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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 75,797

Journal Archives

The End of Australia As We Know It

SYDNEY, Australia — In a country where there has always been more space than people, where the land and wildlife are cherished like a Picasso, nature is closing in. Fueled by climate change and the world’s refusal to address it, the fires that have burned across Australia are not just destroying lives, or turning forests as large as nations into ashen moonscapes.

They are also forcing Australians to imagine an entirely new way of life. When summer is feared. When air filters hum in homes that are bunkers, with kids kept indoors. When birdsong and the rustle of marsupials in the bush give way to an eerie, smoky silence.

“I am standing here a traveler from a new reality, a burning Australia,” Lynette Wallworth, an Australian filmmaker, told a crowd of international executives and politicians in Davos, Switzerland, last month. “What was feared and what was warned is no longer in our future, a topic for debate — it is here.”

“We have seen,” she added, “the unfolding wings of climate change.”

Like the fires, it’s a metaphor that lingers. What many of us have witnessed this fire season does feel alive, like a monstrous gathering force threatening to devour what we hold most dear on a continent that will grow only hotter, drier and more flammable as global temperatures rise. ........(more)


Florida Man and Wal-Mart? Not a good mix.

A Florida man was arres A Florida man was arrested after reportedly spraying people with a fire extinguisher at a Walmart in Dunnellon on Tuesday morning, police said.

WCJB reported that 33-year-old Gregg David Atkisson was arrested and charged with battery, petit theft, criminal mischief, resisting arrest and interfering with firefighter equipment after an incident that occurred on Feb 11.

According to the police report, Atkisson went to the Walmart on NE 12th Avenue and grabbed a fire extinguisher near the garden section. Police said he started breaking windows, doors and anti-theft devices that totaled in more than $10,000 in damages. ..........(more)


Earth Just Had its Hottest January in Recorded History

The planet experienced the hottest January in recorded history last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday.

January 2020 was the 44th consecutive January, and the 421st consecutive month, with temperatures above the 20th century average, according to the agency. The new milestone is just the latest in a string of climate records that have been broken in recent years. .......(more)


Combatting distracted communities to boost rail safety

Incidents at grade crossings and involving trespassers are not new to railroads, but the reasons for an increase in these incidents have shifted, making the industry find new ways to address these issues. While an increase in mental health awareness campaigns have helped address intentional rail fatalities, another problem has surfaced: distracted behavior.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Office of Safety Analysis, there were 597 nonfatal trespassing incidents from Jan. 1, 2019 through Oct. 30, 2019 and there were 535 fatal trespassing incidents for the same timeframe. And in Florida alone, FRA reports there were 106 grade crossing incidents at public and private crossings from January 2019 to October 2019.To combat this, industry stakeholders, including Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Brightline and L.B. Foster, are implementing a combination of engineering solutions and education campaigns that focus on improving rail safety.

Engineering a safer crossing

Florida is consistently one of the states with the highest number of grade-crossing incidents, according to the FRA, reporting 399 highway-rail crossing incidents for the calendar year of 2019. FDOT says one reason is people are stopping on the tracks without realizing. So, Brightline and FDOT turned their attention to at-grade crossings to help get people off the tracks. ......(more)


Are Americans Ready to Love Trains Again?


Rachel Maddow just played the clip....

.....of Alexander Vindman opening his impeachment hearing testimony by saying he's glad his father left Russia, where he would face severe retribution for testifying......

Welcome to Moscow on the Potomac.


Mad respect to everyone.....

.... who watched that buffet of bullshit. ... My stomach isn't that strong.

America: Land of Make-Believe

By Chris Hedges

If what happens in courtrooms across the country to poor people of color is justice, what is happening in the Senate is a trial. If the blood-drenched debacles and endless quagmires in the Middle East are victories in the war on terror, our military is the greatest on earth. If the wholesale government surveillance of the public, the revoking of due process and having the world’s largest prison population are liberty, we are the land of the free. If the president, an inept, vulgar and corrupt con artist, is the leader of the free world, we are a beacon for democracy and our enemies hate us for our values. If Jesus came to make us rich, bless the annihilation of Muslims by our war machine and condemn homosexuality and abortion, we are a Christian nation. If formalizing an apartheid state in Israel is a peace plan, we are an honest international mediator. If a meritocracy means that three American men have more wealth than the bottom 50% of the U.S. population, we are the land of opportunity. If the torture of kidnapped victims in black sites and the ripping of children from their parents’ arms and their detention in fetid, overcrowded warehouses, along with the gunning down of unarmed citizens by militarized police in the streets of our urban communities, are the rule of law, we are an exemplar of human rights.

The rhetoric we use to describe ourselves is so disconnected from reality that it has induced collective schizophrenia. America, as it is discussed in public forums by politicians, academics and the media, is a fantasy, a Disneyfied world of make-believe. The worse it gets, the more we retreat into illusions. The longer we fail to name and confront our physical and moral decay, the more demagogues who peddle illusions and fantasies become empowered. Those who acknowledge the truth—beginning with the stark fact that we are no longer a democracy—wander like ghosts around the edges of society, reviled as enemies of hope. The mania for hope works as an anesthetic. The hope that Donald Trump would moderate his extremism once he was in office, the hope that the “adults in the room” would manage the White House, the hope that the Mueller report would see Trump disgraced, impeached and removed from office, the hope that Trump’s December 2019 impeachment would lead to his Senate conviction and ouster, the hope that he will be defeated at the polls in November are psychological exits from the crisis—the collapse of democratic institutions, including the press, and the corporate corruption of laws, electoral politics and norms that once made our imperfect democracy possible.

The embrace of collective self-delusion marks the death spasms of all civilizations. We are in the terminal stage. We no longer know who we are, what we have become or how those on the outside see us. It is easier, in the short term, to retreat inward, to celebrate nonexistent virtues and strengths and wallow in sentimentality and a false optimism. But in the end, this retreat, peddled by the hope industry, guarantees not only despotism but, given the climate emergency, extinction. ...... (more)


Dave Zirin: The Super Bowl Is a Grift of Epic Proportions

from The Nation:

The Super Bowl Is a Grift of Epic Proportions
While the wealthy party during Super Bowl week, a heist is happening in plain sight.

By Dave Zirin

The Super Bowl is like prom for the 1 percent. When the big game comes to town, it’s accompanied by private jets, parties, and nonstop bottle service. That should be enough, but it never is. The bacchanalia also comes festooned with public funds for the NFL, an overwhelming police presence, and the removal of the poor. It’s a world of fun on our TVs, but it’s a wrecking ball for local communities.

This year the game is in Miami, and the scams are starting to seep into public consciousness. As the Miami Herald is reporting, the NFL booked 1 million dollars’ worth of rooms at the J.W. Marriott Marquis hotel and Aventura’s Turnberry resort for the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers players and coaches—and sent the city the bill.

Even though the NFL is a gargantuan corporate operation and both teams are owned by billionaires, Miami (where 27 percent of children live below the poverty line) is on the hook for the hotel accommodations. This is just part of a $4 million welfare package with which the city has gifted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who makes 10 times that amount in yearly salary. That $4 million does not include the costs of the police and security presence required to host the game. Rodney Barreto, the chairman of Miami’s Host Committee, said to the Herald, “These are basically things we have to do to get them to come. If we’re not doing it, another city is.” .............(more)


Metromover beats monorail for riders to Miami Beach, but costs more. Worth it?

Jan. 30--Metromover would be enjoying a South Beach moment under a scenario laid out in a new county-funded transit report.

With a new three-mile extension over Biscayne Bay, a rider could take a train from the main Metrorail station in downtown Miami to South Beach in 13 minutes. The analysis predicts the free transit option would be popular, generating 13,000 trips a day on a line expected to cost about $630 million to build.

The other leading option is monorail, which would be far cheaper to operate but with fewer riders, according to projections laid out by the Parsons consulting firm. Using a new station built where the Miami Herald once stood near the MacArthur Causeway, the kind of automated train made famous by Disney World would be a transfer option at the far end of the Metromover system, six stations away from Metrorail. ...............(more)


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