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Final post on Matthew 13:1-58 (continued from the previous post).


In parable no. 8 (Matthew 13:52 KJV), we have the execution of the responsibility of the sons of the kingdom to accomplish their work through sacrifice.



The believer's treasures have to be spent so that the Gospel can be preached in this generation.

The disciples asked Christ why He taught using parables. His answer (Matthew 13:10-17) reveals a hard truth that many nominal Christians out there do not want to hear. Those are the "Christians" who prefer to view Jesus Christ's work as a free lunch providing sinners the "grace" (i.e. "It's under the blood so let's party." ) to get to heaven regardless of their refusal to make daily Holy Spirit guided efforts to avoid being willingly enslaved to whatever sin the natural man desires.   


The passages in Matthew 13:10-17, along with Mark 4:10-12, are some of the most difficult sayings of the Lord Jesus. The clue to understanding is found in the correct translation of a Greek word, mēpote (Mt 13:15; Mk. 4:12), usually translated "lest." However,it should be translated as a suppositional particle, "if perhaps."

Christ's reasoning was this,
Quote
"If I speak plainly to these people knowing they are going to continue to reject what I say to them, their understanding of will increase their guilt. They would be rejecting not what they do not understand, but what they do understand. If I speak to them in parables, and they do not understand what I am saying, then their rejection is based on their lack of understanding and it will diminish their guilt. Their guilt is not based upon whether they understand or not, but on their rejection of God and Me, not because of what I say, but because of what I am, which should have been clear enought to them."

It is inherent in the entire teaching of the Bible that God will not hold us responsible for what we do not know or understand, but for what we do know and understand (Romans 2:12-20; 4:15). The nonunderstanding of some of the words of Christ in reality alleviates unbelievers of their guilt for the rejection of Jesus Christ. Every human on earth has an inner consciousness of God's requirement of him (Rom. 2:15; John 1:9).


As one knows and understands more, his responsibility increases proportionately. This applies to everyone, many in the degree of their punishment in hell (yes readers, there ARE DEGREES of punishment in hell, just as there is a hierarchy of reward in heaven), and the remnant in the degree of their heavenly reward.

Hiding the meaning of the depths of God by Jesus Christ to unbelievers is an act of mercifulness toward them in reducing their comprehension of His words.

Yes, Christ is merciful, but He is not now, or ever was, wishy washy about sin and the existence of Heaven and Hell, as well as who would be sent to one of those two places. It wasn't some "fire and brimstone Old Testament fundamentalist preacher whacko" that said the following, it was the Lord of Creation, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Matthew 13:41-43 KJV

41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.


After Christ explained the paraples to His disciples, He said:

Matthew 13:51 KJV

51 Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.


After this tremendous teaching spree by Christ, you would think that the remaining verses would  document evidence of a subsequent great spiritual victory, but the exact reverse is what happened.

Matthew 13:53-58 KJV

53 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.

54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?

55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?

57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.

58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.


In closing, let me say that when I read these passages I understand more clearly why Jesus was known as the Man of Sorrows. It's not just that He knew His destiny; it's the in-your-face unbelief of so much family around Him that must have weighed heavily on Him.

See that your unbelief does not limit what Christ does in your life. Repent of your sins, ask God to forgive you, and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

If you believe you are a Christian but can sin all you wish, you have never been anything but a fraud.

Any person who has never heard a word about the Gospel of Jesus Christ has  a greater opportunity to shine like the sun than you.

Christanity is not a get out of hell free card; it's a call from our Creator to be the person He wants us to be in this valley of tears. The Grace our Lord Jesus Christ obtained for us by His Sacrifice on the Cross does not absolve us of our responsiblity to respect others as we respect ourselves.

May God Bless you by granting you the wisdom to do the right thing.

"Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun  in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." -- Matthew 13:43 KJV
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Knarfs Knewz / Extinction (release January 26th of 2018)-movie by Universal Picures
« Last post by knarf on August 20, 2017, 05:10:47 PM »
    Michael Peña (Ant-Man, Crash) and Lizzy Caplan (Now You See Me 2, Allied) star in Extinction, a sci-fi thriller in which a man must save his family from an otherworldly phenomenon. Directed by Ben Young (Hounds of Love), the film is written by Eric Heisserer (Arrival, Lights Out), Spenser Cohen (upcoming Moonfall) and Bradley Caleb Kane (STARZ’s Black Sails).

    Extinction will be produced by Todd Lieberman & David Hoberman of Mandeville (The Fighter, Beauty and the Beast), alongside Nathan Kahane and Joe Drake of Good Universe (Don’t Breathe). Mandeville’s Alexander Young will executive produce, as do Good Universe’s Erin Westerman and Kelli Konop.

http://nothingbutgeek.com/2017/08/upcoming-universal-pictures-releases-2018-edition/
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Over 30 percent of all weather-related deaths in the U.S. are attributable to high temps., heat stroke or sunstroke



In May of this year, a hot spell broiled Boston. In June, extreme temperatures grounded Phoenix’s planes. Last week, Seattle suffered under record temperatures.

When a heat wave is forecast, the standard advice is to drink plenty of water, take frequent breaks and wear sunscreen. But for extreme heat events, those steps may not be enough.

Over 30 percent of all weather-related deaths in the United States are attributable to high outdoor temperatures, heat stroke or sunstroke. And heat waves are expected to increase in intensity with climate change.

How should U.S. cities prepare for extreme heat events? My research shows that the answer isn’t clear-cut, and that they should pursue multiple solutions rather than looking for one “best” option.

How to cool off

In a 2016 article for the Michigan Journal of Sustainability, I explored how Cuyahoga County, Ohio addresses high temperatures. I chose northeast Ohio because it is one of the most vulnerable areas of the United States: The region has an older population, poor-quality housing stock and less central air conditioning than the national average.

Although Cleveland and its suburbs are at risk, public health experts view healthy housing and environmental programs developed there as national models. I also hoped that research results would be useful to other cities in the Great Lakes region.

I focused on the perceptions of a specific set of people — professionals from the health, building and urban sectors — because they have significant influence on how programs and policies are created. Professionals also tend to serve as experts, operating in a middle area between government officials and the public.

After attending numerous municipal meetings, reading reams of policy documents and completing dozens of interviews, I was surprised to find that local professionals disagreed on how to prepare for heat waves. Public health officials felt that cooling centers and air conditioning were critical. Energy efficiency experts wanted to see more funding spent on home energy efficiency. City planners called for increasing tree cover to shade pavement and buildings.

This made me wonder: If the experts don’t agree, is there one approach that works better than others?

Active, passive and urban cooling

Cooling centers and central air conditioning protect people by lowering indoor air temperature and humidity. However, not everyone can access cool locations like libraries or recreation centers during heat waves. Some people have limited mobility or lack access to transportation. For this reason, public health officials often tout residential air conditioning as an important intervention.

Unfortunately, air conditioning is an “active” system. It requires electricity and doesn’t work when the power is out. This is a problem because as the mercury climbs, blackouts also increase.

As a result, building energy efficiency experts are interested in “passive” cooling systems — solutions that don’t depend on the electrical grid. Window shades, light-colored building materials and radiant barriers in attics are time-honored techniques. If the power goes out, these systems can still help. This is called improving “passive survivability.”

But while these techniques moderate interior temperatures, indoor conditions are still typically within a few degrees of the outdoor air temperature. This means that if it’s over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) in the afternoon, it’s still going to be in the 90°F (32°C) range indoors. Passive systems alone won’t help vulnerable populations like the elderly ride out extreme heat events.

I focused on the perceptions of a specific set of people — professionals from the health, building and urban sectors — because they have significant influence on how programs and policies are created. Professionals also tend to serve as experts, operating in a middle area between government officials and the public.

After attending numerous municipal meetings, reading reams of policy documents and completing dozens of interviews, I was surprised to find that local professionals disagreed on how to prepare for heat waves. Public health officials felt that cooling centers and air conditioning were critical. Energy efficiency experts wanted to see more funding spent on home energy efficiency. City planners called for increasing tree cover to shade pavement and buildings.

This made me wonder: If the experts don’t agree, is there one approach that works better than others?

Active, passive and urban cooling

Cooling centers and central air conditioning protect people by lowering indoor air temperature and humidity. However, not everyone can access cool locations like libraries or recreation centers during heat waves. Some people have limited mobility or lack access to transportation. For this reason, public health officials often tout residential air conditioning as an important intervention.

Unfortunately, air conditioning is an “active” system. It requires electricity and doesn’t work when the power is out. This is a problem because as the mercury climbs, blackouts also increase.

As a result, building energy efficiency experts are interested in “passive” cooling systems — solutions that don’t depend on the electrical grid. Window shades, light-colored building materials and radiant barriers in attics are time-honored techniques. If the power goes out, these systems can still help. This is called improving “passive survivability.”

But while these techniques moderate interior temperatures, indoor conditions are still typically within a few degrees of the outdoor air temperature. This means that if it’s over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) in the afternoon, it’s still going to be in the 90°F (32°C) range indoors. Passive systems alone won’t help vulnerable populations like the elderly ride out extreme heat events.

This is why city planners advocate for planting street trees to promote urban cooling. Leafy trees and shrubs provide shade and increase evaporation of water from the ground, cooling the air. But like passive systems, these approaches serve only to moderate local temperatures. If a massive heat wave settles over a region, it’s still going to be extremely hot outside.

Since no approach is foolproof, why not apply apply all of these strategies? One challenge is that with limited funding, there may not be enough money to go around.

Moreover, these strategies may actually conflict with one another. Air conditioning systems reduce interior temperatures, but they increase household energy consumption, undoing the work of energy efficiency experts. In addition, air conditioners exhaust waste heat from inside houses to the outdoors, further warming surrounding neighborhoods.

To address these conflicts, we need to make stronger connections between the environmental health science, building science and urban climate communities. Fortunately, cities like Cleveland are making strides in this direction.

Collaborative cooling

With support from the Kresge Foundation’s Climate Resilience and Urban Opportunity Initiative, the city of Cleveland, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative and the Resilient Buildings Lab at the University at Buffalo recently hosted a series of neighborhood discussions to better understand how climate change will affect Cleveland neighborhoods. One major concern is preparing for future heat waves.

The effort, led by Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, generated a series of climate adaptation strategies, including complementary ideas to reduce heat stress at the house, block, neighborhood and city levels. These ideas were incorporated into a climate resilience plan that will guide local efforts through 2018.

Although it’s still early in the process, results from this collaborative effort are encouraging. Community members are engaging with city staff and preparing climate emergency kits to distribute to residents. These kits will contain information on cooling centers, weather radios to keep residents informed, and guidance on stocking food and water to ride out a multi-day emergency without power.

Scholars from university health, architecture and planning departments are also discussing heat preparedness challenges with the Cleveland emergency operations center and local community development corporations. Current efforts focus on setting up additional cooling centers, weatherizing homes and using vacant lots as green space to buffer temperatures.

In Cleveland, preparing for extreme heat events has brought professionals together and encouraged overlapping approaches because no single strategy is foolproof. Other cities, like Baltimore and Providence, are working on similar multifaceted approaches.

No city wants to repeat what happened in Chicago in 1995, when approximately 700 people died during a week-long heat wave. But with a collaborative approach to heat wave planning, perhaps cities cities can lower the risk of harm from hot weather.

http://www.salon.com/2017/08/20/cities-need-more-than-air-conditioning-to-get-through-heat-waves_partner/
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Knarfs Knewz / A Global Fish War is Coming, Warns US Coast Guard
« Last post by knarf on August 20, 2017, 04:49:34 PM »
schwit1 shares an article from the U.S. Naval Institute's Proceedings magazine. It includes this warning from the Coast Guard's chief of fisheries law enforcement:
Nearly two decades into the 21st Century, it has become clear the world has limited resources and the last area of expansion is the oceans. Battles over politics and ideologies may be supplanted by fights over resources as nations struggle for economic and food security. These new conflicts already have begun -- over fish... In 1996, Canada and Spain almost went to war over the Greenland turbot. Canada seized Spanish vessels it felt were fishing illegally, but Spain did not have the same interpretation of the law and sent gunboats to escort its ships. In 1999, a U.S. Coast Guard cutter intercepted a Russian trawler fishing in the U.S. exclusive economic zone. The lone cutter was promptly surrounded by 19 Russian trawlers. Fortunately, the Russian Border Guard and the Coast Guard drew on an existing relationship and were able to defuse the situation...

Japan protested 230 fishing vessels escorted by seven China Coast Guard ships entering the waters of the disputed Senkaku Islands. Incidents in the South China Sea between the Indonesian Navy and Chinese fishing vessels and China Coast Guard have escalated to arrests, ramming, and warning shots leading experts to suggest only navies and use of force can stop the IUU fishing... The United States needs to show it is serious about protecting sustainable fisheries and international rule of law. It needs a fleet that not only will provide a multilateral cooperation platform, but also take action against vessels and fleets that are unwilling to cooperate... If cooperation cannot be achieved, the United States should prepare for a global fish war.

https://tech.slashdot.org/story/17/08/19/1944220/a-global-fish-war-is-coming-warns-us-coast-guard
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"Any organization that disagrees with Trump, gets cut. Business committees, arts, and now science."

Even as reports from federal agencies demonstrate that the global climate scenario is becoming increasingly alarming, President Donald Trump has decided to continue the "wave of destruction" his administration is inflicting on the environment—and on the agencies tasked with studying climate change—by disbanding the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, which was tasked with helping government translate climate findings into plans for action.

As the Washington Post reported, the "charter for the 15-person Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment—which includes academics as well as local officials and corporate representatives—expires Sunday," and the Trump administration has decided the panel will not be renewed.

The Post continued:

    The National Climate Assessment is supposed to be issued every four years but has come out only three times since passage of the 1990 law calling for such analysis. The next one, due for release in 2018, already has become a contentious issue for the Trump administration.

    Administration officials are currently reviewing a scientific report that is key to the final document. Known as the Climate Science Special Report, it was produced by scientists from 13 different federal agencies and estimates that human activities were responsible for an increase in global temperatures of 1.1 to 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit from 1951 to 2010.

Recent reports have indicated that the Trump administration—more specifically Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—is taking direction from Big Oil, so the move to disband a key climate advisory board was not met with surprise by scientists and commentators.

Still, many expressed alarm at the speed with which the Trump administration is moving to dismantle what is left of Obama-era rules designed to protect the water and the air from dangerous pollutants.

The administration's decision to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment is just part of this broader deregulatory agenda, which will have both immediate and long-term effects, scientists warn.

"I think it's going to be a serious handicap for us that the advisory committee is not functional,"  Richard Wright, former chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers' Committee on Adaptation to a Changing Climate, told the Post.

For Ed Murray, the Democratic mayor of Seattle, the move is just another example of Trump "stepping away from reality."

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/08/20/trump-wave-destruction-continues-decision-disband-key-climate-panel
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Knarfs Knewz / Military bases' contamination will affect water for generations
« Last post by knarf on August 20, 2017, 04:39:57 PM »
VICTORVILLE, CA - Once a fighter jet training base critical to the Cold War, little remains of the former George Air Force Base but rows of dilapidated houses, a dismantled military hospital and dangerous chemicals from pesticides, jet fuels and other hazardous wastes that have poisoned the water for decades.

“Now when I see the base today, areas of it look like a war zone,” said Frank Vera, an Air Force veteran stationed on the base in the early 1970s. “I don’t think people know what to do with some of these areas because they are so contaminated.”

George is among at least 400 active and closed military installations nationwide where the use of toxic chemicals has contaminated or is suspected of contaminating water on bases and nearby communities with chemicals ranging from cleaning solvents and paints to explosives and firefighting foam, according to a News21 investigation.

At 149 current and former U.S. military bases, the contamination is so severe that they have been designated Superfund sites by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, meaning they are among the most hazardous areas in the country requiring cleanup.

One of those installations, Hill Air Force Base just north of Salt Lake City, is both one of the state’s largest employers, with 21,000 employees, and a Superfund site. Since 1987, the EPA has been monitoring the base, where more than 60 chemicals were found in soil and groundwater. According to EPA records, an “unsafe level of contamination” still exists on some areas of the base.

“Even though the DOD has made significant strides in identifying and investigating the level of contamination at domestic base sites, the pace of actual cleanup has been quite slow,” according to a research study from the Berkeley School of Law. “As the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) recently found, ‘most of the time and money has been spent studying the problem.’”

According to a 2017 GAO report, the Department of Defense already has spent $11.5 billion on evaluations and environmental cleanup of closed bases, and it estimates $3.4 billion more will be needed.

In March, the DOD said it would be testing the water at 395 active and closed bases across the country to determine whether perfluorinated compounds are contaminating the drinking water on bases and in communities around them.

Originally developed by corporate giants 3M and DuPont for use in consumer products like Teflon, Scotchgard and stain-proof clothing, these chemicals, known as per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), were used by the DOD since the 1970s in firefighting foam to extinguish jet fuel fires.

In 2012, the EPA added PFAS to its list of unregulated contaminants that may be hazardous to human health, though records indicate the Pentagon knew of the hazards decades earlier.  In 1981, the Air Force Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory conducted studies that found that exposure to earlier variations of PFAS were harmful in female rats and caused behavioral changes in offspring.

The Air Force started replacing the original firefighting foam with a “new, environmentally responsible firefighting foam” in August 2016.

Because the chemicals don’t break down easily, communities still are finding them in their drinking water. For example, in May, residents in Airway Heights, Washington, were instructed not to drink their tap water after elevated levels of PFAS were found in drinking water wells on and around the active Fairchild Air Force Base.

“I think it’s crazy that pretty much the whole time I’ve lived out here, approximately 12 years, I’ve been drinking bad water,” said Martha Grall, an Airway Heights resident. “Because they didn’t feel like sharing that information years ago, I have no faith in believing anything they have to say now when they try and tell us it’s safe now.”

Though the Air Force started treating the water, Grall said, “As far as trusting the tap water, I don’t think I ever will.”

Fairchild is one of more than 30 bases where PFAS contamination was discovered this year. In 2015, the DOD reported to the GAO that “the cost of cleaning up perfluorinated compounds will likely be  significant.” The Air Force had budgeted $100 million over a five-year period for the investigation and remediation of the chemical. However, the Air Force has already spent more than $150 million as of June 2017.

As of August, the DOD had yet to complete testing for PFAS at more than 200 bases.

“There are lots of places where this is a problem,” said Congressman Dan Kildee, a Democrat from Michigan. “And there are lots of places where it’s a problem, and the people don’t even know it yet.”

“The biggest concern right now is that the Air Force hasn’t had any sense of urgency,” he said. They ought to be leading the effort to solve this problem. To find people who might have been affected, and to provide whatever relief is appropriate.”

But U.S. Navy Commander Patrick Evans, a Pentagon spokesman, told News21 in a statement, “We take this matter very seriously and pledge an unshakable commitment to protecting human health and the environment.”

Decades after base closures, PFAS threaten communities

The former George Air Force base sits on the edge of the Mojave Desert in California. Many parts of it are abandoned. The operations building and movie theater are boarded up. Tumbleweeds, mounds of concrete and building materials fill the dugout of an old baseball field. But while almost any sign of military life is gone, the water contamination is not.

“The Air Force is promising to clean it up,” said Vera, the veteran who served at the base. “But in the end, they are just walking away from the contaminated bases and the people are stuck with this nightmare.”

In 1990, the base was added to the EPA’s Superfund list. Jet fuel, benzene, trichloroethylene (TCE), pesticides and radioactive wastes have contaminated groundwater, EPA records show.

George was closed in 1992 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC. Within one year, the DOD began transferring land over to local communities to be redeveloped. But 25 years later, the water still is contaminated.

“You don’t see George as far along as some of the other military bases,” said Bill Muir, the senior engineering geologist for the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, responsible for protecting water in the region.

In 2015, PFAS chemicals also were found by the Air Force in the groundwater at the base, a potential threat to the businesses that have been built on the base, as well as surrounding communities.

“We’re not aware that the perfluorinated compounds have impacted any of the drinking water wells downgradient of the base,” Muir said. “There is potential, and that’s why the Air Force will be sampling in the future, and we’ll encourage that.”

Vera, 64, worked in the gun shop, where he said he used chlorinated solvents to clean weapons. “I would come out of there drenched in TCE,” he said. “They would empty the wash tank periodically and just dump it down the drain.”

“The Air Force and the government in general, betrayed not only me, but everyone who stayed at these Superfund sites because they absolutely knew that they were contaminated,” said Vera. “They knew the harm it would possibly cause us.”

“I drank gallons and gallons of water because it was the desert,” he said. “A lot of times, it was dark and had a real chemical taste. It tasted like JP-4, jet fuel.”

In 2008, Vera created a website, Georgeafb.info, which started out as an “information repository” to keep his records and documents. Lisa McCrea, a former military wife, learned about the tainted water from his website.

“Lots of us didn’t know a thing about the contamination,” said McCrea, 49. “We owe so much to Frank for his tireless years of work on this, trying to bring this to light (and) letting everybody know because there’s still families out there that have no clue.”

McCrea lived on the base with her family for four years. She recalled the unsettling memory of pesticides being sprayed on her home, leaving yellow stains on the walls and on their clothes. In July, she made the trip from Ohio to California to revisit the base.

“It’s hard to believe that we used to live here day in and day out without any protection,” said McCrea, standing in front of her former house. “And it’s even more upsetting that they (Air Force) let us live here without doing anything about it.”

Terri Crooks, 59, is an Air Force veteran who was stationed on the base in the mid-’80s where she worked as an administrative clerk. She later was diagnosed with breast cancer and gynecological issues.

From Vera’s website, Crooks learned that her conditions could be related to exposure to pesticides and submitted a claim to the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2015. The VA awarded her 70 percent disability, acknowledging that her health conditions could be connected to her military service at the base.

Crooks was exposed to the chemical nearly 40 years ago, but Muir said a pesticide plume is among George’s biggest contamination problems even now.

“The Air Force needs to work to aggressively treat these zones of contamination,” Muir said. Instead, it proposed using Monitored Natural Attenuation, a remediation strategy that allows nature to break down the chemicals over time.

Phil Mook, a senior representative for the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, which is overseeing cleanup at George, said the Air Force has spent the last 30 years removing contamination.

“We’ve done a lot of work,” Mook said. “We still have work to do. In about 30 years, we’ll have much smaller TCE, fuels and petroleum. Estimated, another 70 years after that, we have the last little tail of it.”

But according to the Lahontan Water Board, that treatment at George could take up to 500 years for the pesticide and solvent contamination to reach safe levels, and up to 40,000 years for areas of fuel contamination in the groundwater.

The MNA method is used at more than half of the military locations classified as Superfund sites, according to EPA data.

“We can’t accept monitored natural attenuation,” Muir said. “We need active remediation. We want a more aggressive approach than watching it.”

“We have been forgotten,” McCrea told News21. “The base closed, everyone scattered to the wind, and I guess they figured, problem solved,” she continued. “To this day, there has been no word from the United States Air Force about the contamination at George Air Force Base.”

Base cleanups cost taxpayers millions

At the Wurtsmith Air Force Base in northern Michigan, the water contamination has persisted for nearly half a century. At the height of the Cold War, the base was home to B-52s and nuclear bombs. Now,  little is left but empty airfields and crumbling buildings.

Wurtsmith was closed in 1993 and was proposed as a Superfund site in 1994. With an estimated cleanup cost of $72 million, the DOD expects Wurtsmith to be one of the most expensive cleanups of any former base, according to a 2017 GAO report.

Leaking storage tanks and waste disposal practices at the base contaminated the groundwater with benzene, trichloroethylene, lead and other hazardous chemicals for decades. PFAS discovered in 2012 also polluted groundwater, not only on the base but in surrounding communities.

“It’s clear that what was thought to be a relatively confined problem is bigger than what we thought it was,” said Kildee, the Michigan congressman whose district includes Wurtsmith. “And it’s clearly affected the drinking water.”

Nearly 400 drinking water wells on and near the base have tested positive for the PFAS, and the contamination is migrating toward Lake Huron as well as local lakes used for fishing and recreation.

“Right now, the Air Force said it’s going to be at least another 30 years to treat this,” said Aaron Weed, township supervisor for Oscoda, Michigan. “But we’ve already been dealing with contamination for over 30 years.”

The town relies on water recreation to support its economy. “We have visitors who don’t want to come up here and visit because they think all the water is contaminated,” said Weed. “It is safe to swim in the water. Just drinking the contaminated water is a problem.”

Van Etten Lake runs through the center of Oscoda and has tested positive for PFAS.

“Tourism and our economy are affected by this,” said Robert Tasior, a resident in Oscoda Township.

He also is part of the Wurtsmith Restoration Advisory Board, which includes EPA representatives, Air Force officials and other residents who are working together on a cleanup plan. He says the Air Force needs to “step up.”

“It happened under their watch. And where I come from, if it happened under your watch, you’re responsible for it,” he said. “If it means putting shovels in the ground to get rid of this stuff, then that’s what they need to do.”

Weed, the township supervisor, said the Air Force only is treating groundwater under the base and has been unresponsive to concerns about PFAS migrating toward the lake.

“I want people to have clean water,” Weed said. “I don’t want them to be sick from the natural environment we really have here. I believe that this slow response from the Air Force in treating this contamination is a poisoning of the American people.”

While residents worry about the current PFAS contamination, veterans like Rick Thompto, 58, are concerned about the long legacy of contamination at the base. Thompto worked as a security police officer on the base from 1978 to 1982. One night, while on a routine security check of the base, he discovered leaking barrels of cleaning solvents.

“We noticed that the door was open to this building … it was always locked,” Thompto said. “We stepped in there and were hit with a strange odor. I looked and it was all rolling down and going in the drain.”

Thompto now has a persistent brain tumor he and his wife contend is the result of drinking toxic water during his nearly five years at Wurtsmith. In 2007, he was awarded 100 percent disability from the VA.

It took Thompto and his wife seven years and several appeals before the VA acknowledged that his brain tumor was related to contaminated water. A recent brain scan shows Thompto could completely lose his brain function at any time.

“This isn’t going to happen gradually,” said his wife, Tressa. “It could happen tonight. It could happen a few months from now.”

“He shouldn’t have gotten sick,” she continued. “If the government did their job the right way and cared about their people, he wouldn’t have gotten sick in the first place.”

A public health assessment from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in 2000 concluded that the TCE contamination Wurtsmith’s drinking water had been present as early as the 1950s.

“To watch your loved one slowly die in front of you is difficult,” said Tressa Thompto. “It took us seven years of fighting, and even after winning, you’re still fighting.”

A community works to bounce back 

Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, bears little resemblance to the abandoned landscapes at other closed bases. Before the base closed in the spring of 1991, the state of New Hampshire had already created a redevelopment plan to replace the former base with a business park.

Despite being classified as an Superfund site in 1990 and “one of the most contaminated Superfund sites in New England” due to TCE, jet fuel and other contaminants in the groundwater, Pease bounced back after nearly a decade of cleanup.

Today, the base is gone, replaced with brick buildings housing restaurants, pharmaceutical companies and day care centers.

“The Air Force has said that this is probably the most successful redevelopment of an Air Force base that they have in the country,” said Andrea Amico, co-founder of a community action group Testing for Pease.

“It’s beautiful. It’s tree lined. It’s a very nice place,” said Amico. “At lunch time, it’s filled with people running and biking and walking, it’s a beautiful place to be. So you don’t come on to this thinking, ‘Oh, my God, this place is an environmental disaster.’”

Amico didn’t know about the history of the Pease International Tradeport property when she moved to Portsmouth. Starting in 2011, she dropped her infant daughter off every day at a day care center nestled between lush trees and her husband’s office building on the tradeport without worry.

But in 2014, Amico learned from a newspaper article that water serving the tradeport was highly contaminated and unsafe to drink. Her daughter and husband had been drinking the water every day for three years.

Pease was the first military base to discover PFAS in the local drinking water. Three drinking water wells serving the entire tradeport tested positive for PFAS, and one in particular tested at levels more than 12.5 times above the EPA provisional health advisory.

“When you do something that impacts children, you better watch out for their moms,” she said.

Amico and two other mothers created an advocacy group after learning that their children had been drinking contaminated water at a daycare on the tradeport. Amico, Michelle Dalton and Alayna Davis created Testing for Pease and lobbied for two years to get blood testing for the community funded by New Hampshire Health and Human Services.

She remembered the day she received the results for her two children. “It was like a kick in the face,” she recalled. “Even knowing they were going to be high, to actually see it on paper was a really big blow.”

Amico’s daughter, now 6, had the highest PFAS level of anyone in the family. “I know it’s going to be in her blood for a long time,” Amico said. “And there’s not a lot of data to support what it may or may not do to her.”

Much of the research about PFAS has been left to community.

“It’s a Catch-22 because we’re at the forefront of all the bases,” said Dalton. “We’re kind of in uncharted territory.”

Amico says that so far, the Air Force has been responsive, but only after receiving significant pressure from community members, the EPA and New Hampshire state representatives.

“It doesn’t feel as if they’ve done anything on their own good will here, which is frustrating to me,” she said.

Portsmouth resident Lindsey Carmichael is a member of Pease’s Community Assistance Panel, a group of citizens who work with federal agencies to look at health effects on the community. She became involved after learning that the water at her son’s day care was contaminated.

Although her son’s blood levels did not show a heightened level of PFAS, she is still concerned for the long-term health effects on her son and those who drank the water at the tradeport.

“One of the main things that we’re hoping for is that the DOD, Air Force, who was the polluter who has taken full responsibility for the contamination, would also pay for a health study to help us understand what in fact the implications are of the exposure,” Carmichael said.

However, as of May 2017, the Air Force has denied community requests to conduct a health study on the residents affected by the contamination at Pease.

“All of us are guinea pigs and we bear the burden of proving a product or chemical’s safety – or lack thereof – and the consequences are what we’re seeing here,”  Carmichael said.

https://www.publicintegrity.org/2017/08/18/21105/military-bases-contamination-will-affect-water-generations
7
Knarfs Knewz / World Famous Tourist Destination A Dumping Ground for Raw Sewage
« Last post by knarf on August 20, 2017, 04:35:54 PM »


One of the most visited outdoor tourist attractions in the world, Niagara Falls, is known for its breathtaking views, but visitors are now having their breath taken away by something far less awe inspiring.

Located just a few miles from Global Justice Ecology Project’s offices in Buffalo, the Niagara River that leads into Niagara Falls is frequently becoming the dumping outlet for the Niagara Falls sewer system, which has discharged more than a half-billion gallons of raw sewage mixed with storm water into the Lower Niagara River since May 2016, according to Investigative Post. The Niagara River runs north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. From the Investigative Post:

    The problem gained the attention of Governor Andrew Cuomo after a July 29 discharge turned the Lower Niagara into a black, smelly disruption for tourists on a busy Saturday at Niagara Falls State Park.  That incident was blamed on a worker error.

    Sewer overflows are well known to the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Niagara Falls Water Board.

    Nonetheless, the DEC said it is investigating two separate discharges that the Niagara Falls Water Board reported Tuesday night. Those overflows totaled 3.5 million gallons.

    But from May 2016 to July 2017, the Niagara Falls Water Board reported at least 83 additional sewage discharges, an Investigative Post analysis of state data found.  The total estimated volume: 545 million gallons. That’s enough to fill 800 Olympic-sized pools.

Although President Donald Trump boasts about efforts to fix the “crumbling infrastructure” on display here with the discharge of sewage into the Niagara River, he has also proposed cutting funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by 97 percent as part of overall cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency.

If those restoration efforts (which were prompted by rising levels of flame retardant chemicals in Great Lakes fish) are stopped and problems like what we are seeing at Niagara Falls are not addressed, the future of our Great Lakes appears very grim.

This very public and potentially hazardous display of failed infrastructure and negligence begs the question of what kind of damage is being done to our land and water in less visible places than Niagara Falls, which receives about 12 million tourist visitors each year.

Sewage discharge isn’t the only ecological threat facing the Niagara region. In Niagara Falls, Canada, activists are fighting a proposed $1 billion development known as “Paradise” located on 484 acres, including 95 hectares of provincially significant wetlands, according to the CBC.

“By protecting the savannah area around the provincially significant wetlands, we also protect the wetlands,” said Owen Bjorgan, an activist who is camping in the wetland area now. “It’s all one large ecosystem.”

Species threatened by the development project include the blue spotted salamanders and black gum trees, according to the CBC.

http://globaljusticeecology.org/world-famous-tourist-destination-a-dumping-ground-for-raw-sewage/
8


In what could mark the first clear signs that support for President Donald Trump is dropping in the Rust Belt battleground, a new set of polls shows people in three key states aren’t so fond of the commander in chief. Support for Trump stands at below 40 percent in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, according to recent NBC News/Marist polls. In all three states more than 60 percent of voters said Trump’s conduct as president embarrassed them, compared to 25 percent who say it has made them proud.

Perhaps even more significant is that Democrats enjoy clear advantages when voters are asked who they want to control Congress after the 2018 midterm elections. In Michigan, almost half—48 percent—of voters say they would prefer a Democratically controlled Congress, compared to 35 percent who want it to stay in Republican hands. In Pennsylvania, 47 percent want Democrats to control Congress, compared to 37 percent who favor Republicans while in Wiscosin the Democratic advantage is 46 percent-38 percent.

The three states in question are seen as particularly significant because they were key to Trump’s victory as he became the first Republican to win all three of them since 1980s. But now the mood seems to be shifting. In Wisconsin, only 34 percent of voters approve of Trump’s job performance, compared to 36 percent in Michigan and 35 percent in Pennsylvania. The polls were conducted Aug. 13-17 and some cautioned that the extent of the president’s unpopularity could be exaggerated due to his much-criticized response to the violence that descended on Charlottesville on Aug. 12.

This latest poll contrasts slightly with a national poll conducted by Quinnipiac University that showed an uptick in Trump’s approval rating. According to the poll that was released Thursday, Trump’s approval rating increased to 39 percent from a record low of 33 percent in part due to optimism on the economy.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/08/20/trump_approval_rating_is_below_40_percent_in_michigan_wisconsin_and_pennsylvania.html
9
Sweden's center-left minority government said on Wednesday it had agreed with two opposition parties to boost military spending in the 2018 budget as the country faces increased tension with Russia in the Baltics. Sweden's armed forces will get around 2 billion crowns ($250 million) extra in the 2018 budget and around 6 billion crowns during the 2018-2020 period in the deal between the Social Democrat and Green party coalition and the opposition Moderate and Centre parties, Swedish Radio reported. Sweden's military has said it needs the money to rebuild its strength after years of under investment and greater demands on its operational capabilities. The armed forces called for 9 billion crowns in extra spending during 2017-2020 period. Minister of Defence Peter Hultqvist will hold a press conference later on Wednesday. The budget for 2018 - an election year - will be presented on Sept. 20. Sweden has reintroduced conscription and restored troops to the strategically key Baltic island of Gotland as it looks to bolster its defenses.

http://upfrontnews.us/news.php?id=70
10
Knarfs Knewz / Jerry Lewis, Nonpareil Genius of Comedy, Dies at 91
« Last post by knarf on August 20, 2017, 04:14:57 PM »
He dominated show business with Dean Martin in the 1950s, starred in 'The Bellboy' and 'The Nutty Professor,' hosted the Labor Day telethon for decades and received the Hersholt award.

LONG ARTICLE

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/jerry-lewis-dead-nutty-professor-bellboy-star-was-91-721408
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