Monday, June 29, 2015

That sound is the other shoe dropping hard: More than 300 wildfires are burning in Alaska right now.


More than 300 wildfires are burning in Alaska right now. That's an even bigger problem than it sounds.
// Desdemona's Blog

Average annual number of large wildfires in Alaska, from the 1950s into the 2010s. Alaska wildfires have increased dramatically since 1990. Graphic: Todd Sanford / Climate Central

By Chris Mooney
26 June 2015

(Washington Post) – Following on a record hot May in which much snow cover melted off early, Alaska saw no less than 152 fires erupt last weekend. The numbers have only grown further since then, and stood at 317 active fires Friday, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, with over 280,000 additional acres burned just since Thursday.

"Given the high number of fires and the personnel assigned to those fires, the state's firefighting resources are becoming very limited, forcing fire managers to prioritize resources," noted the state's Department of Natural Resources Tuesday. The preparedness level at the moment for the state is 5, meaning that "resistance to control is high to extreme and resistance to extinguishment is high."

This stunning tweet from the Alaska Division of Forestry sort of says it all:

This map from the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center puts Alaska's ~300 wildfires in perspective, 23 June 2015. Graphic: Alaska Division of Forestry

All of which is troubling for multiple reasons: (1) Recent research suggests that more Alaskan wildfires, and more large Alaskan fires in particular, are a trend; (2) In some cases, wildfires in Alaska don't just consume trees, grasses or tundra. They can burn away soils as well and threaten permafrost, frozen soil beneath the ground, and so potentially help to trigger additional release of carbon to the atmosphere.

"One major concern about wildfires becoming more frequent in permafrost areas is the potential to put the vast amounts of carbon stored there at increased risk of being emitted and further amplify warming," said Todd Sanford, a climate scientist at Climate Central and lead author of the group's newly released report on Alaskan wildfires, by e-mail. [more]

Over 300 wildfires are burning in Alaska right now. That's an even bigger problem than it sounds


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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Turns out Jeb! BUSH is as big and as dangerous an idiot as his brother

New gun control measures are not the way to prevent mass killings such as the shooting deaths of nine people in a South Carolina church, the Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said on Saturday.

Bush, who plans to meet black ministers in Charleston, South Carolina, on Monday, said identifying potentially violent people before they committed such crimes was a better approach than further restrictions on gun ownership.

Because it's so easy to know the evil that lurks in the hearts of men, right?  Moron.

Gun control won't prevent another Charleston-style shooting, says Jeb Bush | US news | The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/28/gun-control-wont-prevent-another-charleston-style-shooting-says-jeb-bush
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Friday, June 26, 2015

Graphic evidence on climate disruption that would be undeniable (if evidence mattered)

"The clear and powerful data will instantly silence your climate science denier friends."

The Sightline Institute writer who pointed out these terrific graphs is just a tad naive about how denial works (her comment above).

But still, this is a truly great visual presentation that would, if evidence mattered, matter a great deal.


Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."


It's been a tough session - end with something good: Let the Senate Vote on National Popular Vote

Senator Courtney:

I know it's been a very tough session, from its strange beginning to its brutal ending.  You've done some good and you've seen some bad done too. There's one important thing left to do:

Let the Senate VOTE on whether Oregon should join the National Popular Vote compact.

Let proponents and opponents make the case — but don't keep strangling this off-stage. If there are arguments against making sure that America's only nationally elected figure has to get a majority of Americans' votes, lets hear them.

Sincerely, your constituent,

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Just a few seconds could help cripple Icelandic whaling - please spread widely

Subject: Days to save whales

Avaaz.org - The World in Action

Icelandic whalers are about to start harpooning over 150 endangered fin whales. But if we can get a tiny Caribbean nation to remove their flag from a ship that's carrying millions of dollars worth of fin whale meat to Japan, we can hit them where it hurts. Stopping this sale could turn the tide. The ship could leave in six days. Add your voice and share this urgently:

Sign the petition

Dear friends,

The Icelandic whaling fleet is about to leave port to hunt and kill 150 endangered fin whales. We've come close to shutting down this barbaric operation before and now we have a chance to end it for good.

As the whalers sharpen their harpoons for this year's hunt, their boss is trying to ship last year's whale meat to Japan right now. Over 1,700 tonnes are about to be sent through the icy passage between Russia and the North Pole. But if the tiny Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis simply removes their flag from the vessel it can't leave port! Tourism is the main pillar of their country's economy and we can put their reputation on the line by throwing them into our giant global spotlight.

We have just six days before the boat could set sail.
 
Our community already helped push European countries to shun this shameful trade. Let's now get St. Kitts to stop helping the whalers! Sign now and share with everyone urgently -- Avaaz will deliver our voices straight to the new Prime Minister, and if he doesn't respond quickly, Avaaz'll target his biggest tourist market - the US - and show how St. Kitts is supporting the slaughter of these majestic beings:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/days_to_save_whales_loc/?biMcPdb&v=61050

Dear friends,

The Icelandic whaling fleet is about to leave port to hunt and kill 150 endangered fin whales. We've come close to shutting down this barbaric operation before and now we have a chance to end it for good.

As the whalers sharpen their harpoons for this year's hunt, their boss is trying to ship last year's whale meat to Japan right now. Over 1,700 tonnes are about to be sent through the icy passage between Russia and the North Pole. But if the tiny Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis simply removes their flag from the vessel it can't leave port! Tourism is the main pillar of their country's economy and we can put their reputation on the line by throwing them into our giant global spotlight.

We have just six days before the boat could set sail.
 
Our community already helped push European countries to shun this shameful trade. Let's now get St. Kitts to stop helping the whalers! Sign now and share with everyone urgently -- Avaaz will deliver our voices straight to the new Prime Minister, and if he doesn't respond quickly, Avaaz'll target his biggest tourist market - the US - and show how St. Kitts is supporting the slaughter of these majestic beings:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/days_to_save_whales_loc/?biMcPdb&v=61050

Iceland's entire fin whaling industry is run by one man, Kristjan Loftsson, but his business is barely breaking even, so if we stop the whale meat from reaching Japan we can sink his profits! Other nations have removed their flag from vessels in response to public pressure over other environmental concerns so we know this can work for the whales. All we need to do is create a scandal and get a delay to make the crossing to Japan impossible.

Japanese whalers plan to resume "scientific" whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary despite widespread opposition, and St. Kitts and Nevis votes in support of Japan's "research" at the International Whaling Commission. If we take them out of the equation now we can strike a deadly blow to both Icelandic and Japanese whaling at the same time!

Pressure has been mounting globally and nationally to stop the Icelandic whalers. This could be a turning point for the whales. Together we have the power to turn the International Whaling Commission into the International Whale Conservation Commission. And we can get started by stopping this year's harpooning and this whale meat shipment! Sign the urgent petition now:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/days_to_save_whales_loc/?biMcPdb&v=61050

We know our voices work! Following our 1 million strong petition in 2013, the Dutch government blocked Iceland's whale meat shipments docking in the Netherlands. And together with Greenpeace, our community managed to get fin whale meat sent back to Iceland from Germany. Since then major shipping companies announced they would never ship whale meat again. We're making it harder and harder for this industry to make a profit. Let's shut it down for good!

With hope, 

Lisa, Danny, Alice, Ricken, Mel, Nick, Rewan and the whole Avaaz team

MORE INFORMATION

Iceland sends shipment of 1,700 tonnes of whale meat to Japan (The Guardian)
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/05/iceland-sends-shipment-of-1700-tonnes-of-whale-meat-to-japan.

Desperate whalers go north (Greenpeace)
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/whale-meat-iceland/blog/53241/

The Winter Bay (Vessel Fider - shows where the ship carrying the whale meat is and which country is registering it)
https://www.vesselfinder.com/vessels/WINTER-BAY-IMO-8601680-MMSI-341433000

Japan to resume whaling hunt despite IWC warning (AFP)
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/japan-resume-whaling-hunt-despite-iwc-warning-105354478.html#ohHmAJ1



Avaaz.org is a 41-million-person global campaign network
that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global decision-making. ("Avaaz" means "voice" or "song" in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 18 countries on 6 continents and operates in 17 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz's biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Time to Stop Protecting Insurance Company Profits instead of Patient Safety

From that noted lefty rag, Forbes:

 


"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Solstice! (Act fast to get your own solar system installed quick, federal support likely to disappear)

12 noon on Summer Solstice 2015 at LOVESalem HQ: 54 Month's output of 4.4 kW system (351 kWh/mo)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Time to "Dark Station" their police, fire and sanitary services

Want your property taxes computed on an absurd, made up "dark store" value for your property?  Fine, the residents shopping in your stores and carrying your taxes are going to start providing public services on a "dark station" model, cutting services to any retailer by the same fraction as their property tax benefit of their "dark store" assessment. 

Let's see, intermittent electrical and water service, police and fire protection only during weekday daytime business hours ... How's that for starts?


For Cities, Big-Box Stores Are Becoming Even More of a Terrible Deal | Planetizen: The Urban Planning, Design, and Development Network
http://www.planetizen.com/node/78730
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ALARM: Corporate thug running amok, claiming right of privacy and mental anguish

The coal company Murray Energy suing PUBLIC CITIZEN invokes Citizens United to claim a right meant for people.


There's been a bizarre twist in Big Coal's lawsuit against Public Citizen.

Last month, I alerted you that Public Citizen has been sued by a major coal company, Murray Energy, after we called out its attempts to block new rules intended to help protect workers and prevent air pollution.

Murray Energy is now claiming that Citizens United — the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that has allowed unlimited election spending by billionaires and Big Business to corrupt our democracy — may also give corporations privacy rights previously belonging only to people.

In response to our motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Murray Energy is arguing that radio ads we ran about it challenging new worker safety and clean air protections "invaded its privacy" and caused it "mental anguish and emotional distress."

Remember, Murray Energy is a corporation.

And Murray Energy sued us, not the other way around.

But in this post-Citizens United, "corporations are people" world, companies claim to have human privacy that can be invaded and human feelings that can be hurt.

A hearing in the case is scheduled for December 9.

I wish we didn't have to devote time and money to fighting a lawsuit that is the desperate act of a member of an industry engaged in a losing battle against the tide of history.

But we do.

Can you chip in right now so that we don't have to eat into funding for real work while we defend ourselves from this attack? Go to https://secure.citizen.org/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=8201&track=w15idMrry1122a.

As if invoking Citizens United to claim a right intended for living, breathing human beings isn't radical enough, Murray Energy goes even further, suggesting that it is willing to make this lawsuit about the truth of climate science itself.

It could be the Scopes Monkey Trial all over again.

To recap, here's what we're up against:

A corporation with very deep pockets — claiming that Citizens United entitles it to rights meant for people and seemingly eager to put science on trial — is suing us.

I hope you'll make a contribution to help us fight back and keep standing up to corporate power.

Thank you for whatever you can chip in today.

Onward,

Robert Weissman
President, Public Citizen

© 2014 Public Citizen • 1600 20th Street, NW / Washington, D.C. 20009


"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."