Thursday News: Thanks, John

GOVERNOR KASICH SETS A GOOD EXAMPLE FOR BERGERMOORE: Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich made an impassioned plea to North Carolina lawmakers to expand Medicaid, making an explicitly moral case for increasing access to health care. Kasich, a Republican who also served in the U.S. House and ran for president in 2016, spoke via video Tuesday afternoon to a legislative committee studying health care access and Medicaid expansion. “When you die and go to heaven, you’re going to see St. Peter, and St. Peter is not going to ask you, ‘Did you balance the budget?’ He’s going to ask you what did you do for the least of those,” Kasich said, recounting a conversation he had with the Ohio House speaker. “And that’s how I feel about it. And what I would say to the fine members of the legislature of North Carolina, to the people of North Carolina, is there’s a lot of people who need a lot of help." Refusing to expand Medicaid is pure obstinacy, with a side of racism. And not just because it was Obama's idea, but because a whole lot of those in the income gap are people of color. Just do it.

ONE MORE NC CHILD KILLED BY GUNFIRE: A 14-year-old boy was killed Wednesday inside a mobile home in Goldsboro. Shots were fired into the trailer around 4 a.m. at Tanglewood Mobile Home Park off Central Heights Road. Officials did not say if anyone else was injured or if there would be any charges at this time. While the brevity of this article simply denotes a lack of relevant information, I can't help but feel like it's becoming a trend. Child. Dead. Gunshot. He had been alive for over fourteen years, and had 70-80 more ahead of him. And now he's a footnote, only to be remembered by a few dozen people. We must do better.

AVIAN FLU IS ATTACKING NC'S BIRD POPULATION: Wildlife experts in North Carolina have confirmed that birds in four separate counties have died from the avian flu. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission said in a news release on Tuesday that a snow goose in Hyde County, a redhead duck in Carteret County, a red-shouldered hawk in Wake County, and a bald eagle in Dare County, have all died from the flu. According to the news release, the snow goose was collected at Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge by refuge staff. The other birds were collected by N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission staff. Both the snow goose and redhead duck were observed with neurological signs consistent with avian flu prior to being euthanized. The hawk and eagle were found dead, the news release said. A lab in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the flu in each of the birds. The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy reported on its web page last week that avian flu has been reported in 357 birds in 20 states this year.

ZELENSKY ZOOMS CONGRESS ASKING FOR HELP: There has never been a speech to Congress by a foreign leader quite like the one Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered on Wednesday. Short in length, powerful in words, graphic in imagery, the address was a pointed challenge to President Biden to do more to help Zelensky’s beleaguered country. What Zelensky asked for was not new — the establishment of a no-fly zone over his country to stop Russian attacks from the skies. But if the appeal was not new or unexpected, the forcefulness by which he made it, and the way he singled out the president, was a step beyond where he had been before. Zelensky closed his speech by addressing Biden directly and switching to English for emphasis: “You are the leader of your great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.” Zelensky’s speech underscored his role as the leader of a nation facing unprovoked attack, a nation that has drawn support and sympathy from the rest of the world, but one that is not a member of the NATO alliance that has helped keep the peace in Europe since the end of World War II. He and his people may appreciate the support they have gotten, but they still feel alone in the battle. His need is that of any leader in his situation, to plead and cajole and demand more aid as he watches his country being destroyed and thousands of civilians killed. Something many people don't seem to understand, possibly because the way it's been presented in the past: enforcing a no-fly zone is, in fact, an act of war. After we defeated Iraq in the (1st) Gulf War, enforcing that no-fly zone led to numerous aerial combat situations, and they didn't have a fraction of the aircraft that Russia does. If we really need to do it, then maybe we should do it. But don't (for a minute) think it won't lead to a full-on war with Russia. Because it will.

THE ICE IS MELTING IN THE BOTTOM OF OUR OCEANS, TOO: Using advanced underwater mapping technology, MBARI researchers and their collaborators revealed that dramatic changes are happening to the seafloor as a result of thawing permafrost. In some areas, deep sinkholes have formed, some larger than a city block of six-story buildings. In other areas, ice-filled hills called pingos have risen from the seafloor. "We know that big changes are happening across the Arctic landscape, but this is the first time we've been able to deploy technology to see that changes are happening offshore too," said Charlie Paull, a geologist at MBARI and one of the lead authors of the study. "This groundbreaking research has revealed how the thawing of submarine permafrost can be detected, and then monitored once baselines are established." While the degradation of terrestrial Arctic permafrost is attributed in part to increases in mean annual temperature from human-driven climate change, the changes the research team has documented on the seafloor associated with submarine permafrost derive from much older, slower climatic shifts related to our emergence from the last ice age. Similar changes appear to have been happening along the seaward edge of the former permafrost for thousands of years. "There isn't a lot of long-term data for the seafloor temperature in this region, but the data we do have aren't showing a warming trend. The changes to seafloor terrain are instead being driven by heat carried in slowly moving groundwater systems," explained Paull. Whatever the cause, it's not good news. There are methane clathrates down there, and we don't need anymore of that ish getting loose.