Monday, April 24, 2017

Our Wacky Tweeter in Chief: Monday. By Geniusofdespair

38% of those polled believe he is honest and trustworthy. That is a lot of dopey people.
Totally obsessed with polls...

I always read through the tweets in reply, I like these two best today:

ABC - Washington Post  Full Poll Here

Something super obscene: the failure of regulation in Florida under Gov. Rick Scott ... by gimleteye

Martin County, winter 2015/2016
Every day Gov. Rick Scott is governor of Florida, the unthinkable is routinely occurring.

Science, fact, and government regulation are being buried by an executive branch that puts the public health at severe risk. At a recent meeting of the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee, a physician from Martin County testified that hospital admissions for cardiac events went up 50% after the diseased water from Lake Okeechobee spewed all over Florida's estuaries in the winter of 2015/2016.

Watch the video, below. Another example -- even more blatant -- of Florida politicians failing to protect people from special interests.

"Florida is the Wild West of pediatric cardiac surgery right now."

"This is about a corrupt system where politicians put special interests above the well being of families."

What about the issue rare pediatric cancer clusters in Florida, including Miami? Silence. Silence from the county and silence from the state.

Gov. Rick Scott believes Floridians will deliver him to the US Senate in 2018. And why shouldn't Floridians reward failure with success? We re-elected Marco Rubio despite evidence of Rubio's failure to fix diseased waterways and the tremendous public health costs his politics have inflicted on Florida.

Voters, only, can redress these injustices.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Science March Miami April 23rd: Viruses remain in male reproductive organs for years. By Geniusofdespair

This presentation at the Science March yesterday scared the hell out of me for reproduction on earth (watch the damn video):

link to video of this andrologist speaking
(Andrology - is the medical specialty that deals with male health, particularly relating to the problems of the male reproductive system and urological problems that are unique to men.)

I feel like the media is desensitized to protests. Thousands of people show up-- not the usual suspects --and hardly a word about it in the papers. I was floored by the number of people and I go to dozens of these. The media come for 10 minutes, if they come at all and then poof, they are gone.

#MarchforScience Miami #sciencemarch ... by @gimleteyemiami

A surprising turnout of thousands at Museum Park for a march to County Hall yesterday. The crowd, congenial, excited and unafraid to turn up and speak their minds about the decline of science in Florida and in the United States.

Science isn't political, but yesterday's marches around the world were very political.

Although they focused on the existential threats of climate change, galvanized against President Trump's Swamp, in a broader sense the marches were standing up for fact against myth, for reason against fancy, and for intelligence against stupidity.

The question remains: do enough voters care enough to reverse the tide of fear and reactionism against science?

For instance, Gov. Rick Scott was returned by voters to the executive office, despite his careless disregard for science. Moreover, the mainstream media scarcely brushed the issue of Florida science-related issues in Scott's campaigns.

One of Scott's first acts as governor was to axe the science capacity of the state's Everglades agency. He put the agency -- the water management district -- , then, under management by political hacks where it remains today. President Trump, his new friend, is doing the same at the federal level.

Scott intends to run against US Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat. It is up to every person who marched in Florida yesterday to get involved -- especially in the red counties of this purple state -- to make Scott's campaign a referendum on Trump and Scott's policies that put science in the broom closet.

Yesterday, the crowd listened attentively to some local heroes: Caroline Lewis, founder of the climate change action group, the CLEO Institute. (We've written a lot about Ms. Lewis. Never forget!) South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, a scientist himself and leader on climate change related issues. State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez, virtually a lone Democratic voice in Tallahassee pushing for common sense, science-based solutions to Florida's water crisis.

More, later, but for the time being a few favorite images from yesterday's march.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

March For Science Miami ... by gimleteye #marchforscience

Follow me on Twitter: @gimleteyemiami

Today's March For Science joins Miami to cities around the world and people planting their feet, signs, and spirit "for" science. The Miami event starts at Museum Park downtown at 11AM and will end at the Stephen Clark Government Center a short distance away.

Yesterday, a Twitter post reflected my feelings:

I can't believe we have to march for FREAKING SCIENCE, either, but such is the effect of a state government under Rick Scott and a federal government under his buddy, Donald Trump. Both are driving science into the shadows and deep into the weeds.

This isn't an academic issue. It is a matter of life and death. For example, there is evidence -- we have documented on our blog -- that the state of Florida is withholding data on rare pediatric cancer clusters in Florida. It is infuriating. Outrageous. Despite the corporate runs for cancer, the people wearing pink or yellow wrist bands, politics continues to conspire against science.

Moreover, it is appropriate for the March Against Science in Miami to end at County Hall. County commissioners and the executive mayors of Miami-Dade, Florida's most populous county, routinely use science as cannon fodder in service of big campaign donors and powerful special interests.

Exhibit #1: Florida Power and Light's failed cooling canal system at Turkey Point in Homestead. For DECADES, FPL dodged the manifest evidence that its cooling canals were leaking hyper saline water underground in all directions: toward population centers, drinking water wells, and into Biscayne National Park. Politics allowed FPL to avoid its legal obligations.

Exhibit #2: The Miami-Dade West Wellfield. This wellfield supplies 2.2 million Floridians with most of their drinking water. Not only did Miami-Dade County Commissioners -- many current commissioners included -- shovel science to the side, allowing development and rock miners to encroach on the wellfield protection zone, they subverted science showing the danger for many years.

Exhibit #3: The South Dade Watershed Plan. A decade ago the nation's most expensive and intensive science-based effort mapped a plan for future development in the remaining open areas of farmland in West and South Dad. When the plan -- costing about $15 million -- was finished, county commission took the science and put it on a shelf due to opposition from large political donors in farming, rock mining and development. This is particularly relevant today, because the study considered low lying, flood prone areas in South Florida that will be impacted by sea level rise and climate change.

The county commissioners who have been invited to join the march today can and will no doubt make the case that they support science.

County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, for instance, promoted and supported a science-based resolution calling for land acquisition in the Everglades Agricultural Area in 2015, that her fellow commissioners supported. Once the sugar industry got wind, however, in 2016 a more specific science-based appeal to the state legislature did not pass the county commission and withered instead.

In the current session of the Florida legislature, science has been further shoved into the background as Big Sugar wages a battle with more than 100 lobbyists to thwart the will of the people. Based on science.

I've been an observer how politics wrecks science-based decision making for close to three decades. It is and time for younger generations to become involved because the ultimate collision of science and politics is the one over climate change. Gov. Rick Scott and US Senator Marco Rubio, and most of the GOP in Florida, are climate change deniers. So is President Trump.

I marched in the Vietnam War. I've marched for women's rights. I marched for the 2000 recount of the presidential election. I marched for the Homestead Air Force Base and for the national parks and for the environment. I can't believe in 2017 we have to march for FREAKING SCIENCE. But more than march, people who believe that democracy depends on fact and science have to vote.

PS. If you miss today's march, there is another next Saturday 1PM, April 29 on Earth Day at Jose Marti Park.

Eye on Miami Saturday Editorial Page. By Geniusofdespair

State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez
I look at State Senator Frank Artiles with disgust and I am so glad he is gone. What a piece of shit. I am so very proud of my State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez. There is some sanity left in this world. However, my State Representative is a big disappointment. Don't even remember his name. I guess that makes him lucky. He is like fellow Democrat DINO Daphne Campbell 2. Duran, that is it.

Nick Duran a big fat NO
Listen up Democrats: I know it is important to increase the number of Democrats in the State House BUT I WILL NOT VOTE FOR THIS GUY AGAIN. I might write my own name in.


I dub Palmetto Bay worse than Hudstead and that is saying a lot. The voters there are clueless since they continue voting for the toxic John Dubois.  I think the Village Council's recent 3 to 2 vote to repeal a former vote allowing a development might end up getting the Village sued. John Dubois appears to love lawsuits. The Ethics Commissioner had advised John Dubois not to vote and that opinion still stands according to Joe Centorino the Ethics Commissioner. John Dubois voted anyway.  John Dubois' suit against the Ethics Commission was dropped.


I really hate writing for this blog now. I think because government: County, State and Federal is just so very bad, embarrassingly bad.  I feel like I am always looking away -- as if there is a dead rat on the sidewalk and I don't want to barf. How much can you look away? But when I don't, it just makes me crazy. We have a Bizarro world filled with hater, xenophobic, racist people. I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime...except when I was young and I would read superman comic books.

Poor Superboy
Lastly, I read Facebook and I know most of you are lost in some really unrealistic optimism: I call it the cute puppy, cute kitten syndrome. Get real.

This is our life, don't look away, face it:

This is how we all eat breakfast isn't it? What is with the mannequin on the right?
Don't look away this what Americans elected. Doomed.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Big Sugar's Connection To Alzheimer's ... by gimleteye

Follow me on Twitter: @gimleteyemiami
Martin County, December 2016: toxic blue-green algae flooding out of Lake Okeechobee, FL

As the state legislature twists into pretzels to accommodate Big Sugar in Tallahassee, recall that sugar -- the commodity that the legislature is salivating to defend -- poisons people, poisons democracy, poisons the Everglades and --- last but not least --- turns precious coastal real estate into its sacrifice zone. Indeed, the public health -- yours and mine -- are also Big Sugar's sacrifice zone. Would any other industry go so far to invest in corrupting political influence to advance an agenda so patently against taxpayer interests? (Big Tobacco, Big Oil, Big Coal come to mind.)
Big Sugar is in a class of its own. The entire state government of Florida has been deformed to tip the scales of justice in its direction. Here is an example: in the current Everglades Bill before the legislature (the centerpiece of Senate President Joe Negron's agenda), Big Sugar has forced a prohibition against eminent domain, enlisting minority communities in its support, despite the fact that public health costs of excess sugar consumption weigh most heavily on the same minority communities.

In other words, Big Sugar wants support so that their lands are never "taken" for a public purpose, but there is no similar balance when the public health is "taken" by Big Sugar with trillion dollar per year health costs. Time Magazine on "How Much Your Sugar Habit Is Costing You"::
About 30% to 40% of the healthcare expenditures in the U.S. are paid toward "issues that are closely tied to the excess consumption of sugar," such as obesity and diabetes, according to a 2013 report from Credit Suisse. Assuming total healthcare expenses of at least $3 trillion, that would mean Americans collectively spent $1 trillion, or about $3,136 per person, on treatment for sugar-related conditions.
How could Florida voters be so gullible that we return to elected office, repetitively, politicians who are in Big Sugar's back pocket? To name a few: Gov. Rick Scott, US Senator Marco Rubio, Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam, Senator Minority Leader Oscar Braynon, Representative Matt Caldwell, and the laundry-list of wanna-bees and political aspirants. Here's a clue, from yesterday's news:
In the study cited in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, the researchers found that higher consumption of sugary beverages was associated with a pattern consistent with preclinical Alzheimer’s, including smaller total brain volume and poorer episodic memory. The authors called the findings “striking” because they were found in a middle-aged sample and withstood statistical adjustment for such factors as physical activity and total caloric intake. The results align with earlier research done with smaller samples, including one with 737 middle-aged participants in the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study, which found that higher sugar intake was cross-sectionally associated with Alzheimer’s-like behavioral patterns.
The answer is simple, yet very difficult to do: stop eating processed, refined sugar in your food, stop electing politicians who lean on Big Sugar donations -- from both political parties! -- and make the connection: what is good for your health is ultimately good for your wallet.

Say "NO" to Big Sugar now. Yesterday's report in Bloomberg concludes:
Hartley also recommends the association’s 10 Ways to Love Your Brain for proactive steps towards brain health, including exercise, a healthy diet, and keeping up education, and he advises everyone to speak with physicians about their specific health conditions. Still, when it comes to soda—diet or regular—the safest course is to skip it. “I think they’re both bad,” he said. “Pure water is always a very good thing.”
That Big Sugar is wrecking Florida's pure water future will come as no shock to longtime Eye On Miami readers.

Favorite tweet of AM, so far ... by gimleteye

follow me on Twitter: @gimleteyemiami

Thursday, April 20, 2017

An Earth Day Expletive ... by gimleteye

(Update: April 21, 2017) There are approximately 7.5 billion people alive today. Only a small percent live in first world conditions and above the poverty line. Evidence is accumulating that climate change will be the defining event of the 21st. century and yet, in the 2016 election that delivered Donald Trump to the White House, network television news devoted less than one hour, cumulatively, to the subject.

In Western democracies, climate change is already an accelerant for mass, uncontrolled immigration. From a Hobbesian perspective, the concentration on national security is — through the lens of climate change — a willingness to anticipate future threats as matters of locking in privileges of the first world. Still to imagine that upper income earners are immune to climate change, or can spend their way out, is pure, unmitigated folly.

In 2007, eastern Syria — along with Turkey, northern Iraq and western Iran — entered a three-year drought, the region’s worst since scientists began measuring them. In Syria, water scarcity, crop failures and livestock deaths drove an estimated 1.5 million people to the cities from rural areas. Food prices soared, contributing to economic and social tensions and leaving Syrians dangerously vulnerable to the subsequent war. (”How a Warming Planet Drives Human Migration”, April 21, New York Times)

In some respects, the third world is better adapted to climate change. But for billions living so close to the economic edge, shed there is no work-around, no skill set matched to crop interruption and depletion of fisheries.

Today, the world is in the midst of the largest migration of distressed populations since the end of World War II. Many conservatives attribute the uprooting to war, famine or disease. The military knows differently: climate change is a threat multiplier.

When climate changes reach a subsequent plateau, it is easy to visualize the contraction of the world’s population by a third or half. There will be no safe harbor from that chaos.

In 2014, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hegel wrote, "“Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict ... They will likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources, and destruction by natural disasters in regions across the globe.”

Recently the UK Guardian reported, “Climate change will fuel acts of terrorism and strengthen recruiting efforts by terrorist groups such as Islamic State and Boko Haram, a report commissioned by the German foreign office has found. Terrorist groups will exploit the natural disasters and water and food shortages expected to result from climate change and allow them to recruit more easily, operate more freely and control civilian populations, argues the report by Berlin thinktank Adelphi.”

Lukas Rüttinger, an author of "Insurgency, Terrorism and Organised Crime in a Warming World", writes: “The scarcer resources become, the more power is given to those who control them, especially in regions where people are particularly reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods. As climate change affects food security and the availability of water and land, affected people will become more vulnerable not only to negative climate impacts but also to recruitment by terrorist groups offering alternative livelihoods and economic incentives.”

The Horn of Africa is one of the global hot spots where drought is creating chaos now.
"LONDON, March 22 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Prolonged drought in Somaliland has killed between 65 and 80 percent of the semi-autonomous region's livestock, creating conditions that are "the worst time in our lives" and could threaten regional security, says the region's environment minister. With 70 percent of Somaliland's economy built around livestock, "you can imagine the desperation of the people, the desperation of the government," said Shukri Ismail Bandare, the minister of rural development and environment. "Pastoralists say this is the worst we have seen, a kind of nightmare," she said. "They have 400 or 500 goats and then just 20 left. They have lost practically everything. I don't know how they are still sane." Previous droughts have hit one area of Somaliland, but "now it's five regions of the country. We've never seen it before", she said in a telephone interview from Hargeisa, the capital, with the Thomson Reuters Foundation. ... villages and cities in turn are now overwhelmed by "thousands and thousands" of migrants, the minister said. "What they have is practically exhausted because of the pressure," she said.
Unprecedented levels of C02 in the atmosphere and hotter, more acidic seawater are having disastrous impacts to world-wide fisheries; not in the future, now. 93 percent of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is in the midst of a massive bleaching event due to extremely hot water temperatures. Overfishing at coastal zones around the globe has fundamentally changed market availability and cost. According to recent research, coral reefs could entirely disappear by 2050, stripping an essential building block of the protein chain that leads to food on the table. It is heart-breaking to watch hundreds of road-side vendors in Kerala, India competing to market fish that are only a few inches long — because larger species vanished.

"Continuing to burn fossil fuels at the current rate could bring atmospheric carbon dioxide to its highest concentration in 50 million years, jumping from about 400 parts per million now to more than 900 parts per million by the end of this century, a new study warns," according to another recent Washington Post report.

The implications for mid-latitude forests and for agriculture, like the American farm belt, are profoundly troubling. Over millions of years — but particularly since humans migrated from nomadic to settled societies some 12,000 years ago — plant species evolved to reproduce in cycles depending on time of year, predictable rainfall and temperature.

From rapidly melting polar ice to wild extremes in weather events, we are already experiencing instability in crop production; from wheat, to corn, and other staples. To see the future, one only has to glance at data-based visualizations of how rapidly the oscillations are deviating from normative values that our food supply depends on.

Of threat assessments, the one that is least predictable is disease. Scientists are focused on the way climate change is forcing the expansion of microbial and virus threats from insects to human populations, but the greater threat are crop diseases. Fungal rot at the microbial scale have massive agricultural chemical companies chasing increasingly expensive and dangerous solutions that pit hubris and genetic engineering against evolution.

Those who believe science and technology can steer the influence of climate change in a benign, even a productive way, are whistling past the graveyard.

None of the foregoing is hypothetical. Hard to digest, but not hyperbole. According to a recent report in the Washington Post, “The latest one-, two-, three-, four- and five year periods — ending in March — rank as the warmest in 122 years of record-keeping for the Lower 48 states, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration… Freakish bouts of warm weather have accompanied this long period of historic warmth, unlike anything previously experienced.”

Somaliland, March 2017. Photo, Thomson Reuters
Every tranche of climate science, no matter the discipline or segment of expertise, has under-estimated climate change impacts in the past decade. Yet, the Republican Congress is advancing budget cuts that would severely handicap the ability of federal agencies like NOAA from information the public what is happening with climate change.

This year, Spring arrived so early in South Florida that the growing season was abruptly curtailed by too much heat. (One Homestead farmer told me that this winter, his fruit trees bloomed three times!) But the state’s top political official, Gov. Rick Scott – who is one of President Trump’s strongest supporters – won’t even allow state bureaucrats to use the term “climate change”, or, makes one excuse after another why “jobs” take priority.

It is increasingly clear how feed-back loops reinforcing and accelerating the rate of change point in the direction of a collapse of biodiversity coincident with the loss of the planet’s cooling system at the polar extremes. In a perverse way, climate change is reinforcing nationalistic tendencies to erect walls and barriers to threats; to block out, in effect, such bad news.

Who wants to hear that maximal climate change event is the elimination of civilized society? In his 2011 “Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed”, Jared Diamond warned how civilizations collapse repeatedly throughout human history. It is already occurring in the outerlying suburbs of humanity — in failed nation states like South Sudan and parts of sub Saharan Africa — much hotter temperatures are significantly contributing to starvation and war. That can't happen to us, right? Wrong.

Wise civilizations would have reacted as scientific evidence appeared. It is not just a paradox, that with all our tools and technology, we ignore science or wage fake arguments to counter facts. Voters who obsess about putting healthcare in the best hands willingly allow charlatans to safeguard the climate. You don’t shit in the bed you sleep in, but we are.

American voters amply demonstrated in November 2016 that there is limited publicsupport to use government regulation to calibrate econimic activities in ways that redirect fragile industrial scale infrastructure from collapse. Instead, Americans are reaching for guns and conspiracy theories, turning their backs on provable science in favor of unprovable myths.

This will go on, until it can no longer go on. What will come in its place, in the midst of great suffering, will be control of populations by authoritarian governments to deliver maximal benefits to the few at the expense of the remainder.

Unless Western democracies take the lead now, what lies ahead could look a lot more like the Middle Ages than the 22nd century. Donald Trump, the GOP and its supporters have set the United States backwards at the most inopportune time, and in the end it will be voters who correct course. Or not. Reason enough for everyone to issue their own Earth Day expletive.

I was in the ugly dress department at Macys Yesterday. By Geniusofdespair

NO WONDER MACYS IS CLOSING 68 STORES...ugly Ivanka Trump clothes made in CHINA.

At least Ivanka is not trying to hide where her dresses are made CHINA. Coincidentally, this letter was in the Miami Herald today:

The Chinese government gave provisional approval to Ivanka Trump’s company for at least two trademarks on April 6, the same day she dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago. Just a couple of months ago, The Trump Organization got preliminary approval for 35 trademarks including mining, construction, and hospitality.

Chinese workers make $100 per week making Ivanka’s shoes. Then, she sells them for at least $100 per pair. The United States has a trade deficit with China of $500 billion. On April 18, Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to implement “Buy American, Hire American First,” his highest priority to encourage manufacturing and purchase of American-made products.

So, the president and his daughter are promoting policies that are contradicted by their personal business practices. My question to Trump supporters is, Does this obvious hypocrisy and conflict of interest not bother you?

Kenneth Karger, Kendall