Monday, July 31, 2017

Someone is holding Chicago hostage rather than believing in the best interests of the city.

A modest return on such a loan is the only interest any bondholder should expect. This type of debt is only asking for the beginnings of bankruptcy.

The city's unions should be aware that by the time Detroit's debt was reconciled it was the unions and their pensions that were taking the biggest hit and not the bond holders. The Wall Street darlings are a problem when it comes to financing city debt.

We know the Republican Party is robbing the public school systems of valuable funding, but, taking on the idea that "Charter Schools" are suppose to be experimental and not permanent is the best way of addressing THE WAYWARD MOVEMENT OF PUBLIC FUNDING TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR. All the students of the Chicago Public Schools should be benefiting from what was learned in Charter Schools. Charter Schools were never suppose to be a parasite to the great good of all students.

July 31, 2017
By Juan Perez Jr. and Peter Matuszak

Chicago Public Schools' latest long-term borrowing deal (click here) will buy the district a bit of financial breathing room through 2019 but comes at an immense cost to future generations.
By the time the $500 million loan is paid off, children now entering kindergarten will be in their mid-30s and the school district will have spent $850 million in interest costs alone — making the total expense of the bond issue a whopping $1.35 billion.
And only a small fraction of the money from the long-term bonds issued in July will be used for school construction or classroom improvements, which budget experts say should be the primary use for long-term debt. CPS is using the biggest chunk of the loan to reimburse itself for failed bond market deals the district previously covered with cash. Another large portion will be used to shave a few hundred million dollars off old debts — even as it extends those debts as much as 25 years.
In addition, the deal commits an enormous sum of state aid to bondholders through 2046, even as state funding remains at the center of an ongoing battle in Springfield. If state aid is ever not enough to cover bond payments, CPS has pledged to turn to property taxes to pay for the loan....

Funding the Chicago Public Schools should be a priority to the Secretary of Education in Washington, DC. Chicago Public Schools need a bailout. Chicago is among the highest, if not the highest, city with murder rates greater than 1 (one).

See, this is what kinda of bothers me about Foster Care. The children, majority are minority, are removed from their homes lose any sense of belonging. As these children grow older, gangs give them an identity, purpose and belonging. Anyone who is still wondering why there is such violence in Chicago needs to realize the enormous failure of Foster Care and the destruction of families in that city. 

Every effort should be made to support the FAMILY over and above some "institutionalized failure chain" that begins with being born into crime.

The problems of the young families of Chicago are enormous, but, destroying families by taking children away from their parents is not the answer. The children need TEMPORARY housing as was the definition of Foster Parents back in the day. The parents/parent needs to receive help in determining a productive future for them/him/her and their children. Where those NEEDS are met by the reality of poverty, the Foster Parent Adoption Subsidies should follow the child NO MATTER WHERE THEY ARE HOUSED, INCLUDING THEIR NATURAL FAMILY!


Chicago schools need to be the hub of successful families and that won't happen until the school system is bailed out and provided with high quality education, classrooms and teachers. 

END OF DISCUSSION, is the Secretary of Education listening. She has a real challenge before her and she needs to GET STARTED providing the Chicago Public School System with INTACT public education that exudes excellence with well supported families recovering from decades of racism and fractured families.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

I am at the last venue for a film festival this evening.

I will put together a "It's Sunday Night" on Monday.

Thank you.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

When does the impeachment of Trump start?

Last I checked subverting the federal government by threatening lawmakers with their health by taking their healthcare when at least one US Senator is facing a serious health threat is a felony. Trump is not only out of line, because, the American people supply that healthcare, he is openly in violation of US Law.

He has no respect for life and needs to be removed from office.

Does Pence go along with Trump on the threats from the Executive Branch?

Members of Congress pay about 28 percent of their premiums through the District of Columbia small business health options program (DC Health Link). Perhaps Mr. Trump is unaware that Congressional members earn $174,000 annually. They are not self-insured. I don't know anyone in that tax bracket that would be self-insured with a single surgery costing tens of thousands of dollars US.

Trump is a grotesque man.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Mayor Weaver and the Flint City Council must place a moratorium on punitive actions against houses experiencing bad water.

It has come to my attention there are egregious issues facing Flint residents with continued water problems. Some residents don't use the city water at all and are facing difficultly because of it. 

There are city ordinances that consider a house without running water condemned. Additionally, for some parents that use only bottled water, that is considered reason enough for the Genesee County Social Services to remove their children to Foster Care. Those two problems should not exist for the city of Flint. 

Flint currently has the most expensive water in the country. It is situated next to the Great Lakes and one would expect the cheapest, but, that is not the case. As a result of the contaminated water, the residents of Flint face high water bills as well as buying bottled water.

Some people want to literally shut off the water to the home and use only bottled water. This serves two purposes; household members only look for bottled water to drink and bath and avoids any contact of contaminated water. The other issue is financial, by turning off the water, the residents can catch up on their existing bill without increasing it over the summer time.

I don't see bottled water for toilets, but, it may be healthier to do so considering the odor of the Flint water and what is making it smell. Lungs may need protection as well as skin and ultimately brains and nervous tissue.

Mayor Weaver and the Flint City Council need to pass a local law prohibiting condemnation of homes and/or the removal of children when it is directly related to the water crisis. i would also like to see a common place where residents can register their understanding of their reality in a continuous physical file and optional data base. It would bring about an understanding of how each family is effected, even if not within the 'bad water' zone.

There are Flint residents outside the supposed 'bad water' zone that are experiencing health issues. They would like to register their health issues as they believe it is connected to tainted water even if it is a leak.

July 5, 2017
By Bernie Monegain

The Department of Health and Human Services (click here) has earmarked $15 million in funding for Michigan’s Genesee County Healthy Start Program to provide health and social services for women, infants, and their families who have had or are at risk for, lead exposure in Flint, Michigan, and the surrounding area.

“The Trump Administration is taking important steps to support the residents of Flint, Michigan, as the need for vital resources remains critical to the health of their community,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, MD. “We understand the urgency of the situation, and this funding will help connect affected and at-risk Flint residents to comprehensive health and social services proven to mitigate the effects of lead exposure.”...

It always seems to me North Korea is blissfully unaware of the dangers of a missle strike on North Korea.

As of 2008, North Korea had a population of over 24 million people with a life expectancy of 68 years old. A quarter of it's population is young age birth to 14 years old.

The United Nations needs to provide advisers to North Korea explaining the danger of raising tensions with their neighbors and other countries. North Korea and South Korea are in a danger zone one has to worry about. There will be dangers on the Peninsula should there ever be a nuclear strike. It is not just the matter of damage by the bomb, but, the sustained problems such a weapon has on people and their environment.

It would be far better for North Korea to establish diplomatic relationships with their neighbors and work on human rights as well as trade. The quality of life of the South Korean people would increase dramatically if North Korea would find a diplomatic process that worked so it can remove the current priority of nuclear proliferation.

It would be interesting to have a visiting North Korean basketball team. North Korea has both a woman's and men's professional team.

July 28, 2017

North Korea (click here) has launched "one unidentified missile" from its northern Jagang province, the South Korean Defense Ministry announced in a statement. The Pentagon confirmed to NPR that it has also identified a missile launch from the North.

Citing the Japanese chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, The Associated Press reports the missile "flew for about 45 minutes and appeared to have landed in the waters of Japan's exclusive economic zone."

There have been no immediate reports of damage, and it was not immediately clear what type of missile the North was testing.

The missile launch follows a string of tests by the North Korean regime this year, the most recent of which came earlier this month. That test marked a milestone for Pyongyang: a successful intercontinental missile launch....

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Finally, Europe steps forward to end the slaughter of citizens for wealth.

28 July 2017
by Harry Yorke

There are "reasonable grounds" (click here) to suspect that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and its Tenant Management Organisation committed corporate manslaughter, Scotland Yard announced yesterday.

In a letter circulated to survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire, the Force confirmed that officers had notified the council that they may be charged for their role in the blaze which left at least 80 people dead.

As part of the investigation, which has drafted in experts from the 9/11 terror attack and more than 200 Metropolitan Police officers, senior executives from both organisations will be formally interviewed....

This is the Las Vegas crowd. Tough guys. Just as a side note there is that section of Republican constituency that believes swearing is just talking.

July 27, 2017
By Ryan Lizza

On Wednesday night, I received a phone call from Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director. He wasn’t happy. Earlier in the night, I’d tweeted, citing a “senior White House official,” that Scaramucci was having dinner at the White House with President Trump, the First Lady, Sean Hannity, and the former Fox News executive Bill Shine. It was an interesting group, and raised some questions. Was Trump getting strategic advice from Hannity? Was he considering hiring Shine? But Scaramucci had his own question—for me....

...Scaramucci was particularly incensed (click here) by a Politico report about his financial-disclosure form, which he viewed as an illegal act of retaliation by Priebus. The reporter said Thursday morning that the document was publicly available and she had obtained it from the Export-Import Bank. Scaramucci didn’t know this at the time, and he insisted to me that Priebus had leaked the document, and that the act was “a felony.”

“I’ve called the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice,” he told me.

“Are you serious?” I asked.

“The swamp will not defeat him,” he said, breaking into the third person. “They’re trying to resist me, but it’s not going to work. I’ve done nothing wrong on my financial disclosures, so they’re going to have to go fuck themselves.”

Scaramucci also told me that, unlike other senior officials, he had no interest in media attention. “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.” (Bannon declined to comment.)

He reiterated that Priebus would resign soon, and he noted that he told Trump that he expected Priebus to launch a campaign against him. “He didn’t get the hint that I was reporting directly to the President,” he said. “And I said to the President here are the four or five things that he will do to me.” His list of allegations included leaking the Hannity dinner and the details from his financial-disclosure form....               

No one will tell Donald Trump to "Shut up!"

28 July 2017

Twitter has made it clear that it won't ban Donald Trump (click here) from its service, whether the president follows its rules against harassment or not.

That's no surprise: The president's tweets draw attention to the struggling service, even if tweets mocking reporters and rivals undercut Twitter's stated commitment to make the service a welcoming place.

The company has been cracking down on accounts that violate its terms, and Trump's critics say he has broken Twitter's rules multiple times.

Calls to ban Trump from Twitter, largely by liberal activists, writers and Twitter users, sounded even before he became president. They were renewed recently when the president posted a mock video of him "body slamming" a man whose face was covered by CNN logo. Groups such as the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press condemned the video as a threat against journalists (a White House aide said at the time that the tweet should not be seen as a threat)....

Let's get to the bottom line; why don't we know how many transgender Americans have died for their country?

June 26, 2017
By David Remnick

...Let’s begin with the retrograde cruelty. (click here) There are thousands of transgender people already serving among the 1.3 million active-duty members of the military. These are people who have volunteered their service and have potentially put their lives on the line, and yet their President, who managed to come up with a flimsy doctor’s note back in the day, denies them their dignity, their equality. He will not “accept or allow” them in the military. Imagine the scale of this insult....

We don't know because people didn't worry about it until Same Sex Marriage became a political issue. Why did it become a GOVERNMENT political issue? Because of Texas and it extremist right wing evangelicals that covet government as if the Bible gives them the authority to do so. The problem is the break down of the wall between church and state. This is a prime example of how personal choices become directives in government that started with the Hyde Amendment.

July 26, 2017
By Noga Tarnopolsky

Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv.

...Retired Gen Elazar Stern (click here) was stupefied when a reporter from Israel Army Radio called Wednesday to ask for his reaction to President Trump’s series of tweets about banning the service of transgender military personnel.

“What?” Stern asked. “Why?”

“It makes us strong that we don't waste time on questions like this," said Stern, the former commander of the Israel Defense Forces Manpower Command. "It’s something to be proud of."

Speaking with The Times, Stern, now a member of Israel’s parliament for the centrist Yesh Atid party, said that throughout his 34-year career in the army, “in every post, at every level, always, I knew there were homosexual individuals serving with me. No transgendered people that I knew of, but maybe. We would never ask, honestly, and we’re not supposed to know. The army’s task is to support its soldiers no matter what their needs, not meddle about in their lives.”...

Ever since the damn evangelicals have taken over Texas politics and the Hyde Amendment became law, they think they can run the country as a theocracy. "marie claire" has some numbers. 

July 28, 2015
By Kenny Thapoung

...The life of a transgender person (click here) —in the U.S. and around the world—can be vastly challenging and rife with discrimination. But it can also be joyful, triumphant, and transformative—not just for the individual, but for those who love and accept them....

Basically, 15,000 transgender members in the USA military which is something like 0.1 percent. The cost $15,000 for the sex reassignment surgery. So the cost for the surgery IF EVERY TRANSGENDER MILITARY MEMBER WANTS IT is $225,000,000. You got that? Let me spell it for you; two hundred-twenty-five million dollars US. Donald Trump can pay for it himself without a pain to his pocket book.

Now if Donald Trump finds the military dysfunctional over 0.1 percent of its' members he seriously is looking for a reason to TAKE MATTERS IN HIS OWN HANDS and release a few nukes. That is the ONLY reason this is an issue!

The United States of America is behind the curve in instituting CHILD RIGHTS to a safe and sane childhood when faced with being transgender. When the USA institutes practices allowing transgender children to be a real partner in their country there WON'T BE ANY PROBLEM IN THE USA MILITARY with transgender people.

Right now 'the religious bedroom' is the focus of wackos like Trump when it comes to politics and so here we are AGAIN.

Barbara Starr has been at the epicenter of military issues for as long as I can remember and if she says the Joint Chiefs had no clue, then they had no clue.

Trump is a liar! He treats the US military as a toy in his political and personal wealth ambitions and this is a prime example of same. I am glad General Dunford is the grown up in the room.

July 27, 2017
By Barbara Starr

Washington - The Joint Chiefs of Staff, (click here) including chairman General Joseph Dunford, were not aware President Donald Trump planned to tweet a ban on transgender service members, three US defense officials told CNN -- the latest indication that top military leaders across all four service branches were blindsided by the President's announcement.

For now, Dunford has informed service members that there will be "no modifications to the current policy until the President's direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidelines."

"In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect," Dunford wrote in a memo to the military that was obtained by CNN. "As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions."

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said Thursday that, to date, he has not received "directives on implementation" for a ban and learned about the President's decision through the media....

One of the measures that President Obama tried to instill in the USA's educational system was that transgender children can use the bathroom of which they identify. Sounds right to me! From a national security stand point, that is.

I think Senator McCain has it right. The cost needs to be understood.

Banning Transgender Americans from serving in the military is out of the question. They are valuable people that are well trained and have dedicated themselves to service of our country. They should be honored no differently than any other solider at all times during and after their service.

Trump made promises he will never keep. It was impossible to know who an American was voting for when they pulled the lever for Trump.

26 July 2017
Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) (click here), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today on President Trump’s tweet regarding transgender Americans in the military:
“The President’s tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter.
“The statement was unclear. The Department of Defense has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today. Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving. There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military—regardless of their gender identity. We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so—and should be treated as the patriots they are.
“The Department of Defense is currently conducting a study on the medical obligations it would incur, the impact on military readiness, and related questions associated with the accession of transgender individuals who are not currently serving in uniform and wish to join the military. I do not believe that any new policy decision is appropriate until that study is complete and thoroughly reviewed by the Secretary of Defense, our military leadership, and the Congress.
“The Senate Armed Services Committee will continue to follow closely and conduct oversight on the issue of transgender individuals serving in the military.”

Scotland has always been leading the way with wind. As of today Scotland's energy need is completely supplied by wind.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

It is so good to hear his voice. The film opens August 4th. See it.

The flooding of Hurricane Sandy is the precursor to loss within Lower Manhattan. The cost to the climate crisis is staggering. The wall needs to be built in Lower Manhattan to keep out the ocean, not Mexico.

Al Gore Timeline (click here)

March 31, 1948 — Albert Gore Jr. is born in Washington, D.C. His father wasa U.S. senator from Tennessee, Albert Gore Sr.
1969-71 — Military service as a private in Vietnam.
May 19, 1970 — Marries Tipper Gore. They would have four children: Karenna, Kristin, Sarah and Albert Arnold Gore III.
1976 — Elected to the House of Representatives from Tennessee.
1984 — Elected to the U.S. Senate from Tennessee.
1988 — He runs for president but loses the Democratic nomination to Michael Dukakis.
1992 — Elected vice president of the United States. Bill Clinton is elected president.
1996 — Gore and Clinton re-elected.
2000 — Runs for president, loses in a contested election to George W. Bush when the Supreme Court allows the vote certification in Florida to stand, giving Bush the necessary electoral votes to become president.
2006 — “An Inconvenient Truth” is released to critical acclaim and strong box office returns.
2007 — “An Inconvenient Truth” wins the Oscar for best documentary. Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
2010 — Al and Tipper Gore announce their separation.
2015 — Al Gore participates in the talks that result in the Paris agreement on climate change.
Aug. 4, 2017 — “An Inconvenient Sequel” is released in San Francisco.

He can't. It is grossly irresponsible to even consider it.

Of course, the reason Chelsea Manning blew the whistle on the USA was because of being transgender.

This is more bigotry, white supremacist hatred. When will Trump be relieved from his office?

It weakens our military by sending highly qualified individuals to civilian life. 


The USA military does not operate on such fluid policy. The entire issue of LGTB members of the military went through a long process to achieve equality. It is going to have to engage a long process to counter the results of the past decade.

July 26, 2017

President Trump announced on Twitter on Wednesday (click here) that he will ban transgender people from serving in the military in any capacity, an abrupt reversal of an Obama administration decision to allow them to serve openly and a potential end to the careers of thousands of active-duty troops.

The decision halts a years-long process of advancing rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the U.S. military that began with the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2010. And the nature of the announcement left both Republicans and Democrats in Congress concerned about the seeming broad scope of Trump’s order.

Citing the need to focus on what he called “decisive and overwhelming victory,” Trump said that the military cannot accept the burden of higher medical costs and the “disruption” that transgender troops “would entail.”

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”...

Cutting the dollars that go into projects advanced to this stage might make them worthless.

I am quite confident some of these funds came from the USA and the Trump administration has proposed huge cutbacks in science and medical research. Australia is suppose to be an ally. Cuts to any assistance is shooting ourselves in the foot.

It had to be the US because Australia didn't cut anything from it's astronomy budget.

May 10, 2017

In terms of the impact on science, (click here) the Australian budget, released 9 May, is “very bland,” says Les Field, science policy secretary at the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra, the nation’s leading scientific association. “There are no big spending initiatives but no major cuts,” he adds.

It’s a “business-as-usual budget for science and technology,” agrees Kylie Walker, CEO of Science and Technology Australia in Canberra, which represents scientists.

Overall spending on science for the fiscal year beginning 1 July and in later years, called the forward estimates, is not yet clear because support is spread across several ministries. But the plan does reveal some winners and losers....

If there has to be spending cuts it should occur for future project, not those already engaged, planned and underway. Honestly.

24 July 2017
By Sarah Wild

Designs for the world’s largest radio telescope (click here) have been scaled back to save money — a decision that astronomers say could affect its ability to peer deep into the Universe’s past. 
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a telescope 50 times more sensitive than current instruments, is expected to cost billions of dollars. Its final design calls for around 2,000 radio dishes in Africa, together with up to one million antennas in Australia, that will have a total light-collecting area of roughly 1 square kilometre — hence the project's name.
But the first phase of construction, called SKA1, is a more modest affair. Already slimmed down from a larger design proposed in 2013, it now comprises 194 dishes in South Africa and around 130,000 antennas in Australia. In March, the SKA's board said that the project would have to find further cuts of around 20% so that it could be built within a €674 million (US$785 million) cap imposed by the project’s ten funders — Australia, Canada, China, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. And at a meeting in the Netherlands on 18–19 July the board decided to make the savings by, among other measures, scaling back SKA1’s computing power and crowding its antennas and radio dishes closer together....

It is the US. Has to be. There isn't anything else it can be. There is opposition by Congress to the President's plans, but, that isn't going to play well with allies. They will not count on the USA and that just might be a permanent policy.

The 2018 budget proposal (click here) that President Donald Trump unveiled last week confirms two things that U.S. scientists have long suspected: The new president is no fan of research, and his administration has no overarching strategy for funding science. Deep proposed cuts to research at several agencies offer evidence that Trump doesn't see science—of any kind—as a spending priority. And along with neglect there's indifference. There's no telling how the National Science Foundation would fare, for example, because the budget blueprint doesn't mention it. In the meantime, scientists are also worried about the fate of this year's research budgets after Trump proposed cuts to the category that funds all civilian research. More angst: There's no word yet on whether the president will even appoint a science adviser, much less when he will fill dozens of senior slots at research agencies....

It's the USA. The global community is quickly coming to the conclusion the USA can't be counted on for anything.

27 June 2013

Australian organisations have won (click here) almost $19 million in funding to help design the world’s largest radio telescope.

The Australian Government has made almost $19 million available to Australian organisations to help design the groundbreaking international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project.

Co-hosted in Australia and South Africa, the SKA will be the world’s largest radio telescope. It is being funded by countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas as well as Australia and New Zealand.

“This is a gigantic international science project that will change the way astronomy is done worldwide and it will be co-hosted here in Australia,” Minister for Science and Research Senator Don Farrell said.

“These grants will help Australian organisations to win the opportunity to work with leading international players on the design of the SKA and, by doing so, demonstrate our world-class research and development capabilities.”

The grants are conditional upon the recipients being selected by the international SKA Organisation to undertake SKA work packages, worth around $114 million. An announcement of the successful tenderers will be made later this year....

The organizations that are falling short of funding could ask China. I am confident Chinese scientists would be delighted to be a part of it.

26 July 2017
By Jane Qiu

...For director-general Wu Ji, (click here) this 19.4-hectare, 914-million-yuan (US$135-million) campus represents the coming of age of China's space-science efforts. In the past few decades, Wu says, China has built the capacity to place satellites and astronauts in orbit and send spacecraft to the Moon, but it has not done much significant research from its increasingly lofty vantage point. Now, that is changing. “As far as space science is concerned,” he says, “we are the new kid on the block.”

China is rushing to establish itself as a leader in the field. In 2013, a 1.2-tonne spacecraft called Chang'e-3 landed on the Moon, delivering a rover that used ground-penetrating radar to measure the lunar subsurface with unprecedented resolution. China's latest space lab, which launched in September 2016, carries more than a dozen scientific payloads. And four additional missions dedicated to astrophysics and other fields have been sent into orbit in the past two years, including a spacecraft that is conducting pioneering experiments in quantum communication....

It is summer time and local vacations or trips to nearby states can be the best.

July 24, 2017
By Elena Mejia

The macaws make an appearance for an afternoon show and feeding in the Pavilion at the Indianapolis Zoo. The young birds are still learning their way around the zoo with the help of the macaw trainers.

It's perhaps not a shock to learn (click here) that the long-heralded San Diego Zoo or the Bronx Zoo would be named among the 10 best zoos in the nation.

But how about the Indianapolis Zoo?

Absolutely, at least according to Conde Nast Traveler, which recently released its list of the nation's top zoos, noting that the Indianapolis Zoo "is the only park in America certified as a zoo, aquarium, and zoological garden."

Carla Knapp, public relations specialist for the city's zoo, called it an outstanding recognition, given that Conde Nast Traveler is one of the foremost authorities on world travel. 

"We offer the only opportunity in the Midwest for people to get in the water with dolphins," she said. "That is a unique experience we offer to get people up close and personal with an animal that typically they would have to travel to Florida or someplace else to experience that."

The Indy zoo also recently unveiled a new exhibit that includes 50 endangered macaws. The colorful birds freely fly a half-mile above the zoo....

I wish someone would lift some DNA from the American Museum of Natural History (click here) and compare that DNA to the DNA of the species today. Endangered and threatened status means there is habitat stress among the surviving members of a species. It is when there is stress that mutations can take place. One of the reasons this episode of climate change is a crisis is because it is rapid climate change with increases the danger of survival of any species, including humans.

So, it would be prudent to examine DNA from specie members that did not experience habitat stress. The American Museum of Natural History often comes under criticism as being the place where man's arrogance shows the most. That is the case, no doubt. But, those hunters long ago that proved humans were superior in it's ability to dominate the wilderness may have done a favor to the species that exist today.

I have to wonder if there are signs in the DNA of current survivors that are marginally different from it's recent ancestors.

July 25, 2017
By Chris Peters

The Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium (click here) is investing heavily in the future of tigers.

The zoo announced two new initiatives on Monday: a tiger breeding facility and a sperm bank.

Last week, the zoo broke ground on a tiger breeding facility at its Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari in Ashland. The facility is similar to the zoo’s cheetah breeding space, which has been a success since it opened in 2014.

In addition, the main zoo campus is now home to a genome resource bank for tigers. The zoo has begun collecting sperm samples from tigers in zoos around the country and freezing them in liquid nitrogen tanks inside its Center for Conservation Research.

Dr. Jason Herrick, the zoo’s director of reproductive sciences, described the bank as a “fancy sperm bank” during a Facebook Live video broadcast. “Once it’s frozen, it’s good in theory forever. We could be using it for 30, 40, 100 years after the tiger dies.”...

24 July 2017

African wild/painted dog (click here) and spotted hyena are usually aggressive competitors. This fascinating encounter took place when one dog from an Okavango pack made some friendly contact with first one, then another spotted hyena. Soon after, the rest of the wild dog pack attacked the hyena. 

Eleven (click here) endangered African Painted Dog puppies have been weighed, assessed and vaccinated in their first medical check at Perth Zoo.

The puppies were born in April to first-time parents Kisuri and Hasani – who was brought in to Perth Zoo from Altina Wildlife Park in NSW.

“We’re delighted to announce we have seven feisty females and four males,” senior zookeeper Becky Thomasson said....

Painted Dog Conservation (click here)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

This is not the first time, but, the first time for an administration that wants to close down the borders.

This form of border crossing will become more popular and desperate people do desperate things. I don't know why this truck wasn't found and stopped.

July 24, 2017
By Frank Bajak and Nomann Merchant

The tractor-trailer was pitch-black inside, (click here) crammed with maybe 90 immigrants or more, and already hot when it left the Texas border town of Laredo for the 150-mile trip north to San Antonio.

It wasn't long before the passengers, sweating profusely in the rising oven-like heat, started crying and pleading for water. Children whimpered. People took turns breathing through a single hole in the wall. They pounded on the sides of the truck and yelled to try to get the driver's attention. Then they began passing out.

By the time police showed up at a Walmart in San Antonio around 12:30 a.m. Sunday and looked in the back of the truck, eight passengers were dead and two more would soon die in an immigrant-smuggling attempt gone tragically awry.

The details of the journey were recounted Monday by a survivor who spoke to The Associated Press and in a federal criminal complaint against the driver, James Matthew Bradley, who could face the death penalty over the 10 lives lost....

The way this is stopped is through x-rays into the truck. This photo is from 2011. This is a better x-ray than most. Some of the x-rays showed skeletons. The power of the ray was too strong. But, this definitely shows people inside a truck. There is no law that allows people as freight, except, buses.

18 May 2011
By Paul Bentley

Packed together (click here) in the tightest of cabins, with little air to breathe and no space at all in which to move, the migrants in this picture show just how far some will go to try to sneak into America.
Mexican police found the 513 agonisingly squashed together in two trucks just outside Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas - an eye-watering 18-hour-drive away from the nearest US border.
They were caught when the trucks sped through a vehicle scanner at a police checkpoint. After the astonishing X-ray image came up on screens, police gave chase, finding 240 people in one truck and 273 crammed into the other....

Just look at that mess. These trucks have to be stopped to realize what people are inside. Enemy or desperate illegal immigrant.

The Maverick is back calling for bipartisan health care reform. That is no surprise. He has always reached across the aisle.

July 25, 2017
By Elana Shor

...McCain waved spiritedly (click here) to a throng of reporters as he entered the chamber he’s called home for 30 years, served as the crucial 50th vote to proceed to a repeal debate, and then delivered a passionate speech undercutting the “shell of a bill” he had just agreed to take up.

“Our health care insurance system is a mess,” McCain said on the floor, adding of Obamacare: “We Republicans have looked for a way to end it and replace it with something else without paying a terrible political price. We haven’t found it yet, and I’m not sure we will. All we’ve managed to do is make more popular a policy that wasn’t very popular when we started trying to get rid of it.”...

...McCain said he plans to remain in the Senate in order to manage floor consideration of the annual defense authorization bill, part of his duties as Armed Services chairman, before returning to Arizona for further treatment of his glioblastoma — the same type of tumor that killed his friend, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).

"I have every intention of returning here and giving many of you cause to regret all the nice things you said about me," he said....

Buyer beware.

The most recent body count that I have seen is 87 persons dead from 12 apartments.

July 25, 2017
By Rachel Roberts

Arconic (click here) made profits of $212m in the second quarter of the year as it moves to absolve itself of responsibility for fire.

The firm that supplied the cladding used on Grenfell Tower has reported higher than expected profits as it moves to absolve itself of blame for the devastating fire.

Arconic made profits of $212m (£162m) in the three months to the end of June - the period including the 14 June inferno that killed at least 80 people - an increase of 57 per cent from the same quarter of the previous year. 

It has announced it will no longer sell its Reynobond PE panels for high-rise blocks because it has no control over their installation.

It also raised its forecast for annual revenue to $12.7bn (£9.7) from $12.3bn (£9.4), thanks to better than expected sales....

The products used in these deaths has to be outlawed based on chemical structure, otherwise, another company or a new name of the same company can circumvent the law.

5 July 2017
By Nicole Morley

...Police investigating the Grenfell Tower disaster (click here) stressed that ‘the catastrophic damage’ inside means the grim discoveries are not thought to be ’87 people’.

Commander Stuart Cundy, who is overseeing the Metropolitan Police response to the fire said: ‘On Monday, we forensically recovered the last of the visible human remains from Grenfell Tower and transferred them to Westminster Mortuary.

‘In total we have made 87 recoveries, but I must stress that the catastrophic damage inside Grenfell Tower means that is not 87 people....

In the UK, the product is outlawed BY INSPECTION of the siding, but, after the fact.  There needs to be standards that reflect the inspection of materials before they are used as siding. That really should not be an issue. The builders know the products they will use, otherwise, they could not decide on a sales price without doing that. It is about regulating the acquisition of materials for buildings either with human employees or residents.

...Since the fire (click here) – the deadliest in the UK for more than a century – tests have shown that at least 149 high-rise buildings in 45 different local authorities in the UK have failed cladding safety tests....

Looks as though Interim CEO David Hess is looking forward to a bonus.

Arconic Second Quarter Report 2017 (click here)

Net income attributable to Arconic in the second quarter of 2017 was $212 million, or $0.43 per share. The results include $47 million in special items, including a gain on the debt-for-equity exchange of Alcoa Corporation shares, which is intended to qualify as generally tax-free to Arconic for U.S. federal income tax purposes. This was partially offset by costs associated with the early redemption of debt; proxy, advisory and governance-related costs; and restructuring-related charges.

Excluding special items, second quarter 2017 adjusted income was $165 million, or $0.32 per share. All segments delivered higher volumes while maintaining focus on cost reduction savings. Annualized return on net assets (RONA) was 8.7% based on the results of the first half of 2017.

Second quarter Consolidated adjusted EBITDA was $444 million, up 3% year over year. Consolidated adjusted EBITDA excluding special items was $486 million, up 2% year over year. Adjusted EBITDA margin excluding special items was 14.9%, up 20 basis points year over year.

“Arconic delivered another solid quarter. The business increased revenue and profitability, continued to expand margins and take out cost. We ended the first half of 2017 with significantly less debt, a strong cash position and good liquidity. We are pleased to update our guidance for the year, reflecting our increased confidence in 2017 performance,” said Arconic Interim Chief Executive Officer David Hess....

It seems unclear to me from the information on line if the problem with the sheeting panels is the materials and/or the manufacturing.

Environmentally sound products is the selling point, but, it goes on to say a number of materials can be incorporated into the sheeting to create any architectural design.

Reynobond® Design Line, (click here) an innovative paint breakthrough using Duragloss™ DL, an advanced polymer finish, featuring nature-inspired patterns and textures that are ideal for outdoor project applications.  Design Line™ finishes resist sun, extreme temperatures, humidity – even salt water.  The Duragloss™ DL paint finish is made to last, with a 20-year warranty.

These environmentally sound products are virtually indistinguishable from nature’s own creations. Looking to add to a natural, but unique touch to your aesthetic design – incorporate wood, mineral, stone or patina finishes into your next project, and without sacrificing the environment.  And, enjoy the same benefits from Reynobond Aluminum Composite Material, from its remarkable strength and flatness to its formability and light weight. Even the most challenging architectural concepts are easy to accomplish. See our nature-inspired Design Line™ finishes in our new Architecture Color Chart.

In order to get to the bottom of these disasters, Reynolds Aluminum should be in any and all lawsuits.

The idea wood, of all things, can be incorporated into sheeting containing two panels of aluminum is hideous. They heat and burn at different temperatures. That holds true for the other materials of mineral, stone and patina finishes. All these elements are different in chemical composition and have different freezing, heating and burning temperatures.

Reynodual (click here) is the only coil-coated double sheet aluminium panel in todays' market. Reynodual has been tested and approved by the CSIRO for use when a 100% non-combustable material is required.

They advertise it as a non-combustible product. It sure doesn't seem like it. 

It seems to me the fire ignites almost simultaneously because of the molecular composition. If there are conflicting temperatures throughout the exterior sheeting then the building will be reaching a tipping point at the same time. Once one section is hot enough to erupt into flames, the entire building covered in the sheeting will be reacting the same way. I don't think the sheeting causes a fire in one location that spreads, I think the sheeting explodes at the same time. 

Reynobond® Architecture aluminium composite panels with FR or A2 core, Reynolux® aluminium sheets and Reynodual® double sheet aluminium panels are certified fire solutions, reaching the high-level standards of the European fire classification EN-13501-1.

There is another brand if Reynolds sheeting carried by Arconic as well. It comes down to the specific molecular composition of the sheeting or siding or whatever one wants to call it depending on the culture of the product. Molecular analysis will nail down the exact product. With so many to choose from it requires that level of analysis to decide EXACTLY the product composition. There is nothing to say the wrong sheeting was used either.

The UK should not give up understanding this fire as many people around the world could be at stake. No matter the final analysis there are the same two companies involved Arconic and Reynolds. It is in the best interests of these companies to be an open book to the UK investigators to solve this mystery. I WOULD NOT LET THE COMPANIES SOLVE THE MYSTERY. But, they should provide details, without exposing patents, of the materials and manufacturing of the sheeting that exploded.