The Breakfast Club (Buzz)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgLots
of bad environmental news this week.  I don't really know much about
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) so I'll let the pieces speak for

Bees Are Dying and We'll All Pay for It
Kiona Smith-Strickland, Gizmodo

5/13/15 3:55pm

Bee colonies are still dying, and food may get more expensive as a result.

Beekeepers in the U.S. lost 42.1 percent of their bee colonies between April 2014 and April 2015, according to a recent annual survey. Those losses continue a trend of die offs among bee colonies, which beekeepers say could drastically affect our food supply.

Without bees to pollinate crops, we stand to lose many staple
foods that we eat every day, from apples and tomatoes, to onions and


Winter losses tell only part of the story. In fact, U.S. beekeepers
lost enough colonies during the last two summers to make up for the
improvements in winter losses. Last summer, about 27.4 percent of
colonies died out. Large-scale commercial beekeepers, those with more
than 50 colonies, seem to be especially prone to losing bee colonies
during the summer.

Why are bee colonies dying? Several reasons: sometimes they
succumb to winter cold, and sometimes a colony falls prey to mites,
viruses, or fungi. Colony collapse disorder, or CCD,
is one of the biggest problems, and it's actually pretty creepy.
Colonies that have succumbed to CCD are eerily deserted. The adult bees
are gone, but there aren't any bodies. It's likely that the workers died
elsewhere, but they left with unhatched young in the brood chamber,
ample supplies of food in the hive, and the queen all alone in the hive.

Researchers think CCD is the product of an unfortunate combination of pesticides,
parasites, pathogens, and nutritional problems caused by less diversity
and availability of sources of pollen and nectar. Any of those causes
could also contribute to more ordinary kinds of colony loss.

A Sharp Spike in Honeybee Deaths Deepens a Worrisome Trend
By MICHAEL WINES, The New York Times

MAY 13, 2015

In an annual survey released on Wednesday by the Bee Informed Partnership,
a consortium of universities and research laboratories, about 5,000
beekeepers reported losing 42.1 percent of their colonies in the
12-month period that ended in April. That is well above the 34.2 percent
loss reported for the same period in 2013 and 2014, and it is the
second-highest loss recorded since year-round surveys began in 2010.

Most striking, however, was that honeybee deaths spiked last summer, exceeding winter deaths for the first time.
Commercial beekeepers, some of whom rent their hives to farmers during
pollination seasons, were hit especially hard, the survey's authors

"We expect the colonies to die during the winter, because that's a
stressful season," said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an assistant entomology
professor at the University of Maryland who directs the survey for the
bee partnership. "What's totally shocking to me is that the losses in
summer, which should be paradise for bees, exceeded the winter losses."


Dr. vanEngelsdorp said increasingly poor nutrition could be a factor
in the rising summer death rate. Rising crop prices have led farmers to
plow and plant millions of acres of land that was once home to
wildflowers; since 2007, an Agriculture Department program that pays
farmers to put sensitive and erosion-prone lands in a conservation
reserve has lost an area roughly equal to half of Indiana, and budget
cuts promise to shrink the program further. Dr. vanEngelsdrop and other
scientists cite two other factors at work in the rising death rate: a
deadly parasite, the varroa mite, and pesticides.

In recent years, some experts have focused on neonicotinoids, a
class of pesticides used almost universally on some major crops in the
United States. The European Commission has banned the use of three
variants of the pesticide on flowering plants, citing risks to bees, and
questioned whether they should be used at all.

Honeybees dying, situation 'unheard of'
By Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post

May 14 at 3:11 AM

Just last year, it seemed there was something to
celebrate despite planet Earth's ongoing honeybee apocalypse: Bee colony
losses were down. Not by enough, but they were down.


"One year does not make a trend," Jeff Pettis, a co-author of the
survey who heads the federal government's bee research laboratory in
Beltsville, Md., told the New York Times.

Turns out Pettis was right. VanEngelsdorp and other researchers at the Bee Informed Partnership, affiliated with the Department of Agriculture, just announced more than 40 percent of honeybee hives died this past year, as the Associated Press reported. The number is preliminary, but is the second-highest annual loss recorded to date.

"What we're seeing with this bee problem is just a loud signal
that there's some bad things happening with our agro-ecosystems," study
co-author Keith Delaplane of the University of Georgia told the AP. "We just happen to notice it with the honeybee because they are so easy to count."


The state worst affected was Oklahoma, which lost more than 60 percent of its hives. Hawaii escaped relatively unscathed, losing less than 14 percent.

"Most of the major commercial beekeepers get a dark panicked look
in their eyes when they discuss these losses and what it means to their
businesses," Pennsylvania State University entomology professor Diana
Cox-Foster, who didn't participate in the survey, said. Her state lost more than 60 percent of its colonies.

The USDA estimated that honeybees add more than $15 billion to the value of the country's crops per year.

"If losses continue at the 33 percent level, it could threaten the economic viability of the bee pollination industry," the department said.
"Honey bees would not disappear entirely, but the cost of honey bee
pollination services would rise, and those increased costs would
ultimately be passed on to consumers through higher food costs. Now is
the time for research into the cause and treatment of CCD before CCD
becomes an agricultural crisis."

Science Oriented Video


What Happened to the Honeybees?


The law that entropy always increases holds, I think,
the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to
you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with
Maxwell's equations - then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If
it is found to be contradicted by observation - well, these
experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found
to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope;
there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.

-Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

Science News and Blogs

Obligatories, News and Blogs below.




Transgender women sue to donate Plasma

Jasmine Kaiser has filed suit in King County, WA, Superior Court against CSL Plasma, Inc., a for profit company that pays donors for plasma as much as $200 a month because the company refused to let her donate last June because she is transgender.

Company representatives told Ms. Kaiser that she was banned for life because of her status.

They told her that they would inform other blood centers that she was on a lifetime deferral list.

--David Ward, attorney with Legal Voice

Ward, Gender Justice, and Isaac Ruiz of the law firm Keller Rohrback filed the complaint, arguing that denying Ms. Kaiser the right to donate violates the 2006 Washington state law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression.

Ward noted that transgender people face almost daily discrimination in everything from housing to health care.

Washington law specifically prohibits discrimination based on a person’s gender identity or expression, and it has since 2006. We feel the company’s treatment of Ms. Kaiser is a clear violation of the law. It is based on nothing more than bias against transgender people.

And it is time that this kind of discrimination be taken seriously and not say, 'Well, why would somebody sue about that?




The Breakfast Club (Hump Day)

The Breakfast Club (Hump Day)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and
weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our
boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late,
it's PhilJD's fault.

 photo 807561379_e6771a7c8e_zps7668d00e.jpg

This Day in History




Today in History for May 13th





Pope John Paul II shot; English colonists arrive at
what becomes Jamestown; Winston Churchill gives his first speech as
British prime minister; The U.S. declares war on Mexico; Singer Stevie
Wonder born.

Breakfast Tunes




Stevie Wonder ~ Superstition





Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac


The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.

Winston Churchill




Miley Cyrus? Really?

 photo prism_zpsdmci5cay.jpgPerhaps I should start off with a personal note. When I was living in Arkansas after my transition, I used to run a LGBT group out of my home: Conway Prism. Although the group was mainly advertised as a gay-friendly atmosphere, we were open to anyone who wanted to attend and respect everyone else who was there. Someone once ask me what the point of it was. My response was that I wanted everyone to become a member.

 photo Cyrus_zpskxfojncb.jpgIt appears that philosophy may undergo some testing.

A week ago, Cyrus announced the beginning of her Happy Hippie Foundation, which is designed to help homeless and other at risk LGBT youth.

At the event, Cyrus also announced that not all of her past relationships have been heterosexual...and that she sees herself as being "gender fluid."

Cyrus says she was resentful that she was a girl.




SAVE Champions of Equality

 photo fl-arianna-lint-jpg-20131226_zpsaacm9dg6.jpgLast Friday, SAVE, a South Florida LGBT Equality group, presented its 2015 Campions of Equality recipients. This years recipients were Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, donor services director for GLAAD, Arianna Lint, transgender services director at Sunserve, Mark Rosenberg, president of Florida International University, and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.



For Mother's Day

 photo Avery_zpslmcolvdr.jpgFriday's entry in the New York Times editorial staff's Transgender Project was Families Share Stories of Raising Transgender Kids.

Among those kids highlighted was Avery Jackson (apparently also known as AJ) a 7 year-old transgender girl from the Kansas City, MO area. Avery insisted that she be allowed to make a video for submission to the story wall.



When I was born, doctors said I was a boy, but I knew in my heart I was a girl,” she says. “Even though I was a girl, I was afraid to tell my mom and dad, because I thought they would not love me anymore or throw me out or stop giving me any food or anything.




Sunday Train: Benefits of the Maryland Red and Purple Lines

Just as national attention has been focused on the sections of Baltimore that have been largely locked out of the revival of economic activity in downtown Baltimore and the Inner Harbor, the new Republican governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, is considering whether to proceed with the construction of the Red Line in Baltimore, as well as the Purple Line in the Maryland DC suburbs.

As discussed in StreetsblogUSA back in January, "Considering to proceed", here, means:

Early in his gubernatorial campaign, Hogan promised to kill the projects, saying the money would be better spent on roads and that the western, eastern, and southern parts of the state deserved more attention. But closer to the election he moderated his views, saying the lines were "worth considering."

Now Transport for American ( has weighed in, producing a report that argues that the benefits of the lines make them well worth their cost.

Indeed, part of their case may well help explain why Gov. Hogan is "deciding" when originally Candidate Hogan sounded like he had already made up his mind. For the Transport for America case for these lines, join me below the fold.




The Breakfast Club (Greensky Bluegrass)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it's PhilJD's fault.






Subscribe to Voices on the Square RSS