Marine Corps tries to stop nudists from using their beach

Allen Baylis, lawyer for the nudists

Gold Beach, where generations of Marines have trained for amphibious assaults, is now the scene of another kind of battle. The strip of sand on Camp Pendleton is the latest flash point between nudists and state park rangers — with Marines caught in the crossfire.

The nudists say zealous state park rangers have followed them onto the federal property in an effort to cite them for violating the state’s coverup laws…

Gold Beach is directly south of San Onofre State Beach, which for several years was the object of legal skirmishing between nudists and officialdom. Two years ago a court ruled that the state had the authority to ban nudity at so-called Trail 6, long a spot favored by nudists.

The problem is proximity. Trail 6 is only a short walk from Gold Beach.

The Marine Corps says it does not want any civilians — naked or clothed — on its beach. Signs warn sunbathers to stay away. But in an effort to avoid park rangers at San Onofre State Beach, nudists have ventured south. An apparent confrontation a week ago, details of which are in dispute, between a nudist, rangers and military police has brought the issue to a head…

The nudists wonder why a cash-strapped parks system can afford to spend time and money on enforcing a prohibition on what they see as the victimless crime of going au naturel. The Trail 6 beach, Squicciarini said, is kept tidy and self-policed by hundreds of people who prefer their recreation, including use of a volleyball court, in the buff.

“We’ve gone to great efforts to keep the beach pristine,” he said…

All the beach property in question is owned by the Marine Corps, which leases the property that is San Onofre State Beach to the state.

Serious duty.

Don’t know why we’re catching an increase in nudist news, lately. I have to tippy-toe a little bit to keep my sense of humor getting the best of me. Nudism makes great sense to me – in an environment where you don’t get arrested for lewd behavior in front of your dog or something.

ObamaCare adds free birth control, more choice, for women

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced new guidelines…requiring health insurance plans…to cover several women’s preventive services, including birth control and voluntary sterilization.

According to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius the decision is a part of the Affordable Care Act’s move to stop problems before they start. “These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need,” she said in a news release…

Besides contraceptive use, the list includes screenings for conditions such as gestational diabetes and the human papillomavirus (HPV), as well as breastfeeding support and counseling on sexually transmitted diseases…

The decision to offer contraception at no additional cost was not supported by everyone. You can fill in the usual list of priests and reactionary pundits on your own.

The Obama administration released an amendment to the prevention regulation that allows religious institutions offering health insurance to their employees the choice of whether or not to cover contraception services.

However, supporters say the service will help millions of women who struggle to afford prescription birth control.

“Today is a historic victory for women’s health and women across the country,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America in a press release. “Covering birth control without co-pays is one of the most important steps we can take to prevent unintended pregnancy and keep women and children healthy.”

Overdue. We’re getting there, folks. I figure the United States is almost up the level of political understanding offered by science and social research of, say, the late 19th Century.

Debt deal offers small [or no] blessings for economy – UPDATED

Why is this man laughing all the way to the bank?
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

The tentative deal to avoid a crushing debt default is at best a mild relief for the U.S. economy that nearly stalled in the first half of the year and has yet to show signs of any realistic pickup…

Market reactions today to lousy job and manufacturing numbers indicate even less.

The prospect of spending cuts is the last thing the U.S. economy needs right now, many commentators say.

Economists were stunned on Friday when data showed the U.S. economy grew just 0.4 percent in the first three months of this year — perilously close to contraction — and picked up unimpressively to 1.3 percent in the second quarter.

Against the backdrop of the weak economic recovery, the divided political parties in Congress appear to have agreed on one thing early on in their dispute over how to raise the U.S. debt ceiling: that spending cuts to narrow the deficit should be phased in slowly. They will be phased in from 2013…

About $1.5 trillion of the planned savings will be decided by a bipartisan congressional commission, leaving unanswered the question as to whether the United States has the political will to tame the country’s growing debt pile once and for all.

Obviously done to eliminate possibility of responsibility for cuts to Medicare which kick in automatically if no consensus is reached.

Any relief, however, is likely to be short-lived. U.S. jobs data on Friday will probably prove another reminder of the weak U.S. economy. Unemployment is expected to remain at 9.2 percent, according to a Reuters poll.

The budget deal “does nothing to restore household and corporate confidence,” said Mohammed El-Erian, chief executive of bond fund investment giant PIMCO.

“So unemployment will be higher than it would have been otherwise, growth will be lower than it would be otherwise, and inequality will be worse than it would be otherwise,” El-Erian told ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour.

All this lying crap has been about is introducing austerity to the nation’s economy without using the word. Some European nations aren’t as cowardly as Congress would have us be and actually name silly policies for what they really are. Austerity as resolution to recession has been a Republican mantra since the days of Herbert Hoover – with recurrent levels of failure. About as hackneyed a piece of bad advice as trickle-down economics/Reaganomics. You simply extend the pain.

From my neck of the prairie the biggest smell about this whole process is the characterization of Tea Party bund tactics as having something to do with democracy. Extortion is not part of democracy. That requires debate, discussion and voting on the issues – not negotiating away part of the provenance of government as part of a regulatory decision.

Oh yeah – since the Republicans have had control of the House, they have introduced one bill that concerned jobs. Last year.

Addendum: Here’s Paul Krugman’s take on the whole disaster.

And the only Good News UPDATE about the vote in the House, today. The return of Gabrielle Giffords. Unannounced, she showed up on the floor to vote:

Father of two has hysterectomy after doctors find uterus

An Indian farmer and father of two had a hysterectomy after doctors discovered a “full female reproductive system” in his lower abdomen.

The Indian man, identified as Ryalu, was admitted to a hospital near Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, after complaining of severe stomach pains. Doctors suspected a normal hernia, but when they carried out an exploratory operation they were shocked to discover it had been caused by a female uterus, ovaries, Fallopian tubes, a cervix and underdeveloped vaginal tissue…

“Usually the contents of the Hernia Sac are abdomen organs like large intestines and small intestines but when we operated on the patient we were surprised to find female reproductive organs. We have removed the organs through a hysterectomy and repaired the hernia.

The man had not suffered any problems until the stomach pains which led him to hospital. Although he is medically a hermaphrodite, his hormones and sexuality are clearly male, he said.

“The external reproductive organs of the patient were masculine and he has no problems whatsoever with his sexuality. He had functional male genitals and there was no formation of breasts in the patient. It’s an embryological accident at the time of embryonic formation,” he said.

Which leads to an obvious question. Might we reverse this operation for the schmucks who insist on ordering about womens’ rights, pimping anti-abortion agitprop, religious claptrap about womens’ role as wife and mother superseding all?

Then, the slogan, “Oppose abortions? Don’t have one” would acquire universal meaning.

How corrupt is a nation where a gangster can order 1,500 killings?

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

A suspected leader of the Juarez drug cartel told authorities he had ordered the deaths of about 1,500 people.

Federal police detailed accusations against Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez, known as “El Diego,” a day after authorities announced his capture. He was one of the country’s most wanted criminals, with officials offering a reward of 15 million pesos for his arrest…

Acosta is accused of being a leader of the drug gang known as La Linea, the enforcement arm of the Juarez cartel, Mexican authorities have said. Eduardo Pequeno told reporters that Acosta “said he ordered the killings of about 1,500 people, mostly in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua’s capital…”

Pequeno…accused Acosta of having connections with some of the border city’s most notorious violence over the past two years, including the 2010 killing of a state prosecutor, a car bombing outside a police station and a massacre at a house party that killed 15 people — most of them students with no ties to organized crime…

The northwestern Mexican state of Chihuahua, which contains the namesake capital city as well as Juarez, has been a hotbed for drug-related violence.

Mexico’s revolutions against foreign rule, against elitist class rule are a dim footnote in history except on celebration days. The ruling PRN instituted a system of strict corruption and payoffs, police departments founded on bribery and kickbacks – that ran on and on for decades. There are no surprises remaining about the depths into which the Mexican government descended into over time.

The US government and our border states stood by, watched and did nothing. A political car crash happening on the other side of the parking lot – while American farmers and a certain portion of corporations profited from this government slum.

So, we’re all surprised when it’s difficult to turn things around. When dozens and hundreds are murdered with no more diligence than required by any slaughterhouse – we gasp. But, still, how much help have we offered from our world-class intelligence services when a thug like this has stayed alive on the streets, killing so many for so long?

Satellites aid winemakers in picking a perfect harvest

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

For centuries, French wine growers have prayed for the rains not to spoil their vineyards before grape harvest time. Now, a rising number are seeking help from the heavens in the shape of satellite technology in their search for the perfect vintage.

With grape picking time fast approaching, dozens of wine domains in France – from the most prestigious Bordeaux chateaux to humbler vintners in the Languedoc and Roussillon – are eagerly awaiting information from the skies on exactly when and how to harvest their grapes. It is information some say would take “decades” to build up from the ground.

In recent days, satellite-borne cameras have been circling their vineyards taking multispectral snaps from more than 500 miles above the Earth at the rate of 1,000 plots every eight seconds. Each photograph covers an area of 34 miles by 34 miles to a precision range of four square yards.

Crucially, these can detect the surface area and variation of leaf canopy across vineyards – a vital statistic to pinpoint the vigour of particular vines, the water level of soil, bunch and grape weight, and the presence of certain minerals. It can also help spot diseases.

The Spot-5 and Formosat-2 satellites began mapping this detailed data at the period of véraison, a grape-growing term to describe the moment the berries begin to ripen, swell and change colour. This takes place in July and roughly three to four weeks before grape harvest…

We can now differentiate grapes at the same stage of maturity and send them to specific vats. It’s what you might call ‘precision harvesting’,” Stephen Carrier told France’s space policy agency, CNES. The system provides information that it would “normally take 20 or 30 years to acquire in an empirical way,” he added.

Some of my Luddite farming readers hate this as much as simpler wifi-based systems communicating everything from soil temperature to water density in topsoil. Their resentment of geek technology is applied indiscriminately as an instrument of Agribusiness Satan. Something I chuckle over as much as do my relatives with their 40-acre plots of potatoes and carrots. And one computer.

Not exactly a threat to ConAgra.