Got a simple little story for you today of a multinational corporation that wants to build a great big cement plant in North Carolina really, really, bad, and the local opposition to what appears to be a corrupt and distorted decision process.
Two local activists in particular have drawn the ire of Titan Cement, the Grecian corporation who seeks to build the plant-and because the Company doesn’t like what the activists have been saying about what the impact of that plant will likely be or how the deal’s going down…they’re suing Kayne Darrell and Dr. David Hill, residents of North Carolina’s New Hanover County, and the two folks who are doing the complaining the Company dislike the most.
The Company further claims that they were slandered and defamed by the damaging statements that were uttered by the two at a county commissioners’ meeting and that they have lost goodwill and the chance to do business with certain parties as a result of these statements.
But what if everything the Defendants said was not only true…but provably so-and the Company was, maybe…just looking to shut people up by sending teams of lawyers after them?
As I said, it’s a simple story today-but it’s a good one.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting four public information meetings on the proposed study of the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and its potential impacts on drinking water…The meetings will provide public information about the proposed study scope and design. EPA will solicit public comments on the draft study plan.
The public meetings will be held on:
* July 8 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. CDT at the Hilton Fort Worth in Fort Worth, Texas
* July 13 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. MDT at the Marriot Tech Center’s Rocky Mountain Events Center in Denver, Colo.
* July 22 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT at the Hilton Garden Inn in Canonsburg, Pa.
* August 12 at the Anderson Performing Arts Center at Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y. for 3 sessions – 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT
A couple of weeks ago on May 17 we heard and saw Ritter Professor of Oceanography and Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Jeremy Jackson talk about and show us the shockingly overfished, overheated, and polluted state of our oceans today and how they have been so for long before BP’s Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, with indicators that things will get much worse.
Though he’s been a contract photojournalist for National Geographic Magazine since 1998, Brian Skerry has spent the past three decades telling the stories of the ocean. His images portray not only the aesthetic wonder of the ocean but display an intense journalistic drive for relevance.
In another TED talk posted only a couple of days ago Skerry “brings to light the many pressing issues facing our oceans and its inhabitants. Typically spending eight months of the year in the field, he often faces extreme conditions to capture his subjects. He has lived on the bottom of the sea, spent months aboard fishing boats and dived beneath the Arctic ice to get his shot. He has spent over 10,000 hours underwater.”
Spend 16 minutes with Skerry here and let him share some of his stories of the oceans and show you more of the beauty and natural treasures our society seems so bent on wrecking and losing.
I have been keeping up with some interest with the situation in the Gulf. All attempts to staunch the flow of oil from the damaged riser from the well have failed, and as we speak, another attempt is being tried, cutting off the riser to find unbent metal and essentially pushing a straw with a cork on it into the interior of the riser.
That might work, but I suspect that the pressure from the methane dissolved in the oil will make it difficult. Perhaps if a pair of flanges could be welded onto the riser and the pipe, and then bolted down to secure them, it might work.
In the nineteen sixties and seventies the western world was in the throes of a cultural and psychological revolution of awareness that at times threatened to bring down the governments and destroy the societies of some of the most powerful countries on earth, and terrified many who were unable to step outside of the structure and limitations of the worldviews they had constructed for themselves in the course of their lives.
Questioning cultural norms and prejudices and searching for alternatives that better respected and valued human beings and their relationship with the larger society and with the natural world as the basis and reason for societies actions and existence rather than society and the state and the status quo as the determining factors of how people should interact with each other, were the drivers behind this revolution.
The insecurity of many in the face of insistent and deep questioning that in a religious context would have been labeled blasphemy and heresy caused knee-jerk fear reactions that in many arenas turned into violent confrontations, particularly but not only race riots and countless smaller horrors of the racial Civil Rights Movement, and in the struggle for equality under law and social systems of more than half the population in the Gay and the Women's Liberation Movements, and what was often termed a Sexual Revolution, all of which had been percolating and growing for many years and all of which naturally contributed to making up the more encompassing psychological or awareness heightening Cultural Revolution of the times.
Over the past few weeks since the BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe has put the oceans and the environment at the center of our consciousness again, we’ve been hearing a lot about what the oil leak is doing to the Gulf of Mexico.
We need to end the hidden government subsidies for fossil fuels and make sure their true cost, including climate change, is built into them.
Moreover, we should be generating electricity from alternative sources or natural gas (of which we have a lot) and then moving to electric and hybrid automobiles. (Natural gas burns cleaner than petroleum or coal and is probably a necessary bridge fuel to the alternatives). Going to electric vehicles powered by natural gas, wind and solar plants would be cheaper than rebuilding all the gas stations in the country. Coal should be banned altogether and its use made a hanging crime.
And, we should be matching every penny of the cost of the Gulf clean-up with a huge government Manhattan project on solar energy.
The environmental and economic costs of the oil spill are enormous, but they are tiny compared to the costs of actually burning the oil and spilling more masses of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. If you’re not alarmed about your future, it is because you have bought the cover-up of climate change, just as Obama bought a cover-up when he believed what he was told about the unlikelihood of oil spills from ocean platforms.
But something else which should probably be concerning us all is the condition our oceans are in, and have been in for many years, even prior to the oil gusher. We live in a much smaller and more fragile world than we tend to think we do, and our decades long mistreatment of our environment, our rivers, lakes and oceans, the dwindling fish and large ocean mammal populations are all very serious concerns.
Jeremy Jackson is the Ritter Professor of Oceanography and Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Painting pictures of changing marine environments, particularly coral reefs and the Isthmus of Panama, Jackson’s research captures the extreme environmental decline of the oceans that has accelerated in the past 200 years.
Jackson’s current work focuses on the future of the world’s oceans, given overfishing, habitat destruction and ocean warming, which have fundamentally changed marine ecosystems and led to “the rise of slime.” Although Jackson’s work describes grim circumstances, even garnering him the nickname Dr. Doom, he believes that successful management and conservation strategies can renew the ocean’s health.
In this 18 minute talk from TED.com, Professor Jackson lays out the shocking state of our ocean today: overfished, overheated, polluted, with indicators that things will get much worse.
Cool, being a life-long Science fan, I have always liked Experiments …
But I generally prefer those of the ‘Controlled Experiment’ variety. Those fly-by-night Variety, like combining a jet of Hair Spray with a tiny Lighter flame, always left me a little frightened.
Funny, I’m starting to feel that way again …
As the oil gushes from the broken well head at the sea floor, Rader says it has the potential to contaminate each layer of the water column that, “directly exposes those animals to toxicity, at the surface including the very sensitive surface zones where not only sea turtles and marine mammals and sea birds can be oiled, but also where the highways for fish larvae exist. And then as it rains back into the abyss over a much wider area carrying toxicants back into the deep sea where ancient corals and other sensitive ecosystems exist.”
One response strategy has been to use dispersants or anti-freeze-like chemicals to break the oil up into smaller globules.
It is a choice, he says, between two bad options. While the chemicals may protect birds and other wildlife by dissipating the slick before it reaches shore, their toxicity in the Gulf could harm fish and other marine life.
This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.
When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:
1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?
2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?
3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?
The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.
The negative health and environmental impacts of idling have been known for over a decade. Yet, all over the city of Calgary we are leaving our cars running while not in use for an average of 5-10 minutes per car per day. Idling is unnecessary. It wastes fuel, produces more harmful emissions than normal driving, damages engines, and contributes to climate change
Polluters and other defendants in numerous lawsuits brought by Law School Clinics in behalf of the victims of corporate and state government abuse have discovered their adversaries’ Achilles heals. Reprising events in the early history of the Legal Services Corporation, the defendants are now actively moving in state legislatures to cut off funding to the law school clinic lawyers who represent their adversaries. The result, they hope, will be continued immunity from legal inquiry and a continuation of business and pollution as usual.
Many years ago, during The Great Society, the federal government funded the Office of Economic Opportunity, (OEO) which provided many services, including civil legal services to poor people. These legal services were obviously capable of transforming society in fundamental ways. Poor people, for so long disenfranchised, found they had access to federal and state courts and free lawyers to pursue fundamental violations of their civil rights. Instantly, poor people had allies in enforcing their legal rights. In response, those who favored the status quo immediately sought not to remedy poor people’s complaints, but instead to cut them off from their lawyers, to forbid the lawyers from pursuing these important cases.
Call it “Pollution denying”, or “Reality Denying”, it’s all the same to the Professional Liars who are Senate Republicans.
In a touchdown celebration of “told you so” that is the equivalent of blowing your ACL while dancing after a homerun that went foul, Inhofe proceeds to insult the esteemed Senator from California, Barbara Boxer, by saying “We Won, You Lost, Get a Life.”
This is what a stupid dick does, he gloats. The fact that he is dead wrong and corrupt just makes it worse.
Except climate change is FACT, you didn’t win and you’re a stupid towel, James InhoFAIL.