But it's not just honeybees that are in trouble. Many wild
pollinators-thousands of species of bees and butterflies and moths-are also
threatened. Their decline would affect not only our food supply, but our
landscapes, too. Most honeybees live in commercially managed agricultural
colonies; wild pollinators are caretakers of our everyday surroundings.
"Almost 90 percent of the world's flowering species require insects or other
animals for pollination," said ecologist Laura Burkle of Montana State
University. "That's a lot of plants that need these adorable creatures for
reproduction. And if we don't have those plants, we have a pretty
Compared to honeybees, wild pollinators are not well studied, and their
condition has received relatively little public attention. Most people don'
t realize that there are thousands of bee species in the United States. Even
many butterflies are overlooked, with the plight of just a few species,
particularly monarchs, widely recognized.
'Species that used to be in all our yards are dropping out.'
Wild bees and butterflies are out on the landscape, making them difficult to
count, and a lack of historical baselines makes it challenging to detect
long-term trends. Slowly but surely, though, results from field studies and
anecdotal reports from experts are piling up. They don't paint a pretty
picture. Many pollinator populations seem to be dwindling.
According to a recent survey organized by the Xerces Society, an
invertebrate conservation group, nearly one-third of North American
bumblebee species are declining. Other studies have reported similar trends,
documenting dramatic declines in once-common species such as the American
bumblebee. If that's happening to bumblebees, says Xerces Society executive
director Scott Black, it's quite possible, even likely, that others are
"There's very little information status on most of the bees other than
bumblebees, but if you look at the life histories of these groups, many are
likely even more sensitive to the disturbances leading to the declines, such
as pesticides and habitat loss," Black said. "Although we don't know what's
going on with all bees, I think we could be seeing real problems."
Among other pollinators, iconic monarch butterfly declines are well
documented: Their numbers are now at a small fraction of historical levels.
And entomologist Art Shapiro of the University of California, Davis spent
most of the last four decades counting butterflies across central
California, and found declines in every region. These declines don't just
involve butterflies that require very specific habitats or food sources, and
might be expected to be fragile, but so-called generalist species thought to
be highly adaptable. Many other entomologists have told Black the same
"Species that used to be in all our yards are dropping out, but nobody's
monitoring them," Black said.
It doesn't have to be "the core" of what happened. It's a substantial part
of what happened. Workers had to make do with poorly planned cuts across
the board because of the sequester funding cuts.
When you don't give people who are caring for those injured in Bush's poorly
executed and planned wars the funds to do it, shortcuts and all sorts of
issues are *bound* to occur and they're occurring not just in the VA, but
all throughout government. China is flexing its muscles all throughout the
South China Sea and we're ill-equipped to deal with them, partly because of
mindless "percentage based" spending cuts and partly because the AfRaq wars
have changed the military focus from fighting credible military forces like
China to counter-insurgency fighting in countries where we're not really
welcome as "saviors."
Mindlessly cutting budgets appeals to Tea Party types who don't realize that
such cuts cause enough disruption to essentially make them worthless. My
wife's said repeatedly that DoD is spending as much money trying to figure
out how to deal with the cuts as they're ever likely to save. Eventually
starved departments are going to need emergency appropriations. People in
agencies like the VA are scrambling to figure out how to make things work
with less and less money and eventually something bad's going to happen. Oh
wait, it just did. The Tea Party modus operandi is to starve the government
and then kick it when it falls over from starvation and blame it for
bleeding on the floor. The VA problems, I predict, are only the tip of the
You're still missing the point. The poor performance comes from being
starved for funds by mindless "X percent" sequester cuts based on the debt
hysteria the Republicans hyped. The debt that came from Bush cutting taxes
on the super-rich and then going on a war spending spree. There was a
reason why "cutting government income while wildly increasing government
spending" Bush was kept away from the McCain/Obama race. People finally
figured out that cutting taxes on the ULTRA rich didn't produce the jobs we
were promised it would.
Spin it any way you like, but even my dead Grandma knows the Republicans
only care about the debt when money's being spent on something they DON'T
like. When it's for war or building the world's biggest spy apparatus, it's
"spend, spend, spend" like a drunken sailor.
Well, that's your take but if you read what I actually wrote it's that
Christie's toast because of some simple facts. If he knew what Kelly
allegedly did, he should be run out of town on a rail. However, if he
*didn't* know what his top aides were doing in his name then he's a bad
If Christie hired *lots* of bad/incompetent people and was unable to
supervise them closely enough to prevent this scandal from occurring why
would anyone suspect he could put together a presidential administration
that was any better? He's deep in a lose/lose situation and I don't think
he'll ever recover. Even worse for Christie he's involved in a process that
still has plenty of steam left in it while Benghazi will have sputtered out
long before 2016. His numbers have flagged badly as a result of Bridgegate.
And as for someone "not needing facts" I'd hang that placard on Christie who
fired Bridget Kelly without even talking to her or attempting to fairly
determine what happened. While you seem to think that's decisive and
praiseworthy, I would say he's guilty of the "lynch mob" mentality you're
accusing me of. FWIW, Bridgegate's going to turn out to be a lot more
damaging to Christie than Benghazi will be to Clinton. As for it damaging
Obama it's of almost no concern to him because he can't run again and
because all of the clamor raised when the issue was current didn't slow down
If only the Republicans would exit the "witch-hunting" mode and reclaim
their role as the party of fiscal responsibility they might win a
Presidential election. Sadly, there seems to be no realization that
inquests like Benghazi really only satisfy the base of people who would
NEVER vote Democrat for any reason. The Republicans don't seem to realize
they have to convince all the people that sit on the fence that they have
the better ideas. I don't see how witch hunting helps them achieve that
goal. In fact, I think it actually hampers their goal of reaching
Now that our deficit/debt is going down after the Bush tax cuts on the
ULTRA-rich have been reversed, I think that convincing voters to reduce
taxes on the UR again is going to be very tough for the Republicans to pull
off. Maybe even impossible.
What they miss is that they not only fail to sway independents, but actually
help convince them that the Republican party is mired deeply in the past.
Obama, despite his many other failings, refused to play the blame game when
he became President even though there were multiple opportunities to do so.
Republicans would be well-advised to consider that when then try to keep
things like Benghazi on artificial life support it just makes them look
petty, vindictive and unable to offer a real plan for improving people's
Benghazi was a tragedy that mostly effected the poor four people that died.
Bridgegate, on the other hand, is something that EVERY poor slob ever stuck
in an interminable traffic jam can identify with. That's why Bridgegate
will sink Christie but Benghazi will probably end up helping Clinton in the
long run as it turns into another "birther" type issue that tends to cast
Republicans as mud-slinging conspiratorial theorists obsessed with past
events and no plan for the future.
On Friday, May 16, 2014 4:48:07 AM UTC-4, Robert Green wrote:
It's the core of the problem. You can't fix something that no one knows
is broken. It's like saying the airplane stalled and crashed, but the
core of the problem wasn't the fact that the airspeed indicator was broken
and the stall warning horn was disabled.
It's funny. In private industry, in tough times, they figure out how
to make do. In govt, it's waahhh, I always need more money.
China is flexing its muscles all throughout the
If that's true, then why is Obama proposing huge military budget cuts?
Why does he want to take troops down by 80,000 to just 440,000 which
would be the lowest in decades?
Could it be that China, like Russia, Iran, Syrian and the like see
Obama as an indecisive, false bluffing, community organizer that is
in way over his head?
Could be. Come to think of it, maybe it's all intentional. Create
a train wreck, and then "waaaaaah", see what happened? We need more
For the record, do we have Shenseki saying I didn't have the money to
do my job? Did he ever tell that to Congress? I sure have not seen it.
And if he did, there are many from both parties that would be all over
it, eg McCain
You're still missing the point. It's that in the cases under investigation,
the VA covered up the poor performance. If they had not hidden it, then
upper management, Congress, would know what's happening. The VA, in some
cases, deliberately manipulated the system (gamed in the words of one
participant in a memo), to hide the fact that the serious wait delays were
Did Shenseki tell Congress he didn't have the funds to do his job?
That the delays were excessive? I haven't seen it and he just testified.
If this were going on and I was the head of the VA, and the core of the
problem was lack of funding, I'd be saying "I testified before Congress on
x/yy, stating that our funding was inadequate, people were waiting. I
sent out memos to Congress, here they are. Funny, thing, we have none of
that. So far, the defense seems to be, I didn't know, now I'm mad, and
the instances were isolated, not system wide.
The debt that came from Bush cutting taxes
Oh pleas, what total BS. Look at the deficits in the last several
years of Bush. They were steadily *declining*, and the deficit in
the last year before the recession was down to just $160bil. Then
we had the severe recession, which had nothing to do with tax cuts
or wars. It was caused by systemic problems and speculation in real
So, for one year, we had a huge and unusual deficit that reached $1.4 tril.
That included one time stimulus spending, and $700 bil TARP. TARP
was ultimately almost all paid back, with interest, so it should not
have even been
counted as part of that extraordinary $1.4 tril deficit. Yet now,
the Democrats want to use that one time extraordinary deficit as a baseline.
"See, look what we've done. Five years later, and we've cut the deficit
in half....." That's like using the year your house burned down as
basis for the future, instead of all the typical years before it.
By any historical measure, the current deficits are a disaster and unexplainable.
There was a
It sure did. The Bush tax cuts were in effect for what, 7 years?
We had low unemployment and the budget deficit was down to just $160bil.
Now after 5 years+ of Obama, we have high unemployment, a labor participation
rate not seen in 3 decades, record numbers of people on food stamps, welfare,
and a $600bil deficit.
See the difference? Yet you continue to point the finger at Bush.
Obama has done nothing to fix the deficit. The best example of that
was Simpson/Boles. You had a bi-partisan committee make real recommendations
to address it. Obama received the report, put it away and never
mentioned it again. And then he continued his divisive attacks on
the rich, he's still doing it today. Some leader.
And BTW, if the Bush tax cuts didn't help generate jobs, why was it
that Obama extended them? He was all in favor of it, until he later
flip-flopped. Actually, I think he did it a couple of times. But
he clearly chose to extend the Bush tax cuts for years. But, here you
are complaining about them.
The war, the war, the war. The total cost of two wars spanning
13 years is what, $1.5tri? The national debt is $17tril. Obama
has added 7 tril in just 5 years. Clearly war is not the primary
problem here. Did the Republicans fail to control spending during
the Bush years? Sure. Does that make what the Democrats are doing,
ie taking that extraordinary $1.4tril deficit and using it as the
baseline right? Of course not. It's one of the most dishonest and
dangerous things I've even seen politicians do.
"If he knew" translates into fact? Good grief.
However, if he
So Obama is then a bad manager, because he didn't know WTF Sebelius
was doing? And with Obama, it wasn't some bridge closing that you
wouldn't expect him to know about, it was Obama's biggest achievement,
Obamacare. Sebelius had it all screwed up and Obama didn't know about
it. Either that, or he did know and he's lying. Either way, he's
a bad manager, by your own standards.
The "If" is a big one. Where is the similar outrage over Obama and
Sebelius, IRS commissioner, Holder, and now the VA head?
He's deep in a lose/lose situation and I don't think
See, there you go again. You're all over Christie, he's finished,
while giving a free pass to Obama and similar. Where is the outrage
of what went on at IRS? Lerner takes the fifth, the investigation
is being stonewalled at IRS and that gets excused? The IRS being
used against political opponents gets a pass? For sure I'd rather
be stuck in traffic, than have IRS screwing me.
Oh, BS. Christie had told his entire staff that if they had any
involvement in the bridge thing, he wanted them to come forward and
say so, right now, within the next hour. That day long passed. And
then information came out that clearly showed Kelly did have involvement.
So, he fired her. Not a damn thing wrong with that.
I guess it's OK to keep obviously incompetents around, like Sebelius
for you Dems.
FWIW, Bridgegate's going to turn out to be a lot more
There you go again. The investigation hasn't even been concluded.
So far, nothing has come out that shows Christie was involved.
BTW, speaking of investigation and coming out, can one of you
Obama fanatics tell us the answer to a simple question? Obama was
told that the Benghazi consulate was under attack around 5PM as it was
starting. Where was Obama for the next 10 hours, what discussions
did he have, what orders did he give? How is it that we've had
several investigations into that, and we still don't have an
answer to that simple question? I suspect I know the reason.
As for it damaging
If there's nothing damaging about Benghazi, why does the WH keep
lying about it and why don't we know the answer to the simple question
about what, if anything, Obama did?
When they try to act fiscally responsible, you libs shoot them in
the head. Why, you were here just bitching about sequestration.
That's the only way the Republicans could control spending. Obama
shoved Simpson/Bowles in the drawer. And for an example of tactics,
look at what Obama did to Paul Ryan. Ryan came up with proposed budget
cuts. Did Obama invite him the the WH to discuss it? Hell no,
he gave him a front row seat at one of Obama's press conferences and
proceeded to try to tear him a new AH in front of cameras.
Sadly, there seems to be no realization that
That's what was said about Watergate too. And nobody died in Watergate.
Polls show two thirds of the public think the WH is hiding stuff about
The Republicans don't seem to realize
You assume the witch hunting is about their goals and not about
finding out the truth. I think the families of the 4 dead Americans
would like to know the truth. So would I. Are you afraid of the truth?
Now you're really lying. The deficit under Bush before the recession
was down to just $160bil. That was with the tax cuts in place.
OMG! I can't believe you said that. Obama, just like you're doing
here has blamed everyone, but himself. He's blamed Bush. He's lied
about deficits and tax cuts, like you just did. He's blamed Republicans
for everything and anything he could. He's used class warfare to blame
the rich. And he has to, because otherwise the simple fact is the
economy, foreign policy, everything is a mess under 5+ years of Obama.
We even have a return to the Cold War.
So, that makes it OK to wind up the UN Ambassador, with a pack of lies,
and send her out to 5 Sunday talk shows, saying that Benghazi was a
spontaneous demonstration over a movie? When in fact there were no
demonstrations at all?
Sure 4 Americans, including our Ambassador dead. A consulate burned to the
ground. And a bridge delay is worse. Are you for real? And BTW,
Christie has had several press conferences on the bridge thing. He's
stood there for hours answering every question put to him.
Where is Obama on Benghazi? He's hiding, mostly behind Jay Carney.
And even on the rare occasion when he gets a question, he refuses to
answer. Case in point, O'Reilly asked him in Jan the simple question
if when Panetta and Dempsi first told him of the attack in Benghazi
when they met with him aroung 5PM that day, did they call it a
terrorist attack. Simple question. O'Reilly asked two or three times
and Obama refused to answer, just deflecting it. Have you seen Christie
And the factor in all the lies about Benghazi. Carney had been
telling the press for a year that the only words in a talking points
memo about Benghazi that were changed were grammatical and changing
"embassy" to "consulate". He said absolutely nothing of substance
was edited. Then, thanks to a year of Congress investigating, we
finally find out that the document was edited 13 times, taking out
"terrorist", Al-Qaeda, references to prior attacks in Benghazi, etc.
Have you seen that with Christie?
That reminds me of a famous short story by Katherine Mansfield ("Ship of
Fools") titled "The Fly". An old man describes his life and the death of
his son as he puts tiny drops of ink on a fly's wings, studying and
remarking at how well it cleans itself and carries on, until, of course, it
finally can't cope with the onslaught of inkdrops and dies.
I've thought that a better way to describe the generations (i.e. "X", the
Millenials, etc) would be by the most popular cutural icons of the period.
The "Dune" generation, the "Grok/Water Brother" generation (can't remember
the name of the Heinlein novel those terms are from - "Stranger in a Strange
Land!!" -- another neuron that wasn't quite dead yet - only sleeping), the
Harry Potter generation, the "Twilight" generation, the "Star Wars"
generation, etc. Gives a much finer gradation to the cohort of people who
all share a deep affinity for those books or movies.
Not sure where to divide the groups age-wise. Films and books seem to have
had the most profound effect on me from age 12 to 24 or so. What famous
lines do you remember from movies from that time in your life? I know it's
pretty cliche but "I am Spartacus" really stuck with me as well as "Because
we LIVE here!" and in two different movies "I am my own police". "Take the
cannoli, leave the gun!" and of course "Help me Obi Wan." (-: "The slow
blade penetrates the shield." "You have to ask yourself, do you feel lucky,
punk?" "Is this the end of Rico?" "I'm killed, Jed."
I realized recently that good writing is writing that you can remember as
you advance in years. I'm really thinning out the herd in my head.
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