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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 6,728

About Me

Navy brat-->University fac brat. All over-->Wisconsin-->TN-->VA. RN (ret), married, grandmother of 11. Progressive since birth. My mouth may be foul but my heart is wide open.

Journal Archives

This California Dairy Farm's Secret Ingredient for Clean Electricity: Cow Poop

It has already proven its worth as a fertilizer and building material, and even as a secret ingredient in Ancient Egyptian ceramics. As it turns out, cow dung might also have a bright future as a plentiful source of clean electricity, thanks to the planet-warming methane it produces.

Few places encompass this potential future better than Bar 20 Dairy, a dairy farm in Kerman, California, which uses methane from cow manure to produce clean electricity with almost zero carbon emissions. It’s the first dairy farm in the U.S. to power its own clean energy “microgrid” using a biogas, and it could be a tantalizing sign of what the future of green energy might look like for companies with access to plenty of methane.

The technology isn’t all that hard to grasp. Manure and waste water from the farm’s nearly 7,000 cows are transported and sifted into a 25-million-gallon rectangular pit in the ground called a digester. The liquid sits for about 30 days while methane gas rises to the top of the closed digester. The gas then gets piped into a skid shifter, which separates the methane from hydrogen sulfide and other impurities. Finally, the methane is piped into fuel cells that harness it to produce electricity with little to no greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s where Silicon Valley meets the Central Valley,” said N. Ross Buckenham, the CEO of California Bioenergy, a company that operates and builds manure digesters—including the one used by Bar 20 Dairy.

Note: Unlike some other farms that use cow poop for energy, this one does NOT use a combustion engine!

The Supreme Court's new death penalty order should make your skin crawl

Hamm v. Reeves, a death penalty order that the Supreme Court handed down Thursday night, is an epilogue to a longstanding tension between drug companies that do not wish their products to be used to kill people, and states that are willing to use unreliable drugs to conduct executions if effective sedatives are not available.

It’s also unsettlingly cruel.

The upshot of the Court’s 5-4 decision in Hamm is that a man was executed using a method that may have caused him excruciating pain, most likely because that man’s disability prevented him from understanding how to opt in to a less painful method of execution.

There is significant evidence that Matthew Reeves, a man convicted of murder that the state of Alabama executed after the Supreme Court permitted it to do so on Thursday, had an intellectual disability. Among other things, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted in a 2021 dissenting opinion, an expert employed by the state gave Reeves an IQ test and determined that “Reeves’ IQ was well within the range for intellectual disability.”

The Supreme Court held in Atkins v. Virginia (2002) that “death is not a suitable punishment” for someone with an intellectual disability. Nevertheless, in its 2021 decision in Dunn v. Reeves, the Supreme Court voted along party lines to effectively prevent Reeves from avoiding execution.

The issue in Hamm, the decision that the Court handed down Thursday night, is quite narrow. After Dunn, it was no longer a question of whether Alabama could execute Reeves. The only question was how Alabama could conduct this execution — and whether the state was allowed to use a method that may very well amount to torture, even over Reeves’s objection.

"Pro-life" my sainted Aunt Matilda!

A bizarre Wisconsin hospital lawsuit shows how Covid-19 gave workers new leverage

The staffing crisis in health care reached a farcical extreme last week when ThedaCare, a health system in Wisconsin, filed for a temporary restraining order to block a number of its employees from leaving their jobs and moving to another nearby hospital.

The hospital argued that, because the pandemic had created a shortage of health care workers, it needed the court to block the employees from leaving at least until it was able to come up with a staffing plan.

As medical workers burn out, isolate due to Covid-19, and leave for other professions, the ensuing staffing shortage has gotten so severe that ThedaCare turned to the courts to try to fix it. It was a striking example of how the pandemic has turned the health care labor market upside down, putting nurses and doctors in higher demand than ever even as they must face the most grueling working conditions of their careers.

The workers and the hospital that hired them, Ascension Northeast Wisconsin, countered that ThedaCare could have matched the offers made by Ascension, but didn’t. By declining to match and then failing to come up with a plan before the workers were to set to leave, they argued ThedaCare was attempting to punish the workers for its own shortsightedness.

I once worked for a home health agency that tried that gambit. Didn't work for them either.

How the world's deepest shipwreck was found

On 23 October 1944, the first engagements of a gigantic naval battle began in Leyte Gulf, part of the Philippine Sea. It was the biggest in modern human history.

Over the following three days, more than 300 US warships faced off against some 70 Japanese vessels. The Americans had with them no fewer than 34 aircraft carriers – only slightly fewer than all the carriers in service around the world today – and some 1,500 aircraft. Their air fleet outnumbered the Japanese five to one.

The battle had two major effects – it prevented the Japanese interfering with the American invasion of the Philippines (which had been captured by the Japanese nearly four years earlier) and effectively knocked the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) out of action for the rest of World War Two. Nearly 30 Japanese ships were sunk, and many of the remainder – including the biggest battleship ever built, the Yamato – would be so badly damaged they would be largely confined to port for the rest of the war.

While the wider battle largely saw the US outnumber the Japanese fleet, one crucial action was different. A small force – Task Force 77, mainly destroyers and unarmoured aircraft carriers – found itself battling a much larger Japanese formation.

The battle took place off the island of Samar. Massively outnumbered, the small US flotilla fought against overwhelming odds, pressing home their attack against the much larger and better-armed Japanese ships.

The US resistance was so fierce that it prompted the Japanese commander, Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita, to turn his fleet around, believing he was now facing the bulk of the US forces. The small, relatively unarmoured American destroyers came as close as possible to the Japanese warships, preventing them using their powerful long-range guns. The small US force prevented a potential massacre, but their resistance came at a heavy cost. Five of the 13 US ships were sunk.


'Quick Reaction Forces' And The Lingering Mysteries Of The Plot Against The Capitol

The Comfort Inn location just off the interstate has three stars on Yelp, where reviewers noted it had free parking and free breakfast, but poor WiFi. It did well on TripAdvisor too, although one person reported they found a dead roach in the shower.

As a staging ground for an alleged seditious conspiracy, however, it was a pretty solid choice. The Comfort Inn Ballston had rooms available for members of the right-wing Oath Keepers organization at a reasonable rate. The hotel’s luggage carts were strong enough to lug the bins of weapons, ammunition and supplies that they wheeled in to prepare for Jan. 6, 2021. Its location right off the ramp to Route 66 eastbound, outside of rush hour, can get you to the U.S. Capitol in a hurry. Critically, it was located in the state of Virginia, where the alleged co-conspirators wouldn’t have to worry about those pesky D.C. gun laws until it was time to take over the federal government. Then the laws wouldn’t matter.

The indictment of Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, who was integral to the plot that unfolded in Ballston, on seditious conspiracy charges this month has once again drawn national attention to how supporters of President Donald Trump plotted to help stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory on Jan. 6. Even after more than 700 arrests, and the hundreds of potential cases that remain, the latest indictment indicates there is much more we still don’t know about the most high-profile conspiracy case to emerge from the Jan. 6 investigation — and how much worse things could have been.

Part of the Oath Keepers’ conspiracy was standing up “Quick Reaction Forces” (QRFs) just outside of D.C. that were on standby to deliver guns into the capital on Jan. 6. The “base of operations,” according to the indictment, was the Comfort Inn Ballston, where the North Carolina QRF team leader reserved three rooms: one for their North Carolina team, another for the Arizona QRF team, and the third for the Florida QRF team. The indictment alleges they used those rooms to store and guard the firearms, although the four men on the North Carolina QRF team “kept their rifles ready to go in a vehicle parked in the hotel lot” according to a court filing.

Brownshirts. Freaking DANGEROUS!

The real reason some people are so afraid of 'Maus'

Opinion by David M. Perry

I thought it was a comic book. I first saw this book called "Maus" on the shelf in the guest room of our Nashville house. I don't remember why I was looking at the books. Maybe I was just a bored 17-year-old looking for something to do. I just remember being confused, because as far as I knew my parents didn't own any comic books. And why did it have a swastika on the cover? But I picked it up, sat down on the couch and started to read.

As I flipped the pages, I felt myself becoming a little disoriented, unclear why this book was telling the story of the Holocaust in this way, with drawings of Jews as mice and Nazis as cats. But I was quickly drawn in, flipping pages faster and faster, then pausing, going back and trying to process the visual narrative of Art Spiegelman's graphic novel instead of just skimming words. In the end, I felt unsettled, unsure of what I just encountered, but sensing it mattered deeply.
Back then, as a bookish Jewish teenager, I was pretty sure I knew a lot about the history of the Holocaust. My parents were historians. I was, it turned out, pretty good in history class. I had read "Man's Search for Meaning" by the survivor Victor Frankl in eighth grade.
But "Maus" was different -- I was pulled in by the choices made possible by the medium itself. It was hand-drawn, the mice at once distinct as characters (the author, his mother, his father and their community) but at the same time rendered into a mob of animals fit only for slaughter by the Nazi cats. The triangular shape of the mice's heads evoked long-held stereotypes about the shapes of our faces as seen by our oppressors, while also conveying warmth and even humanity.

I can't tell you why it worked, but it did -- and reading it changed me. Clearly, I'm not alone in finding the book a perspective-altering experience. It's the only graphic novel to win the Pulitzer Prize, and it's become part of school curricula all around the country.


9 officers shoot man with box cutter, shiny object on Tennessee interstate, police say

A man died after nine officers opened fire on him on a Tennessee interstate Thursday when he removed what police described as a “shiny cylindrical object” from his pocket.

The man, identified by Tennessee Bureau of Investigation as Landon Eastep, 37, also had a box cutter, the agency said.

The encounter began at roughly 2 p.m., when a state trooper saw Eastep on the shoulder of Interstate 65 south of Nashville, the agency said.

The trooper stopped and talked with Eastep “with the goal of getting the guy off the interstate,” Don Aaron, a spokesman with the Metro Nashville Police Department, said during a news conference.

As they approached the trooper’s car, Eastep “pushed away” from the officer and produced a box cutter, Aaron said.

9 supposedly physically fit guys can't take down one guy with a box cutter and a "shiny object" without shooting him? Really?

Nevada man charged with threatening state election worker

U.S. federal agents arrested a Nevada man for threatening a state election worker last year and telling her that she was “going to f------ die” for stealing the 2020 presidential election from Donald Trump, the Justice Department said on Thursday, the second arrest in a week by its election threats task force.

Gjergi Luke Juncaj, 50, of Las Vegas was taken into custody on Wednesday and appeared in federal court in Nevada on Thursday, charged with four counts of making threatening phone calls, the Justice Department said in a statement. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison on each count.

The Justice Department’s election threats task force was announced last June, shortly after Reuters published the first in a series of investigative reports that have documented more than 850 threats and menacing messages to U.S. election workers, including about 100 that legal experts say could be prosecuted under federal law.

Almost all of the threats have been inspired by Trump’s relentless false claims that the 2020 vote was “rigged” against him, Reuters found.

Justice Department officials say they are now investigating dozens of similar cases. The task force revealed its first arrest on Jan. 21, when it charged a Texas man with making violent threats against Georgia election and government officials. Prosecutors accused Chad Christopher Stark of posting a Craigslist message on Jan. 5, 2021 entitled, “Georgia Patriots it’s time to kill.” Reuters couldn’t reach Stark, who will appear in court on Feb. 4.


These Black mothers don't want their kids taught 'whitewashed history'

About a year ago, in Round Rock, Texas, about 20 miles outside Austin, complaints about book on the history of racist ideas in the United States led to threats to remove it from the school’s reading list.

But as the local school district debated whether “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” should remain part of the curriculum, thousands of parents, teachers and community members signed a petition calling on the district's board of trustees to keep the book on school shelves.

The Round Rock Black Parents Association was a crucial part of the mobilization against the attempt to ban the book, which is by the Black authors Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, and is a young adult adaptation of Kendi's "Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America," which won the national book award for nonfiction in 2016.

One way the parents association did this was organizing groups such as ACT Anti-racists Coming Together to speak out in support of diverse literature at a local school board meeting.

“Taking away that book would have completely whitewashed history, and that’s not what we are for,” Ashley Walker, 33, one of more than 400 members of the Round Rock Black Parents Association, said.


'We are desperate for new people': inside a hate group's leaked online chats

Leaked chats of the US white supremacist group Patriot Front have revealed the day-to-day organizing of a far-right gang desperate for new members as it seeks a higher profile in the US with provocative public marches.

More than 400 gigabytes of private communications from chat logs on RocketChat, an alt-tech platform favored by far-right groups, were obtained and published by Unicorn Riot, a left-wing nonprofit media organization that reports on social movements.

The chat logs reveal a group of men struggling to expand membership and being harangued by their leadership to maintain physical fitness, show up to events and contribute financially to the cause of white supremacy – all with limited success. It also shows how the group uses social media to make itself seem larger than it is.

Chats indicate the white supremacist group has about 200 members. The messages show a coordinated effort to commit vandalism and intimidate people of color nationwide. The group requires members to deface racial justice murals and monuments to Black Lives Matter in their communities, much like a street gang that requires initiates to “tag” buildings as a form of vandalism and intimidation.

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