Birders Don’t Need to Be Told That Catastrophic Climate Change Approaches | Hannah Waters – Audubon

Birders Don’t Need to Be Told That Catastrophic Climate Change Approaches

A new report warns that we’re approaching the point of no return—a fact that close observers of nature have known for years.    By Hannah Waters  October 10, 2018

“On Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a new report that reminded readers the world over of the hot, dire straits we’re now swimming in. Like most reports from the international organization, founded in 1988 by the World Meterological Organization and United Nations Environment Programme, it’s a massive summary of scientific research hitting on all the impacts of global warming that affect people and wildlife alike.”

David Lindsay: This is the best article to date that I have read, summarizing and digesting the devastating news in last Monday’s report by the IPCC on the latest forecast for destruction from just a 1.5 degree celsius increase in world temperature. Well done Hannah Waters for the Audubon Society.

Source: Birders Don’t Need to Be Told That Catastrophic Climate Change Approaches | Audubon

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Opinion | The Growing Crisis of Democracy – by David Leonhardt – NYT

“First, the United States has never gone through a prolonged period of minority democratic rule — that is, when a minority of enfranchised citizens held power over a majority for years on end. We’re not there yet. But as Klein notes, we have started down that path.

Second, the party now empowered by a minority of voters — the Republicans — is not merely playing by the rules. It is trying to change those rules to maintain power. It is preventing some citizens (usually those with dark skin) from voting, and it is changing campaign-finance laws.
That second point leads directly into a third: The rules governing our country have frequently changed over the last 230 or so years. The number of states has more than tripled. Women, African-Americans and 18-year-olds, among others, have gained the right to vote. In all, the constitution has been amended 27 times.

There is nothing extreme about responding to the Republican Party’s current efforts to restrict democracy with an ambitious effort to revitalize democracy. That effort could include: a federal law protecting voting rights; states laws that go even further to encourage voting; other laws to stop ludicrous gerrymandering; statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.; and much more. And I’d hope that many parts of the agenda would win support from voters of all stripes — Democratic, Republican and independent.

In the past, I’ve argued that the country’s two biggest challenges are climate change and the stagnation of living standards for most people. I now think that democracy protection and revitalization belong on that list.”

Christine Hallquist Would Like to Talk About the Power Grid – The New York Times

By Liam Stack Oct. 17, 2018

“BARRE, Vt. — Christine Hallquist is the first transgender person to be nominated for governor by a major party, and she knows people are interested in hearing her life story.

She is more than happy to tell it, but the thing she really wants to talk about is the electric grid.

“The foundation of all humanity, way back to the beginning, has been energy,” she said, walking outside the Washington County Treatment Court, a drug-treatment program, on a brisk fall day. “The rise and fall of empires has been based on energy.”

Ms. Hallquist, 62, a plain-spoken Democrat who spent more than a decade running an electric utility company, has been enthralled by science and engineering ever since she was young, when classmates mocked her for being feminine and the nuns at school beat her and recommended her parents treat her nonconformity with an exorcism.”

“. . . .  And in an age when Democratic politicians stake positions around terms like “socialist” — one of many labels for which she has little use — Ms. Hallquist has made the electric grid central to her political identity.

“We can grow the hell out of this rural economy if we connect every home and business to fiber optic cable” strung alongside power lines, which could bring high-speed internet to the state’s many remote towns, she said. And by moving electricity production away from fossil fuel she believes “the electric grid could be the tool to solve climate change.” “

Opinion | Taylor Swift- the Grown-Up in the Room – By Margaret Renkl – NYT

By Margaret Renkl
Contributing Opinion Writer
Oct. 13, 2018 277 comments

“NASHVILLE — Last Sunday night, Taylor Swift did something she had never done in her stratospheric career as a pop star: She endorsed a political candidate in Tennessee, her adopted home state.

She endorsed two candidates, actually, both Democrats: Representative Jim Cooper, who is running for re-election to Congress, and former Gov. Phil Bredesen, who is running to fill the Senate seat that the Republican Bob Corker is voluntarily, sort of, vacating.

Swift did more than simply endorse the Democrats. In an Instagram post to her 112 million followers, she also slammed Marsha Blackburn, the Republican House member running against Mr. Bredesen: “Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me,” Ms. Swift wrote. “She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values.”

There’s a good reason for any female artist, especially one who got her start on country radio, to think twice about wading into politics. To understand how much courage it took for Taylor Swift to post such a statement, you need to remember what happened to the Dixie Chicks back in 2003. At the time they were one of the most popular acts in country-music history and the top-selling female group of all time. Then, in the run-up to the Iraq war, the lead singer, Natalie Maines, told a London audience that the group opposed the coming invasion: “We do not want this war, this violence,” she said, “and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.” “

Amy McGrath on Climate Change from her website – amymcgrathforcongress.com

Damn. Amy McGrath’s Website doesn’t have a FB share button. But she knows as much about climate change as I do. She has the global and national perspective, as well as the Kentucky perspective.  Her issues page on Climate Change goes like this:

“CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change isn’t a theory. It’s a fact.

And it’s not just scientists around the world who know it. The United States military recognizes it – and realizes that it poses a serious challenge to our national security. That’s why our military is already testing, researching, and adapting operations to succeed in these rapidly changing environments.

A changing climate has had and will continue to have hugely disruptive effects not only on the environment, but also on migration patterns, economies, disease vectors, and political unrest around the world. All of these dramatically affect our country’s safety, security and well-being.

We are already experiencing these effects: The Earth is getting warmer. Eight of the last ten summers have each been the hottest in history, and last summer was the hottest ever recorded. Sea levels are rising. This will affect massive numbers of people who live on the world’s coastlines, creating climate refugees, economic challenges, epidemics and pandemics, and geopolitical upheavals on a scale never before seen. Climate change is coming and we can’t afford to look the other way.

Our naval bases around the globe are seeing the consequences now. Ten times a year, floods cripple our Norfolk Naval Base. Key West Naval Air Station – where I learned to air-to-air dogfight in the F/A-18 – will be almost completely under water in the next 70 years. Weather patterns are creating hurricanes, floods, and fires in ways we’ve never seen before and that will both affect and in some cases demand military responses.

Large parts of the world, including the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia, are undergoing dramatic desertification at an alarming rate, meaning less food will be produced and large migrations will occur as people will be forced out of the lands they occupy today. In the 20th century, we fought wars over values or economic conflicts; in the 21st century, it will be over food, water and resources.

Another reason climate change is a national security concern is its huge impact on our economy. Rising sea levels will alter global shipping patterns, severe weather will affect the ability of goods to be produced and transported, and markets, particularly for energy, are shifting as nations work to address and mitigate these changes.

All of this is why the Trump Administration’s decision to slash research on sustainable, clean sources of energy is so wrong-headed and concerns me – and should concern every patriotic American.

Both from a security and an economic standpoint, we need to invest in renewable energy. Our military is already one of the biggest proponents of renewable energy research. Why? Because it saves lives – and makes more strategic sense – if forward operating bases overseas do not have to be constantly refueled with traditional forms of energy like petroleum, which require vulnerable ground supply lines and are subject to potentially volatile markets.

Both militarily and economically, the US must be a world leader in renewables investment or we will cede the future energy industry – and our national security – to China, which is developing in this area at a rapid pace.

America should be leading the world in responding to climate change, not running away. The Paris Climate Accords is a global agreement to recognize climate change and pursue a call to action to mitigate its detrimental effects. When President Trump pulled out of the agreement, he not only made an irresponsible move given the trajectory of the global climate, but also severely lessened our power in world leadership. He signified a lack of responsibility and seriousness in protecting our world.

Simply put, “America first” doesn’t work regarding climate change because we don’t live in a bubble. By removing ourselves from the Paris Agreement, we not only turn our back on the rest of the world, but we are turning our back on our own people. We owe it to our fellow Americans to take every measure possible in mitigating the effects of climate change.

But renewable energy research isn’t just something we need to do to respond to a threat – whether security, economic, or environmental – it’s something we should invest in as an opportunity. Renewable energy is both cleaner and more economical in the long-run, and that’s why it has tremendous potential for economic growth and job opportunities across America.

This is especially true for Kentucky. As I discuss in detail in my forthcoming economic plan, Kentucky’s energy future need not be an either/or choice between coal and sustainable sources. We can provide support for our coal communities and boost coal consumption here in Kentucky by using local coal-generated electricity for electric vehicles while we work to transition the energy infrastructure and expertise that we already have to renewables like wind and solar.

Furthermore, renewable energy represents an opportunity not a threat for our state: Kentucky can become a leader in expanding solar and wind production, which will both reduce electricity costs for our families and bring energy-related jobs back to Central Kentucky. We can achieve this in part by leveraging our military bases as national hubs for renewables research, and expanding – not cutting – federal investment in this research.

Because of our location, Central Kentucky can also continue to be a leader in the budding logistics industry by investing in needed electric-vehicle infrastructure, which will itself help produce additional jobs in vehicle manufacturing and energy provision. Such strategies will help contribute to the mitigation of climate change – but they, just as importantly, will help grow our economy and create jobs: not jobs somewhere far away, jobs right here in Kentucky.

In sum, we have the tools right here in Central Kentucky to be leaders not only in the coal economy of the 20th Century, but also in the renewable energy economy of the 21st Century. Renewables research is an opportunity for Kentucky, and we need someone to go to Washington and fight so that when the future economy comes, our district will be its home, just as it was for the energy economy of the past.

The environment shouldn’t be a partisan, political issue. This is a global issue, an American issue, and an issue for Kentucky. It’s about the future of our planet for our children and generations to come. We need leaders that get it.”

https://amymcgrathforcongress.com/

AMYMCGRATHFORCONGRESS.COM
Amy McGrath Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.) Donate

Amy McGrath Is Avoiding Attack Ads. Can a Congressional Candidate Win Without Them? – By Michael Tackett – NYT

The race for Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District between the Republican incumbent, Andy Barr, and his Democratic challenger, Amy McGrath, has featured one of the highest concentration of political ads in the country — almost 7,000 airings — in one of the most fiercely fought races.

But there is a twist. The contest also has one of the most lopsided ratios of negative-to-positive ads, with Mr. Barr and aligned Republican groups spending more than $3 million in the relatively inexpensive Lexington media market in the past six weeks, overwhelmingly on spots attacking Ms. McGrath.

Ms. McGrath, so far, has not run attack ads against Mr. Barr, an approach that makes this contest a laboratory to test the long-held proposition that while voters find negative ads distasteful, candidates use them because they work.”

David Lindsay, NYT comment:  Bravo Michael Tackett. I didn’t feel satisfied at the end of this article, and stared to tear it down in my mind for focusing on a topic, ad strategy, rather than the actual positions of the candidates. Then I reviewed the article in my mind, and had two thoughts. Today, you can get the bullet positions on their websites, so the article would have just been stronger with a hyperlink to each candidate’s website. Second, I was able to see many position obliquely, through the discussion of the ads. I watched the ad on Amy McGrath playing soccer while responding to 6 or 7 vile attacks. I wrote on Facebook: There is a good article in the NYT today about Amy McGrath, running as a Democrat in the Kentucky 6th Congressional distinct. She is turning heads, by refusing to answer her opponents onslaught of negative ads, by making almost all her ads about what she stands for. This ad, is her one attack ad, which one woman is quoted as calling stupid, since soccer has nothing to do with being a congressman. I think it’s a brilliant ad. She deserves support if you can afford it, regardless of what party you belong to.

David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

Yet Another Reason for Your Kids to Unplug? Health Risks from Cellphone Radiation | Children’s Health Initiative | EWG

WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 2018
By Olga Naidenko Ph.D., Senior Science Advisor for Children’s Environmental Health

“Most Americans, including children, use electronic devices like cellphones, tablets and smartwatches, for hours every day – and many have developed symptoms that look like addictive behavior. In 2017, children ages 8 and younger spent, on average, 48 minutes on mobile devices daily, and 42 percent of children 8 and younger have their own tablet devices, according to Common Sense Media.

But frequent use of electronic devices may pose health risks beyond addiction.

So far, the issue of children’s exposure to radiofrequency radiation from wireless devices has been missing from the debate about children’s screen time. Research from the National Toxicology Program reveals troubling evidence that cellphone radiation could cause brain and heart cancer.

Scientists exposed laboratory animals to radiofrequency radiation at levels similar to and higher than those emitted by cellphones. The exposed animals showed a greater likelihood of developing malignant glioma, a type of brain cancer, as well as heart tumors, compared to unexposed animals. Although this study tested radiation effects on animals, it offers valuable insight into the potential risk to people, including future exposure to 5G wireless networks.

Digital devices and the spectrum of invisible radiofrequency waves they transmit are changing rapidly. Even though scientific studies of cellphone radiation’s health impacts have not kept pace with the rapid technology developments, available research suggests that long-term exposure to wireless radiation could result in long-lasting health harm.

When EWG asked our audience how concerned it was about cellphone radiation, over 21,000 people answered, 95 percent of whom were either extremely or very concerned about young kids using cellphones and other wireless devices.

Since 2009, EWG has been doing research on possible health risks of cellphone and wireless radiation, especially for children’s health. In 2011 the World Health Organization classified cellphone radiation as a possible carcinogen.

In December 2017, the state of California officially issued guidelines advising cellphone users to keep phones away from their bodies. When the groundbreaking guidelines were made public, California Department of Public Health Director Karen Smith said:

Simple steps, such as not keeping your phone in your pocket and moving it away from your bed at night, can help reduce exposure for both children and adults … Children’s brains develop through the teenage years and may be more affected by cell phone use. Parents should consider reducing the time their children use cell phones and encourage them to turn the devices off at night.”

Source: Yet Another Reason for Your Kids to Unplug? Health Risks from Cellphone Radiation | Children’s Health Initiative | EWG

Opinion | The Supreme Court’s Legitimacy Crisis – By Michael Tomasky – NYT

By Michael Tomasky
Mr. Tomasky is editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and a contributing opinion writer. Oct. 5, 2018

The United States Supreme Court.CreditCreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times
Test your Supreme Court knowledge: In the entire history of the court, exactly one justice has been

a) nominated by a president who didn’t win the popular vote and

b) confirmed by a majority of senators who collectively won fewer votes in their last election than did the senators who voted against that justice’s confirmation.

Who was it?

If you’re like me, your mind started leapfrogging back to the 19th century. After all, this sounds like one of those oddities that was far more likely to have happened when our democracy was still in formation.

So let’s see … John Quincy Adams lost the popular vote in 1824. Someone he named to the Court? Or Rutherford B. Hayes — lost to Samuel J. Tilden in 1876, then was named president by a rigged commission. Maybe him?”

Foxfire (play) – Wikipedia

Foxfire (play)
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Foxfire is a play with songs, book by Susan Cooper, Hume Cronyn, music by Jonathan Brielle (Holtzman) and lyrics by Susan Cooper, Hume Cronyn, and Jonathan Brielle. The show was based on the Foxfire books, about Appalachian culture and traditions in north Georgia and the struggle to keep the traditions alive. The 1982 Broadway production starred Jessica Tandy, who won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play and the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance. It costarred Hume Cronyn as well as Keith Carradine who played a country music performer selling out the old traditions to make a buck. Carradine sang most of the songs in the show and most notable were the close of Act 1, “My Feet Took T’ Walkin’.” It was later adapted as a TV movie, where Tandy played the same role and won an Emmy Award. Carradine was replaced with John Denver for the Hallmark movie. Other songs in the show included: “Sweet Talker,” “Dear Lord,” “Young Lady Take A Warning,” and “Red Ear.”

Source: Foxfire (play) – Wikipedia

Opinion | Amazon’s Surrender Is Inspiring – by David Leonhardt – NYT

“There are two ways to fight the long stagnation in living standards for most Americans. The first is probably the more obvious and the one I spend more time writing about: through government policy.The government can raise the minimum wage. It can increase the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is effectively a wage subsidy. It can cut taxes on the middle class. It can spend more money on education, child care and health care. All of these are good ideas.But they’re not the only way to lift living standards. For much of the past century, another approach has been even more important: As the economy grew, American companies paid workers their fair share of the growth.”