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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 66,164

Journal Archives

Sea Level Rise Threatens to Drown Miami Even Faster Than Feared

Living in Miami in 2015 and harboring any doubts about sea level rise is roughly equivalent to being a volcano truther in Pompeii circa 79 AD. The catastrophe is happening. The only question is just how quickly climate change will sink parts of South Florida.

The answer, according to new work by a University of Miami researcher: even more quickly than we thought.

"People ask me all the time: 'When is it going to happen? When will we start seeing sea level rise?'" says Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at UM's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. "We've already passed that. It's happening."

To chart that rise, McNoldy recently crunched nearly two decades' worth of data from a tidal monitoring station on Virginia Key. First, he looked at the heights of high, low, and mean sea level measured at the station from 1996, when it was set up, until today. .........................(more)


Atlantic Surging, Virginia Sinking

from the American Prospect:

Atlantic Surging, Virginia Sinking
Rising sea level in Norfolk threatens the town, the Navy, and a state in denial.

Nathalie Baptiste

The Norfolk Naval Station: At the world's largest naval installation, the carriers will float, but the base could go under.

Standing at the Elizabeth River looking at the Naval Shipyard and neighboring Portsmouth, the climate change carnage looming over Norfolk, Virginia, may not be immediately noticeable. The water is calm, and on this mild day in November, dedicated boaters cruise downstream. Nestled between the river, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean, Norfolk is paradise for anyone who loves living near the water.

But paradise comes with a price. The combination of sea level rise, tidal flooding, and subsidence—the sinking ground—has made Norfolk a prime example of what climate is going to do, and has already done, to our coastal cities. The city and surrounding region is on the front line in the battle against climate change, but opinions within city limits on just how bad the flooding is and what to do about it appear to be mixed.

The stakes are high in Norfolk, which is home to the headquarters of the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet. Ignoring the problem will prove costly and dangerous, but for some, tidal flooding and sea level rise are problems for a future generation. The more serious form of denial on climate change is not that of the science-deniers; it’s the everyday denial on the part of ordinary people, communities, and leaders who can’t or won’t acknowledge what is lapping at their feet, because the reality is so frightening and the required scale of change is so immense.

In the 1970s, Norfolk averaged less than two flooding events per year. That number has since tripled. But even when the water isn’t making roads impassable, the signs of climate change are still there: the rusted base of a street sign, debris lines that form when the water carries litter onto the grass, salt patches where nothing grows, and a walkway that’s underwater so often that no one bothers to use it anymore. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://prospect.org/article/atlantic-surging-virginia-sinking

Thom Hartmann & Mike Papantonio: Is America ‘Disappearing' People?

Published on Feb 27, 2015

America's Lawyer Mike Papantonio, Ring of Fire Radio, joins Thom Hartmann. The War on Terror has come home. Back in 2006 - we learned that the CIA was running secret overseas prisons - or black sites - where they indefinitely detained and tortured terrorism suspects. When news first broke about these black sites - most Americans were shocked to learn that the CIA was working with some of world’s most repressive governments to run what were essentially glorified dungeons. But until just a few days ago - very few of us knew that back home - right here in the United States - one of the biggest police departments in the country had a secret dungeon of its own.

ISIS to attack houses of worship (cartoon)


Netanyahu’s Speech (cartoon)


Replace the Gospel of Money: An Interview With David Korten

from YES! Magazine:

David Korten began his professional life as a professor at the Harvard Business School on a mission to lift struggling people in Third World nations out of poverty by sharing the secrets of U.S. business success. Yet, after a couple of decades in which he applied his organizational development strategies in places as far-flung as Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and the Philippines, Korten underwent a change of heart. In 1995, he wrote the bestseller When Corporations Rule the World, followed by a series of books that helped birth the movement known as the New Economy, a call to replace transnational corporate domination with local economies, control, ownership, and self-reliance.


Paton: You’re saying it’s the traditional development model, or transnational capitalism, that damages Earth as a living community, including not just humans but all life forms. Yet we all depend on money, on the market economy. Do you really think we can just stop that dependence?

Korten: We will still use money and markets, but strip away Wall Street’s control of money’s creation and allocation. There was a time in the United States when most of our financial institutions were local. Which essentially meant that local communities were able to create their own credit, or their own money, in response to their own needs. We still depended on banks, but it was a much more democratic process.


Korten: Exactly. If more of our money circulated in our communities rather than the Wall Street casino, it would facilitate people organizing locally to meet more of their economic needs with local resources. Control of money is the ultimate mechanism of social control in a society in which most every person depends on money for the basic means of living—food, water, shelter, heat, transportation, entertainment. This leads us into the voluntary simplicity movement: The less I’m dependent on money, the freer I am. Realize that the only legitimate purpose of the economy is to serve life, is to serve us as living beings making our living in co-productive partnership with living Earth.


Paton: So if we’re all living beings “born of a living Earth,” as you say, where does that start to show up in our lives?

Korten: A big piece of it has to do with recognizing the implications of our dependence on money. This goes back to development as a process of separating people from their means of subsistence production. The more people become alienated from their self-production, the more they become dependent on money—and the more they become dependent on the people who control the creation and allocation of money. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/together-with-earth/replace-the-gospel-of-money-interview-with-david-korten

"Transit Revolution": Will Los Angeles Become Gentrification Ground Zero?

"Transit Revolution": Will Los Angeles Become Gentrification Ground Zero?

Thursday, 26 February 2015 00:00
By Laura Raymond, Truthout | Op-Ed

In diverse, working-class neighborhoods across Los Angeles, an unprecedented $40 billion mass transit expansion is being met with mixed emotions. On the one hand, low-income residents are by far public transit's biggest users, and expanded transit routes promise greater mobility and better access to job opportunities. But the very real prospect of displacement and gentrification looms. Studies from around the country show that as public transit improves, housing costs in the surrounding area rise, and low-income residents, often in communities of color, are priced out.

Already, large new developments of market rate and luxury housing are coming to areas in LA near new rail stations under the idea of "Transit Oriented Development," or what is commonly referred to as TOD. TOD seeks to build more housing near transit hubs and is a major strategy in combating LA's infamous traffic issues and greenhouse gas emissions.

However, a new white paper just released by the Alliance for Community Transit -LA (ACT LA), warns that without significant, ahead of the curve, affordable housing policies, low income residents who ride transit will be replaced by higher-income, multiple car owning households who are less frequent transit users. This would be devastating for LA's communities, posing serious economic and health risks to people who must leave their neighborhood support systems, as well as self-defeating to the entire point of expanding the transit system and focusing on TOD: increasing transit use.

But if it adopts a forward-thinking strategy, Los Angeles can address housing needs, link quality jobs to the transit build out, and protect existing small businesses from rising rents and competition from chain stores. These will be key factors in ensuring longtime residents are able to afford to stay living near transit and are not pushed out to the margins of the city without access to the transit system that their tax dollars funded. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/29271-transit-revolution-brings-los-angeles-to-a-crossroads-sustainable-thriving-city-or-gentrification-ground-zero

Who’s Afraid of Chicago’s Progressive Aldermen? Rahm Emanuel, That’s Who.

from In These Times:

Who’s Afraid of Chicago’s Progressive Aldermen? Rahm Emanuel, That’s Who.
The Chicago mayor’s super PAC has spent large amounts of money to protect his allies on City Council—and take down those who oppose him.


It’s no secret that Rahm Emanuel has an unparalleled fundraising prowess and scores of wealthy friends to boot. The Chicago Tribune called him “the most potent political cash machine in Chicago history,” and he’s amassed nearly $30 million among the various bodies dedicated to supporting his mayoral run and its broader agenda.

Now that money is trickling down to some of Chicago’s most tightly contested aldermanic races through the efforts of Chicago Forward, a super PAC created by former Chicago Public Schools communication director Becky Carroll. Super PACs are allowed to take in unlimited donations, but can’t coordinate with or directly contribute to a candidate.

This round of aldermanic races, which culminate in Tuesday’s election, has seen a bevy of candidates that are particularly antagonistic to the status quo of Emanuel’s administration. Some of the key groups that the mayor has clashed with in the past four years as now running for aldermanic seats—teachers, environmentalists and community organizers.

Chicago Forward is pumping money into 17 of the 50 aldermanic races, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, with an eye to securing the seats of Emanuel’s stalwarts in the City Council, particularly in tight races—and, in a few cases, pushing the more troublesome progressive aldermen out of the picture.

Dick Simpson, a former alderman and now professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) tells In These Times that it’s “pretty clear” Chicago Forward is pumping money into races that worry the mayor’s office. .............(more)


Once a piece of sh*t, always a piece of sh*t

With oral arguments in King v. Burwell just eight days away, Republicans are talking more and more about what they’ll do if the Supreme Court sides with them and effectively wipes out subsidized Obamacare insurance in two-thirds of the states.

On Monday, it was Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) speaking at the Heritage Foundation, where he promised to unveil a “short-term” fix that would avoid disruption -- thereby giving Republicans time to come up with a permanent alternative to the Affordable Care Act. On Tuesday, former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) joined the fray with a Wall Street Journal op-ed that sketched out what such a plan might look like.

Should you take this talk seriously? Republicans have been promising to craft alternatives to Obamacare for as long as they’ve been trying to wipe it off the books -- in other words, for nearly the entire five years that the law has been in existence. They've come nowhere close to coalescing around a serious proposal. In this case, inaction may speak louder than words. At best, improving access to health care doesn't seem to be a priority for the GOP. At worst, it's not something they appear inclined to do at all.

Gramm’s op-ed reveals this as well as anything you’ll read or hear these days. In the piece, Gramm warns his fellow Republicans that if they get the ruling they hope for in King v. Burwell, it will unleash policy and political chaos. Without Obamacare’s subsidies, which can be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars a year, millions of lower- and middle-income Americans would suddenly find insurance unaffordable -- and would almost certainly have to give up coverage altogether. This, Gramm says, would place enormous pressure on state and federal officials to take immediate action. ........................(more)


Swimming with the Sharks: Goldman Sachs, School Districts, and Capital Appreciation Bonds

Swimming with the Sharks: Goldman Sachs, School Districts, and Capital Appreciation Bonds
Posted on February 20, 2015 by Ellen Brown

Remember when Goldman Sachs – dubbed by Matt Taibbi the Vampire Squid – sold derivatives to Greece so the government could conceal its debt, then bet against that debt, driving it up? It seems that the ubiquitous investment bank has also put the squeeze on California and its school districts. Not that Goldman was alone in this; but the unscrupulous practices of the bank once called the undisputed king of the municipal bond business epitomize the culture of greed that has ensnared students and future generations in unrepayable debt.

In 2008, after collecting millions of dollars in fees to help California sell its bonds, Goldman urged its bigger clients to place investment bets against those bonds, in order to profit from a financial crisis that was sparked in the first place by irresponsible Wall Street speculation. Alarmed California officials warned that these short sales would jeopardize the state’s bond rating and drive up interest rates. But that result also served Goldman, which had sold credit default swaps on the bonds, since the price of the swaps rose along with the risk of default.

In 2009, the lenders’ lobbying group than proposed and promoted AB1388, a California bill eliminating the debt ceiling requirement on long-term debt for school districts. After it passed, bankers traveled all over the state pushing something called “capital appreciation bonds” (CABs) as a tool to vault over legal debt limits. (Think Greece again.) Also called payday loans for school districts, CABs have now been issued by more than 400 California districts, some with repayment obligations of up to 20 times the principal advanced (or 2000%).

The controversial bonds came under increased scrutiny in August 2012, following a report that San Diego County’s Poway Unified would have to pay $982 million for a $105 million CAB it issued. Goldman Sachs made $1.6 million on a single capital appreciation deal with the San Diego Unified School District. .........................(more)


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