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Bill USA

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Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 05:25 PM
Number of posts: 5,178

About Me

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

Journal Archives

Crop-Based Biofuels Don’t Harm Food Supplies, New Report Finds

Crop-Based Biofuels Don’t Harm Food Supplies, New Report Finds

The report was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the World Bank and other groups.

“The high-profile expansion of ethanol production in the United States and Brazil, in tandem with a global price spike in food and commodities in 2007–2008, led many to contend that a causal relationship exists between biofuels expansion and food insecurity,” according to the report. “The apparent short-term correlations are often cited as evidence of negative impacts of biofuels on food security. There are several problems with such assertions. First, many studies attribute the food price spikes in 2008 primarily to other factors such as oil prices, economic growth, currency exchange rates and trade policies. Speculation in food commodities also contributed to price spikes in 2008 and 2011. Second, the correlations did not persist as global biofuel consumption continued to grow and cereal prices fell or showed distinct patterns over the last six years, driven by oil price, national agricultural policies and exchange rates,” the report found.

Among other conclusions, the report noted that while the 2012 U.S. drought caused some ethanol plants to reduce output or temporarily shut, “(t)hanks, in part, to the ethanol ‘supply cushion’ and market flexibility, there was not a notable jump in commodity prices as the 2012–2013 crop was harvested, despite a drought affecting 80% of U.S. agricultural land.”

“These findings reflect what many in the academic community and biofuels sector have been saying for some time — there is no meaningful relationship between growth in biofuels production and food security or food prices,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “U.S. farmers have produced the three largest corn crops in history in the last three years and global grain supplies are at record levels. More grain is available for food and feed use globally today than ever before. Further, one-third of every bushel of grain that enters the ethanol process is enhanced and returned to the feed market in the form of protein-rich distillers grains.”
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http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcbb.12366/full
Abstract

Understanding the complex interactions among food security, bioenergy sustainability, and resource management requires a focus on specific contextual problems and opportunities. The United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals place a high priority on food and energy security; bioenergy plays an important role in achieving both goals. Effective food security programs begin by clearly defining the problem and asking, ‘What can be done to assist people at high risk?’ Simplistic global analyses, headlines, and cartoons that blame biofuels for food insecurity may reflect good intentions but mislead the public and policymakers because they obscure the main drivers of local food insecurity and ignore opportunities for bioenergy to contribute to solutions. Applying sustainability guidelines to bioenergy will help achieve near- and long-term goals to eradicate hunger. Priorities for achieving successful synergies between bioenergy and food security include the following: (1) clarifying communications with clear and consistent terms, (2) recognizing that food and bioenergy need not compete for land and, instead, should be integrated to improve resource management, (3) investing in technology, rural extension, and innovations to build capacity and infrastructure, (4) promoting stable prices that incentivize local production, (5) adopting flex crops that can provide food along with other products and services to society, and (6) engaging stakeholders to identify and assess specific opportunities for biofuels to improve food security. Systematic monitoring and analysis to support adaptive management and continual improvement are essential elements to build synergies and help society equitably meet growing demands for both food and energy.


Dems Refuse to Back GOP Zika Bill that Attacks Women, Vets, Obamacare, and Clean Water

... better get a bucket before you read this and hurl....


http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/06/28/dems-refuse-back-gop-zika-bill-attacks-women-vets-obamacare-and-clean-water

"In a 52-48 vote, the Senate fell eight votes short of moving past a procedural hurdle against the House-Senate conference report on a military and veterans spending bill, which includes $1.1 billion to fund the Zika virus research," The Hill reports.

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) reportedly broke with his party and voted for the deal while GOP Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voted against. As The Hill notes, "McConnell's 'no' vote allows him to bring the measure back up for another vote."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) took to social media to express her disgust for the legislation and lawmakers behind it.

According to Warren, not only does the bill provide $800 million less than the White House had requested—stealing money from both the Ebola response fund and the Affordable Care Act healthcare exchanges—but it also "blocks Planned Parenthood from receiving birth control grant money that would help poor women with Zika avoid having deformed babies," rolls back Clean Water Act requirements designed to keep pesticides out of drinking water, and slashes U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs funding by $500 million.
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The GOP’s House Majority Is Safe...Right? -- Cook Political Report

http://cookpolitical.com/story/9710


House Democrats probably need a Donald Trump loss of historic proportions to have any chance at a three-part (White House, Senate, House) sweep. But not even a Clinton rout would guarantee that scenario thanks to structural factors and because voters skeptical of both nominees could well anticipate such an outcome and respond to a Republican message of “checks and balances” — a tactic that’s worked before.

Republicans hold their largest House majority — 247 seats to 188 for Democrats — since the 1928 election, in part because they have some tremendous built-in geographical advantages, both natural and engineered, that their counterparts in the Senate don’t share.

First, Democratic voters have never been more concentrated in big urban areas than they are now. In 2012, President Obama won by 126 electoral votes while carrying just 22 percent of America’s counties — even fewer than losing Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis’s 26 percent in 1988. That means Democrats are wasting more votes than ever in safe congressional districts they already hold. For example, an additional straight Democratic ballot cast in Chicago or Madison might help defeat GOP Sens. Mark Kirk in Illinois or Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, but it’ll do zip to put a dent in Speaker Paul Ryan’s House majority, because Democrats already hold all the House seats anchored by those cities.

Second, Republicans’ astounding state legislative gains in the 2010 midterms — the year before the decennial redistricting cycle — allowed them to redraw four times as many congressional districts as Democrats in 2011 and 2012, stretching their geographical edge even further. As a result, in 2012, Democrats won 51 percent of all major-party votes cast for House candidates but just 47 percent of all seats. In 2014, Democrats won 47 percent of all major-party votes but just 43 percent of the seats. Amazingly, just 16 of 247 House Republicans won their races by fewer than 10 percentage points.
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It's a bit of a longshot, given the strength of GOP Gerrymandering, but isn't it good to set challenging goals?



Another Threat to Tuna: Ocean Acidification

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/extinction-countdown/tuna-ocean-acidification/
More acidic oceans could soon start dissolving tuna fish as they swim, long before they make it to consumers’ plates.

This worrying news comes from a study published last month in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology which found that increasing acidification in the Pacific Ocean—a function of climate change—will cause staggering levels of damage to multiple organs in yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) larvae. The injuries, researchers found, will lessen the tunas’ ability to grow to full size and dramatically reduce their rates of survival.

Yellowfin tuna are already heavily overfished in some parts of the world, so this presents one more challenge to their survival.

For this study, researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara, the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and other organizations collected yellowfin larvae from a commercial aquaculture bloodstock which is normally exposed to pH levels between 8.27 and 7.74. That’s slightly less acidic then neutral water, which has a pH of 7, but also less acidic than many natural conditions. The larvae were taken then taken to a lab and exposed to waters with four different levels of carbon dioxide, which changed the pH. The first tank, considered the control, had a pH of 8.1. The second had a pH of 7.6, which matches global warming projections for the year 2100, while the third had a pH of 7.3, matching projections for the year 2300. A fourth pH level of 6.9 was considered the “lowest projection for the Pacific Ocean.”
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Clinton Opens 12-Point Lead on Trump as Two-Thirds See Him as Biased - ABC/WaPo poll

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/clinton-opens-12-point-lead-trump-thirds-biased/story?id=40114224


Hillary Clinton surged to a broad advantage against Donald Trump in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, capitalizing on Trump’s recent campaign missteps. Two-thirds of Americans see him as biased against groups such as women, minorities or Muslims, and a new high, 64 percent, call Trump unqualified to serve as president.

These and other doubts about Trump have produced a sharp 14-point swing in preferences among registered voters, from +2 points for Trump in mid-May, after he clinched the GOP nomination, to +12 points for Clinton now, 51-39 percent. That snaps the race essentially back to where it was in March.
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How the U.S. became one of the world’s biggest tax havens

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/04/05/how-the-u-s-became-one-of-the-worlds-biggest-tax-havens/

...one of the least recognized facts about the global offshore industry is that much of it, in fact, is not offshore. Indeed, some critics of the offshore industry say the U.S. is now becoming one of the world’s largest “offshore” financial destinations.

“We often say that the U.S. is one of the easiest places to set up so-called anonymous shell companies,” says Mark Hays, a senior advisor with Global Witness, an NGO that advocates for financial transparency.

Offshore isn’t so much a destination anymore as “a set of capabilities,” which include ensuring secrecy, minimizing taxes, managing assets, and providing clients security and access to their wealth from anywhere in the world, James Henry, a senior adviser to the Tax Justice Network and former chief economist of McKinsey & Co, wrote in a 2012 report. The Tax Justice Network ranks the U.S. third in terms of the secrecy and scale of its offshore industry, behind Switzerland and Hong Kong but ahead of the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg.

A 2012 study in which researchers sent more than 7,400 email solicitations to more than 3,700 corporate service providers -- the kind of companies that typically register shell companies, such as the Corporation Trust Company at 1209 North Orange St. -- found that the U.S. had the laxest regulations for setting up a shell company anywhere in the world outside of Kenya. The researchers impersonated both low- and high-risk customers, including potential money launderers, terrorist financiers and corrupt officials.
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NBC's Lester Holt Confronts Trump Over His Debunked Clinton Email And Benghazi Lies


Holt: "You Made Some Very Bold Claims About Her That Didn't Stand Up ... There's No Evidence"


https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2016/06/23/nbcs-lester-holt-confronts-trump-over-his-debunked-clinton-email-and-benghazi-lies/211167


LESTER HOLT (HOST): A day after his blistering speech attacking Hillary Clinton's honesty, Donald Trump sat down with NBC News today where he continued to press that attack in our conversation in his New York apartment. The presumptive Republican nominee also responded to our reporting last night that found some of his claims about Clinton in that speech are inaccurate or unsupported.

HOLT: You delivered a speech yesterday, you went hard after Hillary Clinton. She says your speech was full of conspiracy theories and that you attacked her because you had no answers on substance. What is your reaction?
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Congrats to NBC for giving Holt the go-ahead to try to get Trump to talk about reality and answer for his wholesale peddling of nothing but lies. I guess since so many Republicans find him unacceptable NBC felt they could actually do a real interview of Trump and not get into too much trouble with the corporate owners and the RW harrassment mob.


'3Doodler' Pen Lets You Draw 3D-Printed Creations in Midair

http://www.livescience.com/55171-3doodler-draws-3d-printed-creations-in-midair.html





It wasn't long ago that the idea of printing something in three dimensions sounded like science fiction. But over the past decade, 3D printers have become widespread and are now used to create everything from decorative baubles to robot parts to medical devices.

Still, using a 3D printer isn't always simple: The machine is frequently housed within a box the size of a microwave, and it requires technical software and, in some cases, a detailed knowledge of design. But now, a company called 3Doodler has transformed the standard 3D printer into a pen, allowing people to draw 3D creations freely in the air — without the need for a computer or any software.

In 2012, Maxwell Bogue and Peter Dilworth, co-founders of 3Doodler along with Daniel Cowen, were trying to come up with the next great kids' toy. They said they frequently used 3D printers to craft prototypes of their designs, and one night, they spent 14 hours printing a dinosaur leg, only to find that the printer had missed a section, leaving a gap in the model.

The two wished they "could just take the nozzle off the 3D printer and fill in the missing gap," Bogue, now CEO of the company, told Live Science. So, the inventors set out to design a product that could do just that.
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More Than Half of Mass Shooters Used Assault Weapons and High-Capacity Magazines

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/02/assault-weapons-high-capacity-magazines-mass-shootings-feinstein





The political fortunes of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 have looked dim from the start. But as Congress considers the new legislation put forth by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), one thing is clear: If it were to pass, the bill would outlaw highly lethal firearms that dozens of mass shooters in the United States have used to unleash carnage.

More than half of the killers we studied in our investigation of 62 mass shootings over the last three decades possessed weapons that would be banned by Feinstein's bill, including various semi-automatic rifles, guns with military features, and handguns using magazines with more than 10 rounds. The damage these weapons can cause has been on grim display since last summer, from Aurora to Milwaukee to Minneapolis to Newtown, where attacks carried out with them left a total of 118 people injured and dead.

"They got the most shots," said a Chicago teenager who prefers high-capacity magazines. "You can shoot forever."

Ultimately, "assault weapon" and "high-capacity magazine" are political terms—there is no official or widely accepted definition for either, and different legislation has treated them differently. Feinstein's new bill seeks to improve upon the 1994 ban she authored, which expired in 2004; gun manufacturers easily sidestepped that law by making superficial modifications to their weapons.
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here's Mother Jones updated database showing mass shooting's up to and including 2016
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-mother-jones-full-data


What if the mass killer was a strict constructionist with regard to the constitution..
A mass shooting might go something like this:






Assault rifles are becoming mass shooters’ weapon of choice
One common denominator behind these and other high-casualty mass shootings in recent years is the use of assault style rifles, capable of firing many rounds of ammunition in a relatively short period of time, with high accuracy. And their use in these types of shooting is becoming more common: There have been eight high-profile public mass shootings since July of last year, according to a database compiled by Mother Jones magazine. Assault-style rifles were used in seven of those.



Guys who want to play around with machine guns should join the Army or Marine Corps and maybe they will get a chance to shoot and some people who are similarly equipped (What? No fun in that?).



C-SPAN Is Using Periscope to Broadcast Because the GOP Killed Its Camera Feed showing Dems sit-in

http://gizmodo.com/c-span-is-using-periscope-to-broadcast-the-house-sit-in-1782442108


This morning, House Democrats, led by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), staged a sit-in to force a vote on gun control. Almost immediately after, the cameras and microphones of C-SPAN—which typically broadcasts the action happening on the Senate and House floors—went off. But the network found a workaround: Periscope.

After viewers noticed that C-SPAN’s cameras went off, the network was quick to deflect blame: ('deflect blame?' how about "to inform viewers why C-span had no video"? -- Bill USA)



As it turns out, the network doesn’t control what its cameras and microphones do—that’s the job of the House. As USA Today explains, the policy is such that the broadcast only runs while the House is in session. When Democrats refused to stop their protest, Rep. Ted Poe, (R-TX), who was presiding over the chamber, declared the House in recess—hence the camera shutdown.

Not to be deterred, however, C-SPAN began using what appears to be the Periscope feed of Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), who had been broadcasting the sit-in from his own account.
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I've said it before, I'll say it again: "The Republicans have a frightening facility for the techniques of totalitarianism."



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