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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: NE New York
Home country: USA
Current location: Serious Snow Country :(
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 116,886

Journal Archives

Baltic states to ask Trump for greater protection from Russia

Source: Channel NewsAsia

VILNIUS: Baltic state leaders will ask the United States to send more troops and bolster air defences on NATO's eastern flank to deter Russia when they meet President Donald Trump on Tuesday (Apr 3), officials said.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid and Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis are visiting the White House as Washington is apparently adopting a harder stance towards Moscow.

Trump's more confrontational rhetoric of late has eased initial concerns in the region over what had appeared to be a more conciliatory approach to the Kremlin when the US leader first arrived in power.

A senior Lithuanian official who wished to remain unnamed said the three Baltic leaders were asking the US to send Patriot long-range anti-aircraft missiles more frequently for war games. They also want to become a part of NATO's larger European anti-missile shield.

Read more: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/baltic-states-to-ask-trump-for-greater-protection-from-russia-10098442

Baltic state leaders will ask the United States to send more troops and bolster air defences on NATO's eastern flank to deter Russia when they meet President Donald Trump on Tuesday AFP/Petras Malukas
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Tue Apr 3, 2018, 04:03 AM (9 replies)

Calling Car Pollution Standards Too High, E.P.A. Sets Up Fight With California

The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday took steps to challenge California’s decades-old right to set its own air pollution rules, setting up a showdown between the federal government and a state that has emerged as a bulwark against the Trump administration’s policies.

The E.P.A. statement was part of the agency’s widely expected decision to reconsider, and most likely roll back, Obama-era rules requiring automakers to hit ambitious emissions and mileage standards by 2025. The statement, though, was notable for the forcefulness of its language suggesting that the Trump administration would take on California’s authority to set its own rules.

Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, signaled that he aimed to make California fall in line. The Obama administration, he said, “made assumptions about the standards that didn’t comport with reality, and set the standards too high.” California’s history of setting its own emissions rules “doesn’t mean that one state can dictate standards for the rest of the country,” Mr. Pruitt said.

A rollback of the rules, which are designed to cut back on emissions of greenhouse gases, would reverse one of the single biggest steps any government has taken to tackle climate change. California has said it will stick with the tougher, Obama-era regulations, a decision that could effectively split the United States into two auto markets: one requiring cars to be more efficient and less polluting than the other.

California has long possessed the unique authority under the 1970 Clean Air Act to write its own air pollution rules. Traditionally, a dozen other states follow California’s air pollution rules and together they represent one-third of the nation’s auto market. That puts California in an extraordinary position to stage a regulatory revolt, with much of the country’s car market in tow.

More: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/02/climate/trump-auto-emissions-rules.html

The Environmental Protection Agency did not say how far the Obama-era rules should be rolled back, only that it would seek “more appropriate” standards. George Etheredge for The New York Times
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Tue Apr 3, 2018, 02:32 AM (5 replies)

The Daily Show: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - Becoming Kareem On and Off the Court

NBA Hall of Famer and "Becoming Kareem" author Kareem Abdul-Jabbar compares Colin Kaepernick's protest to his own travails as a socially engaged athlete.
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Tue Apr 3, 2018, 12:52 AM (3 replies)

The Daily Show: Heineken's Sometimes Lighter is Better Backlash, Bracket of Bullshit

Heineken faces accusations of racism after running an ad that features a beer bottle sliding past three black people before stopping in front of a light-skinned woman.

The Bracket of Bullshit: The Phony Four

Michael Kosta and Roy Wood Jr. break down the phony four in the Bracket of Bullshit. Vote now: thirdmonthmania.com
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Tue Apr 3, 2018, 12:39 AM (0 replies)

Seth Meyers - Trump's Easter Immigration Rant, Cabinet Turmoil: A Closer Look

Seth takes a closer look at President Trump celebrating Easter by ranting about immigrants while more key members of his Cabinet are accused of corruption.
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Mon Apr 2, 2018, 10:37 PM (9 replies)

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) - Immigration Courts

America’s dysfunctional immigration court system forces many children to appear in court alone. That’s as ridiculous in real life as it would be on a courtroom television show.
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Mon Apr 2, 2018, 02:41 AM (6 replies)

The Northern right whale, already an endangered species, is in deep trouble

After a shocking number of deaths among North Atlantic right whales last year, no new births have been recorded so far this year, moving them ever closer to extinction.

Warming ocean waters have prompted the whales to move north from their usual summer feeding grounds in the Gulf of Maine into Canada’s Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Canada has fewer rules protecting them from ship strikes, and 18 of these rare giants died last season alone. Now, the report that the population produced no new calves in the past year is causing great concern among scientists.

“It's unprecedented," says Regina Asmutis-Silvia, executive director and senior biologist of the North American branch of Whale and Dolphin Conservation, a global wildlife charity. “We’ve never had a year when we didn't have a single calf born to the population.”

Though it’s been illegal to hunt right whales since 1935, only about 450 are alive today. To make matters worse, human impacts to the population have been more harmful to females, so there are probably only about 100 breeding females left.

The biggest problems the whales face are fishing gear entanglements, vessel strikes and food scarcity, Asmutis-Silvia says. Improvements to fishing lines that have increased their strength and durability have proved deadly to whales, and even if a whale survives a fishing gear entanglement, it suffers what are called sub-lethal effects. Entanglement causes an increase in stress hormones that can make it harder for females to get pregnant or carry a pregnancy to full term. As the climate changes, food resources are moving to different waters. Alternative foods may not be as healthy or make the females fat enough to produce the hormones that allow them to ovulate.

Right whales, and indeed all whales, add more than just beauty to the oceans, Asmutis-Silvia emphasizes. They are an essential part of an ocean ecosystem that keeps the planet and humans healthy.

More: https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-04-01/northern-right-whale-already-endangered-species-deep-trouble

A mother North Atlantic right whale and her calf off the coast of Florida. This year’s apparent lack of any newborn North Atlantic right whale calves could spell disaster for the critically endangered species. Credit: Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Mon Apr 2, 2018, 01:51 AM (4 replies)

Coal, nuclear plant operator files for bankruptcy, asks Trump for a bailout

FirstEnergy's request comes after regulator struck down an industry-wide bailout plan.

On Saturday, power corporation FirstEnergy placed its coal and nuclear generation units under chapter 11 bankruptcy. Although coal and nuclear plants across the country have struggled to compete with the low prices of natural gas, FirstEnergy's filing is unique because it stands to take on a political dimension. Just two days before FirstEnergy's bankruptcy filing, the company petitioned the Department of Energy (DOE) for an emergency bailout, citing concerns about reliability.

The petition could reinvigorate a debate started by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who proposed a rule last year to change how coal and nuclear plants are compensated for their power. The rule was denied by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which said that there was not enough evidence to justify changing how coal and nuclear are compensated.

FirstEnergy disparaged FERC's decision in its Thursday petition (PDF), claiming that "as a result of FERC’s and the RTO's [Regional Transmission Organization's] failure to address this crisis, swift and decisive action is needed now to address this imminent loss of nuclear and coal-fired baseload generation and the threat to the electric grid that this loss poses" (emphasis FirstEnergy's).

The Trump Administration campaigned on bringing back coal, despite the fact that it's a major contributor to climate change. Trump and his appointees have repeated misinformation about climate change science throughout their time in office. But coal's struggles at this point have little to do with climate change regulation from the government and more to do with higher costs than natural gas in many places around the country. That has left coal companies to argue that their electricity is more reliable and therefore more valuable than other forms of electricity.

More: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/04/coal-nuclear-plant-operator-files-for-bankruptcy-asks-trump-for-a-bailout/

SHIPPINGPORT, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 27: A view of the inactive cooling towers at FirstEnergy Corporation's Bruce Mansfield coal-fired power plant October 27, 2017 in Shippingport, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Mon Apr 2, 2018, 01:31 AM (1 replies)

Sinclair Broadcast Group: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) - From last year:

Sinclair Broadcast Group is the largest owner of local TV stations in the country. That's alarming considering that they often inject political views into local news.
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Mon Apr 2, 2018, 01:05 AM (13 replies)

EPAs Pruitt Clears The Way For Power Plants To Further Pollute Our Water

Plans to Drop Requirement that Companies Monitor Coal Ash Effects on Groundwater

Coal ash, the toxic remnants of burning coal, was not classified as hazardous waste by government regulators after a long pushback by politically powerful utilities, and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt wants to water down those regulations even further.

Pruitt’s proposal could allow groundwater monitoring requirements to be suspended. He announced the proposed changes March 1, a day before the deadline for power plant operators to release information about groundwater contamination that showed contamination near more than 70 coal-fired power plants and ash dumps from Alaska to Virginia.

“The EPA is choosing to side with polluters over the public,” said Lisa Evans of Earthjustice.

U.S. power plants produce more than 110 million tons of coal ash a year. The ash contains arsenic, lead and mercury and has typically been dumped into unlined pits or ponds, often near rivers. At least 414 coal plants that have disgorged hundreds of millions of tons of waste would be affected by the changes.

More: https://www.dcreport.org/2018/03/30/epas-pruitt-clears-the-way-for-power-plants-to-further-pollute-our-water/

Featured image: Cleaning up after the 2014 Dan River coal-ash spill in North Carolina. Photo by Steven Alexander U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Posted by Rhiannon12866 | Mon Apr 2, 2018, 12:17 AM (1 replies)
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