Tuesday Open Thread

There's a freezing rain storm here today and very gray skies. It's the kind where you can hear the wind from inside and watch the rain pound the windows and you just know you aren't going outside unless you have to.

I'm going to spend it reading discovery, listening to wiretaps and organizing my files.

I'll leave the blogging to you.

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    Nailing Karl Rove? (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 01:06:18 PM EST
    The Office of Special Counsel will investigate U.S. attorney firings and other political activities led by Karl Rove.
    ...the Office of Special Counsel is preparing to jump into one of the most sensitive and potentially explosive issues in Washington, launching a broad investigation into key elements of the White House political operations that for more than six years have been headed by chief strategist Karl Rove.
    "We will take the evidence where it leads us," Scott J. Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel and a presidential appointee, said in an interview Monday. "We will not leave any stone unturned."
    I wonder how independent they really are, and how far they'll be allowed to get, before Bloch is fired himself.

    Don't get your hopes up (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Alien Abductee on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 01:34:39 PM EST
    From The Carpetbagger:

    Mr. Bloch, a Lawrence, Kan., lawyer and former counsel to the Justice Department's Task Force for Faith-based and Community Initiatives, was appointed special counsel in 2003 by President Bush. The 106-person office reviews sensitive personnel cases in which federal workers report wrongdoing. The office also reviews cases in which federal workers claim they have been wrongly fired or retaliated against because of such reports.

    Now, some current and former employees of Mr. Bloch are claiming wrongdoing. An administrative complaint filed with the agency two weeks ago by unnamed workers and several nonprofit legal groups charges that Mr. Bloch and his chief political deputy, James Renne, have pushed out career staff members, hired associates who lack labor-law experience and ordered 12 career staff members to be fired unless they accepted immediate transfers to a regional office slated to open this year in Detroit...

        When Scott Bloch was appointed by President Bush to lead the Office of Special Counsel, one of the first things he did early last year was to scrub all department literature of any mention of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Last spring career employees within the OSC say they informed members of Congress and the press that Bloch was ignoring this part of the agency's mandate.

        What happened next, according to a legal complaint filed by a group of anonymous OSC employees, was a series of retaliatory strikes by Bloch. First, he slapped a blanket gag order on all employees, forbidding them from talking about agency matters with anyone, including members of Congress, without first getting permission from Bloch or one of his political appointees.

    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 01:55:10 PM EST
    Since I posted that I've received email from a well known journalist who is working on a big article about this:
    I've got a big article coming out on this. It's a facade. I wish it were truly a real investigation. [identifier deleted] But alas, it's just smoke and mirrors.

    Good to know some of them (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Alien Abductee on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:14:31 PM EST
    are reading the blogs, and not just to slam the competition. We all have interests in common in this after all.

    This big article will be in a major daily? And soon?

    The WH strategy will probably be to sweep all these scandals under this one umbrella and then say these matters are all under investigation now and so we can't discuss them. And so run out the clock without accountability.

    I hope this article takes the tack of blowing the whistle on that and trying to force a real investigation instead of letting the usual Rovian beard play itself out.


    It should be in the next few days. (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:17:39 PM EST
    I can't say where without identifying the author. But you'll recognize the name.

    Scott J. Bloch is himself under investigation (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:31:00 PM EST
    Bush Appointed Rove Investigator Being Investigated
    By Jason Leopold, truthout, Tuesday 24 April 2007
    A federal investigation into the political activities of Karl Rove, was announced late Tuesday, is being headed by a Bush appointee who is currently the target of an internal White House probe - calling into question the integrity of the administration's efforts to conduct an independent review of Rove's work as White House political adviser.

    The news underscores how deeply the Bush administration is mired in scandal.

    The old (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Alien Abductee on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 06:46:11 PM EST
    watchdogs that need watchdogs trick. It never ends.

    Might see Leahy boil over again. (none / 0) (#84)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 06:50:00 PM EST
    Leaky pots never boil (none / 0) (#85)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 07:34:03 PM EST
    The sharks are circling (none / 0) (#93)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 11:46:14 PM EST
    and the water is at least frothy and pink, if not yet full of blood.

    Vanishing Bees (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Peaches on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 01:17:18 PM EST
    Not that there isn't enough things to worry about, but this is slightly bothersome. Especially, if you have a garden...or if you eat.

    What is happening to the bees?

    More than a quarter of the country's 2.4 million bee colonies have been lost -- tens of billions of bees, according to an estimate from the Apiary Inspectors of America, a national group that tracks beekeeping. So far, no one can say what is causing the bees to become disoriented and fail to return to their hives.

    As with any great mystery, a number of theories have been posed, and many seem to researchers to be more science fiction than science. People have blamed genetically modified crops, cellular phone towers and high-voltage transmission lines for the disappearances. Or was it a secret plot by Russia or Osama bin Laden to bring down American agriculture? Or, as some blogs have asserted, the rapture of the bees, in which God recalled them to heaven? Researchers have heard it all.

    A recent survey of 13 states by the Apiary Inspectors of America showed that 26 percent of beekeepers had lost half of their bee colonies between September and March.

    Honeybees are arguably the insects that are most important to the human food chain. They are the principal pollinators of hundreds of fruits, vegetables, flowers and nuts. The number of bee colonies has been declining since the 1940s, even as the crops that rely on them, such as California almonds, have grown. In October, at about the time that beekeepers were experiencing huge bee losses, a study by the National Academy of Sciences questioned whether American agriculture was relying too heavily on one type of pollinator, the honeybee.

    I heard this story.... (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:04:54 PM EST
    and it got me thinking I can't remember the last time I saw a bee...when I was a kid they were everywhere.  

    The Latest theory (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by squeaky on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:41:30 PM EST
    Is that Cell Phones and their transmitters are kiling the bees.

    They cannot tolerate microwaves. It messes up their navigation system.



    Debunking Phone Radiation (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by squeaky on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:40:16 PM EST
    This article suggests that commercial beekeeping has narrowed the genetic pool, like we do with cows, may be why so many bees are dying.  

    Pesticides? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 01:24:03 PM EST
    The fact that other bees or parasites seem to shun the emptied hives raises suspicions that some kind of toxin or chemical is keeping the insects away, Cox-Foster said.

    France saw a huge fall in its bee population in the 1990s, blamed on the insecticide Gaucho which has now been banned in the country.


    Give thanks for corn. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 01:56:31 PM EST

    At least the volume grains we depend on for life like wheat, corn, etc. are not polinated by bees.

    You are wrong (3.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Peaches on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:01:22 PM EST
    You don't know much about plants, do you?

    No, he's right. (1.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:17:21 PM EST
    No, he's right. Wheat and corn are both wind-pollenated. Rice also isn't pollenated by bees.

    Here (PDF) is a list of things that either require or benefit from bee pollination. Those marked with * are usually grown in fields that are stocked with bee hives:

    Forage and Legume Crops - *Alfalfa; buckwheat; clover (alsike, berseem, crimson, Egyptian, *Ladino, *red, rose, strawberry, and white); *crown vetch; sweet clover (*Hubam, *white, *yellow); lespedeza (bush); *trefoil; vetch (*hairy and purple).

    Fruit Crops - *Apple; apricot; *avocado; berry (blackberry, *blueberry, *cranberry, gooseberry, raspberry, and *strawberry); carambola; *cherry; citrus (*grapefruit, lemon, *mandarin, nectarine, *tangelo, and *tangerine) *kiwi, mango, passion fruit, *peach; *pear; persimmon, *plum, and prune.

    Nut Crops - *Almond, cashew, chestnut, coconut, and *macadamia. Oilseed Crops - *Cotton, flax, *rape, *safflower, soybeans, *sunflower, tung.

    Vegetable Seed Crops - Asparagus, *broccoli, *brussel sprouts, *carrots, *cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbage, collard, cucumber, dill, eggplant, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leek, *lima beans, mustard, *onion, parsley, *pepper, pumpkin, *radish, rutabaga, *squash, and *turnip.

    Vegetable Crops - Beans, *cucurbits (canteloupe, cucumbers, muckmelon, pumpkin, squash and watermelon), eggplant, lima beans, and peppers.

    Gabe (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Peaches on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:22:45 PM EST
    I spend a lot of time in gardens. I watch bees at work. Bees do pollinate corn as does the wind. I've also seen bees at work in wheat fields.

    Perhaps, Corn, wheat and rice can manage just fine without the help of bees, birds, bats and other pollinators, but that does not mean that they won't make use of them when they are around.


    Heh. (none / 0) (#28)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:36:52 PM EST
    Do I believe that bees cross-pollinate corn plants? Of course. Is it necessary for corn to thrive? Not a bit.

    The point is that if all the bees in the world up and die tomorrow, corn, wheat, and rice won't be affected. Now, that's not much consolation since there are over 60 common edible plants that do require or benefit from bee cross-pollination, but it is something.

    The only reason I responded at all was because of your snippish "well, you must not know anything about plants!" when Abdul was factually correct in his statement.


    Yes, Gabe (none / 0) (#33)
    by Peaches on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:00:52 PM EST
    I was snippish, in response to his snarky comment. His factual statement was made to imply that we do not need to worry about the bees, since we have corn, rice and wheat to feed the world. Perhaps, I read more into it than I should.

    What I assume Abdul and you are ignorant of is the importance of diversity in plant and animal life around the world. The loss of this diversity is much more catastrophic than Global warming, imo. The industrial production of Corn, Wheat and Rice are one of the main contributers to the loss of native habitats around the world as we attempt to feed the world with a diet that is not well-rounded and nutritious. Bees also suffer from this habitat loss as well as some unknown consequences they may be contributing to recent die-off of Honey bees-the feeding off of Bt corn and other genetically modified agricultural products that are currently in production accros the US.

    To say, that Bees are not necessary for Corn (not one bit) is to display an ignorance for the importance of the diversity of the planet that effects all species on the planet, not the least of which is corn and humans. Your ignorance is surely not unprecedented, nor surprising - but I believe it is the defining characteristic (this ignorance-or blindspot) of our culture and modern humans that leads us to make many path-breaking and groundbreaking discoveries, but will also ultimately lead to the eventual extinction of our species- bees among the many other species we will take with us.

    -in defense of my pessimistic proclamation, I am still optimistic in the face of our eventual extinction. All species go extinct. We will just be one of the few species to have gone on such a spectacular ride and flew to such amazing heights before this eventual collapse. The eventual collapse could be put off, perhaps for thousands of years, but the one trait we share that created all of our opportunities is the one that keeps us from admitting our faults - that is, our placement of our species on another level way above all other plants and animals such as bees.

    So, that is why I was snippy. All of us have our moments and pet subjects. Diversity happens to be mine.


    Loss of crops (none / 0) (#34)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:14:24 PM EST
     Loss of all wheat, corn, and rice equals a massive famine, tragic loss of life, and violent fighting for food right out of some end of the world disaster movie.  Loss of all broccoli, brussel sprouts, and carrots, is a very managable problem by comparison.  

    BTW, the string honey bee "sole polinator" turns up zero Google hits.


    Abdul (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Peaches on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:17:18 PM EST
    We have massive famine with corn, wheat and rice. Actually, rice, wheat and Corn are the primary cause of massive famines. The ignorance I alluded to above keeps you blind to this possibility.

    Causation? (none / 0) (#95)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Apr 25, 2007 at 08:45:54 AM EST
    Actually, rice, wheat and Corn are the primary cause of massive famines.

    Do you mean the failure of rice, wheat, and corn crops cause massive famine?  Certainly it can't be that a healthy corn crop causes a famine.


    Sole Polinator? (none / 0) (#39)
    by Peaches on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:25:16 PM EST
    the string honey bee "sole polinator" turns up zero Google hits

    I never understood how a google search meant anything or why someone would point out the results of their successful or unsuccessful personal search, but I can tell you that there is no such thing as a "sole polinator."


    Yeah. (none / 0) (#42)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:27:20 PM EST
    but I can tell you that there is no such thing as a "sole polinator."

    Especially because Abdul should have searched for "sole pollinator."


    Peaches, (none / 0) (#40)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:25:59 PM EST
    Obviously there are too many issues wrapped up in your comment to reply to easily or briefly. I identify at least the following: diversity in plants, diversity in animals, industrial agriculture, ag policy in general, the dreaded GMOs, species extinction, and pessimism. All are important topics, and I'd love to explore them in depth in the proper forum.

    Since I don't have time to write on each issue, however, let me just say: I am well aware of the importance of species diversity. I just don't think the environment is all that fragile. It is a massively redundant system; it is operating with eons of evolutionary momentum; and it will adapt.


    There are so many issues (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Peaches on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:46:18 PM EST
    because they are interconnected. I agree that the environment will adapt, but one way it will adapt is by developing an antibody that will destroy the cancer currently eating away the host. The cancer is humans and their civilization. Perhaps we could be part of the cure and adapt our ways to live harmoniously with the plethora of species on Earth and reincarnate important habitats necessary for their and our long-term survival before the earth makes the necessary adaptations to ensure its own survival with a new list a evolutionary successful species that will place our evolutionary time period on Earth in the sequence following the dinosaurs. It's going to happen some day, I would just think we would try and make it happen a little further away, if we could.

    Many Issues? Big issues?, complex? Yes. Bringing it back to the point where we started. The loss of bees is one more symptom of a diseased planet (loss of frogs and other amphibians another) that is not replaced by our ability to grow larger quantities of corn, wheat and rice. I am not asking you to drop out of law school and get ready for the rapture over the loss of bees any more because our imperial intentions around the world will eventually lead to the loss of democracy around the world.

    It is one more issue and I think a worthy issue that we should be taking seriously, just as we should the war, climate change, etc. Just another problem that we either do or do not solve.  


    Wow (none / 0) (#55)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:03:47 PM EST
    I agree that the environment will adapt, but one way it will adapt is by developing an antibody that will destroy the cancer currently eating away the host. The cancer is humans and their civilization.
    We've discussed this before, you do get in a funk now and again.

    I think I just enjoy (none / 0) (#57)
    by Peaches on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:05:56 PM EST
    the company of bees over most humans ;)

    Cause & Poetry (none / 0) (#59)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:09:53 PM EST
    Just another problem that we either do or do not solve.  

    And that's where I think you're getting ahead of yourself. First, you do not even know what's causing the bees to disappear. But you expect us to find a solution. So you actually search for a problem that you can solve and find: us.

    You've just assumed its human activity which is causing bee colonies to die (ignore for a minute the fact that these bee hives wouldn't even exist if it weren't for humans). And then you've linked it to all the same fears you had before you even heard of a problem with the bees: industrial ag, GMOs, species extinction.

    And all along, the article which started this discussion noted that "no one can say what is causing the bees to become disoriented." It also notes:

    [Researchers] have also set aside for now the possibility that the cause could be bees feeding from a commonly used genetically modified crop, Bt corn, because the symptoms typically associated with toxins, such as blood poisoning, are not showing up in the affected bees.

    As far as the human=cancer poetry, I am less than impressed with that type of reasoning. No offense, but humanity does not have much in common with cancers (or viruses, thank you very much Agent Smith). It's an attention getting analogy, but it doesn't help solve anything.


    As I've said (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by Peaches on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:20:25 PM EST
    And I'm actually quite satisfied that its gotten, at least this lengthy of a discussion on this here open thread - ITS A PROBLEM.

    I start with the problem. All right. I think if someone tells me bees are dying, we have A PROBLEM. I think when someone tells me polar ice caps are melting we have A PROBLEM.

    I don't know what is causing it. I have stated that, but before I am not going to dismiss this problem because someone has suggested that humans may be the cause of it or has predicted dire consequences. I still see A PROBLEM.

    That is the difference, Gabe. I have an opinion on this problem. I think humans have change the environment of the Earth over the last 40,000 years or so. We have drastically changed it over the past 250 years and the change is accelerating. A simple look at population growth is all the evidence one should need for that. This population explosion should naturally have lead to other changes in the habitat of the Earth that correlate  with it. I have never said Cause. I don't believe we can ever say one thing absolutely causes another in the biological world. There are just too many competing variables. We do know however that certain trends correlate with other trends and we can make some inferences from these correlations. This does not me we have discovered a cause.

    So, we being with A PROBLEM. we look at some correlating trends and try and explain why this problem is happening. Then we try and see if we can suggest a solution or something that might lessen the problem. What I see you and others do is immediately dismiss that there is A PROBLEM.


    Just follow me here. (none / 0) (#68)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:41:21 PM EST
    What I see you and others do is immediately dismiss that there is A PROBLEM.

    This is where you go the way Edger went. Just follow me for a second. I never dismissed the idea that bees were disappearing. In fact I said that it looks like they are. And I said that we should find out why. So I'm not sure why you and Edger keep saying that I've dismissed the problem. I haven't.

    What I want is more information before I turn it into a different problem: famine and the loss of life on this planet. That's a totally different problem and, as far is it relates to bee losses, is based on nothing more than conjecture. That's what I'm dismissing.

    In short, I'm just not hysterical enough to make the following leaps without asking for a little evidence: "Some bees die" --> "Some plants die" --> "Worldwide famine" --> "Some other animals and plants die" --> "End of Life."

    I get that some bees are dying. What I don't get is why I must assume that it's GMOs and industrial agriculture that's causing it. It's far more likely that the same people who opposed GMOs and feeding people last week have simply adopted a new reason to oppose them this week.


    I follow you (none / 0) (#71)
    by Peaches on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:08:09 PM EST
    and I am not asking you to agree with my links to the end of our species, either. I am just suggesting that many things add up to that prospect in my mind.

    I am not trying to scare anyone, either. You don't have to blame GMO's or industrial Agriculture if you don't want to. I don't think industrial agriculture is sustainable and I think GMO's present too many unknowns to be given approval when the result can lead to something like a die off of bees or some other species. But, don't blame them. I don't care.  But, why defend them? Agricultural companies are interested in one thing and that is profits. Short-term profits over long-term investment, too. It is in their interest to offer science that is opposed to environmentalists. Environmentalists have only two  interests. Save the environment and scare people.  But, do you seriously think their motivation is to scare people.

    I know environmentalist organizations need money to survive and this requires PROBLEMS. And it also means that scaring people is the only way to get people's attention so we can attempt to solve the problem. But their influence over science and our agricultural practices are miniscule in comparison to the large corporations that are selling the chemicals and patents that drive agricultural policy and science. I begin with a bias, I admit, and that bias is in favor of science that comes from a source that is not connected to these agricultural companies and industrial agriculture. Aside from that I only have my own wits and I know from experience what is a healthy garden and what isn't. I can taste the difference between an organically grown fruit or vegetable (or pig, cow,  chicken turkey-you name it)and one mass produced for our supermarkets.

    I know that my garden and others in my area that also grow organically without chemicals, grow better food and have more bugs, birds and animals around, yet we don't get as much disease or pests that will destroy an entire crop - even when there are diseases and pests attacking neighboring industrial farms. I  might be mistaken in my observations, I don't keep meticulous records recording daily observations of my plot of fruits and veggies, with bees, birds, frogs, toads and worms. I just work my soil, grow good food and bask in the glory of my work whenever I get a chance.

    When I get the chance, I pontificate on the world and think about all the problems and how my garden is not only my sanctuary, but the sanctuary of many other species as well.  I think about how this simple existence of growing food for my own consumption has been done  for thousands of years in relative harmony with local species around the world producing surplus's for local populations that did not lead to a vast loss of destruction and I dream about the day when people around the world will spend more time in their gardens than at work, or in front of the TV, or thinking of war.

    Then I reminded of the family of farmers in Lebanon the past summer and their flight from southern Lebanon in a truck that was hit by an Israeli missile and I remember that humans can be so goddamn vile and destructive not only too each other but the earth in the name of our search for ever more resource, profits and land to cultivate for more and more profits.

    Most of us call that progress. I don't. I can't. Not when I'm sitting in my garden, at least.


    Simple (none / 0) (#73)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:51:54 PM EST
    You don't have to blame GMO's or industrial Agriculture if you don't want to...But why defend them?

    Generally, I take a third option: ignore them. It's just not that important to me. I get fed. I move on. The only time I violate that general rule is when I'm forced to defend them from people who just can't seem to mind their own business. People who would seem to prefer that I (and six and half billion of my closest friends) not get fed. That's when I have to step in.

    Ag industrialism? I love it. It means that I can live in an apartment and buy groceries once a week at unimaginably low prices. It means I can buy fruit out of season and treat my beach-bum California friends to something as exotic (for them) as okra. It means that eleven million people can live in Los Angeles county--unproductive wasteland even before humanity set foot on it--and not starve to death (I have to admit it is awfully crowded around here, and I hate that part of moving to California).

    I admit: I see no problem whatsoever with the desire to make a buck. I don't believe it makes a person bad to want to not have to worry about where his next meal is coming from or whether he's going to be able to afford braces for his kids. And this extends to the directors, officers, employees, and shareholders of international agricultural conglomerates, too.

    GMOs, too. You say:

    GMO's present too many unknowns to be given approval when the result can lead to something like a die off of bees or some other species.

    I say: There's no evidence that GMOs will lead to anything of the sort. Just leave it alone unless you can actually prove (or even strongly suggest) that there's a problem. More people are getting fed, and I am all in favor of that.

    This is like the ridiculous objections to golden rice. Opponents said "oh, but we shouldn't make golden rice available to the starving because it's not a diverse and well-rounded diet." In effect, they said: "if we cannot give the poor a ten-course meal, we'll give them nothing at all."  This kind of thinking makes my blood boil. People are starving and other people are doing things that restrict the supply of food! Some of them even have the gall to claim that they're doing on behalf of the very people who are suffering.

    In short, I'm not for ag industrialism and GMOs, insomuch as I am for allowing them to do their thing without the shrieking harpies of environmentalism descending. For me, starving people come before snail darters in the grand scheme of things. It's just that simple.


    We'll agree to disagree (none / 0) (#96)
    by Peaches on Wed Apr 25, 2007 at 10:08:34 AM EST
    All I will add is that your attitude also get's my blood boiling. The only difference is that I am exposed to people with your attitude (because it is the ingrained attitude we have had in our culture since the one of industrial agriculture) that I can still eat my food that is organic and not abusive to the soil, plants or animals and slowly let my anger dissipate away in the wind. I hope you can do that too.

    If all the bees in the world up and die tomorrow (none / 0) (#43)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:27:23 PM EST
    much more than just corn, wheat, and rice will be affected.

    Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) -- Mysterious, Massive Death of Bees in the US -- Are bees the Canary in the mineshaft?

    Albert Einstein made the statement "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years left to live." He was speaking in regard to the symbiotic relationship of all life on the planet. All part of a huge interconnected ecosystem, each element playing a role dependant on many other elements all working in concert creating the symphony of life. Should any part of the global body suffer, so does the whole body.

    Many people would be surprised to know that 90% of the feral (wild) bee population in the United States has died out. Recent studies in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have shown that bee diversity is down 80 percent in the sites researched, and that "bee species are declining or have become extinct in Britain." The studies also revealed that the numbers of wildflowers that depend on pollination have dropped by 70 percent. Which came first, the decline in wildflowers or the decline in pollinators, has yet to be determined. If bees continue to die off so would the crops they support and with that would ensue major economic disruption and possibly famine.

    In the US, bee keepers are experiencing unprecedented die offs of bees some losing as much as 80% of their colonies. Commercial beekeepers in 22 states have reported deaths of tens of thousands of honeybee colonies. So far the cause remains unexplained and somewhat mysterious. It is being called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and is causing agricultural honeybees nationwide to abandon their hives and disappear and raising worries about crops that need bees for pollination. It's a kind of mass suicide in the bee world. "There have been cases where there have been these die-offs of bees before, but we have never seen it to this level," said Maryann Frazier, a Pennsylvania State University entomologist. "One operation after another is collapsing."

    Einstein (none / 0) (#45)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:36:14 PM EST
    The Einstein bee quote is a hoax, subject to endless parroting by people like you, Edger, who are too gullible to wonder what the hell a physicist is doing talking about bees. Look it up.

    The quote may be, I don't know. (none / 0) (#46)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:44:39 PM EST
    Or the Snopes article may be. The fact remains that I have given you multiple corroborating scientific sources investigating the same phenomena, and you have tried to dismiss them by focusing on on minor detail that has no relation to the scientific findings.

    Some lawyer. I guess your fees won't be that high. You may have to use a volume business model instead of a quality one, I suppose. ;-)


    Edger (none / 0) (#50)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:55:10 PM EST
    you pulled that quote right off of Kos didn't you?
    Daily Kos: State of the Nation
    Albert Einstein once predicted that if bees were to disappear, man would follow only a few years later. That hypothesis could soon be put to the test. ...
    www.dailykos.com/story/2007/3/30/164859/442 - 714k - Apr 22, 2007 - Cached - Similar pages

    Click the link. (none / 0) (#52)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:56:17 PM EST
    I'm only picking on Gabe (none / 0) (#53)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:58:08 PM EST
    because he's so pick-on-able, today ;-)

    No biggie (none / 0) (#60)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:10:06 PM EST
    although I'm certainly not going wade through 500+ comments about bees at Kos. What was your point in suggesting I click on the link?

    You asked if I got it from Kos (none / 0) (#61)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:16:14 PM EST
    If you'd clicked the link you wouldn't have asked.

    Sorry (none / 0) (#65)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:30:11 PM EST
    too cryptic for me. I still don't get it.

    C'mon Sarc. (none / 0) (#66)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:34:06 PM EST
    If you click the link you'll know it wasn't from Kos, and you'll know it was from ACTA.

    OK (none / 0) (#69)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:45:13 PM EST
    I guess you meant click on your link, not my Kos link.

    What we have here is a failure to communicate.

    Yes, your link was not to Kos.

    So, you're on your honor now, did you read about Einstein's bee quote on Kos?

    If not, then I apologize in advance.


    Heh. (none / 0) (#70)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:55:27 PM EST
    You're  driving me insane here Sarc! ;-)

    No, as I said, I read it at the ACTA site.


    Life is (none / 0) (#51)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:55:42 PM EST
    so unfair. ;-)

    BBC (none / 0) (#56)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:03:48 PM EST
    reports similarly:
    Box after box after box are just empty. There's nobody home.
    --David Bradshaw, Beekeeper

    Heh. Overreaction, much? (none / 0) (#54)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:00:18 PM EST
    You have given me sources for the same phenomena (disappearing bees). I haven't tried to dismiss anything about disappearing bees--mostly because I don't know a thing about it. Are they disappearing? Looks like it. Is it caused by humans? No one knows. Are a whole buncha environmentalists blaming humans without evidence? Hell yeah they are. Get a grip.

    You (and others) have also claimed that disappearing bees will lead to famine and disaster. But you've got no "multiple corroborating scientific sources" for that. Only your guesses.


    You'd better read again. (none / 0) (#58)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:09:11 PM EST
    Pennsylvania State University
    Cosmos Online

    Christian (none / 0) (#62)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:19:42 PM EST
    Science Monitor, April 04, 2007
    ...beekeepers suspect everything from a new virus or parasite to pesticides and genetically modified crops. Scientists have hastily established a CCD working group at Pennsylvania State University. Last week, the US House of Representatives' Committee on Agriculture held hearings on the missing bees.

    Wacko enviroterrists (none / 0) (#64)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:20:45 PM EST
    I guess my vineyard (none / 0) (#24)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:19:49 PM EST
    will be ok then.

    Depends (none / 0) (#26)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:33:39 PM EST
    Depends on the type of grape. Most varieties are self-pollinating or have no trouble wind-pollinating. In fact, in most vinyards there is no need or desire for cross-pollinating because all the plants in the vinyard are scions of one single plant.

    However, Muscadines are an American variety that may benefit from insect cross-pollination. Muscadines are different than other varieties of grape (that's why they're classified in their own subgroup).

    The only reason I know anything about this at all is because I worked for a university ag extension service one summer when I was in high school.


    Gabe (none / 0) (#32)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:51:27 PM EST
    You and I live in Cali. Muscadines? Please. Vinifera.

    Typical European snobbery! (none / 0) (#35)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:16:29 PM EST
    Sorry SUO, I just mentioned it for completeness. May the name of our humble American grapevine never trouble you or your snobby European grapes again. ;)

    You are forgiven. ;-) (none / 0) (#37)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:18:38 PM EST
    Although they are on American root stocks...

    Peaches (none / 0) (#13)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 01:59:09 PM EST
    I haven't checked with bee keepers around here, so I don't know. But I do know that the last splash of Global Warming around here set records for cold weather and wiped out all of my tomatoes and peppers.

    Worse, my inflated utilitiy bill continues, driven by the Lefties and wacko environmentalists demands that we don't drill for oil in the US, while claiming that we are in Iraq for...gasp....oil. And now my gasoline bill is out of sight, mostly because the same villians in the last sentence has kept anyone from building distilleries in the US for 30 years.

    Oh well, things could be worse. We have a new video about GW that people with an open mind will find very interesting.

    Link to video.


    There is actually more than one (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:13:22 PM EST
    video about that.

    I'm surprised you wouldn't mention both, ppj. (not really)

    This one is much better though. ;-)

    Video: Scam of the "Great Global Warming Swindle"

    An excellent debunking of the scam "documentary": "The Great Global Warming Swindle". This analysis shows how the film's editor and the  speakers in the film use every trick in the book to attempt to deceive the viewers of "Swindle" film. For example, the presentation shows how the film used the fact that the Earth's climate has always been changing (correct) to "prove" that humans could not now be causing global warming (incorrect). A detailed rebuttal of the film (PDF File) is here: The Great Global Warming Swindle - A Rebuttal

    Is this the first time (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by gollo on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:21:05 PM EST
    that ppj has been championing the views of a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and a proud marxist in Martin Durkin?

    Now that he is embracing with enthusiam the Revolutionary Communist Party ideas, I can recommend another documentary by Durkin,

    In October 1998, a television producer named Martin Durkin took a proposal to the BBC's science series, Horizon. Silicone breast implants, he claimed, far from harming women, were in fact beneficial, reducing the risk of breast cancer. Horizon commissioned a researcher to find out whether or not his assertion was true. After a thorough review, the researcher reported that Mr Durkin had ignored a powerful body of evidence contradicting his claims. Martin Durkin withdrew his proposal. Instead of dropping it, however, he took it to Channel 4 and, astonishingly, sold it to their science series, Equinox.

    more info on his new hero and enemy of the right;  


    (cont) (none / 0) (#48)
    by gollo on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:50:23 PM EST
    Heh! (none / 0) (#49)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:52:00 PM EST
    edger (none / 0) (#77)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 06:18:06 PM EST
    I just wish GW would hurry up and get here. I have zero problem with warmer weather.

    gollo (none / 0) (#94)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Apr 25, 2007 at 08:04:09 AM EST
    An enemy of my enemy is my friend.



    What are the facts? (none / 0) (#41)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:27:00 PM EST

    First it is impossible to prove that humans are not responsible in some small way for GW.  What we do know are these facts:

    1. Humans have had an impact on climate since the dawn of agriculture and the human use of fire.

    2. The earth has been colder with much more CO2 in the air.  

    3. The earth has been much warmer with less CO2 in the air.

    4. None of the disaster predicting models can hindcast.  That is if they pick a start year say a century in the past, they miss the current climate by a wide margin.  Therefore there is no reason to believe their predictions a century out are any good for other than scaring up more research grant money.

    In short we have seen nothing outside normal variability.

    "Substantiation" (none / 0) (#44)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 03:31:48 PM EST
    In my experience, the second most common reason people don't use it is because they can't. The first most reason they don't is because it isn't in their interest.

    I don't know why bees are disappearing (none / 0) (#18)
    by Peaches on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:11:55 PM EST
    and I don't know much about the science of Global warming. I don't suspect it does much good for me to personally be worrying about it. What's going to happen will happen. I will say that I am in favor of having specialists looking into the causes and suggesting solutions to the problem of rising CO2 in the atmosphere, disappearing icecaps, retreating glaciers, warming trends, disappearing bees and othe renvironmental problems, though.

    My two cents on bees, though. I believe we use too much chemicals and probably rely too much on Honeybees to pollinate our crops instead of native bees and crops native to local areas. Our development has increasing encroached upon wilderness areas leaving pollinators without enough space and habitat to survive. Our monocrop system of agriculture with its reliance upon one species of honeybees for pollination is a recipe for disaster that will inevitably lead to dieoff and collapse until eventually those at the top of the food chain suffer - if we haven't begun to suffer already.  


    Terrist Bees (none / 0) (#29)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:40:46 PM EST
    Mystery of the dying bees, 07 March 2007
    Asian mites and latent viruses

    A problem preventing clear identification of CCD is that honey bees are already under threat from manifold foes.

    Even without CCD, the number of managed hives in the U.S. has dwindled by nearly 50 per cent since the industry's peak in the 1970s. The main culprit for the die-offs is a tiny Asian mite. Known as Varroa destructor to scientists and the 'vampire mite' to beekeepers, these tiny parasites - circular, crab-like arachnids about the size of a bee's eyeball - have been quietly parasitising the Asiatic honey bee (Apis cerana) in Southeast Asia for millennia.

    Some time in the early 1980s, though, the mites hitched a ride to America and hopped on new hosts - spreading like wildfire throughout the defenceless Western honey bee population with the help of migratory beekeepers who obligingly trucked them around the country. The mites suck the vital juices out of both developing and adult bees, and left unchecked can kill a hive within 12 months.

    Better nuke Iran.


    Pesticides.... (none / 0) (#31)
    by desertswine on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:44:34 PM EST
    and Parkinson's disease.

    Too many chemicals for sure.


    i don't suppose anyone (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by cpinva on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 01:53:46 PM EST
    has considered the possibility that these are rogue bees, who got tired of being dominated by a queen answerable to no one? perhaps, they've set off on their own, and have formed co-op hives out in the woods?

    hey, it's a thought!

    Free Thinking Liberal Bees? ;-) (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 01:59:15 PM EST
    darn it you two (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Jen M on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:58:27 PM EST
    now I have to wipe all this coke off the monitor.

    thank you ever so very much


    Maybe they're (none / 0) (#76)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 06:13:44 PM EST
    just not big on authority, or monarchy, or just a bunch of insecure men bees that can't stand a woman in charge?

    I can hear the song now (none / 0) (#79)
    by Jen M on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 06:25:23 PM EST
    Macho macho bee
    I want to be a macho bee

    I can't stand it... ;-) (none / 0) (#80)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 06:37:50 PM EST
    Too many chemicals....... (none / 0) (#81)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 06:40:18 PM EST
    Bee Hillary??? (none / 0) (#78)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 06:19:40 PM EST
    It's sunny and 70-something here (none / 0) (#2)
    by scribe on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 01:13:05 PM EST
    so, of course, my water heater failed - spectacularly, eruptively, fountainously (is that a word?) sometime between my washing dishes last night, and waking up this morning.  

    Of course, (a) I got 20 years of loyal hot-water-providing service out of it, so who's complaining.  And, it's not like it's the middle of winter, when a hot shower is the ticket to be warm.  Moreover, (b) all the water on the basement floor couldn't have come at a more propitious time.  This is true because the (2 feet of) basement flood from the last big storm had left a lot of "grit" - fine dirt and mud - all over the concrete and (having pumped out the basement last week) the basement was (courtesy of fans) just getting dry enough that all that crud was going to go airborne soon.  The clean water from the heater and a new push-broom made for lots of goood clean-up and a shiny concrete floor (at least where the water got).  Plus, the trusty half-horse submersible pump was looking lonely and this gave it another opportunity to shine.

    And, finally, ain't (what a Rethug would call) socialism grand?  The power company has an energy-conservation deal going (I think there's some gov't money, regulation or both making it happen) where you can get energy efficient appliances (like, uh, water heaters) from them, installed by contractors (on whom they have a leash called "regular business") for competitive, if not subsidized, prices.  The free market gave me one guy who wanted all sorts of information (he hadn't gotten to my social, but he was going there) before he'd even talk about a quote, a couple guys who sounded like characters from the Sopranos, and one guy who's number's been disconnected.  The Rethug-calls-it-socialism program gets me hot water tomorrow morning.  For under a thou.  

    A central tenet of US domestic policy - which came to the fore in the Depression/New Deal and  has survived the rise of the Rethugs pretty much unchallenged - has been ensuring there's more than enough food, at prices cheap enough that the diseases of obesity (or at least being well-fed) (e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, morbid obesity) are common among even the poorest of Americans.  The same goes for hot water and enclosed shelter though to a lesser degree

    And that surely irks the heck out of Rethugs _ the idea that average people can avoid getting screwed (pricewise and availabilitywise) on the essentials of life>

    I kinda like it>

    Hah. (none / 0) (#4)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 01:18:59 PM EST
    Jeeze scribe, sorry about the hot water, but thanks for the laugh. :-)

    It could have been a lot worse (none / 0) (#5)
    by scribe on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 01:22:13 PM EST
    so I have a lot to be happy about>



    Anytime. (none / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 01:26:27 PM EST
    Try not to give the rethugs any ideas though, huh? They're cornered and getting desperate. No telling what they might do. ;-)

    Your talking my workplace language now..... (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 01:45:41 PM EST
    My company sold more submersible sump pumps in Jersey last week than I could count.  There was nearly a riot at the Jersey warehouse with customers fighting over the last of our stock. The distributors were selling them for double the list price....a lot of people made a killing.

    What? You didn't replace (none / 0) (#17)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:11:28 PM EST
    your old, inefficient, energy-wasting water heater on your own dime years ago just because it's the moral and righteous thing to do?!

    And you call yourself a lib...


    because it was a pretty energy efficient model to (none / 0) (#75)
    by scribe on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:58:43 PM EST
    begin with (in the first place), and because I have too much frugality to not get every last hour of service out of a capital good.

    In other words, I'm cheap.


    I think its time (none / 0) (#23)
    by Peaches on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:18:22 PM EST
    That was going to be my next comment (none / 0) (#27)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 02:36:12 PM EST
    I just installed one in my office.

    Peaces (none / 0) (#88)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 08:44:01 PM EST
    Wonderful idea... But if it is to be electric, be sure that your home has the required electrical capacity and fuse box. 400 amps may be required, and that is more that double what the typical home is wired for.

    If it is to be gas, be sure the location can be vented to code. And power vents aren't code everywhere.

    On both, be sure the unit has a drain pan under it with drainage into the houses drain. Be sure that you keep the drain filled with enough water to block  sewer gas. A better idea is to drain it behind already installed sinks/baths/comodes. Or, drain it into the yard/crawl space since it will have water IF you have a problem.

    Understand that GPM means gallons per minute and that if the unit says 2.5 gallons per minute at a stated temperature, faster rates mean cooler water. TANSTAAFL


    Jeralyn (none / 0) (#82)
    by Alien Abductee on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 06:42:36 PM EST
    You've been getting comment spam late at night on old threads from this account.

    Thank you (none / 0) (#86)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 07:37:52 PM EST
    I've deleted the account and its 80 spam comments.  

    How did you find them?


    I just happened to notice it on the (none / 0) (#87)
    by Alien Abductee on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 08:39:52 PM EST
    Entries with Recent Comments list last night - five comments all posted within a minute and none of the diaries were recent.

    Kucinich's Bill of Impeachment of Cheney (none / 0) (#89)
    by womanwarrior on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 08:53:40 PM EST
    Did I miss it, or is nobody on this blog discussing this? If you go to Kucinich's website, you will see what he is relying on?  
    Anybody think the A28 demonstrations for impeachment of Bush and Cheney will amount to anything?  

    I wish it had a chance (none / 0) (#90)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 09:30:30 PM EST
    But he has no co-sponsors from Democratic Leadership.

    It's too bad. Dennis Kucinich is one of the few real honorable people in Congress who have seen through and opposed the Iraq Debacle since before the invasion, has called for defunding and withdrawal, has stood against Pelosi's cave-in, and has seen Cheney and Bush for what they are since... well, since forever.

    But nobody listens to him.

    Even (none / 0) (#91)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 09:47:54 PM EST
    Keith Ellison, whose "opinion hasn't changed since he introduced a Resolution for the impeachment of President Bush as a Minnesota State Legislator by saying: 'Impeachment should be on the table'", and who calls Dennis Kucinich 'a good friend', saying 'we talk every day', made clear yesterday that he 'was supportive of the idea, but not if it only becomes a symbolic gesture.'
    --see OpEdNews, 23 April 2007

    More about Pat Tillman (none / 0) (#92)
    by Sailor on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 10:01:02 PM EST
    Pat Tillman's brother, along with the soldier who was with Tillman when he was killed and a naval officer who eulogized the former NFL star, told Congress today that the military betrayed Tillman's family and misled the nation with false stories of how Tillman died.
    Army Ranger Bryan O'Neal, just yards from Tillman when he was killed, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that an officer ordered him not to tell Kevin how Tillman was killed.
    Evidence was also presented suggesting there was high interest by the White House in Tillman in the days after his death.
    One day after a White House speech writer inquired in an e-mail about Tillman's death for a speech President Bush would be giving, an Army general warned that "the country's leaders" should be warned to be vague about Tillman's death since there was a high likelihood it was friendly fire.
    In Bush's speech that weekend, he mentioned only Tillman's "courage" and wasn't specific about the circumstances of his death.