The BRAD BLOG Because it's not about Right or Left, it's about Right and Wrong! 2015-04-01T02:49:02Z Copyright 2015 WordPress Brad Friedman <![CDATA[James O'Keefe Loses in Court Again]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11102 2015-04-01T02:49:01Z 2015-04-01T02:49:01Z Journalist Intimidation Accountability Louisiana U.S. Senate ACORN Mary Landrieu James O'Keefe Rightwing grifter and convicted federal criminal James O'Keefe --- the guy who we exposed as having faked the infamous ACORN "pimp" hoax --- lost again in court this week.

O'Keefe, of course, is no stranger to being a loser. You'll recall the Republican scam-artist was also forced to pay $100,000 to a San Diego ACORN worker after illegally videotaping him as part of the phony "sting" scheme back in 2009.

This week's latest loss for the pretend "journalist" was in regard to his attempted 2010 wiretap conspiracy in the New Orleans office of then Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu...

As reported by Mother Jones tonight:

Conservative filmmaker and provocateur James O'Keefe has lost another legal battle: on Monday, a federal court in New Jersey dismissed a libel suit O'Keefe filed against legal news website MainJustice. In August 2013, MainJustice published an article referring to a 2010 incident in which O'Keefe and his associates posed as telephone technicians to gain access to the offices of then–Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). O'Keefe and three others ultimately pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of entering federal property under false pretenses.

In its original article, MainJustice said that O'Keefe was "apparently trying to bug" Landrieu's offices. After O'Keefe complained, the website changed the sentence to read that O'Keefe and his associates "were trying to tamper with Landrieu's phones." Still, O'Keefe sued, alleging that both characterizations were defamatory because they implied he had committed a felony. MainJustice countered that the language wasn't defamatory because the substance of the article was true, and the site accurately described the legal proceedings triggered by the episode.

The court didn't find O'Keefe's case convincing.
...
Mary Jacoby, editor-in-chief of MainJustice, writes in a statement:

This is an important First Amendment victory. It's a total, resounding defeat of O'Keefe's attempts to intimidate journalists into accepting his spin on the circumstances of his 2010 entry into Sen. Landrieu's offices under false pretenses.

Huh. So, O'Keefe tried to intimidate the journalists at MainJustice because they reported that he was "apparently trying to bug" Landrieu's office, even though they even quickly changed it to read "trying to tamper" with her phone lines after he complained.

Yet, he didn't bother to sue us --- or even complain --- when we wrote a 2010 article headlined "FBI: O'Keefe DID Plan a 'Wiretap Plot' to Secretly Record Employees of U.S. Senator".

Wonder why that would be.


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Desi Doyen <![CDATA['Green News Report' - March 31, 2015]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11101 2015-03-31T21:46:31Z 2015-03-31T21:46:31Z California United Nations Environment Republicans Green News EPA Chile Climate change Extreme weather China Greenland

 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: All-time record high temp in Antarctica; Record low snowpack spells trouble for California summer; Biblical rain and flooding in Chile; Gulf Stream slowdown could spell trouble for Europe; PLUS: US unveils targets for big, upcoming UN climate treaty in Paris....All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 72% of voters support US signing on to UN climate treaty; Ominous finding on ocean heat; College-educated Republicans less likely to accept science of climate change; "There are no jobs on a dead planet"; BP oil spill caused lasting damage; Shell to return to drilling in the Arctic... PLUS: Lobbyist fails his own pesticide challenge... and much, MUCH more! ...

STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

  • Poll Finds Strong Majority Of Americans Support An International Climate Agreement (Huffington Post):
    A new poll finds an overwhelming majority of Americans support an international agreement to cut planet-warming emissions. The poll found 72 percent of likely 2016 voters said they support the United States signing on to an international agreement on climate change.
  • As El Nino Emerges, Ominous Findings on Ocean Heat (Climate Crocks):
    Scientists are also learning that the ocean has gained more heat, and at greater depth, than they had realized. That means the entire climate is even more out-of-whack than is evident today.
  • Republicans With a College Degree Are Less Likely to Worry About Global Warming (National Journal) [emphasis added]:
    "[P]artisanship rather than education is a main lens through which Americans view global warming and its effects."...The vast majority of scientists say that climate change is real, caused primarily by human activity and that the impacts of a warming planet, including hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes, are already being felt. That scientific consensus has not translated into political agreement over global warming, however, and a contentious partisan debate over climate change continues.
  • Limiting climate change could have huge economic benefits, study finds (Guardian UK) [emphasis added]:
    At a rise of 4C, the limits for human and environmental adaptation are likely to be exceeded in many parts of the world, a 2010 paper by the Society said. It envisaged around half of the world’s current agricultural land becoming unusable, sea level rises of up to two metres, and the extinction of about 40% of the world’s species, as droughts and wildfires ravaged the globe. “The ecosystem services upon which human livelihoods depend would not be preserved,” the study found....There are no jobs on a dead planet.”
  • Lobbyist Fails His Own Pesticide Challenge On Camera (Crooks & Liars):
    Here's a lesson for lobbyists: eating your words is a lot safer than drinking the poison you help sell.

  • Republican Texas Bows to Berkeley in Backing Energy Finance Plan (Bloomberg):
    The Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, lets property owners put the cost of energy upgrades on a property tax bill and pay it off over several years at a low interest rate. The repayment is their responsibility at no cost to other taxpayers and can be passed on if the property is sold.
  • Sierra Nevada Pine Tree Die-Off Worsens as Beetles Thrive in Drought (Fresno Bee):
    A massive die-off of pine trees in the southern Sierra Nevada caused by beetles attacking drought-stressed trees is turning forests brown and creating a fire tinderbox.
  • How Brain-Damaging Mercury Puts Arctic Kids at Risk (National Geographic):
    In the frozen far north, in Arctic Quebec, the Inuit have relied on the same nutritious foods culled from the oceans for centuries: beluga whale, fish, seal, and walrus. But some of these traditional foods have become so contaminated with brain-damaging mercury that the IQs of schoolchildren in remote Arctic villages are abnormally low.
  • Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Caused Lasting Damage, Report Says (Sun-Sentinel):
    Dolphins are dying in unusually high numbers. Sea turtle nests are declining. Tuna are developing abnormally. And pelicans and gulls are still suffering from the lasting effects of a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico five years ago, the National Wildlife Federation warned in a report released Monday.
  • Shell Will Resume Drilling Off Alaska Coast: U.S. Arctic Envoy (Reuters):
    Royal Dutch Shell will resume drilling off Alaska after suspending operations for two years in the wake of an accident, the special U.S. envoy to the Arctic said on Monday, but gave no details as to when.'
  • Rate Of Climate Change To Soar By 2020s, With Arctic Warming 1°F Per Decade (Climate Progress):
    New research from a major national lab projects that the rate of climate change, which has risen sharply in recent decades, will soar by the 2020s. This worrisome projection - which has implications for extreme weather, sea level rise, and permafrost melt - is consistent with several recent studies.
  • Now's Your Chance to Help Save the Imperiled Monarch Butterfly-and Get Paid to Do So (Take Part) [emphasis added]:
    Another threat, according to Grant, has been well-intentioned individuals who have planted a tropical form of milkweed, which competes with native varieties and is not beneficial to monarchs or other pollinators.


FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • Skeptical Science: Database with FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Myths
  • 4 Scenarios Show What Climate Change Will Do To The Earth, From Pretty Bad To Disaster (Fast CoExist):
    But exactly how bad is still an open question, and a lot depends not only on how we react, but how quickly. The rate at which humans cut down on greenhouse gas emissions--if we do choose to cut them--will have a large bearing on how the world turns out by 2100, the forecasts reveal.
  • How to Solve Global Warming: It's the Energy Supply (Scientific American):
    Restraining global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius will require changing how the world produces and uses energy to power its cities and factories, heats and cools buildings, as well as moves people and goods in airplanes, trains, cars, ships and trucks, according to the IPCC. Changes are required not just in technology, but also in people's behavior.
  • Warning: Even in the best-case scenario, climate change will kick our asses (Grist)
  • NASA Video: Warming over the last 130 years, and into the next 100 years:

  • ]]>
    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[EXCLUSIVE: Judge Mark Fuller's Attorney Says 'Drunk' Wife Kelli Faked Being Beaten on 911 Call]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11100 2015-03-30T13:02:25Z 2015-03-30T13:02:25Z Georgia Alabama Impeachment Accountability U.S. House Republicans Don Siegelman Byron DeLear Bush Legacy Mark Fuller [This article now cross-published by Salon...]

    The Birmingham attorney for U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller says that, despite 911 audio which seems to suggest otherwise, his client "never hit, punched, slapped or kicked" his wife Kelli in an Atlanta hotel room last year. The federal judge was simply defending himself from the "hysterical" rage of his wife who, the attorney now tells The BRAD BLOG, blatantly lied to police about the entire incident before his client was subsequently arrested on charges of domestic battery.

    Moreover, Barry Ragsdale tells us, Kelli Fuller was "drunk" when she called 911. He says "slap" sounds heard clearly on the audio tape as she told the 911 dispatcher she was being beaten and needed an ambulance were either an attempt by Judge Fuller's wife to "imitate the sounds of slapping" or just "random background noises produced by someone who was intoxicated and hysterical."

    In several emails sent to The BRAD BLOG in recent days, Ragsdale provided the most detailed public defense yet of his client, a lifetime appointee to the federal bench in Alabama's Middle District.

    Ragsdale was responding to our queries after we exclusively published the complete 911 call from the domestic violence incident that occurred last August. The audio, obtained from the Atlanta Police Department, appears to contradict remarks given by Ragsdale to reporter Timothy M. Phelps of the Los Angeles Times earlier this month, in which the attorney claimed that, despite the arrest and a police report describing Kelli Fuller's "visible lacerations to her mouth and forehead" and other signs of abuse when officials arrived on the scene, it was actually Judge Fuller, not his second wife Kelli, who was the victim of a physical attack in their Ritz-Carlton hotel room in August of 2014...

    Ragsdale: 'Altercation over before she ever called 911'

    In the series of emails, Ragsdale offered his explanation for what he says actually happened that night. Much of his explanation, he says, is buttressed by confidential sworn testimony and evidence presented to the five-judge Special Committee panel tapped by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal to investigate the matter and provide recommendations on how that Circuit Court's Judicial Council should proceed. The Council may ultimately make no recommendations; issue a reprimand; ask Judge Fuller to resign or retire; or request that the U.S. House Judiciary Committee begin impeachment proceedings to remove the controversial Judge from the bench.

    Unless Fuller voluntary leaves his lifetime, $200,000/year position on the federal bench, only an act of Congress can remove the 2002 George W. Bush-appointee from his job, even after his arrest last year and his subsequent plea deal in Georgia state court. That deal to avoid trial with a pretrial diversion will result in his criminal record being completely expunged following a court-approved drug and alcohol evaluation and successful completion of 24 once-a-week domestic abuse counseling sessions.

    Earlier in March, Ragsdale reportedly told the LATimes' Phelps that Kelli Fuller, upset by what the attorney describes as an "imagined" affair she believed the Judge was having with his law clerk, attacked him while he was in bed watching television. He told Phelps that Kelli threw a glass at the Judge and then "rushes at him while he is lying in bed," before he then "reaches up, defending himself, and grabs her by the hair and the shoulder." Judge fuller then stood up, "throws her on the bed" and "she rolls off onto the floor and got a bloody lip," according to the account Ragsdale provided to the Times. "He never intended to hurt her."

    But the complete 911 audio tape obtained by The BRAD BLOG from the Atlanta Police Department and published in full here two weeks ago, seemed to be at odds with Ragsdale's scenario as reported by the paper.

    Here is the the complete audio from Kelli Fuller's 911 call on August 9, 2014:
    [See post to listen to audio]

    As we previously reported, the audio of Kelli Fuller's call makes clear that more than a full minute passes between the time she initially called 911 to report that she was involved "in a domestic dispute" with her husband, before the couple calmly, if intensely, exchange vows of hatred and then multiple smacking sounds are heard as Kelli pleads: "Please help me! He's beating on me!"

    There is no audible evidence on the 911 tape to corroborate Ragsdale's account of an assault by Kelli Fuller against the Judge, where she accuses him of infidelity, throws a glass at him, and then "attacks" him while in bed.

    Moreover, if the exchange Ragsdale described, where Kelli "rushed" the Judge, was the only physical confrontation between them, as he now claims, why did Kelli Fuller call 911 in the first place, well over a minute before the audio evidence of "slap" sounds are heard?

    "The brief physical altercation between her and Judge Fuller was over before she ever called 911," Ragsdale explained via email. "It is not surprising, therefore, that the 911 audio does not record Kelli Fuller's assault on Judge Fuller, including the thrown glass or the attack on Judge Fuller while he was in bed watching television."

    Ragsdale tells us that there was only a "single, discrete physical altercation between Judge Fuller and Kelli Fuller," which happened prior to her call to 911. He says Kelli's subsequent claims to the dispatcher about being beaten amount to alcohol-fueled lies.

    Our previous description of the phone call and the timing of the apparent smacking sounds heard during it, Ragsdale charges, represent a "glaring misapprehension that Kelli Fuller was telling the truth when she claimed that Judge Fuller was 'beating on me' to the 911 dispatcher. The only thing that is clear from the 911 call is that Kelli Fuller was drunk when she made the call. Her slurred speech and inability to respond to the dispatcher's questions make that clear."

    "Judge Fuller was not hitting her when she made her alcohol-infused claim on the 911 call," the attorney reiterated.

    "You also assume that the 'slaps' that you think you hear on the 911 call are evidence that Judge Fuller was hitting Kelli Fuller while she was on the telephone with the dispatcher." he says. "The 'slap' sounds that you think you hear on the 911 tape were not caused by Judge Fuller hitting her."

    When we asked for an explanation of what those "slap" sounds were, in that case, Ragsdale offered only his own speculation.

    "I personally believe they were an attempt by Kelli Fuller to imitate the sounds of slapping, but they could also be random background noises produced by someone who was intoxicated and hysterical."

    Secret evidence

    Ragsdale offered a series of claims about evidence that he says was presented to the Special Committee investigating the incident --- some confidential, others a matter of otherwise unreleased public record --- but declined to share any of that evidence with The BRAD BLOG. A number of his assertions are supported, he says, by what he describes as Kelli's "sworn testimony" to the panel of judges, which, he suggests, was in contradiction to her previous statements to both the police and the 911 dispatcher.

    Because we do not have access to much of that information, we are carefully attempting to avoid advancing specific claims he offered during our email conversations that were based only on his own characterization of confidential testimony or other evidence that cannot be independently substantiated at this time.

    Nonetheless, Ragsdale claims that testimony and other evidence given to the 11th Circuit's Special Committee is "consistent with the explanation given by Judge Fuller regarding the events of that night and completely contradict the story told by Kelli Fuller."

    It should also be noted here that victims of domestic violence frequently change or even recant their initial assertions about abuse "when the crisis has passed," as explained by Pat Kelliher of Brockton Family and Community Resources, according to Alabama's Enterprise News in 2011. "What we see often is that a victim may reach out to the criminal justice system in a time of crisis, but when the crisis has passed ... they think about so many different things. They think about worse retribution," said Kelliher, echoing other experts in the field who explain that victims are often pressured after the incident to change their testimony or by concerns that they won't be able to support their families if their partner is jailed.

    In support of his assertions that Judge Fuller, not his wife, was the real victim of an "assault" in this incident, Ragsdale offered a series of questions that he believes should serve to cast doubt on the audio evidence heard in the 911 call.

    "Why is Kelli Fuller absolutely silent during the alleged 'slaps' so that all you can hear are those sounds, but no crying, yelling or screaming while she is supposedly being beaten? Why does she only cry out for help after the 'slap' sounds are finished? It seems unlikely that someone who is supposedly being beaten would wait politely until the beating is completed before asking for help," he says, before offering still more assertions that attempt to undermine the narrative previously offered to both the 911 dispatcher and police arriving at the scene.

    "Why, if Judge Fuller was punching and kicking her, did Kelli Fuller remain in the same hotel room with him to make a telephone call to 911? ... Does it make sense, if she were truly the victim of an on-going beating, that she would chose to stay in the same small room with her abuser while she called the police? ... Even after she completed the 911 call, why did she stay in the room with Judge Fuller, instead of escaping? ... Why did Kelli Fuller request an ambulance, but then refuse to go to a hospital?"

    'Sensationalized and misleading stories'

    Ragsdale also accused The BRAD BLOG of "publishing sensationalized and misleading stories about Judge Fuller," even as he mischaracterized a number of elements of our reporting.

    For example, he reiterated claims he has made previously to the Montgomery Advertiser that reports of alleged substance and domestic abuse in Mark Fuller's first marriage --- which ended in 2012 after an alleged affair with this then-Court Bailiff, now-wife Kelli Gregg --- were little more than "nonsense" and "gossip".

    "Judge Fuller never hit, beat or otherwise abused his first wife, Lisa Fuller. Continuing to report that unsupported gossip undermines your credibility," he told us in one of his missives.

    But our reporting about allegations from Fuller's first marriage is based directly on court documents filed by Lisa Boyd Fuller during the 2012 divorce proceedings. Those files were published before being subsequently sealed by the court, despite Lisa Fuller "strenuously object[ing]", according to the documents published by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press at the time.

    Official court documents obtained and published by Alabama investigative journalist Roger Shuler include a serious of interrogatories submitted by Judge Fuller's first wife which ask him to respond to her allegations suggesting he had "hit, kicked, struck, or otherwise physically abused" both Lisa and their children during the marriage; drove under the influence of alcohol with their kids in the car; was addicted to prescription medication; and had an "extramarital affair" and "sexual intercourse" with his court bailiff Kelli Gregg.

    Those points are not "gossip" but information taken directly from the court filings and reported as such throughout our long series of coverage of this case (see much of that coverage indexed below), going back to the initial arrest report last year (and even earlier, as we've long covered Fuller's questionable oversight of the political trial against Alabama's former Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman, Fuller's most infamous case until this one).

    Furthermore, while the police in Atlanta reported that the altercation last year began after Kelli Fuller accused the Judge of having an affair with his law clerk, and we have noted the similarities in that allegation to the charges of infidelity made by Fuller's first wife, we have not reported either the name of the clerk in question or that the alleged affair actually occurred.

    Still, Ragsdale suggests that we did, even while he does not dispute our reporting on the allegations of Judge Fuller's affair with his court bailiff Kelli during his first marriage.

    Ragsdale claims that "undisputed evidence at the [Special Committee] hearing established that Judge Fuller never had an affair or any other kind of inappropriate relationship with his law clerk (or anyone else) while he was married to Kelli Fuller. It was only Kelli's Fuller's imagination that produced that unfounded allegation. It is unfair to the law clerk for you and others to report that false allegation as if it were true."

    Once again, we have not reported the allegation of an affair during his marriage to Kelli to be either true or false, despite Ragsdale's misleading characterization of our coverage.

    "It is not my job (or even my desire) to try to convince you that I am right," he says. "We have made our case to the Special Committee and presented them with the evidence to support it. You and the other members of the public can either wait for their findings or you can go ahead and draw your own conclusions without the benefit of all of the evidence."

    "I hope that this response clears up your confusion about what you perceive as discrepancies between the story in the LA Times and your own understanding of the facts," Ragsdale noted in closing.

    Every member of Alabama's Congressional delegation, including both of their Republican U.S. Senators who initially endorsed Fuller's appointment to the bench, have called on the U.S. District Judge to resign. He has, so far, flatly refused, even as his cases have been reassigned to others during the court's investigation. In the meantime, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, in response to demands for impeachment hearings made by Rep. Terri Sewell, the lone Democratic member of Alabama's U.S. Congressional contingent, has requested an increase to its budget in order to cover additional costs that may be incurred in the event of such a rare proceeding. The House Judiciary Committee will make their determination about whether or not to proceed with impeachment proceedings after either the 11th Circuit Court's Judicial Council, or the U.S. Judicial Conference, to whom the 11th Circuit will report, issue their final recommendations on the matter. Those recommendations are expected to be made within the next several weeks.

    * * *

    Earlier related stories at The BRAD BLOG:

    8/11/2014: "Federal Judge in Don Siegelman Case Arrested, Charged with Abusing Wife in Atlanta Hotel"
    8/25/2014: "Federal Judge Who Was Arrested for Beating His Wife (and Who Sentenced Don Siegelman) Is Now Hoping to Avoid Prosecution Altogether"
    9/5/2014: "BREAKING: Federal Judge Who Presided Over Siegelman Case and Who Recently Beat His Own Wife Bloody Strikes Deal to Avoid Prosecution"
    9/10/2014: "NFL's Ray Rice Loses Job for Knocking Out Wife, Federal Judge Mark Fuller Keeps Lifetime Appointment After Beating Wife Bloody"
    9/15/2014: "Republican Senior Federal Judge, Domestic Abuse Experts Call for Accountability for Wife-Beating U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller"
    9/15/2014: "Wife-Beating Federal Judge Mark Fuller Finally Mentioned on MSNBC [VIDEO]"
    9/17/2014:"Chris Hayes Plays Horrifying 911 Call From Federal Judge Mark Fuller's Wife; Sounds of Her Apparently Being Struck Can Be Clearly Heard"
    9/19/2014:"'A Matter of Time': U.S. Senators, Representatives Finally Call for Some Accountability for Wife-Beating Federal Judge Mark Fuller"
    9/23/2014:"Washington Post Finally Calls for Investigation, Impeachment of Wife-Beating Federal Judge"
    10/17/2014:"Attorney For Judge Mark Fuller Says Wife Beating Incident No Big Deal; Chilling 911 AUDIO and Former AL Gov. Siegelman Suggest Otherwise"
    10/20/2014:"Congresswoman Declares Impeachment Deadline for Wife-Beating Federal Judge; Court Unseals Divorce Docs From Fuller's Previous Marriage"
    12/3/2014:"U.S. House Judiciary Committee Cites Potential Impeachment of Wife-Beating Federal Judge"
    2/16/2015: "U.S. House Judiciary Committee Increases Budget For Possible Impeachment of Judge Mark Fuller"
    3/16/2015: "Exclusive: Complete 911 Audio At Odds With New 'Self-Defense' Claim by U.S. Judge Mark Fuller's Attorney in 2014 Domestic Battery Incident"


    ]]>
    PDiddie <![CDATA[Sunday Cruzin' Toons]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11095 2015-03-29T12:28:48Z 2015-03-29T12:28:48Z Toons Middle East Republicans Scott Walker Religion

    Or perhaps inspired by...

    ...but is more likely just a shoutout to his "world is on fire" fundamentalist believers. The Washington Post noted that the logo could be Pentecostal in origin.

    You see, Ted Cruz isn't a candidate. He's a strategy.

    Whether he is doing so intentionally or not, constantly forcing the political discourse to the farthest right makes a small compromise --- or a Scott Walker or a Jeb Bush --- look moderate in comparison. Thus Cruz enables his competitors to point at him and say, "See? At least I'm not THAT crazy."

    Take the most extreme conservative position on any issue, move over half a step, call your new position 'centrist'. It may be an accident... or it may be the plan.

    Meanwhile in the Middle East, their world really is on fire.

    To paraphrase Def Leppard: Armageddon it?

    * * *

    Perry Dorrell blogs as PDiddie at Brains and Eggs, and is on Twitter @PDiddie.


    ]]>
    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[HILARIOUS VIDEO: FL Emergency Management Director Trying Not to Say 'Climate Change']]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11098 2015-03-27T01:34:52Z 2015-03-27T01:34:52Z Florida Environment Jon Stewart Climate change Rick Scott We're a few days late on this, but its worth it. If you didn't catch this in our laugh-out-loud Green News Report on Thursday (or even if you did), here's the full high-larious video of Brian Koon, Director of Florida's Div. of Emergency Management, trying and trying not to say the words "climate change" as he faces questioning from state Sen. Jeff Clemens (D)...and is roundly laughed at and mocked by pretty much everybody present...

    The hilarity above comes after four former FL Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) employees claimed that the state banned the official use of words like "climate change," "global warming," "sea level rise," etc., after Gov. Rick Scott (R) first came to office in 2009. State officials have denied it, but it appears it was a spoken policy rather than a written one.

    Since then, a current DEP employee has claimed that he was put on leave and required to undergo a mental exam after sharing his views on climate change in one of the states likely to be most affected by it. (Been nice knowin' ya, Miami!) And then comes the testimony seen in the video above, wherein Koon, the Florida state official in charge of emergency management, ties himself into knots trying not to utter the phrase "climate change" out loud, in his official capacity, for some odd reason.

    While the video testimony is hysterical on its own, for extra credit, here's the full segment from last night's The Daily Show, as Jon Stewart takes it all apart...


    ]]>
    Desi Doyen <![CDATA['Green News Report' - March 26, 2015]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11097 2015-03-26T22:28:39Z 2015-03-26T22:28:39Z Florida Mainstream Corporate Media Texas Environment France Republicans FEMA Sheldon Whitehouse Green News BP Oil Disaster Natural gas Coal ALEC Oil Solar Climate change Rick Scott Election 2016 China Ted Cruz Oceans

     

    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Lots of good and/or hysterical news today! Climate change denier Ted Cruz compares himself to Galileo; BP breaks up with ALEC; Texas town goes 100 percent renewable; PLUS: Florida official struggles with Gov. Scott's unwritten ban on the words 'climate change'....All that and more in today's Green News Report!

    Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

    Link:
    Embed:

    Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

    IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): India to Rich World: Give us Cash and We’ll Cut Emissions Faster; Study shows acceleration in decline of Antarctic ice shelves; Has California’s mega-drought already begun?; Exxon Shareholder Climate Vote Blocked, Chevron's Approved by SEC; The hidden benefits of cutting coal pollution... PLUS: Shut Up and Dance: Should we stop talking about climate change and start dancing about it?... and much, MUCH more! ...

    STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

    'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...


    FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • Skeptical Science: Database with FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Myths
  • 4 Scenarios Show What Climate Change Will Do To The Earth, From Pretty Bad To Disaster (Fast CoExist):
    But exactly how bad is still an open question, and a lot depends not only on how we react, but how quickly. The rate at which humans cut down on greenhouse gas emissions--if we do choose to cut them--will have a large bearing on how the world turns out by 2100, the forecasts reveal.
  • How to Solve Global Warming: It's the Energy Supply (Scientific American):
    Restraining global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius will require changing how the world produces and uses energy to power its cities and factories, heats and cools buildings, as well as moves people and goods in airplanes, trains, cars, ships and trucks, according to the IPCC. Changes are required not just in technology, but also in people's behavior.
  • Warning: Even in the best-case scenario, climate change will kick our asses (Grist)
  • NASA Video: Warming over the last 130 years, and into the next 100 years:

  • ]]>
    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Letter to the Editor of the Moment: 'Reality']]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11096 2015-03-26T19:22:26Z 2015-03-26T19:22:26Z Environment Republicans Climate change Election 2016 Yesterday at the Tampa Bay Times...

    Climate change

    Deal with reality

    I've been a Republican for my entire adult life (a long time). In recent years, I've been troubled by the extreme course the party has taken on a number of issues. From my perspective, the Republican Party of years gone by was the party of middle America. Democrats were "liberals" and Republicans were "conservatives." But since tea party Republicans have hijacked the party, Republicans have become extremists, to the overall detriment of the entire party. No other issue demonstrates this better than global warming.

    How any intelligent person can deny the existence of global warming is literally unbelievable to me. If you don't believe in global warming, check the Internet to see how glacial ice is receding at an incredible rate all over the planet. I have seen it with my own eyes in Alaska and was stunned.

    As a result of Republicans' denial of a fact that is inarguable, I have become something I detested: a single-issue voter. I will not vote for any person who refuses to acknowledge the reality of global warming. My hope is that other Republicans will step forward and force the party to deal with reality.

    Joseph Larrinaga, St. Pete Beach

    Keep hoping, Joseph.

    [Hat-tip to too-occassional BRAD BLOG contributor D.R. Tucker]


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    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Was Netanyahu Win Actually GOOD for Palestine?; That and Much More on the KPFK 'BradCast']]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11094 2015-03-25T21:35:18Z 2015-03-25T21:35:18Z Election Irregularities Ohio California BRAD BLOG Texas 9/11 BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Rights And Freedoms Wisconsin Photo ID Laws U.S. Supreme Court Internet Voting Israel KPFK Voting Rights Act Election 2016 Australia Ted Cruz BradCast Was Netanyahu/Likud's win last week in Israel the best possible outcome for Palestinians? While it seems counter-intuitive at first blush, some who follow Israeli/Palestinian politics very closely say it was.

    My guest on this week's Pacifica Radio BradCast, Estee Chandler of JewishVoiceForPeace.org and the producer/co-host of KPFK's Middle East in Focus program believes that is the case and tells me why. She offers a different (and very welcome) perspective than the Right/Left (and now, sadly, Republican/Democratic) narrative we've heard so much of from most of the media since last week's election.

    Also, BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernie Canning joins me to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear the WI Photo ID voting case and what that means for voting across the country in 2016, as well as the error the CA Supreme Court seems to have made when they removed Prop 49 (the "Overturn Citizens United" initiative) from the 2014 ballot last year.

    Plus, Ted Cruz' astoundingly ingenious if extraordinary cynical remark the day after he declared his intention to seek the 2016 GOP nomination for President; OH tries a new voter suppression tactic; another predictable Internet Voting failure in Australia; Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report and MUCH MORE!...

    Download MP3 or listen online below...
    [See post to listen to audio]


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    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[The Right to NOT Vote (Or, At Least the Right to Vote for 'None of the Above')]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11089 2015-03-25T18:54:37Z 2015-03-25T18:54:37Z Election Reform Rights And Freedoms Barack Obama Voter Registration I wrote a bit about this after last year's elections, though from a different direction. But, given the recent remarks by President Obama (and more than a fair bit of questionable reporting about those remarks), its worth adding a few more thoughts here.

    Over the years, I've seen folks misinterpret The BRAD BLOG's coverage of voting and elections and voter suppression by presuming that by covering these things, it's the same thing as telling everyone to vote.

    In fact, I strongly believe in the right to not vote. While I think it's a counter-productive response to pretty much everything --- including the misguided and lazy notions that "elections don't really matter" or "both parties are the same" --- I would fight for your right to not vote under our existing system as vigorously as I'd fight for your right to vote (if you want to) and to have that vote counted, counted accurately and in a way that everyone can know that everyone's votes have been counted accurately.

    With that in mind, it was interesting to see the reactions to President Obama's statement last week in Cleveland which some, including CNN and, naturally, the ever-outraged Fox "News", took it upon themselves to interpret as a call for "mandatory voting" in the U.S...

    It's less than clear that making vote mandatory was what the President was actually calling for in those remarks when he discussed "expanding the franchise, not restricting it", in response to a question about big money in politics.

    "In Australia and some other countries, there's mandatory voting," Obama said, adding: "It would be transformative if everybody voted. That would counteract money more than anything. If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country."

    He went on to note that those who tend not to vote are students, immigrants, minorities, the poor and those struggling just to keep up with work and other daily requirements to put food on the table. In other words, those who don't tend to vote are many of the same folks who are now being targeted by Republicans across the country in an attempt to keep them from being able to cast a vote at all. Getting more folks to vote, Obama said, "may end up being a better strategy in the short term". He seemed to be saying that getting more people to vote (if not necessarily mandating it) is a more effective short term response to money in politics (and voter suppression) than passing new laws or Constitutional amendments to get money out of politics.

    But let's presume for a minute that he was calling for mandatory voting, as many have interpreted. Is that a good idea?

    In my opinion, not really. But that's only my opinion and its based on the idea, as I discussed in more detail last year, that folks have the right not to vote, as a protest, of sorts, to those on the ballot and/or our system of government itself. I find not voting to be an incredibly ineffective form of protest --- a stupid one, in fact --- which tends to serve only to deeper ingrain the dysfunctional aspects of our current system of government. But its one that citizens should have the right to enjoy, nonetheless, just as they should have the right to vote if they wish to (and Universal Voter Registration, as implemented last week by Oregon, is an excellent example of what should be done across the country, in that regard.)

    But I am nothing if not pragmatic. I have heard many over the years call for mandatory voting (even if Obama did not necessarily do so), and so, in the spirit of comity, I have always offered a compromise to those folks: I'll agree to support mandatory voting, so long as there is a "None of the Above" option included in every race on the ballot. If "None of the Above" gets more votes than anybody else in the race, a new election will be held with different candidates.

    Deal?

    * * *

    Here, for the record, are Obama's somewhat cryptic 3/18/15 remarks in Cleveland about expanded voter turnout in response to money in politics...


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    Desi Doyen <![CDATA['Green News Report' - March 24, 2015]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11092 2015-03-24T19:15:00Z 2015-03-24T19:15:00Z Florida California Environment U.S. Senate Republicans Green News Climate change Rick Scott Jerry Brown Ted Cruz Water Gavin Newsom

     

    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Get out your popcorn - Climate change-denying Sen. Ted Cruz is running for president...and Gov. Jerry Brown is unimpressed; Is mandatory water rationing in California's future?; PLUS: In Florida, don't say 'climate change' or you be sent to a mental hospital....All that and more in today's Green News Report!

    Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

    Link:
    Embed:

    Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

    IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Scientists Want to Mine Our Poop for Gold --- Literally; Gulf Stream Slowdown: 'The Day After Tomorrow' Might Kinda, Sorta Come True; 10 years after BP refinery explosion, more reforms needed; 26 US coal companies have gone bankrupt in the last three years; Texas town goes 100% renewable energy; Top Chinese Official Says Climate Change Is “Serious Threat"; Yemen tearing itself apart over water; BP drops membership with ALEC... PLUS: Plastic pollution worse than thought: Scientists finding plastic embedded in scales of fish... and much, MUCH more! ...

    STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

    'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

    • Scientists Want to Mine Our Poop for Gold --- Literally (Motherboard) [emphasis added]:
      Contained within our s**t are surprisingly large quantities of silver, gold, and platinum...Extrapolating from their data, the authors worked out that the waste produced annually by a million Americans could contain as much as 13 million dollars worth of metals. That’s over four billion dollars worth of gold coming out of our collective arses every year.
    • Gulf Stream Slowdown: 'The Day After Tomorrow' Might Kinda, Sorta Come True (Slate):
      According to new research published Monday, the idea that underpins the film’s plot—that rapid Arctic ice melt could cause dramatic changes to the global climate system—just got one step closer to reality. Of particular concern are the profound changes happening in the Greenland ice sheet: It appears that the massive amount of freshwater from melting Greenland glaciers has now begun to slow the ocean’s circulating currents.
    • 10 years after BP Texas City explosion, CSB and OSHA say more must be done (Safety & Health Magazine) [emphasis added]:
      Fifteen workers were killed and nearly 200 were injured in the 2005 blast, which was caused by an ignited vapor cloud that formed from an eruption of flammable liquid hydrocarbons. A poor safety culture that ignored warning signs, a deficient process safety management program, and the use of obsolete equipment all contributed to the BP blast, CSB states in a new video....These deficiencies also were present in other CSB-investigated refinery disasters, including a 2010 Tesoro refinery explosion and a 2012 Chevron refinery fire, the agency said.
    • US coal crash ‘serves as a warning’ to fossil fuel investors (RTCC):
      At least 26 US coal companies have gone bankrupt in the last three years, finds Carbon Tracker, in a sign of things to come.
    • Texas town goes all in on renewable energy (Texas Tribune):
      Georgetown’s municipal utility on Wednesday unveiled plans to abandon traditional electricity sources like coal and gas power plants, instead exclusively tapping wind and solar energy to meet all of its customers’ power needs. It is the state's first city-owned utility to make that leap.
    • Top Chinese Official Says Climate Change Is “Serious Threat,” Could Have “Huge Impact” (Slate):
      Climate change could have a "huge impact" on China, reducing crop yields and harming the environment, the country's top weather scientist has warned, in a rare official admission.
    • BP drops membership with ALEC (Climate Investigations):
      Major oil-and-gas corporation BP announced Monday it is parting ways with the American Legislative Exchange Council, marking just the latest—and likely most significant—departure of a blue-chip company from the conservative group in recent months.
    • Ethiopia's leap toward solar energy (Clean Leap):
      The deal will help Ethiopian Electric Power develop a 300 MW new solar project in Ethiopia - with the aim of helping the country hit its goal of expanding electricity capacity from the current 55% coverage to 75% by the end of 2015.
    • Surprise Finding Heightens Concern Over Tiny Bits Of Plastic Polluting Our Oceans (Huffington Post Green):
      "It fragments quickly. We fear that as plastic continues to break down, it becomes even more susceptible to being eaten by marine organisms or taken into the gills of fish or, apparently, even embedded into their scale"...
    • Tandem solar cell with silicon and perovskite paves way for high-efficiency, low-cost solar (The Conversation):
      Now that solar cells are less expensive to manufacture, the industry has entered a third phase with the goal: increasing efficiency while keeping low-cost manufacturing.
    • Yemen Is Tearing Itself Apart Over Water (Newsweek) [emphasis added]:
      According to a study commissioned by the World Bank, the city could be unsustainable as soon as 2019. Unless action is taken soon, Sana’a’s residents may be forced to leave the city to wither and die. The wars of the future, it is often said, will be fought not over oil but over water. Yemen offers us a glimpse of the coming apocalypse. Worse, AQAP is looking to export its water “weapon.”
    • Will Alaska's weird winter be followed by equally strange summer? (Alaska Dispatch News):
      Such snowpack conditions usually foreshadow an early --- though not necessarily abnormally large --- wildfire season, Thoman said. There is no correlation between snowpack and overall extent of annual wildfires, although the correlation with early fires is very strong, he said.
    • The Only Place It Was Cold This Winter Was The East Coast Of The United States (Climate Progress):
      If you live on the East Coast of the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just released some statistics that may surprise you:
      +Globally, this has been the hottest winter on record, topping the previous record (2007) by 0.05°F.
      +This was “the 19th warmest winter for the contiguous US.”
      + Globally it’s easily been the hottest start to any year (January-February), beating the previous records (2002, 2007) by 0.07°F.
      + This was the second warmest February globally, and “slightly below” the 20th-century average in the contiguous U.S.
      ...In particular, many Western states saw their hottest winter on record — which is not a surprise if you live in drought-stricken California or its neighbor.
    • Obama will order federal agencies to cut carbon emissions 40% in 10 years (Vox.com) [emphasis added]:
      [T]he real significance might be the ripple effects this move has on the broader supply chain. After all, the federal government is a huge purchaser of energy goods and services. It owns more than 360,000 buildings and 650,000 fleet vehicles, according to the Washington Post. So if federal agencies are buying up more wind or solar or hybrid vehicles, that boosts the market for these technologies.
    • FEMA to States: No Climate Planning, No Money (InsideClimate News) [emphasis added]:
      The policy doesn't affect federal money for relief after a hurricane, flood or other disaster. Specifically, beginning in March 2016, states seeking preparedness money will have to assess how climate change threatens their communities.
    • Rate Of Climate Change To Soar By 2020s, With Arctic Warming 1°F Per Decade (Climate Progress):
      New research from a major national lab projects that the rate of climate change, which has risen sharply in recent decades, will soar by the 2020s. This worrisome projection - which has implications for extreme weather, sea level rise, and permafrost melt - is consistent with several recent studies.
    • Now's Your Chance to Help Save the Imperiled Monarch Butterfly-and Get Paid to Do So (Take Part) [emphasis added]:
      Another threat, according to Grant, has been well-intentioned individuals who have planted a tropical form of milkweed, which competes with native varieties and is not beneficial to monarchs or other pollinators.


    FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page

  • Skeptical Science: Database with FULL DEBUNKING of ALL Climate Science Denier Myths
  • 4 Scenarios Show What Climate Change Will Do To The Earth, From Pretty Bad To Disaster (Fast CoExist):
    But exactly how bad is still an open question, and a lot depends not only on how we react, but how quickly. The rate at which humans cut down on greenhouse gas emissions--if we do choose to cut them--will have a large bearing on how the world turns out by 2100, the forecasts reveal.
  • How to Solve Global Warming: It's the Energy Supply (Scientific American):
    Restraining global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius will require changing how the world produces and uses energy to power its cities and factories, heats and cools buildings, as well as moves people and goods in airplanes, trains, cars, ships and trucks, according to the IPCC. Changes are required not just in technology, but also in people's behavior.
  • Warning: Even in the best-case scenario, climate change will kick our asses (Grist)
  • NASA Video: Warming over the last 130 years, and into the next 100 years:

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