Welcome to back-to-school shopping day in America…El Paso

At this moment, in one shopping mall in El Paso, Texas, the death toll reported is 19…with 40 injured.


Mark Lambie, El Paso Times

We are saddled – I would say politically crippled – by an institution called the 2-party system. In many ways, those two parties are equally corrupt. When issues of life-and-death are left to political hacks who only count the number of votes they can sieve through an electoral process designed centuries ago, ordinary people haven’t any voice at all.

I’d be happy to throw them all out of office and start with a blank slate. Toss Congress and all our state legislatures out of office. Call a continental Congress to rewrite federal and state election law on the basis of one person, one vote. We can survive weeks of turmoil to put an end to a system that refuses to do a bloody thing about controlling the opportunity to murder hundreds of men, women and children every day of every year. That one sleazy industry, controlled by a few corporate thugs, hands out enough dollars to our politicians to prevent regulatory measures that might slow down their profits…by making our families safer.

Every politician in Congress at this moment stinks on ice. You do not protect this nation. You just voted billions of dollar$ to fatten up the military machinery run by the Pentagon…and did nothing to protect families out shopping for back-to-school necessities for their children. You should be out of a job standing by the side of the road begging handouts for cleaning the windshield of my pickup!

I wouldn’t give you a quarter!

By late April, 2019, more Americans shot dead than total Allied soldiers killed in D-Day invasion


Sean Gallup/Getty

❝ On Thursday, Americans remembered those killed on D-Day, 75 years back. It was a day of enormous heroism that was critical in turning back Nazi Germany’s attempt to conquer Europe. Thousands of Americans, Canadians, Australians and soldiers from other countries were part of the largest amphibious invasion force in history.

❝ Some 2,501 Americans gave their lives that day, according to historic estimates. Another 1,913 soldiers from other Allied countries also died, bringing the total death toll from the immediate invasion to 4,414.

It took until late April before the number of people killed by guns in the United States in 2019 topped that number, according to data collected by the Gun Violence Archive…

Thanks, Barry Ritholtz

Why not fine men $100 every time they masturbate?


“What if men had to undergo the same intrusive procedures as women?”

❝ A Texas lawmaker has proposed a bill that would fine a man $100 each time he masturbates.

The bill also imposes a 24-hour waiting period if a guy wants a colonoscopy or a vasectomy, or if he’s in the market for some Viagra.

Rep. Jessica Farrar, a Democrat, knows her bill isn’t going to get very far. But she proposed it last week to make a point and give male lawmakers a taste of their own medicine

❝ Farrar has long been an advocate of women’s health in a state that has made it extremely difficult for women to get abortions. And the bill, by pointing out a sexist double standard, is meant to shine a light on the obstacles women deal with when it comes to their health care.

Say, “amen” sisters and brothers!

12 states spend less on schools now than before the recession


Oklahoma Teacher Walkout

❝ * 12 states that made especially deep cuts after the Great Recession haven’t yet restored school funding

* Texas slashed school funding the most, with per-pupil spending 20 percent lower than in 2008

* Teachers are earning less in 42 states than they did a decade ago

The U.S. economy has largely recovered from the Great Recession, but one segment is still struggling to regain its financial footing: America’s public schools…

❝ The findings help shed light on why teachers across the country — from West Virginia to California — have taken to the picket lines since early 2018. In some cases, states that cut spending on their public schools failed to boost it again even as their tax revenues improved. That’s leading to a host of challenges for students and teachers in underfunded schools, from teacher shortages to crowded classrooms.

Doesn’t require too much analysis, folks. States with backwards politicians – usually elected by ignorant voters – don’t think it’s important to get around to providing decent educational opportunities to future voters. You don’t really wonder why, do you?

Yukon glaciers thinning fast — maybe forever!


Glaciologist Gwenn Flowers on Kaskawulsh glacierSusan Ormiston/CBC

❝ “We as Canadians are stewards of about a third of the world’s mountain glaciers and ice caps, so this is our responsibility,” Gwenn Flowers says.

The dramatic changes to the glaciers in the Yukon are an early warning of what climate change could mean for the rest of the planet, researchers say. And Flowers sees lots of reason for concern reflected in the state of the ice…

❝ Her tiny team of three is mapping the Kaskawulsh glacier — 70 kilometres long and five kilometres wide — as it struggles under the double threat of a warming climate and diminishing snow cover.

The research boils down to an inescapable conclusion: The glacier can’t compensate for the volume it’s losing now each year.

The shame is that those who have caused – and continue to cause – climate change take little or no responsibility for the results of their greed. Neither they nor the political hacks prancing through government halls are willing to confront or respond to what we learn from science and history.

Swatting mosquitos teaches them to avoid you

❝ In a paper published Jan. 25 in Current Biology, University of Washington researchers report that mosquitoes can in fact learn to associate a particular odor with an unpleasant mechanical shock akin to being swatted. As a result, they’ll avoid that scent the next time.

“Once mosquitoes learned odors in an aversive manner, those odors caused aversive responses on the same order as responses to DEET, which is one of the most effective mosquito repellents,” said senior author Jeff Riffell, a UW professor of biology. “Moreover, mosquitoes remember the trained odors for days…”

❝ “By understanding how mosquitoes are making decisions on whom to bite, and how learning influences those behaviors, we can better understand the genes and neuronal bases of the behaviors,” said Riffell. “This could lead to more effective tools for mosquito control.”

I can think of other relevant settings for the same process. Bigger animals. 🙂