Friday, July 28, 2017

FAKE SCIENCE dominates Florida. Bullsugar explains it all for you ... by gimleteye

NOTE: The heart of Florida's water emergency is the sacrifice of the public interest by Gov. Rick Scott and Republican aspirants including Adam Putnam and their embrace of FAKE SCIENCE. That is to say: using science to fit predetermined outcomes instead of letting science instruct policy. It is no coincidence that President Trump has embraced the same enthusiasm for FAKE SCIENCE.

There is only one way to put this lethal idiocy to rest: voters must to make their decisions based on the priority of removing the GOP from power in the state legislature and in Congress.

2018 is just around the corner. Be informed, now.


Last week, and three years running now, Lake Okeechobee was covered in blue-green algae. In 2015 and 2016, it turned into extremely toxic cyanobacteria. In 2017, it will in all likelihood do the same.

Fortunately, initial FDEP test results have not detected toxins in the water yet. However, a bloom that tests non-toxic one day can turn toxic the next. We need frequent, scheduled testing with published results so we know as soon as the water is unsafe to touch.
In 2015, broke the story on social media. Once it was public, Joe Negron told the Army Corps to close the locks, and they did -- for a whole two days, before resuming the dumping at high volume.

In 2016, the bloom was visible from space, and the toxic discharges coated our estuaries and beaches in putrid "guacamole-thick" slime.

NASA 2016 satellite image of Lake O algae bloom

While this created a national embarrassment for Florida, and awoke many to the links between cyanobacteria and scary diseases like liver cancer, Alzheimer's and ALS -- some of sugar's closest friends (like US Rep Tom Rooney) continued to insist "Lake O was not toxic" and Martin County septic tanks were to blame for the toxic mess.

To which everyone with a brain, eyes and a conscience said, ahem, "Bullsugar."

So now the Lake is once again covered in blue-green algae.

Thanks to Jacqui Thurlow Lippisch and her husband Ed for this

After three years in a row, isn't it clear that The Weather Channel got it right last December -- Lake Okeechobee has a toxic algae problem?

Can we agree it is immoral and unacceptable to discharge toxins on the nearly million people who live, work and play along the path of discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee, let alone without warning them? In 2017, in the United States of America?

Can we agree that it would be criminally negligent to delay the solution, or only do a half-way solution? That $20 billion worth of Everglades Restoration needs a written goal of "Zero Toxic Discharges?"
Is there a Florida politician who will introduce legislation with these 4 points?
  1.  Our government shouldn’t poison us.
  2.  If our government must poison us because the plumbing is broken, warn us first.
  3.  CERP is a $20 BILLION project, and counting. Fix the plumbing so you don’t poison us anymore, and do it as fast as possible.
  4.  We (the taxpayers and the ones being poisoned) expect and deserve #3 in writing.Make it a written goal of CERP. Zero Toxic Discharges.
Due to a dry spring Lake O is not yet high enough for another bout of toxic discharges this year, and for that we are grateful. The Toxic Summer of 2016 was one we don't want to repeat ever again.  But what about the people who live, work and play near Lake Okeechobee?
Last year, the sugar industry called us "rich, coastal elites" for complaining about the slime, and said we were trying to use the algae bloom to attack Glades residents. As we dealt with the green slime, we did not feel "elite." Our aim was not to destroy others but to protect our residents against what has clearly been identified as a serious public health hazard.
On the coasts, local county health departments warned people to stay out of the water and avoid eating fish from the estuary.

Local coastal county health departments warned people to stay out
of the water
As far as we know, there were no such warnings on Lake Okeechobee where there was a 200 square mile toxic algae bloom. Children played in the water at lakeside beaches. Residents and tourists ate the fish from the Lake. Workers in the EAA dealt with irrigation water from the Lake.
Those who claimed that they were the ones who cared about Glades lives -- Glades Lives Matter, Clewiston Chamber of Commerce, Lake O Business Alliance, EAA Farmers and many others -- completely ignored the health threat to the nearly 100,000 souls living around the Lake.
The coasts might (or might not) dodge the bullet of toxic discharges this year, but we are concerned about the long term health effects of the current lake bloom on all those who live around the lake and who visit the lake.

As Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch so eloquently stated in her blog last week:
“I happened to notice when I visited the DEP website that DEP states:  “Blooms are naturally occurring.”  …Yes this is true; so is cancer."
It is way past time that state and regional officials implement a plan for tracking, testing, and research that protects everyone exposed to these blooms. This is not about coastal residents vs. farmworkers. This is about all of us.

- Chris Maroney
Thank you to everyone contributing to Your generosity has kept us sharp and independent as we fight for clean water. If you haven't given, please click here to make a donation today to help us fix Florida's plumbing for good.

Rubio is so busy with Venezuela/Cuba policy, no time for U.S. Domestic Issues. By Geniusofdespair

Andrew Oppenheimer wrote in the Miami Herald that Trump is letting Rubio rule on Venezuela Policy:
There is nothing wrong with Trump receiving advice from Rubio, a fluent Spanish-speaker who heads the Senate Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, except for the fact that the U.S. President seems to be totally side-stepping the State Department.

That prevents Trump from getting other important points of view from U.S. diplomats who may see things from a different perspective.

For instance, Rubio has suggested that the United States impose an oil embargo on Venezuela if Maduro goes ahead with his plans to re-write the constitution. But Rubio's view may be influenced by his desire to please his Florida constituents and make sure that the growing group of Venezuelan exiles vote for him in future elections.

Leading Venezuelan opposition figures tell me that a U.S. oil embargo would be a terrible idea. Much like what happened in Cuba, it would help energize Maduro's base by allowing him to claim that he is a victim of "U.S. imperialism." And it would fracture the bloc of more than a dozen major Latin American countries that are demanding that Maduro restore democracy in Venezuela.

Too bad the know nothing Senator doesn't care to meet with his citizens on other issues like healthcare. He's absent to the rest of us, avoiding any other issues at all cost.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

An open letter to County and City of Miami Commissioners. By Geniusofdespair

With respect to all County Commissioners,Tomorrow, while considering settling with FPL on the lawsuit to bury Turkey Point Transmission Lines, also consider that this is an encroachment on our power as a community, our health and our environment.  
Settling would require the City to dismiss other critical suits against FPL, including challenging the utility company's:

1) application to license and operate two new nuclear power plants at Turkey Point

2) siting of its two new nuclear plants

3) ability to charge the public for the construction of the new plants that will likely never be built

A settlement would also require that the City not get involved in other ongoing cases against FPL at a time when the City has been making progress on these issues. 

SOLAR, WIND, and WAVE ENERGY is RIGHT NOW ... and it's CLEAN, it's GREEN. 

You can't help but notice the bombardment  of TV & radio ads from FPL,  trying to convince us they provide only clean energy! Must be spending MILLIONS $$$$ on that campaign. 
Yet they pollute our bay waters near Turkey point, overheat it's cooling canals to the algal choking point, charge us for future enterprises that will be obsolete as of ... yesterday, and force us to pay cleanup costs for their spills. What kind of deterrant is that?!
Yet their investors profit at our expense. 

And they're seeking Federal Approval to dump nuclear waste below our aquifer!!! What could possibly go wrong with thatEVERYTHING. Do you think the Feds care about our aquifer?
Just check out all the toxic mishaps from deep waste well drilling around the country (Google will pop 'em right up for ya). Energy companies pay the light fines and keep polluting.

FPL is a bully. Ask any Solar enterprise in Florida. 

We need to send a strong message to FPL to move forward ... or get out of the way! 

Pat Bonner Milon

1965: James Baldwin vs. William Buckley. By Geniusofdespair

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN....for white folks. We haven't moved very far from what James Baldwin said (in this debate) in the past fifty years.

Start at 14 minutes...James Baldwin.

Historic debate between James Baldwin v. William F. Buckley Jr. at Cambridge University on the question: "Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?"

I wish every Trump voter would read this article ... by gimleteye

Why the Scariest Nuclear Threat May Be Coming from Inside the White House

Lots of Trump voters had become disaffected by the dysfunction of Washington DC and believed a "disrupter" had a better chance at positive reform as any conservative GOP candidate. We tried to warn you.

Trump turns out to be exactly the president that extremists wanted; one who would tear apart the functions of executive authority and radically realign regulatory matters in the hands of the states. 

As Michael Lewis points out for Vanity Fair, there are many critical functions of the federal government that are necessary to the health and security of all the American people, and that these functions rely on capable, qualified civil servants.

Lewis points out the tragedy unfolding as a result of the Trump presidency; only halfway through his first year. Trump's indifference and incompetence has crushed the personnel ranks of the Energy Department, now headed by the most clueless appointee in the agency's history, former TX Gov. Rick Perry. (Ukrainian pranksters recently engaged Perry in a half hour discussion broadcast to the world. He thought they were representatives of the Ukrainian prime minister. Oh well.)

The same disintegration of talent and expertise is happening in other federal entities: from the State Department to the US EPA and Department of Interior, from the FDA to the USDA. Trump said he would "drain the swamp". Nothing could be further from the truth.

He has created a viper's nest of influences in the White House, all competing for his attention from one second to the next. Meanwhile, the functions of the federal government are crumbling. The GOP Congress is not lifting a finger.

It is a dangerous world, Trump supporters have made it much, much more dangerous.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Trump....still tweeting about Hillary Clinton. By Geniusofdespair

Trump is so sick...Busy tweeting nonsense most mornings. Donald, you know she isn't President, right?  Using her to attack Sessions? Just fire him and be done with it. Manufacturing reasons to fire him isn't fooling anyone except you.

And the tweeter shall inherit the Earth!

Oh What A Deal! Will City of Miami capitulate to Florida Power and Light? We hope NOT ... by gimleteye

It is still a question to be addressed at Thursday's city commission meeting, but judging from the fine print of an exhaustive agreement, the City of Miami will "only" pay $27 million as its portion of the cost to bury high voltage power lines along US Route 1; part of the infrastructure program ratepayers will otherwise shoulder for two new nuclear reactors that FPL is aiming towards the lowest lying floodplain in Florida.

In return for this "great" deal? The City of Miami will agree to drop its lawsuits against FPL. Up until this point, the city's legal department has been a credible protector of taxpayer and citizens -- unlike the City of Coral Gables -- in the uproar over installing high voltage power lines along one of the busiest residential and business districts in South Florida.

It's insanity, and you may have a chance to express your objections and opposition at the Thursday meeting of the Miami City Commission. Please read this action alert from Miami Waterkeeper:

Dear All,

We have recently become aware that the City of Miami is considering settling with FPL on the transmission line suit. Unfortunately, this settlement also would require the City to dismiss other critical suits against FPL, including challenging FPL's 1) application to license and operate two new nuclear power plants at Turkey Point, 2) the siting challenge for the 2 new plants, and 3) their ability to charge the public for the construction of the new plants that will likely never be build. The settlement would also require that the City not get involved in other ongoing cases against FPL. And, all this when the City has been making great progress on these issues against FPL and is one of the biggest dogs in this fight.

All in all, it seems like a terrible deal for the citizens and for the environment and a big win for FPL. 

The City Commission is voting on this item at this Thursday's commission meeting (3500 Pan American Drive, Miami, FL 33133). There is an opportunity for public comment at 9am and before the item is heard. 

We would like as many people as possible to show up to give public comment at both the 9am comment session and before the item is heard. We also ask that people contact the Commissioners to ask them to vote against this settlement. Commissioner Russell is already voting no. 

Please also share on social media:

"Tell the City of Miami not to give in to FPL at the commission meeting this Thursday at 9am (3500 Pan American Drive). We need them to stay in the fight for our community's health and safety -- and for the environment too! Call your commissioners ( today!" 

​Please share with others so that we can get a critical mass in attendance!​

Thank you,

Rachel Silverstein, Ph.D.
Executive Director & Waterkeeper
Miami Waterkeeper

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Annette Taddeo will face Jose Felix Diaz in the District 40 Florida Senate race. By Geniusofdespair

Primary results today: Annette Taddeo trounced Ana Rivas Logan with 70.64% of the Democratic vote. 9,990 Dems voted in the primary. In the Pub primary 13,262 people voted. Jose Felix Diaz won the pub primary with 57.73% -- twice as many votes as Alex Diaz de la Portilla.

September 26th is the election. Democrats, you have to vote. You rule the district in numbers so use your power: VOTE.

More evidence that climate change deniers in Trump White House and GOP Congress intend to push people off the life rafts ... by gimleteye

Fascinating how the Trump administration is racing away from the reality of climate change and severe threats to national security at the same time evidence accumulates that Trump and the GOP are wrong.

Unless one happens to be in the fossil fuel supply chain, or, an electric utility that depends on centralized, mass market power distribution, you are in fact being pushed off a life raft as civilization heads toward the climate change rapids.

Exactly a year ago, I was on my second visit to Greenland by small plane. Our photos clearly showed the darkening of the Greenland ice cap. At the time I attributed the darkening to industrial soot and wildfire ash from continents away. That's what scientists had concluded.

Now a new BBC report offers important additional information: it is not just contamination that is darkening Greenland ice. Fast growing algae is also to blame.

The most alarming part of this disclosure is that the potential influence and impact to the ice sheet melt from rapid growth of algae is not even considered by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report that represents the scientific consensus on global warming.

In Miami, scientists have predicted up to a three foot rise in sea level by the end of the century. (Florida Power and Light is using a 6 inch sea level rise in its plans for new nuclear reactor plants at Turkey Point!)

As we have pointed out time after time on EOM, the reality of emerging climate change is exceeding every metric laid down by peer reviewed science. In other words, climate change impacts are happening much, much faster and with greater consequence than conservative scientific inquiry has predicted.

All the more reason to be furious that a GOP Congress, the US EPA under Scott Pruitt, and Trump White House is determined to hold and protect the privileges of insiders and cronies at push the rest of humanity off the life rafts. Florida, under Senator Marco Rubio, Gov. Rick Scott and Ag. Secretary Adam Putnam, is no help.

How will you vote in 2018?

Science & Environment
Sea level fears as Greenland darkens
David Shukman
Science editor
24 July 2017

The Greenland ice sheet covers an area about seven times the size of the UK

Scientists are "very worried" that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet could accelerate and raise sea levels more than expected.

They say warmer conditions are encouraging algae to grow and darken the surface.

Dark ice absorbs more solar radiation than clean white ice so warms up and melts more rapidly.

Currently the Greenland ice sheet is adding up to 1mm a year to the rise in the global average level of the oceans.

It is the largest mass of ice in the northern hemisphere covering an area about seven times the size of the United Kingdom and reaching up to 3km (2 miles) in thickness.

This means that the average sea level would rise around the world by about seven metres, more than 20ft, if it all melted.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Palmetto Bay Councilman David Singer accused of Battery in Police Report. By Geniusofdespair

The victim's wife was an off-duty police officer. Palmetto Bay Councilman David Singer said he was sucker punched after a verbal altercation, but the witnesses said David grabbedrhe off duty Coral Gables police officer's husband by the neck first, before hubby punched Singer. Now why didn't she stop the fight? Doesn't she have training?

According to the report the councilman trespassed at Gilberts and was asked to leave by their staff. The police report was last modified on 7/24. Wonder what it looked like on 7/16.

William and Benacio were evaluated by Fire Rescue (the victims). David Singer and his son Daniel were not evaluated, even though David was punched. He was seen as the aggressor in the incident. This can only help the David  Zisman suit if Singer decides to pursue it.

I wrote about this on July 23rd.

An appeal to Trump supporters ... by gimleteye

A fascinating report in The New Yorker by Peter Hessler: "How Trump is transforming rural America: In Colorado, the President's tone has started rubbing off on residents." One interviewee said, "What they hate about him, is what they hate about me."

This personalization of opposition to Trump feels foreign and strange, in part because the compression of internet-based cultural influences has stripped the capacity of rational discourse to surmount inchoate anger.

It is not "hate", for example, to have mortal fear for the future of our democracy. I do not "hate", but I do have sorrow and anger for the way many American voters and US senators like Mitch McConnell accepted and stirred the non-stop vilification of President Obama. On what evidence?

Trump has no policy prescriptions beyond a willingness to sacrifice ordinary Americans' welfare to make oligarchs richer, an intent to consolidate political power in the hands of a few, a disregard for basic rule of law and to allow predetermined outcomes to defeat fact and science. He regularly and routinely expresses the chaos and disorganization of an egocentric bully with no prior experience in government, an unwillingness to trust a bureaucracy unless they swear loyalty to him personally, without coherent programs or policies from immigration reform to individual rights, and climate change.

How do any of these objections match up with "hating" Trump supporters? Trump famously quipped, "I love the poorly educated." His supporters cheered. His was theirs "inside joke": that the elites they abhorred looked down on them.

These objections are not about looking down, or, feeling morally superior. There are real, factual and practical points that Trump supporters experience as much as the rest of the nation.

In Salon: Historian Timothy Snyder: “It’s pretty much inevitable” that Trump will try to stage a coup and overthrow democracy.
With Trump, one sees the new variant of this where a candidate can run by saying, “Look, we all know — wink, wink, nudge, nudge — that this isn’t really a democracy anymore.” He doesn’t use the words but basically says, “We all know this is really an oligarchy, so let me be your oligarch.” Although it’s nonsense and of course he’s a con man and will betray everyone, it makes sense only in this climate of inequality.
Trump hard liners in the alternate media universe are already spreading the counter-rumor: that a coup will emerge from the left. It is laughable, given that the left has no practical grasp on the levers of power or politics (except perhaps in the vacuum Trump is in the process of creating).

No. When "the center does not hold", as Yeats wrote a century ago, those closest to power will take as much as they can. It is Un-American at its core. That is what we object to, in Donald Trump, not out of hatred but for love of country.