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n2doc

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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
Number of posts: 42,892

About Me

Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Thursday Toon Roundup 2- Moral Corruption


























Thursday Toon Roundup 1- See Dick Run. See Dick order war crimes....
































Toon: The people in charge of the Torture program need to be decorated!

5 Awful Things Congress Snuck Into the Omnibus Budget Deal

On Tuesday, Congressional leaders struck a deal to avert another government shutdown and put off our next completely avoidable, 100% self-imposed budget crisis until next September. And while most members of the least productive Congress in the history of these United States are already busy patting themselves on the back for summoning enough courage and can-do American spirit to actually govern for a day, the rest of us shouldn’t start celebrating just yet.

If you’re a Congressperson looking sneak through something shady, the omnibus budget bill is the perfect opportunity since 1.) It’s 1600 pages long and very easy to hide things in, and 2.) Congress kind of has to pass it or the government shuts down. Again.

So naturally, there are a whole lot of shady things in there. Since this 1600 page bill was released on Tuesday night and we’re not magic, we can’t list every single one of those things just yet. But we can highlight the 5 most awful ones we’ve come across so far — everything from crazily wasteful spending to overturning a popular Marijuana Legalization ballot initiative.

5. $479 MILLION FOR WARPLANES THAT THE PENTAGON DIDN’T ASK FOR

4. $93 MILLION CUT FROM THE WOMEN, INFANTS AND CHILDREN (WIC) NUTRITION PROGRAM

3. NULLIFICATION OF VOTER-BACKED MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION IN D.C.

2. THE BILL THAT CITIGROUP WROTE

1. MORE BIG MONEY IN POLITICS

more

http://bulletin.represent.us/5-awful-things-congress-snuck-omnibus-budget-deal

There Are At Least 5.25 Trillion Pieces of Plastic in the Ocean

We know the oceans are home to tons of plastic garbage, from discarded nylon fishing nets that ensnare sea turtles to packing straps that strangle the life out of marine mammals. But because all that plastic is coming from everywhere, it's difficult to tell how much of it, exactly, is floating around—an important question, given its pernicious effects on the ecosystem and possible toxic repercussions to humanity's dinner plate.

Thanks to an international research effort spanning six years, we now have a much better idea of the sheer bulk of plastic water pollution. The minimum count is 5.25 trillion plastic particles littering the seas, say scientists in a new study in PLOS ONE. All those teeny bits—the result of the gradual breakdown of larger plastics, as well as escaped nurdles and microbeads used in cosmetics—add up to 269,000 tons, or about the weight of 2,150 adult blue whales.

The researchers arrived at these figures after analyzing two-dozen expeditions in five "subtropical gyres," large, swirling zones in the South Pacific, Indian Ocean, and elsewhere. The numbers were smaller than they expected to see at the water's surface, which they put down to removal processes that could include "UV degradation, biodegradation, ingestion by organisms, decreased buoyancy due to fouling organisms, entrainment in settling detritus, and beaching." In regards to "ingestion," they theorize that fish and other animals are gulping up the plastic because they believe it's food, and then pooping it out in "fecal pellets" that sink into lower waters where it's harder to detect.

Interestingly, the size of the debris was not uniform over the world. That could be due to the gyres acting like mulching disposals, the scientists explain:

Large plastics appear to be abundant near coastlines, degrading into microplastics in the 5 subtropical gyres, the smallest microplastics were present in more remote regions, such as the subpolar gyres, which the authors did not expect. The distribution of the smallest microplastics in remote regions of the ocean may suggest that gyres act as 'shredders' of large plastic items into microplastics, after which they eject them across the ocean.

"Our findings show that the garbage patches in the middle of the five subtropical gyres are not the final resting places for the world's floating plastic trash. The endgame for micro-plastic is interactions with entire ocean ecosystems," says Marcus Eriksen, PhD, Director of Research for the 5 Gyres Institute.


Read more: http://www.citylab.com/weather/2014/12/there-are-at-least-525-trillion-pieces-of-plastic-in-the-ocean/383600/

Wednesday Toon Roundup 3- The Rest

Injustice


















War





Environment



Wednesday Toon Roundup 2- Not in my name





























Wednesday Toon Roundup 1- Evil































Brownback proposes stealing from pensions and Highway repair to cover for his insane tax cuts

With Kansas facing a projected $279 million budget shortfall after enacting aggressive tax cuts, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback proposed Tuesday to trim spending and divert funds for highway projects and public pensions to general government programs.

The plan, which applies only to the current budget year, avoids reducing aid to the state's public schools, its Medicaid health care program for the needy, prison operations or state universities. Budget Director Shawn Sullivan outlined the details in interviews and said the administration believes agencies that do face cuts can find efficiencies to avoid hurting any programs.

"These first steps are a down payment in resolving the immediate budget issue," Brownback said in a statement, adding that his administration is addressing the shortfall with "good fiscal governance" while protecting education and public safety.

The plan drew immediate, bipartisan criticism from state Senate leaders because it would divert $41 million from the pension system for teachers and government workers. Obligations to retirees over the next two decades are only 60 percent funded, and that figure was expected to climb over time thanks to a 2012 law that increased both the state's and employees' contributions to stabilize the system's long-term health.

more

http://news.yahoo.com/kansas-governor-unveils-plan-close-budget-gap-174044686.html

That awful Congressional plan to allow pension cuts heads for enactment

The Congressional proposal to deal with a supposed crisis in worker pensions by allowing trustees to slash the benefits of already-retired workers to shreds is heading toward enactment.

We reported on this plan last week, observing that its details were secret. They still are. Reps. John Kline, R-Minn, and George Miller, D-Martinez--the chairman and ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, told reporters on a conference call late Tuesday that the measure is being passed over to the House Rules Committee, which will move it as an amendment to an omnibus spending bill, as early as Wednesday. Senate action will follow, presumably no later than Thursday, when Congress departs for vacation.

The proposal is aimed at multiemployer pension plans, which are generally negotiated by a union to cover employees of all companies in a given industry. About 1,400 such plans cover about 10 million workers, according to the Pension Rights Center. About 150-200 of the plans, covering 1.5 million workers are seriously underfunded and could run out of money sometime during the next 20 years.

The Congressional proposal allows trustees of those plans to slash benefits sharply for retirees to give the plans a longer lease on life. It requires a vote of approval by active workers and retirees before that could be done--but some pension advocates say that would only pit workers against retirees, with the latter coming out poorer.

more
http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-that-awful-congressional-plan-20141209-column.html

People need to raise holy hell about this, NOW
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