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marmar

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Gender: Male
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 71,322

Journal Archives

Will This Lawsuit Curb Extreme Air Pollution From Factory Farms?


from Civil Eats:


Will This Lawsuit Curb Extreme Air Pollution From Factory Farms?
Environmental groups are asking the EPA to step up regulations.

By Elizabeth Grossman on January 30, 2015


There are about 20,000 factory farms in the United States and together they produce more than 500 million tons—or 1 trillion pounds—of manure. These farms, also called concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), altogether house billions of chickens, dairy cows, hogs, and other livestock. The waste from these animals adds up to more than three times the raw sewage produced by people in the U.S. and it emits significant amounts of harmful air pollutants [PDF] that include ammonia, methane, hydrogen sulfide, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

“I’m certain it’s affecting our health,” said Rosie Partridge, an Iowa farmer and member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, who describes a “choking smell of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia” emanating from the industrial hog farm that moved in across the road.

Partridge is one of many rural residents and farmers who say their health and quality of life are being adversely affected by these farms. Now, a coalition of environmental groups that includes the Environmental Integrity Project, Friends of the Earth, the Humane Society of the United States, Center for Food Safety, and the Sierra Club, has stepped in on their behalf.

As the groups (and the Congressional Research Service) explain, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not comprehensively regulate the air pollution coming from large livestock operations. But that’s what the groups are asking the EPA to do in two lawsuits filed Wednesday in federal court in Washington, DC. ..................(more)

- See more at: http://civileats.com/2015/01/30/environmental-groups-to-epa-curb-factory-farm-air-pollution/#sthash.RuY0H0gp.dpuf



Chicago: CTA Blue Line Upgrade Gets $120M Infusion From Feds




JON HILKEVITCH ON FEB 5, 2015
SOURCE: CHICAGO TRIBUNE


Feb. 05--The CTA's almost half-billion-dollar upgrade of the Blue Line's O'Hare branch is getting an infusion of new federal funding, officials said Thursday.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will announce that $120 million in additional federal funding is being provided for the $492 million project to modernize stations and tracks through 2018.

The funding breakdown to date is $136 million federal, $160 million state and $196 million local, CTA spokesman Brian Steele said.

The project, which started last year, involves upgrading track, stations, signals and traction power and resolving water problems on the subway, elevated and Kennedy Expressway sections of the O'Hare branch.

Over the past year, the Damen, Western and California stations have been updated. Work remains on 10 stations. ..............(more)

http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11832517/cta-blue-line-upgrade-gets-120m-infusion-from-feds



Don’t Say He Didn’t Warn You: Ultra-Rich Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner Spells Out Anti-Union Agenda


(In These Times) Private equity near-billionaire Bruce Rauner made no bones about his plans for Illinois as he ran for governor: unions, especially public employee unions, were the cause of most of the state’s problems. And when he took over, he would follow the lead shown in recent years by other Midwestern Republican governors, such as Mitch Daniels in Indiana and Scott Walker in Wisconsin, who decimated public sector labor rights and unions.

Now that Rauner has taken office, he is staying consistent in his attack on public workers but including more private sector workers as his target. His first “state of the state” address, delivered yesterday to a legislature with both houses controlled by Democrats, was strongly anti-union and catered to conservative business groups.

Public workers are still Rauner’s main nemesis; after all, they are paid more than private workers (in large part reflecting their higher average skill and education). Then again, it’s hard to blame them for all of what Rauner sees as the state’s competitive failings, since Illinois has the fourth lowest number of state employees per capita in the country.

Yet aren’t their pensions too generous, creating this huge deficit dragging down the state’s credit rating, as Rauner argues? Or are the state’s “precarious” finances a result of political leaders of both parties refusing to set aside needed funds for pensions they had approved, according to a new report on the state from Moody’s Analytics? ....................(more)

http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17606/bruce_rauner_anti_union



Saudi Funding of 9/11 Attacks Still Cloaked in Secrecy


(The Progressive) The revelation that Zacarias Moussaoui had “high-level” contacts with Saudi officials brought back attention to the Saudi role in the formation and financing of Al-Qaeda. It also revived the debate on whether the U.S. government should release Part 4 of the September 11 report, which deals with Saudi financing of terrorism.

The report remains classified and the U.S. government has been vigilant to protect the Saudi government in court and in Congress. The Saudi government, in typical fashion, dismissed the account of Moussaoui as the product of a deranged mind––just as it accuses all critics of its policies and repression of being deranged. But the American public can never understand the real circumstances of September 11 and the origins of Al-Qaeda without releasing the report and bringing more attention to the role of Saudi Arabia in funding (and arming, as in the case of Syria) of various militant Jihadi terrorist groups.

This is what we know. After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. government launched a horrific campaign to recruit fanatical Muslims from around the world in order to form an anti-communist militia. It jointly ran the program through the CIA with the Saudi and Pakistani intelligence.

So the U.S. government is not only protecting the Saudi royal family from scrutiny, but also protecting its secret role in the campaign against the Soviet army in Afghanistan. We still don’t know the extent to which American intelligence officials in Pakistan had direct contacts with Osama Bin Laden when he was a chief organizer of the Arab volunteer effort against the Soviet Union (the gang of Jihads was technically a volunteer force, because the Saudi government picked up the tabs for those who came to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia). The Economist revealed after September 11 that American intelligence agents did have contacts with Bin Laden, at least prior to 1994. .............(more)

- See more at: http://www.progressive.org/news/2015/02/187990/saudi-funding-911-attacks-still-cloaked-secrecy#sthash.UNNK9kXz.dpuf



Seattle’s Left Coast Formula


from Dissent magazine:


Seattle’s Left Coast Formula
James N. Gregory ▪ Winter 2015




Contemporary Seattle is a city with a dual personality. On one hand, a dramatic building boom is underway. Towering cranes crowd the skyline as scores of new office and apartment buildings race to accommodate the thousands of code warriors whom Amazon and other tech companies are hiring. Since the start of the twenty-first century, the city’s population has grown by 14 percent and its workforce by at least that amount. Median income is now the third highest in the nation among big cities, behind only San Jose and San Francisco. New restaurants, trendy stores, massive new transportation projects and waterfront developments add to the feeling that a new Seattle is taking shape—a richer, younger, denser, faster city that may loom larger in the world of commerce and culture than the old one. It is a Seattle re-engineered by billionaires, especially Jeff Bezos and Paul Allen.

But boomtown Seattle is also a progressive city, with loud echoes of a more radical past. The city council recently passed the most liberal minimum wage law in the country, raising the floor to $15 per hour in stages over the next several years. This followed the election of Ed Murray, the city’s first openly gay mayor, and passage of statewide ballot measures legalizing marijuana and supporting marriage equality. At the same time, Kshama Sawant, an Indian-born software engineer turned economist, won a seat on the city council running as a candidate of the Socialist Alternative party. Her stunning victory immediately made her a symbol of radical Seattle. Confrontational, edgy, and serious about her Trotskyist credentials, she is also media-savvy and knows how to strike a balance between what is radical and what is politically effective. The press can’t get enough of her, and her mystique helped convince the city council to pass the historic minimum wage measure.

The combination of resurgent radicalism and radical re-urbanization has existed since the final years of the last century, but it also belongs to a political tradition that Seattle shares with other West Coast cities, especially San Francisco. Linked together by business enterprise, migration, and geo-economic function, these cities share what we might call “the left coast formula,” a historically developed set of institutions and expectations that keep radicalism alive while allowing political elites identified as liberal or progressive to stay in power pretty consistently.

The current political era dates from November 30, 1999, when 40,000 unionists and environmentalists forced the cancelation of the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization. The Battle of Seattle lasted four days and changed the politics of the WTO. It also changed the political chemistry of the host city. Since then, the labor movement has been increasingly assertive in city and state politics, promoting living-wage campaigns along with a range of progressive issues including immigrant rights, LGBT rights, and affirmative action. Elected city and county officials have also learned to respond to a left mosaic of community action groups, eco-activists, progressive churches and synagogues, and, since the 2011 Occupy demonstrations, active contingents of socialists and anarchists. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/seattles-left-coast-formula


'Ideology Gone Wild': Pro-Charter School Group Offers Philly $35M for Privatization


The national debate over so-called 'education reform' has come into sharp relief in Philadelphia, where a pro-charter, non-profit organization has offered the cash-strapped city school district up to $35 million to enroll an additional 15,000 students in new charter schools.

The one-time gift from the Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP), to be given over three years, would consist of up to $25 million for the district's charter costs and a separate $10 million "to pay for in-house turnaround efforts," according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Philadelphia School Reform Commission, which oversees the city school district, is deliberating over 39 charter school applications on which it could vote as early as next week.

Mark Gleason, the executive director of the PSP, said he hopes the $35 million will "take the cost issue off the table for the district," clearing the way for the commission to approve the applications. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/02/06/ideology-gone-wild-pro-charter-school-group-offers-philly-35m-privatization




Scott Walker's War on Wisconsin


from the Progressive:



by Ruth Conniff


It was fascinating to watch Scott Walker parade around the stage at the Iowa Freedom Summit touting his "big, bold, fresh" ideas as governor.

Back when he was running for reelection, Walker didn't advertise his "bold and aggressive" right-wing ideology in quite the same way. Concealed carry, castle doctrine and defunding Planned Parenthood––some of Walker's biggest applause lines in Iowa––barely registered a mention during the campaign.

And then there was his shout-out to the network of out-of-state, right-wing funders, whom he thanked for making his political career possible.

Sticking it to Wisconsin in order to build a winning national campaign turns out to be a very successful strategy, judging from the rave reviews Walker has been getting from his fellow Republicans.

Hence Walker's budget proposal to cut $300 million out of the University of Wisconsin system. ...............(more)

- See more at: http://www.progressive.org/news/2015/02/187987/scott-walkers-war-wisconsin#sthash.BwfM0JqM.dpuf



How many people did Brian Williams' lie kill?

How many people did this lie kill?




Get a grip, CNN. ...... And I'm sure it's even worse on Faux, but I can't turn on that channel without becoming violently ill.



Documents Show Comcast Ghostwrote Pro-TWC Merger Letters of Support for Hawaii Governor


(In These Times) On August 22, Neil Abercrombie, then Hawaii’s governor, sent a letter to Washington, D.C., urging the Federal Communications Commission to approve Comcast’s controversial proposal to merge with Time Warner Cable. In explaining the importance of what Comcast could bring to Hawaii’s future, the governor’s letter invoked the country’s recent recession and the state’s high number of families without Internet access.

“I have been impressed with Comcast and what it can offer the State, especially its Internet Essentials program, which offers discount Internet service to low income families,” the Democratic Governor’s letter asserted. “Your approval of this transaction should bring this needed service from the mainland to our shores.”

Yet the state of Hawaii did not give credit to one primary author of the letter: Comcast itself.

The first draft of the missive was sent from the Executive Director of Government Affairs at Comcast Cable. After receiving the original draft, the governor’s office—with help from a state regulatory agency—made mostly cosmetic changes to the Comcast PR document, added some language about a specific transaction involving Comcast’s proposed merger in the state, and sent it to Washington stamped with the state of Hawaii’s official seal. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/17602/comcast_merger_hawaii



David Sirota: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Is a Huge Deal. So Why Is It Being Kept Secret?


from In These Times:


The Trans-Pacific Partnership Is a Huge Deal. So Why Is It Being Kept Secret?
President Barack Obama’s administration has come under criticism due to its unwillingness to release the full text of the prospective TPP agreement between the United States and 11 Asian nations.

BY DAVID SIROTA


The trade rules of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership between the United States and 11 Asian nations would cover nearly 40 percent of the world economy—but don't ask what they are. Access to the text of the proposed deal is highly restricted.

Nevertheless, at last month’s World Economic Forum in Switzerland, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman defended the Obama administration from intensifying criticism of its refusal to release the full text of the proposed trade pact.

“We can always do better on transparency,” he said, but added that “there is no area of policy where there is closer collaboration between the executive and Congress than trade policy.”

.....(snip).....

Yet the actual text of the agreement remains under lock and key. That represents a significant break from the Bush administration, which in 2001 published the text of a proposed multinational trade agreement with Latin American nations.

“It is incomprehensible to me that leaders of major corporate interests who stand to gain enormous financial benefits from this agreement are actively involved in the writing of the TPP, while at the same time, the elected officials of this country, representing the American people, have little or no knowledge of what’s in it,” wrote U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in a letter to Froman last month.

.....(snip).....

Perhaps because when citizens learn the details of such trade agreements, they don’t like them—and they end up putting pressure on their leaders to back off. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/17608/tpp_negotiations



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