Thursday, January 4, 2018

I'm confused about Measure 101

My confusion is that I don't get why it's any more complicated than the following:

Whereas the 2017 Oregon Legislature passed the bipartisan Healthcare Protections Bill (HB 2391); and

Whereas basic healthcare should be viewed as a human right; and

Whereas 95% of Oregonians and 100% of children currently have access to healthcare in large part because of Medicaid Expansion; and

Whereas the bipartisan Healthcare Protections Bill provides funding to maintain healthcare expansion and obtain matching federal funds; and

Whereas provider assessments are used by 49 states to fund Medicaid, and have the support of healthcare providers and insurers throughout Oregon; and

Whereas without the Healthcare Protections Bill, Oregon could lose up to $320 million in state revenue, and more than $1.3 billion in federal revenue for providing healthcare, resulting in upwards of 350,000 low-income and working Oregonians losing their healthcare; and

Whereas Republican- and extremist-backed efforts have succeeded in qualifying a Referendum vote on major parts of the Healthcare Protections Bill for a January 2018 Special Election; and

Whereas a YES vote on the Referendum will affirm support for the Healthcare Protections Bill; be it therefore

Resolved that I, Pablo Martos, strongly endorse a YES vote on Measure 101 on January 23, 2018.

What you just read was cribbed from the Democratic Party of Oregon's official Resolution 2017-015, changed only to drop mention of the Party, the Party platform statement that Healthcare should be a human right, and to refer to Measure 101 instead of Referendum 301, which is what Measure 101 was originally called. I'm registered as a Democrat, if I haven't mentioned, and an active participant at the local level.

Sorry to be partisan about this, but partisans on one side with weak arguments and lots of foot stamping and some signature gathering are what kicked this to the voters in the first place instead of letting it pass as the bipartisan legislation it was. This Measure will line us up with how 49 other states fund their health care, and LOTS of people you trust are pushing for it to work.

I don't know who in this list you don't trust, but between all the firefighters, teachers, hospitals, nurses, doctors, all pushing for it, and the fact that organizations like Kaiser Permanente and Legacy Health also signed on in support indicating they think they'll be able to weather just fine the horror of a tax existing, I'm pretty convinced just by the list. Seriously, go read it, and consider not how many on the list you may be suspicious of (I don't always trust hospitals or healthcare companies, either), but how many listed organizations are plainly and clearly interested in your personal welfare, or how many you can surmise just signed on because they know it's the right thing to do.

Fine, be suspicious of the SEIU for all I care. But the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters?  You gonna tell me Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and an organization called the Oregon Center for Christian Voices joining with the League of Women Voters and the Working Families Party and the American College of Physicians' Oregon Chapter on this doesn't say something important? It doesn't say something that the Catholic Charities of Oregon and NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon are on the same side of this one?

Remember this isn't a huge tax. We're talking about small amounts for a small number of entities, and small impacts possible to a small number of people's premiums. This means that several health care providers and organizations will pay a little extra for the next two years, and some people could see a slight increase in their insurance premiums, in order to keep low-income Oregonians insured.

Opponents of Measure 101 point out that it's a about HOW to pay for Medicaid, not WHETHER to, and then want to nitpick about how until the cows come home. That was the strategy that killed Measure 97, which was and remains desperately needed. They said "this isn't the way to do it, we need to find a better solution, come back to us during the legislative session and we'll work with you and get responsible legislation done," and then they didn't. They continued to stonewall and object and dragged their feet and so we remain unable to fund education, healthcare, and senior services properly. They frame this as taxing health care instead of as providing it.

I know some people may be shocked by this, but not every tax is bad. Taxation is a funding mechanism to provide for the common welfare, and it makes sense, and we've been doing it forever. I feel ridiculous having to state that so plainly, but here we are in 2018 in 45's America. Putting an assessment on hospitals and insurance companies makes sense because in our present, imperfect system, that's where the money is. The Department of Consumer and Business Services figured out that if the entire cost of this assessment were passed directly to citizens this could amount to an overall cost increase of maybe $5 per person per month. For a program that saves us collectively about $25-$30, on average, per person per month. That's worth it to me. I want tax money to go to providing health care to the neediest among us. Full stop.

Measure 101 helps stabilize health insurance rates for all of us by providing people with lower cost preventative care, rather than forcing people to get their healthcare in the emergency room where the costs are paid for by all of our insurance premiums. Measure 101 is clear: premiums cannot increase more than 1.5% as a result of the assessment on insurance companies.  Bottom line is that if we don't pass this, funding for Medicaid will be cut by between $210 and $320 million, resulting in the loss of potentially $5 billion in federal funding. Oregon families who rely on Medicaid – including 400,000 children, seniors and people with disabilities could end up with diminished benefits or without coverage entirely.

There will always be imperfections we'll have to fix later in any legislation, in any funding package. That's not the end of the world. But as a parent whose kids have been in and out of hospitals a LOT, I promise you not passing Measure 101 will be the end of someone's world.

So yeah. I'm confused why anyone doesn't want to vote yes. You should vote yes if you care about your fellow man. Tell your friends to vote yes. If you have it in you to do so, get involved. Opportunities abound, even opportunities focused on dropping slate cards instead of calling or knocking on doors, so no talking to people is even required.

We need you. Vote yes, tell your friends, and come help. I'll see you there.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

This Tax Bill is Open Class Warfare

I don't get the itch to write publicly too often anymore, so this blog is not terribly well maintained, and I haven't updated in a bit. Remember this last one I posted? Well, I haven't gotten any less angry. I've been busy, filling my time with activism, knocking on doors and phone banking and trying to be useful to organizers. Been a hell of a year, hasn't it? Yeah, so this tax bill thing just passed, and I've been having a hard time with it, personally.

Who wins and who loses?

Non-partisan analysts say the greatest beneficiaries of the package will be the super-wealthy, multinational corporations and the commercial property industry. In the immediate future, the plan will see the vast majority of taxpayers having lower tax bills, but those cuts expire in 2025.
By 2027, the Tax Policy Center estimates the overall change would be negligible. And 53% of taxpayers would face higher bills, many of them in the lower income brackets.
It's gonna add $1.5 TRILLION to the national debt. It's gonna screw up a lot of people's ability to get healthcare. It's gonna open up Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, which I was knocking on doors to keep from happening in the year 2001. It drops the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% and adds a ton of extra juicy loopholes they can exploit. It takes a HUGE step toward widening the already huge gap between the super wealthy and the rest of us by DOUBLING the amount shielded by the estate tax. I'm pretty sure we're not supposed to have a hereditary aristocratic class in this society, but the Republicans want us to have one apparently.

Worse than that, the $1.5 trillion isn't even the whole story. The tax bill:

... gets referred to as only a $1.5 trillion cut because it raises $4.5 trillion in taxes elsewhere. But the key question is: Who gets a tax hike and who gets a tax cut? Put simply, the bulk of the tax cut is going toward the rich, while the tax increases go to everybody else. And so the bill, properly described, is two things: the largest tax cut — and also the biggest tax increase — in American history.

Details are here, if you wanna test what reading it does to your blood pressure. But here's where it gets really mean: This tax bill is a setup for huge government cuts in how we take care of the downtrodden and disabled.

The Republicans have already admitted that's their plan, and we know how they plan to do it. Under the 2010 Pay-As-You-Go Act, they can automatically just cut spending on stuff if there isn't funding. Well we know there won't be funding because they just cut taxes! Do you see any way in which the dollar amount needed in government support for the needy is gonna go down with the rich getting richer and the rest of us getting less?

The economy is not the stock market and the stock market is not the economy. If GDP goes up because the megacorporations are able to ship more decent jobs overseas and pocket their savings on these huge cuts to their taxes, and all the employment growth here is for service jobs (as has been the trend for a while now), we're not getting anywhere good. All they're leaving is retail jobs selling things the workers can't afford to buy, server jobs in restaurants they can't afford to eat in. What happened to minimum wage meaning nobody had to rely on government to provide for them? That was actually the original idea, and we've let it rot as real earnings stagnated while all the wealth in the country trickled to the top from the 70's onward. From Forbes:
From 1948 until the early 1970s, wages rose in tandem with productivity. However, since 1973, productivity has grown 72% while wages are up a measly 9%. What’s behind the stalled wage growth? There has been an ever-wider gap in income inequality. The top 5% of earners saw their wages swell by 60% since 1973. The top 1% reaped a 138% increase. Today, Fortune 400 CEO’s earn 296-times the average American wage—up from 24-times in 1973.

It's been a class war for a long time, now. Nowadays we make government work by hiking the cost of tuition at public colleges rather than raise taxes (more money for the money changers that way!). Nowadays we all pay more in taxes for the poor to eat because society has to cover the difference between minimum wage and what it takes for an earner to eat or pay for their family to eat, because minimum wage is a joke and paying people enough to survive isn't as profitable. But since Republicans are blowing up the deficit, we are gonna have to cut services because they say so.

I'mma let you in on something you may not know. My family has survived some hard days. At one point I'd been laid off and was getting unemployment insurance, and we were using food stamps (SNAP) and WIC, and we liquidated my 401K to pay for the full allowable term of COBRA so my son could get his medically abso-fucking-loutely-necessary surgeries. Barely managed to not lose the house. We were lucky. The $25 BILLION in cuts this tax bill will likely mean for Medicaid is gonna hurt people and end lives, and again, that's just a teensy part of the $1.5 TRILLION they're gonna carve out of necessary support for the most vulnerable among us.  

But you know no discussion of the future would be complete on this blog without mention of climate change. The world is literally going up in flames where it isn't drowning. The flames and water are gonna get worse for decades before they get better even IF we were responsibly treating it as the massive national threat that it is. We've already got infrastructure problems like Flint's water and bridges falling apart and old tech failing on rail lines that serve private profit over public transit, now Puerto Rico needs a new (and more durable) power grid. Can you imagine how much worse it'll get with a few more years of fires and floods like we've had in 2017?

We are looking at a future of Great Depression-era-level food shortages and economic disruptions around the world, with underfunded programs to provide for the needs of the masses. Dustbowl ain't got nothin' on Global Warming. Meanwhile, our leadership is bullying the world and isolating the hell out of us, undermining every possible government agency from the EPA to the FDA, and "cashing out." 

It's time to raise taxes on corporations and the super rich. The Koch brothers and the Mercers funding the right wing politicians while pushing austerity on the rest of us need to pay their share.

I need everyone reading this not just to vote for a Democratic candidate or two and call it done, or just to throw their hands up and say both parties are the same, I need everyone reading this to fight. Get out on the street and knock on doors. Phone bank if the door knocking is uncomfortable. Write letters to the editor or send a letter to your congressional representatives. Contact your senators, your county commissioners, your state representatives, your city counselors.

We need shelters so the poor don't die in the street like we're living in a goddamn Dickens novel instead of 21st Century USA. We need infrastructure to bring water to Flint and power to Puerto Rico. We need our votes to count, and we need the Republicans who don't mind children dying of starvation and deprivation to fear the angered conscience of a nation of good people.

Please, if you need ideas for actions you can take, there are resources out there. Let me be one. Look at local groups and what they're working on and ask how you can help. Indivisible organized a ton of phone banking against this tax bill and has tons of ways for you to get involved locally, wherever you are. Nasty Women Get Sh*t Done PDX has a huge list of actions you can take. The Democratic Socialists are active nation wide. My County Democratic Party is fighting right now to get Measure 101 passed to maintain funding for Medicaid/OHP and protect 400,000 children in Oregon, and they're looking for volunteers. Hell, you can text message your way to progressive action by using ResistBot, and my local Dems even have something similar that'll send you a couple news/action items a week.

There's a lot of work to do, and only 321 days until the 2018 elections.

Round up your friends. I'll bring pizza. Let's get to work.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Objective reality as civil disobedience

Just so you know, as happens occasionally, there will be some vulgarity in this post. My kids are not allowed to say certain words even when they feel very strongly about something, but that's more about making sure they are able to communicate with their teachers respectfully at all times and can make themselves understood. But this is my personal blog, and I'm pretty sure I can make myself well enough understood, even on a rambling, not-quite-stream-of-consciousness rant that took weeks to finish like this one.

You've probably already heard a little about some of this. The bit about Trump demanding the names of individuals who worked on global warming, at the same time the GOP is shredding protections for civil servants, that was just a warm up. And the whole Alternative Facts nonsense claiming Trump's belief is better evidence than our own eyes. There were those awful hearings where one unqualified crony billionaire after another danced away from legitimate questions by one side and had their asses kissed by the other on their way to take the job leading agencies they've denigrated and fought for decades. But then that walking ego with a comb-over started spreading his stink over whole agencies.

He basically shut down the EPA for a hot minute there. He's censoring fact because it contradicts the narrative that makes him and his cabinet of billionaires more money. He's demanding that everything the EPA publishes be reviewed by his political hacks for conformance with his delusions and there's a hold on any new publications. He personally called the head of the National Parks Service to bitch about the photos tweeted by one National Parks account that showed his crowd size smaller than Obama's. Does that not strike you as a little bit crazy?

(Side note, Snoop is adorable on tonight's Roast Battle. Yes, I know the show is problematic AF, but it's a ridiculous guilty pleasure that hearkens to the also problematic humor of my adolescence, and I need my giggles these days. I'm watching Snoop get high and hit on a contestant's mother, and in my imagination he's mere hours from another taping of that show he shares with a convicted felon. Trevor Noah is up next.)

It looks like the gag order is illegal, which is good to know, but everyone who wants to keep their job is still forced to largely comply, because the only body of government with the power to rein him in absent a lawsuit is too busy passing their own agenda and covering his ass. Fortunately, he seems to have also inspired some delightful online guerilla activism, and that's what got me writing.

People are standing up. The Women's March was an amazing experience to share with my daughter. I was really pleased to see that the web address had been bought and made to redirect to a page on the abuser's tactic of gaslighting. I was even more pleased to see all the rogue agencies twitter accounts. Since it looks like objective reality is the enemy of Lord Dampnut (an anagram of his name!), asserting the evidence of our eyes, of verifiable reality, is now a form of protest.

I was relieved to see that people are working like crazy to archive data from the official NASA website so it doesn't get taken down because it confirms science on climate change. They're doing the same for the EPA data. I even found science activists working on how to train statisticians and scientists on the math, geometry, and geography of illegal gerrymandering so they can serve as expert witnesses in legal battles hoping to strike down oppressive and unfair redistricting.

But what really got me jazzed was the March for Science. I've done a lot of reading on it. There've been articles about how if you do a March for Science, you might make science a partisan issue instead of an apolitical one, articles noting that for a very long time scientists have preferred their own sandbox because if you just provide objective data it can't be politicized. But I'm pretty sold on the idea that it has been politicized, and that Trump is demonizing anything and everything that contradicts his agenda. I'm pretty convinced global warming is a global threat that will turn the world upside down in my lifetime by threatening the prosperity and health and safety and food security of literal billions of people. I'm pretty convinced that sitting back and waiting for reason to prevail doesn't work if you've got shitty messaging that doesn't present your case. If hundreds of scientists pull together to amass a ton of evidence nobody will read, and FOX news reports on it from the perspective of denialism and invites on maybe one proponent to discuss it who is facing a panel of skeptical pundits and whatever oil company shill with a science degree they've managed to dig up, we're fucked.

Our understanding of the measurable evidence from almost every branch of science you can name is fairly conclusive, and not hard to explain.

The basic understanding laid out in that chain of tweets (not sure the images will post correctly/legibly, but giving it a shot anyway) is something I've been able to wrap my head around since high school, but it isn't something you EVER see explained on the news or in the paper, and I'll be the first to admit I've done a poor job communicating it, myself. So I'm trying to recalibrate how I go about it.

You've got to keep it simple, and you've got to allow outrage into your voice, or nobody will hear you over the smug white smiles of people paid to look pretty and obfuscate. So here it is. I'm angry. I'm really goddamn angry that we, humanity collectively, are getting screwed over for generations for the financial benefit of Saudi princes and oil barons and Lord fucking Dampnut and his cabinet. Climate change and humanity's role in it is pretty much undeniable at this point, and we need to do something about it now. Fight me.

I've reached out to the organizers of the March for Science asking for how I can help, and I hope some of you do, too. Understand that this March for Science is not really about science. It isn't about funding for science grants or agencies, it isn't about little policy tweaks or the cost of college or peer reviewed journals. It isn't about the scientists. It's about the public. It's about living in a world where asserting anything about objective reality that we can all see with our own eyes is civil disobedience. The Emperor has no clothes, and Congress has literally banned research on gun violence. When everything in our lives from healthcare to safety from police abuses to privacy to the future of all our children is so threatened, we have to stand up.

Credit to the Artist

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Something to make you smile.

I'm about to start working on my thoughts about the rogue twitter accounts started by federal employees in various agencies, but that topic is tangential to a lot of really unhappy things going on right now. I'm in this tornado of sad and angry and flustered and confused, and the news is coming so fast it feels like anything I write will be outdated by the time I get it posted.

So I thought I'd offer a counterbalance to that beforehand. This video got me giggly, and I want more people smiling in this shitty political climate. Watch all the way through, and I promise you'll be smiling.

I'll write more soon, I promise.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A letter to a friend, that became a rant and a conversation with my better angels, that became outpaced by events.

Hey, readers. A while back, I got an inquiry about the Standing Rock protests. I was linked to a lengthy article that made an argument, and asked for feedback. This was before the news that the Army Corps of Engineers would refuse to grant the easement to the pipeline (YAY!). I suspect this friend was given the article by a conservative loved one whose opinion was swayed or reinforced by it and offered it to her during or after one of those civil political conversations I'm personally so fond of having with my own conservative loved ones. Could be she came across it on her own, just by having enough conservative loved ones on Facebook that it came up.

However she found it, she shared it with me, and it pissed me off.

I'm making a conscious choice, by the way, to NOT link to that piece of garbage in this post. It doesn't need any wider circulation than it got already.

My first response to my friend was a brief coupe paragraphs:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


So, it occurred to me that not everybody keeps up with environmentally-focused news and developments the way I do. Truth is, I get my info from a lot of sources. There's a lot out there! A good deal of my idle reading comes from stuff I find on Facebook, I'll admit, but some is also scholarly work, links I've come across from professional sources, or even just personal interest stuff I've kept up with for a while.

So now, I'm going to share some fun little tidbits I've come across recently, just because I think they're pretty cool, or at least worth sharing around, on the off chance anybody reads this. You may recall, it's been a while since I put up my last post like this, News & Views. Hopefully this level of posting, where I just give a few thoughts on multiple little tidbits of fun or important info, captures some audience interest.

How I'd like to imagine my audience's hunger and enthusiasm for the tidbits I'm about to present.

Ok, so here goes. First, a little podcast called RadioLab, which I've been in love with for some time now. It isn't always hard science, wandering occasionally into philosophy or speculation, but it always has some great storytelling, and I'd encourage you to check them out beyond this one 'cast.

Not just about trees!

More locally, here's some fairly recent good news. The Columbia River Basin is likely gonna get some serious funding to get cleaned up some!

The Columbia River Basin Restoration Act would be administered by the Environmental Protection Agency but adds no new authorization to regulate.  The purpose of the Act is strictly to establish a competitive grant program to help local groups voluntarily clean up, monitor, and reduce the use of toxics within the Columbia River Basin.

So this is pretty cool, because apparently the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership (with other partners) has been working on this for the better part of a decade. I've volunteered with them and attended a few of their conferences, and I can tell you they're a great organization with a solid foundation in the science of what they do. They actually just recently got a major award for a project implemented in 2015. But there's a lot more to get done, and we haven't exactly gotten our share of funding for it.

 The Columbia River basin remains one of only two major EPA designated ‘large aquatic ecosystems’ to receive zero funding for clean-up pursuant to this designation.  Since 2009, ‘large aquatic ecosystems’ including the Great Lakes and Puget Sound have received a total of over $3 billion in funding to protect and preserve their watersheds.

We could use a slice of that pie, lemme tell you. I look forward to getting my hands dirty.

Speaking of which, there's an opportunity coming up that I almost never miss, Clark County Public Utilities District's Make A Difference Day, Saturday, October 22nd. Yes, they used a pic of me at the link, from my volunteering at one of the past Make A Difference Days. They get TONS of people out, bring out some live music and other performers, set up free food for the volunteers, and make a whole fair of it. If you're local, you should go. I promise it'll feel good and you'll have fun.

Another opportunity I just heard about through the email list for a local ecology-interested meetup thing (which I can never make it to because they are mostly done before my commute is over in the evenings) is this project by Cascadia Wild to get people out surveying for wolverines on Mt. Hood. Snow shoeing. Can you see the glee on my face right now? I don't know that I'll be able to make it, but they seem to have quite a few options for training dates as well as survey dates. Keep your fingers crossed. If I make it out there, I'll tell you all about it in another post.

"You lookin' fer me, bub?"
(Image from Wikipedia, by Jonathan Othén - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

And now, to leave you with one last cool bit of imagery. Some climate scientists with the Nature Conservancy have put together a map of the anticipated routes of animal migration as birds, mammals, and amphibians all start to move to cooler climes in response to climate change. While a sad topic, worth a few subsequent essays or research endeavors into what this means for future impacts to agriculture and outdoor recreation and a million other things, it makes for an amazing image. Go read up on it, and take your time admiring the animation, because it represents so much work by some brilliant people. You can zoom in and pan around if you like. I also hope you click through the links, read some cool news, and turn on some RadioLab.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Shellfish, Ocean Acification, and Global Warming

I target my writing here at the layperson, so it may or may not be obvious to my readers that lots of things are happening to the ocean as a result of anthropogenic climate change, from coral reefs dying to sea level rise to changes in our fisheries to a mysterious "Warm Blob" in the Pacific (an actual thing!). Today I thought I'd try to tackle one of the causes of a few of those changes, Ocean Acidification. Ocean Acidification is an important point to understand when we're talking about the scale and consequences of global warming, and I hope to impart a bit of perspective on the matter here, if I can.

There's a lot of chemistry I'm not really gonna go into, but a little of it you have to understand, at least conceptually. First, a quick lesson on pH. I know you've seen that letter combination before, be it on lotion or soap or what have you, maybe you remember playing with pH paper in high school, but the thing to know is that it is a scale of measurement. Simply, it measures how acidic or basic something is, and those are opposite descriptors for the chemistry of a fluid based on the activity of the hydrogen ions in it. The scale runs from 0 to 14, where 7 is neutral, the low half of the scale is acidic and the upper half is basic. Lemon juice, for example, contains 5% to 6% citric acid and has a pH of between 2 and 3 (high acidity). The ocean is at a pH of around 8 (a little basic).

The thing to understand about pH is that this is a logarithmic scale. Like the Richter Scale used for measuring earthquake intensity, it isn't linear. We're not counting things, we're measuring intensity, in a range that boggles the human brain. A difference of 1 does not reflect an extra orange in a sack of oranges. Each mark on the scale is the previous mark multiplied by a value, not added to by a value. On the Richter scale a difference of one represents about a thirtyfold difference in magnitude. With pH, as mentioned, we're talking about the chemistry of the relative abundance of hydrogen ions, charged atoms. It takes a lot of those to change the pH of a cup of liquid you can hold in your hand. The numbers involved are beyond the capacity of the human brain to comprehend without some sort of shorthand to abbreviate things. You probably know that multiplying something by 2 over and over again gets you to astronomically high numbers really fast. Imagine doing that with a multiplier of 10 and you begin to understand pH.

So we have solid data to show that the pH of the ocean used to be more like 8.2, around 300 years ago, and over the last 200 years or so (thanks, Industrial Revolution!) it has edged up toward 8.1, which National Geographic will also spare you the math on and just tell you is about a 25% increase in acidity. That's a whole damn lot, which, when you think about how very big the ocean is, should scare you a whole damn lot. Because part of the carbon cycle of this planet involves the ocean soaking up CO2 from the atmosphere, forming carbonic acid (H2CO3) when it hits the water (H2O). This effect of the oceans soaking up our excess atmospheric carbon has definitely helped us by slowing the accumulation of greenhouse gasses that heats things up enough to melt glaciers and tundras, but we've generated so much CO2, so fast (think geologic timescales, now), that we're literally changing the chemistry of our planet. And it'll get worse. By one estimate, "if we continue our current rate of carbon emissions, global oceans could be 150 percent more acidic by the end of the century than they have been for 20 million years."

Look, we're not concerned the ocean is gonna turn into lemon juice. But we're pumping enough carbon into the ocean, that the acification is keeping sea life from functioning properly. That's why coral reefs are bleaching worldwide, and why the industry that harvests and sells mussels in Oregon is suffering. The higher acidity inhibits shell growth in marine animals. They literally can't make the chemistry of their bodies in the water function well enough to produce the calcium carbonate that they need for their shells, exoskeletons and other structures. The whole food chain is affected by this, including our fisheries.

Looks like a Dryer Ball to me.

There is so much we don't know about the ocean! We find new and previously assumed-to-be-extinct species, and we have absolutely no idea what this is! We have no idea what caused the Bloop (OK, we have some solid evidence to imply it was iceberg related, but still). We're still in the "observation" stage of understanding what the heck is going on with the Blob, as it is way too early to say we understand the process of it's generation even a tenth as well as we get the El Nino formation or what they call the "Pacific Decadal Oscillation." Hell, we can only sorta say we understand THOSE. We've looked at MAYBE 5% of the ocean and its depths, and the budget for NOAA (the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) is less than a quarter of that of NASA. We need more Boaty McBoatfaces. We need more research, not just of what climate change is doing but of what's been out there all this time (my own alma mater is amazing on this front, btw).

Don't get me wrong, I love NASA. I love the technological marvels they've brought us over the years, and the exploration of space, and I have no desire to see NASA's budget cut, but NOAA definitely needs more, because they work to understand our planet's life support system. If we screw that up, there's no fixing it. Sorry to end on such a downer note, but that's were the science brings us.

Which is why (and I can say this, because this is a personal blog, and I choose to say it because we're in an election year) I will never vote for anyone who denies global warming. And you shouldn't either. That eliminates about 95% of a particular political party, in case you were wondering. Bear that in mind this November.