The Better Nature of Humanity Will Prevail

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The Better Nature of Humanity Will Prevail

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:46 am

This place needs examples of the better nature of here's the thread

thanks Blue for the idea

for every negative story I post I will contribute to this thread

A record-breaking number of scientists are running for office this year.

Kate Yoder
phd candidates

Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images

To stand up to climate change deniers and protect science, a wave of candidates from science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) backgrounds are running for local and federal office in 2018.

More than 60 STEM candidates have announced a bid for federal office, while almost 200 are running for state legislature and another 200 for local school boards, according to 314 Action, a political action committee.

It’s the one good thing to come out of the Trump administration’s attempts to wipe climate change from websites, silence experts, and generally take scientific censorship to the next level.

There’s currently a small number of STEM representatives in Congress — one PhD physicist, one microbiologist, and a handful of engineers, says Ted Bordelon, 314’s Director of Communications. More than 7,000 potential candidates have reached out to 314, and it’s trained nearly 1,500 of them.

The scientist candidates won’t have it easy. Some are challenging incumbents, who are generally favored. And some opponents will have financial support from the fossil fuel industry and the Koch brothers, who are spending $400 million on the election this year.

Shaughnessy Naughton, founder and president of 314, says that’s to be expected: “There’s basically a direct correlation between money that the fossil fuel industry spends on candidates and their refusal to do anything about climate change.” ... ign=weekly

and watch every episode of robertpaulsen's road trip adventures on Youtube :) ... tCSsafgVKQ

the mission:
to uncover, curate, and rekindle that goodness mankind has forgotten it always had.
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Re: The Better Nature of Humanity Will Prevail

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:02 pm

The Truth Behind Why 49 Million Americans Can't Buy Affordable, Healthy Food

Healthy eating shouldn't be out of reach. Filmmaker Lori Silverbush and chef Tom Colicchio want every family to have access to the food they need to thrive.

Dana Gallagher
Several years ago, while at a juvenile jail doing research for an upcoming film, I met a bright and charming 13-year-old who regularly cycled in and out of the place. She avidly awaited my visits because she knew I would bring her books that engaged her active mind much more than her sad and boring surroundings did. Once, I asked her why someone as curious as she was would keep returning. She answered, "In here, I get three meals a day." I was stunned.

My husband, Tom, and I have donated to and raised money for hunger-related charities over the years, but my work as a filmmaker opened my eyes and got me wondering: Why wasn't the record amount of money being raised doing more to stop hunger? According to a 2013 U.S. Department of Agriculture study, more Americans than ever before—over 49 million—were food insecure. Shouldn't the numbers have been going down instead of up?

My filmmaking partner, Kristi Jacobson, and I took a deeper look into the causes of hunger in America, and it led to our 2013 documentary, A Place at the Table. We discovered that hunger is solvable. It's not a condition we should simply accept. Over the years, America has built a safe, abundant, and healthy food supply, along with policies like the Farm Bill that helped create, protect, and share this abundance. These programs were intended to ensure that all Americans had access to the kind of food that would support health and development.


Right now, because some communities aren't firmly plugged into the food system, millions of Americans aren't getting enough to eat. In rural areas—where the nearest grocery store can be hours away—it can be difficult to access fresh fruits and vegetables. In manufacturing towns, where jobs have dwindled, people might have incomes too low to afford sufficient, healthy food but too high to qualify for assistance programs. In many urban areas, the only affordable items are fast food and processed meals that are high in calories but low in nutrition.

Maybe it's time we adapted the Department of Agriculture into the Department of Food, charged with solving the problem of hunger.

The result is a serious national problem with food insecurity. When kids don't get the nutrition they need, they fall behind in school and can get into trouble, like the girl I met in juvie. When low-income Americans are forced to rely on the cheapest, least nutritious foods, they get sick. Americans aren't starving, but they aren't thriving, either.

When President Lincoln formed the Department of Agriculture in 1862, he called it "The People's Department," because at that time about half of American workers were farmers. Today, only about 2% of Americans farm—but 100% of us eat. Maybe it's time we adapted the Department of Agriculture into the Department of Food, charged with solving the problem of hunger and ensuring that our food supply stays safe, abundant, and accessible to all.


Things are moving in the right direction; today, we have a whole generation of kids who have grown up excited about high-quality food, thanks in part to shows like Top Chef  (where Tom is head judge), and who now tweet, 'gram, and Snap their #brunch across the world. We are going to see markets adapt to this new generation of food lovers, especially as they become parents. Food producers are already adopting more transparency in their labeling and trying to cut back on sugar and additives because consumers have been asking for it. Ultimately, I think we'll see a ban on advertising the worst junk food to children and a stronger pipeline of local, healthy food making its way affordably to our dinner tables. In 20 years, we predict hunger will be one of those things we'll look back at—like smoking on airplanes or tossing trash out of car windows—and say, "Amazing how we just accepted that."

Lori and Tom in their backyard garden.
Dana Gallagher

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

America's potential is in its people. When we have the fuel for well-being—including healthy food and sound nutrition—we fuel the vibrancy of our communities. And when American well-being is powered up, it propels us forward to do amazing things.

Our proposed "Department of Food" will focus on...

Ensuring that healthy foods are the least expensive items on your grocery list by funding research and technology to expand the yield of fruits and vegetables and subsidizing their growth on family farms. A peach shouldn't cost more than a cheeseburger!
Insisting on honest and transparent food labeling so you'll know what you're putting in your and your kids' bodies.
Creating protections for children by putting limits on how unhealthy food can be sold and advertised, like the ones applied to the tobacco and alcohol industries.
Working with the Department of Education to bring nutrition and cooking classes back into schools. This will arm future generations with skills for home cooking or potential employment.
Supporting small family farms by incentivizing sustainable growing practices and creating farm-to-school pipelines in all 50 states.
Instituting environmental protections that safeguard our food supply from harmful chemicals and the overuse of antibiotics.
Reducing food waste by adopting methods that turn food scraps into energy and fertilizer.
Decreasing the number of food deserts in urban, rural, and manufacturing areas to ensure that families have access to affordable, healthy meals rather than just fast food.
Learn more about the movement to reduce food insecurity and improve nutrition at ... epartment/
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Re: The Better Nature of Humanity Will Prevail

Postby stillrobertpaulsen » Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:06 pm

seemslikeadream » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:46 am wrote:and watch every episode of robertpaulsen's road trip adventures on Youtube :) ... tCSsafgVKQ

the mission:
to uncover, curate, and rekindle that goodness mankind has forgotten it always had.

Thank you so much and I'm so glad you're enjoying our adventures!
:lovehearts: :lovehearts: :lovehearts:

I think our mission, aside from having a good time, is discovering and exploring what beauty exists in the western part of America. I like to think true beauty has an inherent goodness.

Here's some pictures from our latest episode:




"Huey Long once said, “Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.” I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security."
-Jim Garrison 1967
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Re: The Better Nature of Humanity Will Prevail

Postby JackRiddler » Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:52 pm

To Justice my maker from on high did incline:
I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

Top Secret Wall St. Iraq? & more
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Notice who ain't part of the movement

Postby Blue » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:03 pm

Globally, gas car phaseout gains momentum

Europe and Asia lead push to replace traditional cars with electric and hybrid ones amid climate and pollution concerns.

First, it was low emission zones – laws restricting where polluting vehicles can go within a town or city. In Europe more than 200 such zones have been established. Now, national governments are poised to take the next step in the fight against air pollution: limits on the sales of gas and diesel vehicles.

In the Netherlands, the government is pushing forward a plan to end the sales of gas and diesel vehicles by 2030. France and Britain have announced similar plans for 2040. In Norway, which has strong targets for getting gas and diesel cars off the road, 2017 was the first year in which electric and hybrid vehicle sales exceeded 50 percent of total sales. India says it will electrify all new vehicles as soon as 2030. With an expanding electric car market, falling battery prices, and an increasing number of regulations, electric vehicles could replace petrol-powered ones faster than anticipated, some experts say.

China, the world’s largest automobile-producing country, has yet to enforce a ban, but Chinese officials are expected to follow their international counterparts and have hinted at the creation of a timetable for phasing out the production of gas and diesel vehicles. Even now, China has asked automakers to ensure that 10 percent of car sales are electric vehicles by 2019. ... s-momentum
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Re: The Better Nature of Humanity Will Prevail

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:45 pm


The state government of South Australia is enlisting the help of Tesla to connect 50,000 solar-powered homes in order to create the world’s largest “virtual power plant.”

The plan involves installing a 5kW solar panel system and a Tesla Powerwall 2 battery on public housing properties across the state over the next four years—at no cost to the households involved.

South Australia has suffered from blackouts in recent years amid fears of a looming energy crisis. Last year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed he could help solve the problem by building a giant battery farm within 100 days.

Elon Musk during his presention during Tesla Powerpack Launch Event at Hornsdale Wind Farm on September 29, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia.

The 129-megawatt-hour battery was installed weeks ahead of schedule and is estimated to now provide reliable electricity to up to 3,000 homes in the state.

South Australia now wants to further improve its electricity supply through a virtual power plant, which works by linking participating homes into a network capable of generating, storing and feeding energy back into the grid.

The rollout will be initially funded by a AUS$2 million (1.6m) grant from the state government, as well as a AUS$30 million ($23.8m) loan from the Renewable Technology Fund. This will then be repaid through the sale of electricity.

Read more: Elon Musk and the world’s fastest-selling flamethrower

A trial of the virtual power plant is already underway, according to the local government, and residents were encouraged to register their interest in participating in the program.

“The Government will release a market notice later this week for a retailer to deliver the program, with a preference of bringing more competition into the market,” the government said in a statement on Sunday.

“Additionally, all South Australians will also benefit from the increased generation in the South Australian energy mix, with lower energy prices and increased energy stability.”

The initiative is expected to lower household electricity bills by 30 percent, according to the consultancy firm Frontier Economics.

“[South Australia] is developing a 21st Century power system ahead of anybody else,” said Danny Price, managing director of Frontier Economics.

Similar schemes are already underway in North America and Europe but Price says South Australia’s will be three-times the size of the rest of all virtual power plants around the world.

“What’s unique about this is the way in which these different elements have been brought together under a coherent plan and executed extremely quickly to deal with the challenges in South Australia,” Price said.

“It really is leading the way in terms of the way in which a kind of modern power system looks like. In fact South Australia is developing the power system that we must have to meet the Paris agreement," he said, referring to the climate deal that was signed in 2016 to help reduce global emissions. ... ery-799273
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Re: The Better Nature of Humanity Will Prevail

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:16 am

Eric Schneiderman‏Verified account
Follow Follow @AGSchneiderman
#BREAKING: Our coalition of 17 AGs just won a preliminary injunction blocking @POTUS’s discriminatory attempt to end #DACA and deport DREAMers.


Eric Schneiderman
The courts agree: President Trump's decision to rescind #DACA was illegal.

My full statement: #DefendDACA


Trump’s Richest Backers Lost $11.6 Billion in the Selloff
It’s been a rough February, even for President Trump’s biggest financial backers.

The 24 people tracked by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index who collectively gave $29.3 million to his election campaign and related political groups have seen their fortunes cut by $11.6 billion since the S&P 500 Index peaked on Jan. 26. The market swoon that followed wiped out all of their gains for the year.

Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s Sheldon Adelson took the biggest hit, with his fortune dropping by $2 billion to $37 billion from the market peak through Monday’s close. Wildcatter Harold Hamm lost $1.8 billion and Home Depot Inc. co-founder Bernie Marcus dropped $1 billion.

The recent decline left the group of two dozen with a combined fortune of $218 billion through Feb. 12, according to the Bloomberg ranking. That’s up $27 billion since the 2016 election. ... rket-swoon
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Re: The Better Nature of Humanity Will Prevail

Postby tron » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:12 pm

wrt to america having food issues, cut out the middle man, you have a food distro problem, if all the folks upstae wh can grow sold direct to the needy, they could get it cheaper than going through the man,
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Re: The Better Nature of Humanity Will Prevail

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:45 pm

Larry Krasner Sues Big Pharma, Drops All Marijuana Possession Charges

With a little over a month in office, Philly’s new DA is already further reforming the city’s drug policy.
by JOE TRINACRIA · 2/16/2018, 9:17 a.m.

On the same day a op-ed was published in which Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (and Mayor Kenney) admitted the failure that was the “War on Drugs,” in the 1980s and ’90s, the DA’s office announced that it is suing 10 pharmaceutical companies in connection with the opioid epidemic and is dropping all outstanding marijuana possession charges.

In just a little over a month since taking office, Krasner has already built on the progress that began under former mayor Michael Nutter’s administration by further reforming the city’s drug policy to the point where getting busted with pot now no longer means a court date is in your future. Krasner says citations are issued approximately 90 percent of the time someone is caught with marijuana.

“What we’re talking about is the 10 percent or so that are being charged as they used to be, as misdemeanors in court,” Krasner said during a press conference Thursday. From now on, the DA will advise his staff not to pursue criminal charges against anyone arrested for marijuana possession in the city. Citations currently range from $25 for possession to $100 for those caught toking up in public.

“I did it because I felt it was the right thing to do,” Krasner said when asked of his motivation. “We could use those resources to solve homicides.”

Additionally, the DA’s office said that it had filed a lawsuit on February 2nd against Big Pharma under Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Laws for their alleged role in creating the city’s opioid epidemic. The defendants are Purdue Pharma, L.P.; Purdue Pharma, Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc.; Allergan Finance, LLC; Cephalon, Inc.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; Endo Health Solutions, Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; and Johnson & Johnson.

“The City of Philadelphia has been hurt, more than any other city in the nation, by the scourge of opioids,” Krasner said in a release. “The time to act is now, which is why I’ve taken this unprecedented action, in parallel with the City of Philadelphia’s suit, to stop these companies from systematically distracting the public from knowing the true dangers of opioid use as they reap billions of dollars in profits.”

Read more at ... jIUOKRS.99

Zaid Jilani
February 18 2018, 5:56 a.m.
THE NATION’S SECRETARIES OF state gathered for a multi-day National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) conference in Washington, D.C., this weekend, with cybersecurity on the mind.

Panels and lectures centered around the integrity of America’s election process, with the federal probe into alleged Russian government attempts to penetrate voting systems a frequent topic of discussion.

Cybersecurity experts from the federal government and military were in high supply. Every secretary of state was invited to a closed-door briefing at the Department of Homeland Security, while federal experts spoke to a wider audience at the conference.

Brigadier General Timothy T. Lunderman, a cybersecurity expert at the National Guard, ran a session laying out to the assembled officials the resources available to them in the event of a cyberattack or intrusion on their systems. “If you take something away from today’s message, it is that we are a team,” he said.

One way to allay concerns about the integrity of electronic voting machine infrastructure, however, is to simply not use it. Over the past year, a number of states are moving back towards the use of paper ballots or at least requiring a paper trail of votes cast.

For instance, Pennsylvania just moved to require all voting systems to keep a paper record of votes cast. Prior to last year’s elections in Virginia, the commonwealth’s board of elections voted to decertify paperless voting machines — voters statewide instead voted the old-fashioned way, with paper ballots.

“It works. I understand. At least if we’re having to spend some time on it, we’re the only ones in control, perhaps is the idea. Nobody else hacking on in I guess is their theory so hopefully it’s safe,” voter Ken Rafferty told the local press on voting day.

Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson proudly touted his state’s system to The Intercept during an interview at NASS.

Oregon is one of two states in the country to require its residents to vote by mail, a system that was established via referendum in 1998. Richardson argued that this old-fashioned system offers some of the best defense there is against cyber interference.

“We’re using paper and we’re never involved with the Internet. The Internet is not involved at all until there’s an announcement by each of our 36 counties to [the capital] Salem of what the results are and then that’s done orally and through a confirmation e-mail and the county clerks in each of the counties are very careful to ensure that the numbers that actually are posted are the ones that they have,” he said. “Oregon’s in a pretty unique situation.”

Democratic Congressman Jim Cooper of Tennessee recently urged his state to use $29 million in federal funds from the Help America Vote Act to reinforce the state’s paperless machines with a paper trail. “We have an opportunity to improve our election system so that it cannot be hacked, so the voters have complete faith in the integrity in the system, so that democracy works well here in Tennessee,” he said, explaining his request for the funds.

Richardson agrees with the logic that a system that doesn’t rely on electronic voting machines is more secure.

“It’s a system that works….every [ballot] envelope that comes in has a bar code and a signature on the outside envelope. So the bar code brings up on the scanner the signature that’s part of the registration process and then it’s compared on the screen with the signature on the envelope. So every ballot that comes in on paper, the signatures are checked, and it’s just a system that we feel can’t really be hacked. It’s worked really well for us.”

In New Hampshire, the state uses a hybrid system that includes both paper ballots and machines that electronically count paper ballots with a paper trail.

Karen Ladd, the assistant secretary of state for New Hampshire, touted the merits of the system to The Intercept. “We do a lot of recounts, and you can only have a recount with a paper ballot. You can’t do a recount with a machine!” she said.

America’s paper ballot states may seem antiquated to some, but our neighbors to the north have used paper ballots for federal elections for their entire history. Thanks to an army of officials at 25,000 election stations, the integrity of Canada’s elections is never in doubt. “It’s highly decentralized and it’s paper-based so documents can be verified easily afterwards,” Marc Mayrand, former Chief Electoral Officer of Elections Canada, told the National Post. “So, there may be an error in transmission from time to time or there may be somebody trying to hack the web system that publishes results for the general public. But it’s always verifiable, you can always go back to your paper trail.”

Correction: Feb. 18, 2018, 1:00 p.m.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Oregon’s secretary of state as Lucien Heath. It has since been updated with the name of Oregon’s current secretary of state, Dennis Richardson.
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Re: The Better Nature of Humanity Will Prevail

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:47 am


Support a weapons ban — or no money for you, GOP fundraiser tells governor ... rylink=cpy

Students hold anti-gun violence 'lie-in' demonstration outside White House


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Re: The Better Nature of Humanity Will Prevail

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:37 pm

Dennis Kucinich Vows to End All Oil and Gas Drilling in Ohio If Elected Governor, and Then Take the Industry to Court

Zaid Jilani
February 19 2018, 6:00 a.m.
The man who saved Cleveland — and paid the ultimate political price for it — now wants to do the same for Ohio.

Dennis Kucinich, the boy mayor of Cleveland who went on to serve nearly two decades in Congress, is running for governor on a platform of radical change to the way the energy industry operates in the state.

“Fresh water and clean water are not negotiable issues,” Kucinich told The Intercept, pointing to the water contamination associated with oil and gas drilling. “They’re not negotiable.”

In a press conference in late January, the Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate unveiled one of the most cutting-edge environmental platforms of any candidate in the country. Kucinich called for a total end to oil and gas extraction in the state of Ohio.

To accomplish this, he would deploy a battery of radical policies. He would, for instance, utilize eminent domain to seize control of oil and gas wells throughout the state and then shutter them. He would block all new drilling permits and order a total ban on injection wells.

Kucinich would also deploy the Ohio State Highway Patrol to stop and turn away vehicles that possess fracking waste. Under a Kucinich administration, Ohio would give subsidized health screens to residents living near fracking sites; that data would then be used to file a class-action lawsuit against fracking companies similar to how states took Big Tobacco to court in the ’90s.

The former Ohio congressman made his mark in the state’s politics when he was elected mayor of Cleveland at the age of 31, making him the youngest mayor of any major city in America. His tenure was marked by a bitter fight over the city’s electric utility, Cleveland Public Power. A number of banks invested in the utility’s private competitor refused to roll over the city’s debt. This resulted in the city defaulting on its debt, making it the first major city in America to default since the Great Depression. But Kucinich’s battle to save the electric utility paid off for the people of Cleveland — the utility rebounded and continued to offer cheaper power than its private competitor. (His battle with private interests was so fierce that at one point the city’s mafia put out a hit on him when he announced the decision to re-bid private contracts.)

Industry is less than happy about Kucinich’s plan, to say the least.

A spokesperson for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, which represents a number of oil and gas companies, derided the plan in an interview with The Intercept. “Misguided policies such as these threaten Ohio’s future and would destroy billions of dollars invested in our communities,” the spokesperson said. The organization has promoted an analysis that argues Ohio could lose 400,000 jobs by 2022 if the state enacts a ban on fracking.

Mike Chadsey, a spokesperson for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, was even harsher in an interview with the local media.

“For being the person who touts himself as the candidate for the average guy, he sure is anti-worker and anti-union,” Chadsey said. “These bold and unrealistic statements show how desperate his hopeless campaign is.”

When asked about the economic concerns from the chamber, the candidate was blunt about the tradeoffs. “No one has taken the time to monetize the value of fresh water, but ask the people in Flint about that,” he replied.

It is worth pointing out that Kucinich is not totally ambivalent about employment in the state of Ohio.

He is also campaigning on investments in public works projects — such as spending more money on basic infrastructure and constructing a statewide public broadband network.

In interviews with The Intercept, environmental activists in Ohio and across the country praised Kucinich’s approach.

“We’ve already leased more fossil fuels than we can burn if we hope to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Immediately ending all new production is the type of bold vision that we need,” Friends of the Earth Senior Political Strategist Ben Schreiber told The Intercept. “For too long Big Oil has been used to benefit Big Oil and it is past time that it was used to actually help the American people.”

Jamie Henn, the strategic communications director for, told The Intercept that “banning fossil fuel projects and supporting a just transition to 100 percent renewable energy are the new tests for climate leadership in 2018.” He also suggested that the plan could be politically viable among the electorate. “Voters know that our future rests in a clean energy economy that works for all, not a fossil fuel industry that works for the 1 percent,” he said.

Others suggested Kucinich go further. Carl Sterner — a Cincinnati architect who has been active in the 2030 Districts project, which aims to build sustainable urban spaces — said the candidate should do more to directly promote renewable energy.

“I think Kucinich has the right objective,” “he said. “Fracking’s dangers to public health and the environment are extensive and well-documented, and the state absolutely should intervene to protect Ohio’s communities. But he needs to think bigger. I would like to hear more about the positive actions he intends to take to promote efficiency and renewable energy and make Ohio a leader in clean energy manufacturing. Ohioans need a positive vision to rally around, and I don’t see this in Kucinich’s environmental platform.”

Sierra Club Ohio stressed to The Intercept that it has not endorsed any candidate and has to consult with its membership before backing any particular plan. However, it was encouraged by Kucinich’s focus.

“Sierra Club Ohio is absolutely concerned about the impact that fracking and frack gas infrastructure pose to Ohio’s communities and public health,” Vicky Mattson, political chair for the organization, told us. “We applaud Kucinich for recognizing those threats and we hope that everyone running for office in Ohio will include protections for communities from fracking in their platform.”

The organization has created an interactive map charting the routes of major pipelines in Ohio. It notes that these pipelines are within close proximity of over 200 schools, over 150 medical facilities, and three dozen drinking water intake pipes.

Lea Harper, the managing director of the Ohio-based Freshwater Accountability Project, conceded that some believe Kucinich’s plan isn’t politically viable, but countered that the expansion of fracking in Ohio is too destructive to ignore.

“People are saying [Kucinich’s plan is] unrealistic, but what’s unrealistic is that fracking is going to continue as it has and it’s going to be OK. It’s about time someone came out to expose the industry for what it’s doing to our environment and to people,” she said.

Kucinich is competing against four other Democrats, including former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray, for the nomination. In interviews conducted with the local press, none of the others joined his call to eliminate fracking and oil drilling. “It is rash. It is naïve,” former State Rep. Connie Pillich said. “It will take years and will be marred with legal battles and taxpayers are going to have to pay those legal fees.”

Ted Auch, a Cleveland State University professor who works with the monitoring group FracTracker Alliance, met with Kucinich recently to discuss his proposal. While stressing that his group is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates, he was encouraged by Kucinich’s approach.

He said that most Democrats and Republicans have generally viewed fracking as a means to create jobs and tax revenue, but have ignored environmental and public health costs. “He plans to inject a far more granular discussion or perspective into the debate about fracking in the state of Ohio,” he said of Kucinich’s plan.

The primary is May 8.

Top photo: Former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich speaks during a news conference announcing his run for Ohio governor, Jan. 17, 2018, in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. ... -to-court/

Ballot box battle over clean energy is brewing in three states
Campaigners prepare for fight against Koch-funded groups.
FEB 14, 2018, 4:40 PM

Wind turbines operate in front of solar panels in Palm Springs, California. CREDIT: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Clean energy advocates have their eyes on three states — Michigan, Nevada, and Arizona — where they hope to strengthen renewable energy policies by getting voters to pass citizen-led ballot initiatives. As with previous battles at the ballot box over clean energy, the campaigners are expecting electric utilities and Koch-funded groups to fight against these attempts to give wind and solar energy a greater foothold in a state’s energy portfolio.

Despite the millions of dollars that industry groups will spend to defeat these measures, their supporters contend voters will be inclined to support greater use of renewables because of the dramatic decline in their cost. In parts of the western United States, building new wind, solar, and energy storage facilities has become cheaper than a new natural gas-fired plant.

“Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are much cheaper than they were in 2010 or 2012,” Dylan Sullivan, senior scientist in the climate and energy program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in an interview with ThinkProgress. “We’ve always won on the health and future generations arguments. But now we can really win on the cost and jobs argument.”

Electric utilities and dark money groups have traditionally spent huge sums fending off such attempts to expand renewables. For 2018, though, billionaire Tom Steyer, through his NextGen America group, is backing measures that would strengthen state-mandated renewable energy requirements.

In Michigan, a NextGen America-backed ballot initiative called “Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan” is pushing for a 30-percent renewable energy mandate by 2030, up from the current requirement of 15 percent by 2021. The initiative defines renewable energy as solar, wind, biomass, and hydropower.

The group intends to use a combination of paid and volunteer staff to collect at least 252,523 valid signatures to put its proposed initiative on the statewide Michigan ballot in November.

Rebecca Otto, Minnesota State auditor and candidate for governor in the Democratic primary, on the roof of her clean energy home. CREDIT: Shawn Otto.
Progressive candidates are embracing clean energy as a campaign issue

Clean energy advocates believe these mandates, called renewable portfolio standards, are too conservative in most states. The standards require electric companies to provide a certain amount of electricity from renewable energy sources or through energy efficiency measures.

Among the policy options available to clean energy advocates, renewable portfolio standards are both effective in getting more clean energy built and are easy to explain to the public, said Sullivan. “The public really likes renewables, and it’s this broad support that these initiatives will tap,” he said. “Young people are overwhelmingly in support and recognize the economic and jobs potential of clean energy.”

Supporters of “Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona Committee,” also backed by NextGen America, kicked off a campaign this week to get the state’s utilities to use clean energy sources — not including nuclear energy — to generate 50 percent of the state’s electricity needs, up from 15 percent today. Campaigners need to collect 225,963 voter signatures by July to make the 2018 ballot.

In Nevada, the newly announced “Initiative to Promote Renewable Energy” would require the state to amend its Constitution to increase its renewable portfolio standard to 50 percent by 2030. The state’s current target is 25 percent renewables by 2025. The ballot language says the renewable energy sources can come from “solar, geothermal, wind, biomass, and waterpower.”

The ballot initiative has garnered the support of U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), who pushed the state’s adoption of its first renewable portfolio standard in 1997 when she was in the state Senate.

“This ballot initiative puts the power in the hands of the people and sends a message to the nation that 25 percent by 2025 is not enough,” Titus said in a statement emailed to ThinkProgress. “It is time our state does what Trump, Republicans, and the fossil fuel lobby are unwilling to do: cut emissions, create clean-energy jobs, and modernize more of the power sources that energize our neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces.”

Real estate experts Drew Scott, left, and Jonathan Scott, center, stars of the HGTV show The Property Brothers and solar enthusiasts, help install Sunrun solar panels, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, on their newly renovated “smart home” in Las Vegas. CREDIT: AP Photo/John Harrington, Sunrun
Nevada legislature boosts clean energy, bringing back rooftop solar companies

The move was part of a suite of clean energy initiatives.

If the Michigan measure gets enough signatures, it won’t be the first time the state’s residents have been asked to vote on a greater use of renewables. In 2012, a campaign to increase the state’s renewable energy standard through a constitutional amendment did not pass. But it did give voters a chance to witness the behavior of their monopoly utilities to prevent the growth of renewable energy that year, Matt Kasper, research director at the Energy & Policy Institute, wrote in a new report released Monday.

The 2012 ballot campaign sought to require companies to distribute 25 percent of the state’s electricity using wind, solar, and other renewable energy resources by 2025. But the initiative received only 36 percent of support among Michigan voters.

The pro-amendment groups were outspent by a three-to-one margin. DTE Energy and Consumers Energy, the state’s two largest electric utility companies, contributed millions of dollars to The Clean Affordable Renewable for Michigan Coalition (CARE) political action committee to oppose the proposal. Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity chipped in by sending mailers to voters that were one-sided and used debunked statements about the costs to implement the proposal, according to Kasper.

As part of these battles, anti-clean energy forces spend millions to convince the public that adding more renewable energy to a state’s resource mix would drastically drive up their monthly bills. For example, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and Beacon Hill Institute — both funded by the Koch network — released a study in 2012 about the costs of implementing the proposal, which was used in CARE’s attack ads against the Michigan measure. Clean energy supporters deemed the study flawed, claiming its authors overstated the costs of the proposal.

Sullivan said there will always be fossil fuel industry-funded think tanks that can conduct a “hack analysis” of clean energy. But the American public is becoming less receptive to this type of anti-renewables messaging because they are seeing in their own communities the benefits of low-cost wind and solar energy, he added.

Citizen-led ballot initiatives have been successful in the past. In 2004, for the first time in U.S. history, a renewable portfolio standard was put directly before voters rather than processed through a state’s legislature. The measure was passed by voters, requiring the state’s largest utilities to obtain 10 percent of their electricity from renewable energy resources by 2015. Colorado lawmakers have voted to strengthen the standard in the intervening years.

After Colorado, Washington became the second state to pass a citizen-led ballot initiative to create a renewable portfolio standard. In 2008, Missouri voters also approved a ballot initiative to create a mandatory renewable portfolio standard in the state.

President Trump signs law undoing the "Stream Protection Rule," February 16, 2017. CREDIT: Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images
Poll reveals Americans are hitting their breaking point on the environment

GOP voters think the environment is getting better, however.

For 2018, renewable energy is positioned to do well at the ballot box in Michigan, Nevada, and Arizona, according to Jeff Deyette, director of state policy and analysis for the Union of Concerned Scientists. “A lot has changed since that 2012 Michigan initiative. The technologies have come a tremendous way in driving renewable costs down,” he told ThinkProgress. “Yet the utilities are still prioritizing fossil generation in their long-term procurement plans.”

President Donald Trump’s pro-fossil fuel agenda also could backfire, creating more support for clean energy at the ballot box. This is an opportunity for voters to say they don’t want to resurrect coal, Deyette said.

Sullivan agrees that Americans are noticing the Trump administration’s assaults on renewable energy, environmental protection, and public lands. “As Trump shirks his responsibilities, people who support clean energy are energized to take action at the state and local level in a way that maybe they weren’t in 2010 and 2012,” he said. ... ac3746d2e/
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Re: The Better Nature of Humanity Will Prevail

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:03 pm

Elon Musk Is Back to Digging Tunnels, This Time Under DC

Tom McKay
Today 1:55pmFiled to: VAGUE TUNNEL STUFF

Noted tunnel enthusiast Elon Musk is digging again, this time for hazily defined purposes at an abandoned parking lot near the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives headquarters building in northeastern Washington, DC, the Washington Post reports.

Per the Post report, Musk’s Boring Company has been granted “an early, and vague, building permit” to begin some extremely preliminary work on a section of an underground Hyperloop tunnel that could one day, in theory, stretch from DC to Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. It’s not really super clear how much work Musk has a permit to begin, but a Boring Company spokesperson said the New York Avenue location could serve as a “station” in the intercity transportation network. According to the paper, city officials don’t appear to be committed to the project long-term yet, though the DC Department of Transportation is examining what kinds of further permissions the Boring Company would need to send its massive tunnel-digging drills under city roads and publicly owned land.

However, Musk has support from White House aide Jared Kushner and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, the Post added.

The Hyperloop concept involves a vast network of interlocking tunnels zipping with electrically-powered superfast sleds ferrying cars and people movers from station to station. Musk is pretty into the idea and claims he’s been racking up governmental support for it since July 2017, and the company plans to simplify the labyrinthine process of securing the necessary permits to dig tunnels everywhere by piggybacking on existing right-of-way permits for rail developers. The Boring Company has previously broken ground at a test site in Los Angeles with its monstrous Godot drill, though any system that could be used for public transportation is years and billions of dollars away.

As the Post noted, not everyone is happy with Musk’s vision of the future, which involves simply schlepping personal vehicles around rather than improving mass transit systems (a form of transportation he’s up front about disliking). The Boring Company also has yet to demonstrate it can actually build the massive transportation system for much cheaper and at a more efficient pace than traditional transportation agencies like New York’s MTA.

“We need to fix the Metro,” Virginia-based Uber driver Mohamed Hussein told the Post. “Traffic is just bad.” ... 1823136523
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Re: The Better Nature of Humanity Will Prevail

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:10 pm

US Supreme Court rejects challenge to California gun waiting period
20 FEB 2018 AT 11:10 ET

In a blow to gun rights activists, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday turned away a challenge to California’s 10-day waiting period for firearms purchases that is intended to guard against impulsive violence and suicides.

The court’s action underscored its continued reluctance to step into the national debate over gun control roiled by a series of mass shootings including one at a Florida school last week. One of the court’s most conservative justices, Clarence Thomas, dissented from the decision to reject the case and accused his colleagues of showing contempt toward constitutional protections for gun rights.

The gun rights groups and individual gun owners who challenged the law had argued that it violated their right to keep and bear arms under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. The challengers did not seek to invalidate California’s waiting period for everyone, just for people who already owned guns and passed a background check.

In his dissent, Thomas scolded his colleagues. “If a lower court treated another right so cavalierly, I have little doubt this court would intervene,” Thomas wrote. “But as evidenced by our continued inaction in this area, the Second Amendment is a disfavored right in this court.”

The Supreme Court has not taken up a major firearms case since issuing important gun rulings in 2008 and 2010.

The United States has among the most lenient gun control laws in the world. With the U.S. Congress deeply divided over gun control, it has fallen to states and localities to impose firearms restrictions. Democratic-governed California has some of the broadest firearms measures of any state.

A series of mass shootings including one in which a gunman killed 17 people at a Parkland, Florida high school on Feb. 14 have added to the long-simmering U.S. debate over gun control and the availability of firearms.

In another gun case, the high court on Tuesday also declined to take up a National Rifle Association challenge to California’s refusal to lower its fees on firearms sales and instead use a surplus generated by the fees to fund efforts to track down illegal weapons.

Thomas said he suspected that the Supreme Court would readily hear cases involving potentially unconstitutional waiting periods if they involved abortion, racist publications or police traffic stops.

“The right to keep and bear arms is apparently this court’s constitutional orphan. And the lower courts seem to have gotten the message,” Thomas added.

Lead plaintiff Jeff Silvester, the Calguns Foundation and its executive director Brandon Combs, and the Second Amendment Foundation in 2011 challenged the 10-day waiting period between the purchase of a firearm and its actual delivery to the buyer, saying it violated the Second Amendment for individuals who already lawfully own a firearm or are licensed to carry one.

The waiting period gives a gun buyer inclined to use it for an impulsive purpose a “cooling off” period before obtaining it, which has been shown in studies to reduce handgun suicides and homicides, the state said in a legal filing. The waiting period also gives officials time to run background checks and ensure that weapons being sold are not stolen or being purchased for someone prohibited from gun ownership, the state said.

The states of California, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Illinois, Minnesota, Florida, Iowa, Maryland and New Jersey as well as Washington, D.C., have waiting periods that vary in duration and type of firearm, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gun control advocacy group.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld California’s law in 2016, reversing a federal trial court that had ruled it unconstitutional.

Last year, the Supreme Court left in place a California law that bars permits to carry a concealed gun in public places unless the applicant can show “good cause” for having it. ... ng-period/
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Re: The Better Nature of Humanity Will Prevail

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:45 am

In anti-Trump surge, Renewables make 18% of US electricity & impel job growth

Juan Cole
By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The “Sustainable Energy in America Factbook” finds that renewable energy (including hydro) was up 14% in 2017, bringing the renewables total in US electricity generation to an unprecedented 18%– twice as much as in 2008. And in 2008 renewables were almost all hydro. The rapid growth of renewable electricity generation and the decline of coal and even, slightly, of gas, took place despite a Trump administration determined to put its thumb on the scale for coal and other fossil fuels.

Some of the increased renewable energy, admittedly, came about because of a lessening of the drought in the West, which increased hydro-electric generation. But “Non-hydro renewables continued to represent the largest share of all U.S. new installations, hitting roughly 62% in 2017,” the report found.

The most important single number for human welfare is now the amount of carbon dioxide that a country farts out every year. That number tells us how bad the climate change catastrophe will be. Like hurricanes or earthquakes, climate change should be given scaled numbers. We’re looking at category 1 change now, which is bad. But if we don’t quickly curb emissions we’ll be looking at category 2 change. And if we go on like we are, we’ll be looking at a category 8 change, which is like a category 8 earthquake or a category 8 hurricane. Unlike the case in most earthquakes and hurricanes, how bad the climate change will be depends entirely on you. When you drive your gasoline car to work or you put on the air conditioning in your house burning coal to make the electricity for it, you are driving us toward category 8 climate change. That one won’t be pretty. Climate change involves rising sea levels, coastal erosion and storm surges, more intense hurricanes, risk of increased long-term drought in some areas, wildfires, and other unpleasantness.

Reducing emissions and limiting climate change to a Category 1 would actually save corporations a lot of money. Major corporations saved $14 billion in 2017 by reducing their carbon dioxide output.

US greenhouse gas emissions actually fell in 2017, down 1.4% year-on-year. A lot of these carbon reductions came in the electricity sector, and most of the savings were from increased wind and solar and from reduced electricity use, not from switching from coal to gas as in the past.

Because of the renewables surge, the US very likely will meet its stated Paris Agreement targets of CO2 emissions 32% below 2005 levels by 2030.

One unexpected piece of good news was that US electricity use actually declined slightly, despite continued population and economic growth, proving that we can do more with less if we are of a mind to. Last I knew, 25% of US buildings lacked insulation, and just putting it in would vastly reduce electricity use.

The transportation sector is now overtaking electricity generation as a source of toxic greenhouse gas emissions. This fact points to the need for consumers to use more public transportation, move to cities close to their work and shopping, and if they must have a car, buy a Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Tesla 3 or other electric vehicle.

Despite quixotic Trumpism, coal’s decline will accelerate in 2018, given that owners of coal plants announced last year that they would retire installations generating 12.5GW this year. These closings are very good news, since coal is the most polluting of the fossil fuels and the one that when burned puts most carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per watt of electricity generated.

Natural gas prices were up 18% last year, which gave wind and solar an advantage, since their installation prices keep falling and once they are installed the fuel is reliably free.

Americans spent less on electricity last year but they spent more on gasoline and other vehicle fuels. Obviously, people who absolutely must have a car should buy a Chevy Bolt or Nissan Leaf or Tesla 3 or other electric vehicle and save even more money on fuel (if you are a homeowner and combine an EV with solar panels on your roof, both are paid off even more quickly, typically in only 6 years, and your fuel from sunshine is free if you charge during the day or have a Tesla Powerboard battery).

In electricity generating sectors, solar now employs the most workers, some 374,000, double those in fossil fuel electricity generation (151,000). Solar jobs increased by 74,000 in 2015-16. Wind was in second place, increasing jobs by 24,650.

Politicians who promise you more jobs but want to punish solar and wind in favor of fossil fuels are lying to you. The jobs are green. ... rowth.html
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Re: The Better Nature of Humanity Will Prevail

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:23 am

More Than 100 Cities Worldwide Now Powered Primarily by Renewable Energy

Feb 27, 2018

Burlington, Vermont, gets 100 percent of its power from renewable energy, including from solar farms like this one, built on locally made systems that track the sun. Credit: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

As the price of renewable energy drops, more cities are cutting the cord with fossil fuel-based electricity.

A new report released Tuesday by the environmental group CDP finds that more than 100 cities worldwide now get the majority of their power—70 percent or more—from renewables. That's up from 42 in 2015, when countries pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the Paris climate agreement.

CDP notes that more than 40 of those cities are now powered entirely by renewables, including Burlington, Vermont, which gets its electricity from a combination of wind, solar, hydro and biomass. Burlington will have more company within the next 20 years—58 U.S. cities, including Atlanta and San Diego, having announced plans to do the same.

London-based CDP, which tracks climate-related commitments by corporations and governments, looked at 570 cities across the globe for the report. The group defines renewables as solar, wind, hydro, wave power, biomass, geothermal—or all non-nuclear and non-fossil fuel sources—and includes cities where electricity from clean energy sources is citywide, not just in municipal buildings.

Four U.S. cities made the list of those getting at least 70 percent of their electricity from renewable sources: Seattle; Eugene, Oregon; and Aspen, Colorado, along with Burlington. Five Canadian cities are also on the list: Montreal, Vancouver, Winnipeg, North Vancouver and Prince George, British Columbia.

Latin American Cities Lead the Way

As of now, Latin American cities lead the renewables charge, with much of their electricity coming from hydropower. Of the cities getting at least 70 percent of their power from renewables, 57 percent are in Latin America, 20 percent are in Europe, 9 percent are in Africa and 9 percent in North America.

North America also trails in investment dollars, spending $113 million to Europe's $1.7 billion, Africa's $236 million and Latin America's $183 million, CDP reports.

"Cities are responsible for 70 percent of energy-related CO2 emissions, and there is immense potential for them to lead on building a sustainable economy," Kyra Appleby, who leads the cities project for CDP, said in a statement. "Reassuringly, our data shows much commitment and ambition. Cities not only want to shift to renewable energy but, most importantly, they can."

Hydro Is Most Common, Then Wind and Solar

The cities in the CDP survey used a mix of energy sources: 275 use hydropower, 189 rely on electricity from wind and 184 use solar photovoltaics. Also in the mix: biomass, used by 164 cities, and geothermal, used by 65.

Reykjavik, Iceland, gets all its electricity from geothermal and hydropower, and is attempting to convert its entire vehicle fleet—both public and private—to "fossil free" by 2040. Basel, Switzerland's third largest city, gets most of its power from hydropower, plus 10 percent from wind.

The trend will likely continue. In a report released in January, the International Renewable Energy Agency found that the cost of power generation from renewables will reach parity with fossil fuels in two years.

"By 2020, all the renewable power generation technologies that are now in commercial use are expected to fall within the fossil fuel-fired cost range, with most at the lower end or undercutting fossil fuels," that report said.

U.S. Cities Are Committing to Clean Energy

The CDP report comes after U.S. cities, through the United States Conference of Mayors, signed onto a resolution last year, pledging support for a shift to renewable energy in the wake of President Donald Trump's announcement that he would withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

A Sierra Club analysis found that if all of the conference's members—more than 1,400 U.S. cities—went 100 percent renewable, 42 percent of the overall electricity in the country would come from renewable sources.

"The broader trend is that cities are leading a global transition to 100 percent renewable energy, both here and across the globe," said Jodie Van Horn, director of the Sierra Club's "Ready for 100" program. "It's significant in the signal it's sending to the market and utilities, in what kind of energy institutional buyers are asking for." ... -solutions
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