Quiet and sad this morning up here on California’s north coast, with the ugliest of ugly shit falling like scalding rain all over everywhere else, it seems.
This planet is wedged into a gnarly pickle.
And this morning, a report two more US GIs were shot and killed today in Afghanistan by another one of those supposed Afghan security officers — 31 NATO troops have died in such a manner this year alone — and comes in the wake of seven US soldiers dying in a Black Hawk helicopter crash yesterday in the southern part of the country.
(Illustration found here).
Apparently and from all indications, the Afghan war is out of sight, out of mind in the eyes of US peoples and the people who think they govern the people — the people who are paying real attention are those with sons and daughters in harms way.
Neither President Obama or wanna-be president Mitt Romney have spoken nearly-not-a-word about the conflict even as the whole operations is coming unglued.
The Taliban know the score, though — and understand those ‘green-on-blue’ assassinations:
“Many Afghans in the rank and files of the enemy have shown a willingness to help the (Taliban) in a shrewd manner,” said a statement posted on militant websites Thursday and obtained by SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors the activities of militant groups on the Web.
“As a result, the foreign invaders and their allies at their military centers and bases are suffering crushing blows by these heroic soldiers.”
Crushing by whose standards?
And talk of crushing — new figures show US military killing themselves in ever increasing numbers, with 38 deaths in July alone, the largest jump yet in a horrible blow-back to those senseless, stupid wars instigated by George Jr. and his crowd.
Jason Ditz reports at antiwar.com US military honchos blame the fact there’s only one war zone right now — just not enough fighting to keep the boys occupied:
Today’s figures came with another new excuse, and one perhaps even more galling than the efforts to make it nothing about the war.
Army analyst Bruce Shahbaz suggested the troops are killing themselves because they’re not being sent to war as much anymore.
“With the draw-down of troops from combat, soldiers are spending more time at home and the emotional adjustments have become a struggle,” the argument goes.
Interestingly the figures are dramatically higher than pre-2001, when the bulk of the military was spending virtually all of its time at home.
Blame everything but reality.
And another killer right here, right now.
I’m a smoker, just one of a bunch of bad habits/things I”d picked over the years — worse thing I’ve ever done, next to being married twice.
From CNN and a huge report from the World Health Organization on cigarettes:
The WHO warns that “if current trends continue, it will cause up to one billion deaths in the 21st century.”
The new study, the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), focused on countries in which smoking is known to be a growing problem.
“The burden of tobacco use is moving,” says Giovino, who formerly oversaw the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The tobacco epidemic takes different forms in different countries,” he said in an interview with CNN, pointing out that chewing tobacco and other smokeless forms are part of the problem.
“But manufactured cigarettes are dominating.”
And included in the story was a quip by Phillip Morris International, one of the world’ s biggest tobacco companies, that just dripped with pure bullshit: The company also emphasized that it “is firmly opposed to smoking by minors.”
A billion deaths and all legal.
One then has to just look at the stupidity of our marijuana laws — cigarettes are legal and pot is a demonic horror.
From the UK’s the New Statesman, and an interview with Amanda Feilding, British artist and drug policy reformer, scientific director and founder of the Beckley Foundation, a charitable trust that promotes health orientated cost effective harm reductive drug policy reform:
They are irrational: there is little correlation between the legal status of a drug and the amount of harm it causes.
Tobacco is estimated to cause over 100,000 deaths every year in the UK.
Alcohol is directly or indirectly responsible for over a million hospital admissions per year in England.
By contrast, there have only ever been a tiny handful of deaths attributable to cannabis in the entire world medical literature.
And to sadden this Friday, some extra noteworthy bullshit:
Nuclear power — impacts that keep on giving.
Genetic mutations have been found in three generations of butterflies from near Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, scientists said Tuesday, raising fears radiation could affect other species.
Around 12 percent of pale grass blue butterflies that were exposed to nuclear fallout as larvae immediately after the tsunami-sparked disaster had abnormalities, including smaller wings and damaged eyes, researchers said.
The insects were mated in a laboratory well outside the fallout zone and 18 percent of their offspring displayed similar problems, said Joji Otaki, associate professor at Ryukyu University in Okinawa, southwestern Japan.
That figure rose to 34 percent in the third generation of butterflies, he said, even though one parent from each coupling was from an unaffected population.
The researchers also collected another 240 butterflies in Fukushima in September last year, six months after the disaster. Abnormalities were recorded in 52 percent of their offspring, which was “a dominantly high ratio”, Otaki told AFP.
The findings will raise fears over the long-term effects of the leaks on people who were exposed in the days and weeks after the accident, as radiation spread over a large area and forced thousands to evacuate.
“Even if there is no impact now, we have to live with fear,” said Sachiko Sato, a mother of two, who temporarily fled from Fukushima.
“And concerns will be handed down to my children and grandchildren.”
Life near-about unlivable — how hot is it?
A searing heat wave rare even for the Desert Southwest sent temperatures soaring to record levels on Monday, with Needles, California tying its record high for the date of 118°F (47.8°C)…
Nevertheless, Monday’s rain at 115° in Needles sets a new world record for the hottest rain in world history.
I don’t think many people were outside to experience to experience the feeling of rain falling at 115°, but if they were, it must have been an uncomfortable, sauna-like experience!
The 11% humidity that accompanied Monday’s rain shower at 115° in Needles was the lowest humidity rain has ever occurred at anywhere on Earth in recorded history, according to Mr. Herrera (Maximiliano Herrera, weather records researcher from Mexico).
Always scary — running out of gas in a bad neighborhood.
Passengers on Air France, who were on a flight that was diverted from Beirut and landed instead in Damascus, were asked to chip in money and help pay for refueling the plane.
“We went down in Syria where there were lots of soldiers.
We thought there were some problems and that there was no money to pay for the fuel,” News.com.au quoted Najib, who was a passenger on the flight, as saying.
“They asked if the passengers could contribute for the refueling,” he added.
According to an Air France employee, who declined to be named, the crew at first offered to pay for the fuel in Damascus with a credit card but the transaction was impossible because of financial sanctions, which have been slapped on Syria.
However, he did not specify how the payment was finally arranged, the report said.
Life is just a whisper of la-di-da, la-di-da, la la.