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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 72,853

Journal Archives

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tests positive for anti-inflammatory drug

Trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday morning Medina Spirit tested positive for betamethasone after winning the Kentucky Derby on May 1 at Churchill Downs, a result that ultimately could lead to the horse’s disqualification.

Baffert disputed the positive test result of 21 picograms, saying Medina Spirit “has never been treated with betamethasone,” which is an anti-inflammatory drug.

According to Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulations, a second positive test – called a “split sample” – is required before a horse can be disqualified.

“Yesterday I got the biggest gut punch in racing for something that I didn’t do,” Baffert said. “It’s disturbing. It’s an injustice to the horse.” ..............(more)


Bill seeks to make Louisiana 'fossil fuel sanctuary' in bid against Biden's climate plans

(Guardian UK) Just south of Oil City, where Louisiana representative Danny McCormick is from, is the predominantly Black city of Shreveport. Residents there breathe some of the most toxic air in the country. Oil refineries owned by UOP and Calumet contribute to the town’s toxic emissions, according to the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory.

But McCormick, a Republican, introduced a bill at the Louisiana capitol last week that would protect oil companies and not residents in his district who have to breathe in that air. The bill would establish Louisiana as a “fossil fuel sanctuary state” and ban local and state employees from enforcing federal laws and regulations that negatively impact petrochemical companies.

The idea for the bill, McCormick said, came about after President Joe Biden began putting new restrictions on oil and gas companies, including a pause on new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters. “Look at what they did to the coal industry,” he said at a Louisiana house committee hearing. “We already know what the game plan is. They already picked off coal. Now they’re going after oil and gas.”

The bill – which is unlikely to move forward in its current state because of legality concerns – is among several bills introduced at the Louisiana legislature this session that would likely reduce regulation of oil and gas companies in the state. Lawmakers say that deregulation is necessary to preserve tax revenues generated by oil and gas companies and to stop further job losses. A separate bill introduced by McCormick would redefine gas pipelines from modes of transportation to facilities, in order to prevent Louisiana state police from fining pipeline companies for failing to immediately report gas leaks. ............(more)


Deputies: Florida man impersonating officer handcuffed neighbor over loud music

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. [WFLA] – A St. Petersburg man is accused of impersonating of a police officer and handcuffing his neighbor, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

John Switzer, 67, reportedly pretended to arrest his neighbor over a dispute about loud music on Monday, PCSO reported. According to deputies, Switzer was armed with a with a gun, displayed a badge and claimed to be an officer.

The neighbor who was handcuffed told WFLA that she was held hostage for 15 minutes and is now badly bruised.

When deputies arrived on scene, Switzer quickly admitted he was not an officer, but rather, a former officer, according to the report. ...............(more)


'Craziest thing': Police use Taser on escaped zebra in Tennessee

Law enforcement officials helped capture a loose zebra in middle Tennessee after it escaped from an exotic livestock auction.

According to news outlets, the Cookeville police department and Putnam county sheriff’s office assisted Triple W employees to capture the “agitated” zebra early Friday morning. Cookeville is about 80 miles (128km) east of Nashville.

Multiple methods were used to attempt to regain control of the animal. At one point, two police officers made “unsuccessful attempts” to deploy Tasers to help capture the animal. ........(more)


Airlines have banned more than 4,000 passengers for unruly behavior in the last year

(CBS News) Refusing to wear a mask or other unruly behavior on an airplane has gotten more than 4,000 people banned by U.S. airlines over the past year. And a few people have ended up with thousands of dollars in fines — in one case, the federal government is requesting a more than $32,000 penalty.

The civil penalty is one of four the Federal Aviation Administration announced it is seeking Wednesday against airline passengers who allegedly interfered with or assaulted flight attendants. A February 7 JetBlue flight headed to New York had to return to the Dominican Republic after a passenger refused to wear a face mask after being asked by flight attendants to wear one, threw an empty alcohol bottle and food, cursed at crew members, grabbed one flight attendant and hit another and drank alcohol that wasn't served to her.

The administration is seeking a $32,750 fine in that incident — the highest requested since the pandemic began. The other fines range from $9,000 to $16,500. In two of those cases — one on a January 26 flight and one on a January 30 flight — passengers either refused to wear a mask or refused to wear it properly. The administration also announced three penalties last week for disruptive behavior, ranging from $14,500 to $31,500. .........(more)


Ann Arbor dispensary to open Michigan's first cannabis consumption lounge

(Detroit Metro Times) An Ann Arbor dispensary is venturing into recreational cannabis' next frontier: consumption lounges.

According to WXYZ 7 Action News, Holistic Industries, which operates Liberty Provisioning Center, have announced plans to open a cannabis consumption lounge adjacent to the dispensary at 338 S. Ashley Street.

"We’re thrilled to bring Michigan’s first cannabis consumption lounge to Ann Arbor and create a one-of-a-kind experience for the many people in Ann Arbor who agree that life is better with cannabis,” a spokesperson shared with WXYZ. “By providing a safe, designated space for consumption, we are helping remove some of the potential roadblocks cannabis patients and customers face after they purchase products and want to consume them.”

Liberty Provisioning Center opened last summer and services recreational clients and medical marijuana patients. Despite 2018's legalization of recreational weed in Michigan, neighboring businesses are concerned that a consumption lounge — which is exactly as it sounds like: a commercial space where adults are legally allowed to consume cannabis on-site — could pose a threat to the community. ........(more)


Sewage epidemiology has been embraced in other countries, but not in the US. Will Covid change that?

In the tales told by sewage, public health and privacy collide
Sewage epidemiology has been embraced in other countries for decades, but not in the U.S. Will Covid change that?

MAY 7, 2021 1:00PM

In early March 2020, as Covid-19 cases were accelerating across the globe, the American aircraft carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt made its way to Da Nang, Vietnam for a scheduled stop to celebrate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the nations. Nearly 100,000 cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed worldwide, and more than 3,000 people had died from it, when thousands of sailors poured off the ship for five days to mingle with locals, posing shoulder to shoulder for photos, overnighting in local hotels, and shooting hoops with Vietnamese kids.

Less than two weeks after pulling anchor, three crew members tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. In the ensuing weeks, the illness zipped through the vessel, eventually infecting 1,271 of the nearly 5,000 sailors, along with the ship's captain. Twenty-three sailors were hospitalized, with four admitted into intensive care. One died. The acting secretary of the Navy fired the captain for skirting the chain of command when he begged for help with the crisis, before the acting secretary himself resigned.

Thousands of miles away, landlocked in a suburb of curving roads and sunbaked backyard pools, Christian Daughton, a retired environmental scientist from the Environmental Protection Agency, followed the unfolding disaster online from an office nook in his kitchen. The former branch chief at what had been one of the EPA's foremost environmental chemistry labs in the country knew that something could have been done — that there was a tool out there to help. Through an EPA colleague, Daughton contacted the office of the chief of naval operations to inform the Navy about the tool, which could decisively detect the virus onboard ships before sailors felt sick — and, crucially, before the virus exploded among the rest of the crew.


As the first months of the pandemic played out in the U.S. and Daughton read the news over breakfast, he knew that had sewage testing been in place as the pathogen began to spread, it may have saved lives. But, at the time, few American health officials were even familiar with the field. It wasn't until months later that communities in the U.S. began actively looking at sewage to help curb the pandemic — and a media frenzy ensued in late May. But by that time, nearly 2 million Americans had been infected by SARS-CoV-2 and 100,000 had died. "It's been incredibly frustrating, dejecting," he said.


The history of sewage epidemiology reveals what has shackled its development in the U.S.: concerns over privacy and stigmatization, politicians making decisions about scientific research, and a lack of dedicated funding. Experts believe the field holds enormous potential for tackling existing and future health threats. But even Daughton isn't sure that the U.S. is finally ready to harness the full potential of sewage analysis. Despite the growing interest, "I would think that for something this important," he said, "the needle would be moving faster." .............(more)


Many of us are allowed to take off our masks. Why some of us don't want to.

(USA Today) Last week, the official word came: If you're vaccinated, you can finally ditch your mask in certain social settings. One might expect the announcement to be met with waves of relief and an immediate shift in behavior. For some there was.

But others remain quietly hesitant — even though it's safe, they don't want to take off their masks yet.

According to new guidelines released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to wear a mask outside except in crowded settings, and can unmask during small outdoor gatherings with vaccinated people.

Masks have offered safety during unprecedented times. They were also divisive and often signaled to which political group you belonged, with studies showing that Republicans were less likely than Democrats to wear or believe in the efficacy of masks. ............(more)


Ugh. I'm glancing at the CNN headlines and see that 45 is back in the news cycle's heavy rotation...

..... I would be perfectly content not to hear from or about him again until he's with Rush.

"Crackdown on democracy": Republican lawmakers across the country are trying to overrule voters

“Crackdown on democracy”: Republican lawmakers across the country are trying to overrule voters
Republicans are trying to reverse or undermine voter-approved measures on Medicaid, marijuana, schools and more

MAY 7, 2021 10:00AM

(Salon) Amid growing concerns that Republicans will try to use new voting laws to overturn elections in the wake of a campaign of lies stoking unfounded fears about vote-rigging, GOP-led state legislatures across the country are already trying to reverse popular ballot initiatives approved by majorities of voters.

Missouri voters last year passed a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid. Arizona approved a new tax on the wealthy to fund schools. South Dakota legalized marijuana. But Republicans are trying to block those measures from being implemented and dozens of state legislatures are pushing new bills to make it harder to get voter initiatives on the ballot in the first place.

"As more progressive issues are winning at the ballot, from Medicaid expansion to legalization and decriminalization of marijuana to raising the minimum wage, paid family and sick leave, increasing access to the voting process, we have seen concerted efforts by state legislators to undermine the will of the people," Chris Melody Fields Figueredo, executive director of the progressive Ballot Initiative Strategy Center (BISC), said in an interview with Salon.

BISC is tracking 125 bills to change the ballot measure process in 28 states, including measures that would increase the thresholds to get initiatives on the ballot or approved. Other proposals would require ballot initiatives to pass multiple times, increase filing fees and change the signature requirements. Republican lawmakers have also introduced more than 300 bills to restrict voting, dozens of anti-protest bills, and numerous measures that would undermine or snatch power from state courts and local election boards.

The effort to reverse voter-led ballot measures is "deeply connected to what we're seeing across the country after yet another election where people of color and young people turn out in record numbers demanding a different future," Figueredo said. "We see all of this as a concerted effort to limit and reduce people-led and people-initiated power." ..........(more)


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