I’m Going Hungry
December 11, 2019
“Discipline yourself and others won’t need to.” – John Wooden
“True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.” – Mortimer J. Adler
Johnson Just Keeps Swimming
In the 2016 Brexit campaign millions believed Boris Johnson’s promise that leaving the EU would return tons of money home to bolster Britain’s long-starved National Health Service. It’s 2019: Thursday is Election Day, Johnson is prime minister, and the NHS has deteriorated under his Conservative Party’s watch, with overflowing beds, increased wait times and medical personnel vacancies piling up. Whoever wins will decide whether the UK leaves the EU early next year, and what the future of that looks like. But equally important to voters is the future of the NHS.
Johnson and his fellow conservatives vow that if they win a parliamentary majority they will get Brexit done quickly and move on to negotiate a free-trade agreement with the EU by the end of 2020. With so much on the line, the PM is in his campaign comfort zone: looking relaxed, joking with fishmongers while brandishing a giant cod, and making informal stump speeches that play fast and loose with facts about Brexit.
Johnson’s advisers and many Tory MPs are anything but relaxed. Their biggest fear seemed to happen on cue when Johnson refused to look at the picture of a sick boy sleeping on the floor of Leeds hospital, then pocketed the phone of the journalist who tried to show it to him.
Strategists are well aware of Johnson’s vulnerabilities, but say he’s a master at turning any subject back to a campaign talking point. Like when he was asked why people should trust him on the NHS when he can’t look at the picture of a sick child? Johnson enthusiastically answered that the Tories are putting more money into the NHS, and public services can only thrive if we “get Brexit done.”
47 Dead In Volcano Eruption
- White Island is an active cone volcano located about 30 miles from the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. It’s been built up by continuous volcanic activity over the past 150,000 years. Hayden Marshall-Inman was one of the guides for a group of 38 cruise ship passengers who were exploring the volcano when a deadly eruption occurred just after 2 pm Monday.
- People were seen walking inside the rim of the volcano just before it erupted. In all 47 people were on the Island. Six are confirmed dead, including Marshall-Inman; eight are missing and the remainder have suffered extensive burns to their bodies and lungs.
- In a video taken by a tourist in July, 2018, the guide can be heard saying he had walked into an ash eruption the previous September that made him the most nervous he had even been. (NYT, DailyMail)
No More Reindeer Games
- For generations in Sweden’s Arctic region, indigenous people called the Sami have moved reindeer herds in summer to traditional grazing grounds in the high mountains bordering Norway, then in winter to the forests farther east. But climate change is rapidly altering arctic weather patterns, and affecting food supplies for a herd of about 8,000 starving reindeer.
- Elder Sami herders recall that bad winters occurred every decade or so, but now extreme and strange weather is becoming normal. The arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe. Snowfall is common, but as temperatures increase, occasional rainfall occurs — and “rain-on-snow” events have devastating effects.
- The food is still there, but the reindeer can’t reach it. The animals grow weaker, and females sometimes abort their calves while the survivors struggle to make it through the winter. One Sami said: “If we don’t find better areas for them where they can graze and find food, then the reindeer will starve to death.” (NBCNews)
Caught Red Country-ed
- A three-day hearing into allegations of genocide by Myanmar’s military against Rohingya Muslims began Tuesday at the International Court of Justice at the Hague, Netherlands. Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s state counselor and effective prime minister, sat expressionless through graphic accounts of mass murder and rape perpetrated by her country’s military in 2017 against the Rohingya minority, 700,000 of whom were forced to flee across the border into Bangladesh.
- Myanmar is a predominantly Buddhist country that considers the Rohingya to be there illegally, and denies them citizenship. Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to defend the military on Wednesday by arguing their operations were a legitimate counter-terrorism response to attacks by Rohingya militants. (Guardian)
Well, Isn’t This Just Impeachy
- On Tuesday House Democrats unveiled two narrowly drawn impeachment articles against President Trump: for abuse of the power of his office, and obstruction of Congress in its investigation of his conduct regarding Ukraine.
- At the heart of the Dems’ case is the allegation that Trump tried to leverage a White House meeting and military aid, sought by Ukraine to combat Russian military aggression, to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to both publicly announce an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, and to launch a probe of a disproven conspiracy theory that Kyiv conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
- Democrats are expecting to hold a full House vote on impeaching the president next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he anticipates a trial in which both House and impeachment managers and lawyers for the president would make opening arguments. After that, he said there would be two options: to proceed with calling witnesses or to end the proceedings if a majority of the Republican-led Senate is prepared to do so. He reiterated that he would be “totally surprised” if there are enough votes in the Senate to convict Trump. (WaPo)
Delivering Bad News To The Deliverers
- Several thousand US truck drivers found out Monday they are jobless and without benefits right before Christmas, after their employer announced it was ceasing operations and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Stunned drivers were caught completely unaware and said they’d been lied to for months.
- Their former employer, Indianapolis-based truckload carrier The Celadon Group, is one of the largest truckload carriers in North America, with some 3,300 trucks, 3,800 workers, a customer list including Lowe’s, Walmart and Procter & Gamble, and an estimated $611 million in revenue so far this year.
- Its filing is the largest in trucking history. A Justice Department investigation had previously resulted in the arrest and indictment of the company’s former CFO and COO on nine federal charges each involving a $60 million fraud scheme, including conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud and conspiracy to make false statements to the company’s accountants and falsify records. The company also has debts of $293 million. (Guardian, WSJ)
All By Myself, Don’t Want To Be, All By Myself (But If I Have To Be I Am Okay With It)
- According to two new studies published Tuesday by the American Psychological Association, baby boomers between 55 and 75 aren’t lonelier than prior generations. But lead author and senior research scientist Louise Hawkley says: “While the data show we don’t need to worry, at this point at least, that our older adults are suffering loneliness at rates higher than they have been suffering in the past, the concern about loneliness is real…[with] real consequences for health, for wellbeing, for cognition.”
- Hawkley said her data found loneliness actually decreased from age 50 to about the mid-70s, but then resilience to loneliness begins to decline. It peaks as people age into their 80s and 90s, or what’s called the “oldest-old.” She continues: “It isn’t until the losses begin to mount in much older age — the loss of health and mobility, the deaths of spouses, family and friends — that people begin to be unable to bounce back and loneliness spikes.”
- She notes that we can’t ignore loneliness, and we must be smarter about how we deal with it. She also has cautionary words for adult children who want to push their elderly parents into a community or nursing home facility against their wishes. “There’s definitely a connection between a sense of autonomy that plays into feelings of loneliness. A sense of mastery over your life is critical at all ages of adulthood.” (CNN)
Is Fasting The Fast Track To Fast Results?
- A new study in Cell Metabolism tracked a group of overweight participants who practiced intermittent fasting for three months. Typically the individuals limited their eating to a 10 hour window — roughly 8 am to 6 pm — after which they stayed hydrated but consumed no additional calories.
- Each day they logged the timing of their meals and their sleep. At the end of three months, researchers found the participants had a three percent reduction in weight and a four percent reduction in their abdominal visceral fat.
- Additionally, participants’ cholesterol and blood pressure levels improved, and some reported improvement in sleep quality. (NPR)
- Last song: Temple Of The Dog – Hunger Strike (Official Music Video)
“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.” – David Foster Wallace
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