Category Archives: Climate Change

Portable Self-Defense

Many years ago when I lived in a not terribly safe neighborhood in DC, two work colleagues/friends of mine were discussing safety precautions to be used in case we were ever assaulted.

“I heard that if someone tries to rape you,” Ellen said, “the best thing to do is to poop in your pants.  Nobody wants to rape a person with poopy pants”

“That won’t be hard for me to do,” I said.  “I can poop on command.”  My colitis-that-was-really-Crohn’s was raging in those days.  “Maybe I can sell some!”

Our colleague, John, got a mischievous look on his face.  “But what if you’ve just gone?” John asked.  He then stood up from his desk, and started grunting as if he were pooping.  “Wait a minute, wait a minute, Mr. Rapist.” John grunted some more, laughing. “I’m almost ready for you …  OK, NOW try to take me!”

We didn’t get a lot of work done those days.  But it was a valuable lesson in self-defense.

Sadly, Keri Wilk, an undersea photographer, wasn’t in the room with us.  Because that self-defense lesson might have come in handy for him just recently.  Because recently he learned that sometimes, a little poop can be the best defense.

You see, according to the article in the Huffington Post, photographer Keri Wilk had a crappy experience when he got up close and, ummm, personal, with a sperm whale.  Apparently Keri and his fellow divers made the whale a wee bit nervous.

While leading a group on an underwater whale photography expedition off the coast of the Caribbean island, Keri and four others were approached by what appeared to be a perfectly calm whale.

The whale approached them, stopped, pointed straight downward, and then in Keri’s words, “the storm began.”

If only Keri and his friends had given the poor whale a little privacy, well then, the storm might have been short-lived.  But noooooooooo.

Instead, Keri and friends experienced a “Poopnado.”

“At first, it seemed like a regular bowel movement… sperm whales are often seen defecating, especially while diving, so we didn’t think much of it initially. It pointed itself down, but then, rather than continuing its dive, it remained at the surface, continuing the bowel movement for a startling length of time,” explains Keri.

“The 4 of us looked at each other with confusion, then back at the whale, expecting that any second its call from nature would be ended, and that it would descend to the depths for another meal as they usually do. Instead, the whale bobbed up and down, spun around in circles, and waved poop in every direction for several minutes while 4 of us in the water sat back and watched!”

The minute by minute photos are pretty amusing, but I think you might just want to go to the full article rather than see that much poop on my blog site.  I do have my standards, you know.  Low as they may be.

The full spread of pictures is, ummm, more overwhelming.

There simply is no reason for you to bother reading the news.  Or watching it.  Because I promise you, if there is anything you need to know, anything at all, I will tell you about it.

Including things you didn’t even know you wanted to know about.

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Filed under Bat-shit crazy, Climate Change, Conspicuous consumption, Crohn's Disease, Diet tips, Disgustology, GOP, Huh?, Humor, Wild Beasts

Pretty Please?

Until this morning, I’ve been dreading 2016.

Politics, to me, is a spectator sport.  And so the idea of Hilary (ho hum) v. Jeb (ho ho ho) sounded like it was going to be about as much fun as cribbage.  Watching cribbage.

But this morning, I read that we may have some entertainment value to our next presidential race after all.  Whooeeeee!!!

Mitt Wants to Run Again!!!

And you know what idea he plans to run on?

POVERTY!

Yup.  According to this article in the Huffington Post, Mitt is going to tackle poverty:

Romney, who made a fortune in the financial sector and was cast by Democrats in 2012 as a heartless businessman, wants to make tackling poverty — a key issue for his 2012 vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan — one of the three pillars of his campaign.

Tell us another one! (Google image)

Tell us another one!
(Google image)

I wonder if Ann Romney knows she might have to eat tuna and pasta again.

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Filed under 2016, Adult Traumas, Bat-shit crazy, Climate Change, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Dogs, Driving, Elections, Farts, GOP, History, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, Politics, Stupidity, Voting

Louie Gohmert for Speaker!! YES!!!

Have you heard the exciting news?  Representative Louis Gohmert ((R-Where Else But F’ing Texas) is challenging Rep. John Boehner for Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“Why?” you ask, “Elyse, you are a liberal Democrat.  Why do you want such a stupid, ignorant Neanderthal Teapartier [OK, so I repeat myself] to be Speaker of the House?  What better way to prove to ‘Merica that the GOP’s aims are stupid and harmful than having them served up to us on the TEEVEE by Gomer-Fuckin’-Pyle?

In case you’re unfamiliar with him, Gohmert is widely considered to be one of, if not THE dumbest member of either party in either House.  Here is a compendium of his, ummm, opinions:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAdGnvMKEYM

Every time this man appears in front of the camera, he shows himself to be an idiot.  So what better mouthpiece for the GOP?

I give Louie my unqualified support.  You can too!  Just go to House.Gov and contact your own representative.  Ask him/her to vote for Louie!

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Our Groaning Nation

It occurred to me just now that America, the grand experiment in Democracy that began in revolution in 1776, and organized itself under the Constitution in 1789, is no longer in its infancy.

Yeah, I was shocked too!

Of course, at 238 years old, I shouldn’t be.  In fact, growing up should be expected.  We can’t remain babies or even toddlers forever, now, can we? Cute and cuddly was bound to give way to something, well, to something decidedly different.

We want to be like the big kids.  After all, the countries that most of those in power like to believe we all hailed from (legally, natch) have been around for many hundreds of years, some even a thousand years or more.  They’ve done so much stuff that they don’t even bother to put up plaques saying what happened.

Yes, those other countries, they’ve changed, grown, and matured through the ages.  We must too.

And we are.

Which led me to the realization of the entire problem with our country.  With our political family.

SHIT!  America is  a teenager, God help us.

Yup.  We (and the world we lead) are truly fucked.

We have become a nation of petulant fools who can’t think beyond our own immediate needs.

Let’s hope our nation doesn’t wrap itself around a metaphorical tree.

[Elections matter.  We got what too many of us stayed home for.]

*   *   *

The idea for this post came to me when I read Zorbear’s post, Just wasting our money again… featuring  this terrific cartoon

INFRASTRUCTURE

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Hiding in Plain Sight

If you haven’t seen this bit from John Oliver’s new show, you should.  You should watch it before Tuesday’s election, and then again periodically, just so you remember what I keep telling you.  That elections matter.  And that it is important to pay attention to not just Federal elections, but to the ones lower down the food chain.

Apparently it takes someone from England, from the country from which we declared our independence, to explain to us just how we are letting our own government get away from us.

Because we don’t pay attention to “the unimportant levels of government.”

Ummm, it is at the state level that we’re really getting screwed.  I can attest to this as a resident of “Virginia is For Ultra-sounds.”    Yup, it is the folks whose names we don’t even know, who get to decide these issues that most impact your life and mine.

They are also the ones gerrymandering the US Congressional districts.  They are eliminating access to abortion, to birth control and screwing us in a hundred different ways.  And the state legislatures are the breeding ground, where the Not Ready For Prime Time Players go until they become the Michelle Bachmann’s and the Louie Gomert’s who end up framing our national debate.

[I read recently that John Oliver has been proclaimed the best journalist currently working.  I don’t recall who said it, but I think they are right.]

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Did I Miss a Contest?

It’s John’s fault.  Not long after we started dating, John got me hooked on contests when he won one.  A free, all expenses paid trip for two to the UK in 1986!  Seriously!  It was right after the Lockerby bombing, and nobody was going to England.  So British Airways held a contest to give away all tickets to London on one day in June.  And John won.

I didn’t win.

I never win.

I always enter, though. No matter what the contest. As soon as I find out about a raffle, a sweepstakes, a lottery, I’m in.  Take my money.  Please.

So I must admit that I was a little bit miffed when I logged on to one of my favorite news websites — Talking Points Memo today.  Because apparently there is a contest I missed.

A contest to see who can be the biggest asshole.

Did you see some of the things that were done to “celebrate” Independence Day?

There was the editorial in the WestView News — a New York newspaper (WTF? — New York?)

Charming.  Even if it was meant ironically.  Photo credit, West View News.  Assholes

Charming. Even if it was meant ironically. Photo credit, West View News. Assholes

 

Then, there was that parade in Nebraska.  Now tell me, what parade is complete without honoring our president:

Nope.  No racism here.  No disrespect meant, I'm sure.  Assholes.

Nope. No racism here. No disrespect meant, I’m sure. Assholes.

 

But to me, at least for today, the folks who win the contest for the biggest asshole in the country are these guys:  the “Coal Rollers.”  Assholes who modify the emission controls on their diesel vehicles to spew huge clouds of exhaust — ON PURPOSE!  As it says in one of the articles I read on TPM,

Truckers essentially trick their vehicles into thinking they need to use more gas than it actually needs. The more fuel that’s used up, the more exhaust comes out thus the big plumes of dark emissions from a “rolling coal truck.”  According to Daily Digest News, turning a truck into a rolling coal truck can cost as much as $5,000.

Just how much money would you be willing to spend to show just how big an asshole you can be?

They direct their exhaust towards Prius drivers, bicyclists, well, really towards anybody who might not be burning quite as much fossil fuel and/or emitting quite so much CO2 as they are.  They’re doing it because they hate Obama and want to demonstrate just how much.

Yup.  Today, Coal Rollers win the prize.  They are the biggest assholes.

And they’ve cured me of my fascination with contests.  Because I’m never going to top these assholes.

 

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Awards, Climate Change, Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Global Warming, GOP, Huh?, Hypocrisy

Freedom Industries! and why I ♥ Regulations

It’s the mantra that makes me want to grab the TV remote, smack the person who held it, and change the channel ASAP away from FOX News.

THERE’S TOO MUCH REGULATION!

Me?  I  Regulations.  I dote on them.  I support them.

I understand them and why they are there.  I even lecture about them (and not just here on Word Press – people actually pay me money to do so).*  Regulations, I always tell folks, are the IKEA instructions that accompany the bookcase.  They are the “how-tos.”

Laws are enacted in response to our understanding that a problem exists, and we need to change what we do as a country to prevent it from happening again.  At the same time, we hopefully have enough vision to see some of the related problems that might occur and try to prevent them from occurring.  A few examples:

Our current Food and Drug laws, the Food and Drug Act of 1936 and the Food and Drug Act Amendments (commonly known as the Kefauver-Harris Amendments).  The FDCA was first enacted after a manufacturer added antifreeze (without testing its effects on people, animals or using their brains very much at all) to a cough remedy to make it more palatable to the kiddies.  The then-current law didn’t actually say that they couldn’t add antifreeze.  Guess what happened!  105 people died.

Another disaster involving a drug that was tested and tried, thalidomide, was found to cause serious birth defects in the babies born to pregnant women.  It wasn’t ever approved in the US thanks to Dr. Frances Kelsey

Dr. Frances Kelsey.   (Photo from Wikipedia article you should have already linked to and read.)

Dr. Frances Kelsey.
(Photo from Wikipedia article you should have already linked to and read.  What are you waiting for?)

Laws designed to safeguard our waters and land came about mostly in the 1970s after two hundred years of treating our country’s land and water like a sewer.  Diseases were springing up in neighborhoods where chemical companies had dumped chemicals.

Love Canal, where Hooker Chemical buried 21,000 tons of toxic waste! (Google Image)

Love Canal, where Hooker Chemical buried 21,000 tons of toxic waste!
(Google Image)

Our rivers were polluted.  If you fell into the Potomac River when I first moved here in 1979, you had to get a typhoid shot.  The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland burned.

Cuyahoga River Burns (June 22, 1969) (Google Image)

Cuyahoga River Burns (June 22, 1969)
(Google Image)

And so our then-FUNCTIONAL Congress (made up of folks who understood why they were elected and who believed in compromise and who believed in the need for government) passed laws to protect us and our land and our water and our air.  Now, our hazardous materials and hazardous waste are to be carefully monitored under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act.  Under the Clean Water Act.  The Clean Air Act.  And a bunch of others designed to keep you and me safe and keep industry behaving itself.

But laws only say:

 We’re Gonna Fix This Problem

Regulations give us step by step instructions on

How to Fix This Problem

Regulations are very specific.  In order to comply, you must do A,B and C, according to specific instructions.  When regulations are promulgated the agency asks the regulated industry to comment on them, how to make them more manageable, workable, less expensive to follow.  But the regulations cover testing, manufacturing techniques, storage, monitoring, record-keeping, transportation, the works.  Regulations have the force of law.  If a company doesn’t follow them, they are liable for penalties and/or imprisonment.

Regulations

Regulations protect me.  They protect you.  They protect the United States of America from bad manufacturers.  They penalize the bad ones so that they don’t get away with messing up our planet.  They must be strong enough so that manufacturers fear them and therefore follow them.  Slaps on the wrist are ignored when there is money to be made by ignoring regulations. They must be strong.  (Because remember, there are idiots who would add antifreeze to cough syrup for a buck.)

Regulations are the rules that society agrees to adhere to often in spite of the fact that they are a serious pain in the ass.

Regulations, I say to those still awake in my lectures, are like the IKEA instructions.  The furniture is no good without them.  But they need to be followed.

Take this week’s Freedom Industries leak of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol, or Crude MCHM, a heavy-duty chemical used in processing coal.  Current estimates are that this leak — from a facility brilliantly located upriver from a water purification plant — contaminated the drinking water of more than 100,000 residents of West Virginia.

Thirsty? (Photo from CNN)

Thirsty?
(Photo from CNN)

Freedom Industries has said don’t know when the spill started.  They don’t know how much spilled.  They don’t know whether the stuff that has made the entire area smell like licorice is, in fact, terribly toxic to people or if so, how toxic it is to human health.

They are supposed to know or they didn’t comply with the regulations.

They are supposed to measure the amount in the tanks.  Frequently.

They are supposed to record the amount they add or remove from the tanks.  Every single time they do this.

They are supposed to test.  Frequently.

They are supposed to monitor for leaks.  Frequently.

They are supposed to comply with the regulations.  It seems as if they did not.

They are supposed to make sure that they don’t fucking contaminate the fucking water for a hundred thousand people and possibly, probably more.

And if they didn’t they should go to jail.

I’m betting that they didn’t — that they didn’t follow the regulations.  Time will tell.

Freedom Industries  (Washington Post Image)

Freedom Industries
(Washington Post Image)

Just imagine what the rest of our country, our land, our rivers, our air, would be like if there were no regulations.  And you know, don’t you, that the Republican party is oh-so-determined to cut regulations.  To protect industry.  Not you.  Not me.  Industry.  Like Freedom Industries.

Do me a favor.  Think of Freedom Industries whenever you hear someone bitch about the loss of freedom from regulations.

Think of what we’d lose without regulation.

*   *   *

* From 1980-1989, I analyzed environmental regulations and drafted memos to folks on the steps they needed to comply with the regulations that are designed to keep our land, water and air cleaner.

For the past 10 years, I’ve examined a zillion company documents that show how they comply with their IKEA instructions.

*     *     *

Yeah, I know I said I wouldn’t be around much.  But sometimes I just can’t shut up.

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