Saturday, February 24, 2007

NRA sickos

This man's career may have been destroyed because he made an intelligent remark. I support the right to own weapons, but the NRA has shown itself to be really sick.

Modern hunters rarely become more famous than Jim Zumbo. A mustachioed, barrel-chested outdoors entrepreneur who lives in a log cabin near Yellowstone National Park, he has spent much of his life writing for prominent outdoors magazines, delivering lectures across the country and starring in cable TV shows about big-game hunting in the West.
Zumbo's fame, however, has turned to black-bordered infamy within America's gun culture -- and his multimedia success has come undone. It all happened in the past week, after he publicly criticized the use of military-style assault rifles by hunters, especially those gunning for prairie dogs.
"Excuse me, maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity," Zumbo wrote in his blog on the Outdoor Life Web site. The Feb. 16 posting has since been taken down. "As hunters, we don't need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them. . . . I'll go so far as to call them 'terrorist' rifles."

The reaction -- from tens of thousands of owners of assault rifles across the country, from media and manufacturers rooted in the gun business, and from the National Rifle Association -- has been swift, severe and unforgiving. Despite a profuse public apology and a vow to go hunting soon with an assault weapon, Zumbo's career appears to be over.

His top-rated weekly TV program on the Outdoor Channel, his longtime career with Outdoor Life magazine and his corporate ties to the biggest names in gunmaking, including Remington Arms Co., have been terminated or are on the ropes.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

our share
Carlson said that the average American is responsible for 50,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year. That is quite a substantial carbon footprint, which he defined as each person's "cumulative impact on global warming from the energy that you use from the electricity for your home, the gas in your car, flying in a plane."

50,000 pounds, that's 25 tons each year! I can't tell from this article if this figure includes the carbon footprint from items that we buy. If not, it's even worse.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

elite whiners : H1-B visas and outsourcing

I am really tired of the rich power elite whining because of conditions they instigated, or at least made worse.

They are complaining that not enough young people are going into computers. When I got my first programming job, I had a degree in math, and a single programming course - in FORTRAN. I was given an IBM programmed instruction manual on Assembler language, and became an Assembler programmer. I taught myself COBOL from a programmed instruction manual, and got a COBOL job. For years, I continued to get jobs and assignments for which I did not have all of the specific experience needed, but which I was able to easily pick up on the job. Now, companies don't want to hire anyone who doesn't have several years of specific experience in every detail of the job, no matter how trivial. They don't want to hire people over a certain age, or people just out of school. In 2000, when many thousands of programmers had been thrown on the trash pile after saving the economy of the world, business got Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to greatly increase the number of H1-B visas, allowing the importing of technical people from other companies. Also, many companies have been outsourcing skilled jobs to other companies. Many skilled and capable people were out of work, or working at low-paid jobs. So college students made the intelligent decision not to go into IT. Now that many baby boomers are retiring, companies are being forced to hire older and less experienced people. So now they are trying to get Congress to again increase the number of H1-B visas. I saw an article in the last couple of weeks saying that there is a program to go to high schools and colleges and tell students that IT would be a great field to go into, at the same time they are trying to make sure this is a blatant lie by increasing the number of H1-B visas and outsourcing.

Of course, much of this is also true for other skilled professions. They are even outsourcing tax preparation and x-ray analysis to other countries.

We are also being told that we are going to have a problem in funding Social Security retirements of baby boomers. Increasing the number of H1-B visas will make this worse. If we can't get decent-paying jobs, we will be forced to take early Social Security retirement just to survive. We are criticized for not saving enough for retirement. If you have a low-paying job, you can't save much, if anything, for retirement.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

neurological disease and pollution
Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological diseases may be far more common than most people had believed, according to the latest estimates.
Nearly one out of 1,000 Americans has multiple sclerosis or MS and one out of 100 elderly Americans has Parkinson’s disease the survey found.
“Our estimate of MS prevalence is about 50 percent higher than a comprehensive review from 1982,” said Dr. Deborah Hirtz of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, who led the survey.

In the last two decades reports from different countries emerged associating pesticide and herbicide use with Parkinson's disease (PD).

Conclusions Our data show an increased PD mortality in California counties using agricultural pesticides.

Environmental factors that can trigger inflammatory events in the central nervous system are lipopolysaccharide, aluminum, and particulate matter present in air pollution. These factors may enhance existing age-related inflammation in the central nervous system and thus accelerate neuronal toxicity.
The Bush administration continues to help business profits at the expense of the public health.

An order signed by President Bush on the oversight of thousands of government regulations issued every year was praised by business as a step toward controlling an unwieldy process but criticized by others as potentially a loser for consumers.
The White House said the executive order signed by Bush on Jan. 18 makes a senior official in each agency accountable for the regulations it issues and provides greater openness by ensuring that “guidance” documents issued to businesses are available to the public.

Consumer groups say the public would lose out because the order could slow the process by which regulations in the public interest such as pollution controls would be issued, and puts the process under the control of an official appointed by the president.

The Bush administration has repeatedly censored scientific findings, including on harmful effects of pollution on human health (for example, mercury), for the sake of protecting business profits. This sounds like more of the same.

There are names for someone who puts short-term profits for the rich above the good of the country and the world : traitor and sociopath (also know as psychopath).

here we go again

In 2000, when thousands of people in IT were out of work after saving the economy of the world by doing the Y2K conversions, Congress paid of its big business donors by greatly increasing the number of high-tech H1-B visas, which allow busingess to bring in cheap labor from other countries. The result is that people with 25 or 30 years of experience couldn't even get e-mails or phone calls returned, and ended up working at jobs such as teacher's aid, waitress, construction, etc. Also, people w/o experience could not get a job. Now many baby boomers are retiring, so companies are being forced to open up to older people, and those just out of colleges. So, no surprise, Congress is being lobbyed by the business community to greatly increase the limit on H1-B visas.

Friday, February 02, 2007

childhood cancer

A University of Texas study ... found that living within two miles of elevated levels of 1,3-butadiene around the ship channel’s petrochemical complex was associated with a 56 percent increased incidence of childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia compared with those living more than 10 miles away, according to a statement from the city of Houston, which financed the study.

This may be part of the reason the rate of childhood cancer has been increasing by about 20% every 20 years.