The BRAD BLOG Because it's not about Right or Left, it's about Right and Wrong! 2015-04-25T13:58:30Z Copyright 2015 WordPress Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Program Note: A Daily Show]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11148 2015-04-24T16:05:29Z 2015-04-24T16:05:29Z BRAD BLOG Media Appearance KPFK BradCast Okay, so it's not "The Daily Show", but, as announced during yesterday's BradCast, beginning this Monday (4/27), barring any disasters (which could most certainly occur between now and then), Desi and I will be producing daily episodes of The BradCast for awhile.

My blogging here has been light-ish of late; the main reason has been trying to work out everything in the background, on a bit of a shoestring, as required to get a daily program up and running.

The show will be available for play or download, as usual, at The BRAD BLOG five days a week; for auto-download (subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed); and syndicated each day on most of the show's current radio and streaming affiliates, including Pacifica Radio's KPFK in L.A. and Southern California, KYAQ in Oregon, Progressive Voices, Netroots Radio, Indie Media Weekly, FYI Nation Network and some new ones as well, including Radio Sputnik (and a few more coming soon)!

For the first few weeks, I suspect the new project will take a lot of time, energy and focus. So please bear with us as I am giving myself permission to focus on the show every day without worrying about blogging beyond show postings for a while. I suspect that may not last very long (or even at all), but I need to give myself that permission anyway --- so I hope you will do the same.

So...aside from show postings, blogging here (by me anyway) may be light for a while (or it may not be), even as guest bloggers may continue to rake muck and cause trouble as frequently as they wish, and as I have time to perform my editing responsibilities therein.

As mentioned, we are doing much of this on a shoestring, so we welcome your donations towards the effort, if you are so inclined. (See below. And thank you!) Otherwise, I hope you'll tune in and shout out with feedback good, bad or otherwise!...

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Please help support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system and much more --- now in our TWELFTH YEAR! --- as available from no other media outlet in the nation...

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Ernest A. Canning <![CDATA[Supreme Court Curtails 'Drug War' Infringement of 4th Amendment Rights During Traffic Stops]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11144 2015-04-24T04:02:02Z 2015-04-24T04:02:02Z Rights And Freedoms U.S. Constitution New Mexico Accountability Nebraska U.S. Supreme Court Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court severely curtailed the government's ability to utilize a routine traffic stop as an excuse to subject motorists to a canine-sniff of their vehicles as a precursor to a search for narcotics.

In Rodriguez v. United States, the Court ruled that the right of "seizure" during a routine traffic stop extends only for the length of time necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop --- a purpose that ends with the issuance of a citation or warning for the routine stop. While the time needed to effectuate the purpose of the stop includes such measures as necessary to protect an officer’s safety, it does not, according to the Supremes, include a "dog sniff" which, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote on behalf of the court's majority, relates to "the Government’s endeavor to detect crime in general or drug trafficking in particular."

While the 6 to 3 decision (Justices Thomas, Alito and Kennedy dissenting) was handed down in a case in which a motorist was caught transporting methamphetamine inside his car, it also serves to protect the rights of those who are innocent, such as 63-year old Dennis Eckhart, whose nightmarish plight --- including multiple, invasive, forced medical procedures --- all came about as the result of a routine traffic stop and wholly unfounded suspicion by local police...

As The BRAD BLOG reported in late 2013 and as further recounted in the complaint filed by his attorneys in federal court, Eckhart's routine traffic stop was transformed into a 14-hour, outrageously intrusive ordeal.

After receiving a written warning about a "cracked windshield," Eckhart was questioned about narcotics and subjected to a dog-sniff and vehicle search. No narcotics were found.

Based upon nothing more than a suspicion that he was concealing narcotics --- a suspicion which allegedly arose because, according to police, Eckhart appeared to clench his buttocks while obeying a command to exit his car --- the Deming, New Mexico Police Department obtained a warrant for an anal cavity search, transported Eckhart to the Gila County Regional Medical Center, and compelled him to undergo multiple medical procedures without his consent.

After an x-ray failed to reveal any narcotics, Eckhart, on two occasions, was subjected to rectal probes by a doctor’s finger. This was followed by three enemas in which Eckhart was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police and to watch while doctors searched his stools. Following a second x-ray, Eckhart was compelled to undergo a colonoscopy in which a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckhart's anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines. No narcotics were found. No arrest was made.

To add outrageous insult to an unreasonably intrusive search and seizure, the hospital later billed Eckhart $4,539 for the procedures he had never authorized.

A modicum of justice was eventually achieved when the tiny town of Deming agreed to pay $1.6 million to settle Eckhart's lawsuit for that absurdly intrusive search. But it is rather profound that, based upon this week's decision in Rodriguez, it can now be said that Eckhart's 4th Amendment rights were violated just as soon as police detained him beyond the time necessary to write a warning notice for his cracked windshield.

Of course, just as had been the case with the 5th Amendment right to remain silent, the extent to which the 4th Amendment serves to protect the right against unreasonable search and seizure depends upon a knowledgable citizenry. While the 5th Amendment right is assured by way of a requisite Miranda warning, police are not required to issue a Rodriguez warning. A citizen cannot complain about being detained beyond the period necessary to effectuate the traffic stop, being subjected to a "dog sniff" or a vehicle search if they "consent" to those procedures.

Hence, it is important that you "know" your rights!

* * *
Ernest A. Canning has been an active member of the California state bar since 1977. Mr. Canning has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science as well as a juris doctor. He is also a Vietnam Vet (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). Follow him on Twitter: @cann4ing.


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Desi Doyen <![CDATA['Green News Report' - April 23, 2015]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11147 2015-04-23T20:36:18Z 2015-04-23T20:36:18Z Arkansas California North Carolina Accountability Environment San Francisco Barack Obama Green News Fracking Elizabeth Warren Natural gas Coal Oil Climate change Oklahoma TPP Exxon Mobil

 

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: After years of denial, Oklahoma finally admits fracking causes earthquakes; Fines and accountability for oil spills, coal waste spills, and deadly natural gas explosions; PLUS: Environmentalists push back at new Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal... 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): Oklahoma Lawmakers Vote To Outlaw Fracking Bans As Earthquakes In The State Spike; Video: "Dear Future Generations: Sorry"; Common pesticides hurting health of wild bees; Congress passes bipartisan energy efficiency bill; TV meteorologists increasingly accept climate science; Bad news in lionfish invasion; After 30 years, EPA tightens air pollution standards; CEOs to world leaders: Get off your asses and fix climate change... PLUS: 'Pipelines Blow Up And People Die... 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['BradCast': Un-Earth Day; Fuller Updates; More...]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11145 2015-04-23T01:32:52Z 2015-04-23T01:32:52Z BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Environment Hillary Clinton KPFK Election 2016 BradCast Mark Fuller Big news about The BradCast in this week's BradCast! You can listen to it to find out what it is or wait for me to mention it here at The BRAD BLOG shortly.

    Beyond that, while it happens to be Earth Day, it's always Earth Day around here, so we decided to make it Un-Earth Day in "honor" of the rightwing anti-science, anti-climate, anti-reality group The Heartland Institute. You'll enjoy some of their thoughts on this 45th Anniversary of Earth Day.

    Also, updates in the Judge Mark Fuller "wife beating" case; a thought or two about Hillary and "the Left"; a bunch of great listener phone calls (including one with a, um, rather remarkable explanation for climate change!); and, of course, Desi Doyen and the latest Green News Report. Enjoy!

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

    * * *

    By the way, if you're a BradCast fan, now is a great time to subscribe for free to the BradCast RSS feed (or use the iTunes subscription page, if you prefer) to have it downloaded automagically to the device of your choosing!


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    Ernest A. Canning <![CDATA[25% Reduction of Urban Water Use Will Not Solve CA's Potentially Catastrophic Drought Crisis]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11131 2015-04-22T17:04:37Z 2015-04-22T17:04:37Z California Texas Accountability Environment Fracking Koch Industries Nuclear power Oil Wind Solar Climate change Extreme weather Jerry Brown Agriculture Water Gov. Jerry Brown's decision to mandate a 25% reduction of urban water use in California was absolutely necessary and woefully inadequate.

    The unprecedented mandatory restriction is necessary because the state faces an historically acute and potentially catastrophic shortage of freshwater. Newly released NASA data suggests the state could run out of surface water reserves completely within the next year.

    The severe water shortage, however, is not merely acute. It is chronic. The Golden State is now in its fourth year of an extreme, global climate change-linked drought that scientists predict could continue for decades.

    There are a multitude of reasons why Brown's overly simplistic 25% urban water use reduction --- a meager 6.25% of water consumption by all sectors of the California economy --- is woefully inadequate when measured against both acute and chronic extreme drought conditions...

    Why exempt major water polluting consumers?

    In light of the fact that urban use accounts, at best, for just 20% of California's total water consumption (agricultural interests consume about 80%) it is somewhat striking, if not alarming, that Brown exempted the fossil fuel industry, factory farming and industrial livestock from the newly announced mandatory restrictions.

    "The electricity industry," according to Sandia National Laboratories, "is second only to agriculture as the largest user of water in the United States. Electricity production from fossil fuels and nuclear energy requires 190,000 million gallons of water per day, accounting for 39% of all freshwater withdrawals in the nation."* Additionally, the GRACE Communications Foundation notes, "it is estimated that the United States withdraws 1 to 2 billion gallons of water to refine nearly 800 million gallons of petroleum products every day."

    In an email to The BRAD BLOG, Dr. Yoram Cohen of UCLA's Water Technology Research Center cautions that the 39% of freshwater withdrawals the fossil fuel and nuclear energy industries are responsible for may not equate to "consumptive use." Water used for power plant cooling is often returned to its original source.

    Still, fossil fuel storage and extraction, factory farming and industrial livestock practices do more than simply use and/or consume large quantities of water. These industries contaminate aquifers, turning precious supplies of fresh groundwater into a toxic soup of carcinogenic chemicals, bacteria and brackish groundwater that is unfit for either farming or human consumption.

    We are not dealing with small numbers.

    Per a 2000 EPA study, factory farming and industrial livestock practices account for 48% of stream and river water pollution and 41% of lake water pollution. According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), California officials identified agriculture and livestock as "the major source of nitrate pollution in more than 100,000 square miles of polluted groundwater." Algal blooms associated with animal waste contributed to an 8,500 square mile "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico. Those algal blooms result not only from direct contamination, like that which occurred in 2012, as the NRDC notes, when "a California dairy left over 50 manure covered cow carcasses rotting around its property and polluting nearby waters." Waste disposal also produces ammonia gas that, they say, "can be carried more than 300 miles through the air before being dumped back onto the ground or into water."

    Recently, Gov. Brown defended the controversial oil extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"). In California, he asserted, the industry deploys "vertical fracking" that is far less water-intensive than the "horizontal" method deployed elsewhere.

    But as environmentalist Claire Sandberg argues at Truthout, there are reasons to be skeptical of Brown's effort to minimize the amount of water consumed by fracking in California. "The state Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) has not tracked fracking activity comprehensively," Sandberg writes, "so the extent of the practice is hard to quantify."

    Irrespective of the actual fracking water consumption numbers, there can be no room for doubt that fracking and other irresponsible, fuel industry extraction and storage practices can lead to massive groundwater contamination. The process entails re-injection of fracking waste liquid, known as "flowback fluid," into underground aquifers. Testing results from hundreds of water wells in the state recently revealed the presence of the carcinogen, benzene, at levels 700 times greater than federal safety standards allow.

    Earlier this year, the L.A. Times reported, eight California lawmakers called upon Gov. Brown to "shut down 2,500 oil production and waste water wells" that had contaminated "protected aquifers" in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

    The 'supply side'

    This is not to suggest that Brown should have mandated a flat 25% reduction of water use by all sectors of the California economy --- a somewhat arbitrary number that gives rise to false Hobson's choices.

    We do not have to choose between food and water. There are a multitude of methods that can be deployed to minimize agricultural water consumption. These include increasing irrigation efficiency, soil management, water recycling, and organic farming. In semi-arid Israel, for example, agricultural use of drip irrigation reduced water consumption by 50-70% as compared with gravity irrigation and 10-20% compared with sprinkler irrigation.

    Conservation only deals with the demand side of the water equation.

    Faced with severe drought, the Texas Water Development Board commissioned an "innovative water technologies" study which located 880 trillion gallons of brackish groundwater within thirty designated aquifers. "If converted to freshwater," the study concluded, "that amount of water could maintain Texas' current water consumption levels for 150 years." As of 2014, Texas had erected 34 municipal brackish groundwater desalination plants that provide 73 million gallons of potable water per day.

    The knock on seawater desalination plants, like the $1 billion Carlsbad Desalination Project that is expected to furnish 7% of San Diego County's water requirements, is that they are inordinately expensive and energy intensive. High energy and costs arise because seawater contains a higher salt content than California's abundantly available brackish water and because those facilities deploy traditional "reverse osmosis."

    Israeli engineers have developed far more energy efficient desalination technology. Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Labs and Stanford are developing breakthrough techniques that require "little equipment or energy" and "could be scaled to fit any need: from portable personal devices to city water treatment."

    The net efficiency of all desalination facilities would be greatly improved if those plants abandoned water intensive and environmentally destructive fossil fuel power in favor of zero water consuming, clean energy technologies, like photovoltaic solar and wind.

    Confronting denial and meeting the challenge

    Our need to more swiftly turn to alternative energy highlights the most significant inadequacy of Brown's scheme to target only urban water usage as a form of drought relief.

    We have failed to fully recognize an "inconvenient truth." Thus, we find the Governor attempting to defend fracking in California on a "we have to get the oil from somewhere" rationalization, rather than coming to grips with scientific warnings that these climate destroying fossil fuels must "stay in the ground."

    We've ignored decades of dire warnings from climate scientists. Our political institutions and public airwaves have been utterly compromised by the corrupting influence of a handful of climate science denying billionaires, like Charles and David Koch, who sport a vice-into-virtue philosophy that places the unbridled greed of the privileged few, not only above the needs of the many, but above the need for a sustainable environment that will ensure the survival of our species.

    Nonetheless, it's time to act. Far passed it. The 25% urban use reduction is inadequate because it is too narrow and too simplistic.

    California should target the agricultural sector, not by a fixed percentage of use reduction but by imposing mandatory utilization of water saving techniques, e.g., drip irrigation, water recycling and organic farming. We should strive to reduce and eventually eliminate contamination of our precious groundwater by the fossil fuel, factory farming and livestock industries. We must look to our academic institutions and science to rapidly seek out additional supplies of freshwater via breakthrough techniques in desalination, all the while striving to replace environmentally destructive energy sources with clean technologies.

    Given the exigencies, what is required is nothing less than a massive, scientific undertaking that would rival that formerly devoted to the development of nuclear energy via the Manhattan Project. With 40 million residents, untold billions in agricultural assets and ever increasing energy needs as a potential mega-drought moves north and east towards still more states, its time for California to invest whatever it must to save both the planet and its own future.

    * * *
    Ernest A. Canning has been an active member of the California state bar since 1977. Mr. Canning has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science as well as a juris doctor. He is also a Vietnam Vet (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). Follow him on Twitter: @cann4ing.


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    PDiddie <![CDATA[Earth Day Toons o' the Moment]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11142 2015-04-22T13:00:33Z 2015-04-22T13:00:33Z (Uncategorized) Toons Environment BP Oil Disaster Coal Oil Climate change Oceans Water Transportation

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    Perry Dorrell blogs as PDiddie at Brains and Eggs, usually on topics concerning the strange brew of Texas politics. He's also on Twitter @PDiddie.


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    Brad Friedman <![CDATA[Letter to the Editor of the Moment: 'One of Four']]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11143 2015-04-22T04:35:26Z 2015-04-22T04:35:26Z Election Reform North Carolina Texas Photo ID Laws Election 2016 Recently, North Carolina opinion columnist and NC Insider editor Patrick Gannon misinformed readers of the Asheville Citizen-Times by telling them that the anti-voting law passed by Republicans after they took over the statehouse in 2013 --- a law which we (and others) have described as "the nation's worst voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era" --- isn't actually so bad.

    "In many ways," apologist Gannon writes, the bill simply "put North Carolina more on par with other states."

    He argues, as if it's a good thing, that while NC "once had among the least restrictive --- or more voter-friendly --- sets of election laws...That is no longer true." So, less "voter-friendly" is just fine by him, it seems.

    Gannon offers justification for each of the key restrictions that now hamstring NC's once rather progressive and, yes, voter-friendly election laws, by arguing that the GOP's changes do little more than put the state back in line with voting laws in other states "including Texas and South Carolina." Again, as if that's a good thing.

    But a Citizen-Times letter writer, in response, offers a key clarification to one of the most egregious bits of misinformation offered by Gannon --- one frequently parroted by Rightwing vote suppressors --- that the Photo ID restrictions passed as part of NC's new law are just like provisions for Voter IDs in "34 states that have passed voter identification requirements."

    That, as letter writer Mike Burns accurately (if more politely) explains, is complete bullshit...

    State columnist Patrick Gannon's assertion in the April 14 opinion piece, "North Carolina comes back to the pack on election laws," that North Carolina's 2013 regressive omnibus elections bill brings the state in line with national norms is inaccurate. To illustrate, the op-ed neglects the true negative effects of the new ID provisions. North Carolina is one of 34 states that have a voter identification requirement, but in reality it is one of four. Fifteen states have photo voter ID laws and only eight states have a "strict" photo voter ID law. Strict photo ID laws mean voters have no alternatives on Election Day or afterward but to present one of the required forms of photo ID; they cannot sign an affidavit or show multiple forms of non-photo ID. North Carolina will join only three other states, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, that have strict photo ID laws and exclude college student IDs from the list of acceptable voter ID. This narrow list makes North Carolina a rarity rather than the norm. North Carolina simply cannot be included with the majority of states when it comes to voter ID laws.

    Mike Burns, Washington, D.C.
    Burns is national director, Campus Vote Project

    NC's Photo ID restriction is extreme. Gannon either knows that and is lying about it, or doesn't and is happy to be conned. The Citizen-Times --- and the NC Insider, where the same column also ran --- should clarify the inaccurate and misleading column.

    I'll add here that Democrats and voting rights advocates also have themselves to blame for this. Despite my long advocacy on this point, they continue to refer to restrictive polling place voting restrictions like those enacted in North Carolina, as simply "Voter ID laws". Using that terminology, rather than something like "polling place Photo ID restrictions", gives the impression that strict Photo ID laws are no different than the many "common sense" laws in the majority of states which already require ID when voting. The average Joe, therefore, doesn't even understand that it's a different matter altogether to require, as most states do, one of dozens of different types of IDs when voting and/or allowing the voter to sign an affidavit before voting if they do not have one of those many types of allowable IDs.

    It's another thing entirely to disallow a ballot from being counted and allowing a right to be lost forever, even when a voter is otherwise able to verifiably identify him or herself, simply because they don't have one of the (purposely) very few types of ID now required under draconian Republican laws like NC's.

    To get an idea, check out just a few of the otherwise perfectly legal voters who were denied their right to vote under Texas' strict new polling place Photo ID restriction last November, including the 85-year old lady who had voted without problem for decades until TX Republicans instituted their draconian polling place Photo ID restriction. She doesn't drive anymore, so her expired TX drivers license didn't allow her to vote last year. Or, in the same story, the 68-year old lady who also no longer drives and who wasn't allowed to vote even after showing her military survivor's Photo ID.

    If one refers to all "Voter ID" laws similarly, even when they are not, its little wonder that lazy or duplicitous opinion columnists like Patrick Gannon are able to pawn off such misleading disinformation to the public.

    * * *
    Please help support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system and much more --- now in our TWELFTH YEAR! --- as available from no other media outlet in the nation...

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    Choose monthly amount...


    (Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)


    ]]>
    Desi Doyen <![CDATA['Green News Report' - April 21, 2015]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11141 2015-04-21T19:34:19Z 2015-04-21T19:34:19Z Florida United Nations Environment Barack Obama Republicans Green News BP Oil Disaster Rand Paul Climate change Jeb Bush NASA Election 2016 Marco Rubio Ted Cruz

     

    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: The BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, five years later; As Earth Day comes and goes, Obama pushes again for climate action; Jan-March 2015 was the hottest ever recorded; PLUS: Jeb Bush thinks climate change might actually be a thing... 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): 10 tips to make every day Earth Day; Geologists think they know what caused TX earthquakes; Everything you think you know about CA water is wrong; Majority of e-waste collected in 2014 not recycled correctly; Arctic is ‘unraveling’ due to climate change; Geologists blame fracking injection wells for TX earthquakes; Support for carbon tax reaches almost 70%; Electrical grid infrastructure needs major changes, report finds... PLUS: Since BP Spill, 9 Million Acres in Gulf Leased for Drilling... 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)...

    • 10 tips to make every day Earth Day (Treehugger):
      Reuse instead of buying new every time.
      Repurpose The more creative cousin of reuse, repurposing turns old junk into new, functional objects.
      Rot compost everything organic.
      Repair instead of replacing.
      Return Only buy from companies with take-back programs.
      Refill instead of buying disposable bottles and paper cups.
      Refuse to buy overpackaged, disposable, single-use junk.
    • Majority of e-waste collected in 2014 not recycled correctly: report (Waste Dive) [emphasis added]:
      [T]he volume of electronic waste discarded around the globe reached 41.8 million tons in 2014. Less than one-sixth of that was considered to be reused or recycled properly....The 41.8 million tons of electronics tossed in 2014 had a potential value of $52 billion worth of reusable resources.
    • The Arctic is ‘unraveling’ due to climate change, and the consequences will be global (Washington Post):
      “What Happens in the Arctic Doesn’t Stay in the Arctic:” Here are four potential ways, drawing both upon the new report and much of our prior reporting here, that changes in the Arctic will reverberate well beyond it and, in some cases, have planet wide consequences...
    • Everything I thought I knew about water in California is wrong (Grist):
      Yes, farmers use a whole lot of Golden State water. But there's no easy solution to the state's drought woes in turning off their taps.
    • Geologists think they know what caused Azle earthquakes (WFAA):
      It states that the team at SMU found "high volumes of wastewater injection combined with saltwater (brine) extraction from natural gas wells is the most likely cause of earthquakes."
    • Support for carbon tax reaches almost 70% (E&E News) [emphasis added]:
      A large majority of Americans support taxing carbon emissions, according to polling results released yesterday, and favorability rises to two-thirds if the tax is used to send money back to households....[The survey] also found that efforts by environmental organizations to increase urgency around climate change by pointing to extreme weather isn't working, and neither are efforts to erode people's belief in global warming by questioning the science.
    • Since BP Spill, 9 Million Acres in Gulf Leased for Drilling (InsideClimate News):
      The BP drilling rig explosion five years ago sent 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, causing widespread damage to wildlife, ecosystems and livelihoods still seen today.
    • Sardine population collapses, prompting ban on commercial fishing (SF Chronicle) [emphasis added]:
      [F]ederal scientists documented a 91 percent decline in sardine numbers along the West Coast since 2007.... "They didn't respond fast enough to the decline," said Shester, who blamed overfishing for worsening an already bad situation. "Now we find ourselves in a crisis situation."
    • Major Changes Needed for U.S. Power Infrastructure, Says Obama Report (Washington Post):
      The U.S. electric grid will require major changes to reposition itself for the future challenges of climate change, new technologies, and national security in coming decades, according to a first-ever “Quadrennial Energy Review” released by the Obama administration.
    • 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[Updates in Judge Mark Fuller 'Wife Beating' Case]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11140 2015-04-21T03:31:40Z 2015-04-21T03:31:40Z Karl Rove Georgia Alabama Impeachment Accountability Don Siegelman Bush Legacy Mark Fuller Terri Sewell There were several small, but somewhat noteworthy updates over the past week in the continuing saga of federal Judge Mark Fuller (U.S. District Court, Alabama's Middle District) which we've been covering in great detail here since his arrest last August on charges of beating his wife in an Atlanta hotel room last summer. (See links to our long series of coverage at end of this article.)

    First, as expected, following the plea deal Fuller struck with the Georgia state court allowing him to avoid trial by attending 24 one-hour-a-week domestic violence counseling sessions and a court supervised drug and alcohol evaluation, all criminal charges have now official been dropped against him and his criminal record is now officially expunged. As we explained in this short video which includes a portion of the chilling 911 call made by his wife Kelli from the Ritz-Carlton hotel on the night of his arrest, as far as the official record is concerned, this incident now "never even happened"...

    Though the official criminal charges against him "no longer exist", Fuller --- who maintains his innocence in the matter, as detailed to The BRAD BLOG by his attorney recently --- may still be impeached by Congress. Indeed, impeachment is now the only way Fuller will face real accountability or be removed from his lifetime appointment to the federal bench.

    "There should never have been an agreement to expunge his record, nor should he be allowed to remain on the federal bench," says Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL), who continued her call for Fuller's impeachment last week. She said she was "deeply disturbed" that charges were dismissed, and continued her persistent calls for impeachment proceedings to be taken up by Congress...

    "Our society is sending the wrong message about domestic violence to perpetrators by allowing a federal judge --- who has sworn to uphold the values we hold dear --- to continue to serve in any capacity. His punishment must reflect the seriousness of the crime, and any recommendations to the 11th Circuit Judicial Council that fall short of impeachment are inexcusable," says Sewell, Alabama's only Democratic Congress member, about the fate of the controversial 2002 George W. Bush appointee.

    For their part, the 11th Circuit Judicial Conference created a five-judge Special Committee panel to investigate the incident and offer their recommendations for action to the U.S. Judicial Conference. The committee may make no recommendation; ask Fuller to voluntarily resign or retire; or recommend to Congress that they take up impeachment.

    "I am again calling on the House Judiciary Committee to initiate impeachment proceedings should the Judicial Council decline to make such a recommendation," Sewell said in her statement. "Judge Fuller must be immediately removed from the bench. He has irrevocably violated the sacred trust placed in him, and Congress must send a strong message that his actions are beneath the seat he holds."

    Last December, Congressmen Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and John Conyers (D-MI), the chair and ranking members, respectively, of the U.S. House Judiciary, sent a query to the 11th Circuit seeking information on when their investigation would conclude. Impeachment proceedings generally begin in the House Judiciary Committee and in February they sought a budget increase to cover the expenses for such a hearing.

    Earlier this month, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-NE), chair of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the 11th Circuit Special Committee seeking an update as well, noting that Fuller's "alleged actions raise serious questions, and, if true, will significantly undermine his ability to serve in his current capacity."

    Finally, for now, with both the U.S. House and Senate Committees waiting for an update from the Circuit, and with its findings previously expected to come before the end of last month, it was reported last week that the 11th Circuit's Special Committee recently held another day of testimony.

    According to AL.com, "The committee had held a three-day hearing in February to hear testimony from about 20 witnesses." The 5-judge panel reportedly heard from an additional four witnesses when they reconvened earlier this month, though it's not publicly known who the witnesses were or why they were queried by the committee.

    In the meantime, Alabama's former Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman --- who was sentenced to more than six years in federal prison by Mark Fuller for something that 113 bi-partisan former state Attorneys General say had never been a crime until Siegelman was charged with it --- continues to seek a new trial based on, among other things, alleged misconduct during the trial by Judge Fuller.

    After Fuller's record was expunged last week, his Birmingham attorney Barry Ragsdale was quoted telling AL.com that, given the publicity surrounding Fuller's arrest, the court action didn't mean very much. "I've always thought expungement under this context didn't make any difference," Ragsdale said.

    We suspect Gov. Siegelman, who, we can confirm, is following these proceedings closely from his prison cell at the Federal Correctional Institution in Oakdale, Louisiana, would likely disagree.

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    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"
    3/30/2015: "EXCLUSIVE: Judge Mark Fuller's Attorney Says 'Drunk' Wife Kelli Faked Being Beaten on 911 Call"


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    PDiddie <![CDATA[Sunday Toons of the Moment]]> http://bradblog.com/?p=11139 2015-04-19T13:00:15Z 2015-04-19T13:00:15Z Toons

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    Perry Dorrell blogs as PDiddie at Brains and Eggs, usually on topics concerning the strange brew of Texas politics. He's also on Twitter @PDiddie.


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