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Home country: USA
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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
Number of posts: 45,788

About Me

Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

The next crisis for California will be the affordability of water

The price of almost everything is on the rise, but we tend to shrug off inflation in goods and services we can cut back or do without. Not water, the rising cost of which is looming as a defining economic problem in coming years.

In California and across the nation, concern about water affordability has been spreading, with good reason. Few basic commodities are under as much cost pressure.

“The water infrastructure is aging, there’s more water contamination and our standards for cleanliness keep rising, and climate change is making our supplies less reliable,” says Laura Feinstein of the Pacific Institute, an Oakland-based environmental think tank. “At some point the bill comes due” — but because water demand is stable or even dropping, water agencies can find revenue to cover the bill only by raising rates on consumption.

The result is an inexorable rise in water rates. Rates in Los Angeles rose by as much as 71% from 2010 to 2017, according to a survey by Circle of Blue, a water news website. In San Francisco the increase was as much as 127%, and 119% even for the stingiest users, a group that presumably includes many low-income residents.



Sen. Capito opposes conservative amendment to ACA repeal bill

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said Friday she wouldn’t support an amendment to the GOP’s health care overhaul pushed by far-right Senate conservatives, pouring cold water on prospects of unifying the party around any legislation.

Following Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to delay a vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, a rewrite of the House-passed American Health Care Act. Capito came out against the bill as written, citing deep Medicaid cuts, the potential to worsen the growing opioid epidemic and how it could harm rural health care providers.

Since then, Republican Senators such as Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, have called for an amendment, “The Consumer Freedom Option,” that would allow insurance providers to offer coverage that does not comply with key aspects of the Affordable Care Act, so long as they also offer plans that do. However, Capito said she’s not ready to vote for a plan that takes away from some of the ACA’s most popular provisions.

“I think that reopens an issue that I can’t support, that it would make it too difficult for people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage,” she said.



Sunday Toon Roundup

Sunday's Non Sequitur Toon - A Chosen One

Creationist uses Trump order to get permission to take rocks from Grand Canyon

An Australian geologist who is trying to prove the existence of the biblical great flood will be allowed to collect rock samples from the Grand Canyon.

Andrew Snelling was awarded a PhD by the University of Sydney in 1982 and is the director of research at Answers in Genesis, a Christian science group that believes in the literal interpretation of the Bible.

On Friday, News Corp reported that Snelling’s Grand Canyon research project had been approved after he agreed to drop a lawsuit against the national park’s administrators.

Snelling had sued the US Department of the Interior in May alleging religious discrimination after his proposal to remove 50 to 60 “fist-sized” rock samples had initially been rejected for lacking scientific merit.



Weekend Toon Roundup

"Geez, Get A Room Boys"

First lady sent in to end Trump-Putin meeting
BY JOSH DELK - 07/07/17 02:23 PM EDT

First lady Melania Trump was sent in to try and end the meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit, which had run significantly long, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday.

U.S. officials sent in the first lady to end the scheduled 30-minute meeting when it had run for more than an hour. Melania was unsuccessful, and the meeting ended up running for 2 hours and 16 minutes.

"Several times I had to remind the president, people were sticking their heads in the door," Tillerson said according to the Washington Examiner. "They even sent in the first lady at one point to see if she could get us out of there, and that didn't work either. ... We went another hour after she came in to see us, so clearly, she failed."


A new corruption probe linked to Trump is a scathing indictment of the US real-estate industry

As US president Donald Trump whirled around Poland on July 6, a story in the Financial Times (paywall) turned up an interesting new development relating to his real-estate empire. Felix Sater, a Trump associate and a convicted criminal, is cooperating with an international probe into Kazakh money laundering, some of which allegedly went through a Trump property.

According to the FT, former Kazakh cabinet minister Viktor Khrapunov spent $3.1 million buying three apartments in Trump Soho through shell companies using funds that the Kazakh government alleges he stole from the state. The FT reports that Sater, a Russian-born US citizen convicted in 1998 of a fraud in partnership with the New York and Russian mafia, acted as a fixer to help Khrapunov’s family buy the properties. Khrapunov claims he is innocent and is being persecuted by the regime of Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s strongman president.

Could this damage Trump?

While the Kazakh investigation is unlikely to shed any light on possible ties between Trump’s election campaign and Russian interference in last year’s US election, says Alexander Cooley, author of Dictators Across Borders: Power and Money in Central Asia, if it prompts special prosecutor Robert Mueller to probe Trump’s real-estate transactions, it could become uncomfortable. The Trump Organization has courted Russian buyers and, like many high end sellers of US real estate in large American cities, it sells properties to mysterious shell companies.



Friday TOON Roundup 3 - The Rest









N. Korea



Friday TOON Roundup 2 - Trash on the Beach

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