Dave Stancliff AS IT STANDS blogarama.com

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Have you noticed that gas prices are dropping? Here’s some reasons why

Despite turmoil across the globe, average US gas prices continue to plummet. As supplies continue to rise and demand stays flat, gas prices could stay low for some time.

To the delight of American drivers, gasoline prices are continuing to slide downwards. The national average price of gasoline hit $3.35 per gallon at the end of September, which is about 14 cents lower than at the same time a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Better yet, gasoline prices could drop further in the coming months.

In recent years it has become commonplace for many drivers to see a gallon sell for well over $4 per gallon. Why have gas prices dropped to such low levels all of a sudden?

There are a complex set of factors that determine the price at the pump, but the largest contributor is the global price of crude oil. Oil prices have plummeted by more than 17 percent since peaking in June of this year, when the Islamic State, also known as ISIL, overran much of Iraq and sparked fears of major disruptions in oil supplies. But with the advance of the Sunni jihadist group slowed, if not contained, concerns over oil eased and prices pulled back from their highs. (Related: Is This $7.6 Billion Deal A Sign of Things Coming?)

Of course, the largest supply shock comes from the United States, which continues to reach record levels of production. The U.S. is now producing over 8.8 million (bpd), the highest rate since the mid-1980’s. The EIA projects that the upward trajectory will continue, with output reaching 9.5 million bpd in 2015.

(Read the whole story here)

Operation Popeye: How US Modifed Weather in Vietnam

Good Day World!

Seeding clouds with silver iodide and lead iodide is nothing new.

The practice began during WW II and is still in use – although supposedly not in military applications.

Silver, as silver iodide, is used in the United States for weather modification, including rain and snow making and hail suppression; as much as 3,110 kg of silver is used for this purpose annually. (Wikipedia Commons)

Silver iodide never dissipates according to some experts.

Once it falls to the ground in the form of a raindrop or snowflake, the water dissipates, but the silver iodide remains, and get washed down streams, rivers and ends up in our water. Some of it soaks into the soil and creates bacteria and robs root systems of moisture.

The practice is controversial and many people and groups want to see it stop.

Today, I want to share a special program we had in Vietnam where the military application for weather modification was used:It was called Operation Popeye:

Operation Popeye (Project Popeye/Motorpool/Intermediary-Compatriot) was a highly classified weather modification program in Southeast Asia during 1967-1972.

The cloud seeding operation during the Vietnam war ran from March 20, 1967 until July 5, 1972 in an attempt to extend the monsoon season, specifically over areas of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The operation was used to induce rain and extend the East Asian Monsoon season in support of U.S. government efforts related to the War in Southeast Asia.

The operation seeded clouds with both silver iodide and lead iodide, resulting in the targeted areas seeing an extension of the monsoon period an average of 30 to 45 days. As the continuous rainfall slowed down the truck traffic, it was considered relatively successful.

However, resultant rain and subsequent flooding of the nearby Song Con River is sometimes blamed for the move of POWs from the prison camp at Son Tay and therefore, the failure of Operation Ivory Coast.

The former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara, was aware that there might be objections raised by the international scientific community but said in a memo to the president that such objections had not in the past been a basis for prevention of military activities considered to be in the interests of U.S. national security.

The chemical weather modification program was conducted from Thailand over Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam and allegedly sponsored by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and CIA without the authorization of then Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird who had categorically denied to Congress that a program for modification of the weather for use as a tactical weapon even existed.

Well, there you have it.

Messing with Mother Nature has a price. Surprisingly, our government continues to seed clouds with this method despite evidence it’s harmful to the atmosphere, the earth, and humans.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

‘Republicans are People, Too’: A Pathetic Whine from The Right

Screenshot from the new 'Republicans Are People, Too' campaign.

                                  Good Day World!

Gosh…I’m starting to feel bad for the Republican Party.

They’ve been branded by the public as a bunch of inept bunglers who dislike women and minorities and can’t seem to shake the image.

The last time the GOP looked this bad in the polls was 1974. Remember Watergate and President Nixon? That bad. So, what can turn this negative into a positive?

Try this:

A Republican adman unveiled a new public relations campaign to soften the image of the Grand Old Party using the guiding slogan “Republicans Are People, Too.”

The promotional push came complete with a highly produced video, a website and social media efforts.

Republicans can thank Vinny Minchillo – last seen working as Mitt Romney nasty ads producer in 2012 – for this idea. Never mind the fact that Romney was whipped in the election.

(Photo of 1974 Republican Button)

Minchillo – obviously unaware of the 1974 effort to project a positive image - gleefully told the press that the campaign is meant to

let people know that it’s OK to be a Republican,” in a world in which he feels it has becomesocially acceptable to say bad things about Republicans.”

I think I’m going to cry.

That slogan, however, harkens back to another dark time for the GOP image.

In 1974, when the heavily damaged GOP brand was reeling from the Watergate scandal that brought down Richard Nixon, the Republican National Committee launched its own “Republicans Are People Too” initiative in an attempt to recast the party before a skeptical public.

Here’s how Craig Shirley, a longtime political consultant and Ronald Reagan biographer, put it in his book Reagan's Revolution:

95122a30-45aa-11e4-a5d2-15412fcfbfbe_Reagan-s-Revolution-by-Craig-Shirley-page-1

This effort is a sad attempt at getting respect. If you have to go around and remind people that your human(!), something is basically wrong with your message. Your team is riding on the crazy train.

Most Americans don’t think corporations are human despite what conservatives have been trying to sell to the public. The GOP and Big Money can say corporations are human with equal rights – but the rest of us know better.  

The Republican effort to give corporations the same rights as people has not endeared them to the masses.

Instead of wasting time trying to get some pity votes, Republicans should be actively working on positive projects that will benefit the American people.

Actions speak louder than words.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, September 29, 2014

U.S. Agriculture Department: ‘Rogue Wheat in Oregon is a Mystery’

Good Day World!

Normally I like mysteries.

But when I read about wheat plants genetically modified to resist the Monsanto herbicide Roundup turning up in Oregon, I became concerned.

The discovery of the rogue genetically modified wheat plants has officially been deemed an unsolved mystery by the U.S. Agriculture Department on Friday.

Unsolved mystery? Really?

A person has to wonder about how isolated a case Oregon was when the U.S. Agriculture Department also revealed Friday that a similar incident in Montana is currently under investigation.

The new discovery involves unapproved genetically engineered (GE) wheat plants found growing at a University of Montana research center, adjacent to fields where the herbicide-resistant plants were field tested from 2000 to 2003.

While the new discovery raises questions about the regulation of such authorized tests, it is unlikely to generate the same level of alarm as the Oregon find on May 3, 2013, which involved a commercial wheat field.

That prompted Japan, South Korea and Taiwan to temporarily suspend purchases of western white wheat grown throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Critics say that field tests of GE crops have frequently led to contamination of natural crops. And in the case of wheat, such accidental escapes would damage farmers’ livelihoods and cripple the U.S. export market, they say.

“Just as the USDA closes one fruitless investigation, it tries to bury the story of yet another contamination,” Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit public interest and environmental advocacy organization, said Friday in a statement to the press.

“USDA cannot keep treating these as isolated incidents; contamination is the inevitable outcome of GE crop technology. It’s time for Congress to take definitive action.”

Related stories:

Rogue Biotech Wheat: Lack of Answers Concerns Northwest Farmers

Is Genetically Modified Wheat Safe?

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, September 28, 2014

50 countries where it’s not safe to be a Christian

                         Good Day World!

Did you know that you can be murdered for your beliefs in certain parts of the world?

Are you aware that Christians are being persecuted daily?

Take Pakistan for example.

A Pakistani police officer shot two men in jail on Thursday, killing one accused of blasphemy and wounding another condemned to death on the same charge.

Zafar Bhatti, who worked to protect the human rights of the country's beleaguered Christian minority, was on trial after an Islamic leader accused him in 2012 of sending text messages derogatory to the Prophet Mohammed's mother.

Family members say police investigations show the phone was registered to someone else.

Blasphemy is punishable by death in Muslim-majority Pakistan.

Blasphemy charges are hard to fight because the law does not define what is blasphemous. Presenting the evidence can sometimes itself be considered a fresh infringement.

Those accused of blasphemy are often lynched and lawyers in defending those accused of blasphemy cases have frequently been attacked.

According to the National Minority Alliance (NMA), Christians form under three percent of Pakistan’s estimated 180 million people. But the community is spread all over the country, making it almost impossible for Christians to elect representatives who share their religion because they lack the numbers in a free-for-all poll.

Here’s a list of 50 countries that persecute Christians and marginalize them in their societies.

I’m glad that I live in a country where you can worship whatever religion you want openly without fear of persecution. The only exception to this is the current atmosphere against Muslims in the USA.

Many Americans tend to lump all Muslims together as extreme terrorists since 911. Despite that, Muslims aren’t being hunted down for believing in Allah or saying something derogatory about Jesus Christ.

Time for me to walk on down the road… 

 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Turning the clock back on civilization one head at a time

“Now, I give you fair warning, either you or your head must be off, and that in about half no time! Take your choice! –The Queen from Alice and Wonderland.

Good Day World!

What’s with all of the decapitations?

We’re supposed to be in the 21st Century, but the barbarism behind beheading people recently is turning the clock back on civilization.

Media reports come in daily about the terrorist group ISIS, whose favorite way to look badass is cutting off innocent peoples heads.

It’s not enough to slaughter everyone who doesn’t believe like they do,the cowards have to hack heads off and brag about it in videos to the world.

Because it gets a lot of attention they’re going to keep up with the barbaric practice.

Ironically, it’s one of the things uniting other countries against them. A growing coalition of countries –led by the US – are going to make life hard on those murderers.

I’ve gathered three recent articles dealing with the subject of decapitations. There’s literally hundreds of articles out there, but these three each have a different perspective for your consideration.

TOO CLOSE TO HOME

“A fired Oklahoma food processing plant employee who proselytized for Islam beheaded a co-worker and seriously injured another before the owner of the plant shot and wounded him, police said Friday.

View image on Twitter

Moments after Alton Nolen, 30, was let go from Vaughan Foods in Moore, he drove to another part of the facility and walked into a front office where he attacked 54-year-old Colleen Hufford, police said.

He used a "standard" knife — similar to the ones found at the facility — to allegedly behead Hufford. Then, he used the same knife to repeatedly stab Traci Johnson, 43, who suffered numerous wounds and remained in stable condition Friday, police said.

Mark Vaughan, who is both the company's president and chief operating officer and a reserve deputy with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office, shot Nolen as he attacked the second victim. Nolen was taken to the hospital, where he is expected to survive. Police say that once he becomes coherent he will be interviewed and charged. (source)

15 PEOPLE BEHEADED BY MILITANTS

KABUL, Afghanistan — Militants aligned with ISIS launched a brutal offensive in Afghanistan alongside Taliban fighters that has left more than 100 people dead, local officials said Friday.

Insurgents carrying the black flag of ISIS captured several villages in Ghazni province, according to Deputy Governor Ali Ahmad Ahmadi and Deputy Police Chief Gen. Asadullah Ensafi.

Fifteen family members of local police officers were beheaded and at least 60 homes were set ablaze, Ahmadi said. (source)

RANDOM BEHEADINGS TERROR PLOT IN AUSTRALIA FOILED

The Islamic State plot to carry out random beheadings in Sydney alleged by police is a simple and barbaric scheme that has shaken Australians. But terrorism experts on Friday questioned whether the ruthless movement had the capacity or inclination to sustain a terror campaign so far from the Middle East.

Police said they thwarted a plot to carry out beheadings in Australia by Islamic State group supporters after raiding more than a dozen properties across Sydney on Thursday.

Islamic State has beheaded three Westerners in the Middle East in recent weeks, recording the brutal slayings to make propaganda videos that have attracted widespread condemnation.

Two of the 15 suspects detained by police were charged on Thursday, officials said. Nine others were freed before the day was over. But police wouldn't say how many remained in custody on Friday as the investigation continues. (Source & Video)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Cow conundrum: Do cows have built-in compasses?

Good Day World!

What would be the advantage of aligning one’s self with magnetic fields? 

Would it mean instant good karma?

Two groups of researchers came away with different results when they tested cows to see if they lined themselves up with the world’s magnetic fields.

Why cows? 

Who knows, but in 2008, the world’s media was captivated by a bovine study  conducted by Hynek Burda, a zoologist at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, apparently showing cows have magneto-reception.

But recent attempts to replicate his findings has led to another group of researchers (a Czech team) calling bullshit on Burda and his colleagues.

Burda published a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences three years ago using data from Google Earth to show that domestic cattle seem to prefer to align their bodies along Earth’s magnetic field lines.

Inquiring minds must know.

Magneto-reception has been detected in animals from turtles to birds. Basically, it’s the ability to pick up on magnetic fields, which helps them know what direction they’re going.

I certainly wouldn’t mind knowing what direction I’m going in at all times.

A built-in compass would really be cool. You’d never get lost.

As for the cow conundrum…the results have been challenged. I say the two groups should meet on a neutral pasture somewhere and re-test those cows. That way the conditions would be equal and both sides should get the same results.

Burda and his buddies have already moved on to testing other animals to see if they have magneto-reception. The Czech team meanwhile is waiting in the wings for the final results so they can challenge them.’

Burda’s latest study is the first to show a mammal change its behavior in response to sensing the magnetic field.

The study analyzed how 70 dogs oriented themselves during over 7000 bathroom breaks. At first, there was no clear pattern of a preferred direction.

Once natural variations in the Earth's magnetic field were taken into consideration by comparing the orientation data to daily magnetograms, which shows variations in the Earth's magnetic field, the researchers discovered a potty preference, according to an excited Burda.

This knowledge could mean a major breakthrough for pet owners!

Sadly, we may never know if cows have built-in compasses.

Time for me to walk on down the road… 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

2016 Presidential Election & Legal Pot for 4 states

Good Day World!

As is usually the case with me, I’m looking down the road.

I expect 2016 to be a very interesting year for a couple of reasons:

The Presidential Election; and there’s going to be Marijuana Legalization ballots for voters in California, Arizona, Massachusetts and Nevada.

REFLECTIONS ON ELECTIONS

Neither party has trotted out their candidates yet.

Names have been dropped. If Hillary Clinton doesn’t run for president, I’ll be surprised. She’s considered the only viable presidential candidate for the Democrats.

Hillary has been coy however, and hasn’t firmly thrown her hat into the ring.

Guessing who will run for the Republicans is an exercise in futility right now.

I just heard that Jeb Bush is thinking about taking up the family business. Another Bush in the wings would be like watching the movie “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murphy, but not as entertaining.

Three times is not the charm in this case. The country is still paying a stiff price for George “Dubya” Bush’s regime.

What the hell? Do we want a family dynasty ruling us? Do we want to start another family dynasty with the Clintons?

Pause.

Food for thought; if Hillary is elected it’ll be the first time two American presidents had sex! Forgive me, but I’m not the one who came up with that. Sounds funny though eh?

Seriously…

Moving on to legalizing marijuana:

The Marijuana Policy Project filed paperwork with the California secretary of state's office registering a campaign committee to start accepting and spending contributions for a pot legalization initiative on the November 2016 state ballot.

The measure would be similar to those passed in 2012 by voters in Colorado and Washington, the first U.S. states to legalize commercial sales of marijuana to all adults over 21.

California, long the national leader in illegal marijuana production and home to a thriving, largely unregulated medical marijuana industry, is one of the 21 other states that currently allow marijuana use only for medical reasons.

The Washington, D.C.-based group also has established campaign committees to back legalization measures in Arizona, Massachusetts and Nevada in 2016.

The state I live in, Oregon, is voting on legalizing marijuana this November.

From my observations and conversations, legalization is not a shoe-in.

There’s lots of resistance by groups who don’t want to see it happen. One group is currently running a total disinformation campaign on TV, and in the local media.

BACK TO THE YEAR 2016.

There’s a lot of mud piling up for both the presidential campaign and the pot legalization campaign in 4 states.

I predict new nasty lows in both campaigns, with the presidential campaign being the worst. Aren’t politics grand?

One more prediction: we’ll have the lowest turnout for a presidential election in modern times. No saviors – from either party – are forthcoming.

Okay. One more prediction: There’ll be above-average voter turnouts in the 4 states looking at marijuana legalization.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Woman chews up cop car upholstery, cocaine for votes, and Pizza Pie that gets you high!

Good Day World!

For your entertainment today, I’ve gathered three short articles with interesting twists.

You want angry? You want really pissed? I’ve got the woman for you.

How does one go about buying votes with dime bags of cocaine? Easy.

Finally, the day you’ve been waiting for has arrived: pot infused pizza premiers on the West Coast. Sky high pizza pie!

 WOMAN CHEWS UP UPHOLSTERY IN COP CAR

A northern Idaho woman has been charged with a felony after police say she chewed up the upholstery of a patrol car seat.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports ( http://bit.ly/1tVWDKa ) 42-year-old Staci Anne Spence was charged with felony malicious injury to property and misdemeanors including resisting arrest and battery on an officer.

Prosecutors say Spence was arrested after deputies came to her home to investigate a battery report. The deputies wrote in a court statement that when they arrived at the Bonner County Jail, they found that Spence had chewed through the patrol vehicle's upholstery and into the foam cushioning. (AP Report)’

TEXAS MAN USED COCAINE TO BUY VOTES

This story is nothing to sniff at…

Federal prosecutors say a 47-year-old man provided cocaine to secure votes for school board candidates in South Texas.

A federal judge in McAllen on Monday scheduled the arraignment of Francisco "Frankie" Garcia of Donna for next month. He's facing voter fraud and other charges.

The Monitor newspaper reports ( http://bit.ly/1Cblyfa ) that an indictment alleges Garcia paid voters by giving them a "dime bag" of cocaine. Others were paid $10 for their votes in the 2012 Donna school board elections.

FBI agents arrested Garcia last week in Illinois. He's the latest to be implicated in a conspiracy to buy votes for the school board elections. Three women pleaded guilty earlier this year to voter fraud. (AP Report)

THE PIZZA INDUSTRY IS GOING TO POT… LITERALLY

L.A.-based Podey Pizza has started selling jars of pot-infused pizza sauce at marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington State and Colorado.

Each 5-ounce jar of Podey Pizza sauce sells for $20 and contains 300mg of medical cannabis per jar, enough for one large pizza or two smaller ones, according to Steve Thomas, Podey Pizza's vice president of operations.

Thomas believes his pot-laced pizza sauce is a good option for medical marijuana users who don't to rely on sweets like candies and cookies to get their cannabis.

But getting there wasn't easy.

"We spent a lot of time getting it right so the sauce didn't taste 'green,'" Thomas said. "We probably made 150-200 pizzas and would invite three or four people to try them. We even put ads looking for people who were 300 pounds plus to make sure the dosage was right."

Thomas said the sauce is slightly sweet and uses tomatoes, mixed with cannabis-laced safflower oil.

"We may come out with a garlickly version or more of a butter sauce," he said.

Podey Pizza is marketing itself as the world's first pot-laced pizza sauce, but since Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana, a number of companies have been trying to make a lot of dough by selling pot-infused pizzas, and pizza products.

Stoned Oven Gourmet Mandibles, also based in Los Angeles, just started selling six-inch pot pizzas for $10 each.

Each pizza contains 250 mg of ethanol-extracted tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC concentrate, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Best of all: The company will deliver its cannabis pizzas to stoners who live in the right neighborhoods. (Originally published in Huff Post Weird News)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Study outlines a perfect storm of unsafe food

Good Day World!

American consumers have been deluged with reports of contaminated food in recent years, from salmonella in peanut butter and spinach to E. coli in cookie dough and ground beef.

A Center for Science in the Public Interest report found that the top 7 riskiest foods regulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration accounted for nearly 40 percent of all foodborne outbreaks in the U.S. between 1990 and 2006, spawning nearly 50,000 illnesses with symptoms ranging from stomach cramps and diarrhea to kidney failure and death.

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers tracked more than 1,500 separate, definable outbreaks involving not only high-risk foods like meat and dairy, but staples of a healthy diet, such as fruits and vegetables.

These outbreaks are only the tip of the iceberg of foodborne illness. For every case of salmonella poisoning reported, for instance, the CDC estimates that another 38 cases go unreported.

#1 - Leafy Greens

Can salad really be bad for you? Although considered a healthy food, nutritious greens can also be coated in disease-causing germs.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest identified 363 separate outbreaks linked to leafy greens, making them the No. 1 entry on the top 10 list of riskiest FDA-regulated foods.

#2 - Tuna

Many consumers are familiar with warnings about tuna and methylmercury, but the fish has also been implicated in 268 outbreaks and 2,341 reported cases of foodborne illness. Tuna has been linked to scombroid, the illness caused by scombrotoxin.

#3 Oysters

Contaminated oysters can ruin more than just a gourmet dinner. Oysters have been linked to 132 outbreaks, with 3,409 reported cases of illness. Not surprisingly, the majority of outbreaks from oysters occurred in restaurants. Illnesses from oysters occur primarily from two sources: norovirus and vibrio.

#4 Cheese

Cheese has been linked to 83 outbreaks involving 2,761 reported cases of illness since 1990, with salmonella the most common hazard. Cheese can become contaminated with pathogens during production or processing.

Most cheeses are now made with pasteurized milk, lowering the risk of contamination. In August, California officials warned consumers about eating Latin American-style cheeses such as queso fresco or queso Oaxaca, which may be made by unlicensed manufacturers using unpasteurized milk that could contain harmful bacteria.

#5 Ice Cream

Whether served in a cone or in a cup, America's favorite frozen treat occasionally can carry a load of dangerous bacteria. Ice cream has been linked to 74 outbreaks involving 2,594 reported cases of illness from pathogens such as salmonella and staphylcoccus since 1990. Soft ice cream can be particularly hazardous to pregnant women.

Listeria can survive on metal surfaces — such as the interior of soft ice cream machines — and may contaminate batch after batch of products.

#6 Sprouts

Sprouts are a popular way to add crunch to salads and in Asian dishes. As the popularity of sprouts increases, however, so too does the potential for foodborne illnesses.

Sprouts have been implicated in 31 outbreaks involving 2,022 reported cases of illness since 1990. The CDC and the FDA recommended in 1999 that people at high risk for complications from salmonella and E. coli — such as the elderly, young children, and those with compromised immune systems — not eat raw sprouts.

#7 Berries

Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and other berry products have caused 25 outbreaks and sickened 3,397 since 1990.

In 1997, more than 2.6 million pounds of contaminated strawberries were recalled after thousands of students across several states reported illnesses from eating frozen strawberries in their school lunches.

Hepatitis A was the culprit, and contamination may have occurred through an infected farm worker, according to the CSPI report.

Condensed version from Center for Science in the Public Interest

Food safety

  1. Raw milk sickened scores, despite inspection
  2. Contaminated ground turkey found in 21 states
  3. Contaminated cucumbers sicken 73
  4. Mini quesadillas, pizza recalled over E. coli fears

Time for me to walk on down the road…