Monthly Archives: August 2019

Christopher Leonard – KOCHLAND: The Secret History of Koch Industries & Corporate Power in America

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Since the death in 1967, of Koch patriarch, Fred Koch,fred-koch300.jpg

Charles Koch has governed the private corporation, Koch Industries, influencing the economy and politics of the United States as few individuals have ever done in history.

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An early, lucrative investment was the acquisition of the Pine Bend Refinery, a “cash cow” for the Kochs for over 50 years. Conflicts with labor unions and violations of environmental laws marked Koch management of Pine BendPineBendaerial.png

In Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America (Simon & Schuster, 2019), business journalist, Christopher Leonard, delves deeply into the history of the Koch family and businesses, whose products are foundational to the U.S. economy – from fertilizer for food to energy for transportation, industry and homes, to the fibers we wear and more.

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Among its numerous acquisitions over the past 50 years, Georgia-Pacific was one of its biggest, affecting many communities, including Ft. Bragg, CA. The former mill site was bought from Koch Industries by the City of Ft. Bragg.  Many are concerned about the toxic residues, including lead, arsenic, dioxin and PCBs.

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Kris Newby BITTEN: The Secret History of Lyme Disease & Biological Weapons

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“…the US military has conducted thousands of experiments exploring the use of ticks and tick-borne diseases as biological weapons, and in some cases, these agents escaped into the environment. The government needs to declassify the details of these open air bioweapons tests, so that we can begin to repair the damage these pathogens are inflicting on humans and animals in the ecosystem.”

Those are the words written by award-winning science writer at Stanford University, Kris Newby, in her scrupulously researched and referenced, controversial new book, BITTEN: THE SECRET HISTORY OF LYME DISEASE AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS, published by Harper Wave, an imprint of Harper Collins.

Kris Newby has two degrees in engineering, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and a master’s degree from Stanford University.
She was the senior producer of the Lyme disease documentary UNDER OUR SKIN, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was a 2010 Oscar semifinalist. Previously, she was a technology writer for Apple and other Silicon Valley companies.

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In 1951, Swiss born scientist, Willy Burgdorfer began working at the Rocky Mountain Laboratory, where he began researching ticks and tick-borne diseases. He began working with the US Biological Weapons program at Forth Detrick, MD. In 1981, Willy Burgdorfer discovered the spirochete, Borrelia brugdorferi, believed to cause Lyme Disease.

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The area around the Long Island Sound where the sudden outbreak of three unusual tick-borne diseases – Lyme Disease, first identified near the township of Lyme, CT; Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a bacterial disease; and Babesiosis, a disease caused by a malaria-like parasite. The Plum Island Animal Disease Center is pinpointed.

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The feeding apparatus of a female Ixodes ricinus. (Courtesy of Dania Richter, Technische Universitaet Braunschweig, Germany)

John Taliaferro – GRINNELL: America’s Environmental Pioneer & His Restless Drive to Save the West

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In this interview recorded on July 25, 2019, John Taliaferro discusses the extraordinary life of George Bird Grinnell, largely forgotten to conservation history. His book, Grinnell: America’s Environmental Pioneer & His Restless Drive to Save the West, is published by Liveright Publishing, a division of W. W. Norton.

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Grinnell is credited with being the first person of European descent to explore what is today Glacier National Park, as well as being instrumental in its creation

gun-vision-i-seeing-and-shooting-braddock-34-728.jpgHe was a founder of  the Audubon Society and published The Audubon Magazine.

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Grinnell was a prolific writer on many topics, including hunting, conservation, the ethnology of numerous Native American tribes, and novels about Jack, a Western boy.

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Childless himself, he wrote the “Jack” books for his nephews:

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