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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 33,739

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Charles P. Pierce -Quibbling about the price (Scott Walker)

Last Friday, rather late in the day, there came a massive document dump in connection with the investigation into the most recent corrupt campaign conducted on behalf of Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their midwest facility formerly known as the state of Wisconsin. Some of the more piquant of these had to do with e-mails in which Walker importuned various individuals and companies to kick into the Wisconsin Club For Growth, a pro-Walker front run by one of his former aides, in order to help fund the campaign to keep the voters of Wisconsin from tossing Walker out on his ear. Some of the more piquant details of these piquant documents involve a $700,000 donation to the WCFG by Gogebic Taconite LLC, the company that proposes to dig a monstrous four-mile open-pit mine in the woods of northern Wisconsin.

The hundreds of pages of documents that became available Friday afternoon also showed Walker's team sought to solicit funds for the Wisconsin Club for Growth from an array of nationally known donors to fend off his 2012 recall. Real esate developer Donald Trump, industrialist billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson were all targets. Mining company Gogebic Taconite LLC's $700,000 contribution to the Wisconsin Club for Growth was not publicly known until Friday. "Clearly, Club for Growth favors economic growth in Wisconsin and has favored mining, so contributions to organizations that have a shared purpose, a shared interest, that is really all there is to it," Bob Seitz, a spokesman for Gogebic, said Friday. Seitz said that he did not know the source of the funds. Gogebic is owned by Chris Cline, a billionaire coal mine operator.

The Gogobic mine has always been one of the more embarrassingly obvious items in the all-u-can-pollute yard sale that Walker has made of Wisconsin's natural resources. Walker and his pet state legislature let Gogebic's people help write the bill that opened the loophole in the state's mining regulations that will allow the company to dig there. Since then, there have been a number of confrontations between angry local residents, environmentalists, and, in one memorable case, masked and armed company goons. These swell fellas were from Bulletproof Securities, a company-goon-for-hire agency run by a payday loan magnate in Arizona. Given that he's done everything except deliver a State Of The State Address festooned in Gogebic logos, it's hard to believe that Walker ever had to ask the company for anything. But there we are with the e-mails, so that's that, right?

Ah, no.

Walker didn't know a thing about it. Honest.

700 large for issue ads? How'd that happen?



All of Us Are Beautiful, Perfect Angels, Except Mike Brown, Who Liked Rap Music

By Luke O'Neil

It took all of five seconds after the news of Ferguson, Missouri teen Mike Brown's shooting broke for the media to begin the standard image makeover that transpires whenever a black man is killed by authorities.

NBC News came hot out of the gates with an image of Brown perfectly tailored for speculation about his potential gang affiliations, for example. Fox News, predictably, has had a field day writing Mike Brown-based fan fiction, circulating the specious and since-debunked claim that Officer Darren Wilson had suffered a fractured orbital bone after being assaulted by Brown. The Ferguson police played directly to the crowd themselves, releasing the images of Brown's alleged convenience store robbery in an attempt to justify his being murdered.

Much like we saw with the Trayvon Martin fiasco, this is how the well is poisoned. The narrative shifts from the murder of an unarmed boy to the somewhat understandable use of force against an aggressive man to, by the time we're done digging through his trash, the heroic dispatching of a thug who had it coming. This is why the #IfTheyGunnedMeDown hashtag on Twitter was so poignant and telling: Which of us, if we were in Brown's shoes, particularly young black men, could not be made out as a violent criminal based on the images of ourselves available online?

Look no further than the hundreds of thousands of dollars being raised by so-called supporters of Wilson, many of whom have left the most vile comments imaginable, for evidence of how thoroughly this re-branding has worked. Hell, open any comments section on any website in existence, including this one, for reams of evidence for how absolutely convinced some people are that Brown was basically The Wire's Avon Barksdale incarnate.



A Hardy Welcome: Wyoming's U.S. Senate Challenger Rages Against the Money Machine

by Carl Gibson

Seventy-five-year-old Charlie Hardy, the former Catholic priest who just won the Democratic nomination in Wyoming’s U.S. Senate race, may be the only senatorial candidate this year not accepting money from corporations or PACs. Hardy told me about a recent call he made to Colorado Sen. Mark Udall’s campaign office, in which staffers told him they’d have to raise $20 million this election to keep Udall in office. Udall’s Republican opponent is expected to raise $16 million.

“Why is a senate seat that valuable?” Hardy said. “Where does that money come from? Who does that make you beholden to?”

Hardy is running against Mike Enzi, a three-term incumbent Republican who has proven himself a professional at soliciting money from corporate donors. According to Opensecrets.org, Enzi's chief campaign contributors are coal titans like Murray Energy and Peabody Energy, and health insurance corporations like Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Koch Industries has given $12,600 to Enzi, who has raised nearly $1 million from extractive industries and health insurance alone. And the senator’s voting record, available at ontheissues.org, reflects his deference to his donors.

- See more at: http://www.occupy.com/article/hardy-welcome-wyomings-us-senate-challenger-rages-against-money-machine

John G. Sperling dies at 93; founder of University of Phoenix

John G. Sperling, a poor boy from the Missouri Ozarks who survived a cruel childhood to become a college professor and a billionaire with an idea for a university that launched a revolution in higher education, has died. He was 93.

The self-described "unintentional entrepreneur" who founded the for-profit behemoth University of Phoenix, Sperling died Friday of complications following an infection at Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, Calif., said former University of Phoenix President Jorge Klor de Alva. Sperling had homes in the Bay Area and Arizona.

Sperling was a tenured professor at San Jose State University in 1972 when he hit on the idea of an alternative institution for adult learners whose needs were not being met by traditional colleges and universities. He formally founded University of Phoenix in the mid-1970s after moving to Arizona and built the business into one of the world's largest private higher education systems.

It now has an enrollment of 241,000 students, many of them virtual learners who never step inside a classroom.


The Eccentric German Millionaire Who Lived on Less Than $500 a Month

When millionaire Klaus Zapf passed away this week, the whole of Germany mourned his death. The eccentric tycoon, who always had millions at his disposal, actually lived a frugal life by choice. What endeared him most to the people of his nation was his generous nature – he gave most of his money away, while he lived on only $500 a month.

“I don’t need any money. It just makes us unequal,” Klaus once said. “There are just so many bloody idiots with money around, you don’t need another one.”

Zapf, 62, had made his fortune in the relocation business – he ran a company called Zapf Umzüge, which he often referred to as ‘West Berlin’s best removals collective’. His distinctive blue and yellow vans were quite well-known in city streets as they picked up and unloaded wares from across the country and the world.

But even though capitalism had made him rich, Zapf was a worshipper of socialism. He admired the ideology so much that he even had a statue of his hero – Vladimir Lenin – in his company’s yard in Kreuzberg. “Here, the delusions of grandeur are healed every day,” he said as he described his workplace.


Tuesday Toon Roundup 2: The Rest








The Media

Tuesday Toon Roundup 1: Living while black

(President reviewing transfer of military gear to police departments)

Paris Street art

Street artist Pejac (previously) was recently in Paris where he created at least three new works almost guaranteed to make you smile. The first appears to be a figure throwing a water balloon at a wall, but on closer inspection the giant splat contains a painting of Manet’s famous The Luncheon on the Grass. The second involves a pair of children who appear to be burning ants with a magnifying glass in a spot of sunlight, but once viewed close-up the tiny figures are revealed to be small people instead of insects. Lastly he made use of a thick wall crack to form the edge of a ghostly looking door. You can see a few more views over on StreetArtNews.


U.S. Court Overturns Law Limiting Biotech Crops on Hawaiian island

Source: Reuters/Scientific American

A group of global biotech crop companies won a court victory on Monday that blocks enactment of a law passed last year limiting the planting of biotech crops and use of pesticides on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren of the U.S. District Court in Hawaii ruled that the law passed in November by local leaders on the island was invalid because it was pre-empted by Hawaii state law.

The Kauai law required large agricultural companies to disclose pesticide use and genetically modified (GMO) crop plantings while establishing buffer zones around schools, homes and hospitals to protect people from exposure to pesticides used on the crops.

The measure had broad support on the island and the U.S. mainland from organizations and individuals who say heavy pesticide use by the agrochemical companies is poisoning people and the environment.

Read more: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/u-s-court-overturns-law-limiting-biotech-crops-on-hawaiian-island/

30 metre wide sinkhole appears in Durham, England

The giant sinkhole in Cowshill, County Durham. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe / NorthNews/North News & Pictures Ltd

A 30-metre (100ft) wide sinkhole has opened up in county Durham in the north-east of England, and it is so deep that its bottom cannot be seen.

The gaping void, thought to be the result of mine workings, was discovered on Thursday by Sam Hillyard, a Durham University academic, at Cowshill, in the rural area of Weardale – and it has since grown three times as big.

The 39-year-old had been out shooting rabbits and was returning to her home when she noticed the hole.

Hillyard's partner, John Hensby, a 71-year-old retired sales trainer, said: "Sam came back and she was looking quite shocked.



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