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

Journal Archives

Well-off families create 'glass floor' to ensure children's success, says study

Well-off parents create a “glass floor” for their less academically inclined children ensuring they “hoard the best opportunities” over poorer peers, a study has suggested.

Children from wealthier families but with less academic ability are 35% more likely to become high earners than their more gifted counterparts from poor families, according to findings from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission.

The study, entitled “Downward mobility, opportunity hoarding and the ‘glass’ floor”, looked at the lives of 17,000 people born in Britain in the same week in 1970.

The potential for success can even date as far back as the social background of the child’s grandfather, the report suggested.

Factors influencing a child’s success later in life included the level of their parents’ education, the type of secondary school they attend and the highest qualification they achieved, the report said.



More than 70% of pollen and honey samples collected from bees in Massachusetts had neonicotinoids

More than 70 percent of pollen and honey samples collected from foraging bees in Massachusetts contained neonicotinoids, a type of insecticide that has been linked to colony collapse disorder, researchers are reporting. The disorder causes adult bees to abandon their hives in winter.

In the new study, published in The Journal of Environmental Chemistry, researchers analyzed 219 pollen samples and 53 honey samples from 62 hives in 10 counties in Massachusetts. Honeybee colonies have experienced significant losses over the last decade, and the effects can be far-reaching: Bees are the prime pollinators of one-third of all crops worldwide.


Unprecedented Life Sentence Recommended for Peanut Company Executive

Stewart Parnell--the former Peanut Corporation of America owner that was convicted last year for knowingly shipping Salmonella-contaminated peanut butter from his Georgia plant--may be sentenced to life in prison if prosecutors have their way. The U.S. Probation Office concluded that the scope of Parnell’s crimes--including conspiracy, obstruction of justice and wire fraud-- “results in a life sentence Guidelines range.”

After a two month trial, Parnell was found guilty of knowingly shipping the contaminated products to food processors across the U.S. This is reportedly the first federal felony conviction of its kind in relation to food safety, making it an unprecedented case.

In 2008 and 2009, the peanut butter outbreak spread throughout 46 states, ultimately leading the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to announce one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history. Nine people died and more than 700 fell ill. Parnell nor any co-defendants were ever charged in relation to any consumer illnesses or deaths resulting from the tainted peanut butter.

Ken Hodges, one of Parnell’s defense attorneys says, “We hope the judge will see that Stewart Parnell never meant to hurt anyone. He ate the peanut butter himself. He fed it to his children and to his grandchildren.”


Send him away for a long time. In China he would be executed.

Huckabee: Obama marching Israelis 'to the door of the oven'

Former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee blasted President Barack Obama on Saturday over the nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers, saying that by trusting the Iranians, the president "will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven."

In an interview with Breitbart, the 59-year-old conservative television personality called Obama's foreign policy "the most feckless in American history" and dubbed the Iran deal "the most idiotic thing." "It should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the American people," he said.

Huckabee entered the race for his party's 2016 presidential nomination last May, vowing strong U.S. support for Israel and declaring "Hell will freeze over" before Iran gets a nuclear weapon.

In Saturday's interview, Huckabee urged the GOP presidential hopefuls to simplify their message to the American people, and focus on "conservatism, limited government, more local government, lower taxes, and less regulation to people who sweat through their clothes every day and have to lift heavy things to make a living.”


Evil bastard Huckster

Fossil fuel companies impose more in climate costs than they make in profits

by David Roberts

It is fairly well understood by now that releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere imposes an economic cost, in the form of climate change impacts. In most cases, however, those responsible for carbon emissions are not required to pay that cost. Instead, it's borne mainly by the world's poor and low-lying countries, and of course by future generations, as many of the worst impacts of climate change will emerge years after the emissions that drive them.

People sometimes refer to the unpaid cost of carbon pollution as a subsidy, or an "implicit subsidy," to polluting businesses. The IMF recently issued a report saying that total worldwide subsidies to energy, mainly fossil fuel energy, amounted to $5.2 trillion a year. The reason that number is so high is that the IMF includes implicit subsidies — the social costs imposed by businesses (including climate damages) that they don't have to pay for.

Vox's Brad Plumer raised some questions about whether that's a misleading use of the term "subsidy." Whatever you call it, though, it makes for an unsustainable situation, literally. It can't go on.

As climate change gets worse and the chance to avoid harsh impacts dwindles, governments are getting serious about putting some sort of price on carbon emissions, whether explicit (a tax) or implicit (regulations). By next year, a quarter of the world's carbon emissions will be priced in some way. Businesses that now emit carbon pollution for free (or cheap) will soon see their costs rise.



CNN/ORC poll: GOP voters want more Trump

Source: CNN

Most Republican voters want Donald Trump to remain in the race for president, and he's the candidate GOP voters are most likely to say they want to see on the debate stage, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll.

Trump, whose campaign for the presidency has come to dominate much of the news coverage of the Republican presidential field since he formally announced his candidacy in mid-June, remains a person Republican voters want to see more of, and a sizable 22% say they think he'll eventually win the party's nomination for president -- second only to Jeb Bush.

Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who are registered to vote, 52% say they want Trump to stay in the race for the party's nomination, while 33% hope that he drops out. Another 15% say they'd like to see him make an independent run for the presidency.

The CNN/ORC Poll is the first publicly-released national telephone poll to be conducted entirely after Trump talked about Senator John McCain's military record during an Iowa campaign event last weekend, drawing rebukes from Republicans for saying he didn't think McCain is a war hero.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/26/politics/cnn-poll-trump/index.html

Sunday's Doonesbury-Gift Horse

Obama Announces Major Restrictions on Ivory Trade

Source: Time

President Obama announced sweeping new measures to stem the ivory trade on Saturday, including a ban on the interstate sale of most ivory in the U.S. and new restrictions on when the material can be exported. When implemented, the rule would result in a near total ban on the ivory trade in the U.S.

“We’re proposing a new rule that bans the sale of virtually all ivory across state lines,” Obama said at a press conference in Kenya.

Existing U.S. ivory regulations mostly concern the import and export of the material from the country, while allowing some legal trade of the material between states. The new regulation, which will be finalized later this year, would restrict interstate trade to antique items that are over 100 years old or contain a minimal amount of ivory. The proposed rule also contains new restrictions on the international trade.

Prior to the Saturday’s announcement, many animal conservationists had argued that allowing some legal ivory trade provided a cover for criminals who were actually selling illegal ivory. In a 2009 investigation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials seized more than a ton of ivory from a Philadelphia art store that had been manipulated to appear old enough to meet federal standards. Ivory from that seizure was destroyed at a “ivory crush” event in Times Square last month.

Read more: http://time.com/3972237/obama-ivory-trade-restrictions/?

OK Republican Party Chairman Tells State To Ignore Roe v. Wade

“The federal courts don’t have the authority to make us kill babies,” according to Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Randy Brogdon. “Are the Supreme Court justices going to come down to Oklahoma and make us stop?”

Brogdon, a former state senator who once called for Oklahoma to form its own militia separate from that National Guard — and who previously cast doubt upon the Pledge of Allegiance because he objects to the line “one nation, indivisible” — offered his interpretation of the Supreme Court’s lawful authority on Friday. One day earlier, he signed a fundraising email making a similar pitch. “As Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, I call on the Governor and legislators to completely end the practice of abortion in Oklahoma,” Brogdon wrote in that email, adding that the state should “hut Planned Parenthood down immediately for their illegal actions, and prosecute the abortion doctors who violate their oath to ‘do no harm.'”

The party chairman’s call to simply ignore court decisions protecting reproductive choice seeks to escalate many of his fellow Republicans’ attacks on legal abortion. Other states, however, have already gone so far in restricting abortion that it’s not clear that Brogdon’s proposal is as much of an escalation as it immediately appears to be.

Mississippi, for example, passed a law that, if upheld by the Supreme Court, will close the state’s last abortion clinic. A similar Texas law seeks to shut down many of the clinics in that state by imposing expensive obligations on clinics and difficult-to-obtain credentialing requirements on doctors who perform abortions. North Dakota enacted a law that could effectively ban abortion six weeks into pregnancy (a federal appeals court recently struck that law down, albeit reluctantly).


John McCain: I was ‘surprised’ by Donald Trump’s fury

Arizona Sen. John McCain is back in the national political spotlight, having come under fierce attack from Republican presidential contender Donald Trump over his POW status during the Vietnam War and his efforts to help veterans.

The controversy exploded July 18 when Trump, the celebrity real-estate titan, told an Iowa audience that McCain is “a war hero because he was captured” and that Trump likes “people that weren’t captured.” McCain earlier had stoked the feud by telling the New Yorker magazine that Trump had “fired up the crazies” at his July 11 rally in downtown Phoenix.

The uproar over Trump’s anti-McCain tirade continued all week as organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Military Officers Association of America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Concerned Veterans for America and even the National Border Patrol Council defended McCain, a former Navy aviator who was shot down in 1967 and endured brutal conditions as a prisoner of war for more than five years.

McCain, the 2008 GOP White House nominee who is now seeking a sixth U.S. Senate term in Arizona, discussed Trump, the Republican presidential race and other topics in an extended question-and-answer session with The Arizona Republic.


Maybe they can take anger management classes together
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