Tuesday Open Thread 03-17-15

A top of the morning to you 99percenters!

They say you don’t have to be Irish to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day. Americans use the day as an excuse to party. We have parades with bagpipes and leprechauns. We dye rivers green. We drink green beer and we drink plenty of Guinness, a real Irish national treasure. And we eat corned beef and cabbage, something that’s about as Irish in origin as spaghetti and meatballs.

A word of caution though if you go out on the town tonight make sure you have safe transportation home. Most police departments celebrate by stepping up their DUI enforcement.

Monday Open Thread 03-16-15

James Madison _ Montpelier.jpgGood morning 99percenters!

And a happy Monday to you.

Today we celebrate James Madison’s 264th birthday. Mr. Madison, a Virginia gentleman, is known as the Father of the U.S. Constitution. He was the fourth President of the United States serving between 1809 and 1817.

A few other fun facts about President Madison:

  • He was 5’6” tall.
  • He drank a pint of whiskey every day.
  • He was schooled in Latin, Greek and Hebrew and acquired a reading knowledge of French.
  • He wrote 29 of the 85 articles known as The Federalist Papers.
  • During the Constitutional Convention he opposed the proposal for a Bill of Rights. At the time, Madison was confident that the Constitution did not give the federal government any powers that could endanger individual liberties. Madison thought it was potentially dangerous to list some of the rights of the people, in case these might be interpreted as the only rights of the people.
  • As he listened to his colleagues debate the issue he became afraid some of his colleagues would do things to weaken the federal government in favor of the states.
  • He was the only delegate to the Constitutional Convention who attended every session and hence his notes are considered the most accurate account of the proceedings.
  • After being elected to the first Congress, he began work on The Bill of Rights which took its first form as 19 proposals. His concern as he was drafting them was that the rights of the people be protected from actions of the states as well as the federal government. A Congressional Committee narrowed the 19 proposals to 12 “amendments,” ten of which were later ratified by the states.
  • Despite having served as Jefferson's Secretary of State for two terms, he did not travel abroad.
  • His wife Dolley Payne Todd Madison served as the official hostess for both her husband and Thomas Jefferson and is considered America’s first First Lady.

Sunday Open Thread 03-15-15

Good morning 99percenters!

How’s your internet service these days? Odds are pretty good it’s shitty and slow. There’s been a lot of chatter about “net neutrality” and can the internet “be saved” lately while some important questions about its structure and stability have been ignored. Fact is the internet is fundamentally broken.

Health Related Science News

Whilst cruising the net looking for environmental news, I stumbled across some items that I figured would be of interest to at least some. So, without further ado ---

First an article covering some work indicating that a particular cancer drug can help with spinal injuries.
Injured spinal cord: Regeneration possible with epothilone? -- ScienceDaily The gist of it is:

Damage to the spinal cord rarely heals because the injured nerve cells fail to regenerate. The regrowth of their long nerve fibers is hindered by scar tissue and molecular processes inside the nerves. An international team of researchers led by DZNE scientists in Bonn now reports in Science that help might be on the way from an unexpected quarter: in animal studies, the cancer drug epothilone reduced the formation of scar tissue in injuries to the spinal cord and stimulated growth in damaged nerve cells. Both promoted neuronal regeneration and improved the animals' motor skills.

Stop the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical safety for the 21st Century Act (crossposted from The Daily Kos)

This article is not too one sided, in that it includes some critical commentary.

Sens. David Vitter and Tom Udall reach bipartisan agreement on new chemical safety bill | NOLA.com

It does quote Andy Ingrejas:

But Andy Igrejas, director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, said the bill is still lacking needed safeguards.

"In its current form it would not make a big dent in the problem of toxic chemical exposure and would even do some harm by restraining state governments," Igrejas said. "While Senators Vitter and Udall have made some positive changes, the bill is not up to the important task of protecting public health."

Thursday Open Thread 03-12-15

Morning folks.
Some traveling music.

In the late 60s to early 70s, from the age of 18 to 21 I traveled the country by thumb, knapsack and sleeping bag, hair to the middle of my back, just me and the highway. I lead the rambling life. There's no feeling in the world like having no particular place to go, just the open road. I saw most of the country in those 4 years, the good and the bad and sometimes I wish I could go back.

The Caucus Cafe v1.5

Today’s Special: Cod Fritters

My mom made cod fish cakes about once a month when I was a kid. We were Catholic, so we didn't eat meat on Friday. Outside of the summer, there wasn't much fresh of anything to be found where I lived, and that was right next to the ocean. So, the fish mixture came out of a box. I ate the fish cakes – covered in ketchup because it was better than the once frozen one-pound block of mystery fish that mom over-baked on other Fridays.