Point of Information: Blog Commenter Etiquette

Today, I put someone, who made her first comment yesterday, on moderation.

This is pretty much a politically oriented blog.

When it started four and a half years ago I made a point of saying I was sick and tired of all the “Intersex” bullshit.  This Blog is for TS/TG folks and their allies.  Too often the label intersex seems to be used by TS/TG people in denial, people who are searching for a legitimizing reason for being TS/TG.  After all they can’t be just another garden variety TS/TG person, they have to be special.

Unfortunately for most of these folks being intersex is supposed to make them some how more real than garden variety TS/TG folks.

My attitude is, “Okay you’re intersex, so what?”

I’m bisexual, which means I’ve slept with men and women.  I’ve also slept with TS/TG people with all sorts of different combinations of sex characteristics.  I don’t sleep with people’s genitals, I sleep with people.  Make that one person these days as I have become monogamous in my old age.

When some one comes here and starts talking about their genitals, I’m like why the fuck do you feel compelled to share that level of intimate information with me, a total stranger.  I mean we aren’t even freaking Facebook friends.  This is like an unsolicited sext from some one I don’t know.

I feel like my blog has been slimed by some exhibitionist flashing stranger.

It isn’t like some one using the word “fuck” or anything like that.  It’s the whole To Much Information thingie.

If you feel compelled to tell me intimate information about your medical conditions, think twice, then take up those conditions with your doctor or therapist.

Don’t come here and dump that information.

I wind up thinking you are a wanker getting off on exposing this sort of information.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Point of Information: Blog Commenter Etiquette

Laverne Cox: Trans people should not put their dreams on hold because of who they are

From The New Statesman:  http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2013/08/laverne-cox-trans-people-should-not-put-their-dreams-hold-because-who-they-are

The breakout star of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black is a trans woman raised by a single mother in Alabama. She talks race, gender and politics with Paris Lees.

By Paris Lees
Published 11 August 2013

It’s tempting to introduce Laverne Cox as ‘the star’ of Orange is the New Black, the latest hit series from streaming service Netflix. Alhough she doesn’t play the lead, Laverne is that rarest of rarities in Hollywood – a black transgender actor playing a black transgender role. She has been featured everywhere from Time to GQ. Laverne, like the show, has earned mainstream appeal. 

As a trans woman myself, I’m particularly keen to control my image – how do you let go of that and give yourself completely to the role?

That’s my job as an actor, I’ve just learned that when it’s time to act that it’s not about me and it’s not about my aesthetic it’s about the character . . . it’s really freeing to be able to not worry about how I look and just disappear into a character, you know? When I show up as myself, there’s a lot of angst and there can be a lot of anxiety particularly on camera about looking a certain way, but as a character I can forget about that so it’s actually really liberating.

Does pushing yourself outside your comfort zone strengthen you?

Absolutely. It’s important to push myself into zones where I’m not comfortable, and I think that’s where the drama is. So I sort of look – at least as an artist – for places where I am not comfortable. And, also, as a human being, as a person who wants to challenge people’s ideas of what it means to be a woman, what it means to be a man, I have to push myself to have those conversations in different ways so I can reach people. I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can construct a message so that people can hear it. A lot of that is about the tone that I take, so that’s a process.

You and many other trans women of colour, like writer Janet Mock and model and designer Isis King, are enjoying great success. Do your experiences of race influence your trans activism?

For me it’s about having multiple voices and multiple stories. I think that Isis, Janet and I just give a different portrait of who trans people are. We all transitioned pretty young and that’s a different experience, we transitioned earlier and we’re all working class and that’s a different experience how those identities intersect. I think there are a number of trans women of colour who have seen their stories reflected in Isis or Janet or me and I think that’s important for those people to be able to look at mainstream media and see people who look like them and have stories that are similar to them whether they’re trans or not.

Continue reading at:  http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2013/08/laverne-cox-trans-people-should-not-put-their-dreams-hold-because-who-they-are

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Laverne Cox: Trans people should not put their dreams on hold because of who they are

As a gay parent I must flee Russia or lose my children

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/11/anti-gay-laws-russia

Draconian new laws brand homosexuals second-class citizens in Putin’s regime

The Observer, Saturday 10 August 2013

The first time I heard about legislation banning “homosexual propaganda“, I thought it was funny. Quaint. I thought the last time anyone had used those words in earnest I had been a kid and my girlfriend hadn’t been born yet. Whatever they meant when they enacted laws against “homosexual propaganda” in the small towns of Ryazan or Kostroma, it could not have anything to do with reality, me or the present day. This was a bit less than two years ago.

What woke me up was a friend who messaged me on Facebook: “I am worried about how this might impact you and other LGBT people with families.” This was enough to get my imagination working. Whatever they meant by “homosexual propaganda”, I probably did it. I had two kids and a third on the way (my girlfriend was pregnant), which would mean I probably did it in front of minors. And this, in turn, meant the laws could in fact apply to me. First, I would be hauled in for administrative offences and fined and then, inevitably, social services would get involved.

That was enough to get me to read the legislation, which by now had been passed in about 10 towns and was about to become law in St Petersburg, the second-largest city in the country. Here is what I read: homosexual propaganda was defined as “the purposeful and uncontrolled distribution of information that can harm the spiritual or physical health of a minor, including forming the erroneous impression of the social equality of traditional and non-traditional marital relations”.

Russia has a lot of poorly written laws and regulations that contradict its own constitution, but this one was different. Like other contemporary laws, it was so vaguely worded that it encouraged corruption and extortion (fines for “homosexual propaganda” are backbreaking) and made selective enforcement inevitable. But it also did something that had never been done in Russian law before: it enshrined second-class citizenship for LGBT people. Think about it: it made it an offence to claim social equality.

St Petersburg passed the law in March 2012. I no longer thought it was funny. I actually choked up when I saw the news item about the bill being proposed at the federal level. My girlfriend had recently had a baby and this, among other things, meant we needed to sell our tiny cars and trade up to something that accommodated three kids and a pram. I asked her: “Are we doing this or do we just need to get out of the country?” We decided we were doing it. We are fighters, not quitters.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/11/anti-gay-laws-russia

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on As a gay parent I must flee Russia or lose my children

Putin’s anti-gay Olympics – Should we participate and condone the hate?

From LGBTQ Nation:  http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/08/putins-anti-gay-olympics-should-we-participate-and-condone-the-hate/

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Much has been written about Russia, their new anti-gay laws and the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The debate: Should the U.S. go and compete, or should we boycott?

President Obama said Friday: “I do not think it’s appropriate to boycott the Olympics.”

So I suppose that means the U.S. will be going to Putin’s Russia.

The President wants us to win medals: “One thing I’m really looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze, which I think would go a long way in rejecting the kind of attitudes we’re seeing there.”


Did Jesse Owens winning the gold change the attitude of Hitler and his killing of Jews, gypsies, gays and whoever else he deemed not worthy to live?

Of course it didn’t – just like the U.S. going to Putin’s Russia to win medals will make absolutely no difference in the treatment of homosexuals.

Allowing the Olympic Games to stay in Russia, and not boycotting, is telling the Russians that it’s okay they kill homosexuals.  It doesn’t matter that they (the Russians) promise not to enforce their awful anti-gay law during the Olympics. What matters is that they have the law in the first place.

Perhaps it’s because the United States is so divided on the issue of gay rights that, as a country, we are so divided on the Russian anti-gay, Olympic issue.

Continue reading at:  http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/08/putins-anti-gay-olympics-should-we-participate-and-condone-the-hate/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Putin’s anti-gay Olympics – Should we participate and condone the hate?

How Olympic Sponsors and the IOC Could Have Stopped Russia’s Anti-Gay Law — And Didn’t

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/how-olympic-sponsors-and_b_3731878.html


The ugly truth about Russia’s law against gay “propaganda,” now the subject of worldwide protests and boycotts, is coming into view. And that includes the role of American companies sponsoring the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, as well that of the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee, in allowing the heinous law to get passed.

The law, passed in early June of this year and signed by Vladimir Putin on June 30, didn’t just come out of nowhere. It worked its way up the legislative chain over a long period of time, beginning in the provinces, where similar local laws were passed as far back as 2006, and following on several years of crackdowns against LGBT activists and against pride parades in Moscow, St. Petersburg and elsewhere.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) notes that before Sochi was chosen for the 2014 games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other stakeholders, including American multinational sponsors of the Winter Olympics, as well as NBC Universal, which has the broadcast contract, carefully tracked the path of the legislation, which is a clear violation of the Olympic Charter.

“This piece of legislation worked its way up through the legislative system,” Minky Worden, HRW’s Director of Global Initiatives, told me in an interview (listen to the full interview below). “The International Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Committee, the so-called top corporate sponsors — Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble — these companies all, as [HRW] did, tracked the progress of this law.”

“And because it is so clearly in complete violation of the Olympic Charter,” she continued, “it’s also clear to us at Human Rights Watch that if any of the major Olympic stakeholders who have a hotline to the Kremlin — because the Olympics are very important to Putin personally, he has a deputy prime minister, [Dmitry] Kozak, who is tasked with making them come off perfectly — that if any of the Olympic stakeholders, the sponsors who are literally paying for the Games, or the International Olympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Committee or the other Olympic committees, if they weighed in on this, I don’t think this law would have been signed by Putin or passed by the Duma. If they had leaned on [Russia] before the law was signed, it would not have been signed. That is absolutely true.”

Worden is so confident that the IOC and American sponsors could have stopped the law because of the impact that the IOC and multinationals have had on governments in past Olympic Games. (OutSports’ Cyd Zielger notes this as well, with some clear examples, in his recent post about how the IOC should now ban Russia from its own Winter Olympics.)

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/how-olympic-sponsors-and_b_3731878.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on How Olympic Sponsors and the IOC Could Have Stopped Russia’s Anti-Gay Law — And Didn’t

Don’t be fooled. Pope by name, pope by nature

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/10/pope-francis-is-not-liberal

Forget what liberal Catholics and the liberal media think the pope said on the papal plane and read what he actually said

The Observer, Saturday 10 August 2013

The relief when the latest pope said that he did not want to judge gays was as palpable as it was pitiable. Conventional liberals do not want to overthrow or even reform oppressive institutions. They want to “respect” religion while blocking out the darkness within. I often think religious leaders can treat them as PR men treat gullible consumers. All they need to do is look cuddly and speak in soft voices.

Or, in the case of the pope, mouth contemporary pieties about avoiding “judgmental” prejudices. We once assumed that being judgmental was what popes did. Not this one, apparently.

An embarrassed silence has descended on one and all since that moment of euphoria, because Jorge Bergoglio has spoilt the story by carrying on as if nothing has changed. The Vatican announced that Catholics would receive remission from the punishments of purgatory. The good deed they had to perform was not to defend children from abusers, to pick an example at random, but to follow Pope Francis on Twitter. Bergoglio shows the way to salvation on his @Pontifex account. He has millions following him but, like a true narcissist, follows only himself.

Meanwhile, the behaviour of the church under his leadership has remained as disgraceful as ever. Buried by the praise for the pope’s humility was the news that Irish Catholic orders were refusing to compensate “fallen” women, who toiled in their Magdalene laundries. The Sisters of Mercy, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the Sisters of Charity and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd belied their names by benefiting from the proceeds of what I can only call slave labour.

They kept women working for nothing behind locked doors in sweltering laundries . This is not some half-forgotten abuse from before most of us were born. With the complicity of Ireland’s quasi-theocratic state, women were condemned to sweat for nothing into the 1990s. Yet the church refuses to pay them the wages it stole, and the Irish government will not even strip the thieving orders of their charitable status by way of retaliation.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/10/pope-francis-is-not-liberal

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Don’t be fooled. Pope by name, pope by nature

N.S.A. Said to Search Content of Messages to and From U.S.

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/08/us/broader-sifting-of-data-abroad-is-seen-by-nsa.html?_r=1&

Published: August 8, 2013

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans’ e-mail and text communications into and out of the country, hunting for people who mention information about foreigners under surveillance, according to intelligence officials.

The N.S.A. is not just intercepting the communications of Americans who are in direct contact with foreigners targeted overseas, a practice that government officials have openly acknowledged. It is also casting a far wider net for people who cite information linked to those foreigners, like a little used e-mail address, according to a senior intelligence official.

While it has long been known that the agency conducts extensive computer searches of data it vacuums up overseas, that it is systematically searching — without warrants — through the contents of Americans’ communications that cross the border reveals more about the scale of its secret operations.

It also adds another element to the unfolding debate, provoked by the disclosures of Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor, about whether the agency has infringed on Americans’ privacy as it scoops up e-mails and phone data in its quest to ferret out foreign intelligence.

Government officials say the cross-border surveillance was authorized by a 2008 law, the FISA Amendments Act, in which Congress approved eavesdropping on domestic soil without warrants as long as the “target” was a noncitizen abroad. Voice communications are not included in that surveillance, the senior official said.

Asked to comment, Judith A. Emmel, an N.S.A. spokeswoman, did not directly address surveillance of cross-border communications. But she said the agency’s activities were lawful and intended to gather intelligence not about Americans but about “foreign powers and their agents, foreign organizations, foreign persons or international terrorists.”

“In carrying out its signals intelligence mission, N.S.A. collects only what it is explicitly authorized to collect,” she said. “Moreover, the agency’s activities are deployed only in response to requirements for information to protect the country and its interests.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/08/us/broader-sifting-of-data-abroad-is-seen-by-nsa.html?_r=1&

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on N.S.A. Said to Search Content of Messages to and From U.S.

Americans agree: Marijuana shouldn’t be criminalized

From CNN:  http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/09/opinion/st-pierre-armentano-marijuana/?hpt=hp_t5

By Allen St. Pierre and Paul Armentano, Special to CNN
August 9, 2013

Editor’s note: Allen St. Pierre is the executive director and Paul Armentano is the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Washington. Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary “Weed” at 8 p.m. ET August 11 on CNN.

(CNN) — Despite decades of propaganda from marijuana prohibitionists, a majority of the American public has indeed said “enough” to the policies of cannabis criminalization. And no amount of fear-mongering is going to change this fact.

Writing in a just-published report by the Brookings Institute, “The New Politics of Legalization,” authors E.J. Dionne and William Galston conclude, “In less than a decade, public opinion has shifted dramatically toward support for the legalization of marijuana. … Demographic change and widespread public experience using marijuana imply that opposition to legalization will never again return to the levels seen in the 1980s. The strong consensus that formed the foundation for many of today’s stringent marijuana laws has crumbled.”

Indeed it has. Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with pot prohibition and replacing it with a system of legalization and regulation. The proof is in the polls.

For example, according to a May 2013 Reason Magazine-Rupe nationwide survey, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, more than nine out of 10 U.S. adults say that people who possess or consume small quantities of cannabis should not face jail time.

Also last month, a May 2013 nationwide Fox News telephone poll, conducted by under the direction of Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw & Co. Research, reported that 85% of voters support allowing adults to use cannabis for therapeutic purposes. The total is an increase in support of 4 percentage points since Fox last polled the question in 2010 and is the highest level of public support for the issue ever reported in a scientific poll.

Continue reading at:  http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/09/opinion/st-pierre-armentano-marijuana/?hpt=hp_t5

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Americans agree: Marijuana shouldn’t be criminalized

Yet Another Reason To Never Own Any Apple Products: Apple patents tech to let cops switch off iPhone video, camera and wi-fi

From Tech Eye: http://news.techeye.net/security/apple-patents-tech-to-let-cops-switch-off-iphone-video-camera-and-wi-fi

So they can pummel with impunity

by in Rome
07 Aug 2013

Police forces around the world have had the problem that when their officers get a bit carried away and start pepper spraying tied captives there is someone on hand filming the event on their mobile phones.

While six police lay into prone grannies on the floor with long batons, the pictures can be on the net in seconds, meaning supervisors have to answer embarrassing questions.

But they may not need to fear scrutiny much longer – Apple has patented a piece of technology which would allow government and police to block transmission of information, including video and photographs, whenever they like.

All the coppers have to do is decide that a public gathering or venue is deemed “sensitive”, and needs to be “protected from externalities” and Apple will switch off all its gear.

The police can then get on with the very difficult task of kettling protesters without having to worry about a few beating anyone to death.

Apple insists that the affected sites are mostly cinemas, theatres, concert grounds and similar locations, but it does admit that it could be used in “covert police or government operations which may require complete ‘blackout’ conditions”.

According to RT it could also be used to prevent whistleblowers like Edward Snowden from taking pictures and broadcasting them on the interent.

Apple said that the wireless transmission of sensitive information to a remote source is one example of a threat to security.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Yet Another Reason To Never Own Any Apple Products: Apple patents tech to let cops switch off iPhone video, camera and wi-fi

Kroger, Macy’s Face Boycott Call After Opposing Texas Equal Pay Bill

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/07/kroger-macys-boycott_n_3721553.html


A progressive group is calling for a boycott of the retailers Macy’s and Kroger Food Stores after a news report revealed this week that they opposed passage of a Texas equal pay bill.

“While these stores advertise to Moms and Millennials, they have been secretly organizing to stop mothers and young women from getting equal pay for equal work,” said Ed Espinoza, executive director of Progress Texas, in announcing the boycott on Wednesday. “Macy’s and Kroger worked to veto Equal Pay, so we are encouraging consumers to veto these stores during Texas’ Back to School Tax-Free weekend.”

State Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D) has already canceled an Aug. 7 appearance at a Macy’s store to kick off the tax-free weekend.

“While I strongly support the tax free weekend that allows parents struggling to provide clothing and supplies for their children before they return to school, I was dismayed to learn that Macy’s and Kroger would oppose equal pay for equal work,” Garcia said in a statement. “As a co-sponsor of the legislation and supporter of equal rights, I am supporting the call to boycott until these stores reverse their position and declare their support for equal pay.”

The bill would have brought Texas state law in line with the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for women to sue employers over wage discrimination. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) vetoed the bill in June.

On Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle reported that the Texas Retailers Association and five of its members had written to Perry and urged him to veto the legislation. Macy’s, Kroger, the Houston grocery company Gerland Corp., Brookshire Grocery Company and Market Basket all wrote to the governor, the Chronicle reported.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/07/kroger-macys-boycott_n_3721553.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Kroger, Macy’s Face Boycott Call After Opposing Texas Equal Pay Bill

If a business won’t pay a living wage – it shouldn’t exist

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on If a business won’t pay a living wage – it shouldn’t exist

Vibrant Environmental Movement Builds in Response to Extreme Energy Extraction

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/activism/vibrant-environmental-movement-builds-response-extreme-energy-extraction

The future should be a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy.

By Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers
August 9, 2013

Impressive environmental protests have been organized by a wide range people calling for an end to radical energy and a transformation to a clean energy economy. Radical energy includes fuel derived from extreme extraction methods like tar sands, hydrofracking and off-shore drilling for oil or methane gas and mountain top removal for coal. This is costly energy, not only in dollars but in its impact on the environment; and it is causing an impressive growth in people taking action to protect the planet.

Radical energy also requires a massive increase in the number of pipelines being built to carry tar sands bitumen and gas from hydrofracking.  Rather than building the upgraded energy infrastructure we need to reduce wasted energy and to efficiently store and transport energy from the sun and wind, the United States has embarked on building pipelines as well as relying on trains to carry oil and gas. This has resulted in inevitable oil spills, leaks and other damage.

On August 1, a study of Exxon Mobil’s Pegasus pipeline—which flooded a Mayflower, Arkansas neighborhood with over 200,000 gallons of tar sands oil—revealed known “manufacturing defects,” with grave implications for the tens of thousands of similarly built pipelines still in the ground and operating. The old energy industries are grasping every piece of profit they can get, no matter what the cost to the planet (like this oil leak in Thailand) before the inevitable transition to a clean, sustainable energy economy is finally put in place.

One reason the movement has grown is because there have been so many leaks, oil spills and eco-disasters in recent years, especially this summer, that it has been impossible for people to ignore. And, the effects are long lasting.  People in Kalamazoo, Michigan are still dealing with a  tar sands spill from the Enbridge Line 6 that occurred three years ago; problems will continue into the foreseeable future.  The  TransCanada pipeline that brings tar sands from Alberta to the Midwest experienced 12 leaks in its first year beginning in June 2010.  And, dozens of “anomalies” (which can be seen in the video) were found in the newly laid pipeline in Southern, Texas.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/activism/vibrant-environmental-movement-builds-response-extreme-energy-extraction

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Vibrant Environmental Movement Builds in Response to Extreme Energy Extraction

Why the World Bank Shies Away From Energy Efficiency

From International Rivers:  http://www.internationalrivers.org/blogs/227/why-the-world-bank-shies-away-from-energy-efficiency

By: Peter Bosshard
Thu, 08/08/2013
Decentralized renewable energy projects are highly effective at reducing energy poverty. Energy conservation and efficiency improvements are the cheapest way to close the gap between energy demand and supply. Too bad such measures don’t fit the business model of the World Bank, the world’s most important energy financier.

Under a project supported by the World Bank and the Swedish government, the Vietnamese electricity utility in recent years sold one million efficient CFL light bulbs and installed thousands of electricity meters. The project was an “extremely cost effective” part of an energy conservation and efficiency program that reduced the country’s electricity demand by 700 megawatts.

The International Energy Agency has estimated that developing countries could save three dollars in investment for power plants for every dollar they invest in efficiency improvements. According to the Agency, such investments “stand out as the cheapest and fastest way to curb demand and emissions growth in the near term”.

The World Bank’s experience with energy efficiency projects confirms this assessment. On average, such projects are considerably more economic than new power stations. Unlike power plants, they don’t degrade the environment and displace local communities. In spite of such benefits, energy efficiency improvements receive short shrift at the World Bank: From 1991 to 2007, the Bank devoted only about 5 percent of its total energy finance to such projects.

In 2010, the World Bank approved $3.75 billion dollars for the giant Medupi coal power plant in South Africa, even though energy conservation and efficiency programs would have been cheaper. The Bank currently considers support for a polluting lignite coal power plant in Kosovo and two large hydropower plants on the Zambezi, even though energy efficiency measures have again been shown to be cheaper.

What’s the problem? Comparing the energy efficiency program in Vietnam with the Gilgel Gibe I Dam in Ethiopia may help to explain. Per dollar of cost, the efficiency program saves about three times as much electricity as the dam generates – and without displacing any people. Yet per dollar of loan disbursement, the administrative overhead of the complex efficiency program is about ten times bigger. In terms of development impact, the efficiency program scores higher. In terms of institutional self-interest, it loses out.
Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Why the World Bank Shies Away From Energy Efficiency

NOAA’s updated forecast calls for busy hurricane season

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/08/10/noaas-updated-forecast-calls-for-busy-hurricane-season/

By Climate Central
Saturday, August 10, 2013


Despite a quiet start to August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is still forecasting a very active Atlantic hurricane season, the agency said Thursday. The updated outlook calls for a 70 percent chance of an above-average season, with 13 to 19 named storms with top winds of at least 39 mph, including 6 to 9 hurricanes, with top winds of 74 mph or higher.

Of the hurricanes, NOAA projects that 3 to 5 storms could become major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with winds of at least 111 mph.

These ranges compare to the 30-year seasonal averages of 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.

The early part of the hurricane season has been an active one, with four named storms to date — Andrea, Barry, Chantal, and Dorian. Two of the four named storms formed in the deep tropical Atlantic, which is more typical of where mid-to-late season storms tend to originate, and that can be a sign of an unusually active season to come, NOAA said.

“Our confidence for an above-normal season is still high because the predicted atmospheric and oceanic conditions that are favorable for storm development have materialized,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, in a press release.

The updated outlook calls for a slightly lower level of activity than what was projected in NOAA’s May hurricane outlook, which called for 13 to 20 named storms, 7 to 11 hurricanes, and 3 to 6 major hurricanes. The updated outlook also reduces the probability that the season will see an extremely high level of activity.

The statistical peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is approaching in mid-August through October.

In recent weeks, a large region of dry and dusty air that emerged from Africa’s Sahara desert acted to inhibit tropical storm or hurricane formation throughout the tropical Atlantic, but conditions are projected to soon become more favorable for storms to form.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/08/10/noaas-updated-forecast-calls-for-busy-hurricane-season/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on NOAA’s updated forecast calls for busy hurricane season

11 Trillion Reasons

From The New York Times:  http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/06/11-trillion-reasons/?ref=opinion&_r=0

August 6, 2013

Here’s a good line: “[U]nenlightened farm policy — with its massive subsidies for junk food ingredients — has played a pivotal role in shaping our food system over the past century. But that policy can readily be changed.”

With the possible substitution of the word “might” for “can,” this is pretty much an inarguable statement. It comes from “The $11 Trillion Reward: How Simple Dietary Changes Can Save Money and Lives, and How We Get There,” a report produced by the Union of Concerned Scientists (U.C.S.) to be introduced at the farmers’ market[1] at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital Wednesday.

That’s a big number, $11 trillion, but even if it’s off by 90 percent (it’s difficult to put a value on lives), who’s to scoff at a trillion bucks? In any case, this summary of current research, which contains the argument that even a tiny increase in our consumption of fruits and vegetables would have a powerful impact on health and its costs, agriculture and the economy, is compelling.

About 750,000 United States deaths annually — a third of the total — result from cardiovascular disease, at a medical cost of about $94 billion. The report (and video based on it) maintains that if we upped our average intake of fruits and vegetables by a single serving daily — an apple a day, essentially — more than 30,000 of those lives would be saved (at an overall “value,” according to the report, of $2.7 trillion). Each additional serving of fruit or vegetable would reduce mortality from cardiovascular disease by about 5 percent, to the point where if we all ate the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, we’d save more than 100,000 lives and something like $17 billion in health care costs.[2]

This is not new, but the report — written by the U.C.S. agricultural economist Jeffrey K. O’Hara — goes further, and points out that although Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.) dietary guidelines encourage all of us to eat sufficient fruits and vegetables to derive these benefits, that same department’s agricultural policy encourages exactly the opposite — that is, damaging — behavior.

Continue reading at:  http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/06/11-trillion-reasons/?ref=opinion&_r=0

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on 11 Trillion Reasons