tagged w/ Mother Jones
Excerpt: "In early February, a US Patent and Trademark Office court in Washington, DC, confirmed what baseball fans had suspected for more than a century: The New York Yankees are evil. After an internet startup, Evil Empire Inc., had attempted to trademark the phrase 'Baseball's Evil Empire,' the Yankees filed an injunction, and the panel of judges agreed. As the court put it, 'The record shows that there is only one Evil Empire in baseball and it is the New York Yankees.' If only it were true. The ranks of Major League Baseball owners include some of the richest men—and they are almost exclusively white males—in the country, as likely to open their wallets for a super-PAC as they are a top-shelf free agent. Viewed in the context of the competition, with its anti-discrimination settlements and SEC investigations, the Yankees are, like their Opening Day roster, fairly pedestrian.
"So where does your team's ownership rank? We took a stab at it, analyzing each franchise by its level of political activity (based on campaign donations and office-seeking) and relative degree of evil—copyrighted or not. Read below the matrix for the full breakdown."Excerpt: "In early February, a US Patent and Trademark Office court in... more
Busted Again! -- The latest video is from a 1985 CD-ROM featuring Mitt Romney describing to an audience the purpose and philosophy behind the formation of Bain Capital. The video clearly contradicts Romney’s constant claims that he’s a job creator and that Bain Capital’s purpose was to foster company growth and create jobs.
http://veracitystew.com/?p=43177Busted Again! -- The latest video is from a 1985 CD-ROM featuring Mitt Romney... more
By David Corn
| Mon Sep. 17, 2012 5:48 PM PDT
"When Mitt Romney at a private fundraiser dismissed all Barack Obama voters as moochers and victims—showing disdain for nearly half of the American electorate—he was speaking at the home of controversial private equity manager Marc Leder in Boca Raton on May 17, 2012. This is evident from references made by Romney within the full video recording of the event that has been reviewed by Mother Jones.
When Mother Jones first disclosed secret video of Romney's remarks, we were obliged to not reveal details regarding the time and place of the event. That restriction has been lifted, as the story has garnered attention throughout the media."
more at link
And it appears Jimmy Carter's grandson. James Carter IV, helped get the secreted video of just what Mitt thinks of most people out to the public. http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/09/james-carter-iv-helped-spread-secret-romney-video.html
Corn & Carter, whadda team! Gotta love MoJo!By David Corn | Mon Sep. 17, 2012 5:48 PM PDT "When Mitt Romney at a private... more
Exit stage right . . .
http://mytinyspot.blogspot.com/2012/09/for-clearer-and-larger-image-click_17.htmlExit stage right . . .... more
This is what makes Mitt Romney the very worst kind of politician known to man. He’s a snake-in-the-grass, cutthroat opportunist who will do anything, say anything, try to be anything just to pull out a win for himself in order to gain power. He’s nothing but a craven, soulless, greedy vulture capitalist, who will find his money wherever he can.
http://veracitystew.com/?p=38461This is what makes Mitt Romney the very worst kind of politician known to man.... more
In case you haven’t heard, the 2012 presidential election is already over and the Republicans stole it. Both Rolling Stone and Mother Jones report this week that those wascally Wepublicans have already walked away with the ballot boxes.
The Rolling Stone piece (Sept. 15, 2011) finds evidence of an “unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008.” Comparing the Republican efforts to suppress the vote to the Jim Crow-era poll taxes and literacy tests erected by Dixiecrats, writer Ari Berman claims that a “dozen states have approved new obstacles to voting.” By “obstacles” Berman means new laws requiring proof of citizenship in Kansas and Alabama; the repeal of Election Day voter registration in Maine; shortened early voting periods in Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia; and the presentation of government-issued ID before casting ballots in Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin, as well as other new voting measures.
As clampdowns go, these measures seem too anemic to support the Rolling Stone‘s hysterical headline, “The GOP War on Voting,” but it is no journalistic crime to over-promise and under-deliver on a piece, especially a political piece.
Mother Jones’s less wiggy article, by Nick Baumann, explains how Pennsylvania’s Republican state legislators are “pushing a scheme” to change the way the state’s Electoral College votes are cast from winner-take-all to winner by congressional district (two votes would go to the state-wide contest winner). The horror of the plan, Baumann writes, is that it’s legal. It’s also constitutional—Nebraska and Maine cast their votes this way, he writes, and it could cost President Barack Obama a second term in a close election.
Whatever might be said about these charges, they are certainly not “unprecedented.” Fears of a stolen election are as old as American politics and as contemporary as the last big contest. In 2008′s third presidential campaign debate, John McCain declared that ACORN was “now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” In October 2008, Rolling Stone published a feature whose thesis was similar to the current piece, titled “Block the Vote: Will the GOP’s campaign to deter new voters and discard Democratic ballots determine the next president?” By the time the froth on both sides dried, nobody uncovered evidence of either an ACORN or Republican coup d’etat.
At the risk of sounding like the moderating voice of reason, I’d like to point out that the Republican efforts to “suppress the Democratic vote” aren’t quite as demonic and unfair as Rolling Stone makes them out to be. Of course, Republicans want as few potential Democratic voters to cast ballots as possible, and will shout “Vote fraud!” if that makes their case more persuasive. That’s politics. Democrats want as many potential Democratic voters to cast ballots as possible, and they don’t particularly care if those Democrats are double registered or otherwise ineligible as long as nobody finds out. That’s politics, too, a point that historian Alexander Keyssar makes repeatedly in the 2006 2000 book The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States.
Any effort to uncouple politics from the way that voters are registered, votes are cast, and votes are counted is foolhardy, because the whole enterprise is political and always has been. “Federalists and then Whigs tended to favor longer periods of residence,” Keyssar writes of politics in early 19th century America, “because they were wary of the unsettled and the poor and suspected that most transients would vote for Republicans or Democrats. The Democrats shared this analysis, advocating shorter residency requirements in the hope of enfranchising more of their own supporters.”
Rolling Stone makes a big deal out of the fact that the feds convicted only 86 people of voter fraud between 2002 and 2007. But the lack of prosecution doesn’t mean widespread voter fraud doesn’t exist. In 2004, journalist Bill Gifford compiled these hilarious examples of non-partisan voter fraud for Slate.
The Orlando Sentinel found that 68,000 Florida voters are also registered in Georgia or North Carolina (the only two states it checked), 1,650 of whom voted twice in 2000 or 2002. The Kansas City Star discovered 300 “potential” cases of individual voter fraud, including Kansans voting in Missouri and St. Louisans voting in both the city and the surrounding suburbs.
At the risk of sounding like a Republican, I direct you to the data collected by the United States Elections Project at George Washington University, which indicates that “suppressing” the potential Democratic vote in such Electoral College vote-rich states as California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois could be a worthy, democratic initiative. According to the Elections Project, almost 20 percent of the voting-age population in California in 2006 was ineligible to vote because of their lack of citizenship or other reasons. In Texas, the figure was 16.34 percent; in Florida, 13.47 percent; in New York, 13.21 percent; in Illinois, 9.72 percent. In the average state, about 7 percent of its voting-age population is ineligible to vote.
So when Republicans deploy their “suppressive” measures in California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois—and other places in which the ineligible are found in profusion—you can make like a Democrat and complain that their efforts are disenfranchising whole populations that have a right to vote. Or you can make like a Republican and claim that the GOP is protecting the sanctity of votes cast by the eligible by making it harder for the ineligible to register.
Or, you can make like the moderating voice of reason—me—and have it both ways, simultaneously supporting and protesting the Republicans’ war on voting.
Disclosure: The 2011 Rolling Stone article notes that the Koch brothers help fund the American Legislative Exchange Council, which designs legislation “to impede voters at every step of the electoral process.” I worked for almost three years in the early 1980s for Inquiry magazine, which was funded by the Kochs. Cast your ballot for or against this piece with email to Shafer.Reuters@gmail.com. This hand-built RSS feed rings every time a Shafer correction is filed.
PHOTO: Voters cast their ballots at the Super Suds laundry in Long Beach, California November 2, 2010. REUTERS/Phil McCartenIn case you haven’t heard, the 2012 presidential election is already over and... more
FOR A FEW DAYS IN SEPTEMBER 2008, as the Republican Party kicked off its national convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Twin Cities were a microcosm of a deeply divided nation. The atmosphere around town was tense, with local and federal police facing off against activists who had descended upon the city. Convinced that anarchists were plotting violent acts, they sought to bust the protesters’ hangoutsFOR A FEW DAYS IN SEPTEMBER 2008, as the Republican Party kicked off its national... more
Despite Fox's propaganda that half the country doesn't pay taxes, this chart reveals that we all pay taxes.
http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/07/51-zombie-lieDespite Fox's propaganda that half the country doesn't pay taxes, this chart... more
While Tom Dispatch and Mother Jones prognosticates the details of the struggle to stop the further earth heating burning of fossil fuels, it seems inevitable that people will have to suffer sufficient out of control fires, massive floods, devastating heat increases and corresponding droughts, acidification of environments, poison water supplies, oil spill damaged ecosystems, and smog poisoned air before they'll shout "STOP KILLING US!".
Perhaps the organizers of the August anti fossil fuel march on Washington will think to two prong the effort with a call for clean and sustainable energy research on a national emergency basis, while they have the nation's attention! If we're going to ask to "keep it; (fossil fuel), in the ground", then we need to demand what we want as an alternative. After all, it's all our money, so we should dictate how it's spent! It's our environment, so we should dictate how we want it treated!While Tom Dispatch and Mother Jones prognosticates the details of the struggle to stop... more
Kevin Drum at Mother Jones is attempting to explain Obama's strategies and positions. Granted, while he may be playing to the middle, that will not effectively undo the damage that the extreme corporate right has done to America and the American people. So, what's the point of you and I supporting a middle ground compromise on an extremely far right over weighted and destructive corporate created position ?
http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/07/understanding-obamaKevin Drum at Mother Jones is attempting to explain Obama's strategies and... more
He just can't seem to help himself. He lies in print,in the media and to the American Public!He just can't seem to help himself. He lies in print,in the media and to the... more
In-depth insight into one of the Republican Candidates for the 2012 Presidential Elections.
http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/06/michele-bachmann-edwatch?page=1In-depth insight into one of the Republican Candidates for the 2012 Presidential... more
IT TAKES TWO THINGS to make a political lie work: a powerful person or institution willing to utter it, and another set of powerful institutions to amplify it. The former has always been with us:IT TAKES TWO THINGS to make a political lie work: a powerful person or institution... more
Ed. note: This is the final edition of the Mulch. To keep up with the best environmental coverage the progressive media has to offer, follow The Media Consortium on Twitter or connect with us on Facebook.
House Republicans passed a bill yesterday afternoon that would require the Obama administration to expand offshore oil and gas drilling. As oil prices shoot up, Republicans have pushing for more domestic drilling, even as oil companies report record profits.
As Mother Jones’ Kate Sheppard reports, oil companies have used those profits in record buybacks of company stock. “This spending spree comes not only as the gas price debate has resurged in Congress, but also as companies lobby to keep the $40 billion in tax breaks and loopholes that President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats want slashed from the 2012 budget,” Sheppard writes.
The long war
The most recent debates over off-shore drilling, oil profits, and oil subsidies are just one front in the long war to preserve the environment and push back against climate change. There are strategies available here that have yet to be deployed. At Grist, David Roberts offers four that could help fight climate change: put a price on carbon; deploy existing clean energy technology on a much more massive scale; invest large amounts of money in research and development; and invest in infrastructure.
As far as these four policy proposals go, he says, right now, “The U.S. is doing all of them poorly,” and he does not believe that it is possible any more to reverse climate change. As he writes, “Climate change won’t be solved, it will be managed, by us, by our kids, by our grandkids.”
Those kids, however, are not ready to accept their fate without a fight. Yesterday, a group of teenagers filed suit against the federal government for failing to guard a public trust—the atmosphere. As Alec Loorz, who is sixteen years old and a plaintiff in one suit, writes at Earth Island Journal, “The government has a legal responsibility to protect the future for our children. So we are demanding that they recognize the atmosphere as a commons that needs to be preserved, and commit to a plan to reduce emissions to a safe level.”
Loorz explains why he’s fighting the government on climate policy:
Our addiction to fossil fuels is messing up the perfect balance of nature and threatening the survival of my generation. If we continue to hide in denial and avoid taking action, my and I generation will be forced to grow up in a world where hurricanes as big as Katrina are normal, people die every year because of heat waves, droughts, and floods, and entire species of animals we’ve come to know disappear right before our eyes.
The future vs. now
That’s not a world that I’d want to live in. But the current state of affairs isn’t so pleasant, either. No matter what we do, it seems, we wreak havoc on the world around us. At Care2, for instance, Miranda Perry reports that sonar technology, which was known to harm sea mammals like whales and dolphins, also can damage invertebrate animals, like squid found dead on the shore:
Biologists speculated that the giant squid were affected by the sonar, which can range from 157 and 175 decibels and frequencies between 50 to 400 Hertz in marine activities such as oil and natural gas prospecting.
“[W]e hypothesized that the giant squid died in one of two ways: either by direct impact from the sound waves or by having their statocysts practically destroyed and [the squid] becoming disoriented,” marine biologist Angel Guerra told National Geographic. Now, that hypothesis is backed by proof.
And it’s not only animals that are damaged by human activities: it’s us, too. The toxins constantly filtering into the air, for instance, contribute to health problems like asthma. As Susan Lyon and Jorge Madrid write at Campus Progress:
Asthma rates are higher in places with bad air quality, and though asthma has no known cure it can be controlled by limiting exposure to asthma triggers such as smog and particulate air pollutants. Poor air quality caused by exhaust from cars, factory emissions, smoke, and dust can aggravate the lungs and can worsen chronic lung diseases, according to the EPA. Coal-fired power plants are also a big part of the problem.
Rolling back protections
It is clear that our way of living in the world is damaging it. But when governments all over the country should be pushing harder than ever to protect the environment, in many cases, they’re trying to roll back protections already in place.
Public News Service’s Glen Gardner reports that in Florida, a program called Florida Forever, which helped conserve water resources and wildlife habitat, may be sacrificed to the state budget crunch. And The Florida Independent’s Travis Pillow reports that, at the same time, “The Florida House of Representatives just gutted the power of ordinary citizens to challenge decisions made by environmental regulators….[C]hallengers would have less of a say in permitting decisions that affect water quality. The person or company seeking the permit would be able to rebut any of their arguments, with new evidence, without giving the challenger a chance to respond.”
On both the state and federal level, policy makers have failed to safeguard the environment and are leaving a mess for younger generations to clean up.
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Pulse, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.Ed. note: This is the final edition of the Mulch. To keep up with the best... more
Los Angeles sues Deutsche Bank for slumlord practices and contributing to the foreclosure problem. Kevin Drum of Mother Jones cites that Obama's Hamp; ( mortgage modification program ), has not only been a miserable failure, but has facilitated the further exploitation and financial rape of the already cash strapped and unemployed homeowners facing foreclosure. Los Angeles is taking another step to curb this financial industry abuse of the public, because the Obama administration behaves indifferently to the failure of the Hamp program and leaves them no option. Read about it here:
http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/05/deutsche-bank-foreclosureLos Angeles sues Deutsche Bank for slumlord practices and contributing to the... more
By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger
This week marks the final edition of the Weekly Audit. It has been a pleasure compiling the best financial and economic writing in the Media Consortium. Thanks to all the contributors whose work we’ve showcased and to all the loyal readers who have shared in this experience.
Debt Ceiling 101
As the Weekly Audit wraps up, we’re looking ahead to some critical economic issues facing the country. Christen Simeral and Veronica Beebe of The American Prospect explain what the debt ceiling is and why the debate over raising it is shaping up to be the political battle of the year.
In short, the debt ceiling is the maximum amount the government can borrow. The debt ceiling is currently $14.294 trillion. At the current rate of spending, we’re due to hit the wall around May 16, if Congress doesn’t vote to raise it. Usually, raising the debt ceiling is a formality. Congress has voted to raise the debt ceiling 10 times in the last 10 years.
If the debt ceiling isn’t raised, the government can’t take on any new spending commitments. Worse still, the government may not have the cash it needs to pay tax refunds, Social Security payments, and other critical disbursements. Failing to raise the debt ceiling would hurt the U.S.’s credibility in global markets, making it more expensive for us to borrow money in the future.
The war on unions
All across the country, right wingers are trying to turn union workers into scapegoats for the nation’s economic woes.
Right wing media baron Andrew Breitbart tried to frame some labor history instructors at the university of Missouri by deceptively splicing together hours of classroom footage to make it look like the professors were advocating violence and sabotage, Dave Gilson of Mother Jones reports. The unedited video shows that the instructors are discussing the bloody history of the American labor movement, in which violence has overwhelmingly been perpetrated by management against workers.
Multinational corporations are renewing their lobbying push for more NAFTA-like trade deals, Michelle Chen reports for Colorlines.com:
The construction giant Caterpillar is reportedly planning to treat its workers to steaming cups of Colombian coffee in the coming weeks, to warm them to the benefits of doing business with their “partners” in Latin America. While employees enjoy their break, lobbyists will be working hard, in their name, to peddle so-called “open markets” in Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
Chen reports that lobbyists for multinationals are besieging Congress to push for three new accords. The Panama deal is expected to be first on the agenda. Advocates for fair trade have been fighting these deals since the George W. Bush administration.
The push for deregulated international trade is on at the state level, too. The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is handing out boilerplate resolutions to state representatives urging Congress to approve the trade deals. Chen notes that the Koch Foundation is among the major backers of ALEC.
High gas prices
Gas prices have long been seen as a bellweather of the electorate’s state of mind. When gas is cheap, incumbents rest a little easier. When gas prices rise, challengers start licking their chops. Daniel J. Weiss and Valeri Vasquez report in Campus Progress that rising gas prices are frustrating consumers and enriching speculators:
This year “it’s like déjà vu all over again.” Oil prices are rising to heights not seen since 2008. Oil rose from $85 per barrel to $112 per barrel in a little more than two months—a whopping one-third leap. Gasoline prices have followed along, rising by 70 cents per gallon—or 23 percent—during this same time. As our economy struggles to recover from the Great Recession, Americans are again forced to pinch pennies to afford their commute to work, school, and worship. Meanwhile, oil companies prepare to reap record profits in the first quarter of 2011.
The authors note this combination of rising pump prices and soaring corporate profits looks an awful lot like the oil shock of 2008, which helped push the economy into recession.
Archives from The Weekly Audit can be found here and will remain posted at this site. If you’d like see more top news and headlines from independent media outlets, please follow us on Twitter, or fan The Media Consortium on Facebook.By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger This week marks the final edition... more
By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger
The Vermont state Senate passed legislation to create a single-payer health insurance system, Paul Waldman reports for TAPPED. Since the state House has already passed a similar bill, all that’s left to do is reconcile the two pieces of legislation before the governor signs it into law.
Waldman stresses that there are still many details to work out, including how the system will be funded. Vermont might end up with a system like France’s where everyone has basic public insurance, which most people supplement with additional private coverage. The most important thing, Waldman argues, is that Vermont is moving to sever the link between employment and health insurance.
Anti-choicers are gunning for a Roe v. Wade showdown in the Supreme Court before Obama can appoint any more justices. At the behest of an unnamed conservative group, Republican state Rep. John LaBruzzo of Louisiana has introduced a bill that would ban all abortions, even to save the woman’s life. The original bill upped the anti-choice ante by criminalizing not only doctors who perform abortions, but also women who procure them. LaBruzzo has since promised to scale the bill back to just criminalizing doctors. This is all blatantly unconstitutional, of course,. but as Kate Sheppard explains in Mother Jones, that’s precisely the point:
The Constitution, of course, is exactly what LaBruzzo is targeting. He admits his proposal is intended as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional right to privacy included the right to abortions in some circumstances. LaBruzzo says he’d like his bill to become law and “immediately go to court,” and he told a local paper that an unnamed conservative religious group asked him to propose the law for exactly that purpose.
Drug pushers in your living room
Martha Rosenberg poses a provocative question at AlterNet: Does anyone remember a time before “Ask Your Doctor” ads overran the airwaves, Internet, buses, billboards, and seemingly every other medium? Direct-to-consumer (DTC) drug advertising has become so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget that it was illegal until the late ’90s. In the days before DTC, drug advertising was limited to medical journals, prescription pads, golf towels, and pill-shaped stress balls distributed in doctors’ offices–which makes sense. The whole point of making a drug prescription-only is to put the decision-making power in the hands of doctors. Now, drug companies advertise to consumers for the same reason that food companies advertise to children. It’s called “pester power.”
DTC drug ads encourage consumers to self-diagnose based on vague and sometimes nearly universal symptoms like poor sleep, daytime drowsiness, anxiety, and depression. Once consumers are convinced they’re suffering from industry-hyped constructs like “erectile dysfunction” and “premenstrual dysphoric disorder,” they’re going to badger their doctors for prescriptions.
That’s not to say that these terms don’t encompass legitimate health problems, but rather that DTC markets products in such vague terms that a lot of healthy people are sure to be clamoring for drugs they don’t need. Typically, neither the patient nor the doctor is paying the full cost of the drug, so patients are more likely to ask and doctors have little incentive to say no.
Greenwashing air fresheners
A reader seeks the counsel of Grist’s earthy advice columnist Umbra on the issue of air fresheners. Some of these odor-concealing aerosols are touting themselves as green for adopting all-natural propellants. Does that make them healthier, or greener? Only marginally, says Umbra. Air fresheners still contain formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, and other questionable chemicals.
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger The Vermont state Senate passed... more
By Megan Hagist, Media Consortium blogger
One year after the worst oil spill in U.S. history began, key questions about its environmental impact remain unanswered. The 4.9 million barrels of BP oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico continue to threaten marine wildlife and other vile surprises have surfaced along the way.
Mother Jones’ Kate Sheppard lists 10 reasons why we should not let the BP spill fade into the background. Perhaps the most important is the spill’s effect on locals’ health, about which Sheppard reports:
Of the 954 residents in seven coastal communities, almost half said they had experienced health problems like coughing, skin and eye irritation, or headaches that are consistent with common symptoms of chemical exposure. While the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is conducting health monitoring for spill cleanup workers, residents in the areas closest to the spill are concerned that their own health problems have gone unattended.
Unfortunately, protests from these communities are unheard. Low-income and minority communities are typically targeted for oil production due to inadequate political power, but indigenous women in the United States and Canada are ready to change that.
Acting Against Big Oil
Organizations like Resisting Environmental Destruction On Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), Indigenous Environmental Network, and Women’s Earth Alliance are working together to apply continuous pressure on oil companies in order to stop some of their more environmentally disastrous projects. Ms. Magazine’s Catherine Traywick shares insight from activist Faith Gemmill:
“We are trying to build the capacity of community leaders who are on the frontlines of these issues so that they can address these issues themselves,” Gemmill says. Her organization trains community members who are confronted with massive industrial projects and provides them with legal assistance and political support. Women’s Earth Alliance similarly links indigenous women leaders with legal and policy advocates who can, pro-bono, help them fight extractive industry, waste dumping and fossil-fuel production on sacred sites.
Meanwhile, Congress continues to neglect the National Oil Spill Commission’s advice to endorse safety regulations, while demands for domestic offshore drilling become more vocal under presumptions of lower gas prices and increased employment. But are these reasons worth the economic and environmental risks associated with drilling offshore?
According to Care2’s Jill Conners and Matthew McDermott, the answer is no. They break down the facts, noting:
Political posturing notwithstanding, offshore drilling will not eliminate US demand for foreign oil or really even make significant strides into reducing that dependency. At current consumption, the US uses about 8 billion barrels of oil per year; conventionally recoverable oil from offshore drilling is thought to be 18 billion barrels total, not per year. What’s more, offshore oil drilling will not guarantee lower fuel prices — oil is a global commodity, and US production is not big enough to influence global prices.
What about Wind Power?
On Wednesday, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement approved the Cape Wind Project, a plan to build an offshore wind farm five miles off the southern coast of Cape Cod. First proposed 10 years ago, the farm will consist of 130 wind turbines, each 440 feet tall and capable of producing 3.6-megawatts of energy.
The controversial project has been opposed by some environmentalists, who expressed fears that the installation of the turbines could have destructive impacts related to aviation traffic, fishing use, migratory birds, and oil within the turbine generators, among other issues.
Moral issues are raised too, as local tribes have fought against the Cape Wind project. Earth Island Institute’s Sacred Film Land Project has reported on the Wampanoag Indian tribes’ petitions, which ask for protection of sacred rituals and a tribal burial grounds located directly in Cape Wind’s path of installation.
A somewhat worrisome study published Monday by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication sheds light on Americans’ climate change knowledge. Results show teenagers understand climate change better than adults, regardless of having less education overall, with a larger percentage believing climate change is caused by humans.
Some of the study’s questions were summarized by Grist’s Christopher Mims, who recounts that only “54 percent of teens and 63 percent of adults say that global warming is happening,” while only “46 percent of teens and 49 percent of adults understand that emissions from cars and trucks substantially contribute to global warming.”
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Pulse, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outletsBy Megan Hagist, Media Consortium blogger One year after the worst oil spill in... more
By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger
How will the next generation of seniors pay for health care if Republicans privatize Medicare? The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) suggests some options in a darkly funny ad featuring a grandfatherly gentleman mowing lawns and stripping for extra cash. The ad will run in 24 GOP-controlled swing districts, Suzy Khimm reports for Mother Jones.
The ad is a riposte to Paul Ryan’s budget, which would eliminate Medicare and replace it with a system of “premium support”–annual lump sum cash payments to insurers. These payments would be pegged to the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) +1%, even though health care costs are growing much faster than the economy at large. That means that real benefits will shrink over time. Seniors will be forced to come up with extra money to buy insurance, assuming they can find an insurer who’s willing to sell it to them.
Josh Holland of AlterNet predicts that the GOP is committing political suicide with the its anti-Medicare budget. The more ordinary voters learn about Ryan’s budget, the less they like it:
A poll conducted last week found that, “when voters learn almost anything about [the Ryan plan], they turn sharply and intensely against it.” And why wouldn’t they? According to an analysis by the non-partisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the Republicans’ “roadmap” would “end most of government other than Social Security, health care, and defense by 2050,” while providing the “largest tax cuts in history” for the wealthy.
Holland interviews an economist who estimates that the Medicaid cuts in the Ryan budget alone would cost 2.1 million jobs.
Under the bus
The Democratic spin about the deal to avert a budget shutdown was that Democratic leaders held fast against Republican demands to defund Planned Parenthood. However, as Katha Pollitt explains in The Nation, the Democrats capitulated on other reproductive rights issues in order to save Planned Parenthood.
For example, under the budget deal, Washington, D.C. will no longer be allowed to use local taxes to pay for abortions. Democrats also agreed to $17 million in cuts to the Title X Family Planning Program, Planned Parenthood’s largest source of federal funding.
American women aren’t alone under the bus. Jane Roberts notes at RH Reality Check that the budget deal slashed $15 million from the U.N. Population Fund, and millions more from USAID’s budget for reproductive health and family planning. At least Democrats successfully rebuffed GOP demands to eliminate funding for the United Nations Population Agency.
And this is at a time when the whole world is coalescing behind the education, health and human rights of the world’s women and girls. What irony!
Blood for oil
Nearing the one-year anniversary of the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 workers, Daniel J. Weiss writes for Grist:
The toll of fossil fuels on human health and the environment is well documented. But our dependence on fossil fuels exacts a very high price on the people who extract or process these fuels. Every year, some men and women who toil in our nation’s coal mines, natural gas fields, and oil rigs and refineries lose their lives or suffer from major injuries to provide the fossil fuels that drive our economy.
Oil rigs are just one of many dangerous places to work in the fossil fuel industry, Weiss notes. Last year, an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia killed 29 workers. Nearly 4,000 U.S. miners have been killed on the job since 1968.
Natural gas has a cleaner image than coal, but natural gas pipelines are also plagued by high rates of death and injury–892 natural gas workers have been killed on the job and 6,258 have been injured since 1970.
Ashley Hunter of Campus Progress brings you an exciting roundup of the news you need about college and alcohol, just in time for Spring Break. In an attempt to discourage rowdy off-campus partying, the College of the Holy Cross is encouraging its students to drink on campus by keeping the campus pub open later and allowing students under 21 inside as long as they wear different colored wrist bands to show they are too young to be served alcohol.
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