EPA Moves to Cut Coal Pollution, But Critics Say Plan Falls Short on Real Emissions Reduction

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El Niño 70% likely to arrive in summer, says US weather forecaster

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/05/el-nino-summer-us-weather-forecaster

Complex interaction between atmosphere and warming oceans could unleash fierce weather events

, US environment correspondent
theguardian.com, Thursday 5 June 2014

The chances of an El Niño, the global climate phenomenon that can destroy crops in Asia and offer a relief from harsh winters in North America, were raised to 70% on Thursday. But scientists said the coming El Niño was likely to be of only moderate strength.

In their monthly forecast, scientists from the US government’s Climate Prediction Centre said warming sea temperatures in the Pacific continued to create the conditions for an El Niño this summer.

“The chance of El Niño is 70% during the northern hemisphere summer and reaches 80% during the fall and winter,” the centre said. Its ultimate strength had weakened over the last month. “Regardless, the forecasters remain just as confident that El Niño is likely to emerge,” the forecast said.

There has been growing anticipation of an El Niño this year – because of its widespread impacts.

In California, there has been hope that a strong El Niño could be a drought buster. The phenomenon is known for bringing wetter winters to Texas and southern California. They are also good news for Florida and the Caribbean, damping down the hurricane season in the Atlantic.

But El Niños can wreak havoc on fisheries in South America, and worsen droughts in part of Asia, Africa, and Australia.

That type of El Niño, with widespread global impact, has yet to fully materialise, the scientists said. While warmer sea temperatures in the Pacific were building conditions for an El Niño, the scientists said they were still not seeing the inter-action with atmosphere they would expect for a really big event.

“We are slightly favouring a moderate strength El Niño. While we are not ruling it out at this point, we are not expecting to see the next great El Nino,” said Mike Halpert, acting director of the Climate Prediction Centre.

Independent climate scientists said they too were expecting one of only moderate significance.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/05/el-nino-summer-us-weather-forecaster

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War Gear Flows to Police Departments

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/09/us/war-gear-flows-to-police-departments.html?_r=1

By Matt Apuzzo
June 8, 2014

NEENAH, Wis. — Inside the municipal garage of this small lakefront city, parked next to the hefty orange snowplow, sits an even larger truck, this one painted in desert khaki. Weighing 30 tons and built to withstand land mines, the armored combat vehicle is one of hundreds showing up across the country, in police departments big and small.

The 9-foot-tall armored truck was intended for an overseas battlefield. But as President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s “long season of war,” the former tools of combat — M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more — are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice.

During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.

The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units. Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs. Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection. In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of “barbering without a license.”

When the military’s mine-resistant trucks began arriving in large numbers last year, Neenah and places like it were plunged into the middle of a debate over whether the post-9/11 era had obscured the lines between soldier and police officer.

“It just seems like ramping up a police department for a problem we don’t have,” said Shay Korittnig, a father of two who spoke against getting the armored truck at a recent public meeting in Neenah. “This is not what I was looking for when I moved here, that my children would view their local police officer as an M-16-toting, SWAT-apparel-wearing officer.”

Continue reading at:   http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/09/us/war-gear-flows-to-police-departments.html?_r=1

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I Don’t Feel LGBT Pride

This week we were coming home from a swap meet on surface streets when we ran into a detour for some sort of LGBT Pride event.

I’m so far out of the loop regarding the LGBT community that I was completely unaware of there being any such event.  This despite my getting the local LGBT Community news paper , which I sometimes even read.

Stonewall was a long time ago.

Pride Day events stopped being political over 20 years ago and turned into marketing opportunities.

I lost the urge to go to these events over ten years ago.  Last time I went the SPF 50 failed to protect me and I wound up with a nasty sunburn.

I might be willing to take the risk of a nasty sunburn for Willie’s Picnic or an Eric Clapton’s Cross roads Festival but when it comes to hanging out with a bunch of LGBT folks and listening to really sucky disco music…  Not so much…  In fact not at all.

I actually marched with transgender folks back in the 1990s.  I even wore a Transsexual Menace t-shirt.

Never again.

I don’t feel this big universal community identity with trans-folks.

I honestly don’t like an awful lot of trans-folks.  Those I do like and consider friends are people I like.  End of story The trans-folks I can’t stand are simply people I can’t stand.

An inclusive ENDA won’t solve matters of discrimination.  Tina and I have had people assume we are Jewish and show prejudice toward us.

Discrimination and prejudice are the result of thousands of years of tribalism.  Nationalism, racism all those things are based on that in group-out group dynamics.

As for trans-specific issues I’ve retired from the fray.  Consider me a veteran or an activist emeritus but I ain’t a marching anymore.

Marriage equality is a major personal quality of life issue for me.

It’s happening.  Culturally as much as legally.

When one of us goes to the grocery or bank, clerks ask us where our better half is.

Bigots will hate, the indifferent will remain indifferent.  The ubiquity of LGB and even t-folks is rarely considered worthy of comment by most.  Those who are outlandish in appearance are worthy of comment.  But if you think about it a moment you realize that applies to lots of straight folks and how they dress as much as it applies to LGBT folks.

I live in suburbia.  I actually kind of like it.  I especially like going past cows and horses near where I live or occasionally seeing a rabbit in the yard.

I’m an old woman, I assimilated years ago.

I also realized that no matter how much the gender studies people want us to be others, most LGBT people are a lot more like the people they grew up around, than some sort of exotic creatures.

Some of this Pride stuff seems just plain divisive.

At one point Pride served as balance to Shame.

But once you lose the shame, proclaiming pride in something you just happen to be due to the fickle finger of fate seems sort of silly

What about just accepting yourself as ordinary people, who just happen to be born LGBT.  A different kind of ordinary.

Transgender has seem to become a career program for people who think they are too special to work in the service industry.

I’m tired of activists who beg for money to support themselves in working to end issues that are probably intractable.

I sometimes wonder if I would want to live in a world where everyone thought the same.  It sort of seems dystopian.

At the same time matters of class and race seem to need much more work than they receive.  We face a complete environmental disaster that is going to result in billions of people dying.

Prancing around half naked to thumping idiotic house music in a Dionysian orgy seems much more appropriate for the young than someone my age.

Me, I’d rather watch TV with my honey, eat ice cream and munch chips while our cats head butt us to get us to pet them.

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