashion, according to U.S. officials.
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/russians-penetrated-u-s-voter-systems-says-top-u-s-n845721


Trained for the Culture Wars in Home School, Awaiting Someone Like Mike Pence as a Messiah
[I remember warning people about this decades ago and being considered paranoid. Liberals are so inept at working together and consistently over a long time, and not oriented to striving for power, that they are not able to understand people like this, and therefore unprepared to prevent them taking power and influence.]
https://www.autostraddle.com/i-was-trained-for-the-culture-wars-in-home-school-awaiting-someone-like-mike-pence-as-a-messiah-367057/


I saw a post on Facebook repeating the claim that immigration has no harmful effects on workers, just wonderful benefits to “the economy”.
Actually, large-scale immigration does hurt those they compete with. Saying it doesn't just causes them to more strongly doubt statements from outsiders. The fact that if one recounts a personal experience with this causes liberals to pile on and call you a racist makes it much worse.
Studies usually focus on immigration's favorable effects on "the economy". They may admit that it depresses wages for people with only a high-school education, and immigrants already here, but dismiss it as unimportant in relation to other effects. But these people whose wages are depressed are human beings, not statistics, not objects whose purpose in life is to make life comfortable for those who make good money. They are already making so little money that a "small" decrease in their wages has a large negative effect on their lives. Treating this as unimportant is neither moral nor useful in influencing them to more rational ways of thinking.


A federal appeals court has rejected a challenge to the $25 million settlement that President Trump was ordered to pay to former students of the now-shuttered Trump University.
http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/372552-appeals-court-upholds-25-million-trump-university-settlement


Scientists find massive reserves of mercury hidden in permafrost
https://news.agu.org/press-release/scientists-find-massive-reserves-of-mercury-hidden-in-permafrost/


Venus flytraps give insects that pollinate their flowers a break. They don't eat them.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2018/02/07/venus-flytraps-give-insects-that-pollinate-their-flowers-a-break-they-dont-eat-them/?utm_term=.32decff717d9


DNA shows early Briton had dark skin
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-42939192


Your smart TV may be prey for hackers and collecting more info than you realize, Consumer Reports warns
https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2018/02/07/your-smart-tv-may-prey-hackers-and-collecting-more-info-than-you-realize-consumer-reports-warns/311903002/


Russians already meddling in US midterms, Tillerson says
[People on both sides of the political divide are still easy to dupe with fake news designed to provoke ill will toward each other.]
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/02/06/russians-already-meddling-in-us-midterms-tillerson-says.html


Death toll rises, search effort continues after Taiwan quake
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/taiwan-earthquake-update-death-toll-rises-search-missing-hualien/


Senate leaders reach agreement on two-year budget deal, adding billions of dollars in federal spending
[So republicans think it's fine to greatly increase the national debt for the sake of giving huge tax breaks to the very rich, but they are scared of increasing the budget to help the military, middle- and working-class people, aid to victims of the horrible disasters we have been having.]
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/spending-deal-in-jeopardy-as-pelosi-issues-last-minute-demand-on-immigration/2018/02/07/a07e4e68-0c1b-11e8-8890-372e2047c935_story.html?utm_term=.6ee683a40dfd


Pentagon considering Washington military parade at Trump’s request
[We can't afford to provide health care for poor people, but we can afford to pay for a big parade that takes soldiers away from their duties, to plan and implement this. ]
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/pentagon-eyeing-military-parade-d-c-trump-s-request-n845331


America's poor subsidize wealthier consumers in a vicious income inequality cycle
[In addition to what the article discusses, banks will give things like free checks and safety deposit box to their larger depositors.]
https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/america-s-poor-subsidize-wealthier-consumers-vicious-income-inequality-cycle-ncna845091