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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Act now!

Scientists declare climate emergency, establish global indicators for effective action
Oregon State University
Image result for climate emergency symbolA global coalition of scientists led by William J. Ripple and Christopher Wolf of Oregon State University says "untold human suffering" is unavoidable without deep and lasting shifts in human activities that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and other factors related to climate change.
"Despite 40 years of major global negotiations, we have continued to conduct business as usual and have failed to address this crisis," said Ripple, distinguished professor of ecology in the OSU College of Forestry. "Climate change has arrived and is accelerating faster than many scientists expected."
In a paper published today in BioScience, the authors, along with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from 153 countries, declare a climate emergency, present graphics showing trends as vital signs against which to measure progress, and provide a set of effective mitigating actions.


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Trump seems to have no idea about how his tariffs work

Trump’s trade tariffs are really a tax on his base
Image result for how tariffs work who pays
For more cartoons by Mike Luckovich, CLICK HERE.
Candidate Donald Trump railed against America’s chronic trade deficits, vowing to eliminate them if he became president.

So, how’s Trump doing? Awful. Trade deficits are growing on his watch.

The overall trade deficit in September was 21% larger than during his first full month in office.

In 2016, under President Barack Obama, America imported $502.9 billion more in goods and services than it sold in exports.

In 2018, under Trump, that ballooned to $627.7 billion, an increase of $124.7 billion, and the deficit is on pace to run even deeper in 2019. For the nine months ending in September, the overall trade deficit was $481.3 billion, up $24.8 billion for the same period of 2018.

Trump’s tariffs are a tax on Americans, paid by companies who import goods and then either passed on to consumers or absorbed as reduced profits.


Doesn't count unless you succeed

No photo description available.
By Steve SackStar Tribune

In a nutshell....

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Cynical social media voices can erode trust in news media

In the online world, negative voices are more influential
Rutgers University

Related imageAmid rising concerns about low public trust in mainstream media institutions, a Rutgers study found that real-life and online social interactions can strongly influence a person's trust in newspaper, TV and online journalism -- but when it comes to online interactions, cynical views are the most influential.

The study, published in the Journal of Communication, surveyed 350 students at a group of residential living-learning centers at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, in which students with similar academic disciplines live in the same dorms and take classes together, thus forming strong social connections.

Over the course of a semester, the Rutgers researchers found that the strongest social influences on a student's trust in news media come from face-to-face interactions with politically like-minded people. 

But social media interactions with online contacts were different. Students' views were strongly influenced by online contacts who distrusted the news media, and not by those who had high levels of trust in traditional news media.


The trouble with biofuels

Biofuels come with a cost to the environment and consumers
nbc 90th special GIF by NBCA ruckus over biofuels has been brewing in Iowa.

For months now the Trump administration has been promising to deliver a new biofuels package that would boost the market for production of soy- and corn-based alternative fuels. 

The move would help American farmers hurt by the administration’s tariffs, as well as ease their anger over changing regulations that have exempted several oil refineries from blending biofuels with their other fuels.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandated that all fuels produced in the United States contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels. 

Part of that came in the form of biofuels, derived from living, renewable sources such as crops or plants. The term “biofuels” generally refers to the gasoline substitute derived from corn, while “biodiesel” is a diesel substitute derived from soybean oil or animal fats.

At the time many experts predicted biofuels would provide a renewable source of energy, help reduce the use of fossil fuels, and lessen the risks of climate change. After the Act was passed, the biofuels market jolted into life.


Crafting a new meaning for "Opportunity Zones"

A Trump Tax Break To Help The Poor Went To a Rich GOP Donor’s Superyacht Marina
By Justin Elliott, Jeff Ernsthausen and Kyle Edwards for ProPublica


Image result for rybovich marina
The Rybovich superyacht marina lies on the West Palm Beach, Florida, waterfront, a short drive north from Mar-a-Lago. 

Superyachts, floating mansions that can stretch more than 300 feet and cost over $100 million, are serviced at the marina, and their owners enjoy Rybovich’s luxury resort amenities. 

Its Instagram account offers a glimpse into the rarefied world of the global 0.1% — as one post puts it, “What’s better than owning a yacht, owning a yacht with a helicopter of course!”

Rybovich owner Wayne Huizenga Jr., son of the Waste Management and Blockbuster video billionaire Wayne Huizenga Sr., has long planned to build luxury apartment towers on the site, part of a development dubbed Marina Village.

Those planned towers, and the superyacht marina itself, are now in an area designated as an opportunity zone under President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax code overhaul, qualifying them for a tax break program that is supposed to help the poor.

Then-Florida Gov. Rick Scott bestowed the tax break on the marina after a direct appeal from Huizenga Jr., according to a 2018 letter Huizenga Jr. wrote that was obtained by ProPublica. 

Huizenga and his family have been major donors to Scott. Even though the opportunity zone program is supposed to subsidize only new investment, Huizenga cited the already-planned Marina Village in his appeal to Scott.


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Five easy ways to make a billion dollars

scrooge mcduck GIFBillionaires are wailing that Elizabeth Warren’s and Bernie Sanders’s wealth tax proposals are attacks on free market capitalism.

Warren “vilifies successful people,” says Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase.

Rubbish. There are basically only five ways to accumulate a billion dollars, and none of them has to do with being successful in free market capitalism.    



Why?

By Ann Telnaes, Washington Post

True ignorance

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and text

Taking the full measure of pollution and climate change on health

GBD study could benefit from more environmental health and climate change estimates

Image result for health effects of climate changeRecent estimates in the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study show that the combination of air pollution, poor water sanitation and exposure to lead and radon is responsible for 9 million premature deaths each year.

Yet this figure captures only a fraction of the real burden of toxic pollutants in the environment, and it doesn’t consider climate change, according to a community of scientists led by researchers in the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) in the School of Public Health.

In a new paper, researchers highlight key challenges that limit the scope and accuracy of current GBD estimates for environmental health risk factors and propose strategies to clarify the true environmental footprint on health from chemical pollution and climate change.


Some more shocking science news

Workers are 13% More Productive When Happy, Study Finds
By Science News Staff / Source

cool hand luke GIF“We found that when workers are happier, they work faster by making more calls per hour worked and, importantly, convert more calls to sales,” said co-author Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, from the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford.

“While the link between happiness and productivity has often been discussed, our study provides the first causal field evidence for this relationship. There has never been such strong evidence.”

The study involved call center sales workers at British Telecom, one of the United Kingdom’s largest private employers.

They were asked to rate their happiness on a weekly basis for six months using a simple email survey containing five emoji buttons representing states of happiness — from very sad to very happy.


We’ve run up a very large tab

The cost of the global war on terror: $6.4 trillion and 801,000 lives
Brown University
Nearly two decades after New York’s Twin Towers fell on 9/11, the estimated cost of America’s counterterrorism efforts stands at $6.4 trillion.



That’s according to a Nov. 13 report released by the Costs of War project based at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University.

According to the report, since late 2001, the United States has appropriated and is obligated to spend $6.4 trillion on counterterrorism efforts through the end of 2020. An estimated $5.4 trillion of that total has funded, and will continue to fund, counterterrorism wars and smaller operations in more than 80 countries; an additional minimum of $1 trillion will provide care for veterans of those wars through the next several decades.


Monday, November 18, 2019

‘A Warning’: Trump Is Stupid, Crazy And Dangerous

An Anonymous Author Inside the White House Says the President Is a Threat to Our Country

donald trump GIFAt DCReport we’ve scored an advance copy of the most anticipated book of the year, “A Warning” by “Anonymous, A Senior Trump Administration Official.” This book, which goes on sale Nov. 19, is as important, fascinating and easy to read as any book in our times.

The scariest line comes on Page 238, where the author identifies the most unwelcome visitor to the Trump White House—reason.

Crazy anecdote, by idiotic tirade, by telling detail gathered from behind closed doors at the White House, the author makes clear that this book is a work of duty by someone who loves America. This is someone who has dedicated their life to our safety and well-being and is certain that all we hold dear is in grave danger.

“He wants to do what he wants to do, consequences be damned,” Anonymous writes. Trump is “like a 12-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately, indifferent to the planes skidding across the runway and the flights frantically diverted away.”

Know Nothing
donald trump what GIF by The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Trump blows off intelligence assessments because he clearly lacks the intellectual capacity to understand them, even though he claims to be the world’s top expert on what, by my count, are 22 subjects. 

When Trump tries to speak on many of these subjects he fell flat because, in reality, he knows nothing about Middle East politics, military strategy, taxes or law.

He carelessly reveals national security secrets that make allies fearful of sharing intelligence with Washington, and he puts the lives of our spies in danger. And in the Oval Office, he crudely and angrily dismisses anyone who speaks in depth or with nuance while also declaring his complete trust in whatever Vladimir Putin tells him.


Trump Bible, on sale now


For more cartoons by Ruben Bolling, CLICK HERE.