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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
Number of posts: 44,932

About Me

Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Weekend toon roundup 1 - Earth Day

Tesla factory workers intensify unionization efforts, file charges with National Labor Board

Tesla has dismissed charges filed by the Unfair Labor Practice with the National Labor Relations Board by two employees as “entirely without merit,” stating that it will respond to the allegations as part of the NLRB process.

In the latest chapter of the fight to unionize the Tesla Fremont factory, the United Autoworkers Union is again attempting to sway employees to the cause by filing an unfair labor practice charge, alleging illegal surveillance, coercion, intimidation and prevention of worker communications by Tesla in an effort to prevent or otherwise hinder unionization of the Fremont factory.

In response to past attempts by the UAW to influence workers at the Fremont factory to form a union, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made his pitch to employees against unionization in a letter to employees where he extolled the benefits Tesla was already providing without a union. The basis behind his argument hinged largely on the valuation of Tesla stock issued to employees and the subsequent increase in price of that stock.

Tesla was called to task in the charges for what is being characterized as an overly broad confidentiality agreement. Tesla has always operated more like a Silicon Valley technology company than a car manufacturer, and its company policy on confidentiality reflects that of technology companies that produce highly competitive, industry shifting tech that are often bound by strict deadlines.


Tax money from marijuana sales helping students pay for college in Colorado

DENVER — Marijuana is a $1.3 billion industry in Colorado, and the ensuing tax revenue is helping students pay for college.

Pueblo County is one area benefiting from an influx of marijuana tax money. Now the county is doing something that’s a first in Colorado: distributing pot-funded scholarships to college students.

“I don’t think without this scholarship I could continue my education without taking out loans and worrying about how to pay it back,” Colorado State University freshman Janet Calzadillas told CBS Denver.



Disabled people can be fired for using medical marijuana, even in Colorado

The broadcasting corporation Dish Network is headquartered in Colorado, where residents first voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2000. Yet it's perfectly legal for Colorado companies to fire disabled patients for using medical marijuana, as Dish has done.

In 2010, well after marijuana could legally be used as medicine in the state, Dish submitted some of their local employees to random drug tresting. Brandon Coats, among the group selected, had worked for the company for three years. A car accident years earlier left him paralyzed. Confined to a wheelchair, Coats used medical marijuana to control painful muscle spasms. He even had a state-issued license to use it. None of this mattered to Dish.

The company fired Coats when they detected THC in his blood. Not long after, Coats sued for discrimination, beginning a long legal battle that ended up in the hands of the Colorado Supreme Court. The judges were tasked with deciding whether lawful use of marijuana outside of work hours could protect employees from strict zero-tolerance workplace policies.

“Coats consumes medical marijuana at home, after work, and in accordance with his license and Colorado state law,” the judges said in their 2015 ruling, explaining that Coats was not breaking any local laws. But because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, the Court ruled that Coats had no protections from getting fired.


Jeff Sessions, Julian Assange, and the First Amendment


This is a terrible idea for three reasons.

1) The Espionage Act is a terrible law, a monster out of the Wilson administration through which the spirit of A. Mitchell Palmer still stalks the halls of the Department of Justice. It should have been repealed years ago.

2) I can't see any way for the DOJ to proceed in a prosecution like this without threatening to subpoena journalists, or to actually charge them. The Obama administration's assault on leakers and the people to whom they leak was the worst part of that administration's record on law enforcement. They made the lives of reporters miserable. But this would be a giant step beyond anything that administration did. And, finally…

3) It's these guys. This is the lens through which any action this administration takes must be judged. The president* is Donald Trump. The attorney general is Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. The presumption of incompetence on the one hand, and authoritarianism on the other, must always control in any action this administration takes. The Espionage Act is a terrible law. JeffBo is a terrible AG. This is the ironclad context in which any action taken should be judged.

I don't care what you think of Julian Assange, or Glenn Greenwald, or The Intercept, and I don't care which side you were on during the 2016 Democratic primaries. (In fact, I wish you'd all shut the hell up about that.) Unleashing Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III on the Bill of Rights is a ghastly prospect that should be fought at every turn. The only court in which Assange rightly should appear is in Sweden.

the rest:

Paul Ryan Wrote an Essay About the Greatness of Donald Trump

APR 21, 2017
The annual Time magazine—Motto: Hey, y'all still around?—list of the 100 greatest humans is always good for a chuckle or two. If it's not praise heaped on awful people, it's celebrities trying actually to write something and falling flat on their syntaxes. This year's installment is better than most. The selections are by and large undeniable—I don't get Ed Sheeran, but that's just me. Some of the writer-subject match-ups are fascinating: Russell Crowe on Leslie Jones; John Cusack on Theo Epstein; Lin-Manuel Miranda, energy operating well past the red line as usual, on Riz Ahmed, and Pulitzer winner and former U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove on LeBron James.

But then you get to the entry on the president*, which is written by Speaker Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from the state of Wisconsin, and, whoops, there go the rails again.

A businessman always willing to challenge convention, he has shaken up Washington and laid out an agenda of generational proportions. Never afraid of a battle, he has made it his mission to fight for those who feel forgotten. Where others would pivot, he stays true to who he is. Where others would turn back, he forges ahead. Up close, I have found a driven, hands-on leader, with the potential to become a truly transformational American figure.

There are not two consecutive words in that paragraph that are remotely true. But, if I were a speaker whose party caucus is in open revolt, and I were writing about a president* who at the moment has to dial one-and-an-area-code to reach mere incompetence, this is the kind of thing I would write. Let's all watch them try to pass a healthcare bill again.


Senate may jam health-care bill through really fast after House passage

Once the House passes the Republican health-care bill, it could become law very quickly, Larry Kudlow said on Thursday.

According to sources, Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows has "been in discussion and successfully negotiating" with Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, and they have been agreeing on a number of issues, Kudlow reported.

"So for the first time, as this person reported to me, if the House can get a vote next week or soon after, the Senate may jam it right through fast. It won't take weeks and weeks and weeks," the senior CNBC contributor said on "Closing Bell."

The GOP has a new plan to repeal and replace Obamacare that aims to bridge the gap between the conservative Freedom Caucus and moderates, according to a document obtained by CNBC. A Freedom Caucus source told CNBC the new health bill would get "very close" to 216 votes.


The Night a Bunch of Low-Class People Took Over the White House

by Michael Tomasky

It’s one of the simple realities of American politics that conservatives get to make fun of liberals’ folkways without penalty, but when liberals belittle conservatives over theirs, they’re being out-of-touch elitists.

There was a famous attack ad against Howard Dean made by the Club for Growth back in 2004, in which an older white couple deliver themselves of the opinion that Gov. Dean should take his “tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving left-wing freak show back to Vermont where it belongs.”

The ad was credited as damaging Dean badly in Iowa. No liberal group, needless to say, has ever made an ad that I’m aware of advising that some Republican candidate should take his rich-worshipping, government-killing, moonshine-swilling, steak-eating, pickup-driving, Guns & Ammo-reading, arm-tattooing, Jesus-loving right-wing freak show back to Alabama where it belongs. Such an ad would be considered one of the most boneheaded plays of all time.

So I know what I’m walking into here, but the hell with it. Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent, and Kid Rock are totally classless people. First of all, hats in the Oval Office. I think that’s appalling. I’ve been in the Oval Office (though not while a president was there). It’s awe-inspiring to walk into that room. Peopled though it’s been with crooks and drunkards, it’s humbling. I could no more wear a hat in that room than take a piss in Chartres Cathedral. They’ll say this means I don’t understand their culture. I say it means they don’t understand respect. What a couple of low-rent mofos.


Origins of Indonesian Hobbits finally revealed

The most comprehensive study on the bones of Homo floresiensis, a species of tiny human discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003, has found that they most likely evolved from an ancestor in Africa and not from Homo erectus as has been widely believed.

The study by The Australian National University (ANU) found Homo floresiensis, dubbed "the hobbits" due to their small stature, were most likely a sister species of Homo habilis -- one of the earliest known species of human found in Africa 1.75 million years ago.

Data from the study concluded there was no evidence for the popular theory that Homo floresiensis evolved from the much larger Homo erectus, the only other early hominid known to have lived in the region with fossils discovered on the Indonesian mainland of Java.

Study leader Dr Debbie Argue of the ANU School of Archaeology & Anthropology, said the results should help put to rest a debate that has been hotly contested ever since Homo floresiensis was discovered.


BP oil spill did $17.2 billion in damage to natural resources, scientists find

The 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill did $17.2 billion in damage to the natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico, a team of scientists recently found after a six-year study of the impact of the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

This is the first comprehensive appraisal of the financial value of the natural resources damaged by the 134-million-gallon spill.

"This is proof that our natural resources have an immense monetary value to citizens of the United States who visit the Gulf and to those who simply care that this valuable resource is not damaged," said Kevin Boyle, a professor of agricultural and applied economics in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Science and one of the authors on the paper.

Findings from the study are published in the issue of Science released Friday, April 21.

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