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Showing posts from August 21, 2016

Reeling From Effects of Climate Change, Alaskan Village Votes to Relocate

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[American citizens who are among the earliest of the climate change refugees. *RON*]

By Christopher Mele and Daniel Victor, New York Times, 19 August 2016

Residents of a small Alaskan village voted this week to relocate their entire community from a barrier island that has been steadily disappearing because of erosion and flooding attributed to climate change.

In the unofficial results of an election on Tuesday in the village, Shishmaref, residents voted 89 to 78 to leave. The plan would move the village, which is 120 miles north of Nome, to one of two sites on the mainland about five miles away, officials said. But the village needs an estimated $180 million from a patchwork of sources to complete the move, according to a 2004 estimate.

Shishmaref is an Inupiat community of about 600 people on Sarichef, an island north of the Bering Strait that is about one-quarter mile wide and two and a half miles long. It has been grappling for decades with the…

Inequality Has Gotten So Bad That We’re Offshoring Our Grandparents

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[Americans can’t afford to retire in the United States, so many are moving to places like Panama, escaping from one form of inequity and creating another. *RON*]

By Katherine Stewart, The Nation, 19 August 2016
In the early evening, as the sun starts to sink over the coffee farms and flower plantations, Robert Lawrence likes to stroll along the river that bisects the town of Boquete. A tall, 67-year-old Texan with silver hair and a friendly smile, he has made his home in this mountainous region of Panama for the past four years. As he meanders along the cracked walkway, he notes the flashy new condos sprouting up on the hillsides, built by foreign investors to meet the influx of American retirees.

This story was reported with support from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a nonprofit devoted to journalism about inequality.

The numbers of migrating retirees have swelled in recent years, transforming this scenic hamlet of 20,000 in fundamental…

Lawmakers Overseeing Wall Street Given Bigger, More Favorable Loans Than Others: Study

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[Corruption, US style. *RON*]
BY David Sirota, International Business Times, 19 August 2016

It is good to be king, as the old saying goes — and apparently it’s also good to get a seat on a congressional committee that oversees the finance industry. According to a new study, those lawmakers tend to get larger loans and at more favorable interest rates right when they get appointed to those powerful panels. Researchers suggest the evidence is no random coincidence: They say the trend may in fact expose a conduit of influence peddling in which powerful lawmakers are using their position to extract favors — and whereby Wall Street firms may be using stealth perks to increase their legislative power.

The analysis from London Business School professors Ahmed Tahoun and Florin Vasvari analyzed how the personal finances of congressional lawmakers changed once they were appointed to the Senate Finance Committee, the Senate Banking Committee or the House F…

Christy Clark just unveiled a climate change plan that's so bad her own experts are ripping it apart

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[Election 2017. The Clark government accepted 0/37 climate change recommendations made by their own expert panel. It would have been more efficient just to take the tax dollars involved and burned them. See also: B.C. climate plan criticized for delaying new emissions targets and carbon tax increase. *RON*]
By Press Progress, 19 August 2016

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark quietly unveiled her government's new "climate leadership plan" on a late Friday afternoon in the middle of August before a backdrop of people dressed up as scientists in lab coats.
The good news, Clark explained, was that she was implementing "almost all" of the recommendations proposed by her government's Climate Leadership Team.

The bad news? The plan, pieced together by a former Fraser Institute director who once suggested BC school children should be shown movies attacking climate science, accepted zero recommendations in full – and it…

Lower Mainland toll bridges would need six lottery wins to break even

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[Election 2017. How much better would the BC economy be doing if Christy Clark wasn't constantly throwing good money after bad to her corporate best friends? "The bridge’s annual losses equate to the amount BC plans to spends on affordable housing over the next two and a half years. It's also 2.5 times the amount needed each year to kickstart the Lower Mainland's transit plan." *RON*]
Jon Woodward, CTV News, 20 August 2016
Public toll bridge operators in the Lower Mainland would have to win the lottery six times in a year to make up for multi-million dollar losses that may have taxpayers on the hook.

The Port Mann Bridge and the Golden Ears Bridge together lost more than $127 million last year, as drivers continued to avoid the tolls by taking free routes instead.

“The deficit and debt albatross for both gets larger and larger,” said Dermod Travis of the public watchdog Integrity BC.

The proposed 10-lane toll bridge to replace …

The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare

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[A great, if horrifying, story drawn to my attention by my friend Jerri. And what an unsung hero Rob Bilott is! Tena and I are actually just in the process of getting rid of all our non-stick pans and replacing them with enameled cast iron. You can read some of the history of this terrible company by clicking here. In many court cases against DuPont it was shown they had known about the harm they were causing for years before they went to trial, proclaiming their innocence every step of the way and always appealing successful claims against them. And of course there’s the fact that they’re planning to merge with Dow Chemical, an even worse company, if possible. *RON*]

By Nathan Rich, New York Times Magazine, 6 January 2016

Just months before Rob Bilott made partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister, he received a call on his direct line from a cattle farmer. The farmer, Wilbur Tennant of Parkersburg, W.Va., said that his cows were dying left and…