Category Archives: Education

This appeared on the web a couple of years ago… but it is worth re-reading:

From Pause Before Agreeing:

How Liberals and Progressives Lose The Debate By Understanding:

By attempting to use understanding, or to solely use reason to explain their political positions, Progressives, and Liberals loose the debate.

Radical Conservatives, are not trying to understand, they are using Righteous Passion to light the fires of their political rhetoric – the flames of which are meant to burn Progressives and Liberals as heretics at the stake.

Radical Conservatives seek nothing less than to dominate, and eliminate Progressive and Liberal thought from the discourse, in fact they are damn tired of talking and trying to understand; they want action, and they want it now.

Progressives and Liberals will lose this debate because they are trying to understand the world and how to safely fit everybody in it.

Radical Conservative do not suffer this discomfort, they don’t want you in their world, unless you change to fit in theirs, they will do everything in their power to eliminate you and your progressive ideas from even getting a seat at the table.

So… if you want to include everyone in our world, you are like me and other progressive/liberals. Wasn’t it the fascists who wanted to cut out people they didn’t agree with, much less understand them.

A great loss to my memories of Children’s Theatre in NYC – Remy Charlip dies at 83…

 

Abraham Remy Charlip  was an American artist, writer, choreographer, theatre director, designer and teacher.

In the 1960s Charlip created a unique form of choreography, which he called “air mail dances”. He would send a set of drawings to a dance company, and the dancers would then order the positions and create transitions and context.

He performed with John Cage, he was a founder member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company for which he also designed sets and costumes, he directed plays for the Judson Poet’s Theater.

I remember him most as a co founder of the Paper Bag Players, one of the most important children’s theatres in the world.  He served as head of the Children’s Theater and Literature Department at Sarah Lawrence College,  was a winner of two Village Voice Obie Awards, three New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year citations, and was awarded a six-month residency in Kyoto from the Japan/U.S. Commission on the Arts. He wrote and/or illustrated 29 children’s books.

Charlip was the model for illustrations of Georges Méliès in the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret ( if you saw the wonderful movie “Hugo” you know this story), written and illustrated by Brian Selznick.

Great artist. Great loss. Fortunately he left so much behind.

 

Boy Chased By Priest in Underwear Saved by Saintly Neighbors

 

This frightening piece from Cafe Mom. Why stories like this are popping up more frequently leads me to suspect religion even more…

This story almost sounds like a parody, like some twisted SNL skit, but unfortunately, it’s real. Around midnight last Sunday, some people were out in their yard, wrapping up a barbecue, when a 12-year-old boy came barrelling down the street, begging for help, saying that a man was chasing him. A few moments later, a man did, in fact, appear in his maroon underwear, no less, trying to get the boy to come back with him. Heather Rodriguez and her brother-in-law knew better than to hand over a scared, shaking boy to a suspicious man in his underwear, and decided to get the cops involved. It’s a good thing they did, too, because the “suspicious man” who was chasing the boy was a priest who had just allegedly sexually abused the pre-teen on an air mattress in his house.

 

Sunday Farmer’s Market in Shepherdstown…

Since I am trapped in my recliner with my broken bones, Elly has already gone without me over to the Shepherdstown Farmers Market to buy our weekly supply of organic vegetables and field-raised meats that show up there. We are fortunate in our geographic area to have several farmers markets…  Saturday is the one at Morgan’s Grove and of course we also have them in Charles Town and Martinsburg and recently we saw signs for one one over in Hagerstown at the VFW Hall.

Our local farmers make a point of raising organic foods and for that we can be thankful. There are plenty of places in this country where organic foods are not available. Also, GMO foods are becoming more and more pervasive in our grocery stores. Thank you, Monsanto.

I hope you have great food available to you wherever you are. and I hope the organic food world expands everywhere. Support your farmers markets.

Let’s get to know more about Paul Ryan…

Factual information is the kind of thing that can blow a hole in a wall of falsification.

We have a lot still to learn about Ryan… like these five facts:

Now, go HERE and read the 290 page research report on Ryan. See everything he’s voted for, every position he’s taken on things important to you… and more.

A research visit to an Earthship…

English: A picture of the workings of natural ...

English: A picture of the workings of natural ventilation in a earthship. Schematic was based on a picture found in the book “Earthship Vol 2:Systems and Components by Michael Reynolds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elly and I are in the planning stages of our earth bermed house project which we hope to be living in in a year or so. About a mile or so from our current house is an “Earthship“, a particular style of earth bermed house, originally designed and promoted by New mexico architect Mike Reynolds.  It is built with walls made out of earth-filled automobile tires that are then covered with clay and cement.

It uses south-facing solar windows and a number of other things (like greywater cisterns) which we are planning on.

While this is not the method of building we are looking at, it has enough of the same features that we felt it would be a source of information for us. Owners Larry and Karen spent four years doing much of the building themselves and they were a fountain of information answering all of our questions and giving us advice. We have a number of leads to look up that they have directed us to.

I’ll be getting into more stuff about our new house plan as we go along.

Side view of the Earthship near us.

War on Health

 

I’m happy to present Gary Null‘s documentary: War on Health, The FDA‘s Cult of Tyranny.

If you are worried about organic foods, raw dairy products or other things being available, or if you are afraid of GMOs in your food, this will startle you:

 

Is Romney Ready for Foreign Policy?

If you’ve been watching the news concerning Willard’s visit to London, you may have heard that he has made a number of gaffes – enough so that the Mayor of London has compared him to Sarah Palin, and thought Palin was the more accomplished candidate.

You can review all the gaffes so far HERE, including videos and statements. It makes you a little ashamed to be an American since the Brits are now looking at Romney as an example of us all.
Here’s one of the gaffes that hit on Mitt’s preparedness for the whole thing:

BBC News quoted Romney:

To look out of the back side of 10 Downing Street and see a venue having been constructed, knowing that athletes will be carrying out their activities almost in the back yard of the prime minister is really quite an accomplishment.”

So what’s wrong with that, you say. Well… The Guardian responds:

Firstly, in Britain, “backside” means “ass”. As in the part of the body. Secondly, “10 Downing Street” is often used in political reporting as a synonym for a press spokesman for the prime minister, in the same way as “the White House” can say things or have opinions.

Imagine what he’s going to do (or say) in Poland and Israel.

Would Sally Ride have eaten at Chick-fil-A?

 

The revelation at her death that Sally Ride, an American Hero, was also a Lesbian who had a 27 year relationship with a female partner, brings me back to the anti-gay marriage statements by Dan Cathy, President of that detestable fast food empire.

It is time to re-think ALL our values…EVERYBODY… because this is the 21st Century and we should no longer be tied down by religious or ultra-conservative regulations and ignorance.

Here’s a view of what the radical right thinks and how those thoughts are defined:

Can we now realize that there are great people and ordinary people and all kinds of people who are gay or straight and they all have the right to live equal lives!

 

The business growth of Private Enterprise Prisons… this at a time when violent crimes have decreased about 41%…

 

Here are the facts… you make your own conclusion. Personally, I think making prisons a private industry sucks— I wonder when they’ll be exporting the prisoners to China.

 

I needed a Wednesday Night Laugh and found this:

 

Sometimes bloggers do poor research… especially conservative bloggers. Not that I am worried about the blog competition, but here’s a neat piece I found on The Fifth Column:

TPMDC

A conservative blogger’s recent attempt to sandbag Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist Connie Schultz proved to be an epic failure — and the only thing saving him from public embarrassment is Schultz’s own grace.

The story begins on July 9, says Schultz, when she received an email from the inquiring blogger, who promptly misspelled the name of the author, former columnist for the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer for commentary:

Dear Ms. Shultz,We are doing an expose on journalists in the elite media who socialize with elected officials they are assigned to cover. We have found numerous photos of you with Sen. Sherrod Brown. In one of them, you appear to be hugging him.

Care to comment?

Uh oh, you might think. Soon she’ll have to defend herself from allegations of being overly cozy with a subject she reports on. Well — not quite.

On July 10, she replied with this:

Dear Mr. [Name Deleted]:I am surprised you did not find a photo of me kissing U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown so hard he passes out from lack of oxygen. He’s really cute.

He’s also my husband.

You know that, right?

Connie Schultz.

Brown and Schultz have been married since 2004, as even a cursory Google search or glance through either one’s Wikipedia page would show. She recounted the amusing tale on Facebook and noted that as of Tuesday she hadn’t received a response.

 

Who will get the College student vote in 2012?

Eric Oster, in Faster Times, illustrates the college vote potential for the 2012 election compared to 2008:

The youth turnout for the 2008 election was a big story, with record numbers turning up to the polls — mostly to vote for Obama.

So what will the youth vote look like in 2012? Well, just check out the infographic below. Not surprisingly, the turnout isn’t expected to match the record numbers in 2008 — perhaps because Obama has proven such a disappointment to those who expected “hope” or “change.” Also not surprising, however, is the fact that not too many young voters can get behind Mitt Romney. Or the fact that jobs and unemployment is the biggest issue for voters 18-29, seeing as many of them are unemployed or severely underemployed.

– Eric Oster is an Assistant Editor at The Faster Times and a writer, editor and musician from Fairfield County, Connecticut. After graduating Goucher College in 2008 with a degree in creative writing, he was co-founder and Editor-in Chief of a literary magazine called Caution Horse. He is currently learning to communicate telepathically with cats in an attempt to direct an all-cat rendition of The Sound of Music. You can follow him on Twitter @ErikDOster.

Youth Vote Showdown
Via: Best Online Colleges

It’s hard to believe that Paul LePage is Governor of a State in America…

The other day, Gov. Paul LePage (R) of Maine said that the Internal Revenue Service was not far from the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police. Really said it. In public.

Perhaps he’s got a distorted sense of humor…how could anyone think he really believes what he said?

Then he attempted to clarify his comment, but added to the controversy instead. His quote:

“What I am trying to say is the Holocaust was a horrific crime against humanity and, frankly, I would never want to see that repeated. Maybe the IRS is not quite as bad — yet.”

A reporter asked LePage if the IRS was headed in that direction, and he said it was.

When asked if he thought the IRS was going to kill a lot of people like the Nazis, LePage said:

Yeah.”

When do gubernatorial elections come up again in Maine? This guy has really got to go. In one small set of statements he has offended Americans, Maine voters and Jews everywhere…and he doesn’t even know it.

Quote by a Crazy Christian – His solution? Vote for Jesus!

Televangelist Bill Keller (said by some to be the most popular televangelist in America), is adamant that a vote for either Obama or Romney is a vote for Satan, resulting in condemning the voter to a life in Hell. Ordinarily, one could say to any American voter that this guy is completely insane. However, we don’t seem to be living in ordinary times.

Keller became an extreme, conservative Christian while serving a prison term as an insider trader in the stock market. Upon getting out, he went to Liberty University under the tutelage and right wing influence of the late Jerry Falwell. Like Falwell, he doesn’t separate religion from politics.

Here’s what Keller has stated on television about Obama and Romney:

“A Christian is faced with a difficult dilemma this November. It is literally Satan flipping a two-headed coin with his head on both sides. How can a Christian in good conscience vote for President Obama, who has proven to be the most pro-baby killing, pro-radical homosexual, pro-enemy of Israel President in our nation’s history.”

“On the other hand, how can a Christian in good conscience vote for Mitt Romney, a 5th generation member and priest of the Satanic Mormon cult. His Presidency would give his cult the mainstream acceptance they have always wanted since being founded 200 years ago by a documented con-artist, racist, pedophile, polygamist, and murderer named Joseph Smith. Conservative estimates are that Romney’s cult will add at least 1 million converts in the US alone. For a Christian, that means 1 million souls who will buy into a false Gospel and burn in hell for all eternity!”

Keller’s solution for his followers is a denial of government altogether – vote for Jesus:

“Jesus will never get elected, but if we can get a million people writing in the name ‘Jesus’, it is not only going to impact the election, it is going to make a statement that Christians aren’t going to just take whoever they are offered anymore.”

Here’s what I think: getting people to vote for Jesus makes them disown their identity as Americans. It also gives an advantage to Romney, since many Christian organizations are recognizing Mormons as Christians, despite what Bill Keller says, and a vote for Jesus would most likely to be a vote against our first black president.

Religion should not be part of our government and wasn’t intended to be by the Founding Fathers. Sarah Palin has raised the same issue… and she is just as wrong:

Frankly, I’d agree with John Adams before I’d consider the religious misdirection of Keller and Palin.

And you?

Bill Moyers: Why America — Where Only The Rich Get Richer — Is Not A Democracy

Moyers has seen America become a plutocracy over six decades… and he’s not happy about it.

Quote of a Generation – A discovery he never thought he’d see…

Scientists at the world’s biggest atom smasher have announced the discovery of a brand-new particle—and it looks an awful lot like the long-sought Higgs boson, also known as the “God particle,” without which the universe as we know it wouldn’t exist.

“It is an incredible thing that has happened in my lifetime.”

– Peter Higgs, physicist who theorized the existence of the Higgs boson

According to CERN, the existence of this particle was confirmed in two separate experiments at the Large Hadron Collider—a massive underground particle accelerator that spans the border of France and Switzerland—and there’s less than a one-in-a-million chance that the data is a fluke.

Higgs first proposed the existence of the new particle more than half a century ago to explain a mystery: Why do most elementary particles have mass? Without mass there would be no atoms; no chemistry; no biology—and certainly none of us.

The concept of mass has long been a sticking point in the Standard Model, which describes all known elementary particles, and how they interact.

Fun with Christian Education…

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has come under focus recently for the kind of textbooks he is willing to fund with State money, even they are for private Christian schools. And this is a guy who some want for Vice President.

Some samples:

“Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. Have you heard of the ‘Loch Ness Monster’ in Scotland? ‘Nessie’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.”

– from Louisiana Christian schoolbook by Accelerated Christian Education, or ACE.

“…is it possible that a fire-breathing animal really existed? Today some scientists are saying yes. They have found large chambers in certain dinosaur skulls… The large skull chambers could have contained special chemical-producing glands. When the animal forced the chemicals out of its mouth or nose, these substances may have combined and produced fire and smoke… Dinosaurs and humans were definitely on earth at the same time and may have even lived side by side within the past few thousand years”

— from Bob Jones University Press biology textbook Life Science 3rd. Edition (2007).

“The Great Depression was exaggerated by propagandists, including John Steinbeck, to advance a socialist agenda.”

 – also from Bob Jones University Press.

These books are used widely in Christian schools that would receive dramatically increased funding under Mitt Romney‘s education plan. But look at this:  BJU‘s biology, history, English, and religion textbooks have been rejected by the University of California for course credit. Why? Because they don’t even have the kernel of truth in them.

My recommendation: don’t go to school in Louisiana.

So how much effort have Republicans put in on Jobs?

So when they say their main focus is and has been on jobs, wave this in front of them.

Quick Look – 10 Things Obamacare means for all of us…

Here they are:

 

2, 3 and 9 are the big ones for me.

30 lies in seven days… Romney beats his record!

Last Friday he achieved his peak

with thirty lies in just one week…

He treats the voter like a twit

by feeding him this Romney shit.

1. In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Romney claimed it’s fiscally responsible to eliminate the entirety of the Affordable Care Act: “It saves $100 billion a year to get rid of it.”

That’s the opposite of the truth. According to the CBO and other nonpartisan budget estimates, killing the law would make the deficit go up, not down, and would cost, not save, the country hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming years.

2. In the same interview, Romney said, “I think a lot of people forgetting is there is only one president in history that’s cut Medicare by $500 billion and that is President Obama.”

Romney says this a lot. He’s not telling the truth.

3. Romney also said, “I see people holding up signs, ‘Don’t touch my Medicare.’ It’s like, hey, I’m not touching your Medicare.”

Romney endorsed Paul Ryan’s House Republican Budget plan, which ends the Medicare program and replaces it with a private voucher scheme.

4. In the same interview, Romney said President Obama has “never had the experience of working in the private sector.”

Actually, that’s not true. Obama worked at a private-sector law firm before entering public service.

5. Romney also told Hannity Obama went on “an apology tour” in his first year.

As Romney surely knows by now, he’s lying.

6. Romney, trying to talk about foreign policy, said Syria is Iran’s “route to the sea.”

Iran doesn’t share a border with Syria, and Iran already borders two bodies of water.

7. At a campaign event in Stratham, New Hampshire, Romney claimed, “Bill Clinton and so many other mainstream Democrats are revolting against the backward direction President Obama is taking his party and our country.”

In reality, Bill Clinton supports the president’s re-election and recently said a Romney presidency would be “calamitous for our country and the world.”

8. At an event in Cornwall, Pennsylvania, shared an anecdote about a local optometrist who was forced to fill out a “33-page” change-of-address form — several times — at the post office.

There is no such change-of-address form.

9. At the same event, Romney said Obama is “taking away” scholarships and charter schools for “kids in Washington, D.C.”

This has become a line in Romney’s stump speech, but it isn’t in any way true.

10. Romney also claimed, “This president has put together almost as much public debt as all the prior presidents combined.”

That’s a lie.

11. Romney went on to say, “It’s immoral in my view for my generation to pass on to these kids the burden of our generation. I think it’s wrong. It’s got to stop. And if I’m president of the United States I will get us on track to have a balanced budget.”

That’s plainly false. Romney says his plan “can’t be scored,” but independent budget analysts have found his agenda would make the deficit bigger, not smaller, and add trillions to the national debt.

12. At a campaign stop in Weatherly, Pennsylvania, Romney said the president’s “trillion- dollar stimulus” failed to “create jobs.”

That’s the opposite of the truth.

13. At the same event, Romney said about Obama, “He was told that one small business was having a hard time dealing with Obamacare. He said he hadn’t heard that.”

That’s not what happened. In fact, the small business wasn’t having a hard time dealing with Obamacare, and was hurt by policies Romney wants to pursue.

14. Romney went on say, “I was in Las Vegas and met a woman who was worried. She has a business renting furniture to casinos and to conventioners that come to Las Vegas. And when the president said, don’t bother coming to Las Vegas for your company meetings a few years ago, her business dove.”

Obama actually said, in reference to Wall Street recklessness, “You are not going to be able to give out these big bonuses until you pay taxpayers back. You can’t get corporate jets. You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers’ dime. There’s got to be some accountability and some responsibility.” To blame the failure of some random business in Nevada on this is ridiculous.

15. Romney added, “If we stay on the road we’re on, we’re going to become like Europe…. I don’t believe Europe works in Europe. I don’t want it here.”

The irony is, Europe is trying to grow through austerity, just as Romney intends to do here. He’s lying in a self-refuting sort of way.

16. In his “Face the Nation” interview, Romney said of Obama’s new immigration policy, “If he really wanted to make a solution that dealt with these kids or with the illegal immigration in America, then this is something he would have taken up in his first three and a half years, not in his last few months.”

That’s remarkably misleading. Obama has pushed for the DREAM Act for years, and would have signed it into law in 2010 had it not been blocked by a Republican filibuster.

17. In the same interview, Romney said about health care, “I will continue to describe the plan that I would provide, which is, number one, to make sure that people don’t have to worry about losing their insurance if they have a preexisting condition, and change jobs.”

This is the kind of answer that’s clearly intended to deceive. Under Romney’s approach, millions of people with pre-existing conditions would be denied coverage — and occasionally his campaign even admits it.

18. Also on health care, Romney said the president “jammed through a bill” and “didn’t really try and work for a Republican vote.”

This is laughably untrue. Obama worked for months to find someone — anyone — in the Republican Party who would work with him in good faith, including delaying progress while the “Gang of Six” engaged in pointless talks.

19. Romney also said, “I’m not looking for a tax cut for the very wealthiest.”

Either Romney hasn’t read his own tax plan, or he’s lying.

20. Appearing via video at the “Faith and Freedom Coalition” annual event, Romney applauded the far-right group’s leader: “Ralph Reed has been a real champion in fighting for the fundamental values that have made America the nation that it is.”

You’ve got to be kidding me.

21. In the same speech, Romney said, “When you put in place a bill like Obamacare, you attack the freedom of people to make a choice about their own insurance and what kind of coverage they want to have.”

That’s not true. Under the Affordable Care Act, consumers would choose from competing plans as part of a health care exchange. Romney knows this — it was part of his own plan.

22. Romney went on to say, “[M]edian income in this nation has dropped by 10 percent over the last four years.”

That only makes sense if we count Obama’s first year in office, which relies on a standard Romney believes is fundamentally unfair.

23. He also argued, “Government at all levels is about 37 percent of the economy today — 37 percent. And if Obamacare were allowed to stand, government would control about half of the economy of America.”

That’s demonstrably ridiculous.

24. At the same event, Romney said that Obama “insists” that “Israel return to the ’67 borders — indefensible borders.”

He’s lying.

25. At a campaign event in Brunswick, Ohio, Romney claimed that Obama said “if you let him borrow all that money, he’d keep unemployment below 8 percent.”

As Romney surely knows by now, that’s simply not true.

26. At the same event, Romney said under Obamacare, we’ll get “a healthcare system run by the government.”

There is no universe in which this is true.

27. At a campaign event in Janesville, Wisconsin, Romney argued, “[T]he path we’re on, spending $1 trillion more every year than we take in, is leading us to Greece.”

That’s painfully untrue.

28. At a campaign event in Holland, Michigan, Romney claimed that, as a result of the Dodd-Frank reforms, “small banks and community banks are finding it harder and harder to make loans to small businesses.”

According to community banks, this is false. These banks have actually gotten stronger after Dodd-Frank, and the president of Independent Community Bankers Of America recently said, “I am sick of Wall Street using community banks as their shills to scare community bankers into stampeding Congress into undoing provisions of law that finally attempt to deal with too big to fail and Wall Street overreach.”

29. In a speech to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials yesterday, Romney argued that President Obama “has not completed a single new trade agreement with Latin America.”

Romney does realize that Panama is part of Latin America, right?

30. Romney went on to argue, “Unfortunately, despite his promises, President Obama has failed to address immigration reform.”

Actually, Obama has addressed it quite a bit, taking executive action where the law allows, and pushing Congress to pursue comprehensive reform based on a bipartisan plan he presented last year.

– Thanks to Steve Benen, Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity

Hey, Mitt: A majority of Americans want to keep the Health care Law!

New Bloomberg poll results show a plurality of Americans, 43 percent, say they want to retain the 2010 law with only small modifications, while 15 percent say the measure should be left alone, a Bloomberg National Poll shows. That’s 58 % for keepers! Only 33% say it should be repealed.

Next week the Supreme Court is expected to rule “on the constitutionality of the law, the centerpiece of which is the mandate that most Americans buy insurance or pay a fine.”

Do you suppose the Court pays attention to people, or to Republican campaign rhetoric?

Choices, choices… the Religious Right or the Rights of Women?

Here’s what I base my choice on:

The Religious Right’s agenda is not about being good to each other, showing forgiveness, sharing prayer or believing that all men are created equal. It’s about being utter idiots.

Cheers for Joseph Stiglitz…

In a section of his book, “The Price of Inequality,” printed in Salon, Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz gives a thorough analysis of why the top 1% is able to manipulate the rest of us by “brainwashing” us about inequality:

Joseph Stiglitz

The fact that the 1 percent has so successfully shaped public perception testifies to the malleability of beliefs. When others engage in it, we call it “brainwashing” and “propaganda.” We look askance at these attempts to shape public views, because they are often seen as unbalanced and manipulative, without realizing that there is something akin going on in democracies, too. What is different today is that we have far greater understanding of how to shape perceptions and beliefs — thanks to the advances in research in the social sciences.

It is clear that many, if not most, Americans possess a limited understanding of the nature of the inequality in our society: They believe that there is less inequality than there is, they underestimate its adverse economic effects, they underestimate the ability of government to do anything about it, and they overestimate the costs of taking action. They even fail to understand what the government is doing — many who value highly government programs like Medicare don’t realize that they are in the public sector.

Stiglitz compares the perceptions of Americans to citizens in other countries and discovers polar opposites in experience of  inequality and fairness. It is worth reading the whole article (HERE) to get his opinions on how beliefs effect reality,

Wonder of Wonders… a fungi in the Amazon Rainforest that degrades common polyurethane plastic.

A group of students and professors from Yale University have found a fungi in the Amazon rainforest that can degrade and utilize the common plastic polyurethane (PUR). As part of the university’s Rainforest Expedition and Laboratory educational program, designed to engage undergraduate students in discovery-based research, the group searched for plants and cultured the micro-organisms within their tissue.

Several active organisms were identified, including two distinct isolates of Pestalotiopsis microspora with the ability to efficiently degrade and utilize PUR as the sole carbon source when grown anaerobically, a unique observation among reported PUR biodegradation activities.

Polyurethane is a big part of our mounting waste problem and this is a new possible solution for managing it. The fungi can survive on polyurethane alone and is uniquely able to do so in an oxygen-free environment. The Yale University team has published its findings in the article ‘Biodegradation of Polyester Polyurethane by Endophytic Fungi’ for the Applied and Environmental Microbiology journal.

One of the greatest problems we have faced as we look for ways to clean up the environment we have so befouled over the years i the huge presence of wasted plastic bottles and gallon jugs. Here is an opportunity to find a natural solution to the huge nuisance and help make the world a better place.

Keep your eye out for more information.

A Quote for the Day… Republicans in conflict: Jeb Bush vs. Grover Norquist

How did Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush get legislation passed?

“Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, as would my dad – they would have a hard time if you define the Republican party – and I don’t – as having an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement, doesn’t allow for finding some common ground.

“Back to my dad’s time and Ronald Reagan’s time – they go a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support.”

– Gov. Jeb Bush (R)

This didn’t make Grover Norquist (no elected office – R) very happy:

“That’s foolish, it’s sup-it’s bizarre.

There’s a guy (Jeb) who watched his father throw away his presidency on a 2:1 [ratio of

Grover Norquist

spending cuts to tax increases] promise. And he thinks he’s sophisticated by saying that he’d take a 10:1 promise. He doesn’t understand – he’s just agreed to walk down the same alley his dad did with the same gang. And he thinks he’s smart. You walk down that alley, you don’t come out. You certainly don’t come out with 2:1 or 10:1.”

 – Grover Norquist, Enemy of Americans (R)

As you know, Norquist crafted a pledge to never increase taxes for any reason that current-day Republicans sign or else have trouble getting support from national Republicans.

The Bush comments are part of a small, but growing schism of Republicans who are starting to break with Norquist’s hard-line orthodoxy on taxes. Whether more Republicans start to break, or Norquist’s anti-tax increase orthodoxy continues to rule the Republican Party is yet to be determined.

CBS News

So, if you are wondering why we don’t get anywhere on Jobs, or battling this depression (see Krugman‘s new book “End This Depression Now”), or getting some kind of focus on improving our overall economy, you need wonder no more. Between McConnell and Boehner‘s refusal to to compromise on anything with Obama and the Democrats, and the insistence of Republicans that they are waiting until after the election, assuming any cooperation now is working against Mitt, I don’t expect anything will happen any time soon.