AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1580678 times)

Offline knarf

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Red list: thousands of species at risk of extinction due to human activity
« Reply #9510 on: December 06, 2017, 05:17:13 AM »
Unsustainable farming, fishing and climate change has intensified the struggle for survival among vulnerable animals and crops, says IUCN at the release of its latest list of endangered species



Thousands of animal species are at critical risk of going extinct due to unsustainable farming and fishing methods and climate change, a conservation group has warned as it released the latest red list of endangered species.

In a rare piece of good news, the International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN] praised New Zealand for its success in turning around the fortunes of two species of kiwi, prompting it to upgrade them from endangered to vulnerable.

The struggle for survival among at-risk animals – and now crops – has intensified as a result of rising human populations, economic development and drastic changes in the natural environment caused by global warming, the IUCN said.

Craig Hilton-Taylor, who heads the group’s red list unit, said species were going extinct at a faster rate than at any time in human history.

But he drew encouragement from New Zealand’s example. “It’s all a rather sad picture, but the red list also gives us hope and shows us that conservation can work,” he told reporters at the list’s publication in Tokyo.

The IUCN aims to cover 160,000 species by the end of the decade, he added.

The group, which received funding for this year’s list from the Japanese automaker Toyota, assessed the status of 91,523 species, of which 25,821 are threatened, 866 are extinct and 69 extinct in the wild. It said 11,783 species are vulnerable, 8,455 are endangered and 5,583 critically endangered.

Among the most prominent species now regarded as endangered are the Irrawaddy dolphin and finless porpoise found in parts of southeast Asia.

The group blamed their plight on human activity, including the use of fishing nets. “Gillnets hang like curtains of death across rivers and trap everything that comes into contact with them,” said Hilton-Taylor.

In addition, Australia’s western ringtail possum slipped from vulnerable to critically endangered after its population plunged by 80% over the past decade.

Once widespread in the peppermint and eucalyptus forests of Western Australia, the animal can now be found only in a few fragmented habitats and is prone to heat stress at temperatures above 35C (95F) – an increasingly common phenomenon in that part of the country.

The IUCN said three reptile species on Christmas Island, an Australian territory just south of Indonesia, had gone extinct in the wild: the whiptail-skink, the blue-tailed skink and Lister’s gecko.

“We’re not 100% sure of the cause but it is almost certainly linked to the presence of invasive species” such as the yellow crazy ant, Hilton-Taylor said.

The Okarito kiwi and the northern brown kiwi, however, have mounted a modest recovery thanks to conservation work and a campaign to control predators such as rats, stoats and possums.

More than 40 species of New Zealand birds have already died out and many others remain threatened, including the kiwi.

The example of the Okarito and northern brown kiwi showed “conservation can and does work,” Hilton-Taylor said, adding that the population of the former has risen from 160 in 1995 to about 400-450 now.

“Government agencies and community groups in New Zealand came together and really turned things around,” he said.

Three species of wild rice, along with two of wild wheat and 17 types of wild yam were listed as threatened due to deforestation and urban expansion, coupled with the pressures created by intensive agriculture.

“The importance of food security unites the entire Asian continent,” said Naohisa Okuda, director of the biodiversity policy division at Japan’s environment ministry.

“We should be very concerned about the survival of these crops, because their loss could jeopardise the bowls of rice we eat in the future.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/05/red-list-thousands-of-species-at-risk-of-extinction-due-to-human-activity
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Re: Beyond Hope
« Reply #9511 on: December 06, 2017, 05:37:23 AM »
Another Dr. McStinksion HOPELESS individual.  ::)

Without Hope, there is no reason to live.  If I didn't hope my legs would improve, I would blow my brains out today.

We need fewer hopeless people and more hopeful ones.

RE
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Offline knarf

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Re: Beyond Hope
« Reply #9512 on: December 06, 2017, 08:56:17 AM »
Another Dr. McStinksion HOPELESS individual.  ::)

Without Hope, there is no reason to live.  If I didn't hope my legs would improve, I would blow my brains out today.

We need fewer hopeless people and more hopeful ones.

RE

F*^K Hope! :)    My new "mantra" is "Lower your expectations". LOL On my walk this morning I started creating a new song to create when I was finished...it was gonna be really cool. BUT first I had to slice up a ham in to breakfast size pieces. In the process I cut the finger closest to my thumb on my left hand. Now it is bandaged to the max. It will take two days before I can play the guitar! Mantra is working fine. LOL
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 09:04:24 AM by knarf »
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Re: Beyond Hope
« Reply #9513 on: December 06, 2017, 12:14:10 PM »
Another Dr. McStinksion HOPELESS individual.  ::)

Without Hope, there is no reason to live.  If I didn't hope my legs would improve, I would blow my brains out today.

We need fewer hopeless people and more hopeful ones.

RE

F*^K Hope! :)    My new "mantra" is "Lower your expectations". LOL On my walk this morning I started creating a new song to create when I was finished...it was gonna be really cool. BUT first I had to slice up a ham in to breakfast size pieces. In the process I cut the finger closest to my thumb on my left hand. Now it is bandaged to the max. It will take two days before I can play the guitar! Mantra is working fine. LOL

You can have lower expectations and still have hope.  For instance, my hope for Homo Sap is that only 7.4B die instead of all 7.5B.  My hope for the other species on the planet is that only 95% of them go extinct, not 100%.  My hope for the atmosphere is that the temps plateau out at +10C as they always have in all prior extinction level events and the arctic regions remain habitable until it cycles back down.

These are realistic and achievable hopes, but we won't reach them with a bunch of hopeless mopey people around feeling sorry for themselves.  These folks gotta go.

SUN☼ is about HOPE!


RE
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Offline knarf

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Trump says Jerusalem IS Israel's capital and claims his move will HELP bring peace
« Reply #9514 on: December 06, 2017, 03:54:13 PM »

n flames: In Gaza Palestinians burned the U.S. and Israeli flags as Trump's announcement later on Wednesday was revealed   

President Trump announced he's recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital city, and starting the process of moving the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv
    'Today we finally acknowledge the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel's capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality,' he said
    Palestinians said it would be 'a kiss of death to the two-state solution' and Trump is 'declaring war in the Middle East'
    The terror group Hamas said Trump has opened 'the gates of hell'
    Pope Francis said he was 'profoundly concerned' and appealed that 'everyone respects the status quo of the city'
    China, which has good ties with Israel and the Palestinians, expressed concerns over 'possible aggravation of regional tensions'
    Iran's supreme leader said Trump's new stance represented 'incompetence and failure'; Russia expressed concern about a 'possible deterioration' there
    Moving the embassy to Jerusalem will unfold over 'years,' a senior White House official said; 'It won't be immediate, it won't be months, it won't be quick'
    White House offered no expansion on Trump's argument that peace process is unaffected and how it ties in to Jared Kushner's peace plan

President Donald Trump set off protests throughout the Middle East on Wednesday as he announced that America formally recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital city.

He changed decades of U.S. policy in a brief afternoon speech and cast the move as a bid to preserve, not derail, aspirations for regional peace.

Appearing in the White House's Diplomatic Reception Room against an elaborate backdrop of Christmas decorations, he also said the United States embassy in Israel would, over time, be moved there from Tel Aviv.

Israel is the only country where the United States has an embassy in a city that the host nation does not consider its capital.

But his speech was greeted by demonstrations and a threat from Hamas, who called Thursday and Friday 'days of rage' that he had 'opened the gates of hell'.

In Gaza thousands flooded the streets and burned U.S. flags. Palestinian secular and Islamist factions called a general strike on Thursday after tens of thousands took to the streets on Wednesday night.

Israeli security forces braced for possible violence for days to come and the U.S. embassy in Jordan was effectively locked down.

World leaders including the Pope spoke out against the measure, saying that it jeopardized the peace process. But Trump was unrepentant that he was doing the 'right thing'.

'I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,' Trump said. 'While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today I am delivering.'

'When I came into office I promised to look at the world's challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking,' he said, leaning heavily on a mid-1990s federal law that demanded the embassy's relocation.

'We have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital – at all,' Trump added. 'But today we finally acknowledge the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel's capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality.'

'It is also the right thing to do. It is something that has to be done.'

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 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began physically testing southwestern border wall prototypes this week, according to a spokesman for the department.

The start of the testing period was Nov. 27, and physical tests began Monday, said Carlos Diaz, CBP's public affairs branch chief for the southwestern border.

Construction of eight wall prototypes in the San Diego sector were completed on Oct. 26. Six companies were chosen to build eight sample walls — four made of concrete and four of other materials.

President Donald Trump made a border wall between Mexico and the United States a calling card of his presidential campaign. "Build the wall" became a familiar chant at all his campaign rallies, and stopping illegal immigration was one of his top promises.

 The prototypes are the first steps in CBP’s efforts to build a wall, although administration officials have acknowledged that a future wall is unlikely to stretch from sea to shining sea, despite Trump's promise to cover the entire border.

Last week CBP officials began training, safety and security procedures, as well as scheduling to set up the testing.

 The physical testing will include attempts to scale and breach the prototypes. Officials will use items such as jackhammers, saws and hydraulic tools to try to breach the prototypes.

During the procurement process, the companies were required to build the walls extending at least 6 feet underground. The depth of the walls was evaluated during the construction process, according to Diaz.

All eight prototypes were required to be 18 to 30 feet high and designed to deter crossings.

The prototypes were built side by side near the current secondary wall in San Diego, which already has a primary and secondary barrier.

 Officials say that the current barriers need to be modernized.

Over the past three years, the existing infrastructure in San Diego has been breached nearly 2,000 times, according to Roy Villareal, the deputy chief patrol agent of the San Diego sector.

He said that’s a “testament” to the need for new wall structures.

“If you go back to the late '80s, the border was completely overrun. There were daily robberies, rapes, assaults, vehicle thefts, high-speed pursuits, people getting killed along the border in staggering numbers,” Villareal told ABC News in front of the prototypes. “That has all curtailed as a result of investment in border security. That has curtailed as a result of what you see here today.”

However, critics and Democratic lawmakers say the wall is a waste of time and money.

 “Across the Southwest, border residents and local stakeholders like mayors and sheriffs are firmly opposed to President Trump’s folly endeavor, based on economic, environmental and humanitarian impacts,” said Lorella Praeli, the director of immigration policy and campaigns at the American Civil Liberties Union, in a July statement.

On Tuesday, CBP announced that during fiscal year 2017, there were 310,531 apprehensions by U.S. Border Patrol nationwide — the fewest in at least 17 years.

Of those apprehensions, nearly 98 percent were along the southwestern border.

In August the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees CBP, issued a waiver of certain laws, regulations and other legal requirements to expedite the prototype construction process.


A Homeland Security border patrol vehicle monitors the border area where prototypes of President Trump's proposed border wall

 The waiver allowed CBP to disregard many laws, including the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

However, CBP said that it will be committed to environmental and cultural stewardship.

The physical tests are expected to take place over the next two weeks.

Evaluators are going through a “very regimented process” during this assessment phase “to ensure when it’s completed we have the best information available,” said Diaz.

CBP is evaluating all the breach attempts and how long they take.

All testing is being documented for the subsequent evaluation process, according to CBP.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/trump-administration-begins-testing-border-wall-prototypes-prevent/story?id=51607378&cid=clicksource_4380645_1_hero_headlines_headlines_hed
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Offline knarf

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Socialism, Capitalism Seen in New Light by Younger Americans
« Reply #9516 on: December 06, 2017, 04:03:05 PM »
Surveys show a leftward tilt, and pessimism about the future, among millennials


Young people taking part in a protest against the Trump administration in New York Nov. 4.

John Della Volpe, who has been polling millennials for 17 years, stood before about 150 students in a gleaming new center at Elon University this fall in search of an answer.

In his 2016 survey for Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, 42% of younger Americans said they support capitalism, and only 19% identified themselves as capitalists. While this was a new question in his survey, the low percentage of young people embracing capitalism surprised him. He had come here, in part, to better understand why.

“Maybe it had to do with the ‘American Dream,’ and how capitalism was correlated with it, but a lot of young people don’t believe in it anymore,” said Ana Garcia, a junior at the Elon event. “We don’t trust capitalism because we don’t see ourselves getting ahead.”

Largely because of such millennials, generally those born in the 1980s and 1990s, socialism has moved from being a taboo because of its associations with the Cold War to something that has found rising appeal among those polled by Harvard and in other surveys that compared different generations.

Grace Magness, an Elon freshman, has experienced the shift firsthand. Her great grandfather, she said, was named Eugene Debs after the labor leader who ran for president five times for the Socialist Party at the turn of the 20th century. “He was so embarrassed about it when he was older that he would never introduce himself using his full name,” Ms. Magness said.

For her, she says, “socialism has gotten less spooky; it’s no longer associated with communism the way it was.” She adds: “straight-up capitalism seems like it has a lot of potential to be really corrupt.”

Young people across the generations tend to be viewed as more left-leaning than their elders. Underlying the millennial generation’s leftward tilt is angst about the future, Mr. Della Volpe said. In a new smaller Harvard survey, released Tuesday, 67% of those polled said they are more worried than hopeful about the direction of the country. The fall survey sampled 2,037 peopled aged 18 to 29 in live interviews.

“If something unites these young people,” Mr. Della Volpe said, “it’s fear,” driven by their perception that they have limited economic opportunities and that society as a whole has become more unequal.

The 2016 poll also found that the millennial generation is less religious than their parents and losing faith in institutions—a finding consistent with other polls that track some of that loss of faith to the slow recovery from the deep recession that began in 2008.

“Every new group of voters is disproportionately affected by whatever was salient when they were growing up,” said Celinda Lake, a long-time Democratic pollster. “That’s led this group to be really cynical about institutions: military, government.”

In the view of Kristen Soltis Anderson, a Republican pollster and the author of, “The Selfie Vote: Where Millennials Are Leading America and How Republicans Can Keep Up,” the idea that young people tend to be liberal and become more conservative with age is misguided. “The oldest millennials are actually the most left-leaning,” she said. “If you came of age, graduated college and were job hunting around the time of the financial crisis, you might be asking, What have free markets done for you? The easy rhetoric that ‘markets are bad, government is bad’ is appealing.”

The Harvard survey has polled roughly 1,000 respondents between 18 and 29 years old annually since 2001. The sample size has grown over time. In the spring 2016 survey, it was a measure of nearly 3,200 people. The survey has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

Still, millennials polled say they want a bigger role for government in making conditions better for their future. The number of young people who believe that tax cuts spark economic growth, which had held fairly steady for years, fell seven points over the past two years, according to the 2016 Harvard survey.

That may be an ominous portent for the GOP, which is on the verge of passing a major tax overhaul that is projected to add $1 trillion to the federal deficit and cut taxes for corporations. According to the new Harvard poll released Tuesday, 67% of respondents oppose the way President Donald Trump is handling the tax measure. And a Quinnipiac University poll also released Tuesday showed that 78% of millennials, defined in the survey as 18-to-34 year-olds, believe the GOP tax overhaul would mostly benefit the wealthy.

“We are on the verge of a very significant political movement led by millennials,” Mr. Della Volpe of Harvard said. “This generation does not believe in trickle-down economics.”

Democrats may appear poised to capitalize on these trends in midterm elections next year and the presidential election in 2020. An NBC News poll of millennials released last week showed that just 19% of young people identify as Republicans and 71% don’t believe the GOP cares about people like them. By comparison, 53% said Democrats care about people like them.

But in the most recent survey for Harvard, Mr. Della Volpe asked the same question and found that just 34% of millennials believe the Democratic Party cares about them.

“Democrats can’t take these voters for granted,” Mr. Della Volpe said. “They have a year or so to focus on this generation, but if they fail to do so in the 2018 cycle, someone else will in 2020.”

Millennials also say they consider themselves socially conscious, which has ramifications for potential employers.

“They see where they work as an extension of who they are and what they value,” said Whitney Dailey, the director of marketing and research at Cone Communications, a firm that advises on corporate-responsibility strategies. “They’re looking to work with companies that align with their values.”

According to Cone’s 2016 millennial-engagement study, which surveyed more than 1,000 employees at large companies, 76% of respondents between ages 20 and 35 consider a company’s social commitment when searching for a job; 75% are willing to take a pay cut to work for a company that suits their values.

When recruiting new employees, Don Slager, chief executive of waste-management company Republic Services Inc., emphasizes diversity training for managers, a 10-hour workday for employees in an industry where longer shifts are common, and investments in recycling programs.

“I think there’s more commitment and I think that is absolutely tied to the millennials because the younger generation just inherently cares more about it,” Mr. Slager said. “And I think that kind of consumerism will drive companies to make different decisions.”

Following the 2008 crash, Citigroup Inc. changed recruitment efforts to offer a better work-life balance. These programs, including one that lets employees defer their job responsibilities for a year to do philanthropic or volunteer work and be paid 60% of their salary, arose from a recognition of the younger generation’s heightened social consciousness.

“When we go to college campuses, we tell the students we work with a purpose, that we’re trying to do good for society,” said Jamie Forese, Citigroup’s president. “And students don’t want apologies; they want a plan that’s forward looking.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/socialism-capitalism-seen-in-new-light-by-younger-americans-1512561601
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Offline knarf

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Scromiting' is becoming an all-too-familiar site at emergency rooms
The condition, called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS), is not yet properly understood
Medical experts believe the symptoms appear from individuals using or consuming heavy amounts of marijuana over a long period of time
Doctors note that the condition could stem from the body being over saturated by cannabinoids, affecting the hypothalamus
Dr Aimee Moulin said she has seen a rise in cases since California legalized recreational marijuana last November

Chronic cannabis users are at risk of experiencing a horrifying new condition that is being reported at hospitals across the country.

'Scromiting,' doctors say, is becoming an all-too-familiar site at emergency rooms, with patients 'screaming and vomiting' as they turn up for help. 

The condition, called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS), is not properly understood but medical experts believe the symptoms appear from individuals using or consuming heavy amounts of marijuana over a long period of time.

Dr Aimee Moulin, an emergency room physician at UC-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, said she has seen a rise in cases since California legalized recreational marijuana last November.

She expects to see a further rise after commercial sales are permitted starting in January.

'I've screamed out for death,' Chalfonte LeNee Queen, 48, told NPR after experiencing the terrifying illness.   

'I've cried out for my mom, who's been dead for 20 years, mentally not realizing she can't come to me.'

Little research has been conducted on the topic, but one study found that for scromiting to occur, cannabis users would have to consume marijuana three to five times per day to develop CHS.


Doctors note that the condition could stem from the body being over saturated by cannabinoids, affecting the hypothalamus

'In one study the average duration of cannabis use prior to onset of recurrent vomiting was... 3.4 years,' the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) report added.

‘The syndrome was first described in 2004 by Allen and colleagues and is characterized by chronic cannabis use, cyclic episodes of nausea and vomiting, and the learned behavior of hot bathing,’ doctors wrote.

Medical experts note that the condition could stem from the body being over saturated by cannabinoids - chemical compounds that acts on cannabinoid receptors located in the brain.

The build up the cannabinoids, doctors believe, affect the function of the hypothalamus, which regulates digestion and body temperature.

In Colorado, Dr. Kennon Heard, an emergency physician at the University of Colorado in Aurora said they are diagnosing more cases however he doesn't believe cases increased after recreational use was legalized in 2012, because chronic users probably already had medical marijuana cards.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5150081/Heavy-marijuana-users-showing-ER-scromiting.html
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Trump: Government shutdown 'could happen' Saturday
« Reply #9518 on: December 06, 2017, 04:10:32 PM »


    President Donald Trump says a government shutdown "could happen" as soon as Saturday.
    Congress has until midnight on Friday approve a short-term spending package to keep the government open.
    Despite majorities in both chambers, Republicans will need Democratic votes to pass the bill.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that a government shutdown "could happen" as soon as Saturday.

"It could happen," Trump said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, in response to a reporter's question about the Friday deadline for a spending bill to fund the government.

"The Democrats are really looking at something that could be very dangerous for our country," Trump said. "They are looking at shutting down. They want to have illegal immigrants, in many cases people that we don't want in our country, they want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bringing with them crime, tremendous amounts of crime."


Trump: Government shutdown 'could happen' Saturday
Trump: Government shutdown 'could happen' Saturday 
3 Hours Ago | 01:05

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that a government shutdown "could happen" as soon as Saturday.

"It could happen," Trump said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, in response to a reporter's question about the Friday deadline for a spending bill to fund the government.

"The Democrats are really looking at something that could be very dangerous for our country," Trump said. "They are looking at shutting down. They want to have illegal immigrants, in many cases people that we don't want in our country, they want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bringing with them crime, tremendous amounts of crime."
President Donald Trump delivers a statement on Jerusalem from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, DC on December 6, 2017.
President Trump says government shutdown is possible 
4 Hours Ago | 01:08

Congress has until midnight on Friday to approve a short-term spending package to keep the government open. Despite majorities in both chambers, Republicans will need Democratic votes to pass the bill.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., responded on Twitter to Trump's comments saying: "President Trump is the only person talking about a government shutdown. Democrats are hopeful the President will be open to an agreement to address the urgent needs of the American people and keep government open."

What congressional Democrats want in exchange for supporting the spending bill are permanent protections for the nearly 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States who were brought here as children, the so-called Dreamers.

Earlier this year, Trump canceled an Obama-era protection policy for Dreamers, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. The president's order gave Congress until March 2018 to pass a bill with DACA-like protections. Republicans have signaled a willingness to address the issue in a spending bill later this year, but not in the short-term fix that must pass this week.

Trump, however, appeared intent on painting any DACA fix proposals as a sort of carte blanche for open borders. "The Democrats maybe would want to shut down the country because they want people flowing into our country," the president said.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/06/trump-government-shutdown-could-happen-saturday.html
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Democratic senators to Al Franken: Resign
« Reply #9519 on: December 06, 2017, 04:14:56 PM »
Embattled Sen. Al Franken will make an announcement Thursday, his office told reporters, as calls for the Minnesota Democrat's resignation -- led by female senators and later including party leaders such as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer -- rapidly gained momentum Wednesday.
Thirty-two Democratic senators -- 13 female and 19 male -- called on Franken to resign as allegations of sexual harassment against him continue to mount. Republican Sen. Susan Collins also called on Franken to quit.

In a statement on Facebook, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote: "While Senator Franken is entitled to have the Ethics Committee conclude its review, I believe it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn't acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve."

Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Patty Murray of Washington, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Kamala Harris of California, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Dianne Feinstein of California, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii also joined in the call for Franken to resign.

Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania was the first male Democratic senator to call on Franken to resign just after noon Wednesday. Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, Tom Carper of Delaware, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Gary Peters of Michigan, Jon Tester of Montana and Sherrod Brown of Ohio also called for Franken to step down. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois -- the Democratic whip -- also called on Franken to resign just before 1 p.m. ET. Independent Sens. Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who both caucus with the Democrats, also called for him to resign.
"I consider Senator Franken a dear friend and greatly respect his accomplishments, but he has a higher obligation to his constituents and the Senate, and he should step down immediately," Schumer said in a statement that went out just before 5 p.m. ET.

The Senate Ethics Committee is investigating Franken following an account described by Leeann Tweeden, a morning news anchor on KABC radio in Los Angeles, which described Franken groping and forcibly kissing her during a USO tour in 2006, before Franken became a senator. After that initial account, several other women came forward to say Franken inappropriately touched them. Franken has repeatedly apologized about behavior that he said "crossed a line" for some women. The second-term senator has also said that he has taken thousands of photos with people over the years and that while he doesn't remember specific pictures or campaign events, any inappropriate behavior was unintentional.
At least six women -- three named and three unnamed -- have accused Franken of inappropriately touching them. The most recent accusation came in a Politico report Wednesday, in which, a woman who chose not to be identified alleged Franken tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006. Franken released a statement categorically denying the accusation. "This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous," the Minnesota senator said. "I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation." CNN has not verified the accusations in the Politico report.

 person familiar with the conversations told CNN Schumer called Franken after the Politico story published and told him he needed to step down.​ The person said Schumer subsequently had a series of conversations with Franken about stepping down throughout Wednesday.
The calls for Franken to resign come one day after Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan announced he would retire immediately. Conyers had also faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment by former employees, accusations Conyers vehemently he denied.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/06/politics/al-franken-democratic-senators-resign/index.html
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Scromiting' is becoming an all-too-familiar site at emergency rooms
The condition, called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS), is not yet properly understood
Medical experts believe the symptoms appear from individuals using or consuming heavy amounts of marijuana over a long period of time
Doctors note that the condition could stem from the body being over saturated by cannabinoids, affecting the hypothalamus
Dr Aimee Moulin said she has seen a rise in cases since California legalized recreational marijuana last November

Chronic cannabis users are at risk of experiencing a horrifying new condition that is being reported at hospitals across the country.

'Scromiting,' doctors say, is becoming an all-too-familiar site at emergency rooms, with patients 'screaming and vomiting' as they turn up for help. 

The condition, called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS), is not properly understood but medical experts believe the symptoms appear from individuals using or consuming heavy amounts of marijuana over a long period of time.

Dr Aimee Moulin, an emergency room physician at UC-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, said she has seen a rise in cases since California legalized recreational marijuana last November.

She expects to see a further rise after commercial sales are permitted starting in January.

'I've screamed out for death,' Chalfonte LeNee Queen, 48, told NPR after experiencing the terrifying illness.   

'I've cried out for my mom, who's been dead for 20 years, mentally not realizing she can't come to me.'

Little research has been conducted on the topic, but one study found that for scromiting to occur, cannabis users would have to consume marijuana three to five times per day to develop CHS.


Doctors note that the condition could stem from the body being over saturated by cannabinoids, affecting the hypothalamus

'In one study the average duration of cannabis use prior to onset of recurrent vomiting was... 3.4 years,' the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) report added.

‘The syndrome was first described in 2004 by Allen and colleagues and is characterized by chronic cannabis use, cyclic episodes of nausea and vomiting, and the learned behavior of hot bathing,’ doctors wrote.

Medical experts note that the condition could stem from the body being over saturated by cannabinoids - chemical compounds that acts on cannabinoid receptors located in the brain.

The build up the cannabinoids, doctors believe, affect the function of the hypothalamus, which regulates digestion and body temperature.

In Colorado, Dr. Kennon Heard, an emergency physician at the University of Colorado in Aurora said they are diagnosing more cases however he doesn't believe cases increased after recreational use was legalized in 2012, because chronic users probably already had medical marijuana cards.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5150081/Heavy-marijuana-users-showing-ER-scromiting.html

Never heard of it. My knee jerk reaction is that if heavy cannabis smoking caused this kind of symptom, I'd have had it by 1990, when (after smoking for 20 years)  I voluntarily withdrew from cannabis entirely for 18 years. At that time I was smoking a lot of cannabis, it was high quality, and I wasn't even getting high anymore, or at least I no longer noticed a difference between being high and being "normal".

I vote bullshit. Many times crazy people smoke dope and then behave like crazy people. Imagine that.
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The Choice
« Reply #9521 on: December 06, 2017, 04:22:52 PM »
TIME’s editor-in-chief on why the Silence Breakers are the Person of the Year

t became a hashtag, a movement, a reckoning. But it began, as great social change nearly always does, with individual acts of courage. The actor who went public with the story of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s “coercive bargaining” in a Beverly Hills hotel suite two decades earlier. The strawberry picker who heard that story and decided to tell her own. The young engineer whose blog post about the frat-boy culture at Silicon Valley’s highest-flying startup prompted the firing of its founder and 20 other employees. The California lobbyist whose letter campaign spurred more than 140 women in politics to demand that state government “no longer tolerate the perpetrators or enablers” of sexual misconduct. A music superstar’s raw, defiant court testimony about the disc jockey who groped her.



The galvanizing actions of the women on our cover—Ashley Judd, Susan Fowler, Adama Iwu, Taylor Swift and Isabel Pascual—along with those of hundreds of others, and of many men as well, have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s. Social media acted as a powerful accelerant; the hashtag #MeToo has now been used millions of times in at least 85 countries. “I woke up and there were 32,000 replies in 24 hours,” says actor Alyssa Milano, who, after the first Weinstein story broke, helped popularize the phrase coined years before by Tarana Burke. “And I thought, My God, what just happened? I think it’s opening the floodgates.” To imagine Rosa Parks with a Twitter account is to wonder how much faster civil rights might have progressed.

The year, at its outset, did not seem to be a particularly auspicious one for women. A man who had bragged on tape about sexual assault took the oath of the highest office in the land, having defeated the first woman of either party to be nominated for that office, as she sat beside a former President with his own troubling history of sexual misconduct. While polls from the 2016 campaign revealed the predictable divisions in American society, large majorities—including women who supported Donald Trump—said Trump had little respect for women. “I remember feeling powerless,” says Fowler, the former Uber engineer who called out the company’s toxic culture, “like even the government wasn’t looking out for us.”

Nor did 2017 appear to be especially promising for journalists, who—alongside the ongoing financial upheaval in the media business—feared a fallout from the President’s cries of “fake news” and verbal attacks on reporters. And yet it was a year of phenomenal reporting. Determined journalists—including Emily Steel and Michael Schmidt, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, Ronan Farrow, Brett Anderson, Oliver Darcy, and Irin Carmon and Amy Brittain, among many others—picked up where so many human-resources departments, government committees and district attorneys had clearly failed, proving the truth of rumors that had circulated across whisper networks for years.

We are in the middle of the beginning of this upheaval. There is so much that we still don’t know about its ultimate impact. How far-reaching will it be? How deep into the country? How far down the organizational chart? Will there be a backlash? Hollywood and the media—the industries that have thus far been home to most of the prominent cases—live in a coastal, co-dependent bubble. That it popped first isn’t terribly surprising and surely doesn’t mean that the behavior of a Louis CK or a Charlie Rose is any less prevalent in the suites of corporate America. Or the trading floors of Wall Street. Or the backrooms of restaurants, factories and small businesses across the country. Indeed, the biggest test of this movement will be the extent to which it changes the realities of people for whom telling the truth simply threatens too much.

The roots of TIME’s annual franchise—singling out the person or persons who most influenced the events of the year—lie in the so-called great man theory of history, a phrasing that sounds particularly anachronistic at this moment. But the idea that influential, inspirational individuals shape the world could not be more apt this year. “I want to show [my 11-year-old daughter] that it’s O.K. to stand up for yourself, even though you feel like the world is against you,” says Dana Lewis, a hotel hospitality coordinator who is suing her employer over the actions of a serial groper. “If you keep fighting, eventually you’ll see the sun on the other side.” Or as artist and activist Rose McGowan put it, “Why not fight back? What else are we doing?”

For giving voice to open secrets, for moving whisper networks onto social networks, for pushing us all to stop accepting the unacceptable, the Silence Breakers are the 2017 Person of the Year.

http://time.com/time-person-of-the-year-2017-silence-breakers-choice/
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Pittsburgh, 50 other North American cities join Chicago Climate Charter
« Reply #9522 on: December 06, 2017, 04:24:17 PM »


Pittsburgh has joined 50 other North American cities in adopting the Chicago Climate Charter, which builds on prior commitments to subdue global warming, Mayor Bill Peduto announced Tuesday.

In Chicago for the North American Climate Summit, Mr. Peduto reported on Twitter that he just signed the Chicago agreement on Pittsburgh’s behalf. The document calls for participating communities to quantify, track and report emissions; support flexibility for cities to take action on climate issues; and incorporate climate issues into emergency planning, among other provisions.

“Rather than burying our heads in the sand, Chicago is working with cities across the country and around the world to address the threat of climate change,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. He said the charter “represents tens of million residents who are committed to confronting climate change head-on. Even as Washington fails to act, cities have the power and will to take decisive action to protect our planet and the health and safety of our residents.”

The signed document, an international pledge, is expected to be available at www.northamericanclimatesummit.com. Mr. Peduto and hundreds of other U.S. mayors pledged in June that they would continue to follow the Paris climate agreement inked in 2015.

President Donald Trump has said he would pull the country from that accord, which endeavors to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. It seeks to control the emission of greenhouse gases tied to climate change.

Pittsburgh also is refining a citywide Climate Action Plan, which lists local strategies and goals to curb those emissions. Anticipated efforts include a switch to all-renewable electricity sources for municipal operations and a 50 percent reduction in transportation emissions citywide, both by 2030.

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2017/12/05/Pittsburgh-Chicago-Climate-Charter-Rahm-Emanuel-Bill-Peduto-Paris-climate-agreement-Donald-Trump/stories/201712050142
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Urban Air Pollution Negates Health Benefits Of A Long Walk On City Streets
« Reply #9523 on: December 06, 2017, 04:27:18 PM »
A new study focused on the impact of dirty air on those at least 60 years old.



Air pollution on city streets can wipe out the beneficial health effects of exercise for people aged 60 and older, according to a new study led by scientists at Duke University and Imperial College London.

Short-term exposure to traffic exhaust in built-up areas like New York City’s Broadway or Chicago’s Michigan Avenue can cancel out the positive effects a two-hour walk would otherwise have on the hearts and lungs of these older adults, according to the findings, published Tuesday in medical journal The Lancet.

While participants who walked in a park were found to have a significant improvement in their lung capacity, which lasted as long as 24 hours, those that walked on a polluted main street saw few if any benefits.

“Combined with evidence from other recent studies, our findings underscore that we can’t really tolerate the levels of air pollution that we currently find on our busy streets,” said Fan Chung, professor of respiratory medicine and head of experimental studies medicine at Imperial College’s National Heart & Lung Institute.

Globally, outdoor air pollution causes an estimated 4.5 million deaths a year. Air pollution exposure has been linked to increases in hospital admissions and deaths from cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases and lung cancer. A key culprit is cars, since emissions from gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles are one of the main sources of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and particulates.

“For many people, such as the elderly or those with chronic disease, the only exercise they very often can do is to walk,” Chung said. He said he believes the results of the new study, carried out in London, would be replicable in many North American and European cities. He also said the impacts are likely to apply to other age groups, but further studies are needed on that.

The report calls for stricter air quality limits, better traffic control measures and greater access to green spaces. Chung also said the study indicated individuals should avoid busy, congested areas whenever possible and opt for green spaces instead. He acknowledged that may be hard ― and costly ― for those living or working in inner cities.

“Our hope is that this study will add to the evidence city leaders need to contribute to policies that will encourage preservation of green spaces,” said Jim Zhang, professor of global and environmental health at Duke and study’s co-author.

He added: “As economic growth and urbanization happen around the world, lots of cities are left with very little green space. ... People like outdoor exercise. We should provide them with spaces to enable that instead of giving them no choice but to walk and cycle through busy, polluted streets.”

​Brooke Havlik, communications director for the New York-based nonprofit organization WE ACT for Environmental Justice, said that far from improving the situation, the U.S. is going backward at a federal level when it comes to combatting air pollution.

“The Trump administration and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt are actively working to dismantle critical​ public health and ​clean air protections,” she said.

Poor air quality is creating a public health crisis in the U.S., said Natalie Nava, project leader at the environmental group Greenpeace USA.

She noted that although the Obama administration proposed stronger fuel efficiency standards for vehicles to fight air pollution, since President Donald Trump took office, “car companies have actually been lobbying ... to get these standards rolled back.”

“As long as American automakers drag their feet on fuel standards and other sustainability regulations, they’re showing that they care more about their short-term financial interests than they do about long-term benefits for public health, the planet, and even the economy,” she said.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/air-pollution-cities-cars-exercise-over-60s_us_5a26ffabe4b08220bd78872f
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For The First Time In Modern History, A Better Future Is No Longer The Base Case
« Reply #9524 on: December 06, 2017, 04:32:12 PM »
Who remembers “the spiral”?

Early last month, we brought you excerpts from what, at the time, was the latest weekly missive from the incomparable Aleksandar Kocic, the Deutsche Bank derivatives strategist who regular readers will recall has been playing in a league of his own for years. In that piece, we documented the evolution of Kocic’s vol-leverage ellipse which, with each successive crisis, spirals outward. Each burst bubble must effectively be subsumed by an even larger bubble as the policy responses become more dramatic over time commensurate with increasingly severe busts.

As sellside strategists go, Kocic is peerless. We’ve long argued that a holistic, cross-disciplinary approach is the best way to go about making sense of markets. That’s what research should be about. Attempting to understand markets through an innovative lens, building on an existing body of work to push the discussion forward, and fleshing out the concepts proposed in that previous work as part of an ongoing effort to explain phenomenon by reference to frameworks that seem to have some explanatory power.

Needless to say, that’s a tall order and it’s not something that most people are capable of even in the context of freewheeling blog posts, let alone under the time constraints and compliance overhang that come with penning weekly analysis for a bank. But Kocic manages what should by all accounts be an impossible task with ease: he seems to be developing his own theory about what’s driving volatility in real-time, with each weekly note building on the one before.

Along the way, he’s built up a veritable lexicon of terms and an expanding list of market metaphors that draw on other fields of study. One of those concepts is the “permanent state of exception,” which comprises the current base case for where we go from the lower-left quadrant of the vol-leverage plane (if you’re new to this, you may want to skim the linked post above for the background). Here is the original visual:



And here it is in spiral form:



Ok, so as we detailed previously, there are four possible outcomes going forward. Here’s the base case illustrated with the red arrow in the second chart (black dashed arrow in the first chart):

    Permanent state of exception: We continue to operate in a regulated environment. Leverage is limited, but care is taken not to overconfine the system so we avoid the Japanese scenario. While this appears as a prudent approach to reality, it implies giving up all the ideas of unlimited growth, something that made US economy look better than the rest of the world. Compared to what we have seen before, this means settling for much less than this country is used to aspiring. Although a reasonable proposition, it is emotionally a difficult choice that is and will remain subject to substantial political manipulation. It is unlikely that populist narrative will not continue to challenge this choice.

See the problem with that given the prevailing political environment? Consider what we said about that last month:

    That is a decidedly unpalatable proposition – especially in the Trump era. “Settling for less” is not at all consistent with Trump’s amorphous #MAGA promise. In fact, inherent in #MAGA is a certain deliberate ambiguity that implies an infinitely high bar – as Trump himself put it on the campaign trail, “you’re going to say Mr. President stop! It’s too much winning. And I’m going to say ‘no, we have to win more!’”

Well on Wednesday, Kocic is out with his year-ahead preview and in it is a section called “problems with the base case.” Those problems mirror our assessment as excerpted above and the implications for America’s politics are profound.

Implicit in an acceptance of the permanent state of exception is the idea that, for the first time in history, we are being asked to acquiesce to a future that is actually worse than the past. Here’s Kocic from his note out Tuesday:

    As much as the base case trajectory appears as “reasonable” and a worry-free choice, its biggest problem is its legitimation. Easy money provided by central banks to restore growth was easy for capital, but not for labor.

    Policy response to crisis added further to inequality by blowing up the financial sector and inviting speculative rather than productive investment. The Keynesian bond which ties profits of the rich to the wages of the poor seems to have been severed, cutting the fate of the elites loose from that of the masses and the well-being of the economy. With subaverage growth and highly skewed wealth distribution, the economy is converging towards what for a growing majority increasingly resembles a zero sum game. To the vast majority, that is saying that the best days are behind us.

    This is the most difficult aspect of the base case scenario: There has been no political system in modern history — inclusive, exclusive, democratic or oppressive, all the same – that has promised anything but better future to its constituents. For any ideology the gradient between the present and the future has always had to be positive. It is difficult, if not impossible, to conceptualize any political narrative capable of making the reverse acceptable. And in a context where economic growth is a universal metric of progress, problems with the base case become even more acute.

The implication there would seem to be that the current system is on its last legs. For the masses, accepting this base case involves resigning to a fate of ever growing inequality. For all intents and purposes, it means giving up and conceding that for most of us, the future will not in fact be better than the past.

This is a particularly worrisome scenario in the current environment because as Kocic goes on to note, “the legitimation of the base case will continue to define the populist narrative as a voice of change [and] politics will be shaped along the lines of looking to disrupt the status quo with quick short-term fixes, which could emerge as outright triggers of stagflationary trajectory.”

In other words, the myopia associated with policies ostensibly aimed at “making things great again” could end up catapulting us from the lower left-hand quadrant in the charts above to the upper-right quadrant. That, for Kocic, is “the most acute risk” for markets as it would entail a number of dangerous outcomes, not the least of which would be the disorderly unwind of the bond trade and all the volatility that would invariably accompany it.

Implicit in all of this (and as illustrated by the four arrows in the charts) is the notion that there are no truly “good” choices – only difficult ones.

And that goes both for markets and for society as a whole.

https://heisenbergreport.com/2017/12/06/for-the-first-time-in-modern-history-a-better-future-is-no-longer-the-base-case/
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