Saturday, January 19, 2013

Via FB:


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Via The Other 98% / FBP:

Just doesn't pan out, does it?

Via Unreal Americans / FB:

 
Photo

Via Occupy Healthcare / FB:


Via Generation Alpha / FB: Bolivia's Chacaltaya Glacier Melts to Nothing

 
The Chacaltaya glacier, 5,300m (17,400 ft) up in the Andes, used to be the world's highest ski run.

High above sea level, in the breathtaking Andes mountains of Bolivia, the Chacaltaya glacier existed for 18,000 years, until now. What was known as “the highest ski run in the world” has melted away. ”Chacaltaya has disappeared. It no longer exists,” said Dr. Edson Ramirez, head of a team of scientists studying the glacier and assistant director of the Institute of Hydraulics and Hydrology at the Universidad Mayor de San Andres in La Paz. Chacaltaya, meaning cold road in Aymara, started melting in the mid-1980s. When Ramirez began studying the glacier ten years ago, he and his colleagues concluded it would melt, but not until 2015. According to studies, the thaw rate increased threefold over the last decade. Researchers believe other glaciers in Bolivia, as well as Peru and Ecuador, will experience the same fate.

http://climatesoscanada.org/blog/2009/06/02/bolivias-chacaltaya-glacier-has-disappeared/

Crises Erupt as Glacial Retreat Threatens Water Resources

The dramatic, profound impacts of global warming are increasingly becoming apparent, particularly as regards vital freshwater supplies. Glaciers around the world are in retreat, threatening the sustainability of populations across entire regions—a process that has been under way for decades.

http://theenergycollective.com/globalwarmingisreal/164606/crises-erupt-glacial-retreat-threatens-water-resources

Via Climate Progress:

Posted: 19 Jan 2013 06:37 AM PST
Opine away!



David Horsey writes of his friend Jay Inslee, now governor of Washington:
In Congress, he became a leader on new energy technology and climate change. I once asked him how anything would ever get done to forestall the looming climate calamity, given the pitiful lack of political will on the issue. As always, he was upbeat, certain that smart leaders would find a solution, certain this was not another quixotic fight.So, it was no surprise that, in his inaugural speech as governor, Inslee told the assembled legislators he believes the state can lead the world in providing a technological response to the climate challenge. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger demonstrated in California that states can take effective action to reduce carbon emissions even while the federal government dawdles. Inslee wants his state to follow a similar path and, in the process, create new jobs in the clean energy industry
Republican legislators, many of whom cling to the idea that climate change is as mythical as unicorns, sat glumly as he directed a message to them: “We don’t deny science in Washington; we embrace it. We do not follow technological innovation; we lead it. And we will not pass up a golden opportunity to create jobs.” … So much of the time, politics is dismal and disheartening, but, on Wednesday, I was reminded that elections matter. That is how we raise up good men and women like Jay Inslee who consider “daring greatly” to be their life’s mission.

Now Is The Time to Take Action Against Gun Violence


Via The Platzner Post / FB:


Via The Pragmatic Progressive FB Page:


If you hate all that gubment, Somalia awaits.--Dave.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Via Being Liberal / FB:


Via Global Secular Humanist Movement / FB:


Very little has been said about this…..On December 2, Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai - bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner - the certain winner of the race - mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.

Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai's mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.

Ivan Fernandez Anaya, a Basque runner of 24 years who is considered an athlete with a big future (champion of Spain of 5,000 meters in promise category two years ago) said after the test:
"But even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European championships, I wouldn't have done it either. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well."

He said at the beginning: unfortunately, very little has been said of the gesture. And it's a shame. In my opinion, it would be nice to explain to children, so they do not think that sport is only what they see on TV: violent kicks in abundance, posh statements, fingers in the eyes of the enemy ...
Very little has been said about this…..On December 2, Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai - bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner - the certain winner of the race - mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.

Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai's mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.

Ivan Fernandez Anaya, a Basque runner of 24 years who is considered an athlete with a big future (champion of Spain of 5,000 meters in promise category two years ago) said after the test:
"But even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European championships, I wouldn't have done it either. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well."

He said at the beginning: unfortunately, very little has been said of the gesture. And it's a shame. In my opinion, it would be nice to explain to children, so they do not think that sport is only what they see on TV: violent kicks in abundance, posh statements, fingers in the eyes of the enemy ...

Via The Politburo of Teabilly Mockery / FB:


Via Anti-Republican Crusaders / FB:



Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)

“It is beyond belief that following the Newtown tragedy, the National Rifle Association’s leaders want to fill our communities with guns and arm more Americans. The NRA points the finger of blame everywhere and anywhere it can, but they cannot escape the devastating effects of their reckless comments and irresponsible lobbying tactics. The NRA leadership is wildly out of touch with its own members, responsible gun owners, and the American public who want to close dangerous loopholes and enact common-sense gun safety reform. It is clear that their real priority is to help gun manufacturers sell more guns—not to protect our children or Americans’ rights. The extreme rhetoric of Wayne LaPierre and the NRA is disturbing and dangerous, and will only exacerbate America’s deadly culture of gun violence."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/21/nra-school-shooting_n_2346976.html#slide=1913554

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Via God Bless the President of the United States / FBP:


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Via Too Informed To Vote Republican / FB:


Via Obama Announces Control Plan :


Politico has the breakdown of today's speech:

President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced what he called a “common sense measures” plan to reduce gun violence, including legislation for a universal background check and new bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazines. He also initiated 23 executive actions aimed at improving background checks, school security and mental health care, in an effort to go around Congress wherever possible. “I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality,” Obama said in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, joined by survivors of gun violence and several children who had written to him after the December shooting in Newtown, Conn. “If there’s even one thing that we can do to reduce this violence, if there’s even one life that can be saved, then we have an obligation to try. And I’m going to do my part.” Obama’s actions and proposals are the first sweeping gun control ideas to come from the White House in a generation, but he said there was no more time to waste. “This is our first task as a society: keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged,” Obama said. “We can’t put this off any longer.”




Reposted from Joe

The Ed Schultz Show / FB:


Via Real Truth Now / FB:


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Via Occupy Democrats / FB:

George Equality Vail shared Occupy Democrats's photo.
Social Security has NOTHING to do with the budget deficit!

It is well funded and projected to pay out 100% benefits until the year 2036. This can be extended by simply raising the cap on SS taxable wages!

Occupy Democrats, LIKE our page, and SHARE!

 
Social Security has NOTHING to do with the budget deficit!

It is well funded and projected to pay out 100% benefits until the year 2036. This can be extended by simply raising the cap on SS taxable wages!

Occupy Democrats, LIKE our page, and SHARE!

Via The Platzner Post / FB:


Monday, January 14, 2013

Via JMG: Official White House Petition Response


After a petition to build a Death Star topped the required 25,000 signatures, the White House issued an official response. It begins:
This Isn't the Petition Response You're Looking For
The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn't on the horizon. Here are a few reasons: - The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We're working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it. - The Administration does not support blowing up planets. - Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?
Hit the link, the rest is just as funny. (Image source)
posted by Joe

Via JMG: Petition For Sister Simone Campbell To Give Inauguration Benediction

Petition For Sister Simone Campbell To Give Inauguration Benediction


Nuns On The Bus member Sister Simone Campbell spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. The petition is here.

Via Climate Progress: January 14 News: U.S. ‘Climate Assessment Reveals The Full Horror Of What’s Happening To Our Planet’

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 06:11 AM PST


Now no one can deny that the world is getting warmer.” The federally commissioned report [by over 240 scientists] reveals that the US is already reeling under the impact of global warming. [UK Guardian editorial]
Heatwaves, droughts, floods, intense downpours, rising sea levels and melting glaciers are now causing widespread havoc and are having an impact on a wide range of fronts including health services, infrastructure, water supply, agriculture, transport and flood defences.
Nor is there any doubt about the cause of these rising temperatures. “It is due primarily to human activities, predominantly the burning of fossil fuel,” the report states. As carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere soar, temperatures rise and chaos ensues. Air pollution intensifies, wildfires increase, insect-borne diseases spread, confrontations over water rights become more violent and storm surges rise. This is the near future for America and for the rest of the world. Earth is set to become a hotter, drier, unhealthier, more uncomfortable, dangerous and more disaster-prone place in coming years.
… After poring over the 1,146 pages of the assessment, readers will be under no illusions about what is happening to our planet. The robustness of its rhetoric is especially striking because it contrasts so noticeably with the debate – or to be precise, lack of debate – on climate change that occurred during last year’s presidential campaigning.
Related Post: “Assessment Warns Of Devastating 9°-15°F Warming Over Most Of U.S.”
Emergency rock blasting on a portion of the Mississippi River and a change in weather is giving the Army Corps of Engineers increasing confidence it can keep the river—a major conduit of bulk materials like grains, fertilizer and fuel oil—open to shippers through spring. [WSJ]

The question of whether Vermont’s only nuclear plant can continue operating without the approval of state regulators goes before a federal appeals court Monday in a dispute that has gained increasing attention nationally about the boundaries of federal authority over a controversial power source. [NYT]

The world could avoid much of the damaging effects of climate change this century if greenhouse gas emissions are curbed more sharply, research showed on Sunday. The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, is the first comprehensive assessment of the benefits of cutting emissions to keep the global temperature rise to within 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, a level which scientists say would avoid the worst effects of climate change. [Reuters]

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the Senate’s top Republican lawmaker on energy policy, will shortly travel to Japan for meetings about nuclear power and exporting natural gas from her state. [The Hill]

Auto makers wrestling with ambitious mileage goals have touted hybrids and electrics as the wave of the future, but they have found a quicker path to improved fuel efficiency, reinventing the way traditional gas-powered cars are built. [WSJ]

BP wants a federal judge to rule that the roughly 800,000 barrels of oil that the government says was collected at the head of its runaway undersea Gulf of Mexico well in 2010 should not be counted in determining the company’s civil fine for Clean Water Act violations. [Fuel Fix]

Via General Sherman's March To The Sea's FBP:


Via Americans Against the Tea Party / FB:


Via OccupyMARINES / FB:


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Will 2013 Continue The 7-Year Downward Trend In American Driving?

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 06:05 AM PST

by Justin Horner, via NRDC’s Switchboard

Predictions and prognostications are the stuff of the New Year–and why should driving trends be any different?  Will 2013 see a continuation of what has now been a nearly 90 month drop in population-adjusted Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT)?

The safe answer, of course, is “well, we just don’t know” (or, “we just don’t know until Nate Silver takes the questions on”).  In fact, the most recent data from the Federal Highway Administration’s Traffic Volume Trends Report (October 2012) shows an uptick in total VMT of about 0.6% over October 2011, with small increases in every region of the country, save the Hurricane Sandy-impacted Northeast.

Yet, it is unlikely that many of the broader factors that have led to VMT declines stark enough to give birth to the notion of “peak car” will be changing in any significant way in 2013.   In November of last year, the International Transport Forum of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development held a round-table on Long-Run Trends in Travel Demand.   The panelists focused on just these demographic, behavioral and long-run economic factors, the trends that have the greatest impact on driving demand in the coming years.

True transpo geeks will want to read the reports for themselves, but I’ll outline some of the most interesting tidbits here.  First, some of what we would call “good news:”
  • Total US driving hit its peak in 2007. Since then, average annual VMT growth has been -0.5%, while average annual population growth has been 0.8%.  Per capita VMT in August 2012 was about the same as it was in 2004;
  • Obviously, certain age groups drive far less than others: kids can’t drive, working adults with families drive the most, and some seniors shouldn’t be driving at all (if you ask me).   In the coming years, then, as Boomers retire, they will drive less, and as Millennials enter their prime family and employment years, they’ll drive more.  Yet, at least in the early years of the 21st Century, we’re seeing that every age cohort drove fewer miles per capita in 2008 than they did in 2001;
  • Younger Americans (aged 16 to 34) have made even more significant changes in the way they travel.  Between 2001 and 2009, they cut their per capita VMT by 24%, took 16% more walk trips, 24% more bike trips, and travelled 40% more on public transit;
  • The number of licensed drivers in America is barely growing: Every age group under 50 has a smaller percentage of its population licensed in 2010 than in 1983. For the first time in American history, women with licenses outnumber men.  Women do drive less, drive more slowly and more safely (as if you needed me to tell you that).
Among the explanations for these changing driving patterns?

  • You can’t drive without a car, so, not surprisingly, vehicle ownership has been a prime driver of VMT growth.  Yet vehicle ownership is unlikely to grow as “there is near saturation of vehicle availability for the able-bodied adult population.
  • The post-1950 VMT surge was accompanied by historically unique workplace trends and income growth. A growing number of women workers needed to drive to get to work, and  family incomes grew steadily, particularly from low to middle income levels.  Neither of these trends is likely to continue in America going forward: women are already fully present in the workforce, and as incomes climb over middle income levels, they have been shown to instigate less VMT (and even correlate with VMT decline);
  • Housing market preferences and development trends will likely continue attracting Americans to more compact neighborhoods, cutting the length of trips and increasing opportunities to walk, bike and use transit. Reinvestment in our traditional urban areas will also continue. Central city growth is, indeed, outstripping regional averages in many areas.
  • Marchetti’s Constant and the concept of personal travel budgets both present the reasonable idea that people will, or are really even able to, travel for only a certain amount of time per day.  Marchetti says it’s an hour, regardless of your travel speed.  Americans may have found that they’ve reached their own personal limit and are sick of driving, choosing less driving or alternatives if they have the option;
  • Technology, mobile phones, the internet…all have been quite logically connected to decreasing the need to drive, be it to work, shopping or a friend’s house. Unfortunately, there is as yet little empirical evidence establishing just what this impact can be.   While the impacts of telecommuting are relatively well explored, we don’t know whether 10,000 new smartphones or laptops means, say, 100,000 fewer trips.  Yet one thing is for sure: mobile technology is not going away. And many point to American young people’s “love affair with tech” as a reason they are choosing to drive less.
Long-term forecasting can be an inexact, even embarassing, affair, so I’ll avoid saying too much with too much confidence.  What I’ll do instead is present the three hypotheses laid out by the Roundtable.  For our distinguished panel, recent declines in driving are indicative of one of three trends:
  1. The Interrupted Growth Hypothesis: VMT cuts are temporary and increases will resume once the economy picks up (although we know more VMT is not a required, or inevitable, part economic growth);
  2. The Saturation Hypothesis: car ownership and personal travel budgets have hit their limit, so no more growth is likely;
  3. The Peak Car Hypothesis: VMT has hit its peak, and history will now see a VMT decline of undetermined length.
That’s right, folks.  According to the experts, in the future VMT will either go up, go down, or stay the same.

I vote for “go down.”

Justin Horner is a policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council. This piece was originally published at NRDC’s Switchboard and was reprinted with permission.

Via BBC 1:

Via The Other 98% / FB:

 
 

Amen!

Via SacBee:

Gov. Jerry Brown, who paid relatively little attention to the University of California for the first two years of his term, started showing up for board meetings late last year, urging spending reductions as part of a "new paradigm" in higher education. - Read More
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