Wednesday Pics

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Snow melt runoff in the foothills

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French Meadows Reservoir as full as I have ever seen it.

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Water picnics only! Note the seedlings that grew during the drought now under water also.

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A Butterfly convention.

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Bright yellow flowers on a bush behind my house.

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My bathroom project, trim the mirror and counter back splash with ghost in the mirror.               Cool huh?

 

 

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Truthout Tuesday

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On April 28, the Trump administration took down the vast majority of the EPA’s Climate Change Website, including pages for: Basic Info, Causes of Climate Change, Future of Climate Change, Science, Impacts, Extreme Weather, Adapting, Reducing Emissions, What EPA is Doing, and What You Can do. What is the authority for this administration, under the guise of “updating this administration’s priorities,” to erase 20 years of climate science from our national EPA website? How can politicians, in three or four short months, decide that a generation of climate science is invalid? What gives them this authority?

The answers to these questions are closely tied to almost a billion dollars in annual funding by ultra-conservative policy institutes, according to research from Drexel and Stanford. It has been labelled the climate change counter-movement (CCCM.) We all know what the CCCM is, and in 2013 academic publishing, Professor Robert Brulle defined this phenomenon and evaluated its purpose and budget. From this peer reviewed work:

“The climate change counter-movement has had a real political and ecological impact on the failure of the world to act on the issue of global warming…. Like a play on Broadway, the counter-movement has stars in the spotlight — often prominent contrarian scientists or conservative politicians — but behind the stars is an organizational structure of directors, script writers and producers, in the form of conservative foundations. If you want to understand what’s driving this movement, you have to look at what’s going on behind the scenes.”

@ TRUTHOUT

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Steaming Pile Monday

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Would another 9/11 keep Trump in the big chair? (He might ask the Saudis)

Does Donald Trump have even an ounce of shame?

As a presidential candidate, he spent much of the election campaign needling, critiquing, denouncing, and even threatening the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Yet as president, he is making his first foreign visit this weekend to … the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Even by Trumpian standards, the volte-face is brazen. In his first few months in power, we have witnessed the trademark Trump Turnabout on issues ranging from NATO to China to the Export-Import Bank. We have listened to him go from praising Bashar al-Assad and rebuking Janet Yellen on the campaign trail, to praising Yellen and rebuking Assad in office. Last October, he said that then-FBI Director James Comey had “guts” for doing “the right thing”; last week, he sacked Comey and called him a “showboat” and a “grandstander.”

Trump, to put it mildly, is no stranger to the shameless U-turn. Still, the Trump Turnabout on Saudi Arabia — one of America’s closest allies since President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud aboard the USS Murphy in 1945 — is a true sight to behold. This weekend, Trump will arrive in Saudi Arabia for a bilateral summit with King Salman as well as a series of meetings with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

@ TI

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Sunday Brain Indigestion

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A study in mice and humans suggests that bacteria in the gut can influence the structure of the brain’s blood vessels, and may be responsible for producing malformations that can lead to stroke or epilepsy. The research, published in Nature, adds to an emerging picture that connects intestinal microbes and disorders of the nervous system. The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are clusters of dilated, thin-walled blood vessels that can lead to seizures or stroke when blood leaks into the surrounding brain tissue. A team of scientists at the University of Pennsylvania investigated the mechanisms that cause CCM lesions to form in genetically engineered mice and discovered an unexpected link to bacteria in the gut. When bacteria were eliminated the number of lesions was greatly diminished.

@ SCIENCE DAILY

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Saturday Shithead Review

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This weeks Shithead is Steve Mnuchin, ‘money boy with greedy tendencies’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren had a confounding exchange with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at a Senate Banking Committee hearing today. Mnuchin indicated that the Trump administration supports a 21st century version of the Glass-Steagall Act, except for the part about separating commercial and investment banks, which is substantially what is meant by Glass-Steagall.

Warren wasn’t having it.

Responding to Mnuchin’s earlier testimony that the White House didn’t support “a separation of banks from investment banks,” the Massachusetts senator pointed out that “The president and this administration have repeatedly said that they support a 21st century Glass-Steagall.”

Indeed, Mnuchin said these words in his confirmation hearings. National Economic Director Gary Cohn has said the same. And the 2016 Republican Party platform adds explicitly, “We support reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 which prohibits commercial banks from engaging in high-risk investment.” As Warren said to Mnuchin, “Now you’ve just said the opposite.”

@ TI

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FReyeDAY FuNNeese

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Nazi Turds Thursday

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American Nazi party members march while carrying Nazi and American flags near Camp Siegfried, Long Island. (Getty)

A Long Island enclave established by Nazi sympathizers has to dramatically change the way it operates to end decades of discrimination against nonwhite people, according to a settlement announced today by the Attorney General’s Office.

The German-American League was founded in 1937 as an offshoot of the Nazi-promoting German-American Bund, and bought up tract homes in the Suffolk County hamlet of Yaphank. At first, the group operated its property as Camp Siegfried, a Nazi summer camp that for a time had its own train from Penn Station. In the late 1930s, Camp Siegfried officials were indicted on charges of violating the New York State Civil Rights Act, according to the New York Times.

Subsequently, as the camp transitioned into a 40-acre residential community, the League toned down the overt Nazi stuff, ending the parades and sieg heiling and coming up with new names for the streets originally named after Hitler, Goering, and Goebbels. Still, for decades, the organization has exercised strict control over who can live there. It owns the land beneath the houses, and long restricted leases to members and people sponsored by members. Membership, by the way, was limited to people “primarily of German extraction and of good character and reputation.”

@ THE GOTHAMIST

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