Saturday, August 2, 2008

Saturday Morning Quick Hits

Boomerang effect, anyone?
A small study (less than 500 data points) suggests that the mocking ads by the McSame campaign are more likely to make him look bitter and petty, driving up his own negatives more than Obama's.

Senate OKs 2.8% COLA for recipients of VA disability and survivors benefits
Disabled veterans and survivors don't get the same deal as other federal beneficiaries. While active duty and retired military personnel, federal employees and Social Security recipients get automatic COLAs, every adjustment to benefits for disabled veterans and survivors must be approved by legislative fiat and signed into law by the president. Does this strike anyone else as absurd? Isn't it high time to bring these benefits into the yearly Defense Authorization Bill, in the interest of efficiency, expediency and good old ordinary, garden variety fairness?

No more Minutemen at Malmstrom
The 564th Missile Squadron at Malmstrom AFB, Mont. has been deactivated. All that remains in the fifty silos scattered about the state are a few pieces of furniture, and even that will be gone shortly. When it was decided in 2006 that the nation no longer needed 500 ICBMs on alert, the 564th, know as "the Odd Squad" was chosen for deactivation, primarily because it's missiles used a different communications system, incompatible with that used by the other eight squadrons of missiles.

Population increases, climate change, fire and invasive species remake the California landscape
Bigger and more frequent fires, burning more territory, over longer fire seasons have destroyed the chaparral. Areas that used to burn every 50 to 150 years now burn much more frequently, and the native species, lacking the time to recover, have been supplanted by non-native grass species. The change in vegetation extends the fire season because many invasive plants burn virtually year-round. Toss a cigarette into a stand of coastal sage in June and in most years it won't ignite. Do the same to a bed of red brome and it will. In addition to the tinder-factor, grasses don't hold the soil or water as well as deep-rooted shrubs, leaving hillsides more prone to landslides and erosion.

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