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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Sakurajima volcano erupts spectacularly in southern Japan

Source: AP/ Hastings Tribune

A volcano has erupted explosively in southern Japan.

Japan's Meteorological Agency says Sakurajima erupted at around 7 p.m. (1000 GMT).

The eruption at dusk sent an orange burst into the darkening sky and lava rolling down the mountain's slope.

Public broadcaster NHK also showed dark gray smoke billowing up into the sky.

Read more: http://www.hastingstribune.com/sakurajima-volcano-erupts-spectacularly-in-southern-japan/article_c7b1258d-0821-5a5d-b854-3206953f3785.html

Union membership in Wisconsin plummets in wake of GOP measures

Madison— Union membership in Wisconsin collapsed in 2015, falling well below the national average for the first time and thinning the ranks of the labor movement by tens of thousands of workers in one of its former bastions.

The number of dues-paying workers within the state’s labor groups has fallen steadily since GOP Gov. Scott Walker signed his signature legislation, 2011’s Act 10, which repealed most collective bargaining for most public workers. But new federal statistics show that trend intensified in 2015 after Walker and GOP lawmakers followed up on Act 10 by approving so-called right-to-work legislation last spring.

That measure blocked unions and private employers from reaching contracts that required workers to pay labor fees.

In 2015, 8.3% of Wisconsin workers, or 223,000 in all, were members of unions. That was down sharply from the 306,000 people, or 11.7% of the state’s workforce, who belonged to unions in 2014.


In debate, Hillary Clinton boasted that she is supported by Henry Kissinger, accused war criminal

Hillary Clinton has a long history of supporting former Secretary of State Henry Kissenger


Hillary Clinton boasted in the fifth Democratic presidential debate Thursday night that she is supported by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, an accused war criminal who oversaw policies that led to the deaths of millions of people.

“I was very flattered when Henry Kissinger said I ran the State Department better than anybody had run it in a long time,” she said.

Salon has previously exposed how emails released from Clinton’s time as secretary of state for the Obama administration reveal her close ties to Kissinger. One of the emails suggests that Clinton saw Kissinger as her role model.

Kissinger infamously insisted “The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.”



If the American People had any sense of history this would be a disqualifying factor for her.

Aphonopelma johnnycashi: Jonny Cash tarantula species discovered near California's Folsom Prison


The biggest ever taxonomic investigation on tarantulas found 14 new species in the US, including one which was named after legendary singer-songwriter Johnny Cash. A study analysed more than 3,000 specimens of tarantula across the US, and the research found there are 29 species across the country – nearly half of which had never been recorded before.

American tarantula species appear very similar in how they look, and past reports from the public have often been very vague or tend to overlap with other species. Researchers set out to officially describe all of these species themselves. They published their results in the journal ZooKeys.

"We often hear about how new species are being discovered from remote corners of the Earth," said Chris Hamilton, lead author of the investigation. "But what is remarkable is that these spiders are in our own backyard. It is astonishing how little we know about our planet's biodiversity, even for charismatic groups such as tarantulas."

One of the species discovered was named after Johnny Cash – Aphonopelma johnnycashi. It was found near Folsom Prison in California, the penitentiary that inspired Cash's song Folsom Prison Blues.



Portman to oppose trade deal as opposition back home builds

Source: Washington Post

Sen. Rob Portman, a former U.S trade ambassador, announced Thursday that he opposes a sweeping 12-nation Pacific Rim trade agreement, dealing a setback to a deal that is seen as a key part of President Obama’s economic legacy.

The Ohio Republican is facing a difficult re-election campaign against Ted Strickland, an anti-trade former Democratic governor, in a state that has seen a steep decline in manufacturing as a result of companies moving operations overseas. The announcement is a significant but not fatal blow to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which is protected by fast-track rules that ensure it cannot be filibustered in the Senate.

“I cannot support the TPP in its current form because it doesn’t provide that level playing field,” Portman said in a statement. “I will continue to urge the Obama administration to support American workers and address these issues before any vote on the TPP agreement.”

Portman, who served as the top U.S. trade official under President George W. Bush, was seen as a potential ally for the Obama administration. Last year he voted for legislation to grant Obama fast-track trade negotiating authority. That bill, considered a bellwether of support for the trade agreement itself, passed on a 62 to 37 vote in May.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/02/04/portman-to-vote-no-on-trade-deal/

First on CNN: Former NAACP head to endorse Bernie Sanders

Source: CNN

Ben Jealous, the former head of the NAACP, will endorse Bernie Sanders, a source familiar with the campaign told CNN.

The endorsement is a potential boost to Sanders who has struggled to gain traction among African-American voters, though he has made small gains on Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton, according to recent polls.

Jealous, 43, is set to appear with Sanders in New Hampshire ahead of the February 9 primary to announce his support.

Elected to the NAACP post in 2008, Jealous was the youngest person to head the civil rights organization. Credited with re-invigorating the organization and making it more politically relevant, Jealous served for four years.

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/02/04/politics/bernie-sanders-ben-jealous-endorsement-naacp/

Scaremongering for the health care status quo

AS MILLIONS of people struggle to access health care and fall through the cracks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a.k.a. Obamacare, the Hillary Clinton campaign is adding its own confusion and fear to the election-year mix.

Clinton's daughter Chelsea fired some of the first shots at Bernie Sanders for supporting universal, single-payer health care, telling a New Hampshire audience in January, "Sen. Sanders wants to dismantle Obamacare, dismantle the CHIP program, dismantle Medicare and dismantle private insurance."

"I don't want to live in a country that has an unequal health care system again," she added.

It's hard to know exactly where to start in unraveling such dishonesty.

For one thing, as Sanders himself acknowledges, he helped write parts of the ACA and voted for the final legislation, in spite of how far short it fell from providing universal coverage, much less affordable care.

But what's even more deceptive about the Clinton campaign scaremongering is the idea that the single-payer system which Sanders endorses is somehow inferior to Obamacare.



Bernie Sanders, the shape of things to come: Why his popularity is no fluke


Last week, Nate Cohn at the New York Times noted an important impediment to Bernie Sanders’ primary chances: his outsize reliance upon young, new voters. As Cohn explained,

he race is not nearly as close among people who say they will definitely vote. The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll found Mrs. Clinton ahead by nine points among those who said they would “definitely” vote, with Mr. Sanders ahead by 10 among those who said they would “probably” caucus.

With the results out of Iowa a virtual tie, history afforded us something situated right between those two extremes. But the skepticism that Cohn demonstrated toward Sanders’ candidacy is what matters here. Even before Obama’s election in 2008, pundits questioned whether a new generation of young voters could be counted upon to follow through on the progressive energy that coagulated in the soupy cauldron of the 2000s, which started with the Dionysian excess of the dot-com crash, ambled drunkenly toward two ill-advised and deeply immoral wars, and finally crashed awkwardly and painfully into the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression. If Cohn’s reasonable skepticism had played out with Clinton winning by 10 points, it would be easy to start questioning the lasting impact of young left-wing voters on the broader electoral outlook. But something else happened instead: The kids came out, and they clearly “#Felt The Bern.”

Much has been made of the “demographic destiny” that Democrats enjoy, a popular theory easily expressed with the reductive formula: “lots of young progressive voters + time = win.” And yet the strange and specific particulars of the last few election cycles muddied the water. Was Obama, with his soaring rhetoric, uniquely situated to draw out unprecedented numbers of young voters, or was his success the natural outgrowth of a broader impulse toward progressivism? Furthermore, was the short-lived Occupy movement a response to the financial collapse and Obama’s acquiescence to Wall Street special interests, or proof of something greater, something more lasting, more transformational? Have young Americans been growing more progressive in recent years, or were they just enthralled by Obama and disillusioned with the status quo? Do they even have a coherent political philosophy?

much more


Thursday TOON Roundup 2 -The Rest










Mr. Fish

Thursday Toon Roundup 1- Booby Prizes

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