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Gender: Female
Hometown: Southern California
Current location: Orbiting
Member since: Tue Jun 7, 2011, 03:02 PM
Number of posts: 3,872

Journal Archives

EFF: Your DMV photos are about to be compromised

An obscure advisory committee in the California Department of Justice is scheming to connect your driver license and state ID data with a national law enforcement network and allow cops to use facial recognition on your photos. Speak out now.

They’re moving forward even though they’ve been told by the California Department of Motor Vehicles that the law doesn’t allow for this kind of expansion, which would pose serious data security and privacy problems.

Still, the CLETS Advisory Committee, as it’s called, has been scheduling private meetings with the state’s largest law-enforcement lobbying organizations and applying for grants to build out the technological infrastructure to make this happen.

The advisory committee isn’t used to hearing from the public. You can help to stop this expansion dead in its tracks by joining us in sending letters to the committee in advance of its next meeting on March 25.

Use our tool to generate a public comment today—before it’s too late.

Fighting for your rights,
Dave Maass
Investigative Researcher
Electronic Frontier Foundation

via email

UCC: Thank Governor Brown for Committing to Cut Oil Use in Half

During his inaugural address, Governor Jerry Brown committed to make a plan that would reduce California's oil use by 50 percent over the next 15 years. His commitment mirrors our own Half the Oil plan, so we're particularly pleased to see this bold step forward.

Almost immediately after the governor's announcement, the oil industry started to attack its credibility. But their claims are unfounded—as our Half the Oil plan demonstrates, practical changes such as improving fuel efficiency, shifting to electric vehicles, and expanding low-carbon biofuels technologies would allow us to reach the 50 percent goal by 2035.

California is already on track to meet the state's 2020 climate goals, which would lead to a 20 percent decrease in oil use if extended through 2030. By committing the state to a more ambitious goal, Governor Brown acknowledged the urgency of addressing climate change as well as the practicality of today's oil-saving solutions.

The benefits of cutting oil use go beyond our efforts to stabilize the climate. In addition, using less oil will improve public health by decreasing air pollution, and will create jobs and economic opportunity in clean fuel alternatives.

Governor Brown's commitment shows that he recognizes that cutting oil is both important and possible. Write to thank him today for his commitment to cut California's oil use in half: Letter


Brandy Doyle
California and Western States Organizer
Union of Concerned Scientists
via email

Unjust Public Policies Drive the Massive Racial Wealth Gap in America: Study

Published on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 on Common Dreams by Sarah Lazare, staff writer

From the re-segregation of schools to the redlining of home ownership, rise in disparities is no accident

The yawning racial wealth gap in the United States is no accident, but rather, driven by unjust public policy decisions—from the re-segregation of education to the redlining of home ownership to poverty wages, according to a new analysis by Brandeis University and the public policy organization Demos.

Inequalities are vast, note the researchers. For example, Census data shows that, in 2011, median white households in the U.S. held $111,146 in wealth, compared to a mere $7,113 for Black homes and $8,348 for Latino ones.

These disparities emerge from historical choices on the political and policy levels, the researchers note.

"The racial wealth gap is large because we instituted it in public policy historically and continue to make public policies that exacerbate the problems," said report coauthor Catherine Ruetschlin, a senior policy analyst at Demos, in a press statement. Therefore, it is vital "to find new opportunities to address the way that we’re constantly perpetuating this disparity between black, white and Latino families," Ruetschlin continued.

Researchers offer a series of solutions aimed at reversing these trends, from equalizing home ownership to racially integrating schools at all levels. In addition, the study calls for a significant boost to the minimum wage, as well as "making it easier for workers to form and join unions."

The researchers' focus on poverty pay echoes the growing call from low-wage workers for society to address the role of poverty wages in driving racial inequality.

"Black and Latino workers are disproportionately likely to be employed in positions that pay the minimum wage or just above and would benefit the most from an increase in the federal minimum wage," the report states.

The researchers continue, "With new research indicating that minimum wage increases have not reduced employment, a hike in the federal minimum wage from its current low rate of $7.25 would boost the incomes of many of the lowest paid Black and Latino workers and have the potential to decrease the racial wealth gap."

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Condoleezza Rice leads potential 2016 US Senate hopefuls

(Reuters) - Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice polled at the head of a crowded pool of potential candidates to succeed long-time Senator Barbara Boxer, according to a Field Poll released on Wednesday.

The poll showed that when likely California voters were asked whether they would vote for or against 18 prominent possible candidates in 2016, 49 percent of likely California voters said they would be inclined to support Rice, a Republican.

Rice's support was significantly stronger among likely Republican voters, with almost three-quarters saying they would back her. The next closest Republican candidate, former State Senator Phil Wyman, saw only 51 percent support from Republicans.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is a Democrat and the only person listed in the poll who has formally announced they are running, saw the most support of any Democrat, with about three-quarters of likely voters in her party saying they would back her.

It all depends on how you look at the numbers.

Needed: 11 Trillion Gallons to Replenish California Drought

The finding was part of a sobering update on the state's drought made possible by space and airborne measurements and presented by NASA scientists Dec. 16 at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. Such data are giving scientists an unprecedented ability to identify key features of droughts, data that can be used to inform water management decisions.

GRACE data reveal that, since 2011, the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins decreased in volume by four trillion gallons of water each year (15 cubic kilometers). That's more water than California's 38 million residents use each year for domestic and municipal purposes. About two-thirds of the loss is due to depletion of groundwater beneath California's Central Valley.

In related results, early 2014 data from NASA's Airborne Snow Observatory indicate that snowpack in California's Sierra Nevada range was only half of previous estimates.

The scientists cautioned that while the recent California storms have been helpful in replenishing water resources, they aren't nearly enough to end the multi-year drought.


Reposting my GD offer on the subject...

In California, we still have high youth unemployment, especially in minority communities. We need our great Governor Brown to reinstate the CCC. The newly released, as well as the unemployed can assist the professional firefighters. We did it before.

CCC Firefighting in the Southern California Mountains
The Civilian Conservation Corps companies were assigned to many types of conservation work, for many different government agencies. But whether their focus was soil conservation, forestry, agriculture, or park development, all the camps had one important job in common: firefighting. No matter what work they were doing, the CCC boys had to be ready to drop their tools and rush to the trucks when called to fight a fire. In summer and fall, fighting fires was the main job. It was a rough, dangerous, exhausting, dirty job, too. Poison oak was a constant annoyance in southern California, men were sometimes injured, and the threat of death was real. According to Corps chronicler John A. Salmond, forty-two CCC enrollees nationwide were killed fighting fires.


Celebrate Free Speech Movement 10/1/14 and 10/1/64


Jerry Brown signs phase-out of single-use plastic bags

Single-use plastic bags will be banned starting July 1, 2015 from California supermarkets
On July 1, 2016, the ban will extend to convenience and liquor stores

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday fulfilled a promise by signing a measure that will phase out single-use plastic bags from checkout stands at California supermarkets, convenience stores, liquor stores and pharmacies.

“This bill is a step in the right direction – it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself,” Brown said in a statement. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”

“This is a compromise,” Brown said during the debate. “It’s taking into account the needs of the environment, and the needs of the economy and the needs of the grocers.”


California Harvest much Smaller than Normal across Crops

One commodity after another is feeling the impact of the state’s epic water shortage. The great Sacramento Valley rice crop, served in sushi restaurants nationwide and exported to Asia, will be smaller than usual. Fewer grapes will be available to produce California’s world-class wines, and the citrus groves of the San Joaquin Valley are producing fewer oranges. There is less hay and corn for the state’s dairy cows, and the pistachio harvest is expected to shrink.

An estimated 420,000 acres of farmland went unplanted this year, or about 5 percent of the total. Economists at UC Davis say agriculture, which has been a $44 billion-a-year business in California, will suffer revenue losses and higher water costs – a financial hit totaling $2.2 billion this year.

Calculating total job losses related to the drought is difficult, especially in an industry in which many workers are transient and much of the work is part time. The state Employment Development Department, drawing from payroll data, said farm employment has dropped by just 2,700 jobs from a year ago, a decline of less than 1 percent.

By Dale Kasler
The Sacramento Bee

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