Monthly Archives: November 2014

Measure 92 Recount Appears Likely

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Update 7:30 pm

The margin has shrunk by another 20%, down to just under 1100 votes and a margin of 0.08%. Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown said it is unlikely she would order a recount before the first week of December.

141121 430pm OR M92 votes

Original post – 3:15 pm

New numbers this hour show that the margin between sides on Measure 92 are within 0.1% of each other, half of what’s needed to force an automatic recount.

141121 2pm OR M92 votes

While The Oregonian called this race the morning after Election Day (and they still stand by it), almost no other media outlet would do so independently. And in the last two weeks, there has been scarce coverage of the race…until the last 48 hours. Now OPB, KGW, KPTV, KOIN and the Statesman Journal are all reporting that a recount is likely. The Oregon Right to Know campaign also says a recount is assured. A spokesperson for the ‘No on 92’ campaign remains confident that the measure will fail.

Opium and the Stock Market, MH17 and Still Counting Votes

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The United Nations released a report yesterday about opium production in Afghanistan, noting that the acreage under production reached a new record. The number of opium producing acres has tripled since 2002. Before the US invaded Afghanistan, there had never been even 100,000 acres in opium production, now the figure is 224,000 acres.

UN opium production afghanistan 94-14This chart shows the number of acres in Afghanistan in poppy production over the last 20 years. When I first saw it, I quickly thought of how well the stock market has been doing over the last 20 or so years, and specifically the past six. Why? Because I’ve read people smarter than me about this who have written about the connection between illegal drug money and Wall Street results.

 

 

dow jones 1994-2014Here is the chart showing the Dow Jones average from the same time frame as the UN opium one above. Similar shape and trending don’t you think?

 

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RT reports on newly released radar data associated with the crash of MH17 in eastern Ukraine last July, which shows “one or two warplanes in the air close to the Malaysian airliner”. According to Sergey Melnichenko, CEO of Aviation Safety consultancy, there were multiple planes, almost certainly military jets. Just weeks ago, Der Speigel reported that Fred Westerbeke, the lead investigator with the Dutch National Prosecutors’ Office which has been looking at the crash, said his team is willing to consider that another plane shot down the Malaysian jet. Most theories thus far have focused on the idea of a ground-based attack on the plane. More

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The count continues for Oregon Measure 92, which is still failing by around 5200 votes. The Oregon Secretary of State has taken the unprecedented move of releasing the list of voters whose ballots haven’t been counted due to signature issues. There are approximately 13,000 ballots in this pool and all of those voters should have already received a letter informing them of the problem. Voters have until next Tuesday the 18th to correct the problem by visiting their local county election office.

To Recount Measure 92

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Updated figures show the narrowing of the margin (6634 votes) between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ on Measure 92 continues. However, absent something unexpected regarding the remaining count or a legal challenge to it, Oregon will not be labeling GMOs. Or will it?

From my last post, let’s assume the 40,000 uncounted votes figures is accurate as of Friday at 5:18pm. Since then, the state reports that another 16,632 votes were counted, leaving 23,368 votes still to count. From those newly counted ballots, Measure 92 gained a net of +1666 votes (gap of 8300 then, 6634 now). But if ‘Yes on 92’ can only gain a net of 10% of still uncounted votes, then they can’t win, there just aren’t enough uncounted votes remaining. But winning isn’t everything, because if you can force a recount, you have another chance.

Oregon law states (bold is mine): “If the official canvass of votes of an election reveals that the difference in the number of votes cast for or against any measure is not more than one-fifth of one percent of the total votes cast for and against the measure, the Secretary of State, in the case of a measure for which the Secretary of State is the filing officer, and the county clerk who conducted the election in the case of any other measure shall order a full recount of all votes cast for the measure.

Current Measure 92 vote count is 1,475,696. Add the supposed remaining 23,368 votes and that gives a vote total of 1,499,064. A margin of “one-fifth of one percent” is 2,998. So the real question now becomes, can ‘Yes on 92’ whittle the lead down to just under 3000 votes?

Technically, they can. But how likely is it?
141110 5pm OR M92 votes
Not surprisingly, the ‘Yes’ side is winning biggest in Multnomah county (62.37%). The best case scenario for ‘Yes’ is that every remaining uncounted ballot is in Multnomah county, but I doubt this is true. If they fall exactly at the ratio shown thus far in the counting, that only widens the gap. So how many of the uncounted vote does ‘Yes’ need to force a recount?  58%.

So this race is definitely not over, but it will be if ‘Yes on 92’ can’t pick up at least 13,553 of the remaining votes, once again, assuming the uncounted numbers are accurate. Adding those numbers in would put ‘Yes’ at 748,084 and ‘No’ at 750,980, still a clear defeat of the measure but a margin of only 2,895 votes which would be less than 0.2% of the votes on Measure 92. And we’re headed into a recount.

Keep in mind though that hitting 58% is something the ‘Yes’ campaign achieved only in Multnomah county (Lane is currently at 57.54% ‘Yes’). As has been the trend in this particular race, as the trailing side has steadily made up ground, possible reinforcements have been reduced just a little quicker.

 

Oregon Measure 92 – Is It Over Yet?

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Just before 5pm today, the Oregon Secretary of State updated their website, adding just over 20,000 votes since late Wednesday afternoon. Measure 92 still trails by about 10,000 8300 (5:18pm #) votes and there are approximately 40,000 still to count.

141107 5pm OR M92 votes

Advocates of the measure insist they aren’t defeated yet. Earlier this afternoon, The Oregonian published a story which opens:

“Plenty of Measure 92 supporters have questioned how The Oregonian could declare the GMO labeling measure defeated Wednesday morning when the vote is so close — 50.4 percent against, 49.6 percent in favor — and so many votes are yet to be counted.

The short answer is: math.

The newspaper can declare with confidence that voters have rejected Measure 92 because, with such a high percentage of votes counted, the 40,000 or so remaining votes are not enough to close the 10,500 votes that separate the pro and con votes tallied so far.”

Did you catch the switch they made there? This quote starts by talking about how The Oregonian called the election on Wednesday morning (10:21 am) when there were at least 70,000 and possibly 100,000 votes to count. But in the next paragraph they are talking about being able to “declare with confidence” the failure of the ballot measure since there are only “40,000 or so remaining votes” left uncounted, which is Friday evening data.

You can’t use Friday 5pm data, to explain what you did two days earlier. The rest of the article explains how what is now known, appears to that Measure 92 cannot mathematically achieve victory. The ‘Yes on 92’ campaign remains silent on the matter for now.

Oregon Measure 92 – GMO Labelling Remains Undecided

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Update 6:00 pm

Measure 92, the ballot initiative seeking to label most genetically modified food in Oregon, is still failing but the margin continues to narrow. Right now, the ‘no’ vote has 50.35% of the vote, a lead of under 9900 votes and the narrowest margin they’ve enjoyed today. But it might be too late, as the number of uncounted votes may no longer be enough, given the close nature of the outcome in many counties, to change the result.

OR Measure 92 6pm statewide totals

Update 4:35 pm

A whole new batch of county voting numbers should be released in about half an hour. The attached image shows statewide totals as of less than 30 minutes ago.

OR Measure 92 4pm statewide totals

The gap between sides on Measure 92 has been seesawing up and down all day. Right now, Measure 92 is failing by a little over 13,000 votes statewide. Knowing how many uncounted ballots still exist is crucial. This includes those that are damaged, unsigned etc…, and knowing how many will be challenged during the next weeks.

 

Originally posted 1:45 pm

Two hours ago, I posted a shorter version of this on Facebook, not realizing that I would decide to blog about this as I have too many other things to do, but this race is very interesting.

At 10:21 am this morning The Oregonian, based on an internal analysis, said that Measure 92 lost. I had run some numbers based on the percent of votes counted and the actual totals and realized that there are still a very significant number of uncounted votes out there. This race was definitely not over.

I called The Oregonian and spoke with the reporter who wrote their piece, asking him if they jumped the gun on calling the race. I told him that public numbers showed something like 70,000 uncounted votes, while Measure 92 was behind by only 16k votes (this is at 11:30 am).

I was told that The Oregonian had their own in-house analysis of numbers, trends through the night and in what counties there were known uncounted votes to decide to call the race.

They obviously have more resources to throw at this, but I still think the Oregonian jumped the gun on this one and so does the Yes on 92 campaign.

Oregon Secretary of State vote tally

Politico – Oregon Ballot Measures

Ebola in sneezes? No. Yes. No. Yes.

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Originally postedNov 1, 2014; 10:00 pm

The CDC has made a second extremely important and bizarre reversal regarding public health information on its website this year. The first was about the health risks of microwave radiation from cell phones and a new one is all about how the Ebola virus can spread.

Months ago, they had language urging individuals to exercise caution when using a cell phone due to the radiation they emit. Then they reversed themselves and said ‘we don’t urge caution at all when using a cell phone.’ Hear my interview with a CDC official about this.

Earlier this week, the CDC uploaded a poster (thank you! Wayback Machine) which says: CDC ebola droplet poster1

“Ebola is spread through droplets.” 

It then talks about “droplet spread,” which is that gross spray that inconsiderate people create when they sneeze or cough without covering their nose and mouth. Next, “Droplet spread happens when germs traveling inside droplets that are coughed or sneezed from a sick person…” To me this means that Ebola can be spread through sneezing and coughing.

Right?

Ha ha, WRONG! Today, after realizing (again) that people pay attention to what they put up on their website, the CDC removed the first Ebola poster and replaced it with this one.

CDC ebola droplet poster2So what’s new in this version? Miraculously, now “There is no evidence that Ebola is spread by coughing or sneezing.” Huh?!

The new poster continues that “Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola.” Among these potentially infectious ‘body fluids’ are “large droplets (splashes or sprays) of respiratory or other secretions.”

Yesterday, the World Health Organization updated its guidelines on “personal protective equipment” (PPE) for health care workers dealing with Ebola patients. “Experts agreed that it was most important to have PPE that protects the mucosae – mouth, nose and eyes – from contaminated droplets and fluids.” The WHO doesn’t mention where these droplets come from, but I’ll guess that, at least in part, they’re concerned about sneezes and coughs.

Meanwhile, a new analysis regarding the spread of Ebola in the US, predicts that it is “quite possible” that there will be several cases in every major city by the end of the year.

Ebola Spreads Through Droplets – Can Survive, Remain Infectious for Weeks on Cold Surfaces

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Originally posted Oct 28, 2014; 8:30 pm

The CDC had to come clean sooner or later, many had already broached the topic.

As I noted several days ago, airborne transmission of Ebola is possible, though the only known instance occurred in non-human primates and with a different strain of the virus. But now the CDC now warns that ‘droplet spread’ is a possible method of aerosol transmission. Droplet spread occurs when someone coughs or sneezes, spraying virus inside droplets. The CDC considers the danger zone to be within 3 feet of the sick person, though I’d assume 8 feet is probably safer. To most people, including me, this is airborne transmission in practicality, but in medical parlance it is not. To the CDC, true airborne transmission occurs “when a germ floats through the air after a person talks, coughs, or sneezes” which is a little different, but the fact remains that one can touch nothing and still get Ebola.

That’s bad. But what’s even worse is that Zaire Ebola virus can “survive for long periods in different liquid media and can also be recovered from plastic and glass surfaces at low temperatures for over 3 weeks” (pdf). Got that?

That’s from research conducted over 4 years ago.

The most pertinent details relate to significant quantities of virus being present dried on plastic ebola survival dried onto cold surfaceand glass after 15 days (at 4°C). Two other important positive findings are that no virus could be recovered from materials at room temperature and no virus could be recovered of any metal surface. But for glass and plastic, is dried Ebola infectious after a week or two in cold temperatures?

“This study has demonstrated that filoviruses are able to survive and remain infectious for cell culture, for extended periods when suspended within liquid media and dried onto surfaces. In addition, decay rates of a range of filoviruses, within small-particle aerosols, have been calculated, and these rates suggest that filoviruses are able to survive and remain infectious for cell culture for at least 90 min.”

I hope this virus dies out quickly in the U.S. (and everywhere of course), because an Ebola outbreak in cold temperature, at least for some strains, seems prone to present transmission problems that I imagine no one really wants to face.

Image source

$28,031 and Where Were You in 1987?

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Originally posted Oct 24, 2014; 9:00 pm

Faced with the reality that our (n)ever recovering economy hasn’t reached me yet, I started a totally tolerable, short-term temp job today involving the upcoming election, but not going door-to-door. I was surprised though at hearing that I shouldn’t encourage people to vote if I knew that they are against the position of this campaign.

I thought I’d see if there was anything I wanted to write about and checked the newswire in here. Handy that as I was quickly struck dumb by two awful headlines.

50% Of American Workers Make Less Than $28,031 A Year
90 percent of Americans are poorer today than in 1987

The top headline belongs to another worthy piece from the Economic Collapse blog, which continues its grim stats by telling me that last year “39 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000.”  If you work 40 hours a week at $10 per hour and get two weeks off per year, then you’re making $20,000 (gross pay), taking home maybe $1300-$1400 per month.

102414 US net worth by groupMy temp job pay is a little above that rate, but not what the job advertisement states, which is something I’ll be bringing up with them.

I am very glad to say that I am not poorer than I was in 1987, but that likely due to the fact that I was still in high school. RT reports that, based on a new National Bureau of Economic Research report, a Washington Post blog was the source of the second headline.  on what Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen said a week ago at the Boston Economic Conference on Inequality of Economic Opportunity:

“The wealthiest five percent of American households held 54 percent of all wealth reported in the 1989 survey. Their share rose to 61 percent in 2010 and reached 63 percent in 2013…The extent and continuing increase in inequality in the United States greatly concern me. I think it is appropriate to ask whether this trend is compatible with values rooted in our nation’s history, among them the high value Americans have traditionally placed on equality of opportunity.”

I know very little about Janet Yellen and I don’t know if she really means this or is just saying nice sounding words for show. And if she does mean them, can she do anything to counter it?

I might as well bring the Pope in here. Why? Well this week I’ve found myself, at blog’s launch, agreeing with Hillary Clinton (below) and now possibly the Fed Chair. But this Pope is different, really astoundingly so.  I like this Pope and I’m not even Catholic. His words to remember?

Corruption Is a Greater Evil than Sin

Ebola can be transmitted through the air

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Originally posted Oct 23, 2014; 6:30 pm

I haven’t been looking at news much yet today, trying to stay focused on other things. But I needed to look something up for confirmation and ended up glancing at a couple of the 15 or so stories staring at me. There was a story about Kansas City (MO) hospital workers being threatened with termination if they used the word ‘Ebola’ in any context for any reason. I don’t see how using euphemisms will help with anything other than those officials always being able to say, ‘nope, no Ebola here.’

But it was the link to related content after the article that was truly intriguing. That article starts “Ebola can spread by air in cold, dry weather” referring to a 1995 research study asserting that airborne transmission is possible but not in the warm, moist climates where Ebola is endemic. The study abstract begins “The potential of aerogenic infection by Ebola virus was established by using a head-only exposure aerosol system.”

In 1989, a primate quarantine facility in Reston, VA became an Ebola hotspot because imported monkeys were dying from it. Officials successfully kept the virus isolated. In addition to having no monkeys escape, the good news was that this appeared to be a strain that didn’t infect humans. However the bad news was that the Ebola passed between monkeys which weren’t in the same room. Ebola went airborne, likely traveling in the buildings’ air ducts.

The incident in Reston is thought to be the “first time the infection spread through the air” though it has never been demonstrated between humans. With colder, drier weather becoming prevalent across much of the country for many months, it would be good to know if the Ebola strain/s causing this outbreak can go airborne like those in 1989.

Can’t recall agreeing with Hillary before

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Originally posted Oct 22, 2014; 11:45 pm

I also wouldn’t be terribly surprised if it didn’t happen again for quite a long time. But I just saw this very eye-grabbing headline.

Hillary Clinton says no iPads for Babies

I couldn’t believe it, but then I read the article and saw that Hillary didn’t say one word about

Caution. Danger.
Caution. Danger.

radiation. Nothing about the dangers to children, infants and the unborn, from close range exposure to microwave radiation, even for just 30 minutes according to the FCC (p.15).

Her (and Chelsea’s) focus is on increasing “actual parent-child interactions like talking, reading and singing” especially before the age of two, which is a great idea. Parents continuing to do it after two years old would be even better. Reading is extremely important, but so is keeping powerful microwave transmitters away from children.

As if you didn’t know the economy isn’t recovering

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Originally posted Oct 21, 2014; 10:00 pm

From the Economic Collapse blog retrieved at Zero Hedge:

Barack Obama and the Federal Reserve are lying to you.  The “economic recovery” that we all keep hearing about is mostly just a mirage.  The percentage of Americans that are employed has barely budged since the depths of the last recession, the labor force participation rate is at a 36 year low, the overall rate of homeownership is the lowest that it has been in nearly 20 years and approximately 49 percent of all Americans are financially dependent on the government at this point.  In a recent article, I shared 12 charts that clearly demonstrate the permanent damage that has been done to our economy over the last decade.  The response to that article was very strong.  Many people were quite upset to learn that they were not being told the truth by our politicians and by the mainstream media.  Sadly, the vast majority of Americans still have absolutely no idea what is being done to our economy.  For those out there that still believe that we are doing “just fine”, here are 19 more facts about the messed up state of the U.S. economy

Nine real technologies that will soon be inside you

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Originally posted Oct 21, 2014; 9:15 pm

If you’re like me, then the headline above disturbs you A LOT.

It belongs to an article which asserts that you’ll soon want to have your smartphone embedded inside your forearm, computer chips inside you to ‘heal you’ in various ways or function as birth control, not to mention the brain-computer interface you’ve undoubtedly been struggling all your life without. Who knows if any of this will come to pass as more and more people are realizing that the radiation which runs a lot of this technology isn’t safe.

The only things I need to put in me are food, water and very occasionally a little ‘medicine,’ which is pretty much just foods (garlic, ginger, peppers, elderberry syrup) and herbs in my case.

The language of ‘inevitability’ regarding all this technology is a problem, because we do have the option to not participate in it, right? Right?

Not a scientist. Not a doctor.

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Originally posted Oct 20, 2014; 10:45 pm

Recently there have been numerous (Republican) candidates for office claiming that they are ‘not a scientist, but that you should take them seriously when they say climate change isn’t real.

Seriously?

Many of them (all) are also not doctors, but you had better listen to them right now about what to do regarding Ebola, starting with panicking. Granted there have been numerous missteps in the US and in Africa during this recent crisis, never mind the intentional destruction of African health care infrastructure, but when has panic helped any situation?

Cupertino, We Have A Problem

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You’re going to see a lot of content in here regarding the dangers of radio frequency radiation, the stuff that allows all of your wireless devices (not I don’t have any) to function. This radiation is considered a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization after a near unanimous vote of its International Agency for Research on Cancer. There’s a huge amount of research demonstrating serious concern about these frequencies, mostly in the microwave band.electromagnetic spectrum

Last week I saw this great article, vwhich is really just an open letter to the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook. It is very well written and sourced and is a great summary of the major concerns that I believe every parent would have if they knew a little more about the issue and risks.

It’s worth reading, especially if you have (grand)children who use a cell phone, wifi or tablet at home or school, or who have parents who do. Children are disproportionately at risk from exposure to this radiation and smart phones use way more radiation than older flip phones and tablets use WAY more than smart phones.

Blog launch

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Originally posted Oct 20.

I’m launching this blog to feature links to worthwhile news stories, along with commentary. Generally these stories will have been ignored by larger (usually domestic US) outlets. Some of these stories can also be found on this site’s news feed supplied by an ever increasing number of sources. While you’re here, please explore my audio interviews in the menus above and come back often, as the news feed is constantly changing and I post new audio regularly.