Monday, September 21, 2020

More on nukes

As a follow-up to Anti-nuclear hysteria kills, check this out:

A golf-ball sized lump of uranium can deliver more than enough power to cover all your lifetime energy use. To get the same energy from coal, you’d need 3,200 tonnes of the stuff — a mass equivalent to 800 adult elephants, which would go on to produce more than 11,000 tonnes of CO2. That’s about 11,000 tonnes more than the uranium.

Climatologists James Hansen and Pushker Kharecha calculated that the use of nuclear power between 1971 and 2009 avoided the premature deaths of 1.84 million people by preventing air pollution from burning coal.

What about radiation or nuclear disasters? According to Our World In Data, in generating a given amount of electricity, nuclear, wind, and solar all cause about the same number of deaths — and it’s a tiny number.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

It's not good

 I understand that people don't want to think about racism. I get a variety of emails forwarded to me trying to argue that racism isn't really a thing. But if you really think about it, would you really want to have to live like Black people do? This is from "liberal" Minnesota: "The president of the Minneapolis police union wore a 'white power' patch on his motorcycle jacket and discriminated against officers of color."

Saturday, September 19, 2020

If they ram through, I'm down with court packing

Absolutely right. There is no other play.
Quote Tweet
Brian Fallon
1. Oppose Trump's nominee prior to the election, invoking the GOP's own rule from 2016. 2. Defeat Trump on Nov 3 3. Keep seat open until Biden takes office 4. If GOP rams Trump pick thru anyway, add seats to the Court This is the play. There is no other play.
It’s truly shocking that 4 of 5 conservative justices on Supreme Court (Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch & Kavanaugh) were nominated by Republican presidents who lost popular vote

It’s pathetic if it takes the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg for progressives to understand the judicial consequences of elections the way conservatives do. But I’ll take it. We failed her heroic legacy in 2016. We cannot afford to do it again. Vote.

An extended case for court packing.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Do Blue Lives Matter?

According to a recent episode of The Weeds (Law and Order here), Covid has killed more cops this year than all other causes combined. If we really cared about cops at all (and other frontline workers), we would have actually dealt with the virus, as they did in Germany (a population-dense country with a large immigrant community; see here). 

PS, from Twitter: "I'd say two of the things I miss most from the Obama years are being able to breathe air outside and being able to breathe air inside."

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Idealism Kills

In 2008, Democrats had the biggest landslide imaginable. They had, for a while 60 seats in the Senate. 

Even with all that, they barely passed Obamacare. I watched the votes live, on pins and needles. 

If Dems had demanded more, they certainly would have lost. And I would be dead.

It isn't, of course, all about me. Countless people are dead now and more will die unnecessarily in the future because people voted for Jill Stein in PA, MI, and WI in 2016. Same for Nader in Florida in 2000.

In a center-right country, with the Electoral College and the unrepresentative Senate, realism is the only thing that makes progress. Realism saves lives. Idealism kills.

Friday, September 11, 2020

How can [most] reporters and editors look in the mirror?

 From Ari Solomon:

President Clinton lied about a blowjob and every newspaper in the country called on him to resign. Trump lied about a pandemic that has claimed nearly 200,000 American lives (and counting). What the actual fuck??

Oh and: But her emails!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Another reason not to each chickens - contamination

From The Body: A Guide for Occupants:

Foodborne illness is America’s secret epidemic. Every year three thousand people, the equivalent of a small town, die of food poisoning in the United States, and around 130,000 are hospitalized.

An investigation by the Food and Drug Administration in 2016 found that 84 percent of chicken breasts contained intestinal E. coli. According to a USDA study, about a quarter of all chicken pieces sold in stores are contaminated with salmonella. 

Monday, September 7, 2020

Race is not like hair color

From New Scientist, Black men are 2.3 times more likely to be killed by police (77 per 100,000 vs 33). Black women are 3.2 times more likely to die during pregnancy (41 per 100,000 vs 13). 

So despite some people's ardent desires, I think the numbers are clear that there is much work to do before we can just stop thinking and talking about addressing racism in the United States.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Tucson's Hottest Summer Ever

Hottest summer ever, and yowza, is that saying something.  Was 111 here at the house yesterday (Sept 4).

Note that the airport got much more rain than we did. Combine this with fires, Covid, bad air quality, and not being able to go up to the mountains....

Tanker over the fires earlier this summer; photo taken from our yard:

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Summary from the NY Times


Trump breaks so many of the normal rules of politics that it can sometimes be hard to know when his tweets and comments are truly newsworthy. Even by his standards, though, the past several days have stood out. Consider:

  • Trump said on Monday that a plane “almost completely loaded with thugs” wearing “dark uniforms” had been headed to the Republican National Convention to do “big damage.” The claim is similar to a baseless conspiracy theory that spread online over the summer, well before the convention.
  • He has declined to condemn the killings of two protesters in Kenosha, Wis. He instead defended the 17-year-old charged in the shootings — a Trump supporter named Kyle Rittenhouse — saying he was acting in self-defense. Trump also promoted a Twitter post that called Rittenhouse “a good example of why I decided to vote for Trump.”
  • He defended violence committed by his supporters in Portland, Ore., who fired paintballs and pepper spray at Black Lives Matter protesters.
  • He compared the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha to missing “a three-foot putt” in a golf tournament.
  • He claimed that “people that you’ve never heard of” and “people that are in the dark shadows” are controlling Joe Biden.
  • He claimed Democrats were trying to “destroy” suburbs with “low-income housing, and with that comes a lot of other problems, including crime.” He added that Cory Booker — one of the highest-profile Black Democrats — would be “in charge of it.”
  • He predicted that the stock market would crash if Biden won.
  • He said that Biden, at the Democratic National Convention, “didn’t even discuss law enforcement, the police. Those words weren’t mentioned.” In fact, Biden held a discussion at the convention on policing, with a police chief.
  • Trump claimed that he “took control of” the situation in Kenosha by sending in the National Guard. In fact, Wisconsin’s governor, not the president, sent the National Guard.
  • He retweeted messages asserting that the pandemic’s death toll was overstated. Evidence indicates the opposite is true.
  • He said that protests against police brutality were actually a secret “coup attempt” by anarchists “trying to take down the President.”

Biden has taken a very different approach to the unrest in Kenosha, Portland and elsewhere. He has told no apparent untruths, and he has criticized violence from both the political left and right — even though many liberals, whose votes Biden needs, are uncomfortable with any criticism of people on their side of the debate.

G.O.P. reaction. The Times tried to reach about a dozen leading congressional Republicans and ask for their reaction to Trump’s claims. “None cared to comment,” Mark Leibovich writes. Senator Mitt Romney offered one of the few public responses, calling the president’s comments “simply jaw-dropping.”

Russia adds to the misinformation. A group backed by the Kremlin is again trying to meddle in the U.S. presidential election and push voters toward Trump, Facebook and Twitter said yesterday.