s skippy the bush kangaroo: February 2018

skippy the bush kangaroo

Sunday, February 25, 2018

like a sunday morning

behold the reckoning of a gun culture in collapse

delta and united join list of companies cutting ties with the nra 

cancelling $1.4 trillion in student debt could have tremendous benefits for the economy

how indian poultry farming is creating global superbugs

posted by skippy at 2:30 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, February 24, 2018

burru saturday

people with lower cognitive ability still believe fake news even after evidence to the contrary

kids perform boring tasks better when dressed as batman

trump admin's watchlist data overstates terror threat

the high-tech poor house

posted by skippy at 4:12 PM | 0 comments


Sarah Chadwick, one of the kids who didn't die at Marjory Stoneham High School, tweeted this the other day:
We should change the names of AR-15s to 'Marco Rubio' because they are so easy to buy.
I no longer despair of the younger generation.
posted by DBK at 12:57 PM | 1 comments

Friday, February 23, 2018

Armed Teachers: An Idea from the Privileged Elite

Tom Sullivan, over at Digby's place, presents just one of the numerous reasons arming teachers is a bad idea.

I have a little insight into Sullivan's article.  Not much, but a little.  I did a little skydiving when I was young and reckless.  When you take the training, they tell you that "brainlock" is a common occurrence on your first jump, and for some people for the first several jumps.  Brainlock is a short period when you first exit the plane where your brain stops working.  You get no sensory input.  You freeze up.  You can't remember anything from the brainlock period.

My first jump was a static line jump from 9500 feet out of a Cessna 182.  I won't bore you with all of the details about skydiving and so on except to sat that I and my fellow first timers took five hours of training for that first jump.  They train you in every aspect of the jump and then you do mock jumps at ground level over and over again.  When you are done with training, you and the other students tend to keep practicing over and over because you want to enjoy the jump but you don't want to make a mistake and maybe, you know, die.  So you practice over and over.

I'm a pretty nervy guy, but, without going into details, as soon as I let go of the strut and began to fall through the sky, I brainlocked.  Those five seconds of brainlock are eery.  I can still see the jumpmaster signal to let go., still see my fingers on the strut, and can still see the canopy, filled out, over my head when I came out of the brainlock and looked up to check my lines and make sure the riser was okay and I had a full canopy, but I cannot remember those five seconds.  I wasn't panicked.  I don't think I was scared because the only emotions I have ever felt about that jump, at the time or afterwards, have been exhiliration, joy, and pride.

Once I unlocked I performed as trained, but all that training didn't stop me from locking up.

I've never been in combat.  I've fired guns; this is America, after all.  I've been to the practice range and fired an S&W .357 and been to the skeet range and fired shotguns at clay pigeons, but nobody ever fired back. My dad liked guns and liked to shoot (he was a WWII vet), so they're not some weird, terrifying, peculiar thing to me.  I even have a .25 my father-in-law gave me years ago somewhere in the house, though I'm damned if I know where it is.  I never fired it because it's a mid-1960s Czech knockoff of a German Erma Werke .25 pocket gun and it would probably blow up in my hand.  I've tried to break it down for cleaning and it won't come apart.  But I don't pretend to know how I would react if the chips were down and I really had to fire a weapon at someone who  was shooting at me. Five seconds of brainlock under fire could be the last five seconds of your life.

There's a better solution to the problem of mass murder than arming all the citizens.  Arming teachers, well, that's something a thoughtless person who has never been in a genuinely urgent situation might suggest.
posted by DBK at 2:41 PM | 0 comments

friday morning

the world has never seen an oil spill like this

why companies fear disclosing ceo-to-worker pay

twilight of the kurds

other countries have high speed trains. we have accidents and crumbling infrastructure

posted by skippy at 2:00 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, February 22, 2018

outlook for thursday

facebook only cares about facebook

cleaner shipping fuel could reduce childhood asthma by 3.6% globally

a dying town

the mass extinction of scientists who study species 
posted by skippy at 10:20 PM | 1 comments

Wayne LaPierre: World's Most Worthless Meatpuppet

Wayne LaPierre made a speech and accused the Democrats of exploiting the Parkland massacre.

Because that's how you show leadership in ending mass murder.

If you look closely, you can see the hand up his ass.
posted by DBK at 9:07 AM | 0 comments

Hey NRA, I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind

You could have done better but I don't mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time *
The NRA has, since the Columbine Massacre nearly twenty years ago, dug in its heels and gone from denying responsibility for contributing to a culture of mass murder to attacking those who want to put an end to mass murder.  They have been, in fact, a textbook example of how not to solve a problem, but, instead, add to the problem.  Wayne LaPierre has been a fine non-leader.  The NRA not only could have, but should have taken the lead in reducing gun violence in our schools and in general. Guns are their thing, and they have, for years, claimed that teaching gun safety is one of the most important services they provide.

I don't know where the kid who murdered all those other kids in Florida the other day got his lessons on gun safety, but it seems they didn't take.  Probably studied gun safety in the same place the Ohio seventh grader who shot himself in the school bathroom the other day learned it.  The Ohio kid died.

I used to like the NRA when they really did care about gun safety.  Now they seem to care about increasing gun sales and protecting the rights of the dangerously mentally ill to own guns.

They could have led this issue.  Instead they failed their members and contributed to mass murder.  They could have led the charge in reducing gun violence and mass murder.  Instead, they fed the paranoid social fringe in believing the Second Amendment was all that stood between them and an oppressive government.  The Civil War put paid to Madison's 18th century math in Federalist 46.  The tank and the F-15E, F-16, F-22A, and F-35A put paid to the notion that sheer numbers would protect you from a government that wanted to impose its will on an unwilling state and citizenry.

The NRA has gone from an organization that supported deer hunters and helped teach best practices to an organization that considers dead eight year olds "the price you pay for freedom" and calls the survivors of mass murder people "who hate America".

The NRA did not lead the issue and failure has given us nothing but dead school children.

The leaders on this issue are seventeen years old, and this old man stands with them.

Go vegan and nobody gets hurt.

*Don't Think Twice Twice, It's All Right, Bob Dylan
posted by DBK at 8:16 AM | 0 comments

A Word on Veganism and Weight Loss: and quick because i have a meeting in fifteen minutes

Diets do work, but they only work for as long as you are dieting.  After that, you regain the weight.  When you lose weight as a result of a complete dietary change to veganism, the weight stays off or you can lose it easily if you put it on.  I've kept the weight off for over two years following the initial loss and I have done so without trying.  My weight simply stabilized at 165.

In November, following a disappointing number of Trick or Treaters, we were left with a lot of candy, and Mrs DBK didn't eat it.  Nope, that fell to yours truly.  I hadn't eaten added sugar in quite some time, but manfully I dug in and began consuming that candy.  Okay, so it was maybe a pound of leftover candy and I took a week to nibble it down, piece by piece, to a flacid plastic bag and a vague sense of guilt.  My weight, on the other hand, went up to about 175.  Clearly there is some biochemical thing going on that goes well beyond the mere weight of the item consumed.

When I stopped eating sugary things, the weight came right off.

My wife bought me a bit of candy for my birthday and I ate it.  My weight went back up again and this time I was a few pounds heavier for a good two weeks until...

...beans.  I hadn't been eating my beans.  You have to eat your beans/lentils.  In other words, legumes.  Earlier this week I made Julie Jordan's Cashew Chili recipe (I've been using that recipe for nearly forty years).  The weight dropped right off.  This isn't scientific analysis, just anecdotal, but I suspect that the role of fiber in promoting weight loss is under-reported.  I've done a lot of research on the microbiome in the past year and I, again, suspect that this is where the rubber meets the bacteria when it comes to weight loss.  When you feed your microbiome a healthy diet, a higher proportion of fat bypasses digestion and goes out in the stool.  I can't recall offhand where I saw that, so I can't give you a reference, and my call is now in five minutes so I won't be looking it up, but that happens.  If you watch Dr Robert Lustig's YouTube lectures on sugar you'll learn that half of every molecule of white refined sugar is metabolized in the liver directly into a lipid (fat) and stored.

Okay, gotta run.  Eat your beans.

Last night was BBQ Pulled Not Pork (jackfruit) for dinner.  This is what it looks like:

Go vegan and nobody gets hurt.
posted by DBK at 6:56 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Have I mentioned Clarabelle?

It's the internet, so I need to post a cat picture.

That's Clarabelle playing cat and mouse games.  She's a rescue cat and her former, bad, owners had her four-paw declawed, so we chaperone her outdoor time.  We were told she would be difficult and have emotional problems because she had not been treated well by her former, wicked, owners.  She isn't and doesn't.  She's over ten years old now (got her at around 8 months) and, as it turns out, after we rescued her, she went ahead and rescued us right back.

I love that the internet loves cats.

Do not declaw your cats.  Don't believe for a second that they get over it and that it isn't so bad.  They don't and it is.

Go vegan and nobody gets hurt.
posted by DBK at 3:34 PM | 2 comments

H.R.1628 - American Health Care Act of 2017

No suggestions on where to start the discourse, so we'll start here. We haven't studied it carefully and haven't spoken to any decision-makers, but this is where we want to start because it is a topic we worked on in 2009 and because the "I have the solution to your healthcare crisis right here, pal" posting below touched on it.  H.R. 1628 is the bill for replacing the Affordable Care Act.

Get busy chilluns.  Study it, because it is coming back up for a vote in the Senate and having the right kind of discussion will save the cheerleader.  You might want this bill to pass if it improves upon the ACA or is better than the ACA.  That's the key.  If we can get the bill amended so that it works and provides increased coverage, then everyone benefits.  The Republicans are not entirely wrong, but you have to engage in real discourse on the facts and the figures to find out what is right and wrong.  An ideological stance won't do it...unless it is the ideology of Utilitarianism.

Learning the material won't be easy.  The language is dense and every clause must be understood.  If we want good healthcare policy, we have to become as expert as the people we are trying to convince.  They got this bill from lobbyists and we doubt more than a very few members of the House and Senate, or their staffs, read it through or understood it.  They trust the lobbyists because the lobbyists seem to have the knowledge, payoffs notwithstanding.  But if we go into the discussion armed with real knowledge and demonstrate what works, we will either prevail or will know the degree to which this or that representative has been corrupted, and that is very useful.

Go vegan and nobody gets hurt.
posted by DBK at 2:00 PM | 1 comments

I have the solution to your healthcare crisis right here, pal

Once, a long time ago in a far away land where kittens frolicked in the sunshine and sausages grew on trees like a vegan porn film, I would believe seven ridiculous things before breakfast.

One of them was that Universal Single Payer healthcare would go a long way to solving the healthcare crisis.  Fortunately, I continued to think.  I enjoy thinking.  Sometimes I even think outside of office hours.

What I hadn't understood was that we already have USP, we just don't pay it the way other countries do.  Healthcare gets paid for by all of us and if you go to the emergency room you will receive treatment even without insurance.  Yes, that is a more expensive way to approach getting your healthcare, but it was the way many did it and they did get treated.

No matter who gets sick, if they go to the hospital, the visit is paid for, generally in the form of higher premiums for insurance.  We're all paying for it already.  So that's USP.  Switching the money from our left pockets (all of us paying through our insurance premiums) to our right pockets (all of us paying for it through our taxes) isn't the answer.  Yes, I know insurance companies make a profit far in excess of the cost of the government administering the program.  I used to use that argument all the time.  That's my argument.  Don't throw my own arguments in my face.  That's just bad manners.  The profit margin isn't so much higher that it would make a big enough dent in the massive cost of healthcare.  The same is true of emergency room visits for the uninsured versus doctor's office visits for the insured.  The cost hasn't been lowered nearly enough by the advent of the Afforable Care Act.

So what is the answer?

In short:  go vegan and nobody gets hurt.

In long :  get healthier.

In 1958, 0.93% of the United States population had diabetes.  In 2015, 7.40% of the population was diabetic.  The CDC estimates that as many as 100 million Americans are diabetic or pre-diabetic.

That's America.

The diabetes trend is continuing upwards and it is a direct result of the obesity epidemic and dietary choice.    Is there an element we should cut out of our diets?  I don't care.  If you care, stop caring.  There are plenty of highly trained professionals arguing about it and it winds up being one of those asinine intramural things where Dr Lustig says, "It's the refined sugar, especially fructose, and I have a meta analysis that proves it" and Dr Barnard says, "It's the fat and I have solid research that proves it."

It's a floor wax AND a dessert topping.  And I don't want to eat dessert or was my floors.  I just want the obese to lose weight and end their diabetes so there will be Medicare left when I, after paying for it all of my working life, am ready to receive Medicare.  Pure self-interest.

In 1995, no state had an average obesity prevalence above 20% of the population.  Currently, only Colorado is below 25%, and it is still above 20%.  Obesity and diabetes go together like donuts and coffee.  Put down that donut when I'm talking to you!  You think this is a joke?

From the American Diabetes Association:  "People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of about $13,700 per year, of which about $7,900 is attributed to diabetes. People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes."

You get that?  They estimate that, in 2012, when there were fewer diabetics, the cost of diabetes was $245 billion dollars.  We could pay the cost of everyone's total healthcare for that.

There is a treatment for diabetes that can result in a cure.  The American Diabetes Association says there isn't a cure and a lot of doctors go along with that and say you can only manage your disease, but that's simply not true.  The cure is eliminating the animal products from your diet.

Now let's turn our attention from one of the top five killers of Americans, diabetes, to the number one killer, Coronary Artery Disease.  Did you know that 62% of people have no idea they have CAD until they have their heart attack?  Did you know that the majority of Americans have CAD by the time they are 18 years old?  Do you know that, when the doctor says you are doing fine because your cholesterol is at 192 what he is really saying is that you have an average chance of a heart attack?  The average chance of a heart attack is high, though I couldn't find the number for the entire population, but for African-Americans it is about 1 out of 2.

1 out of 2.

610,000 Americans die of heart disease every year.  So when your cholesterol is at 192 and you think you're doing just fine, you're actually a prime candidate for a heart attack.  Are those the odds you like when it comes to dying?  If every time you got on an airplane you stood a one in four chance of dying, would you fly much?

Fortunately, there is an effective and safe way to reverse heart disease without drugs or surgery.  Yes, just like with diabetes.  Go vegan.  Go vegan and nobody gets hurt.  You could go low-fat, which is the way Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn recommend (look 'em up) but when you go vegan, it becomes much easier to get the fat out of the diet and out of your coronary arteries.  Besides, fats aren't the only issues with meat. 

Rather than turn this into a lengthy description of the meat industry, the various arguments supporting my position, and so on (in the past three years I have spent about a thousand hours a year researching the topic of health and nutrition) please just watch this video:  What the Health.  You can look at what the debunkers have said about it too.  I have.  I have also seen the response to the debunkers and it pretty much puts paid to the debunker arguments.

Also, please watch videos (I love YouTube) from Dr Neal Barnard (e.g., The Cheese Trap).  Yes, Dr Robert Lustig's Sugar:  The Bitter Truth is very interesting and yes, you should get rid of the added sugars in your diet, but What the Health is more important for your health.

That's my opinion after those thousands of hours of research.

Full disclosure.  After becoming a vegetarian and, eventually a vegan, starting in January of 2015, my weight went from 215 pounds to 165 in fifteen months, my cholesterol went from 192 to 147 (statins can't lower it that much), triglycerides went from 164 to 94, and all the other numbers stack up like that across the board.  I run up the stairs.  I sleep better.  I crap better.  I feel better.  And I feel happier just knowing that no animals are suffering for my sake.  Nothing gets tortured because of me.

Go vegan and nobody gets hurt.
posted by DBK at 11:41 AM | 9 comments

the wednesday cheesy song

why so many people still support trump

new blood test could detect 8 forms of cancer before they spread

what amazon does to poor cities

boycott the republican party
posted by skippy at 2:00 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Return of the Dead

Hi, boys and girls.  We turned 60 last month and got all nostalgic and shit for the days when we used to blog a lot.  Blogging is dead and Huffington Post killed it.

We have returned from the Land of the Dead to revive blogging and we are going to do it here, on Skippy's site, and in so doing, we will save the cheerleader, because if you save the cheerleader...you know how that goes.

That's not a joke.  We're going to save the cheerleader.

The revival of blogging is about discourse.  This is the place that CNN, the world leader in trying-to-hold-a-discussion-but-failing, turns to for news, so we figured they could turn here for discourse.  And so can everyone else.  But first, review these four considerations:
And now, two questions:

posted by DBK at 1:25 PM | 12 comments

tuesday morning again

default crisis for black student borrowers

fired police find work in other departments

how not to die in america

berkeley declares itself a sanctuary city for recreational marijuana 

posted by skippy at 2:00 AM | 2 comments

Monday, February 19, 2018

trump reportedly fixed the miss universe pagent
posted by skippy at 3:56 PM | 1 comments

monday night

america's unique gun problem in 17 charts and graphs

four truths about the florida shooting 

lawyers urge couples to divorce now because of gop tax law

60,000 hidden ancient mayan structures discovered 
posted by skippy at 2:30 AM | 1 comments

Sunday, February 18, 2018

environmental news stories sunday

for those little stories of import that don't usually get published above the fold or bantered about on the talking head shows.

why a posh montana ski town may use treated wastewater for snowmaking - news deeply
top epa science adviser has history of questioning pollution research - kunc

trump budget would undo conservation gains on farms and ranches - civil eats

great lakes coalition warns federal funding cuts would have adverse economic, environmental impact - toledo blade

in the 'weather app era' cuts to the national weather service are dangerous - forbes
alaska's bering sea lost a third of its ice in just 8 days - inside climate news
trump’s top spy just contradicted the white house’s line on climate change - vox
what's actually behind cape town's water crisis - the atlantic

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posted by SantaBarbarian at 11:33 AM | 0 comments

lazy sundays

data set for all us mass shootings 1982-2018

tree-planting drone can plant 100,000 trees a day

america needs cops on the trade beat

researchers discover anxiety gene in the brain 
posted by skippy at 1:30 AM | 1 comments

Saturday, February 17, 2018

brooklyn on a saturday night

amid stories about a second affair, melania flies solo en route to florida

white supremacy on college campuses tripled in trump's first year

california and beyond: the expanding drought

the world's travel rush begins in china 
posted by skippy at 2:00 AM | 1 comments

Friday, February 16, 2018

friday let me down

does america have a caste system?

letting people vote at home increases voter turnout

mass incarceration: jim crow, class war, or both?

elephants are very scared of bees
posted by skippy at 2:00 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, February 15, 2018

outerlude - still thursday

white guys don't take loss of power well, do they?

nbc's botched attempt to ignore sexual harassment allegations against shaun white

the trump immigration doctrine: hostile and divisive

how voters with disabilities are blocked from the ballot box
posted by skippy at 2:00 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

happy valentines day

no love for working families on valentines day

sean hannity promotes then deletes obama portait secret sperm conspiracy

meanwhile, bill kristol pines for the old days at fox news

owls for peace
posted by skippy at 2:30 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

tuesday morning 10 am

how democrats can mobilize millions of non-voters

death by inequality

canada spends as much on marijuana as on wine

all of glenn greenwald's women
posted by skippy at 9:49 PM | 0 comments

Monday, February 12, 2018

monday mundane

doctors refuse to treat trans patients more often than you think

the 2nd amendment represents the us built on stolen land and slavery

how a scholar of conspiracy theories became a subject of a conspiracy theory 

the alt-right's asian fetish
posted by skippy at 2:00 AM | 0 comments

Sunday, February 11, 2018

lazy sunday afternoon

ice is about to start tracking license plates

politics are center stage at the olympics

plastic trash in the oceans are 'maritime motor homes for microbes'

404 page not found (trust us, click the link, read the page)
posted by skippy at 2:00 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, February 10, 2018

book of saturday

science saturday!

is elon musk's space odyssey playboy really the future we want?

scientist puts his dog on the editorial boards of 7 predatory journals

not even orwell or huxley could have predicted the totalitarian threat of facebook

why dolphins are deep thinkers

and rip great character actor (the wire, house of cards) reg e. cathey

posted by skippy at 2:30 AM | 0 comments

Friday, February 09, 2018

friday is forever

1 individual drove the price of bitcoin from $150 to $1000

apple's $38 B tax payment isn't even half of the $79 B they owe

how a melting arctic changes everything

treating depression with magic mushrooms
posted by skippy at 2:30 AM | 1 comments

Thursday, February 08, 2018

on thursday morning

20% more trees in cities would mean cleaner air and water

american democracy is an easy target

why we should close america's overseas bases

scientists discover what probably killed the aztecs
posted by skippy at 2:00 AM | 1 comments

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

spring summer and wednesday

i stood up to ice -- and now they're trying to deport me

does trump want to be dictator of the united states?

to the chicago police, any black kid is in a gang

coal miners turn to bee keeping
posted by skippy at 1:30 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

tuesday morning

trump jr. says father can't be racist because of all the rappers who take pictures with him

cnn staffer finds national security documents in back pocket of plane seat

alligators trapped for days in swamp ice -- and lived

scientists find world's largest underwater cave in mexico (216 miles!)
posted by skippy at 2:30 AM | 0 comments

Monday, February 05, 2018

monday mourning

irs paid debt collectors $20 million to recoup $6.7 million from amerians

affirmative action doesn't hurt white medical school applicants

alaska's roadkill gets second life as dinner

kylo ren in the white house 
posted by skippy at 2:30 AM | 0 comments

Sunday, February 04, 2018

lazing on a sunday afternoon

making china great again

trump's first year breaks record for lowest approval rating ever

what the dip in us life expectancy is really about: inequality

breaking the cycle of cynicism 
posted by skippy at 2:30 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, February 03, 2018

bluegrass saturday night

republican memo even worse than meaningless

gop faces brutal primary fight in arizona

all your memories are stored by one weird molecule

and how the robocall industry wrecked the do not call list 

posted by skippy at 2:00 AM | 0 comments

Friday, February 02, 2018

friday i'm in love

what the republicans have learned from their tax debacles: nothing

fake news about flu shots goes viral

red cross general counsel resigns over handling of sexual harassment claims

 if the poor must work to earn every dollar, shouldn't the rich also?
posted by skippy at 2:30 AM | 1 comments

Thursday, February 01, 2018

one more boring thursday night in adelaide

the chilling attack on democracy in trump's sotu speech

the aircraft carrier: the weapon that refuses to go under

what is killing the middle class in the us?

how the news media distorts black families

posted by skippy at 3:00 AM | 0 comments