Closing Thought–02Dec21

As the police shootings and killings of civilians continues to spiral out of control….there comes a story that is just so disturbing on so many levels……it involves cops and a old fart in a wheelchair……

The Tucson Police Department has swiftly distanced itself from an officer who shot dead a man in a motorized wheelchair. Police Chief Chris Magnus said on Tuesday he was “deeply disturbed and troubled” by what transpired on Monday night: Officer Ryan Remington responded to a report of a man who was allegedly armed with a knife and stole a toolbox from a Walmart. An employee there said that upon asking 61-year-old Richard Lee Richards to show his receipt for the toolbox, he revealed his knife and said “Here’s your receipt.” Police bodycam video shows Remington later going after Richards as he drove his wheelchair toward the entrance of a Lowe’s across the street.

Remington yelled at Richards to keep out of the store, then fired nine shots, striking Richards in the back and side. The Arizona Republic reports Richards was pronounced dead a short time later. The New York Times reports surveillance video from Lowe’s shows Remington handcuffing Richards, who made no movements. “His use of deadly force in this incident is a clear violation of department policy and directly contradicts multiple aspects of our use of force and training,” Magnus said in a press conference. “As a result, the department moved earlier today to terminate Officer Remington,” who has been a member of the Tucson police department for four years. KOLD reports it could take up to a week for the termination to be official.

 

Remington’s lawyer, Mike Storie, described the chain of events as “unbelievable circumstances,” saying, “This event happened roughly 24 hours ago, and we have a chief of police who has fired the officer and the mayor who is calling for his indictment,” per the Times. Storie told the AP that Remington felt he “had no nonlethal options. He did have a Taser, but in his mind, he couldn’t use it because he didn’t feel he had the proper spread to deploy it, with the wheelchair between him and Richards.”

Why is the gun the first response?

Are you saying that the cops could not subdue an old fart in a wheelchair with a pocket knife without shooting him?

This is so disgusting on many levels for me….

Do you think the firing of this officer will change anything?

I do not!

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“lego ergo scribo”

What Do Americans Think Of Abortion

SCOTUS is in the process of deciding the abortion case of the century….this wedge issue has been front and center in the political discourse since about 1980…..but what do Americans really think about abortion?

First, I am pro-choice but since I am male I really do not have a say in the decision….it is a personal decision that the government should have NO say in…..

Now what do we really think of abortion?

Abortion is back at the Supreme Court yet again. For the third time in six years, the justices will consider the constitutionality of a state law designed to restrict abortion — this time, a Mississippi ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. And because the court is more conservative than it’s been in decades, many experts believe there’s a real possibility that the justices will use this case to overturn — or at least severely limit — the constitutional right to abortion established in 1973 by Roe v. Wade.

Roe may be one of the only Supreme Court decisions that most Americans can identify. In all likelihood, it’s more familiar to the average voter than the names of any justice currently serving on the Supreme Court. Surprisingly, though, trying to understand what Americans think about abortion rights — and how they’d react if Roe was reversed or reshaped — can feel like walking into a fogbank. 

Ask Americans whether Roe should be overruled, and the answer seems pretty straightforward: Polls consistently find that a majority think the Supreme Court should keep the ruling in place. But Americans’ views on abortion are hardly clear-cut. Majorities also support a variety of restrictions on abortion — including limits on abortion in the second trimester — that openly conflict with the Supreme Court’s rulings. For example, a 2020 Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 69 percent of Americans favored laws requiring abortions to be performed only by doctors who had admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, even though the court ruled in 2016 that those laws place an unconstitutional burden on women’s right to abortion.

What Americans Really Think About Abortion

How does it look for Roe?

Glenn Cohen, a professor at Harvard Law School, tells Insider that Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, firmly in favor of overturning Roe, will likely be joined by Justice Neil Gorsuch, and there is no doubt that the court’s three liberal justices will choose to preserve the decision. That leaves Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, and all three of them appear to be open to upholding the Mississippi law. Roberts, a firm believer in sticking with precedent, may be unlikely to vote to overturn Roe altogether—but Barrett and Kavanaugh may not follow his lead. On Monday, Kavanaugh asked questions suggesting he favors leaving abortion laws up to the states, while Barrett suggested that “safe haven” adoption laws in all 50 states may have eliminated the need for abortion, Slate reports.

Of the three, Roberts and Kavanaugh appear most likely to seek a middle ground, writes Thomas Berman at CNN. Amber Phillips at the Washington Post, however, notes that “any kind of compromise would be a sea change for abortion rights in America,” and if the court allows Mississippi’s 15-week limit to stand, around half the country could soon be under similar laws. A decision is expected in June, and Cornell Law School professor Sherry Colb tells Insider that she’s not in suspense about how Barrett and Kavanaugh will vote. “Both of them are opposed to Roe. They won’t say it … but there’s no mystery,” she says. “It’s just a question of whether it’s going to be 5-4 or 6-3.”

How long must we visit this?

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“lego ergo scribo”

A “Constitutional Republic”

Closing Thought–01Dec21

No this is not some attempt to define or explain the silliness raging across our country…..

I seems that some small town in California has had enough on Covid mandates…..

A small city in northern California where many residents have grown weary of COVID mandates has declared itself a “constitutional republic.” The declaration passed in a 6-1 vote this month by Oroville City Council states that the city will not enforce orders issued by the state and federal governments “that are overreaching or clearly violate our constitutionally protected rights,” the Los Angeles Times reports. Vice Mayor Scott Thompson says the last straw for him was the vaccine mandate for students over 12 introduced by Gov. Gavin Newsom last month. He says he’s not anti-mask or against other people getting vaccinated, but vaccine mandates are “crossing the line.”

Thompson and other city officials describe the declaration as a way to send a message. Mayor Chuck Reynolds told the East Bay Times that in practical terms, declaring the city a republic “doesn’t change anything,” but is “simply reminding people what kind of government we live under and that they do have personal choices and freedoms.” UC Davis Law Professor Lisa Pruitt tells CBS Sacramento that the resolution probably doesn’t have any binding legal authority. Schools in Oroville remain under the state’s jurisdiction and city officials stress that they’re not actually moving toward seceding from California or the United States.

Oroville, the seat of Butte County, has a population of around 20,000, with almost equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats. Vaccination rates are well below the state average and COVID infection rates are high. City officials say most business owners support the declaration. Opponents include Celia Hirschman, whose father died from COVID three months ago. “It says we’re cowboys, and we’re not going to live by your rules,” she tells the Times. “I don’t think it’s about open dialogue at all. I feel it’s a dangerous measure that they have no business adding to our charter.”

More games during the pandemic…..this does nothing to keep people safe or save lives…..it’s only purpose is to make the profit chasers happy.

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Which Political Animal Are You?

We all have formulated our political beliefs….but what political group do you fall into?

An expansive new Pew Research Center survey, mostly conducted in July, breaks the American electorate into nine distinct groups, which Pew calls “political typology.” It’s something it’s produced periodically since the 1980s, but the findings released this week are based on a much larger sample size.
Republicans, in this view, are a coalition of four subgroups:
  • Faith and Flag Conservatives.
  • Committed Conservatives.
  • Populist Right.
  • Ambivalent Right.
Democrats are also a coalition of four subgroups:
  • Progressive Left.
  • Establishment Liberals.
  • Democratic Mainstays.
  • Outsider Left.
A large portion of the public — 15% — makes up Pew’s ninth group: Stressed Sideliners. These are people who don’t have a clear partisan orientation, have a mix of conservative and liberal views and may not take part in elections.
 
Me?
 
I guess by the Pew standards I would be considered an Outsider Left.
 
Again I ask…..which are you?
 
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“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–30Nov21

More news for the country……

Next year prices will probably go up especially for fresh veggies…..there may be a shortage of fertilizer for crops…..so naturally scarcity will make us mere mortals pay more for our food.

Farmers have no shortages of things to worry about, and Reuters reports that a major new concern has joined the list this year: Nitrogen fertilizer is in short supply, and its cost is skyrocketing as a result. This could not only translate into higher prices in everything from bread to meat in the coming months, but the shortage is forcing farmers to make dicey gambles about the fall and upcoming spring planting season. A slew of factors are behind the shortage, including record low temperatures in Texas earlier this year and Hurricane Ida’s slamming of production facilities in Louisiana in August, per the Weather Channel. A post at Ag Week, meanwhile, blames “a rare combination of supply chain issues that have tightened supplies,” including high prices for natural gas, a key component in the fertilizer.

“Right now, we have an almost a perfect storm of high energy prices, China cutting its production because of higher energy prices, as well,” agricultural economist John Beghin of the University of Nebraska tells Ag Web. “In Europe, they’re suffering through very high gas prices. Then we have supply disruptions in the US.” American farmers typically pay for fertilizer upfront, and the high price is causing many to put off purchases until the spring. That raises the risk of an even tighter shortage then, with accompanying higher prices. On top of that, holding off until then makes the logistics of spring planting much more difficult to navigate. “There’s going to be a lot of people who wait and see,” Daren Coppock of the Agricultural Retailers Association tells Reuters. “(But) if everybody’s scrambling in the spring to get enough, somebody’s corn isn’t going to get covered.”

Not to worry…..inflation will remain manageable for rising food prices is not part of the equation….the excuse being that prices fluctuate to give a good picture…..to that I call bullshit!

Food prices go up and seldom come down….so where is the fluctuation?

Main Street suffers but that matters not as long as the ‘markets’ are protected…..and the rest of us can go to Hell…..or worse….go hungry.

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‘lego ergo scribo’

Somethings Never Change

As an old fart I have been watching the world slowly spiral into the piece of manure it is today.

Ever since WW2 the US has been a poser for human rights and change….but ever since those days the US has never wavered from the domination they have pursued…..enter Biden as president…..nothing has changed the US continues to poke the tiger in the eye….instead of diplomacy it sends troops, an act of aggression at best.

A State Department official said Friday that “all options” are on the table on how to respond to Russia’s alleged troop build-up near its border with Ukraine and that the US will decide with NATO next week on what steps to take.

“As you can appreciate, all options are on the table and there’s a toolkit that includes a whole range of options,” Karen Donfried, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told reporters.

For weeks now, the US has been warning that Russia is planning to invade Ukraine. But Russia strongly denies the claim and insists that any military movement within its own borders is not meant as a threat. Amid the tensions, the US has been very vocal about its support for Ukraine. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan assured his Ukrainian counterpart Friday of Washington’s “ironclad support” for Kyiv.

Also on Friday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned Russia of consequences if it moves on Ukraine. “If Russia uses force against Ukraine that will have costs, that would have consequences,” he said.

Russian officials have pointed to the increase in US and NATO activity in the region as the source of tensions. In the Black Sea, there has been a regular presence of US warships that operate alongside NATO allies. On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said US bombers rehearsed a nuclear strike on Russia this month, and some of the planes came within 12.4 miles of Russia’s border.

The Biden administration is reportedly considering sending military advisors and more weapons to Ukraine, a move that would inflame tensions with Russia even more. The potential weapons package could include new Javelin anti-tank missiles, mortars, and stinger missiles.

(antiwar.com)

The US continues to pursue Russia in the Black Sea region……but what will a war with Russia look like?

Recent days have seen a new flurry of Western media reports that U.S. intelligence believes that Russia is planning to invade Ukraine early in the new year. These reports have already led to warnings by NATO and Washington that Russia would pay a heavy economic and political price in the event of a war.

Russia, for its part, has denied the dire nature of the reports, blaming “a targeted information campaign,” according to Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, on Monday. “This is building up tension.”

Nevertheless, this should also lead to a determined and sincere new effort by the United States and leading European governments to find a reasonable compromise with Russia over the Ukrainian disputes. For quite apart from the global economic damage that would result from a war in Ukraine, and the ways in which China would take advantage of such a crisis, the West has a very strong reason indeed to avoid a new war: the West would lose.

What war with Russia over Ukraine would really look like

How will this end?

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‘lego ergo scribo’

 

Closing Thought–29Nov21

I know that Covid has become a passe topic these days…..50 the population think it is all a government ploy and the other half worries about their friends and families……so I thought I would bring my readers up to date on the variants and the international stage……

Almost two years after the first cases were detected in Wuhan, China, the fight against the coronavirus continues—and authorities are worried that a new variant detected in South Africa could be a major setback. The variant, currently known as B.1.1.529, has mutations that could make it more infectious and reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, scientists say. CNBC reports that the World Health Organization has scheduled a meeting on the variant for Friday. It if is declared a variant of interest or a variant of concern, it will be assigned a Greek letter name. The “Mu” variant first detected in Colombia was designated a variant of interest in August, making “Nu” the next letter in line. More:

  • Why scientists are worried. While many COVID variants die out, the latest one has an unusually high number of mutations and believed to be behind a steep rise in infections in South Africa, the AP reports. Joe Phaahla, the country’s health minister, said Thursday that there has been an “exponential” rise in cases over the last four or five days. Cases have also been detected in Botswana, Hong Kong, and Israel.
  • “A big jump in evolution.” The variant was detected after scientists investigated a surge in infections in the Johannesburg area, the New York Times reports. “This variant did surprise us—it has a big jump in evolution, many more mutations than we expected, especially after a very severe third wave of Delta,” said Tulio de Oliveira, director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform.
  • New travel restrictions. European countries quickly imposed restrictions on travel from southern Africa as news of the variant emerged, the BBC reports. The UK has banned flights from six countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, and Eswatini.
  • “The most worrying we’ve seen.” Dr Susan Hopkins, a top medical adviser to the British government, described the variant as “the most worrying we’ve seen” due to high transmission levels, per the Guardian. South African officials are “saying that their transmission rates, the R value that they have in Gauteng around where this was first found, is now 2, which is really quite high and we’ve not seen levels of transmission like that since right back at the beginning of the pandemic, because of all of the mitigations and steps we’ve taken,” Hopkins said.
  • Stock markets sink. The Financial Times reports that stock markets in Europe and Asia dropped sharply Friday, with airline stocks among the hardest hit. Oil prices are also down and the Dow Jones is set to open down 800 points.

This pandemic is far from over…..and it seems to point to  a long range spread once again.

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“lego ergo scribo”

Space Colonization

I am one of the few bloggers that has an interest in the developments centered around space and its exploration.

I have made my thoughts known on the push for corporate dominance of space…..for one it violates the 1967 Outer Space Treaty that most of the UN members signed including the US.

But if the treaty escapes you then I can help bring in the light.

Old Prof’s Look At Space Law (Again)

I also enjoy visiting the debate sites on the web…..sites like ….

https://www.debate.org/

https://www.procon.org/

On the later site there was a debate on space colonization…..

https://www.procon.org/headlines/space-colonization-top-3-pros-and-cons/

Most of the pros and cons were about this planet and the need to find alternate living space….I both agree and disagree with that premise.

Yes since we are apparently incapable to fixing our climate and planetary problems we will need to look elsewhere for a place to live so we can do it all again…..most likely making all the same mistakes.

My first objection is the term ‘colonization’ …..it has a sinister implications….

Colonization, or colonisation refers to large-scale population movements where the migrants maintain strong links with their – or their ancestors’ – former country, gaining significant privileges over other inhabitants of the territory by such links. When colonization takes place under the protection of colonial structures, it may be termed settler colonialism. This often involves the settlers dispossessing indigenous inhabitants, or instituting legal and other structures which systematically disadvantage them.

In its basic sense, colonization can be defined as the process of establishing foreign control over target territories or people for the purpose of cultivation, often through establishing colonies and possibly by settling them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonization

The term has imperialistic overtones for me.  The treaty of 1967 made it clear that there should be NO military hardware in space and all innovations were for the benefit of all humanity…..instead the whole deal is to claim and exploit the resources found in space

Now the treaty means nothing like most treaties that keep greed from ruling.

From Bush to Obama to Trump to Biden….all have extended the reach of corporations into space and beyond (not sure what beyond actually means).

I think ‘colonization’ will create more problems than it will solve.

Like nukes in space…while most of the rhetoric is about nukes for rocket power….but like anything nuke there could be another under the table plan for nukes.

The Push for Nukes in Space

Not only will there be a threat of nukes from countries that have a stockpile but also from space….a scenario that should be unacceptable for humanity.

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“lego ergo scribo”

But They Are Sentient!

I admit it that I do not eat shellfish…..to me there is something wrong with dropping a live creature into boiling water……just to satisfy some need for a ‘special’ meal.

My friends in the UK have made a good call, in my opinion…..

A bill designating octopus, lobster, crab, and other animals as sentient beings capable of experiencing feelings and sensations including pain and distress, now moving through the UK parliament, could transform how such animals are treated in the country. The bill, which would see the creation of an Animal Sentience Committee to inform public policy on animal welfare, initially classified all vertebrates, or animals with backbones, as sentient beings. But cephalopods, including octopus, squid, and cuttlefish, and decapods, including lobster, crab, and shrimp, were added after a report by the London School of Economics and Political Science found these animals can also experience pain or distress.

Researchers examined more than 300 studies looking for eight criteria that would point to sentience, including the presence of pain receptors, connections between pain receptors and certain regions of the brain, self-protective behavior, responses to pain-relieving drugs, and associative learning. High confidence that an animal met three of the criteria translated to substantial evidence of sentience, whereas high confidence that an animal met five or more criteria translated to strong evidence of sentience. “In all the cases, the balance of evidence seemed to tilt toward sentience,” co-author Dr. Jonathan Birch tells NBC News. The evidence is “very strong” in octopus, he notes. “For squid and cuttlefish, the evidence was less strong but nonetheless substantial,” according to the report.

It recommends against declawing crabs and live boiling lobsters without first stunning them. Researchers could not identify a humane and commercially viable way to kill cephalopods, which are often clubbed, asphyxiated, or stabbed in the brain. “Methods regarded as standard for humane killing in science can’t be done on a commercial scale to produce an edible product. That’s a fundamental issue we want to raise,” Birch says. The bill, which is expected to pass, wouldn’t necessarily restrict such killings. But it would create a committee to consider animal sentience as it relates to future legislation. It’s part of a broader plan “to bring in some of the strongest protections in the world for pets, livestock and wild animals,” Animal Welfare Minister Lord Zac Goldsmith says, per USA Today.

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“lego ergo scribo”

Another Variant (Oh Goody)

Just in time for the holiday season.

Here we go again…..another problem with the Covid thing….this time in South Africa

The world got an unwanted new arrival on Friday: Omicron. Here’s the latest on the worrisome new COVID variant:

  • New name: After an emergency review, the World Health Organization on Friday declared the emerging strain of COVID a “variant of concern,” reports the Washington Post. The variant, first detected in South Africa, was dubbed Omicron, named after a Greek letter in keeping with other variants such as Delta.
  • Travel restrictions: The US will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other African nations: Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi. The restrictions are to start Monday, reports Politico.
  • ‘Most worrying’: Much is unknown about the strain, but researchers fear its large number of mutations will help it spread easily and perhaps better evade vaccines. For now, the variant is the “most worrying we’ve seen,” says Susan Hopkins, an adviser to Britain’s Health and Security Agency. So far, no cases have been reported in the USFound in Europe: The first case of the new variant has been detected in Europe, adding to worries about how far the strain already has spread. The Guardian reports that Belgium confirmed a case of the variant in an unvaccinated woman with no travel links to South Africa or neighboring countries. Authorities say the woman developed mild symptoms 11 days after traveling from Egypt to Belgium via Turkey. The only other known cases outside southern Africa are in Israel, where a traveler who had returned from Malawi is now in isolation, and Hong Kong, where two travelers tested positive while in hotel quarantine.
  • Seeking answers: Fauci says the variant has more than 30 mutations to its spike protein, which “are raising some concern, particularly with regard to possibly transmissibility increase, and possibly evasion of immune response.” Fauci says officials have arranged talks Friday between American scientists and their South African counterparts. “We want to find out, scientist-to-scientist, exactly what is going on,” he says.

    Restrictions elsewhere: More than a dozen countries in Europe and Asia have halted or restricted travel from countries in southern Africa, and the European Commission has urged all EU members to put an “emergency brake” on travel, the New York Times reports. Earlier Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN that there is “no indication” the variant has arrived in the US, but “we’re rushing now to get that scientific data.”

And just in time for Christmas…..

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Be Well and Be safe

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“lego ergo scribo”