Showing posts from May 18, 2014

The Paradox of Racism

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[Review subtitled: "Why the new book by the New York Times’ Nicholas Wade is both plausible and preposterous." It sounds like there will be a good deal of argle-barge, not to mention foofaraw, about Nicholas Wade's new book. One might well ask, if the combination of genetics and culture don't account for the majority of human behaviour, what does? *RON*]

By Andrew Gelman, Slate, May 8, 2014
The paradox of racism is that at any given moment, the racism of the day seems reasonable and very possibly true, but the racism of the past always seems so ridiculous.

I’ve been thinking about this recently after reading the new book A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History by New York Times reporter Nicholas Wade, who writes about the big differences in economic success between whites, blacks, Asians, and other groups and offers a sophisticated argument that racial differences arise from genetic differences that are amplif…

100 Percent of California Now in Highest Stages of Drought

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[Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) has called global warming "a total fraud" designed by "liberals who … want to create global government." A Pew Research Poll conducted last year found that only 25% of tea party adherents believe climate change is real, against 61% of non-tea party Republicans (and 84% of Democrats). The state got no rain relief during the December-March wet season, according to a new national drought report. *RON*]

By Andrea Thompson and Climate Central, Scientific American, May 18, 2014
It might not seem possible, but California's drought just got worse. According to Thursday’s release of the U.S. Drought Monitor, 100 percent of the state is now in one of the three worst stages of drought.

The latest report, which indicated that rain had improved conditions in parts of Texas and the Plains states, revealed that California got no relief. In fact, a heat wave likely worsened the impacts of the drought…

UK holds talks with Brussels on options for intervening

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[Pretty soon we'll have one big drug company called 'Buy From Us Or DIE'. *RON*]

By Andrew Ward, Elizabeth Rigby and Alex Barker, Financial Times, May 18, 2014 AstraZeneca is braced for a fresh approach from Pfizer as the UK government holds talks with Brussels about its options for intervening in what would be the biggest foreign takeover of a British company.

Pfizer was weighing its next move over the weekend as the clock ticked towards the May 26 deadline for the US drugmaker to sweeten its £63bn offer or walk away under UK takeover rules.

People close to both companies said they expected Pfizer, maker of the Lipitor cholesterol treatment and Viagra anti-impotence pill, to improve on the £50-per-share proposal rebuffed by AstraZeneca earlier this month.

Greenwald Against the Establishment

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[I've put a hold on Greenwald's new book with my local library. *RON*]

By Justin Raimondo(about the author) OpEd News, 5/17/14

...And Glenn gets the better of them Glenn Greenwald's new book, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, is many things: an account of his relationship with Snowden, an indictment of political leaders who have used the pretext of "terrorism" to mask their unlimited power-lust, a technical analysis (complete with illustrations culled from the National Security Agency's own secret archives) of America's emerging police state. Most significant and enjoyable for me, however, it is a searing indictment of what "mainstream" journalists have become -- servitors of a corrupt political class blinded by their own arrogance.

It opens with an account of how the biggest story of the decade fell into Greenwald's lap -- and almost fell out. Many of Greenwald&#…

Portland Is First U.S. City to Divest Funds from Walmart

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[The initiative also prohibits the city from purchasing Walmart bonds in the future. There has been a trend toward municipalities and universities divesting from fossil fuel investments; this is the first I've heard of anyone targeting Walmart, though. *RON*]

by Laura Garcia, Molly Rusk, Yes! Magazine, May 16, 2014
On Thursday, May 15, the city of Portland got rid of $9 million, or 25 percent, of its investments in Walmart. This marks the beginning of a divestment program that will purge Portland's investment portfolio of $36 million in Walmart bonds by 2016, according to a press release. The divestment plan is part of the city's responsible investment initiative, introduced by City Commissioner Steve Novick, and adopted in October 2013. The initiative also prohibits the city from purchasing Walmart bonds in the future.

Portland is not only discontinuing its investments in Walmart, but has set up a committee to advise it on making soci…

Why Does B.C. Government So Desperately Want Grizzly Bears Dead?

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[Government policy in this area is repugnant, and only serves to buy them a rather small number of votes, despite the fact that 90% of British Columbians polled agree (including rural respondents and many hunters), that "gratuitous killing for recreation and amusement is unacceptable and immoral." The science shows that killing is unnecessary for bear management and that live bears bring in ten times the overall revenue of dead bears. *RON*]

Chris Genovali, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, May 19, 2014

We want these bears dead. This is the message the B.C. government's "reallocation policy" sends to Raincoast Conservation Foundation, British Columbians, and Canadians across the country. This policy is also preventing the implementation of an innovative solution to end the commercial trophy hunting of grizzlies and other large carnivores throughout B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest.

With the mismanaged, and some would say depr…

B.C. Glacier Melt Is Rapid, Unpredecented, And A Big Climate-Change Issue

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["Early results suggest these glaciers are shedding 22 cubic kilometres of ice annually, or about 22 billion cubic metres of water. For comparison, an Olympic swimming pool contains about 2,500 cubic metres of water." *RON*]

By Dene Moore, CP / Huffington Post, 05/18/2014

VANCOUVER - The mountains of British Columbia cradle glaciers that have scored the landscape over millenia, shaping the rugged West Coast since long before it was the West Coast.

But they're in rapid retreat, and an American state-of-the-union report on climate change has singled out the rapid melt in British Columbia and Alaska as a major climate change issue.

"Most glaciers in Alaska and British Columbia are shrinking substantially," said the U.S. National Climate Assessment, released last week to much fanfare south of the border.

"This trend is expected to continue and has implications for hydropower production, ocean circulation patterns, fisheries, …