Category Archives: Environment

Thursday Morning

I’ve felt for a long time that “Being There” (and the novella that inspired it) was unintended prophecy.

More self-inflicted fresh-water poisoning.

Increasingly, to have an understanding of science is to realize how poorly the profit motive is serving us in our interactions with reality, especially when combined with the failure to remember that governments are the entities funding forward-looking research.

There are few if any replacements for carbapenems in development, says Elizabeth Jungman, director of drug safety and innovation at the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington DC. Companies lack economic incentives to develop new antibiotics, she says, and researchers have found it difficult to find new ways to get Gram-negative bacteria to take up antibiotics.

This makes me feel stabby.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court takes an interesting approach to “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” An excerpt (linked from the story):

In sum, our review reveals no compelling reason to
interpret Article I, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution as providing greater protection with regard to warrantless searches of motor vehicles than does the Fourth Amendment. Therefore, we hold that, in this Commonwealth, the law governing warrantless searches of motor vehicles is coextensive with federal law under the Fourth Amendment. The prerequisite for a warrantless search of a motor vehicle is probable cause to search; no exigency beyond the inherent mobility of a motor vehicle is required. The consistent and firm requirement for probable cause is a strong and sufficient safeguard against illegal searches of motor vehicles, whose inherent mobility and the endless factual circumstances that such mobility engenders constitute a per se exigency allowing police officers to make the determination of probable cause in the first instance in the field.

SB: Egg on my face. According to ProfMTH (link to YouTube channel):

…it is well settled that people have a diminished expectation in privacy in cars and other vehicles. While the automobile exception is new to Pennsylvania law, it is not new to federal 4th Amendment jurisprudence–it’s been around since the 1920s. The federal bench realized long ago that if a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe a vehicle s/he has stopped is being used in the commission of a crime and/or contains evidence of a crime, it is unreasonable to send the officer off to obtain a warrant since the vehicle and the evidence it may contain are, to understate it, unlikely to be around when the officer returns. One of the hallmarks of the 4th Amendment is reasonableness.

Well all right then. Sometimes when I think things are getting worse, it’s just that I’ve become more aware of it as I grew older. Well that, and sometimes I’m just ignorant.

Rob Ford… just… stop, already.

Australia, what the hell are you doing?? Besides punishing the average person for putting all your chips on the commodities boom in China, of course. Note that the title syas “Wealthy to pay for own health care costs,” but the first sentence is “The middle class would be forced to cover their own health costs and Medicare would be left as a basic safety net under the commission of audit’s plan, cleaving universal healthcare in two.” Is this called “breaking it to you slowly?”

Grifters gotta grift. For the children!

TEPCO: Failing upwards in Japan.

Anybody else think the private sector could learn a few things from NASA’s unmanned flight operations team? Still going strong.

Some dark humor to start your day.

Hell Just Froze Over

Not only did the Roberts court just vote 6-2 in favor of the EPA, Alto recused himself from the case.

WASHINGTON — In a major environmental victory for the Obama administration, the Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate the smog-causing pollution from coal-fired power plants that wafts across state lines from 27 Midwestern and Appalachian states to the East Coast.

The 6-to-2 ruling upholds a centerpiece of what has become a signature of President Obama’s environmental agenda: a series of new Clean Air Act regulations aimed at cutting pollution from coal-fired power plants. Republicans and the coal industry have criticized the effort as a “war on coal.”

Legal experts said the decision, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, signaled that the Obama administration’s efforts to use the Clean Air Act to fight global warming could also withstand legal challenges. The E.P.A. is expected to unveil in June a sweeping new climate change regulation, using the authority of the Clean Air Act to rein in carbon pollution from coal plants.

The regulations covering cross-state air pollution, known as “good neighbor” rules, have pitted Rust Belt and Appalachian states like Ohio and Kentucky against East Coast states like New York and Connecticut.

Okay, where’s the Candid Camera guy?

Dursban sale moratorium under reconsideration

The NewsFactor Netrwork reports via AP that the EPA is reconsidering the ban on the sale of the pesticide Dursban for the purpose of protecting new homes against termites. Reconsidering the ban is troublesome given the earlier findings regarding the chemical.

Some recent studies have linked Dursban to neurological and developmental damage in animals and young children. Dow officials question these studies and say children in new homes are protected by layers of plastic and concrete covering the pesticide-treated ground, the Post said.

As a former homeowner, I can tell you that new or not, plastic or not (concrete? Don’t make me laugh), water WILL get into your foundation sooner or later, it’s just a matter of how much. Given the minute quantities of pesticides that are required for ill effect, it seems odd to be spraying poisons around where we live, and extremely odd on the EPA’s part in light of recent litigation surrounding the toxin and its advertising.

We’ll kill us all, and you’ll help us!

Well, the climate change meeting in Buenos Aires produced some interesting results for a conference that was supposed to be only a set of informal discussions. In addition to hamstringing the meeting itself, the U.S. did its best to make the meeting, and Kyoto itself, irrelevant (Bush likes making things irrelevant):

The Americans also objected to mentions of the need to tackle global warming as opposed to adapting to it, and backed an extraordinary demand from Saudi Arabia that oil-producing states should receive billions of dollars in compensation from the rest of the world if they burned less oil.

Pure, naked greed. Don’t you love it?

Tell us how you really feel.

Paul Campos, a law professor at the university of Colorodo, was walking through the parking lot of a shopping mall when he saw a Ford Excursion with a “support the troops” ribbon decal on the back. he had a few things to say about it.

All I have to say, with complete honesty and agreement, is “Fucking brilliant.” And perhaps give a standing ovation. I know how you feel, and I can identify with some of the anger behind that reaction.

I’m sick of being looked at like an idiot most places I go because I don’t buy into the American myth that ultimately we are completely responsible for our own fate in this world, I’m tired of being thought naive because I don’t believe that it’s my duty to look out for myself and that the rest of the world can fuck off. I’m furious that, since I am not enlightened and perfect in word and deed, that any “flaw” in my lifestyle (such as smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, being a lapsed vegetarian, and being a computer junkie) is seen as perfect justification for rejecting my social arguments.

I’ve got a wake-up call for a few of you out there in kool-aid land. When you start thinking beyond an adolescent emotional level (and that’s being cruel to adolescents), dividing the world into “The Good Guys” and “The Bad Guys” with a straight face, when you stop acting like the world is a kindergarten sandbox with rules you change any time you like with no consequences beyond the moment, then we can talk. But as long as you 1. either believe that some deity (or group thereof) is going to save you true believers while the rest of us burn, or 2. don’t give a damn about anyone else and could care less what happens after you die, or 3. feel comfortable letting other people do your thinking for you, writing the daily soundbites you then spout off at each other, your families, your neighbors, unsuspecting co-workers, co-passengers, and complete frickin’ strangers, while not once taking a few heartbeats to shut the hell up and actually look at the tripe you’re saying on behalf of people (usually in group number two) who couldn’t give two shits about you or anyone else (y’all in this third group are the ones who REALLY piss me off, can you tell?) then I don’t feel like I have to be reasonable with you anymore.

I’ll try, and I’ll try, and I’ll keep trying, because I love nothing more than watching someone else while they dig into all the information that’s out there and come up with their own conclusions. But the pressure’s off. It’s gone. Poof. Vanished. The agendas you support are no longer matters of discussion and debate, they are things that kill and demean people that must be resisted. I sure as hell hope Dean is what he presents himself as, at least in some degree, because I’d really like for the DLC to grow a little backbone, integrity, and human empathy. I’d like to see some unifying outrage going. I know just where I’d like to see it start; with the media, because I’m all too used to looking at the “two sides” of a political debate in this country wondering what piece of alien planetary real estate the talking heads are arguing over. But getting back to the point – reasonableness has been tried, and y’all don’t listen worth a damn.

So again, Bravo, Professor Campos. I know how you feel.

SB 7/1/14: I didn’t know this then, but this eventually led to my long time as a reader of Lawyers, Guns, and Money.


The Guardian has reported that women now comprise the majority of new AIDS cases. While the Republican majority seeks to spend their new “political capital” like its going out of style, (read as: repay the interests that kept them in office) and the Democrats continue to dither, Rome is truly burning. Or if it isn’t because of AIDS, there are other ways reality is asserting itself over the economics of faith-based, short-term personal gain.