Bits ‘n’ Pieces

From east, west and beyond

By Lorraine H. Marie
Reader Columnist

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

Mexico has only one gun store, which may explain: Between 2009 and 2018, of the 132,823 guns recovered from crime scenes in Mexico, 70% were traced to the U.S., the Los Angeles Times reported. The Times said most came from “straw purchasers” who then sold to cartels or middlemen.

Georgia culled thousands of voters from voter rolls for not voting. Then reporters found 294 that had voted recently but were culled anyway, according to Mother Jones. The state subsequently restored their rights. A similar scenario unfolded in Ohio, which had planned to separate 50,000 voters from their voting rights.

Speaking of voting, a cyber-security firm has found numerous election websites in Michigan and Wisconsin to be “highly vulnerable to hacking,” the Washington Post reported. The firm also found problems in Florida, and said failure to fix the problems, for which there’s been ample time, amounts to another form of voter suppression and could falsely skew election results.

New York is the first state in the nation to pass a law prohibiting the declawing of cats. Declawing could be better described as de-knuckling, says Alley Cat Allies, since it involves the amputation of the last bones of a cat’s toe. It is akin to cutting off a human’s finger up to the first knuckle. A declawed cat typically experiences pain that causes them to avoid the litter box, and can lead a cat to bite instead of using their claws. When Los Angeles banned declawing, the city experienced a 43% decrease in “problem” cats being turned over to shelters.

Maybe it should have been Plan A, not Plan B: Japan will turn the farmland contaminated by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster into 11 wind and 10 solar farms, Renew Economy reports.

Turkey “census”: there are 100 million turkeys raised on U.S. farms; 46 million will be eaten for Thanksgiving. Another 22 million, says the National Turkey Federation, sell during the Christmas season. Typical corporate-raised turkeys (accounting for 85-90% of all turkeys sold in the U.S.) have liberal doses of antibiotics, GMO feed and painful beak trimmings, and live in inhumane quarters, says the Organic Consumers Association. Factory-farmed turkeys also generate pollution. OCA encourages turkey consumers to seek responsibly raised birds.

A recent study of more than 46,000 male health professionals (ages 40 to 75) revealed that eating poultry or fish daily, instead of red meat,reduced their risk of diverticulitis by 20%, according to UC-Berkeley’s School of Public Health.

On his TruNews program Rick Wiles, a far-right commentator known for anti-Semitism and unique conspiracy theories, recently stated that if the president is impeached Trump supporters who “know how to fight” will start a killing campaign against Democratic legislators. “They are going to go on a rampage and you’re not going to be able to put it back in the bottle,” he said.

Waste of judicial resources? The current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has lost 80% of its cases in the D.C. Circuit Court, compared to 19% of cases lost under the previous administration.

Since 2008, newsrooms have let go 28,000 employees (and over 3,000 this year). The Columbia Journalism Review laid out one presidential candidate’s plan for saving corporate media news from further job cuts: apply an immediate moratorium on federal approval of mergers of major media companies; give employees the chance to purchase media outlets; increase federal funding for programs that support local public media; reinstate and strengthen media ownership rules, thereby limiting the number of stations a large broadcast corporation can own; and enforce antitrust laws against Facebook and Google to stop their cannibalizing of news organizations.

Around 60% of all American wealth is inherited, according to an estimate from economist Thomas Piketty.

Blast from the past: President Franklin Roosevelt in 1937 authorized member-owned and operated rural electric cooperatives. Prior to that, 90% of farms had no power; 16 years later, in 1953, 90% of farms were wired. Today there are nearly 900 rural electric cooperatives (RECs) that provide power in 47 states, collect $45 billion in revenues and support 71,000 employees. Since 1989, RECs have received more than $600 million in federal zero-interest loans and grants that have boosted co-ops that are developing electrical power as well as internet projects. For more info check out We Own It online.

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