Sunday, March 01, 2015

Seems to me

Photo not taken: Seven inches of snow we got last night on top of the foot of snow we got last weekend.

* The story of pioneer Iowa: From wetland to farmland:

The transformation of wetland to farmland added hugely to Iowa’s agricultural wealth and was celebrated as progress. State law solemnly declared that drainage of water from agricultural land shall “be presumed to be a public benefit and conducive to the public health, convenience and welfare.”
Drainage begins with a network of underground tile or perforated pipes in individual fields. Excess soil moisture seeps into the underground lines, which empty into ditches or pipes, which in turn carry the water into creeks, streams and rivers.
It took nearly a hundred years before people realized that wringing the water out of agricultural land is not an unqualified good. Besides the loss of an ecosystem, there is the matter of drainage systems mainlining nitrates into drinking water.

* Why The Butterflies Are Gone:

But much of the threat is tied to the monarch caterpillar’s choice of food: the milkweed. A new report from environmental group Center for Food Safety blames agriculture giant Monsanto for the widespread destruction of the plant. Monarchs lay their eggs exclusively on milkweed. The plant can be found in and around corn and soybean fields. It has been able to coexist with the changes in agriculture for decades because it is one tough customer....
But the introduction of genetically modified crops, developed by agricultural giant Monsanto to be resistant to herbicides, allows for heavy doses of Roundup, which targets the very thing that has kept milkweed standing tall all these years. “Glyphosate, sold by Monsanto under the (brand) name of Roundup, is one of the very few herbicides that is effective on milkweed. Unlike many other weedkillers, once absorbed it is translocated (moved internally) to root tissue, where it kills milkweed at the root and so prevents regeneration,” the report says. Because crops have been engineered to withstand Roundup, it is applied more frequently. The use of it year after year on the same fields prevents milkweed from getting a break to re-establish itself.

* Center for Food Safety: Monsanto's Roundup Ready Crop System Puts Monarch Butterflies at Brink of Extinction. (Contains link to report.)

* One Day in Your Life: February 28, 1977.

* Throughout my entire childhood, we had a "burning barrel" in the alley behind our fence. A couple times a month, my mom burned everything paper: Newspapers, magazines, cereal boxes, milk cartons, egg cartons. If it was paper, she burned it. Occasionally, she would throw in an empty hairspray or shaving creme aerosol can. BOOM! Good times. It's what I think of whenever I see an empty oil drum.

* Photos: Roll out the barrels.

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From the archives.

* You just turn your pretty head and walk away........ (James Gang.)

Posted by: Marie at 7:18 PM |

Saturday, February 28, 2015

I'm just waiting

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Once again, we have a train seemingly left alone, idling on the tracks, and I didn't steal it.

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The snow falls on American Legion Avenue.

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Through the windshield.

* "The least important parts of a person’s life are the beginning and the end..."

* A shockingly simple way to end homelessness.

* In Memoriam: Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015).

* Available Emblems of Belief for Placement on Government Headstones and Markers.

* On a friend.

Posted by: Marie at 6:29 PM |

Friday, February 27, 2015

Cover me

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* Somebody's got it in for him: Schock lawyers up after apparent oppo dump.

* 50 Years Of Shrinking Union Membership, In One Map:

Fifty years ago, nearly a third of U.S. workers belonged to a union. Today, it's one in 10. But the decline has not been the same for every state. Here is a map showing how union membership has changed across the country.

* Koch foundation proposal to college: Teach our curriculum, get millions.

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* Aw, come on, man: March 1-2 Potential Winter Storm.

* Don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey.

Posted by: Marie at 8:23 PM |

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Find the sunshine

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This is the snow when I got off work tonight, which was similar to the snow when I left the house this morning.

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Then it stopped. Standing by for better weather.

* Love everything about this: How to Achieve Teenage Immortality at Perkins.

* Leave the rain. They said this town will waste your time. Guess they're right. It's wasting mine... (Danny O'Keefe.)

Posted by: Marie at 9:18 PM |

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I needed money

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* Today: Wisconsin Governor To Sign Right-To-Work Bill Amid Protests:

Union workers are protesting again at the Wisconsin state Capitol in Madison today. This time, it's against a fast-tracked right-to-work bill that would ban mandatory union dues at private sector businesses.
The Wisconsin Senate is poised to pass the plan, the State Assembly could pass it next week and Gov. Scott Walker says he'll sign it.

* Michigan Workers Warn Wisconsin About The Danger of ‘Right-To-Work’ Laws:

As the Wisconsin Senate begins a fast-tracked debate over a controversial “right-to-work” bill on Wednesday, workers in neighboring Michigan are speaking out about the impacts the anti-union policy has had on their state. The law, passed over strong public opposition in Michigan in 2012, allows workers to opt out of formerly mandatory union fees, effectively dealing a blow to unions’ resources and their ability to bargain.
Now, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) and others pushing a nearly identical bill in Wisconsin are citing Michigan as a reason to quickly pass the measure, arguing it’s necessary in order to compete for business within the Midwest. Amy Davis-Comstock with the Service Employees International Union in Michigan told ThinkProgress she and her members were told the same thing in 2012, but she has yet to see the promised economic benefits.

* The End of Public-Employee Unions? The Supreme Court has been asked to take a case that could deal a crippling blow to the labor movement:

On the current Court, few of the Justices have signaled quite as vigorously as Justice Samuel Alito. Alito, a man of firm likes and dislikes, has twice questioned the constitutionality of public-employee contracts. Neither case, however, presented the chance to invalidate them.
Now his moment may have come. In response to Alito’s hints, the issue has landed squarely in the Court’s inbox in the form of a petition for review in a suit against the California Teachers Association. If Alito gets his desired result, it will deal a long-lasting blow to union power—and, perhaps by coincidence, the Democratic Party.

Editing by yours truly: ... it will deal a long-lasting blow to silence union power—and, perhaps by coincidence, silence the Democratic Party. Fixed! And that is what it's all about, my friends.

* Information you can use: Bobby Fuller’s original demo of ‘I Fought the Law’ is a lot better than the version we all know:

... you can tell which version of the song you’re listening to by what kind of gun our hero is brandishing. In the demo, it’s a shotgun. On the 1964 Exeter single (the recording described in the above quote), it’s a zip-gun. And of course, on the 1966 Mustang single, it’s a six-gun. There you go. You can drop that science for trainspotter cred next time you’re trying to get that cute record collector you’ve been chatting up to come home with you. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

Click through to the article to hear the shotgun version. Really good.

* 'Cause I had none. I fought the law and the law won.... (The Clash.)

Posted by: Marie at 9:18 PM |