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:

While cattle are faulted for massive deforestation in the Amazon (when ranchers clear cut and burn to create range land), The New York Times reports that cutting edge land management techniques would allow a tripling of production — without massive forest cutting.

Be well-rested before driving: AAA says being two to three hours short on sleep can quadruple one’s crash risk, as it causes impairment equal to drunk driving.

A second trial, wherein the U.S. government sought felony charges against a humanitarian activist, resulted in a “not guilty” verdict, the Arizona Daily Star reported last week. The first trial, last June, resulted in a hung jury when trying to determine if Scott Daniel Warren, part of the group No More Deaths, was guilty of harboring undocumented immigrants when providing the desert-trekkers with food, water and lifesaving supplies. Had Warren been found guilty, he would have faced up to 20 years in prison. The No More Deaths group stated: humanitarian aid should never be a crime.

Give a dog a bone… maybe. Some vets are saying don’t, others say it’s OK. Of course, a dog with a bone is engaging in ancient canine behavior; nonetheless it needs to be supervised, says veterinarian columnist Dr. Karen S. Becker. Case in point is a dog that required a five-hour surgery to remove bone shards from the roof of its mouth, and extensive dental work. Becker’s tips for bones and dogs: know your dog’s chewing type. “Scarfers” need a large bone that can’t be swallowed whole; in some cases no bones are advised. “Aggressive chewers” prefer to demolish the bone ASAP, and it needs to be taken away when it’s whittled to an unsafe size. “Soft chewers” gnaw gently, sometimes due to age; they can do well with antlers that are appropriate to the dog’s size, i.e, small for small dogs.

As of December, Thailand plans to ban the pesticides glyphosate, paraquat and chlorpyrifos. But, says Pesticide Action Network, U.S. officials are pressuring Thailand to scrap its plans.

One acre of forest can consume the pollution from one car that’s driven 26,000 miles a year, according to American Forests. 

Fox News senior legal analyst Andrew Napolitano (a Republican and former judge), stated last week that, from the impeachment hearing testimony, he can predict the charges against the president: bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors, election law violations, obstruction of justice, interference with a witness and “the fifth may be lying under oath.” He added that, “the evidence of impeachable behavior at this point, in my view, is overwhelming,” and the president has not provided a coherent defense. As well, Napolitano said the president has prohibited from testifying those the president says would exonerate him. Napolitano did not say this on Fox News; rather, his statements were made on Reason TV.

Australia’s largest city, Sydney, is on track to run out of water in 2022, says the water minister of New South Wales.

Mysterious death: Humanitarian pioneer James LeMesurier, a former British Army officer, was recently found dead near his apartment in Turkey. Police said the 48-year-old may have died from a fall. A few days earlier, Russia had accused him of being a U.K. intelligence agent with terrorist connections. LeMesurier founded Mayday Rescue to save lives in conflict zones, and had been honored by Queen Elizabeth for his work. He is not alone in the distinction of mysterious Russian-related deaths (internet search: “mysterious deaths with Russian links.”)

Not-so-new EPA policy proposal: The agency would like to ignore links between pollution and disease, unless scientists provide all raw data, including confidential medical records, reports The New York Times. A similar proposal a year ago was shelved after public rejection. New EPA policies, even if adopted, don’t fare well in court. The Natural Resources Defense Council says they have a high 92% victory rate when challenging the EPA.

Blast from the past: One of the more currently relevant quotes to come out of the 1974 Watergate hearings came from Indiana Congressman Earl Landgrebe, who was intensely devoted to President Richard Nixon. Despite near unanimous agreement of wrongdoing by the president, and calls for his impeachment from all parties, Landgrebe said, “Don’t confuse me with the facts… I’ve got a closed mind.” Nixon resigned rather than go down in history as having been impeached.

And another blast: “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers.” Socrates, Greek philosopher; he died in 399 BCE.

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