Monday, September 16, 2013

Last Call For AmmuNation

Today, another mass shooting, this time at the Washington DC Naval Yard.  The suspect, Aaron Alexis, killed 12 before police killed him in a running gun battle.

Tomorrow, Grand Theft Auto V is out.  May be the most hotly anticipated and highly rated game in years.

The media would like you to think one has something to do with the other. I'm not blaming video games for mass shootings any more than I blame Dumas' The Three Musketeers for starting swordfights or The Guns Of Navarone for starting wars. 

America, pretty much right there.

A New Tennant In The Senate?

Looks like the Dems are going to put up a fight for Jay Rockefeller's Senate seat in West Virginia after all, as Secretary of State Natalie Tennant looks to be on board for a 2014 run against GOP Rep. Shelly Moore Capito as early as Tuesday.

Tennant, a longtime West Virginia Democrat who ran unsuccessfully in the 2011 gubernatorial primary, is highly anticipated in a race that Democrats worried may open themselves up to a key loss in the Senate. Tennant faces a tough race in a conservative state against Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), the likely Republican nominee for the seat.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has already signaled its enthusiasm, sending an email blast Friday morning highlighting Tennant’s decision to return $3 million of unused funds in her capacity as secretary of state. The email didn’t mention Tennant’s plans to run for Senate but the Democrats’ Senate campaign arm clearly wants Tennant to be on the radar of its supporters.

On Aug. 30, West Virginia’s The Charleston Daily Mail published the results of a poll showing Tennant would make the race more competitive. The poll, conducted by the Daily Mail and R.L. Repass and Partners the week of Aug. 15-22, found 45 percent of those surveyed would pick Capito in a Capito-Tennant matchup. Meanwhile, 40 percent said they would pick Tennant and 15 percent said they were undecided. The poll had a margin of error of 4.9 percent. According to local news outlet MetroNews, Tennant was encouraged by the poll.

Tennant stands to attract the backing of national Democratic groups, including Emily’s List, which previously backed her in her 2011 governor’s race. Tennant also attracted attention as West Virginia’s first female secretary of state.

A graduate of West Virgnia University and former television anchor, Tennant has previously served on the boards of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and The American Heart Association.

There are a lot of similarities between the 2014 KY and WV Senate races, but there are quite a few differences too.  Still, Tennant at least puts the race within reach, and there's a lot of time to make up ground.  Here's hoping she can make it a good fight to keep the seat blue.

Inexorable As The Tides

Here's an important piece in the Seattle Times about ocean acidification and how quickly carbon dioxide is changing Earth's oceans.  The effects are devastating, and they're already being felt in the Pacific northwest.

Imagine every person on Earth tossing a hunk of CO2 as heavy as a bowling ball into the sea. That’s what we do to the oceans every day.

Burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas, belches carbon dioxide into the air. But a quarter of that CO2 then gets absorbed by the seas — eight pounds per person per day, about 20 trillion pounds a year.

Scientists once considered that entirely good news, since it removed CO2 from the sky. Some even proposed piping more emissions to the sea.

But all that CO2 is changing the chemistry of the ocean faster than at any time in human history. Now the phenomenon known as ocean acidification — the lesser-known twin of climate change — is helping push the seas toward a great unraveling that threatens to scramble marine life on a scale almost too big to fathom, and far faster than first expected.

Here’s why: When CO2 mixes with water it takes on a corrosive power that erodes some animals’ shells or skeletons. It lowers the pH, making oceans more acidic and sour, and robs the water of ingredients animals use to grow shells in the first place.

Acidification wasn’t supposed to start doing its damage until much later this century.

Instead, changing sea chemistry already has killed billions of oysters along the Washington coast and at a hatchery that draws water from Hood Canal. It’s helping destroy mussels on some Northwest shores. It is a suspect in the softening of clam shells and in the death of baby scallops. It is dissolving a tiny plankton species eaten by many ocean creatures, from auklets and puffins to fish and whales — and that had not been expected for another 25 years.

And this is just the beginning.

Frightening stuff.  Do read the whole thing.  Now keep in mind Republicans will do nothing about it if you keep electing them.


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