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marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
February 18, 2016

Flint Residents May Have Been Drinking PFCS In Addition to Lead

(The Intercept) RESIDENTS OF FLINT, MICHIGAN, who drank lead in their water may also have been exposed to perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, according to a report from the Michigan Department of Community Health.

The May 2015 report showed elevated levels of PFCs in the Flint River — including PFOA, also known as C8, the chemical that spread into drinking water around a DuPont plant in West Virginia and led to a landmark class-action lawsuit. In addition to C8 and PFOS, a similar molecule that’s also based on a chain of eight carbon atoms, scientists found 11 other PFCs in the Flint River ­— more than in any of the other water sources tested around the state.

In 2014, in an effort to save money, Flint switched the source of its drinking water from Lake Huron to the Flint River, a change that resulted in residents being exposed to lead levels high enough to cause irreversible brain damage in children.

The Michigan report was based on tests of surface water and fish for PFCs in 13 sites around the state. According to Jennifer Eisner, a public information officer for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the report was not designed to evaluate drinking water. Eisner referred questions about the dangers the PFCs posed to people drinking water from the Flint River to the Department of Environmental Quality, which did not return our phone calls.

Michigan’s testing revealed PFOS in the Flint River at levels that exceeded the state’s limits for both non-drinking water and drinking water. The scientists found C8 in 12 of the 13 bodies of water tested, though at levels below the official cutoff for concern. Michigan has not set safety levels for the other 11 PFCs. .................(more)


February 18, 2016

If the young senator from Florida is their savior, Republicans should be very worried.

This piece originally ran on OtherWords.

By Raul A. Reyes

Since his relatively strong third-place showing in Iowa, the ups and downs of Senator Marco Rubio’s GOP presidential campaign are getting more attention. And so are the lefts and rights.

After the man once dubbed “The Republican Savior“ by Time magazine fared well in Iowa, he flopped in the New Hampshire primary. This may have had something to do with a disastrous debate performance — as well as a cringeworthy spat with Ted Cruz over who would be tougher on undocumented immigrants.

With his fortunes shifting from week to week, it’s reasonable to wonder when the real Marco Rubio will stand up.

Actually, he already has — and the reality might be different from what you imagine.

Although the fresh-faced Florida senator likes to talk about representing the next generation of leadership, he holds stale, old-fashioned views — many of which he changes on a whim. ................(more)


February 17, 2016

Just my casual observation, driving around the Detroit metro area today.....

LOTS of Bernie Sanders bumper stickers, not one Hillary Clinton bumper sticker. ..... Hillary has plenty of supporters in Southeast Michigan, but it's clear to me there's a definite enthusiasm gap.

February 17, 2016

Paris Metro - Full Tour Of The Paris, France, Metro System. Métro de Paris

Published on Nov 5, 2012

Paris Metro - Full Tour Of The Paris, France, Metro System. Métro de Paris

A full 30 minute tour of the major stations and trains of the Paris Metro system. ...............
February 17, 2016

When Scalia Died, So Did ‘Friedrichs’—And an Even Grander Scheme To Destroy Unions

(In These Times) Conservatives had a great plan in motion to decimate unions. If Justice Antonin Scalia hadn’t died in his sleep, they almost certainly would have pulled it off.

First they got the Court to rule their way in 2014’s Harris v. Quinn, which targeted home healthcare unions. Like "right to work" laws, the case sought to gut unions’ funding and diminish solidarity by saying that union members can’t be required to pay dues. The Court agreed, holding that the First Amendment does not allow the collection of fair share fees from home healthcare workers. The decision, written by Justice Alito and signed by the Court’s four other conservatives, also not-so-subtly invited further attacks on the funding and membership of unions.

Next came Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which sought to expand Harris to impose right-to-work on all public sector employees. The conservative Center for Individual Rights (CIR) rushed Friedrichs to the Supreme Court by essentially conceding at every lower court that under current law, it should lose. Friedrichs could only win if the Supreme Court overturned 39 years of precedent that date back to the 1977 Abood v. Detroit Board of Education decision.

When the Court accepted Friedrichs, there was some hope that Justice Scalia might provide the critical vote to save public-sector unions. This was not because Scalia had any great love for labor—he did not—but because he understood the basic economic theory of free riders: Just like any other enterprise, it can be difficult for a union to get its members to pay dues when they can get all the benefits of the contract for free. Scalia had said as much in a 1991 concurrence-dissent, and many were hoping that he would exercise consistency with Friedrichs. ...............(more)


February 17, 2016

Downturn Now Hitting The Refining Sector

Downturn Now Hitting The Refining Sector
by Michael McDonald • February 17, 2016

[font color="blue"]Watch the “crack spread.”[/font]

By Michael McDonald, Oilprice.com:

As all energy investors know, it has been a terrible year for oil and natural gas companies. Many stocks are down half or more from their 52-week highs. Yet amidst the carnage, one energy group has held up very well – refiners.

Companies like Valero (VLO) and Phillips 66 (PSX) have traded flat or even moved higher over the last year. This reality has largely been driven by the glut of crude bringing down input prices for these firms while continued stable demand for gasoline and diesel has led to better crack spreads. The crack spread refers to the profit per barrel of oil that refiners earn from turning oil into finished products like gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

While 2015 was a strong year for downstream operators, refiners could soon follow oil companies’ downward trajectory. Crack spreads are increasingly coming under pressure as the laws of supply and demand come into balance.

Highly profitable crack spreads are drawing more refining capacity online and leading to more supply for many derivative oil products. Established refiners are struggling to combat already high inventories of gasoline and other products by cutting production at key plants, but that effort is unlikely to help sustain cracking margins over the short term.

Energy analysts are forecasting that cracking spreads will fall substantially and margins in certain areas of the country such as the Midwest are already under severe pressure or are even negative thanks to limited storage capacity for final delivery products. ....................(more)


February 17, 2016

Manny Pacquiao, POS

Published on Feb 16, 2016

Manny Pacquiao is running for Senate in the Philippians and recently he was asked what his current views are on same sex marriage. Back in 2012 he had to apologize after he had some choice words for the gay community. Since he’s deeply religious he doesn’t believe in equality for gay individuals. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian hosts of The Young Turks discuss.

Would you elect someone with this opinion about same-sex individuals? Let us know in the comments below.


February 17, 2016

The Beetles: Eighty-Nine Million Acres of Abrupt Climate Change

The Beetles: Eighty-Nine Million Acres of Abrupt Climate Change

Tuesday, 16 February 2016 00:00
By Bruce Melton, Truthout | Report

[font size="1"]A 100,000-acre spruce beetle kill drapes this alpine mountain park like a heavy wool blanket. Except for a green strip of young trees along the old logging roads that crisscross forested areas like these, 90 percent or more of the rest of the forest has been killed. Groundhog Park, La Garita Range, Rio Grande National Forest, south central Colorado, elevation 11,000 feet. Background: Mesa Mountain, elevation 12,994 feet. (Photo: Bruce Melton)[/font]

We were awash for 19 days in a tumultuous sea of mountains and forests, drifting a course through the heart of the US Rockies on a 6,000-mile journey of observation. Our film, What Have We Done, the North American Pine Beetle Pandemic, was released in 2009. It was the story of what is now 89 million acres of forest across the North American West that have been attacked by native insects. These insects had been driven to unprecedented numbers by warming that is twice or more the global average. Most of the trees in impacted forests were killed in the wake of the beetles.

It has been four years since the Climate Change Now Initiative's last post-film observation in 2010. Our epic crossing was different on that final journey. The mountainsides of impacted forests were not predominantly bright red. Some were red. Some were brown. And ghost forest of gray needleless conifers at times spread to the horizon.

My wife was along on this trip, on what is usually a solo operation. It was the first of these incredible journeys on which she has been able to accompany me. At an average of 285 miles per day, this was a little tamer than most, but still a grueling but exquisitely beautiful 21-day adventure across the Rockies.

The mountain pine beetle - a single species of native beetle - had attacked an area that was 20 times larger than ever recorded. From 60 to nearly 100 percent of the trees in those forests were killed. It began in the late 1990s and was widespread from New Mexico to British Columbia. The reasons for the attack were many but largely, warming has virtually eliminated the cold temperatures that have previously kept beetle populations under control. ..............(more)


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