2014 Warmest year on record while solar cycle weakest in 100 years—by FishOutofWater: "2014 was the hottest on year record according to NOAA, NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency. The high temperatures were not associated with a strong El Nino or a strong solar maximum. There is no credible scientific explanation for the record high temperatures except record high levels of greenhouse gases. CO2 levels hit the 400ppm milestone, a level not seen in millions of years when the climate was much warmer, in spring 2014. About the same time the solar maximum apparently was reached, but it was the weakest since the first decade of the twentieth century. The peak of solar activity was reached in the mid twentieth century and has been declining ever since. Man-made climate change, not natural solar cycles explain the record high temperatures." 2014 was the warmest year in NOAA's 135 year record. Poll: American Voters Against Republican Energy Policy—by DRo: "According to new polling data released Thursday. advancement of the Republican energy policy just doesn’t resonate with American voters. XL Keystone and crude exports don't fly with the people, who believe in climate change and want a greener policy. The Senate has formally launched debate on legislation to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline, that also set the stage for weeks of arguments on climate change, crude exports and oil spills. Ted Cruz, senator from Texas and likely 2016 presidential contender, has started a push to end the decades-old ban on crude exports. The people want no part of it. 82% want to require oil companies to use oil from US public lands/offshore here, not export it."
Action/2015: A Crucial Year For People & The Planet—by boatsie: "Action/2015, a collaborative campaign involving over a thousand organizations from around the world, launches today, with an urgent demand that local and world leaders take immediate action this year on three key interconnected issues: halting man-made climate change, eradicating poverty and addressing inequality. The future of billions of people is on the line if world leaders fail to take aggressive action at two crucial summits in New York and Paris later this year—September's UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development and the November-December UN Climate talks. According to recently released calculations by the Action/2015 coalition, almost a billion additional people will experience extreme poverty, with billions more remaining highly vulnerable to impacts of these three crucial issues if leaders fail to deliver equitable and powerful solutions. […] The Action/2015 coalition is one of the biggest campaigns ever to launch, combining over one thousand environmental, human rights, development organisations and faith networks from over 120 countries. Action/2015 is also backed by high profile activists such as Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Bill and Melinda Gates, Bono, Ben Affleck and Mo Ibrahim and also equally involves grassroots NGOs working with local communities."
You can find more rescued green diaries below the orange garden layout.
Come 2016, the former Bain Capital CEO aims to position himself as an anti-poverty warrior. That would be Mitt Romney, of course. Who else but Mittens could be so outrageous? If this is any indication, the GOP scrum for the nomination is sure to be scrumptious. But the left has its own challenges as Hillary Clinton firms up the campaign team that everyone assumes will steer her to the Democratic nomination.
Voters don’t seem to want a coronation. At least that was the take away from 12 Denver-area residents—Democrats, Republicans, and independents—who participated in a discussion led by Democratic pollster Peter Hart for University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center. Dan Balz of the Washington Post noted that the participants in the two-hour discussion have tired of “political dynasties.”
Who did capture their imagination?
Follow below the fold to find out.
"We were once a model for other states but now we're falling behind,'' Rep. Peter Tercyak, D-New Britain, and co-chairman of the legislature's labor committee, said recently.
No specific bills have been filed, but several key lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled legislature say they expect proposals to be raised that would increase the number of employees eligible for the benefit.
Thanks to a series of political compromises, manufacturers, salaried workers, temporary workers and workers at nationally chartered nonprofit groups are exempt, as are certain categories of employees not specifically listed in the law.Including those workers and workers at smaller businesses—the new Massachusetts sick leave law, for instance, applies to businesses with 11 or more employees—would be a big step forward. Passing these improvements would require Connecticut Democrats to be non-weenies. Gov. Dannel Malloy, re-elected in 2014 by a wider margin than his initial election in 2010, after touting sick leave in his re-election campaign, should get behind this now.
Please read below the fold for more labor and education news.
Two years ago this week, President Obama ordered the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get back to studying “the causes of gun violence.”
But today the CDC still avoids gun-violence research, demonstrating what many see as the depth of its fear about returning to one of the country’s most divisive debates. The agency recently was asked by The Washington Post why it was still sitting on the sidelines of firearms studies. It declined to make an official available for an interview but responded with a statement noting it had commissioned an agenda of possible research goals but still lacked the dedicated funding to pursue it.The biggest problem is that Congress refuses to fund that research, so it's not getting done.
Congress has continued to block dedicated funding. Obama requested $10 million for the CDC’s gun violence research in his last two budgets. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) have introduced bills supporting the funding. Both times the Republican-controlled House of Representatives said no. So there you go. We're still not allowed to research how to make gun violence less commonplace in America because the National Rifle Association told Congress we're not allowed to do that, and the edict sticks even now.
A small business owner helped by an SBA loan, an unemployed worker who earned his degree and found a full-time job thanks to a cap on student loans and the health insurance he received through the Affordable Care Act, a wounded vet who is healing thanks to the care he's received—these will be his guests and their success stories will be highlighted.
He closed with an invitation to listeners to tune in to the address and hear about the progress the country has made and how America can expand on that progress:
- Not much is known about proposed, new Redmond satellite-engineering outfit reportedly funded by SpaceX founder Elon Musk.
- Mass die offs becoming more common in recent years.
- Hey Brits, don't call it a weather bomb, it's just explosive cyclo-genesis. Which means you folks in California aren't so much drought stricken as experiencing hydrological-nota-genesis?
- Bats live a surprisingly long time (Hat tip to Balloon Juice).
- Speaking of life spans, why do humans and other metazoans like our beloved furry friends age and die? Science bloggers have been taking a crack at that question this week: We have a couple of strategies. One is to put a strict time limit on our cells. ... It’s the Logan’s Run strategy. Once you hit a certain age limit, in this case a certain number of cell divisions, it’s off to Carousel with you. Why is this useful for the organism (or in the case of the story, society)? Because older individuals are more likely to carry a dangerous load of accumulated mutations, so they must be destroyed for the good of the whole.
My concern here is that people have a rather poor understanding, in general, of what “effective” means when it comes to health care. For instance, people assume that a “good” flu shot is a lock against not getting the flu.
A meta-analysis of 17 flu-shot studies showed that when the vaccine is well-matched, 1.2% of vaccinated people were infected with influenza versus 3.9% of people not vaccinated. That makes the number needed to treat (NNT) for a well-matched flu shot to prevent one influenza infection = 37. When the match is poor or uncertain, however, the NNT is 77.*
A couple of points here. First of all, NNTs of 37 and 77 are pretty good! Especially for something like a shot. The NNT for many, many, many other things we consider “no brainers” are much higher. Also, 37 and 77, while different, aren’t so different that we’d tell you to do one, but not the other.James McAuley: Despicable though their hateful and bigoted comments are, the 54 arrested have ultimately been detained for practicing a similar type of speech to that which the millions who purchased the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo seek to venerate. In France, speech is less protected than in the United States: The French Pleven Act of 1972, for instance, prohibits incitements to hatred, discrimination, and racial insults, and the Gayssot Law of 1990—passed largely in response to Robert Faurisson’s notorious Holocaust denial—does the same for any speech blatantly anti-Semitic, racist, or xenophobic. The aftermath of Charlie Hebdo, then, has exposed what many consider a double standard: as it turns out, French law, unlike Charlie Hebdo, is not an equal-opportunity offender, and it selectively protects the dignity of certain communities and minority groups more than others.
Unfortunately, the quiet disparity in protected types of speech corresponds to the larger structural disparity France’s Muslims have historically faced before French law and continue to face in French society today.More politics and policy below the fold.
Humanity's rapacious growth and accelerated energy needs over the last generation—particularly fed by an economic system that demands increasing levels of consumption and inputs of natural resources—are fast driving planetary systems towards their breaking point, according to a new pair of related studies.
Prepared by researchers at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, the first study looks specifically at how "four of nine planetary boundaries have now been crossed as a result of human activity." Published in the journal Nature on Thursday, the 18 researchers involved with compiling evidence for the report—titled 'Planetary Boundaries 2.0'—found that when it comes to climate change, species extinction and biodiversity loss, deforestation and other land-system changes, and altered biogeochemical cycles (such as changes to how key organic compounds like phosphorus and nitrogen are operating in the environment), the degradation that has already take place is driving the Earth System, as a whole, into a new state of imbalance.
"Transgressing a boundary increases the risk that human activities could inadvertently drive the Earth System into a much less hospitable state, damaging efforts to reduce poverty and leading to a deterioration of human well-being in many parts of the world, including wealthy countries," said Professor Will Steffen, a researcher at the Centre and the Australian National University, Canberra, who was lead author for both studies.
"I don't think we've broken the planet but we are creating a much more difficult world," Sarah Cornell, another report author, told Reuters. […]
The conclusion that the world's dominant economic model—a globalized form of neoliberal capitalism, largely based on international trade and fueled by extracting and consuming natural resources—is the driving force behind planetary destruction will not come as a shock, but the model's detailed description of how this has worked since the middle of the 20th century makes a more substantial case than many previous attempts.
"When we first aggregated these datasets, we expected to see major changes but what surprised us was the timing. Almost all graphs show the same pattern. The most dramatic shifts have occurred since 1950. We can say that around 1950 was the start of the Great Acceleration," says Steffen. "After 1950 we can see that major Earth System changes became directly linked to changes largely related to the global economic system. This is a new phenomenon and indicates that humanity has a new responsibility at a global level for the planet."
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003—John Dean Nails Down Cheney’s True Goal:
Creating a constant war environment and passing a Patriot Act can only push this along to fruition.
From RonK, we get an actual example of Mitch Daniels and the gang at OMB carrying out such a Nixonian power grab of congressional budget-making authority.Tweet of the Day Kiss my ass. RT @davidfrum Isn’t the whole concept of presidential libraries anyway obsolete in the digital age?
On today's Kagro in the Morning show: A Greg-less round-up today. "Soft power" at the Gop retreat. Sarah Palin re-re-launches TV show. And it's spelled wrong. 2016 players round-up. Saud-ish blogger gets temporary reprieve. Some of those bent curves on health care. Midwestern Republicans do immigration differently. Rosalyn MacGregor says Republicans coincidentally have another wildly bigoted wacko rising in their ranks: MI RNC member Dave Agema. What part of "shall not be infringed" do I not understand? The part that takes three weeks to teach that. Lastly, a KITM-style parsing of a report that the White House knew about the CIA's Senate snooping.
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