Showing posts from April 13, 2015

Nearly half of Spain’s electricity came from renewables last month

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[It can be done - it involves electing the correct politician. *RON*]

By Carey Reed, PBS News Hour, 12 April 2015
Solar panels sit angled atop mausoleums in the northern Spanish city of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, harnessing the power of the sun to provide electricity to some of the city’s residents.

In March, 47 percent of Spain’s electricity came from renewable sources, ThinkProgress reported earlier this month.

The majority (22.5 percent) came from wind, according to the country’s grid operator. Wind turbines dot most of Spain’s open landscape and wind was the top source of electricity in 2013, the Guardian reported.

Spanish households do pay some of the highest prices for electricity in Europe. In the first half of 2013, the cost of electricity for homes in Spain ranked sixth in the European Union behind countries like Denmark, Germany and Cyprus, according to Eurostat.

The high prices are due to an electricity deficit that has ballooned over the y…

The Robert Kennedy Jr. Anti-Vaccine Tour

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[I guess there's one in every enormous, powerful family. *RON*]

By Keith Kloor, Discover Magazine, 13 April 2015

My mother-in-law, who lives in New Jersey, recently mailed me a newspaper clipping. It was about a famous person who came to her state to publicly oppose a bill that would make it harder for parents to exempt their children from school-mandated vaccinations. This same famous person had just visited two other states to lobby against similar legislation proposed in the wake of the Disneyland/Measles outbreak. Local media and wire services have covered the spectacles in Oregon, California, and New Jersey.

Yes, Robert Kennedy Jr. has made headlines again for, as the New Jersey Star Ledger put it in a hard-hitting editorial, “his crazy-talk about a vast government conspiracy to hide the truth that a vaccine ingredient called thimerosal causes childhood autism.” The Star-ledger goes on to correctly note:
He is wrong. Every major scientific…

Undercover Mounties pushed pressure-cooker bomb plan on accused terror couple, court hears

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[The accused "were taken on a three-day holiday in the Okanagan by the RCMP so they could relax while working on their terrorist plan." *RON*]

Ian Mulgrew, Postmedia News / National Post, 9 April 2015
The Surrey couple accused of plotting to bomb the B.C. Legislature was taken on a three-day holiday in the Okanagan by the RCMP so they could relax while working on their terrorist plan.

But surveillance recordings of the impoverished addicts relishing the police-provided corner hotel suite and personal bathrobes don’t buttress the prosecution case against the pair. They broadsided it.

Organized after RCMP undercover officers had spent more than four months in a futile attempt to have John Nuttall articulate a real plan, the police used the Kelowna getaway to persuade him to abandon a harebrained scheme involving rockets armed with explosives made from cow manure and use pressure-cooker bombs filled with C-4.

“The reason I like the pressure-c…

Uncle Sam's Favorite Corporations

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[From The Subsidy Tracker at the Good Jobs First web site. "Since 2000, the federal government has awarded $68 billion in grants and allocated tax credits, with fewer than 600 companies receiving two-thirds of the total. Six parent companies have received $1 billion or more; 21 have received $500 million or more; and 98 have received $100 million or more." *RON*]

TABLE 2. Parent companies that have received $100 billion or more

1 Bank of America                                     $3,496,780,985,709
2 Citigroup                                                 $2,591,415,050,066
3 Morgan Stanley                                       $2,117,225,300,000
4 JPMorgan Chase                                     $1,299,031,484,524
5 Barclays                                                     $942,709,200,000
6 Goldman Sachs                                          $911,764,800,000
7 Royal Bank of Scotland                             $651,607,…

New headaches for tar sands pipeline proponents as oil fouls Vancouver harbour

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[An overview of the mess in Vancouver harbour. *RON*]
By Roger Annis,, 11 April 2015

A bad turn of events for the local environment and for some of the oil barons targeting the entire planet in their climate-wrecing plans. That's an apt summary of the oil spill that has fouled the beaches and harbour of Vancouver BC beginning on April 8.

An ocean-going grain ship, the MV Marathassa, that was moored in Vancouver's outer harbour (English Bay) began to spill toxic fuel—bunker oil—at 5 pm on that date. The ship was queued to move through the very narrow passage into Vancouver's inner harbour for loading. A passing recreation sailor noticed the spill and contacted Vancouver's harbour authority. Coast Guard and other emergency responders took several hours to arrive and try to find the source of the spill. By then, darkness had arrived.

Seven, or nine, hours after the spill began (depending on which Canadian Coast Guard report yo…

Günter Grass, Nobel-winning German novelist, dies aged 87

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[The perennial question. Which do you admire, the art or the artist? On the one hand, The Tin Drum is unquestionably a defining work of 20th century European literature. On the other, well, I mean, the guy was in the Waffen SS. *RON*]

Richard Lea & Ben Knight, The Guardian, 13 April 2015

Günter Grass in quotes: 12 of the best
His four key works
Obituary: Günter Grass, 1927-2015

The writer Günter Grass, who broke the silences of the past for a generation of Germans, has died in hospital in Lübeck at the age of 87.

German president Joachim Gauck led the tributes, offering his condolences to the writer’s widow Ute Grass. “Günter Grass moved, enthralled, and made the people of our country think with his literature and his art,” he said in a statement. “His literary work won him recognition early across the world, as witnessed not least by his Nobel prize.”

“His novels, short stories, and his poetry reflect the great hopes and fallacies, the fears and …