Wednesday, February 08, 2023

Bits n' pieces from east, west and beyond

by Compiled Lorraine H. Marie
Contributor | November 22, 2019 10:54 AM

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

Mexico has only one gun store. That may explain why, between 2009 and 2018, of the 132,823 guns recovered from crime scenes there, 70 percent were traced to the U.S., according to the Los Angeles Times. The Times said most came from “straw purchasers,” who then sold to cartels or middlemen.

Georgia culled thousands of voters from voter rolls for not voting. But reporters found 294 individuals that had voted recently and were culled anyway, reports Mother Jones. The state restored the voting rights. A similar scenario unfolded in Ohio, where officials had planned to cut 50,000 voters from their voting rights.

Speaking of voting, a cyber-security firm has found election websites in Michigan and Wisconsin to be “highly vulnerable to hacking,” the Washington Post reported. The firm also found problems in Florida. Company officials said failure to fix the issues, for which there’s been ample time, amounts to another form of voter suppression. It also could falsely skew election results.

New York State is the first in the nation to pass a law prohibiting the de-clawing of cats. De-clawing could be better described as de-knuckling, says Alley Cat Allies, since it involves the amputation of the last bones of a cat’s toe. It is akin to cutting off a human’s finger up to the first knuckle. A de-clawed cat typically experiences pain that causes them to avoid the litter box, and can spur a cat to bite instead of using their claws. When Los Angeles banned de-clawing, they experienced a 43 percent decrease in “problem” cats turned over to shelters.

Maybe it should have been Plan A, not Plan B: Japan will turn the farmland contaminated by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster into 11 wind and 10 solar farms, Renew Economy reports.

Turkey “census”: There are 100 million turkeys raised on U.S. farms and 46 million will be eaten for Thanksgiving. Another 22 million, said the National Turkey Federation, sell during the Christmas season. Typical corporate-raised turkeys (85 to 90 percent) receive liberal doses of antibiotics, GMO feed, painful beak trimmings and live in inhumane quarters, said the Organic Consumers Association.

Factory-farmed turkeys also generate pollution. The consumers association encourages turkey buyers to seek responsibly raised turkeys.

A recent study of more than 46,000 male health professionals (ages 40 to 75) revealed that eating poultry or fish daily, instead of red meat, reduced their risk of diverticulitis by 20 percent, according to UC-Berkeley’s School of Public Health.

Planting one trillion saplings could remove two–thirds of all carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution, said the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. They particularly recommend plantings in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Russia and the U.S.

On his TruNews program, Rick Wiles, a far right commentator known for anti-Semitism and unique conspiracy theories, recently stated that if the president were impeached, Trump supporters who “know how to fight” would start a killing campaign against Democratic legislators.

“They are going to go on a rampage and you’re not going to be able to put it back in the bottle,” he elaborated.

A waste of judicial resources? Under the Trump Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency has lost 80 percent of its cases in D.C. Circuit Court. When Barack Obama was president, the agency lost just 19 percent of its cases in the court.

Since 2008, newsrooms have let go of about 28,000 employees (and more than 3,000 this year). The Columbia Journalism Review laid out one presidential candidate’s plan for saving corporate media news from further corruption: apply an immediate moratorium on federal approval of mergers of major media companies; give employees the chance to purchase media outlets; increase federal funding for programs that support local public media; and reinstate and strengthen media ownership rules, thereby limiting the number of stations a large broadcast corporation can own.

The plan also calls for enforcing anti-trust laws against Internet giants Facebook and Google to stop their cannibalization of news organizations.

Around 60 percent of all American wealth is inherited, according to an estimate from economist Thomas Piketty.

Older adults with mild cognitive impairment may see improvement with regular exercise, said UC-Berkeley’s School of Public Health.

Blast from the past: In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt authorized member-owned and operated rural electric cooperatives. Prior to that, 90 percent of farms had no power. By 1953, 90 percent of farms were wired. Today, there are nearly 900 Rural Electric Cooperatives (RECs) that provide power in 47 states and that collect $45 billion in revenues while employing 71,000 workers.

Since 1989, RECs received over $600 million in federal zero-interest loans and grants designed to boost co-ops developing electrical power as well as Internet projects. For more info check out We Own It ( online.