The Great Lakes Go Dry: How One-Fifth Of The World’s Fresh Water Is Dwindling Away

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/01/28/3193301/climate-change-draining-great-lakes/

By Joanna M. Foster
on January 28, 2014

The frozen opalescent lake and thin, gray sky fade together into white light where the horizon should be. Tall, skeletal grasses shiver on the beach in a wind that makes any sliver of exposed skin burn. The Arni J. Richter, an icebreaking ferry, is about to pull away from Northport Pier for its second and final trip of the day to Washington Island. It’s loaded with food and fuel for the more than 700 hardy residents who call the remote island, just north of Door County peninsula in Wisconsin, home.

People have lived on Washington Island for over 160 years. They’re proud of their tight-knit community and their Icelandic heritage. But life on the island is threatened. For the past 15 years, islanders have watched Lake Michigan slowly disappear. Last January, the lake hit a record low, 29 inches below the long-term average as measured since 1918. The Richter Ferry was just inches away from grounding in some spots along its increasingly treacherous six-mile route to the island.

The Great Lakes, which contain one-fifth of the world’s above-ground fresh water supply, are sometimes referred to as America’s “northern coast.” As communities along the rest of the nation’s shorelines brace for rising waters brought by climate change, however, and spend billions on replacing sand swept out to sea in storms, the communities of the Great Lakes find themselves with more and more sand and less and less water.

“The island depends on the ferry for everything,” said Hoyt Purinton, President and Captain of the Washington Island Ferry Line and great grandson of the ferry’s first captain. “If the ferry can’t get to the island, the island won’t survive. Even if you could find another way to get food and fuel over there, if there’s no easy way for tourists to make the trip, the fragile island economy dies and the community and culture goes with it.”

As the lake retreats, some people blame the Army Corps of Engineers for dredging projects that widen channels leading out of Lake Michigan. Others wonder if the watershed can no longer support the 40 million people in the U.S. and Canada who now rely on the lakes for their drinking water.

Continue reading at:   http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/01/28/3193301/climate-change-draining-great-lakes/

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“Our Food Is Dishonestly Priced”: Michael Pollan on the Food Movement’s Next Goal of Justice for Food Workers

From Truth Out:  http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/21403-our-food-is-dishonestly-priced-michael-pollan-on-the-food-movements-next-goal-of-justice-for-food-workers

By Amy B Dean
Sunday, 26 January 2014

Industry plays up the image of the food snob to keep us divided, but the stereotype hides a much more diverse and savvy movement, says best-selling author and food activist Michael Pollan.

Take a stroll through most grocery stores, and many of the products claim to be organically grown or locally sourced. The foodie movement has swept America in the last decade, thanks in no small part to the work of journalists and intellectuals who have championed the cause online, in print and on the airwaves.

Michael Pollan is inarguably one of the most influential of these figures. Pollan is most famous for his books, especially In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008) and The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006). He also contributes regularly to publications such as the New York Times Magazine, where his work has received numerous awards, and is a professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

As organic, locally grown food has emerged as a cultural and economic counterforce to industrialized agriculture, critics have claimed it is elitist and accessible only to those with the resources to pay more for their nourishment. Pollan and his allies have responded, in part, by drawing the public’s attention to the low-wage workers who work in the field, behind the counter, and in the kitchen. In recent years Pollan has supported the efforts of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an organization dedicated to improving working conditions and wages for tomato pickers’ in Florida; in December 2013 he sided with fast food strikers and their demand for a $15 dollar per hour wage. In an email missive for MoveOn.org (received by 8 million subscribers), Pollan wrote: “If we are ever to . . . produce food sustainably and justly and sell it at an honest price, we will first have to pay people a living wage so that they can afford to buy it.” In his words, fair wages must be part of the push to democratize food.

I recently connected with Pollan to discuss equitable food pricing, farm worker rights, and industrial agriculture’s role in casting the food movement as elitist.  (What follows is a condensed and edited version of our conversation.) I began by asking Pollan about his evolving personal interest in the plight of food workers.

“I’ve been really paying more attention to it over time than I did at the beginning,” he said. “When I wrote my first book about the food system, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I didn’t talk in detail about labor. It was much more from the point of view of the eater than the person behind the counter.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/21403-our-food-is-dishonestly-priced-michael-pollan-on-the-food-movements-next-goal-of-justice-for-food-workers

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Anti-Choicers Drop the ‘Life’ Pretense, Increasingly Admit They’re Angry About Sex

From RH Reality Check:  http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2014/01/27/anti-choicers-drop-life-pretense-increasingly-admit-theyre-angry-sex/

by Amanda Marcotte,
January 27, 2014

Is the anti-choice movement giving up the pretense that it has no interest in policing women’s sexuality and only opposes abortion rights because of fetal life? While the rote use of the word “life” as a code word to describe a series of anti-woman and anti-sex beliefs is probably going nowhere, there does seem to be a bit more willingness among anti-choicers lately to admit that what really offends them is that women are having sex without their permission.

A report examining the demographics of women who have abortions, using self-reported numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics, was recently presented at a Family Research Council conference. Their conclusion? “OMG sluts!”

The researchers—a term that needs to be used somewhat loosely, due to the extensive statistical distortion employed in this paper—were incredibly intent on portraying abortion as a product of sexually loose women on the prowl. They mostly succeed in portraying themselves as remarkably prudish and out of step with mainstream realities. “Almost 90 percent of reported abortions are procured by women who have had three or more (male) sexual partners,” the researchers write, clearly expecting the audience to reel in terror at the idea that a woman might not marry the first boy she kisses. Which means that most women having abortions are … average. Women generally report having had about four male sexual partners, but social scientists are inclined to think the number is probably higher than that, because men report having a much higher average number of partners, and that discrepancy is mathematically impossible. Indeed, one study showed that by telling women that they’re hooked up to a lie detector, the number of sex partners they will cop to goes up. Slut-shaming, such as the kind produced by this report, causes women to round down.

“The fraction of women reporting abortions is far larger among women with multiple sexual partners than among monogamous women,” the study authors write. It’s a classic example of how this paper, which is supposed to be a study, is actually full of misrepresentations and dishonest number-massaging. After all, “monogamous” and “has had multiple partners” are not mutually exclusive groups. No doubt the study authors mean “has only had one partner ever” as their definition of monogamous, a strange and sloppy definition that would mean that a woman who lost her virginity during a one-night stand yesterday is more “monogamous” that a woman whose second marriage has lasted 30 years.

“Eighty-three percent of women who report having an abortion have cohabited at some time,” they write, clearly expecting the audience to find cohabitation to be a shockingly risqué behavior. Again, this makes women who have abortions average. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “[M]ost young couples live together first before entering marriage.” By the time they turn 30, three-quarters of women have cohabitated.

Continue reading at:  http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2014/01/27/anti-choicers-drop-life-pretense-increasingly-admit-theyre-angry-sex/

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Georgia’s GOP governor blasted for ‘gamble’ on snowstorm preparations

Yet another example in the long list of total failures on the part of Republicans.

Why anyone would vote Republican other than racism, woman hating and anti-LGBT bigotry is beyond me.

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/29/georgias-gop-governor-blasted-for-gamble-on-snowstorm-preparations/

By David Ferguson
Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Georgia’s Republican Gov. Nathan Deal is taking heat from meteorologists and critics for claiming that the snowstorm that paralyzed Atlanta and left thousands stranded overnight was “unexpected.” Activists and even NBC’s Al Roker slammed the governor for delaying action on the storm and insisting that no one could have predicted what meteorologists had been predicting for days.

Better Georgia activist Bryan Long blasted the governor for his lackadaisical approach to the storm.

“Governor Deal and Mayor Reed continue to make excuses for their lack of response to the winter storm that created gridlock on Atlanta’s roads and trapped children on school buses,” Long said in a statement to Raw Story. “It is shocking that just moments ago, Gov. Deal told reporters that he believed that they had done a ‘reasonable’ job of managing this crisis. Those who are still stranded and the parents who waited at home for their children would disagree.

Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s “flat-footed response” to the storm, Long said, “put thousands at risk. It’s time for them both to fully accept responsibility.”

Roker appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to set the record straight on predictions about Atlanta’s response to Winter Storm Leon.

“The mayor and the governor got on TV yesterday and said, ‘Oh, this wasn’t expected,’” said Roker. “And that’s not true. We were talking about this Monday, that this was going to happen.”

“They took a gamble,” he continued. “They didn’t want to pre-treat the roads. I don’t think they wanted to spend the money and do what they needed to. And then, they told everybody…everybody started going home right around noon.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/29/georgias-gop-governor-blasted-for-gamble-on-snowstorm-preparations/

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Paranoia of the Plutocrats

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/27/opinion/krugman-paranoia-of-the-plutocrats.html?_r=1

Paul Krugman
Jan. 26, 2014

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