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n2doc

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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 34,509

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Arkansas Tossed Ballot Of 79-Year-Old Woman Who Has Been Voting Since Jim Crow

LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS—In a small one-story house filled with knickknacks and stuffed animals, Joy Dunn sat at her dining room table going over her absentee ballot. Turning the pages with long fingernails painted fire engine red, she said she wanted to make sure she had everything in order, as the vote she cast in March’s special election was never counted.

“I got a letter saying my vote wasn’t counted because I didn’t have ID. But I’ve been voting in this state since 1954 and I never had to have ID,” she told ThinkProgress. “I didn’t know I was supposed to send in an ID this time. Nobody told me.”

Dunn, who just turned 79, has several forms of valid ID, but says she was never notified that she had to include a copy of it with her absentee ballot. Arkansas is one of a tiny handful of state to require copies of ID from absentee voters, and the only state in the nation to make those over age 65 do. The only exceptions to this rule are for active duty service members and their spouses and residents of long-term care or residential care facilities.

This time, Joy is aware of the requirement, but it hasn’t been easy for her to meet it. Because of a foot injury that left her unable to drive, she had to ask a neighbor to take her drivers’ license to the library and bring her back a photocopy to include with her ballot. “I had to depend on somebody to go do it for me and that’s a hardship on me,” she said. “And most people don’t even have that kind of help! I think it’s unfair for a lot of us older people.”

more
http://thinkprogress.org/election/2014/10/10/3578451/meet-joy-voter-id-arkansas/

Federal Court: One Million Acres Near Grand Canyon Protected From Mining

In early October, an Arizona federal judge upheld the Obama Administration’s 2012 withdrawal of over one million acres of federal lands surrounding Grand Canyon National Park from uranium mining. Originally imposed by then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, the mining industry challenged the ban arguing that the 700-page Environmental Impact Statement was inadequate, failed to address “scientific controversies”, and was unconstitutional.

With the court’s decision to uphold the Department of Interior’s (DIO) decision, the lands around the Grand Canyon will be closed to the exploration and development of uranium mining claims for 20 years, thus protecting the Colorado River watershed and several sacred Native American sites. According to the government’s study, removing the ban would mean that 26 new uranium mines and 700 uranium exploration projects could be developed.

According Roger Clark, air quality and clean energy director at the Grand Canyon Trust, the ruling affirms conclusions by five federal agencies, including scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey — that uranium mining poses unacceptable risks to Grand Canyon’s water, wildlife, and people.

“Uranium mines threaten hundreds of the Grand Canyon seeps and springs that provide precious water to thousands of desert-dwelling species,” wrote Clark. “Every new mine sacrifices cultural sites and fragments wildlife habitat, polluting the park with dirt roads, dust, heavy machinery, noise, off-road drilling rigs, power lines, and relentless truck traffic.”

more

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/10/10/3577414/arizona-grand-canyon-uranium-mining-withdrawal/

Colorado AG Candidate Promises Legal Fight To Seize America’s National Forests And Public Lands

BY TOM KENWORTHY

In previously unreported comments that were captured on video, Colorado Republican attorney general candidate Cynthia Coffman can be seen telling supporters that she intends to lead a legal fight against the U.S. government to seize America’s national forests and public lands for state ownership and control.

The video appears to have been posted publicly by the Independent attorney general candidate David Williams in July. It shows Coffman describing her plan to attend the annual Conference of Western Attorneys General this summer with a “mission” to build support for taking over America’s public lands. Coffman says public land “has been taken from us” and that “it is time that the Western attorneys general join together and fought back against the federal government, and we took back that land.”

Across the West, there is a growing group of fringe politicians advocating a transfer of America’s public lands to state ownership and control. Critics have noted that the proposals would saddle state taxpayers with the high costs of fighting wildfires and managing national forests and public lands, resulting in higher taxes and a sell-off of public lands to private interests.

National public lands make up 36 percent of Colorado, help support a $13.2 million outdoor recreation economy in the state, and are a top destination for tourism to iconic places such as Pikes Peak, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, and the Maroon Bells. Notwithstanding the proposal’s high costs and opposition from politically-powerful Western hunters and anglers, however, politicians in eight Western states have continued to pursue legislative efforts to seize national forests, parks, and public lands, prompting skepticism about the constitutionality of such proposals among many of their own attorneys general and legal authorities.

more

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/10/10/3578488/colorado-ag-candidate-national-forests-public-lands/

Republicans flail about looking for alternative to climate denialism

By David Roberts

As I have said before, the GOP position on climate is unstable, both intellectually and politically. You can’t credibly deny the science at this point, but if you accept it, “do nothing about it” is an incoherent response. They’ve only gotten away with it for this long because the media and the public don’t care enough to press them on it.

Climate hawks are always predicting that now, finally, is the time when that position will start to crumble. I’ve predicted it myself, and been wrong, or at least premature.

Nonetheless, it really does feel like something is starting to happen. The GOP’s incoherent climate shuck-and-jive is under pressure and the cracks are starting to show.



The conservative base is convinced that climate change is a U.N. plot for world government. Meanwhile, mainstream elites in the U.S. and virtually every other country in the world, along with every major scientific institution on the planet, say climate change is a real problem. This puts some Republicans in a bit of a pickle.


more

http://grist.org/politics/republicans-flail-about-looking-for-alternative-to-climate-denialism/

Secret Deficit Lovers

By Paul Krugman

What if they balanced the budget and nobody knew or cared?

O.K., the federal budget hasn’t actually been balanced. But the Congressional Budget Office has tallied up the totals for fiscal 2014, which ran through the end of September, and reports that the deficit plunge of the past several years continues. You still hear politicians ranting about “trillion dollar deficits,” but last year’s deficit was less than half-a-trillion dollars — or, a more meaningful number, just 2.8 percent of G.D.P. — and it’s still falling.

So where are the ticker-tape parades? For that matter, where are the front-page news reports? After all, talk about the evils of deficits and the grave fiscal danger facing America dominated Washington for years. Shouldn’t we be making a big deal of the fact that the alleged crisis is over?

Well, we aren’t, and once you understand why, you also understand what fiscal hysteria was really about.

First, ordinary Americans aren’t celebrating the deficit’s decline because they don’t know about it.

more

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/10/opinion/paul-krugman-secret-deficit-lovers.html

NSA Mind-Bender: We Won’t Tell You What Info We Already Leaked to the Media

Longtime reporters who cover the NSA know that any time we ask the obstinate spy agency for information, we’re probably going to hit a brick wall. But who would have thought that trying to obtain information about information the agency has already given us would lead to the same wall?

That’s what happened when the Federation of American Scientists filed a FOIA request with the Defense Department (of which the NSA is a part) earlier this year seeking information about any authorized leaks of intelligence made to the media during the previous 12 months.

The response they got (.pdf) from the National Security Agency might well have come from Winston Smith’s Ministry of Truth.

“The document responsive to your request has been reviewed by this Agency as required by the FOIA and has been found to be currently and properly classified in accordance with Executive Order 13526,” the letter read. “The document is classified because its disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.”

more

http://www.wired.com/2014/10/nsa-mind-bender-wont-tell-info-already-leaked-media/

Friday TOON Roundup 2 - The Rest

ISIS










2014







Rights







Biden




Kentucky



MJ





Climate



Friday TOON Roundup 1 - Ebola














Two Incredible Views of Super Typhoon Vongfang From Space


This beautiful image of Super Typhoon Vongfang over the Philippine Sea was taken by NASA’s Aqua satellite at 12:25 a.m. ET this morning. Below, another incredible view of the massive storm was taken by NASA astronaut Reid Weissman from the International Space Station around 7 a.m. ET this morning.

Vongfang (which is also being spelled Vongfong or Vongfon) is the most powerful tropical cyclone the planet has experienced this year. At its fiercest, the storm had sustained winds reaching 180 miles per hour on Tuesday. Vongfang has weakened during the past few days with sustained winds dropping to around 150 miles per hour this morning, and will likely have calmed further before it is expected to make Landfall in Japan on Monday night. It will still be a powerful storm, however, and Okinawa Island could take a direct hit.

Weissman tweeted the image with this comment: “I’ve seen many from here, but none like this.”


http://www.wired.com/2014/10/super-typhoon-vongang-from-space/

Death row inmate freed after nine years in Texas prison

An intellectually disabled construction worker was freed Wednesday after nine years in a Texas prison, including four of them on death row, after his initial conviction for murdering a year-old infant was overturned.

Manuel Velez, whose IQ is 65 and who is functionally illiterate in his native Spanish as well as English, was convicted in Brownsville in 2008 for murdering the year-old son of his then-girlfriend. But the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Velez in his appeal, said Velez was 1,000 miles away working construction in Tennessee when the child was injured.

Velez's initial court-appointed attorneys failed to discover that evidence, and "after his conviction, Manuel received the death penalty, largely because a state prison expert presented false testimony to persuade the jury that Manuel would pose a danger to society if given life without parole instead," the ACLU said.

On Wednesday, an ACLU attorney described Velez, now 49, as an innocent man who was put on death row for a crime he didn't commit.

more

http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/08/justice/texas-death-row-convict-freed/
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