Friday, July 06, 2007

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Environmental Updates

South China City Hit By Toxic Red Tide of Algae

"This is the biggest red tide that has ever appeared off the city's coast," the China Daily quoted Zhou Kai, an expert with the local marine environment monitoring station, as saying.

Zhou said the 50-sq-km (19-sq-mile) slick off the west coast of Shenzhen, a major industrial centre bordering Hong Kong in Guangdong province, was the third outbreak this year and was likely to persist without rain.

One-Third of U.S. Water Estuaries in Bad Shape

The EPA analyzed 1,239 sites in its first survey of the country's 28 major estuaries, which provide breeding grounds and shelter for fish and birds.

It found that bodies of water with large numbers of people living nearby suffered the most. While counties with big estuaries make up only 6 percent of the coastal land area, they contain more than two-thirds of the coastal population.

New Blood Tests Needed After Dominican Delays Ruin Survey Into Polluted Site

Blood samples from children in one of the world's most polluted places will have to be retaken, prompting fears the cleanup will be further delayed at the site nicknamed "the Dominican Chernobyl," researchers said Tuesday.

Testing delays ruined the samples from 230 children living in the port town of Haina, where run-off from a former battery recycling plant has poisoned scores of people, said Steve Osborne, a spokesman for the Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

Surge of Dead Seabirds Alarms Scientists

The deaths of the birds -- similar to gulls and called greater shearwaters -- have wildlife officials worried about possible changes in the ocean that could have affected the fish that the birds usually eat.

Dutch Try To Grow Environment-Friendly Meat in Lab

Although it is in its early stages, the idea is to replace harvesting meat from livestock with a process that eliminates the need for animal feed, transport, land use and the methane expelled by animals, which all hurt the environment, [Utrecht University veterinary science professor Bernard Roelen] said.

"Keeping animals just to eat them is in fact not so good for the environment," said Roelen. "Animals need to grow, and animals produce many things that you do not eat."

I'd eat it.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Greenwald on the Authoritarian Mind

Tucker, Jonah, Elizabeth and Jillian

Our Leaders are Good and want to protect us. Therefore, we must accept -- and even be grateful -- when they prevent us from knowing what they are doing. The less we know, the more powerful our Leaders are. And that is something we accept and celebrate, for our Leaders are Good and we trust that the more powerful they are, the better we all shall be.

If this piques your interest in understanding authoritarianism, start reading Orcinus.

Compare and contrast with Theodore C. Sorenson's The New Vision: The speech I want the Democratic nominee to give, which calls out to the best of American ideals, rather than fear, hate, and willful ignorance.

Other Half of Four-Part WaPo Cheney Series

Cheney, Part III and Part IV

Publius has some interesting remarks over at ObsidianWings:

[D]ismissing Cheney as “evil” is too easy. Cheney is not some one-time moral aberration, he is the product of deeper, more structural flaws in the American political system. For that reason, we can expect future Cheneys if these fundamental flaws aren’t recognized and addressed.

P gets into the ideological aspect of the broader "process" -- asserting, quite rightly, I think, that "the emergence of a shadow presidency" was "the direct product of the ideology of the 2000 election."

Money and outdated election systems create their own problems, but they don’t necessarily lead to electing inexperienced, unqualified presidents. What does lead to electing inexperienced, unqualified presidents is a media narrative and public debate focused on juvenile, high-school popularity-type criteria.

And now, for my voice, in a brief remark that I shall leave to you, gentle reader, to unpack, mostly, whilst I go back to studying for the bar exam:

We changed how we elect presidents, with JFK. Look, not content, became pre-eminent when Nixon sweated in televised debate with JFK in 1960.

From the Eagleton Digital Archive of American Politics:

Indeed, those who heard the first debate on the radio pronounced Nixon the winner. But the 70 million who watched television saw a candidate still sickly and obviously discomforted by Kennedy's smooth delivery and charisma. Those television viewers focused on what they saw, not what they heard.

Thanks, TV. Now, the Internet, founded in content rather than look, many community voices rather than one paternalistic one, may save us, I don't know. It's changed so over the years, so, I just don't know.