Showing posts from June 26, 2016

Solar Power to Grow Sixfold as Sun Becoming Cheapest Resource

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[Production costs are dropping radically and the necessary storage and distribution technologies have finally matured to the point of viability. "Solar just gets so cheap under any reasonable scenario." *RON*]

Mahmoud HabboushClaudia Carpenter, Bloomberg, 22 June 2016

Panels may produce 8-13% of global electricity by 2030: IrenaBrazil, Saudi Arabia, Jordan ‘most attractive’ for solar The amount of electricity generated using solar panels stands to expand as much as sixfold by 2030 as the cost of production falls below competing natural gas and coal-fired plants, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Solar plants using photovoltaic technology could account for 8 percent to 13 percent of global electricity produced in 2030, compared with 1.2 percent at the end of last year, the Abu Dhabi-based industry group said in a report Wednesday. The average cost of electricity from a photovoltaic system is forecast to plunge as m…

German government agrees to ban fracking after years of dispute

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[Interestingly, one of the strongest parts of the successful anti-fracking lobby was the beer-making industry, putting forward fears about its centuries-old Beer Purity Laws: German beermakers look like winning their battle to stop fracking. The coalition of opponents revived their proposals after oil and gas companies said last week they would push ahead with projects *RON*]

Agence France-Presse, The Guardian, 24 June 2016

German politicians have approved a law that bans fracking, ending years of dispute over the controversial technology to release oil and gas locked deep underground.

The law does not outlaw conventional drilling for oil and gas, leaving it to state governments to decide on individual cases.

But fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, which blasts a mixture of water, sand and chemicals underground to release shale oil and gas, will be banned.

Only a handful of projects for scientific or non-commercial purposes are likely to meet the con…

How the Gun Control Debate Ignores Black Lives

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[A good older piece I just ran across. Methinks this is not a bug, it's a feature: the omission is not accidental. *RON*]
By Lois Beckett, ProPublica, 24 November 2015
By failing to talk about the majority of gun murder victims — black men — politicians and advocates are missing the chance to save lives.

ON A DRIZZLY AFTERNOON in January 2013, almost a month after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 first-graders dead, more than a dozen religious leaders assembled in Washington, D.C.

They had been invited by the Obama administration to talk about what the country should do to address gun violence. Vice President Joe Biden had been meeting with victims and advocates all day, and he arrived so late that some in the room wondered whether he would come at all. When he finally walked in, the clergy started sharing their advice, full of pain, some of it personal. “The incidents of Newtown are very tragic,” Michael McBride, a 37…

Clinton Appointees Oppose $15 Minimum Wage Amendment in Democratic Platform; Sanders Surrogates Back It

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[As the Cyndi Lauper song put it: "I see your true colors shining through..." Bernie & Hillary DNC drafting committee members clash after Rep. Keith Ellison proposed $15 minimum wage amendment. *RON*]
By Ben NortonSalon / AlterNet, 26 June 2016
The representatives appointed by Hillary Clinton to the Democratic Party’s platform drafting committee voted against a $15 minimum wage amendment on Friday.

The five representatives who were appointed by Clinton’s presidential opponent, Bernie Sanders, supported the amendment.

The proposal was defeated eight-to-six. The only person on the committee aside from Sanders’ surrogates who supported the amendment was California Rep. Barbara Lee.

The Democratic National Committee held a hearing for its platform drafting committee in St. Louis, Missouri on June 24.

On numerous proposed amendments in the hearing, Clinton’s appointees voted together in opposition to Sanders’ appointees, in what looked lik…

A Born-Again Donald Trump? Believe It, Evangelical Leader Says

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[Just when I thought it was impossible to feel more cynical about the US elections they lower the bar further. Perhaps he and Hillary will now have a "pray-off"? *RON*]

By Trip Gabriel and Michael Luo, New York Times, 25 June 2016

Has Donald J. Trump become a born-again Christian?

That is the suggestion of James C. Dobson, one of America’s leading evangelicals, who said Mr. Trump had recently come “to accept a relationship with Christ” and was now “a baby Christian.”

Dr. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family and one of the country’s most prominent social conservatives, gave his account at a meeting Mr. Trump had in New York on Tuesday with hundreds of Christian conservatives.

In an interview recorded at the event by a Pennsylvania pastor, the Rev. Michael Anthony, Dr. Dobson said he knew the person who had led Mr. Trump to Christ, though he did not name him.

“I don’t know when it was, but it has not been long,” Dr. Dobson said. “I…

One of Asia’s most abusive armies now deploys armed drones

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[Drones acquired from China, to aid in Buddhist oppression. The thing that still disappoints me more than anything is the continuing hard-hearted response of one of my former heros: Burma leader Aung San Suu Kyi bans use of Rohingya name for oppressed Muslims. *RON*]
Patrick Winn, Global Post / PRI, 21 June 2016

In 2016, practically no nation is too impoverished or dysfunctional to acquire killer flying robots.

Case in point: Myanmar. The war-ravaged nation is now believed to own a dozen-odd drones armed with laser-guided missiles.

The assumed target of these sophisticated contraptions? Mountain-dwelling rebels who trudge through jungle mud with banged-up, black market M-16s.

This is the new normal in guerrilla warfare around the world. Far beyond Pakistan or Yemen, rebels scurrying around with cheap rifles can be blasted with satellite-guided bombs.

Brexit was not about the EU. It was about Britishness

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[This writer's view seems quite true to me. The Brexit vote was an emotional one - largely mean-spirited - not a rational reaction. This is quite clearly shown by the large numbers of people who, after the Brexit vote, started Googling to ask What is the EU? What is Brexit? Also by the fact that the areas that export the most to the EU (i.e., those who will be hurt most badly) were the strongest Brexit supporters. See also: View from Wales: town showered with EU cash votes to leave EUThere is already a trending hashtag of #Regrexit. The other things I predict we'll see as this evolves is that: a) there will be something approaching another recession in the UK and the EU, b) this will harm the poor far more than the rich, but c) it will be used as a pretext for even more austerity, which will harm the poor all over again. Oh, and d) somebody, somewhere will find a way to blame immigrants and refugees for all this. *RON*]
By Raluca Bejan