Train Song

August 13, 2017

“Train Song,” written by Andrew Marlin and performed by him with Emily Frantz as Mandolin Orange.

Mandolin Orange website

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Pickin’ Up The Pieces

August 12, 2017

“Pickin’ Up The Pieces,” written by Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs and performed by them with their group Fitz and The Tantrums, joined by Daryl Hall and friends. From an episode of the Live From Daryl’s House webcast.

Fitz and the Tantrums website

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Lovely Hula Hands

August 12, 2017

“Lovely Hula Hands,” written by R. Alex Anderson, performed by George Ka’inapau and the Royal Hawaiian Serenaders, 1940.

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Wildfire: Let It Burn

August 11, 2017

Wildfire: Let It Burn

“Scientists at the cutting edge of ecological research … argue that the century-old American practice of suppressing wildfires has been nothing less than a calamity. They are calling for a new approach that basically involves letting backcountry fires burn across millions of acres.

In principle, the federal government accepted a version of this argument years ago, but in practice, fires are still routinely stamped out across much of the country. To the biologists, that has imperiled the plants and animals — hundreds of them, it turns out — that prefer to live in recently burned forests.”

“Scientists are still trying to figure out how regularly forests burned in what is now the United States in the centuries before European settlement, but reams of evidence suggest the acreage that burned was more than is allowed to burn today — possibly 20 million or 30 million acres in a typical year. Today, closer to four million or five million acres burn every year.

‘From an ecological standpoint, everything I’ve learned teaches me this is a good idea: Stop putting out fires,’ said Jennifer R. Marlon, a geographer at Yale who was among the first to use the term “fire deficit” to describe the situation. ‘These forests are made to have fire.’

Human lives are at stake, too. Firefighters die, more than a dozen in some years, putting out fires that many scientists think should be allowed to burn.”

— Let Forest Fires Burn? What the Black-Backed Woodpecker Knows,” Justin Gillis, New York Times

More:

“The Future of Fighting Wildfires in the Era of Climate Change,” Bob Berwyn, Pacific Standard

“Benefits of Fire,” SmokeyBear.com

“Adapt to more wildfire in western North American forests as climate changes,” Tania Schoennagela, Jennifer K. Balcha, Hannah Brenkert-Smith et al., PNAS

“Fire Ecology,” Pacific Biodiversity Institute

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-qk7

Top image (“Smokey Says ‘Let It Burn'”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Scaramucci Media Tour

August 10, 2017

Scaramucci Media Tour
Anthony Scaramucci, the Wall Street sleaze employed as a temp worker in the Trump White House, will be interviewed on Sunday by George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week and on Monday by Stephen Colbert on CBS’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert. While the Colbert appearance might be more amusing, the Mooch, who was President Trump’s Communications Director for 10 days, has something in common with Stephanopoulos, President Clinton’s Communications Director for a whopping 138 days.

As we know from The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza, Mr. Scaramucci gives one hell of an interview.

Read the rest of this entry »

Walmart Back-to-School Special

August 10, 2017

Walmart Back-to-School Special

“Walmart has condemned a display inside one of its stores that appeared to market firearms as back-to-school items. The company said Wednesday it was working to identify which of its stores put up the exhibit.

A photo of a sign reading ‘Own the school year like a hero’ was placed directly above a glass case filled with guns. Photos of it spread like wildfire on social media.

— “Walmart apologizes for sign marketing guns as back-to-school items,” Jackie Wattles, CNN

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-qlN

Top image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Forage Fish

August 9, 2017

Herring, menhaden, anchovies, sprats, silversides, smelt, sardines. These fish play a massive role in the ocean’s ecosystem. Jim Toomey illustrates why they’re important. Produced by the Pew Trusts.

More about forage fish here.

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Exhausted By Epic Inaction, Congress Takes a Vacation

August 8, 2017

Exhausted By Epic Inaction, Congress Takes a Vacation
The U.S. Congress is on vacation until after Labor Day, but given its lack of accomplishments, it could have been in recess for the preceding year. Of course, Congress typically spends three days a week in DC even when it’s in session, spending the other four back home collecting campaign funds for the next election, a practice euphemistically called “meeting with constituents.”

But summer recess isn’t all stump speeches and visits to examine vital NATO defenses on the Riviera. Congress will still be hard at work tweeting about the highlights of rubber chicken luncheons at the Rotary Club. We hope our legislators don’t over-exert their Twitter fingers this month. They’ll have just a few days in September to decide on the nation budget, the debt limit, and tax reform, and to keep the White House from crashing the health care system or stumbling into trade war or a military crisis.

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Tuckered From Tweeting, Trump Takes a Vacation

August 7, 2017

Tuckered From Tweeting, Trump Takes a Vacation

On Friday President Trump, the man who said he’d be too busy to take vacations, started a 17-day vacation at his golf resort in New Jersey.

Donald Trump has taken 42 golf outings to date during the first 6 months of his presidency.  Taxpayers recently covered $41 million in security costs for New Jersey’s Trump National Bedminster resort.

In other news, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway called special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation a “fishing expedition.” Russian President Vladimir Putin immediately went to Siberia’s Lake Baikal, took off his shirt, and picked up his fishing rod.

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Such Great Heights

August 6, 2017

“Such Great Heights,” by The Postal Service. Video directed by Josh Melnick and Xander Charity.

The Postal Service website

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