Friday, August 26, 2016

How Long Will Stephen Bannon Last?

That's just a sampling of what is being dumped on Stephen Bannon this morning as we head into the weekend. It's a week before the start of the Labor Day weekend and the Trump campaign is a fiasco. It continues to be one of the most disorganized, reckless endeavors in the modern history of politics. Lyndon LaRouche and Harold Stassen ran better campaigns than this. The only thing missing is a story about how the methamphetamines being used to sustain the Trump campaign's motley group of spare losers comes from a manufacturer in Mexico with ties to the Devil himself.

I don't think this Bannon fellow is going to see election day. He certainly has no idea how voting and elections work. How do you end up being a campaign manager for the race for the presidency without actually having a valid voter registration in place?

He can't conceive of a single decent thing about America that doesn't involve putting a shoe in the face of someone who disagrees with him. If he does last in his current temporary gig, he'll be dragging quite a bit of Breitbart baggage with him. White Nationalists like Bannon seem to bring an undue amount of attention to everything they come into contact with. If he does survive, it will mean that the people who are predicting that Trump will start a "media empire" alongside Bannon and use it to relentlessly attack the new Clinton Administration were right all along. I think it is far more likely that losing will create a huge backlash against these people and it will give others a chance to bury them.

Say No to Drugs in Diatom Communities

You know, there's a problem here but I'm damned if I know how to solve it:
The presence of pharmaceuticals, including illicit drugs in aquatic systems, is a topic of environmental significance because of their global occurrence and potential effects on aquatic ecosystems and human health, but few studies have examined the ecological effects of illicit drugs. We conducted a survey of several drug residues, including the potentially illicit drug amphetamine, at 6 stream sites along an urban to rural gradient in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. We detected numerous drugs, including amphetamine (3 to 630 ng L–1), in all stream sites. We examined the fate and ecological effects of amphetamine on biofilm, seston, and aquatic insect communities in artificial streams exposed to an environmentally relevant concentration (1 μg L–1) of amphetamine. The amphetamine parent compound decreased in the artificial streams from less than 1 μg L–1 on day 1 to 0.11 μg L–1 on day 22. In artificial streams treated with amphetamine, there was up to 45% lower biofilm chlorophyll a per ash-free dry mass, 85% lower biofilm gross primary production, 24% greater seston ash-free dry mass, and 30% lower seston community respiration compared to control streams. Exposing streams to amphetamine also changed the composition of bacterial and diatom communities in biofilms at day 21 and increased cumulative dipteran emergence by 65% and 89% during the first and third weeks of the experiment, respectively. This study demonstrates that amphetamine and other biologically active drugs are present in urban streams and have the potential to affect both structure and function of stream communities.
I am down stream from Baltimore, in a manner of speaking, and this is why I think that we need to have a discussion about how legalization of drugs is really not a solution but is more of a sign that we don't fully understand the implications of what we are putting into our bodies. It's not just meth. We consume painkillers, anti-depressants, hormones in food, and so on and so forth. It's a problem that goes well beyond the idea that wildlife is being conceived all around us in an ecosystem polluted with illegal drugs that have been eliminated from human beings and dumped into the sewers and the rivers around us.

These drugs are already terrible for the health of the people abusing them. Now we have to worry about how swimming in this and living with this in our ecosystem is affected the development of life all around us. If the methamphetamine is present in the streams, then it will be present in the Chesapeake Bay itself. People eat massive amounts of crab and fish from the bay, and that means they are ingesting trace amounts of illicit drugs.

How do you solve such a thing? How do you retrofit a wastewater treatment plant to remove meth and whatever else? Good Lord, what a 21st Century problem.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Trump is Running Out of Bigots

How are things in the world of white nationalism?
I know I am not a seasoned campaign veteran like Kellyanne Conway, or a seasoned political vandal like Steve Bannon, but I wish the new braintrust behind El Caudillo de Mar-A-Lago could explain this latest move to me. Unless it's just a tribute to white-men-with-armbands-around-the-world, what in the hell does the campaign think it's going to gain by going to Mississippi with Nigel Farage? Per CNBC:
The right-wing leader stepped down from the U.K. Independence Party shortly after Britain voted in a referendum to exit the political and economic bloc. Farage is already in Jackson, Mississippi, he told ITN, an NBC News partner. He is expected to tell the story of Brexit and its implications for the world.
First of all, why is Trump wasting time in Mississippi at all?
It's probably the safest state in his bag. Secondly, unless Farage is going to go hogwild on the threat of "dangerous brown people," which would make me despair of the pivot, it's hard to see what he brings to the table in the American South, which tried its own Brexit once. It did not go well.
Trump is in Mississippi because that's pretty much the only place where white nationalists can hole rallies outside of Nuremberg and not face a gauntlet of enraged protesters. Look what happened in Minneapolis recently. Good, decent white nationalists were accosted by people upset at the idea of being herded into camps and marginalized in American society. We can't have that, can we?

Trump is running out of people in this world who are actively engaged in demonstrating their bigotry in public. If you're going to appear with Nigel Farage, a man who cannot be identified by at least 99% of the American people on a good day, it means you are appealing only to the Breitbart crowd, the National Review's gold club membership, and vehement white nationalists.

At no point during Mitt Romney's failed run for the presidency did he ever sink to this level of sad desperation and confusion. And Romney ran a terrible campaign. Think about that for a minute.