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ellenrr's Journal
ellenrr's Journal
March 25, 2016

Immobilizing snowstorm forces Denver airport to close for first time in a decade

Source: accuweather

A powerful spring storm that dumped more than a foot of snow in Denver created travel chaos on Wednesday, March 23.
Hundreds of miles of highways were closed, officials restricted city driving to those with tire chains and the Denver International Airport (DIA) was forced to close for the first time in a decade.
Residents took to social media to explain their dismay at the disruptive storm when just the day before, temperatures soared to the 70-degree Fahrenheit mark. People flocked outside to enjoy the sunshine and warm air.
But March is Denver's snowiest month, historically, and this storm was a perfect example of how volatile spring systems can be.

Read more: http://www.accuweather.com/en/features/trend/photos_immobilizing_denver_colorado_airport_snowstorm/56242971

March 21, 2016

need help with window treatment

I have a large window in the bedroom and one in the living room. Each is 58" across and 66" down.
face north.
My conundrum is that I want privacy and I want light, and I want it to be easy to go back and forth - between covered windows and uncovered.
I have both windows now, so that during day the upper half is all open and the lower half is curtained, which can be open or closed.
At night I have a shade.
BUT I also have a light outside the window, so I need something darker than the shade so my bedroom can be in darkness.
First I thot about room darkening drapes - but if I pull the drape to the side during day, it will still cut off light in each corner.
if I get a drape on loops, I think it will be hard for me to open and close every morning and night, because I am short. And standing on the ground, not sure I will have enough leverage.

I have considered blinds, but I was reading on another thread here, and reminded me of blinds needing to be dusted - no to that.

I like the looks of this shade.

but I don't know how dark it would be.
But I like the pull, which is easy for me to operate.

Any ideas appreciated

March 20, 2016

"On Foreign Policy, Sanders may disappoint devotees"- any response bernie supporters?

“I have no idea who Bernie is listening to on security and foreign affairs,” says Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at IPS, whose latest book sees little real difference between the counterterrorism policies of the George W. Bush and Obama administrations.

Likewise, the leftist icon Noam Chomsky tells Newsweek he has “no idea who his advisers are, or who he is close to.”Norman Solomon, a prominent left-wing activist, charged last summer that Sanders’s few public pronouncements on foreign policy were “scarcely different than President Obama’s current stance...and hardly distinguish him from his rivals for the nomination.” Sanders, he added, “is standing behind the Syria policies of...Obama, who has declined to order no-fly zone actions.

”Many of his devotees might also be surprised to learn that while Sanders denounces wasteful military spending, he’s backed the F-35 joint strike force warplane, whose monster cost overruns have earned it the moniker, “The jet that ate the Pentagon.” Assigning a squadron of them to the Vermont Air National Guard (one of many state-based units that rotate in and out of the Middle East) could “maintain hundreds of jobs here in Vermont,” he has said.And maybe that’s why Sanders doesn’t want to say much more about national security issues than that he opposed the Iraq invasion in 2003, because it would rattle his progressive followers.

Rather than campaign for a new "organization like NATO" to battle ISIS, he sticks with his guaranteed applause lines about big banks and economic fairness.

March 19, 2016

In defense of disruption

Re disrupting Trump rallies, Paul Street says,
If we repudiate disruption:

"So much for the Boston Tea Party.

So much for the mass abolitionist actions that sought prevent the return of escaped slaves to southern plantations in Boston and other northern cities during the 1850s.

So much for Nat Turner and Denmark Vesey. So much for the Underground Railroad.

So much for the Great New England Shoemakers strike of 1860 (supported by presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln), the Great Labor Upheaval of 1877, the remarkable Eight Hours Movement and strikes of 1886, the Pullman Strike, the Homestead Strike, the Lawrence Strike, the great 1922 National Railway Shopmen’s Strike, the Left-led labor upheaval of 1934, the Flint sit-down strike and the broader U.S. sit-down strike wave of 1936-37, and countless other labor actions in U.S. history.

So much for workers shutting down the killing floors in an Iowa, Nebraska, or North Carolina meatpacking plant to protest the abusiveness of a foreman or manager and/or the dangerously excessive pace of production.

So much for shop-floor actions conducted precisely and expensively (for capital) to disrupt the continuous flow of production on behalf of working people.

So much for the highly popular December 2008 Chicago Republic Door and Window plant occupation and the remarkable 2012 Chicago Teachers Union strike against Rahm Emmanuel’s school closing and privatization agenda and the related standardized testing mania.

So much for Rosa Parks’ and the young minister Dr. Martin Luther King’s disruption of regular bus service in Montgomery, Alabama.

So much for the great disruptive Civil Rights lunch counter actions and Freedom Rides and the Memphis garbage workers strike on the eve of Dr. King’s fateful, final visit to that city.

So much for the 1967 March on the Pentagon and the Vietnam War resisters who destroyed draft records.

So much for the New Left and Black Power activists who sat in and took over university offices to protest academia’s service to Big Business, militarism, and racial inequality during the Vietnam era.

So much for the mass antiwar movement that converged on the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968.

So much for the Stonewall riots.

So much for Occupy Wall Street’s march in Times Square and the Occupy Movement’s many disorderly actions in New York City and across the country in the fall and early winter of 2011.

So much for the great Black disruptive Ferguson (Mike Brown), Baltimore (Freddie Gray), and New York City (Eric Garner) protests and the Black Lives Matter movement.

So much for the disruptive Fight for Fifteen movement.

So much for the great marches against George W. Bush’s criminal invasion of Iraq.

So much for the great Wisconsin rebellion (later to be absurdly channeled into a doomed major-party electoral-politics recall campaign) on behalf of worker and union rights in the late winter and early spring of 2011.

So much for the young Black activists who brilliantly disrupted Christmas shopping on Michigan Avenue to protest Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s cover up of an egregiously racist police shooting.

So much for the great anti-WTO marches in Seattle in the fall of 1999 and subsequent actions to disrupt the life and planet-disrupting meetings of the savagely neoliberal-capitalist World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

So much for the giant march against U.S. led Western militarism in Chicago in May of 2012.

So much for the many peace activists who have been arrested over the years for disrupting war production and preparations.


March 19, 2016

pro-drump group formed to "expose" far-leftists...

ooohh, I'm scared...

A pro-Donald Trump group calling itself the “Lion Guard” (not to be confused with Disney’s “Lion King” spinoff of the same name) is using social media to “identify and expose plots to attack Mr. Trump, Trump Supporters, and their rallies before they even can happen.”

Lion Guard’s Twitter bio describes it as “an informal civilian group dedicated to the safety and security of #Trump supporters by exposing Far-Left infiltrators and saboteurs.” The group’s name is derived from a variation on the Benito Mussolini quote Trump retweeted in February that appears on the Lion Guard website: “Better to be a lion for a day, than a lamb for eternity.”

A March 15, post titled “Lion Guard is Born” explains that the group was formed after clashes between protesters and Trump supporters forced the cancellation of a Trump rally in Chicago on March 11. The post explains that the group’s main objective is “to search out for any Anti-M.A.G.A. [Make America Great Again] social media account that is planning to infiltrate, disrupt, attack, or otherwise do harm to Mr. Trump, any Trump rally, or any Trump supporter.”

To that end, the Lion Guard has been trawling social media for posts from would-be protesters who plan to attend a Trump rally in Phoenix on Saturday, then posting the protesters’ photos to the Lion Guard Twitter account and instructing followers to inform security if they spot the “saboteurs” at the rally.

The Lion Guard manifesto is careful to avoid any promotion of violence against protesters. While noting that the idea of a pro-Trump paramilitary organization is “not a bad idea,” the Lion Guard says such violence would feed into mainstream media’s anti-Trump narrative. The group sees its mission as “principally to observe and report these vandals to the proper authorities, not confront them with force.”


March 19, 2016

Turkey: Istanbul hit by ‘suicide bomb’

Source: Euronews

Reports from Turkey say there has been an explosion in the centre of Istanbul.
It is said to have been a suicide bombing on a main shopping street in a tourist area.

Istanbul’s governor says four people are known to have died and 20 wounded, including three in a critical condition.

TV pictures show an area being cordoned off by police, reportedly in Istiklal Street, a wide pedestrian boulevard lined with international stores and shopping centres.
Helicopters were seen circling overhead and people were seen running from the area.

Turkey has been hit by a rising tide of violence in recent months.

Read more: http://www.euronews.com/2016/03/19/explosion-hits-central-istanbul-some-people-wounded-turkey-s-dogan-news-agency/

---trying to turn Turkey into another failed state in the area...
March 19, 2016

Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders appears in court to answer charges of hate speech

Source: Euronews

Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders is back in court to answer charges of discrimination and hate speech against the country’s Moroccan minority.

The charges date back to a rally in March 2014 where he called for ‘fewer Moroccans’. Wilders claims that his comments are protected by his right to freedom of speech. At the hearing the lead prosecutor, Wouter Bos, said free speech came with responsibilities within a democracy.

“The suspicion is that with these words Wilders insulted Moroccans as a group. Further, the suspicion is that with these words he incited discrimination and hatred. Thank you.”

A handful of his supporters and the Dutch branch of the German anti-Islam Pegida party rallied outside the courtroom.

Read more: http://www.euronews.com/2016/03/18/dutch-far-right-leader-geert-wilders-appears-in-court-to-answer-charges-of-hate/

March 19, 2016

Interbreeding with archaic humans helped our immune system

Neanderthals boosted our immune system
The mixing of archaic human forms played an important role in shaping the immune system of modern humans

January 07, 2016

When modern humans met Neanderthals in Europe and the two species began interbreeding many thousands of years ago, the exchange left humans with gene variations that have increased the ability of those who carry them to ward off infection. This inheritance from Neanderthals may have also left some people more prone to allergies. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and the Institut Pasteur and the CNRS in Paris, France, report about the discoveries in two independent studies, adding to evidence for an important role for interspecies relations in human evolution and specifically in the evolution of the innate immune system, which serves as the body's first line of defense against infection.
"We found that interbreeding with archaic humans, the Neanderthals and Denisovans, has influenced the genetic diversity in present-day genomes at three innate immunity genes belonging to the human Toll-like-receptor family," says Janet Kelso of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. "These, and other, innate immunity genes present higher levels of Neanderthal ancestry than the remainder of the coding genome," adds Lluis Quintana-Murci of the Institut Pasteur and the CNRS in Paris. "This highlights how important introgression events, the movement of genes across species, may have been in the evolution of the innate immunity system in humans."

Earlier studies have shown that one to six percent of modern Eurasian genomes were inherited from ancient hominins, such as Neanderthal or Denisovans. Both new studies highlight the functional importance of this inheritance on Toll-like receptor (TLR) genes TLR1, TLR6, and TLR10. These TLR genes are expressed on the cell surface, where they detect and respond to components of bacteria, fungi, and parasites. These immune receptors are essential for eliciting inflammatory and anti-microbial responses and for activating an adaptive immune response.

Quintana-Murci and his colleagues set out to explore the evolution of the innate immune system over time. They relied on vast amounts of data available on present-day people from the 1000 Genomes Project together with the genome sequences of ancient hominins. Quintana-Murci's team focused on a list of 1,500 genes known to play a role in the innate immune system. They then examined patterns of genetic variation and evolutionary change in those regions relative to the rest of the genome at an unprecedented level of detail. Finally, they estimated the timing of the changes in innate immunity and the extent to which variation in those genes had been passed down from Neanderthals.

These investigations revealed little change over long periods of time for some innate-immunity genes, providing evidence of strong constraints. Other genes have undergone selective sweeps in which a new variant came along and quickly rose to prominence, perhaps because of a shift in the environment or as a result of a disease epidemic. Most adaptations in protein-coding genes occurred in the last 6,000 to 13,000 years, as human populations shifted from hunting and gathering to farming, they report. But, Quintana-Murci says, the biggest surprise for them "was to find that the TLR1-6-10 cluster is among the genes presenting the highest Neanderthal ancestry in both Europeans and Asians.

Kelso and her colleagues came to the same conclusion, but they did not set out to study the immune system. Their interest was in understanding the functional importance of genes inherited from archaic humans more broadly. They screened present-day human genomes for evidence of extended regions with high similarity to the Neanderthal and Denisovan genomes, then examined the prevalence of those regions in people from around the world. Those analyses led them to the same three TLR genes.

Two of those gene variants are most similar to the Neanderthal genome, whereas the third is most similar to the Denisovan genome, Kelso's group reports. Her team also provides evidence that these gene variants offered a selective advantage. The archaic-like variants are associated with an increase in the activity of the TLR genes and with greater reactivity to pathogens. Although this greater sensitivity might protect against infection, it might also increase the susceptibility of modern-day people to allergies.

"What has emerged from our study as well as from other work on introgression is that interbreeding with archaic humans does indeed have functional implications for modern humans, and that the most obvious consequences have been in shaping our adaptation to our environment - improving how we resist pathogens and metabolize novel foods," Kelso says.

As surprising as it may seem, it does make a lot of sense, she adds. "Neanderthals, for example, had lived in Europe and Western Asia for around 200,000 years before the arrival of modern humans. They were likely well adapted to the local climate, foods, and pathogens. By interbreeding with these archaic humans, we modern humans gained these advantageous adaptations."


March 18, 2016

Rabbis, Jewish leaders plan boycott of Donald Trump at AIPAC

Source: CNN

Several groups of rabbis and Jewish religious leaders are planning to protest Donald Trump's speech to a major pro-Israel conference in Washington on Monday, accusing the presidential candidate of encouraging hatred.

Trump is scheduled to address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference Monday night, and several groups are organizing boycotts of the speech.

Rabbis David Paskin and Jesse Olitzky organized one such campaign, called Come Together Against Hate, a play on the conference's theme of "Come Together."

The pair and their allies have created a website and Facebook group to organize a protest that they say is not designed to disrupt AIPAC but to signal their condemnation of Trump.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/17/politics/donald-trump-aipac-boycott-protest-rabbis-jewish-leaders/index.html

--- I'm glad to see this..

on edit:
However, I cannot agree that AIPAC is about "love and decency"

"Come Together Against Hate's plan is to either skip the speech altogether or silently walk out after Trump is introduced, then assemble outside and study Jewish scripture about what Paskin called the "opposite" of Trump -- love and decency."
March 18, 2016

Edward Snowden interviewed by wnyc's Brian Lehrer and Laura Poitras

WNYC's Brian Lehrer interviews Snowden along with Laura Poitras, an artist, journalist and director of the Academy Award-winning film Citizenfour, recorded as part of RadioLoveFest, produced by WNYC and BAM on March 11.


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