Saturday, October 19, 2013

Olmstead Locks and Dam Project Causes Controversy



All Things Considered:
This week's congressional compromise to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling had a few other provisions as well.
One of them allows additional spending on a lock and dam project on the Ohio River between Kentucky and Illinois.
The amount is $2.1 billion — a rounding error compared with the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling. But it's still enough to rile budget watchdogs, as well as hard-line conservatives who call it pork-barrel spending by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican.
The Army Corps of Engineers has been working on the new lock and dam on the Ohio River since 1988. It's located between the towns of Olmsted and , a few miles up from where the Ohio meets the Mississippi.
It's just downstream from the old set of locks and dams, which date to the 1920s. Some of the machinery operating the locks still needs to be raised and lowered by hand — "by these crews of men and women that are out on an old steamboat," says James Bruggers, energy and the environment for the Louisville Courier-Journal.
"These two old locks and dams that are just upriver from the Olmsted project are a really great example of our nation's crumbling infrastructure," Bruggers says. "They're already sort of a choke point for this commercial barge traffic."
The barges carry coal, grain and other cargo — about 90 million tons per year.
This is one of the biggest construction jobs going right now in the United States, with massive blocks of concrete being lowered into the river.
While this project has been massively over budget, it is a much needed navigational improvement on the Ohio River.  Much of the blame for the overruns come from consultants being dramatically optimistic about the cost of using a complex construction method.  Funding from Congress has been difficult to garner, so this is a big deal.  Check out how the two locks upstream work.  They will be replaced by this project:


Business Interests Consider Targeting Tea Party

Wonkblog:
Now that the shutdown and debt-ceiling fight have exposed a rift in the Republican Party, lines are being drawn in the battle for control: On one side, there is Boehner and his circle of powerful business allies. On the other, tea party lawmakers and activist groups such as Heritage Action and the Club for Growth.
“I don’t know of anybody in the business community who takes the side of the Taliban minority,” said Dirk Van Dongen, longtime chief lobbyist for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, who has known Boehner since the lawmaker’s first election.
In the hallways of the country’s leading trade associations, there is talk about taking on tea party Republicans in at least three states. (Michigan, Alabama and Idaho)
Please God, could the business lobby find somebody with half a brain to take on Jim Jordan (Dumbfuck-OH).  Preferably somebody who, unlike Jordan, hasn't spent his whole career pulling a government salary to attack people who depend on the government to get by as ne'er-do-wells.  Pot-Kettle.

Quote of the Day

“The president gets up every day and reads the newspaper and thanks God that Ted Cruz is in the United States Senate,” a Republican senator pointedly told Cruz at a closed-door meeting.
The President and Jon Stewart.  The rest of the country, not so much.

Classic Jack Handey

As an antidote to the Congressional idiocy the last couple weeks, The New Yorker links to some of Jack Handey's stories they've published over the years.  Dude, that guy is hilarious, and very, very weird.  Here's a sample from one of his stories:
You will never know what it’s like to work on a farm until your hands are raw, just so people can have fresh marijuana. Or what it’s like to go to a factory and put in eight long hours and then go home and realize that you went to the wrong factory.
I don’t hate you; I pity you. You will never appreciate the magnificent beauty of a double rainbow, or the plainness of a regular rainbow.
You will never grasp the quiet joy of holding your own baby, or the quiet comedy of handing him back to his “father.”
The man is a comedy genius.

Haulin' That Gargantuan Cranium About

This has been on my mind all night:


Friday, October 18, 2013

Oil Man

Oil Man from Lucid Inc. on Vimeo.

A Fire Gone Wrong

The Washington Post reports on a 2012 fire in Prince George's County, Maryland, that nearly killed two volunteer firemen.  It is a very powerful and touching story, but this little fact surprised me:
The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department is a massive apparatus, with 45 stations covering about 500 square miles populated by nearly 900,000 people. All but two of the 45 stations are owned by individual volunteer fire companies, which operate independently, purchase their own equipment and make their own personnel decisions but work in concert with the county department. When a 911 call comes in, Prince George’s County Fire/EMS takes command of the dispatched stations.
Countywide, there are 814 salaried fire and EMS personnel and 1,095 volunteers who are certified to ride firetrucks and ambulances.
Some of the volunteer departments are partially staffed by career (meaning, paid) firefighters and paramedics, though not Bladensburg, which has been an all-volunteer station since 2004. Nearly half of its 68 fire- and EMS-certified volunteers are from out of state, Kuenzli said.
“We are the largest, busiest combination volunteer and career department in the United States – and also the most complex,” said Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor, whose annual budget exceeds $125 million.
Averaging about 135,000 fire and emergency medical calls annually, the department is among the 15 busiest in the United States, according to Firehouse Magazine’s National Run Survey. In the most recent survey, Prince George’s ranked ahead of San Diego, San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta and Boston but behind the District and Baltimore.
And this is amazing:
O’Toole suffered second- and third-degree burns to both hands and wrists and first- and second-degree burns to most of his chest and back along with most of both legs and arms. There were 10 surgeries in Washington and then three more in Long Island, plus an endless series of rehabilitation appointments and occupational therapy sessions.
He has spent most of the past 19 months trying to get back to work, to return to the very thing that nearly killed him.
“I would love to be a career fireman for the rest of my life,” he said one afternoon in the Bladensburg engine bay, standing in the shadow of Truck 809. “[Stuff] happens, and it’s unfortunate. Soldiers get blown up. Cops get shot. Firefighters get burned. . . . I knew what I was doing. I knew the risks.”.....
The culture of the fire service is a potent, magnetic force. Firefighters who are burned in the line of duty typically come rushing back – or hope to, anyway.
“The majority of guys who get hurt, they’ll tell you that’s their goal from Day 1, to get back to work,” said Jason Woods, president of the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation. “It’s hard to explain. Most civilian burn survivors don’t even want to be next to a campfire. These guys will tell you they want to go back into a burning building.”
Near the end of August, O’Toole sent an e-mail to Kuenzli about his possible return. O’Toole said he wanted to get back on the truck to ride again.
Read the whole thing.  The most powerful part of it to this old man is that both of the injured firemen were in their early 20s, and they both look like little kids in the pictures.

Now That's Steep

The Atlantic features pictures of Gruyere cheese makers in Switzerland as they make cheese and their cows pasture in the mountains for the summer.  This picture blew me away:

Cows graze in a field at the Tsermon mountain pasture in Gruyeres, Switzerland, on July 30, 2013. (Reuters/Denis Balibouse) #


Holy shit is that steep. They also have pictures of the end of summer procession of the cows from the mountain pastures down to the valley.  Last year I had a picture from one of these in Bavaria.  That's beautiful country.

Accelerated Bridge Construction


Wired:
Construction began late last year, with a combination of pre-made components being shipped in while the construction of two new superstructures on temporary supports were mounted alongside the current bridge.
“We assembled these pre-cast elements into a single span,” Sivakumar explains. “With one superstructure in the median area between the two existing bridges and another north of the westbound bridge. While all this was happening, [the construction crew] built a new superstructure underneath the existing bridge.” And all this was happening without any effect on traffic.
“People see what’s going on, but there’s no impact to them,” says Sivakumar.
At 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 21, the DOT closed I-84 and the first round of demolition began, with crews working for four hours to rip apart the dilapidated structure. And then the slide began.
Four 100-ton jacks began pushing on the new roadway plates, each set atop a “slide track” with a teflon surface that slips across the underside of the polished, stainless steel plates. But each jack only has a stroke of around 30 inches, so every two and a half feet the plates slide, the crews move the jacks forward to push the new roadway further.
“It’s a slow process,” Sivakumar admits. But the bridge was in place eight hours later, and Sivakumar says it could have been done in four to six hours, “but it was pouring that night.”
The final step was to raise the approaches of the road on either side of the bridge to match the new structure’s height and length, so an army of asphalt trucks, pavers, and workers descended on the two sides to build up the additional space and make it strong enough to handle the hundreds of thousands of tractor trailers that would roll over it in the coming years.
The westbound span was opened to traffic at 12:55 p.m. the following day, widened into a single span bridge that was 80 feet long and 57 feet wide — more than twice the width of the previous bridge — with three lanes and two full-size shoulders.
This Saturday, October 19, the eastbound span will be slid into place, and if weather isn’t an issue, Sivakumar says the new span could be open even earlier.
That's pretty cool, but I can't imagine how nerve wracking it would be to do this the first time.  I know I'd be shitting my pants as they started jacking the deck over.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wisdom from Whitey

Grantland highlights a classic 1992 profile of Whitey Herzog for the LA Times Magazine in 1992, by Pat Jordan.  There is a lot of classic shit in the article, but this brought back some memories:
 He was born in 1931 and raised in one of those small, pinched, hardscrabble Midwestern towns so well delineated in the stories of Sherwood Anderson — a town where people tend to remember a native son's failures more than his successes. When Herzog returned to his hometown as a big-league baseball player in the '50s, people would say to him, "Your brother Herman was a better player than you." Herzog would snap back, "Why don't you ask him? He's carrying mail right here in town."
New Athens (pronounced Ay-thens), Ill., population 2,100, lies 40 miles east of St. Louis. Sixty years ago, much as it is today, New Athens was a farming and coal-mining town with two lumber mills, strip mines, a foundry, a brewery and 16 bars. Its inhabitants, mostly descendants of German immigrants, were neat, clean, orderly, punctual, hard-working and hard-drinking people who, inexplicably and proudly, referred to themselves as hard-headed Dutchmen. They saw the daily sameness of their lives as comforting, not confining. A day in the mines. Shots and beers on the way home. Checkers on Saturdays at the barbershop. The big Sunday dinner. Laundry on Monday. When Herzog passed through town with a U.S. Army baseball team in 1953, he took his teammates on a tour. He told them who would be sitting where in which bar at what time, and they were. Thirty-four years later, Herzog would write in his autobiography, "White Rat": "And unless they're dead, that's where they are right now."
Herzog is reticent about his parents. He says only that his mother worked hard in a shoe factory and was so fanatically strict about cleanliness that he preferred to stay away from home as long as possible, playing sports and working at the Mound City Brewing Co., where he learned to drink beer like his father. Edgar Herzog worked at the brewery, where he had the distinction of never having missed a day of work. Herzog remembers his father telling him: "Be there early and give them a good day's work, so when it comes time to lay someone off, it'll be the other guy."
So I was in Whitey's old neighborhood visiting a friend from college right after we graduated.  It so happened that we were hanging out on Saturday evening at a campground with his friend from high school, his folks and a bunch of people he grew up around.  We had a good time drinking and shooting the shit.  Finally, at 11:00, he loaded his friend and I in his car to go to the liquor store in town and meet up with his girlfriend.  She left work and we drove for a couple of blocks, then my friend got out of his car, went up and talked to her, then came back and told me to have his friend give me directions to his grandma's house where I could crash out until he got done "visiting' with his girlfriend.

I took the wheel of his car, and followed his friend's directions to my roommate's grandma's house.  When I got there, I parked the car and started to the door, his friend asked if I wanted to head back to the campground for a while.  I figured I had nothing to lose, so I went back out there with him.  After way too many beers, I was arguing politics and sports with one of the boss men from the campground (and I was hitting on his wife).  He found out I was a Reds fan, and made some snide remark about Pete Rose.

That was game on.  I told him that Pete was the best player ever, and when the guy kept giving me shit, I looked at him, and told him that Whitey Herzog was a homosexual.    Now most likely, that wasn't the thing to say about Whitey.  But somehow, I was able to keep the guy from punching me, and then hanging out with him for a while before my roommate's friend and I had to head back to town.  Needless to say, when my roommate and I were sober again, we had a few good stories to tell.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Beautiful Seascapes

THE WORLD GEOGRAPHY features 10 beautiful pictures of unique oceanic scenes.  Here's one of the most interesting:

In the resort town of Skagen you can watch an amazing natural phenomenon. This city is the northernmost point of Denmark, where the Baltic and North Seas meet. The two opposing tides in this place can not merge because they have different densities
The area where the Baltic and the North Sea come into contact is quite shallow and so the contact face is relatively small. There is of course some mixing but it is quite minimal due to the difference of the density.
It is also helped by the fact that the Baltic is not tidal which keeps most of its water within the Baltic basin and this water is constantly being reduced in salinity by the rivers which drain into the Baltic. Were it not for that small opening into the North Sea the Baltic would be a giant fresh water lake. The contact area is a great sight to witness. [link, map]
There are a bunch of awesome pictures there.

Hahahahahahahahaha

So this government shutdown was for what?  Obamacare is still in place (although it is struggling mightily, and might be the biggest story on the news if Republicans weren't able to make the most incompetent Democrats look like Goddamn geniuses) and Republicans got pretty much jackshit out of their "negotiations" .  So we went through 16 days of bullshit sideshows like the World War II Memorial circus, and the evidence comes in that if my Congressman, John Boehner, had brought the original Senate bills to the floor, we never would have had a government shutdown.  But the thing is, the Republicans made themselves look so damn stupid all on their own.  This was the world's biggest unforced error. 

I have been wondering something about the WWII monument clusterfuck.  Tea Partiers claim to be big fans of history.  Yet, they didn't realize that in the last government shutdown the National Park service shut down the D.C. memorials?  And did they realize that the same big government that they hate now was much more omnipresent during World War II?  The government then had a much higher debt to GDP ratio, dictated what industry would build, built factories to manufacture more products for government purchase, rationed fuel and food, installed price and wage controls, enforced mandatory conscription, taxed incomes at rates up to 90%, enforced blackouts at night and generally made Barack Obama look like a reactionary.  How can they shut down the government, make some ridiculous scene about the government blocking veterans from their memorial because the government they shut down is shut down, and then talk about how much freedom we've lost compared to when those same veterans were young.  How is that for cognitive dissonance?  These guys claim to be patriots, but they are the Southern Democrats of 1861.

RADIANCE

After the last couple weeks of sheer idiocy, I could use me some Northern Lights:

RADIANCE from LakeSuperiorPhoto on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

STUKENBORG

STUKENBORG from Order & Other on Vimeo.

Fallout From the South Dakota Blizzard

Scientific American:
Ranchers are both trying to bury animals and haul them to roadways where renderers will remove the bodies. But while the snow melt has allowed for roadways to be cleared, the pastures in many areas are flooded or too muddy to access, making it hard to collect carcasses and to care for surviving animals.
Silvia Christen, executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, said most cattle ranchers do not carry private insurance policies because they are cost prohibitive and have exclusions that would have ruled out coverage in this situation anyway.
She said the ranchers' only financial assistance would be found in a disaster program that is part of a proposed U.S. farm bill. But the U.S. government shutdown and delays in passing a new farm bill have left ranchers with no assistance.
Ranchers are not able to even consult with their U.S. Farm Service Agency representatives on how to document their cattle losses, since the FSA workers are on furlough because of the shutdown, she said.
Christen said each calf lost has a market value of roughly $800-$900 and each cow is valued at about $1,800, so the total losses could easily be in the tens of millions of dollars.
"This is a major financial loss for these ranchers," she said. As well, she said, the emotional loss has been wrenching.
A Modern Farmer article has some gruesome pictures of dead cattle.  It is notable that there are things the federal government does for rural folks, even though a large percentage of Congressmen representing rural areas don't seem to realize that.  My prayers go out to all those ranchers.  I can't imagine how terrible that is.

This is What You Get When You Vote for Morons

The House Republicans can't even agree amongst themselves on a proposal to settle this fuckup they (along with that narcissistic prick Ted Cruz) brought on.  Josh Barro isn't surprised:
Roughly one-third of this caucus thinks hitting the debt ceiling and shutting down the government are great strategies to try to stop Obamacare. The other two-thirds of the party has realized all along that this strategy sucks, but they could not find any way to stop their party from implementing it — even though these "reasonable" Republicans outnumber the crazies....
Can you imagine the situation this country would be in if Republicans controlled both houses of Congress right now? Or if we had a President whose administration gets jerked around by Heritage Action in the same way that House Republicans do? It would be a trainwreck, and "reasonable" Republicans like Nunes would still be on television saying they understand it's a trainwreck, but by golly, operationally, they had no way to stop it.
There is no serious argument for Republican governance right now, even if you prefer conservative policies over liberal ones. These people are just too dangerously incompetent to be trusted with power.
A party that is this bad at tactics can't be expected to be any good at policy-making.
Voting for Republicans to run the government is like putting arsonists in charge of the fire department.  These idiotic, mouth breathing, Dominionist, dumbfuck assholes have no business being in charge of a Neighborhood Watch or a church council, let alone being the deciding votes on whether to allow a completely unnecessary default on our national debt. If you look at the Tea Party caucus very closely, you'll see some of the dumbest people to ever serve in Washington.  Unfortunately, we may just find out how dangerous that many incompetent morons in power can be.

Hopefully, the Senate, along with Democrats and what few sane Republicans are in the House, will be able to get something done to prevent a financial meltdown for no reason other than letting bed wetters play with matches.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Lac-Megantic After the Blast

All Things Considered follows up on the Quebec town blown up by the runaway shale oil train that derailed in the middle of town in July:
Parts of the city were flattened by the blast. Underneath the remaining buildings, cleanup crews have discovered that much of Lac-M├ęgantic's downtown is saturated with heavy metals — lead, arsenic, copper — and that thick crude oil. Three months after the explosion, they are still pumping spilled crude oil and chemicals from underneath what used to be a gorgeous lakefront street.
In his office, Mercier spreads out a map on his desk, showing the vast scope of the cleanup.
"So, the petroleum mostly flew on the ground, on this side to the lake. So, the lake was burning for a big part," he says. "That was something to see, yeah? You can see here, all the landscape in this area is destroyed ... all these houses are gone now. Nothing there, nothing there."
A fleet of huge trucks and backhoes is laying the foundation for an entirely new downtown. Officials have decided that a new business district is needed to replace what's been destroyed or contaminated.
About $116 million has been pledged for that effort, but no one's sure what the final price tag will be. The province of Quebec and Canada's national government are feuding over how much to spend and who should pay.
They also go into some detail about the tanker cars, and their shortcomings:
But much of the scrutiny has fallen on the type of freight car that erupted that day — the big, sausage-shaped tank car known in the industry as a DOT-111A.
"It's rigid, it's prone to derailment, and when it derails because of the coupling design, they're prone to puncture," says Lloyd Burton, a professor at the University of Colorado who studies rail transport of hazardous materials.
It turns out DOT-111A's make up two-thirds of the tank cars used in the U.S. and Canada — they're like the workhorse of the rail industry.
Thousands of them roll through towns and cities across America every day. And Burton says they're carrying increasing amounts of increasingly volatile crude oil and chemicals produced by North America's booming energy industry.
"The most dangerous crude, the highest sulfur crude, the most explosive and most flammable materials are being carried in tank cars," he says, "And they're being carried in tank cars that are simply not equal to the task."
For decades, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has been issuing strongly worded reports about the safety of these very same DOT-111A's, calling them "inadequate" for carrying "dangerous products."
Despite those warnings, the rail industry has resisted replacing its tank car fleet.
However, that seems to be changing a little bit.  Pipelines have fewer accidents than trains, when transporting oil and petroleum products.  However, when they do have problems, they are usually pretty big:

Initial investigations following a 20,600-barrel leak on a Tesoro Logistics pipeline in North Dakota point to corrosion on the 20-year-old pipeline, state regulators said Friday.
The 6-inch pipeline was carrying crude oil from the Bakken shale play to the Stampede rail facility outside Columbus, N.D., when a farmer discovered oil spouting from it Sept. 29.
It is the state's largest oil spill since it became a major U.S. producer. It is also the biggest oil leak on U.S. land since March, when an Exxon Mobil pipeline spilled 5,000 to 7,000 barrels of heavy Canadian crude in Mayflower, Ark...
The pipeline, which runs 35 miles from Tioga to Black Slough in North Dakota, was built by BP in 1993.
It is a part of Tesoro's "High Plains" pipeline system in North Dakota and Montana, which gathers oil from the Bakken shale and delivers it to another Enbridge pipeline and Tesoro's 68,000 barrels-per-day Mandan refinery.
Tesoro bought the pipeline and the refinery from BP in 2001.
Farmer Steven Jensen said Thursday the smell of sweet light crude oil wafted on his farm for four days before he discovered the leak, leading to questions about why the spill wasn't detected sooner.
"These companies, they've got to step up to the plate and use better technology. There is no reason this shouldn't have come up somewhere," Jensen said.
Anyway, the Lac-Megantic disaster was a combination of numerous issues.  Hopefully, lessons were learned, but I have a feeling that not enough were.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Has Detroit Bottomed Out?

Bob Simon profiles the city and the people who are working to improve it:




I have to say, it made me smile to see that guy with the New Holland baler out baling hay off of vacant lots. It'd be awesome to see him fence in a city block or two and run some cattle. I'm amongst the folks hoping for the best for Detroit. In 10 years I'd like to see stories about the amazing renaissance of Detroit.

JACK

JACK from Grace Jackson on Vimeo.

Wired Space Photo of the Day

Since Republicans don't believe in having a functional government, I'll have to turn to the for-profit sector (just as the Republicans want, even though the photo is borrowed from the Europeans):

Hebes Chasma

This mosaic of Hebes Chasma is composed of eight single images taken with the High Resolution Stereo Camera on Mars Express, corresponding to orbits 360 (2 May 2004), 2149 (16 September 2005), 3217 (12 July 2006), 5142 (3 January 2008), 5160 (8 January 2008), 5178 (13 January 2008), 6241 (11 November 2008), and 7237 (24 August 2009). The image centre lies at about 1°S / 284°E.
Hebes Chasma is an enclosed, almost 8 km-deep trough stretching 315 km in an east–west direction and 125 km from north to south at its widest point. It sits about 300 km north of the vast Valles Marineris canyon. A flat-topped mesa is located in the centre of Hebes Chasma, which was likely shaped by the action of wind and water.
Image: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum) [high-resolution]

More Rural Voters Threaten Secession From State

This time it's Western Maryland, and not Northern Colorado:
Strzelczyk, a father of five from New Windsor, Maryland, told the conservative Tea Party group in Westminster, about 50 miles north of Washington, that the uphill fight for secession was essential because of gerrymandering by Democrats.
"We are basically enslaved to one political party. There is no simple way around that," Strzelczyk said in a movie-themed mall restaurant, with a life-size cutout of John Wayne as part of the backdrop.
He was also fed up with rising fees and taxes and a state land-use plan he sees as government meddling. But the last straw, he said, was the state's passage this year of one of the toughest gun control laws in the country.
Maryland's five western counties - Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Carroll and Frederick - stretching east from the Allegheny Mountains, stand in sharp contrast to urban areas centered on Baltimore and the Washington suburbs.
Census Bureau figures show the area has 11 percent of Maryland's population of 5.9 million and much of it has significantly lower median income than the state as a whole. It has a much higher percentage of white residents, compared with 58 percent of the state overall.
Garrett County Commissioner Gregan Crawford said the mountainous county had good relations with the state capital Annapolis, and with Washington, and had received extra state money for education and sports events.
"When you look at the reality of what it would take to secede, it's really, I think, a folly," Crawford said.
A spokeswoman for Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley had no comment on the Western Maryland Initiative.
Well at least Northern Colorado has a bunch of oil and gas money coming in.  These guys are being subsidized by the rest of the state and are still wanting to leave.  Things are tough enough in rural areas without folks trying to make themselves worse off.  I just don't understand these folks.

The Salmonella Outbreak and the Government Shutdown

Maryn McKenna:
We’re 11 days now into the federal shutdown and four days since the announcement of a major foodborne outbreak in chicken that is challenging the shutdown-limited abilities of the food-safety and disease-detective personnel at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture. Here’s an update.

The CDC has been able to bring back a few personnel to work on this — but only a few. Meanwhile, the Salmonella causing the outbreak has been shown to be multiple strains, several of which are resistant to multiple families of antibiotics.
McKenna goes through the CDC program and its staffing, then tells a little bit about the bacteria involved:

Now, the organism itself: This is interesting and troubling.
  • There are seven strains of Salmonella circulating within this outbreak.
  • Within the limited testing they have been able to do, the CDC has determined that four of the seven strains are drug-resistant.
  • Two of the four are resistant to many antibiotics.
  • The antibiotics to which the strains are resistant are: ampicillin, chloramphenicol, gentamicin, kanamycin, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, and tetracycline.
  • This complex resistance pattern “is probably contributing to the high hospitalization rate,” Braden told me.
If you’ve been hanging around here for a while, you’ll know that I’m interested in drug resistance in food, because it distributes drug-resistant infection more broadly through the world, and because it often indicates that the resistance arose from antibiotic use in agriculture......The pattern of resistance in these isolates is different from that in the earlier Foster Farms outbreak; there also was just one strain in that outbreak compared to seven in this one. In addition, that outbreak was centered on Foster Farms slaughterhouses in Washington State; this one appears to be centered in California.
“Presumably there is something (in the Foster Farms production chain) that is feeding into multiple facilities,” Braden said. And then he added something that made my heart skip a little:
The information that we’re getting from this outbreak — with so many strains, the fact that a number of them are multi-drug resistant, the fact that there’s some overlap with the previous outbreak, but there’s some new ones — is outstripping our understanding of what’s happening in those facilities and what’s happening in the production farms back upstream.
If Republicans' plan was to shut down the government to highlight important work done by said government, they are doing a hell of a job of it in this case.  I don't believe that was their intention, but if they were looking to inform the public opinion of themselves as nihilistic morons who have no business in public service, they are doing a hell of a job of that, too.

On the ag side of things, this is one more marker that something will have to change, and the sooner the better when it comes to confinement livestock facilities and routine use of antibiotics.  We are flirting with disaster, and the less things change, the higher the probability that such a disaster will come.  Hopefully, as the Republicans give up on their idiotic shutdown, CDC will get back to work, and maybe they'll find out this outbreak isn't as scary as it sounds like.  But, before that can take place, the Republicans have to give up on their idiocy, and they are pretty proud of said idiocy.

What's That Name Again?

This made me laugh:

 
CBS:
The Holy See has recalled thousands of commemorative papal medals after the word "Jesus" was misspelled as "Lesus."
According to the Vatican Information Service, more than 6,000 of the medals were produced by the Italian State Mint to commemorate the beginning of Francis' papacy.
The medal features a portrait of Francis on one side and on the other, a Latin phrase that the future pontiff says inspired him as a teenager to pursue the priesthood: "Vidit ergo Jesus publicanum et quia miserando antque eligendo vidit, ait illi sequere me." (Translation: "Jesus, therefore, saw the publican, and because he saw by having mercy and by choosing, He said to him, 'Follow me'").
However, the letter "J" in Jesus was mistakenly replaced with the letter "L."
Now this is a spokesman:
 ‘‘Everybody makes mistakes,’’ the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said on Friday. ‘‘Even people who make coins.’’
Not infallible.