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Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Chair of the Senate Environment Committee, offered the following persuasive argument on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Thursday to underscore his case that "global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people"...
Pretty rock solid evidence. Nonetheless, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) was somehow able to muster up a response...
On Thursday, by way of a 3-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted 'Net Neutrality' regulations that embody the "bright-line" rules that had been proposed by President Barack Obama last November.
The new policy is unquestionably a victory for both the idea of Internet freedom, as well as for the unprecedented campaign waged by the public to advocate in favor of 'Net Neutrality' over the past several years. An outspoken public won the day, for a change, against very powerful interests. It was a victory that, particularly over previous years, seemed to be anything but assured.
Of course, as anticipated, the ruling drew harsh reactions from some Congressional Republicans as well as major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) which could otherwise profit from the imposition of tolls on the Internet. (See two video explainers at end of article). Those reactions included a prediction by AT&T and by the Telecommunications Association, an industry trade group, that the new rules would be overturned either by Congress or the courts.
While both litigation and a GOP challenge to the newly adopted 'Net Neutrality' rules are almost certain, neither legal nor Congressional challenges are likely to succeed. Here's why…
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Influence of climate change on our schizophrenic extreme winter weather; Scientists say geo-engineering is madness, but we should study it anyway (CUE THE CHEMTRAILS!); Shell Oil nixes plan for Canadian tar sands mine; PLUS: There's a sucker born every minute: man makes money off of bottled snow... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Siberia's melting permafrost: crater saga is scarier than anyone thought; Berkeley study directly IDs climate change culprit; Even earth scientists struggle to defeat global warming using interactive game; Should California resurrect a plan to pipe in water from Alaska?; TEPCO failed to disclose Fukushima radioactive water leak; Will solar eclipse cause blackouts in Germany? [No.]; Ocean acidification already hurting Pacific NW oyster industry... PLUS: Google wants to help you buy solar panels for your house... and much, MUCH more! ...
[This article now cross-published by Salon...]
Electoral integrity has not improved in the U.S. over the past year, according to a new study. In fact, elections in Mexico now have more integrity than ours, the new survey, based on the observations of some 1,400 international election experts, finds.
Last year we reported: "A report [PDF] by researchers at Harvard and the University of Sydney finds the U.S. ranks just 26th on a global index of election integrity. That finding places the U.S. in the category of nations with 'Moderate' election integrity, ranking the country one notch above Mexico and one notch below Micronesia, according to the findings tracking elections in 66 countries."
Well, bad news --- of a sort. This year's new Electoral Integrity Project report [PDF] is now out. It takes into account the 2014 mid-term elections in the U.S. and more elections in a number of additional countries. It appears the U.S. has fallen a few pegs from it's 26th place ranking in last year's report [emphasis in the original]...
To make matters worse, the survey fails to examine the effects of vote-casting and counting technology on the integrity of elections. But, while the new report highlights what appears to be a huge drop in U.S. election integrity since last year's study, with our most recent national elections now ranked just worse than Mexico's and slightly better than those in Barbados, it's not all as bad as the plummeting ranking would seem to suggest...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: VETOED: Obama nixes Keystone XL pipeline bill; EXPOSED: prominent climate denier researcher funded by fossil fuel industry; BUSTED: Duke Energy clipped by the Feds; Sorry, deniers: Climate change is not caused by the sun; PLUS: It's GNR's 6th Anniversary!.... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Obama is right: climate change kills more people than terrorism; New U.S. heat records outnumber new cold records; Solar energy now unstoppable force; White House proposes first-ever Arctic oil drill rules; Roll up those windows: traffic pollution is killing you; Bjorn Lomborg: we must pollute the world's poor with coal pollution; Marines graduate into solar industry... PLUS: The true impact of not recycling your old electronics... and much, MUCH more! ...
Uh oh. Shall we call it "DenierGate"?
For years, top climate science deniers, such as Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), have been citing a handful of folks like Dr. Wei-Hock "Willie" Soon for their willingness to dispute the central thesis of global warming, as shared by the overwhelming consensus of world climatologists.
Now, however, according to documents published over the weekend by the New York Times, it appears that Soon has been accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars (out of some $1.2 million he's received, in fact) from the fossil fuel industry --- including at least $409,000 from coal giant Southern Company and $230,000 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. Soon was also paid hundreds of thousands by ExxonMobil, American Petroleum Institute, the Kochs' Donors Trust and others for his reports and appearances.
While some of those payments were previously known, it appears that Soon failed to disclose many of these extraordinary conflicts of interest when publishing his scientific papers concerning discredited global warming theories and when serving as an "expert" witness at Congressional hearings.
"At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure," the Times reports, "and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work."
Soon is often incorrectly identified as a "Harvard astrophysicist" when appearing on right-wing news outlets, even though he is an aerospace engineer with "little formal training in climatology," according to the paper. His part-time employers at The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics are, to say the least, not at all happy about Soon's very serious apparent ethical breaches...
[UPDATED to reflect the successful adoption of the resolution.]
While Republican state legislatures around the nation have been working to limit access to the polls over recent years, Democrats moved a non-partisan initiative forward over the weekend to help expand --- or, at least, to help protect --- the franchise for all Americans.
At their Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, the Democratic National Committee unanimously voted to adopt a resolution calling for a "Right-to-Vote" Amendment to be added to the U.S. Constitution.
According to the resolution, posted in full below, the Democrats are calling for "amending the United States Constitution to explicitly guarantee an individual's right to vote."
The resolution also calls on "state parties to work with state lawmakers and others to access the need to petition for a statewide referendum on the November 2016 general election ballot (and all states where this is possible), advocating to amend the United States Constitution to explicitly guarantee an individual's right to vote."
As the document stresses, there is currently no such explicit right stated in our nation's founding document, although several amendments bar the restriction of access to the polls based on race, sex and age. It also notes that while, in the past, the U.S. Supreme Court "has called the right to vote a fundamental right," the court's 2013 decision striking down a key element of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has served to "undermine" that right.
"Of the 119 nations that elect their public officials using some form of democratic elections," the resolution notes, "108 have the right to vote in their constitution, but the United States is one of the 11 nations --- including Australia, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, India, Indonesia, Nauru, Samoa, and the United Kingdom --- that does not explicitly contain a citizen's right to vote in its constitution."
"A 'right to vote' constitutional amendment applies to and should be supported by all Americans because it is (a) nonpartisan - not Democratic, Republican or independent; (b) non-ideological - not liberal or conservative; (c) non-programmatic - it does not require you to support or oppose any particular legislative program(s); and (d) non-special interest - its application is not limited to minorities, women, labor, business, seniors, lesbians and gays or any other special interest groups."
The full resolution, adopted on Saturday, February 21, 2015, at the DNC Winter Meeting, follows below...
[Remarks prepared for event with comedian Lee Camp, Charlottesville, Va., February 21, 2015, event postponed by snow storm. When it's rescheduled I'll say something completely unrelated. - DS]
This is the serious part of tonight's event, except that Lee often deals with very serious topics. So what I mean is: this is the unfunny part of tonight's event, except that I'm going to talk about the United States government. One of my favorite things that Mark Twain didn't really say but definitely should have said was "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it." He left out the possibility of imbeciles who are putting us on.
On Thursday, Comcast Internet was not working at my house, just as Comcast's hired Congress members were introducing a bill to create a closed Internet with fast lanes for the corporate crap we didn't need the Internet for. And a good Internet media outlet called TheRealNews.com wanted to do a video interview with me, which I didn't want to do in Java Java because I try not to be quite that rude. So I sat out on the Downtown Mall and did the interview. It was about 12 degrees out, and I think you can see me shaking. And what did they want to talk about? War? Peace? The climate?
They wanted to talk about Jeb Bush. Clearly he is an imbecile who is putting us on. He'd been talking on foreign policy, and of course he agreed with Obama on most everything but claimed not to. On NSA spying, for example, he disagreed basically with the fact that there has been public criticism of Obama's abuses. How he would eliminate criticism he didn't say. He didn't bring up Ukraine or Afghanistan or drone wars, because what would he disagree with? He did bring up the Korean War in order to claim it was a success and not the stupid pointless draw that everyone called it for decades, but of course the innovator in popularizing that ridiculous claim was ... President Obama...
Recently, the Republicans were "outraged" by this not funny, undignified Presidential video released by BuzzFeed to help encourage Americans to sign up for health care insurance...
By way of reminder for you liberal, Obama-loving leftists out there, this is what an hilarious and dignified Presidential video looks like...
In his defense, by the time of that knee-slapping video in 2004, only about 1,300 U.S. troops had been killed by the joke. Eventually, some 4,500 of our troops would be killed by it.
If that's not hilarious and dignified, I don't know what is.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another day, another oil explosion, this time at an Exxon refinery in CA; 'Anti-petroleum' activists are a security threat, says Canada; January 2015 the 2nd hottest on record; PLUS: 'Our best idea': President Obama protects 3 new national monuments... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): NYC could see 6-ft sea level rise; 'Every Kid in a Park': all 4th graders to get free national park passes; What can be done about psuedo-skepticism?; Duke Energy to pay $100m for coal ash spill; Arsenic found in CA water; Four new oil-related spills in North Dakota... PLUS: Fox News has no shame: Easily duped wingnuts spout phony science and climate-change lies... and much, MUCH more! ...
A bit of good voting news, for a change, via Zach Roth at MSNBC today...
Eleven Republicans joined all 14 Democrats Wednesday in voting to shelve for the year an ID bill that just last month was seen as having a good shot at passing.
"It is victory. It's done," state Sen. Adam Morfeld, who led the opposition, told msnbc moments after coming off the floor. "The bill is dead."
The utter lack of documented voter fraud in the state made the bill a tough sell even with many Republicans. The measure's backers were unable to cite even one example of fraud that would have been stopped by the law.
While that may be true, that same fact --- the lack of "even one example of fraud that would have been stopped by the law" --- hasn't stopped Republicans from passing similar restrictions on voting in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Texas, over the last several years (even as many of those restrictions have been found unconstitutional by courts thereafter.)
In 2012, a Photo ID restriction bill in Nebraska was defeated by a fillibuster, when, as AP reported at the time, critics "blasted the proposal as an attempt to keep poor, elderly, disabled and college-aged voters from casting a ballot." This time, Roth reports, the bill was killed outright.
"We found out half-way through the filibuster that we actually had a majority of folks that wanted to kill the bill," Morfeld told MSNBC, which reports that "Voting rights advocates had said at least 112,000 Nebraskans, likely significantly more, lack the ID that would have been required" to vote under the proposed restriction.
But Roth also notes that the key to killing the bill outright was likely found in the non-partisan nature of the state's unicameral legislature which "isn't organized by party, though individual members have party affiliations. That makes it easier for lawmakers to vote their consciences."
"It's much less partisan in our body, and people are able to be more independent," Morfeld told MSNBC. "People aren't punished for not following the party lines on certain issues, because our leadership is non-partisan."
Also, it seems, thanks to the body's unique structure, the voters of the state will not be punished either, by purposely discriminatory partisan voting restrictions --- at least not this year.
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)
[This article now cross-published by Salon...]
Every few months, when climate change deniers decide they've come up with an all-new reason to convince themselves that global warming is all a big hoax, we like to take a look at whatever the latest scam is that they are propagating, either because they are part of the effort to help out the fossil fuel industry, or simply because they enjoy being their brainwashed and/or incurious little tools.
Back in 2013 these stooges were promoting the phony notion that "Arctic ice has grown to a record level!" It hadn't. After that debacle, they claimed UN scientists had found their predictions of warming were off by 50 percent or more. They weren't. More recently, they were pushing the false claim that the globe has been cooling ever since 1998. It hasn't been. And, of course, when all else failed, they could always fall back on their old standby: weaning ourselves from dangerous fossil fuels won't make any difference anyway because China would never do the same. But, of course, China is now doing so at a rate that should embarrass these jackasses. But it won't. Because they are never embarrassed about being wrong.
So, with 2014 recently clocking in as the hottest year for the planet on record, according to every major world agency that measures such things, and with 13 of the hottest years on record all falling within the past 15 years, these clowns are getting pretty desperate for something --- anything --- to use to keep the denialist scam going on behalf of the most profitable industry in the history of civilization.
The latest such scam, helpfully propagated on several Fox "News" shows last week, is that the so-called "scientists" have been caught red-handed in the act of "lying" about raw temperature data! That's right! They have been manipulating the data to exaggerate the extent of global warming!
Except, of course, they haven't, and they aren't...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another day, another oil train explosion - make that two; Schizophrenic extreme weather pounds the U.S.; U.S. Southwest about to get a lot drier; PLUS: Ohio bans local fracking bans.... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Shell CEO calls for 'balanced' discussion on climate change; Proliferation of chemicals linked to rise in neurological disorders; Water taps start to run dry in Brazil's largest city; BC First Nations reject another pipeline across their lands; How the White House walked away from 'clean coal'; EPA targeted after preliminary 'veto' of Pebble Mine; Uncertain future for damaged nuclear waste repository; Judge dismisses levee lawsuit against oil and gas industry... PLUS: "More research" into geo-engineering is not such a hot idea... and much, MUCH more! ...
In case you thought the clamor, such that it is, for accountability for U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller has waned, it hasn't. At least according to some behind-the-scenes, bi-partisan budgeting measures in the GOP-controlled U.S. House Judiciary Committee, which is now quietly preparing for the possibility of impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush's 2002 lifetime-appointee to the Alabama federal bench.
Fuller was arrested last August on charges related to physically abusing his wife in an Atlanta hotel room after she called 911 asking for help and an ambulance as the dispatcher heard what sounded like the Judge beating her. Here's a portion of Kelli Fuller's chilling phone call...
As Ken Hare of Montgomery's NBC affiliate WSFA summarized last week, when police responded to the 911 call at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta, Fuller's wife had "visible lacerations to her mouth and forehead," according to the police report. She told police the Judge "threw her to the ground and kicked her" in response to confronting him about an alleged affair with his court clerk. (Her own affair with Judge Fuller, ironically, began during his previous marriage, while she served as his court bailiff.) The police report says Kelli Fuller "stated she was dragged around the room and Mr. Fuller hit her in the mouth several times with his hands."
Despite the startling claims, supported by both evidence found by police in the hotel room, the audio of the 911 call excerpted above and eerily similar assertions made in court documents by Fuller's previous wife during their 2012 divorce, the state court in Atlanta allowed Fuller to enter a minimal pretrial diversion program which, once successfully completed, will completely expunge his criminal record --- as if his arrest on domestic battery charges never even happened.
While Fuller may get off the hook for criminal charges, his $200,000/year lifetime appointment to the federal judiciary is another matter. Unless he resigns or retires, the only way that a federal judge can be forced off the federal bench is through an act of Congress. And it is that act, the rare impeachment of a sitting federal judge, which the U.S. House Judiciary Committee has now budgeted for in its new session...
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