Climate Change to Make Los Angeles 4-5°F Hotter Over Next 30 Years

From Tree Hugger:  http://www.treehugger.com/climate-change/climate-change-make-los-angeles-4-5-degrees-hotter-next-30-years.html

Mat McDermott
June 27, 2012

Mother Jones points out a new study trying to determine how much the greater Los Angeles area will warm because of climate change. The results are pretty dramatic.

Under business-as-usual climate scenarios the region warms on average 4.6°F by 2041. There are some notable differences however, based on geography.

Along the ocean temperatures will increase 3.5-4°F, mountains and deserts warm 4.5-5.5°F, and dense urban areas warm 4-4.5°F. More warming is expected to occur in summer and fall than in spring and winter.

What that means for days above 95°F also varies by locality.

Coastal areas like Santa Monica, Venice and San Pedro, which now rarely top 95°F because of the cooling influence of the ocean may see one day a year topping that. In Downtown LA, perhaps 4.6 days above 95°F, an increase of about four days each year. In Pasadena, hot days go from 3 days to 9.5 days. The greatest increase (and this goes beyond Los Angeles really) is in Lancaster, where days topping 95°F increase from 20 days today to about 55 days. Palm Springs (even further afield), which now sees 75 days above 95°F, increases to 119 days each year—a third of the year with days topping 95°F.

Continue reading at:  http://www.treehugger.com/climate-change/climate-change-make-los-angeles-4-5-degrees-hotter-next-30-years.html

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As Labor Struggles, Have the Big Rights and Liberties Groups Like the ACLU Deserted Unions?

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/labor/156006/as_labor_struggles%2C_have_the_big_rights_and_liberties_groups_like_the_aclu_deserted_unions_/

While labor is under powerful battering from conservatives, a strong case can be made that they aren’t being supported by some of our most prominent human rights groups.

By Mark Ames
June 25, 2012

Progressive intellectuals have been acting very bipolar towards labor lately, characterized by wild mood swings ranging from the “We’re sorry we abandoned labor, how could we!” sentiment during last year’s Wisconsin uprising against Koch waterboy Scott Walker, to the recent “labor is dead/it’s all labor’s fault” snarling after the recall vote against Gov. Walker failed.

It must be confusing and a bit daunting for those deep inside the labor movement, all these progressive mood swings. At the beginning of this month, New York Times’ columnist Joe Nocera wrote a column about having a “V-8 Moment” over the abandonment of labor unions, an abandonment that was so thorough and so complete that establishment liberals like Nocera forgot they’d ever abandoned labor in the first place!

The intellectual-left’s wild mood swings between unrequited love towards labor unions, and unrequited contempt, got me wondering how this abandonment of labor has manifested itself. While progressives and labor are arguing, sometimes viciously, over labor’s current sorry state, one thing progressives haven’t done is serious self-examination on how and where this abandonment of labor manifests itself, how it affects the very genetic makeup of liberal assumptions and major premises.

So I did a simple check: I went to the websites of three of the biggest names in liberal activist politics: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the ACLU. Checking their websites, I was surprised to find that not one of those three organizations lists labor as a major topic or issue that it covers.

Go to Amnesty International’s home page at www.amnesty.org. On the right side, under “Human Rights Information” you’ll see a pull-down menu: “by topic.” Does labor count as a “Human Rights topic” in Amnesty’s world? I counted 27 “topics” listed by Amnesty International, including “Abolish the death penalty”, “Indigenous Peoples”, “ “Children and Human Rights” and so on. Nowhere do they have “labor unions” despite the brutal, violent experience of labor unions both here and around the world. It’s not that Amnesty’s range isn’t broad: For example, among the 27 topics there are “Women’s rights”, “Stop Violence Against Women” and “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”. There’s even a topic for “Business and Human Rights”—but nothing for labor.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/labor/156006/as_labor_struggles%2C_have_the_big_rights_and_liberties_groups_like_the_aclu_deserted_unions_/

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Monsanto’s seedy legacy

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Class War at the Supreme Court

From The Washington Post:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/harold-meyerson-class-war-at-the-supreme-court/2012/06/26/gJQAuffO5V_story.html

Harold Meyerson
June 26, 2012

On the eve of the Supreme Court’s much anticipated ruling on Obamacare, here is a simple test for detecting the politics behind a decision: When reading the rulings, look for the double standards and answers to questions not posed by the cases themselves. By those measures, the Supreme Court’s record in the past week fairly reeks of the justices’ politics.

Exhibit A is Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion in Knox v. Service Employees International Union, Local 1000, in which nonunion California state employees whose wages and benefits were nonetheless set through the collective bargaining process of SEIU — the state’s largest union — sued the local to get back a special dues assessment it levied in 2005 to fight two ballot measures. The union’s normal practice was to allow nonmembers to opt out of paying the roughly 44 percent of dues that went to matters not directly related to collective bargaining, such as election campaigns. In this instance, however, no such opt-out was allowed.

The issue before the court was whether mandating the collection of the special assessment from nonmembers violated their constitutional rights to free speech. Alito and the four other conservative justices ruled that it did, and liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed in a concurring opinion. But Alito’s opinion didn’t stop there. It also changed the long-standing practice of allowing nonmembers to opt out of paying dues toward union functions outside collective bargaining, mandating instead that the unions “may not exact any funds from nonmembers without their affirmative consent.” In other words, unions would have to ask for nonmembers’ permission to collect political assessments and, possibly, any dues at all. “Individuals should not be compelled to subsidize private groups or private speech,” Alito wrote.

Alito’s ruling struck at the heart of American unionism. By laying the groundwork for creating a right for nonmembers to avoid dues payments, he came close to nationalizing the right-to-work laws that 23 states have adopted (though 27 have not). As Sotomayor noted in a somewhat astonished dissent (Ginsburg and Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan dissented on this point as well), this wasn’t the question before the court. Neither side had argued that issue in their briefs or oral presentations. “The majority announces its novel rule,” Sotomayor wrote, “without any analysis of potential countervailing arguments.” And it did so in defiance of the court’s own Rule 14, which states that “only the questions set out in the petition or fairly included therein will be considered by the Court.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/harold-meyerson-class-war-at-the-supreme-court/2012/06/26/gJQAuffO5V_story.html

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