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Wed May 21, 2014 at 02:20 PM PDT

David Slays GMO Goliath!

by occupystephanie

Reposted from occupystephanie ~ Stephanie Hampton by Roger Fox
Despite the $1.3 million that Monsanto et al invested in fighting the Jackson County ordinance to ban the cultivation of GMO crops, voters handed them their heads on a platter by a 2 to 1 margin.
"We fought the most powerful and influential chemical companies in the world and we won," said Elise Higley, a Jackson County farmer with the anti-GMO group Our Family Farms Coalition.

Higley said her county will now be a safe haven against the pollen-creep of genetically modified crops.

Josephine County voters also delivered a stunning defeat to Big Biotech by a 57% majority.
The Jackson County measure and the one in Josephine County have managed to hit on some of the most hot-button issues in Oregon: property rights, local control and scarce resources for former timber-reliant counties.
The controversial safety of GMO crops is only a small part of this issue. Property rights are violated when one farmer is allowed to grow GMO crops which contaminate his neighbor's crops requiring expensive testing in order to sell to an increasingly smaller market share which accepts GMO crops. Local control is lost when the permitting process and state and federal preemption laws prevent local communities from just saying no to corporate harms.

Thomas Piketty has removed any doubt about the loss of our Democratic Republic to an oligarchy. Strong corporate forces have successfully prevented our federal and state governments from representing the will of the people. The only democracy that exists in our nation is in the hands of the people. The grassroots effort of citizens in these two counties uses the people's inherent rights to self-governance in their conviction that their rights are superior to corporate rights. This right is guaranteed us in the US Declaration of Independence and most state constitutions. This is from Oregon's Constitution :

Section 1. Natural rights inherent in the people. We declare that all men, when they form a social compact are equal in right: that all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness; and they have at all times a right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.
Opponents of county and municipal bans of corporate harms visited upon communities-- from GMO cultivation to fracking--insist that regulation of these activities are best handled on a federal or state level. However, regulation will never come from above. Instead, state and local laws preempt communities to forbid any kind of local control.

We are involved in the fight of our lives in local communities across our nation. Grassroots efforts like these are directly confronting special corporate rights in the courts and the ballot box. This is civil disobedience in its finest form.

Our federal and state governments insist that local laws will result in an unworkable "patchwork" of laws. Through the Oregon Community Rights Network, we are in the process of sewing together a quilt out of those patches which will cover the state until we force the state to acknowledge the will of the people.  

Note: All news quotes are from The Oregonian article Measures to ban most GMO crops passing in Jackson, Josephine counties.

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Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 01:59 PM PDT

Aji & Wings Need Our Help

by Avilyn

Reposted from Avilyn by Kysen

If you're familiar with the Kos Katalogue, you've no doubt seen the many diaries featuring Wings' Silverwork.  Wings has a gift for working with silver, evident in all his work:
An amethyst barrette he recently made for me:

along with a moonstone cuff:

all to compliment the moonstone pendant I commissioned from him:

In each of these cases, I might add, I named the stone and the type of jewelry, and let Wings' spirit and affinity with the silver take him where it would.  The results were literally breathtaking.  Wings does photography as well, capturing life around the pueblo.  

Now, he's been honored with a one-man art exhibit: Taos Pueblo: Ancestral Places, Sacred Spaces by the Jean Cocteau Cinemea in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  The Exhibit will run April 15th through May 11th.  From Aji:

[the exhibit] explores the identity of Taos Pueblo from an insider's perspective through Wings's chosen media: photography and sterling silver. The show features ten photographs of Taos Pueblo's classic architecture and iconography, presented in a wholly different way. Instead of concentrating on the famed multi-level houses ubiquitous in photos everywhere, Wings brings the existential details into focus:
There is so much more to our ancestral lands, our sacred spaces, that people never see. Some of that is purposeful:  Our traditions require privacy and secrecy, and there is much that is not available to outsiders. But even in the public areas of the Pueblo, what visitors see and what I see are two very different things.
With this exhibition, I would like to take you on a journey  I want to show you what I see, feel what I feel —  the sights and sounds and smells and sensations of this place, this land, that has embedded in my blood and bone and that of my people for more than a millennium . . . .
Come with me.  Let me show you this earth, this sky, this light that is wholly a part of me.
Interpretive text will accompany the photos to provide context for viewers.

Complementing the photography, the show will also feature several of Wings's sterling silver Indian jewelry showpieces, each with its own accompanying narrative.

So, why do they need our help, and what can we do?  Follow me below the decorative swirl for more...
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Reposted from Onomastic by mahakali overdrive

During this Women's History Month, the NAACP has been honoring exceptional women who have changed lives and history. It has been a profound pleasure and real education reading about women like the "Three B's."  

In 1938, a joint meeting of two women’s groups was held at the world famous Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. Though they functioned as separate organizations, the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching (ASWPL) and the African American women members of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation (CIC) shared a common mission: the battle against racial discrimination and violence in the South. In this picture are world-renowned educators Nannie Helen Burroughs, Charlotte Hawkins Brown, and Mary McLeod Bethune. In addition to establishing notable schools in America (the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, D.C., the Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, North Carolina, and Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida) they were also notable members of the organizations that were present at this historic meeting. In addition, they were great friends. All three were members of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, Inc. (of which Bethune later served as President from 1924-1928) and all were members of the NAACP (of which Bethune and Burroughs served as Vice Presidents for a number of years). Brown later joined Bethune in the founding of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. on December 5, 1935. The women are standing in front of the Booker T. Washington Monument, located in the center of the school's campus. The monument, sculpted by Charles Keck is called, "Lifting the Veil."

                            photo TheThreeBs_zpsaafaa930.jpg

The NAACP has dedicated this final full week of March to celebrating women who put their lives on the line for justice. In doing so, these courageous, brilliant, revolutionary women shook the world and reshaped the United States.

Women like liberation activist and internationalist, Vicki Ama Garvin, Black Panther Party leaders; Ericka Huggins, Kathleen Cleaver and Elaine Brown, and lawyer, activist, civil rights advocate, and feminist Florynce Kennedy.

Yesterday, they honored our own extraordinary educator, writer, and sister of the soul - Denise Oliver-Velez.

 photo DeesphotosfromtheNAACPhonoringofherduringwomenshistorymonth_zps62642e1b.jpg

 photo NAACPLogo_zps50051c2d.jpg      NAACP

Denise Oliver Velez--applied cultural anthropologist, writer and revolutionary--was a part of the Young Lord's Party, which rallied a crew of women that fought for open enrollment in the City Colleges of New York, for the formation of Puerto Rican Studies Programs and bi-lingual education in grade schools. #WHM2014

On Facebook and Twitter the NAACP sent out word about our friend, fellow kossack, Front Page Contributing Editor, and much loved co-editor of Black Kos.

Denise has always been an inspiration and gift. To see the NAACP's honoring of her was a profound reminder of that. She has never stopped doing the crucial work of bending the arc of the moral universe towards justice.

It is not work for the faint of heart or the easily discouraged. It is work that knows justice may bloom in another life time, but it will bloom none the less, no matter how deep the difficulties or how long the struggle. Denise knows that each seed of justice matters. She encourages students, friends, fellow activists, neighbors, and all of us in our own efforts, cheering us on each step of the way.

Our Denise embodies that nurturing of justice and its hoped for blooming, both now and in the future.

We are deeply blessed to have her.

Knowing that, I thought you'd all want to know about the NAACP's honoring of Denise.

It's time to celebrate a life that has touched, and continues to touch, so many.

So let's spin some tunes and make a joyful noise. Let us share joy and thankfulness for Denise, and all those who inspire us in bending the moral arc of the universe towards justice.

Discuss
Reposted from Black Kos community by Denise Oliver Velez

 photo truthfultuesdaySC_zpsf1dbcdbc.jpg

(Thanks to Kossack sc kitty for posting in comments)

Taking a page from the Moral Monday Movement in North Carolina, that has now spread to Georgia, activists in South Carolina have declared "Enough is enough!" and are heading to the SC statehouse on January 14th with these demands:

Expand Medicaid
This year, some 1,300 South Carolinians will die because state lawmakers pushing an extreme agenda refused a federal grant to expand Medicaid.

Fund education
In 2013, K-12 funding was nearly $500 million below what is required by law. Higher education funding is 40% less than in 2002, and tuition at our state colleges is among the nation’s highest.

Protect voting rights
South Carolina has the least-competitive elections in the US, with 80 percent of lawmakers facing no major opposition in general elections. And instead of trying to make voting easier and more accessible, SC’s political elite keep making it harder and less inclusive.

They are asking demonstrators to wear black:

We will wear black as a symbol of mourning, in honor of the 1,300 who will die this year in South Carolina because the state refused to use our tax dollars to expand Medicaid.
The Charleston City Paper reports:
Progressive activists in S.C. to launch 'Truthful Tuesday' at State House
Progressive activists across South Carolina will gather at the State House in Columbia next week for 'Truthful Tuesday' — an event styled after a series of protests at North Carolina's capital dubbed Moral Mondays.

“It's to really put lawmakers on notice regarding the need to expand Medicaid and protect voting rights and to fully fund public education,” says George Hopkins, a College of Charleston history professor and Charleston chapter president of the S.C. Progressive Network. “Hopefully on Wednesday the 15th the headlines across the state will read 'Citizens Descend on Columbia' to demand legislators take action on these issues.”

Legislators will return to Columbia on Jan. 14 to begin the second of a two-year legislative session. During the week the Legislature is in session Tuesday through Thursday. Last session, South Carolina became one of several states that chose not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act healthcare law. Lawmakers have also passed a Voter ID bill, and the last session saw efforts to curb early voting.

The coalition has been convened by:

National Association of Social Workers – SC
SC AFL-CIO
SC Christian Action Council
SC NAACP
SC Progressive Network
The SC Education Association

Get the word out to everyone you can in South Carolina, and if you don't know anyone there you can still send support.

This is how a movement grows, one day, one person, one group at a time!

Cross-posted from Motley Moose

Discuss

So over on Motley Moose, Shaun Appleby has brilliantly dissected the first rounds of the diplomatic game about a UN resolution over chemical weapons control.

As he points out, the key thing is whether any chemical weapons resolution over Syria is chapter VII, or chapter VI. The former allows the use of force. Putin is arguing that force should be removed from the equation. But as Shaun points out, this could be in defiance of the UN's own charter which explains the exigent nature of Chapter VII resolutions.

Article 42: Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.
Charter of the United Nations: Chapter VII UN
So now the ball is in Putin's court - and of course Assad's.

I've been a strong critic of the sudden move to intervention over the summer. I felt the case was not made. I don't believe in punitive actions in humanitarian intervention. I only believe (as in Bosnia, Kosovo and Libya) in actions which prevent harm.

And sometimes, yes, you have to bomb gun emplacements raining terror on innocent civilians. Sometimes, yes, there is the price of a smaller violence to pay to prevent a bigger one.

This current mess/debate/fuckup call it what you will, is proper preparation. It gives the bad faith actors enough rope to hang themselves, and focuses laser-like on the conventions of non chemical weapon use.

I'm still surprised (a little) that this pathway/trap wasn't prepared before. Now everything is open to scrutiny, and the conspiracy theorists, peak oil fanatics, and Putinapologists are being forced into a nice tight corner. These same people said protecting the Bosnians against Milosevic would be a disaster. These same people said protecting Kosovars against Milosevic would be a disaster.

Meanwhile, on the right, the Neocons who hijacked international standards for their own weird quasi rational eschatology, will also be forced into a corner. Do they really want everything or nothing? Are they so addicted to the to erotics of power that they see a cruise missile launch as the ultimate shock and awe come-shot? (apologies for that image)

Once again, by bending to people and circumstance, but keeping his ultimate goals in view, Obama has proved himself as the best community organiser for the international community.

It isn't about leading from the front, dressed in an airman's jacket behind a banner saying Mission Accomplished. It's actually about a real mission - making the world a safer place taking heed of all its various participants.

What pundits call weakness in Obama, I call his biggest strength.

Let's hope - not for his sake - but for the millions of refugees, the hundreds of thousands who may yet die if the civil war continues unabated, that resolution of the Syrian conflict is finally uppermost in people's mind, and the post colonial games (by Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel as much as Britain, Russia, France and the US) may finally stop

Discuss

Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 10:19 PM PDT

Be Careful What You Wish For

by Shaun Appleby

Reposted from Shaun Appleby by Kysen

About an hour after the vote which defeats the proposed Authorisation for Use of Military Force in response to the chemical weapons attack in Syria we will probably begin to realise that the world as we know it has been irrevocably changed; and probably not for the better.

The inevitable decline of American power precipitated by the disastrous Bush administration will enter its terminal phase as the American public withdraws into an insular shell of isolationism and denial of collective responsibility in spite of having enjoyed for decades the relative security and prosperity that engaged American power has provided.

The performance of the American Left since 21 August has been an utter embarrassment; exposing the vaunted activist Internet as little more than a breeding place for fatuous conspiracy theories, misdirection, unreasonable and stubborn scepticism, selfishness, wilful ignorance and misplaced moral outrage. A complete and utter shambles. Shameful.

Courageous activists and diplomats campaigned for decades to implement the hard-won provisions of an almost unanimous prohibition of chemical weapons only to have it thoughtlessly repudiated with the ridiculous argument that 'people are just as dead' by other means. Or compared incessantly, in ignorance of what nerve agents are capable of or intended to do, to the use of white phosphorous at Fallujah. All in support of a knee-jerk response to a proposed military action in the face of a truly inhumane war crime.

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Reposted from Look What I Can Do by Kysen

I live in Virginia Beach and have been watching with interest the recent numbers of dolphins washing up dead along the Mid-Atlantic shoreline.

 photo bottlenose.jpg

There have been over 300 found in recent months from NY to NC. From the Virginia Beach coast to the Eastern Shore, 26 were found in one weekend alone.

"Twenty-six dolphins in one weekend is something we can't handle," said Susan Barco, a researcher at the Virginia Aquarium. "If it continues at this rate, we are going to have to ask for outside help."

Doctors from out of state are already aiding with the dolphin autopsies, known as necropsies. Dead dolphins were left at the door of the marine care center, because the freezers are already full. Most of the dolphins affected are males of all ages.

"We're seeing lesions in their respiratory systems. We're seeing joint problems. We're not seeing animals feeding normally," said Barco. "A lot of them are thin."
-Wavy.com (local news)

Genetic testing has given us an answer. It is now being attributed to a measles-like virus known as morbillivirus.
"We are now calling it a morbillivirus outbreak," Teri Rowles of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program said during a telephone press briefing on Tuesday. As of Monday, 333 animals have died on coasts between New York and North Carolina.

Among 33 dolphins tested this summer, 32 dolphins have turned up with a suspected or confirmed case of the virus, Rowles said. Additional genome sequencing tests have confirmed that the cetacean morbillivirus was present in 11 animals. -NBC News

An outbreak in '87-'88 caused the deaths of over 700 of these majestic mammals. Sadly, there is nothing to do but let Mother Nature run her course. They expect the deaths in the bottlenose dolphin community to continue thru Spring 2014.
The strandings are likely to end as they probably began, through natural events. Researchers anticipate that some dolphins still out at sea survived the infection and gained immunity. Survivor numbers will grow, and over time the virus, having completed its deadly rounds, will find no new bottlenose dolphins to infect.
-NBC News
Hopefully nature will run her course quickly and spare more than she claims.

 photo 309682bc-b9b2-416c-b801-e82c7d6e390b.jpg

Discuss
Reposted from Look What I Can Do by Kysen

VA-2nd District Representative Scott Rigell (R) now has a solid Democratic contender for the 2014 election.

Suzanne Patrick has announced her candidacy for the House of Representatives.

 photo b2b0ceab-c007-4b22-9f2d-2ffdf10c49d7.jpg

VA-2nd District includes the City of Virginia Beach, Accomack and Northampton Counties, and swaths of both Hampton and Norfolk. The area encompasses several military bases and there is A LOT of military (both active and retired) who have made this their home...so her record of service is a definite asset in the district.

Scott Rigell first won his seat in 2010...and then won re-election in a close race in 2012. Prior to serving as our Representative (/sigh) he ran 3 large local car dealerships (yup, a used car salesman...fitting, no?). I, for one, would LOVE to see him gone.

Patrick's campaign touts her as a 'centrist Democrat'. I know that chaffs some here...but, this is Virginia, we are still in the process of evolving from a Red State to a Blue State. Believe me, any sort of Democrat is better than what we have in Rigell.

Some of you may recall the scandal of 2nd District's past Representative, Ed Shrock. We then were anchored with the odious Bushie Thelma Drake. Democrat Glenn Nye (2008-2010) was a pleasant, but, too brief, reprieve from the Republican's hold on this seat. A closeted anti-gay hypocritical liar, a Bush toadie, and a used car salesman. Oy vey. So, yes, to say I'm thrilled to see a viable Democratic candidate throw HER hat in ring would be an understatement!

"As a fourth-generation military officer, I've dedicated my entire career to service - under Democrats and Republicans alike - and I am determined to restore the bipartisan problem solving that prevailed during the Reagan Administration when I first started my Navy career as a civilian.  Congressman Rigell's voting record and his partisanship, especially on the sequester, has made life tougher for the military, families and seniors. It's time to put aside the partisan bickering, focus on prioritizing our spending, and start fixing problems for our middle class families,"  Patrick said.
-Wavy.com (local news)
I look forward to hearing more from her.
I look forward to helping her remove Rigell from office.
If we can defeat both Cuccinelli AND Rigell in 2014 I will be beyond thrilled.

I am actually feeling good about our odds.

It's never too early to start GOTV efforts....

Come on Virginia...let's continue our 'Evolution' from Red to Blue!

Donate Now!

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Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 12:45 PM PDT

Please Help Tonya's Children

by Sara R

Reposted from Community Fundraisers by JekyllnHyde

Kossack tonyahky (Tonya) is between a rock and a hard place.

You've read about this earlier.

Aji wrote:  When Your Own Surgery Risks Hurting Your Disabled Child

Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse wrote: Paying it Forward for Tonya

Kitsap River wrote: Recovering From Abdominal Surgery

All the gritty details are in those diaries.  But what I want to convey is this.

Tonya has a fibroid tumor that is six to seven inches in diameter.  That's the size of a very large grapefruit.  It hurts like hell.  It must be removed and checked for cancer.  A hysterectomy is also necessary.

She is scheduled for surgery.  She needs this.  It is not an option.  

But she is a single parent and has four dependent children.  And one of them is severely autistic -- a sixteen year-old girl with the mental development of a toddler.  All Tonya's children need her but this girl needs special care and constant watching.

Tonya will be laid up for some time.  She'll be in the hospital for several days -- and then for some weeks, she'll be severely constrained.  No lifting.  No reaching.  No driving.  No housework.

She lives in Kentucky, Tea Party country.  Lack of social services is a given.  Because Tonya has been out of work due to this disabling illness, her surgery will be covered for her.  But not care for her children or home help with housework.

She's going to need help and that help will need to be hired.  

We are seeking to raise a total of $5000 to get Tonya's young family through this emergency.  With this, she can heal, and hopefully return to her life as a nurse, secure in the regained ability to support her children.  So far, $3815 has been raised, only $1185 to go.

Look below the fold for details on how to help.

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Reposted from Hoc et quod by KelleyRN2

I did the early registration thing, and was really excited about joining y'all for my first Netroots Nation next month in San Jose.  Ain't gonna happen.  Since registering, I got assigned to direct a small charity serving low income people in my hometown, and I just can't take off in the midst of our start-up phase, still continuing for awhile.

So, I checked with the organizers of NN13 to make sure it was cool, and then decided to put my registration up for auction on ebay to benefit my underfunded (is there another kind?) non-profit agency.

You can bid at: http://cgi.ebay.com/...

You'll help us help folks who are falling through the so-called safety net, and maybe get a bargain on your own registration.  Could anything be more win-win?

I'm just closing the office now, so this might look like a hit and run for awhile, but I'll pop in often to answer questions, or just chat.

Thanks for takin' a look at this.

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Reposted from Climate Change SOS by nomandates Editor's Note: Original analysis. -- nomandates
NCDOT Photograph of S-Turns High Water damage Nov.19,2012. November, 19, 2012, Rodanthe, Outer Banks, NC cut off by abnormally high tides
The Gulf Stream has been weakening continuously since 2004, accelerating sea level rise on the U.S. east coast, with the highest impact on sea level rise centered around Cape Hatteras according to a report, accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research.  The International team of oceanographers led by Princeton & Old Dominion University professor Tal Ezer has 99.99% statistical confidence that the correlation between the Gulf Stream weakening and sea level rise is real.
Recent studies indicate that the rates of sea level rise (SLR) along the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast have accelerated in recent decades, possibly due to a slowdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and its upper branch, the Gulf Stream (GS). ...The coastal sea level variations were found to be strongly influenced by variations in the GS on time scales ranging from a few months to decades. It appears that the GS has shifted from a 6-8 year oscillation cycle to a continuous weakening trend since about 2004, and that this trend may be responsible for recent acceleration in local SLR.
Examination of recent measurements of the strength of the Florida current segment of the Gulf Stream in south Florida waters reveals that high tides and flooding in south Florida and the Outer Banks, North Carolina happened when the Gulf Stream slowed way down for three weeks in November. From November 6 to November 26, 2012 the Gulf Stream weakened in two episodes. Major flooding took place during the week long second episode when Gulf Stream transport weakened over 35%. High water levels also slowed recovery in coastal areas of New York and New Jersey hit by the surge and waves from hurricane Sandy. Sea levels were extraordinarily high all the way from The Caribbean Sea to the Labrador Sea. This event affected the entire east coast of North America.

Florida current transport November, 2012 measured by AOML's marine cable.
The Gulf Stream generates a voltage in a long cable in the channel between Florida and the Bahamas, in a way that's similar (not identical) to what happens when you walk through airport security with metal in your pocket. The salt ions are like the metal, the earth's magnetic field is like the field generated by the security system and the cable is like the security system's detector. AOML oceanographers filter out the effects of solar storms and other natural processes that affect the earth's magnetic field. With the noise removed, AOML accurately determines the strength of the Gulf Stream by the changes in the cable's voltages.
Since 1982 cables have been used to measure the transport of the Florida Current between Florida and the Bahamas near 27°N. Geomagnetic data from the San Juan, Puerto Rico, Fredricksburg, Virginia and Stennis, Mississippi magnetic observatories have been used during different segments of this time period to remove the magnetic field fluctuations from the voltage data.
Gulf Stream transport at 27.1 N averaged 20.6 Sv from November 18 - 24,  36% less, than the long-term average of 32.1 Sv. The table at the right shows daily Florida current transport in Sverdups in November, 2012. Zeros on the right hand side show that each datum met quality control specs.
Ft.Lauderdale Florida, A1A roadway damaged by abnormally high tides related to a slowdown in the Gulf Stream. Road crews working to repair damage while traffic is diverted to landward lanes.
"The ocean has swallowed portions of the sidewalk along A1A north of Sunrise Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. ...  Both northbound lanes have been closed to vehicular traffic. At the moment the southbound lanes are allowing one lane in each direction. R.C. White / IDS Inc." The Miami Herald reported destructive high tides in Fort Lauderdale Florida on November, 22, 2012.
Superstorm Sandy is gone. And the moon’s pull has diminished.

But the ocean keeps pouring over State Road A1A in Fort Lauderdale and onto Alton Road in Miami Beach, causing problems in coastal communities where flooding has now been an off-and-on phenomenon for weeks.

On Thursday and Friday, water from the Atlantic pounded parts of the Fort Lauderdale strip. The power of waves destroyed chunks of a barrier wall and forced authorities to shut down northbound traffic from Sunrise Boulevard to Northeast 20th Street. It’s the second time the road has been closed in about four weeks.

The Miami Herald reporter contacted a meteorologist who blamed the high water levels on the weather. The weather played a role, but the collapse of the Florida Current is the culprit.
Florida current transport in Sverdrups. Note the sudden weakening in November, 2012.

Florida Current, aka Gulf Stream at 27N, transport in Sverdrups. The Gulf Stream weakens by 35% in mid-November, 2012.
Here's a published image from Dr. Chris Menin that shows the high frequency Florida current transport over the 26 years from 1982 to 2008. This year's Florida current slowdown was exceptional but not unprecedented.
Florida current transport determined by AOML's  cable at about 27 deg N.
For about 2 years between 1998 and 2000 there are no data for Florida current transport volumes because of a lack of government funding. AOML scientists used satellite sea surface height measurements to fill in the gap. The long-term data set apparently uses a longer smoothing interval than the figure above. It doesn't show the extreme nature of the collapse of the Florida current in November, 2012. It does show several extended periods of slowing in the Gulf Stream in the early record before the break in measurements. These slowdowns may have been associated with relatively high tides, but ongoing sea level rise tied to warming oceans and melting glaciers made the recent extreme tides more destructive. NOAA's Dr. Chris Meinin clarifed via e-mail the differences between the Florida current transport figures.
I think you are correct that the differences in the two figures are due to temporal smoothing.  The first figure (below) you mentioned is actually produced by a different person here at our lab, and he is unfortunately away from the office this week, but I believe that the altimetry based figure uses a low-pass filtering with a cut-off period of at least 7 or 10 days.  The cable-based measurements that my group produces (above) also have a low-pass filter involved, but the cut-off period is only 3 days, so the record includes more high frequency energy.
Cable measurements of Gulf Stream strength follow the same trends as strength calculations based on altimetry but differ in the details.
Full time series of cable estimates of transport <small>The diamonds indicate the annual mean values. No annual mean values are computed for years with less than 10 months of data. This time series is updated on a monthly basis using real time cable data. Last updated on 01/28/13 12:35 am.<em>floridacurrent</em>) and are funded by the NOAA Office of Climate Observations
A similar slowdown of the Gulf Stream took place in 1994. Note that this smoothed long-term data set doesn't show the very low current strength values of around 20 Sv that were observed for a week this November. That slowdown, which occurred for a longer period than the November 2012 event, may show up better with the longer period filtering. No matter how the filtering was done, the 1994 event didn't have as large a coastal impact because sea level was lower across the North Atlantic. This year's slowdown had maximum impact because sea level was at record high levels in the North Atlantic. Likewise, record high sea level made hurricane Sandy's damage worse.
North Atlantic sea level
AVISO altimetry  shows that sea level was about 1 foot above normal along north Carolina's Outer Banks and Florida's east coast on November, 22, 2012. AVISO's image shows that sea level was well above normal along the whole east coast of north America. In fact, sea level was also significantly higher than normal along the Atlantic coast of north Africa and Europe.
sea Level altimetry 22Nov12
NOAA's verified tide levels confirm the satellite altimetry data. Tide records for Beaufort, NC are shown here because Beaufort faces south. Regional north-east winds tend to blow side shore or offshore at Beaufort. The very high tides at Beaufort cannot be simply explained by the effects of onshore winds. However, they can be explained by the weakening of the Gulf Stream.
Tides at Beaufort NC November 2012 verified by NOAA. Tides are a foot above normal at Beaufort where the winds are blowing offshore, not piling the water up.
Satellite altimetry derived images of sea level developed by NOAA's AOML show that sea level was very high along the northern coast of South America and all along the coastlines of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico on November 19, 2012. This high sea level event affected thousands of miles of coastline.
west Atlantic Sea Level anomalies, 19Nov12.
Hurricane Sandy's enormous windfield developed an enormous fetch that generated huge waves which pounded North Carolina's Outer Banks. The waves damaged Rodanthe's fishing pier and removed the engineered dunes protecting the highway. They washed sand over the road, but they didn't destroy the road bed. Highway NC-12 at S-Turns, Rodanthe, Outer Banks on October 30, 2012 after Hurricane Sandy. Blow up of air photo focused on S-Turns: http://www.flickr.com/...
NC Hwy12 S-turns, north Rodanthe, Outer Banks after hurricane Sandy.
The road bed was destroyed when the Gulf Stream collapsed and sea level rose over a foot above normal. Waves destroyed the road at high tide. Highway NC-12 on November 19, 2012 when the Gulf Stream weakened and sea level rose.
Highway NC-12 Nov.19, 2012 at Rodanthe, NC. Sea level is more than a foot above normal.
These images of the Mercator Ocean's model of North Atlantic currents show the collapse of the Gulf Stream that happened in fall 2012. On October 17 the Gulf Stream was moving at full strength.
North Atlantic currents
On November 21 the Gulf Stream was very weak from Florida to North Carolina. The Loop Current in the Gulf of Mexico was also very weak.
North Atlantic currents
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Reposted from Daily Kos by JanF
A half-length posthumous portrait of Vicente Guerrero, taken from Báez, Eduardo La pintura militar de México en el siglo XIX, Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (Mexico: 1992), p. 45.
Vicente Guerrero, Afro-Indio 2nd president of Mexico, who abolished slavery in 1829
Once again, the month of February is here, marked as Black History Month on calendars in the United States and Canada (October in Great Britan).  

Schools, community groups and bloggers will focus attention on the historical contributions of blacks to our culture. When I was growing up it was called "Negro History Week."

lBack History Month had its beginnings in 1926 in the United States, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be "Negro History Week". This week was chosen because it marked the birthday of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Woodson created the holiday with the hope that it eventually be eliminated when black history became fundamental to American history. Negro History Week was met with enthusiastic response; it prompted the creation of black history clubs, an increase in interest among teachers, and interest from progressive whites. Negro History Week grew in popularity throughout the following decades, with mayors across the United States endorsing it as a holiday.

In 1976, the federal government acknowledged the expansion of Black History Week to Black History Month by the leaders of the Black United Students at Kent State University in February of 1969. The first celebration of Black History Month occurred at Kent State in February of 1970. Six years later during the bicentennial, the expansion of Negro History Week to Black History Month was recognized by the U.S. government.  

We have come a long way since 1926, in addressing the whitewashing of history, but perhaps we should address some of the almost artificial borders and boundaries we have set on that history, and examine peoples and histories who are not usually part of the package.

We have just celebrated the reelection of our first black president, Barack Hussein Obama. Yet my students have been unable to answer the question, "Who was the first black President in North America?"  

Follow me below the fold for the answer and further exploration.

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