Showing posts from August, 2017

Today's Trumpery


'Barbarism … and just plain meanness': Life in a Texas hurricane shelter

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[This is more than Trump has seen of the first-hand experiences of the flood victims - he has not met any victims face-to-face. Evacuees face theft and other challenges as 30,000 Texans arrive in emergency centres. See also: Most Harvey flood victims uninsured, face big bills alone; and How climate change boosts extreme storms. *RON*]
Kim Brunhuber, CBC News 29 August 2017
"You just gotta keep moving, gotta keep going forward."

That's what Ian Shader tells himself as he walks back and forth along a suburban San Antonio, Texas, street.

He's been stuck — trapped he says — in the nearby shelter four, five days. He says he can't remember exactly — it's all starting to run together.

"We were told you have 'X' amount of time to get to the civic centre and be bused out of here, or you ain't getting a ride out of here," he said.
His house in Corpus Christi, Texas — not far from the where hurricane made landfal…

Life Expectancy Gap Widens for Appalachia

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[Making America Great Again! Smoking, high rates of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, poor birth outcomes, and opioid deaths on the rise, all in association with unemployment and elevated poverty, contribute to worsening life expectancy in Western NC.]

Rose Hoban, North Carolina Health News, 30 August 2017

By Taylor Knopf

While life expectancy and infant mortality rates continue to improve across the United States, the Appalachian region struggles to keep up.

Infant mortality is 16 percent higher in Appalachia than other areas of America, according to a study published in Health Affairs this month called “Widening disparities in infant mortality and life expectancy between Appalachia and the rest of the United States, 1990–2013.”

The authors used information from 428 counties stretching over 13 states, from Mississippi to New York, this includes 29 western North Carolina counties and compared outcomes against the rest of the U.S.
In 1990, life expec…

South Asia floods kill 1,200 and shut 1.8 million children out of school

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[Hundreds dead in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, while millions have been forced from their homes and 18,000 schools shut down across the region. Latest: fears South Asia floods death toll will rise as Mumbai building collapses. *RON*]

Haroon Siddique and agencies, The Guardian, 31 August 2017

More than 1,200 people have died across India, Bangladesh and Nepal as a result of flooding, with 40 million affected by the devastation. At least six people, including two toddlers, were among the victims in and around India’s financial capital.

The devastating floods have also destroyed or damaged 18,000 schools, meaning that about 1.8 million children cannot go to classes, Save the Children warned on Thursday.

The charity said that hundreds of thousands of children could fall permanently out of the school system if education was not prioritised in relief efforts.

“We haven’t seen flooding on this scale in years and it’s putting the long-term education of an e…

Oil refineries have released 2 million pounds of chemicals in Harvey's wake, and scientists are worried

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["Those chemicals include cancer-causing and potentially lethal gases like carbon monoxide and benzene, among others." *RON*]

Erin Brodwin, Business Insider, 30 August 2017

Tropical Storm Harvey may be on the move — but its after-effects are just beginning to be realized.

In addition to slamming homes and hospitals, the storm struck the heart of Texas' refining industry, where roughly a third of America's oil is processed. In its wake, more than two million pounds of hazardous chemicals have been released into the air, according to filingsreportedwith the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and first reported by Politico.

Those chemicals include cancer-causing and potentially lethal gases like carbon monoxide and benzene, among others.

Shortly after Harvey made landfall, companies including Exxon Mobil and Valero Energy began to shutter local facilities and evacuate workers, taking close to a fifth of the nation's total r…

A Federal Judge Jailed Hundreds of Immigrants While Her Husband Invested in Private Prisons

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[Justice meets the private sector. Judge Linda Reade’s husband bought more prison stock five days before one of the nation’s biggest immigration raids. *RON*]

Samanthan Michaels,  Moyers & Company, 30 August 2017

This post originally appeared at Mother Jones.

It was almost lunchtime inside the country’s largest kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, on May 12, 2008. The meatpackers, mostly migrants from Guatemala and Mexico, wore earplugs to block out the noise of the machinery and couldn’t hear the two black helicopters hovering overhead or the hundreds of armed federal immigration agents closing in around them until the production line stopped. One worker tried to flee with his knives, stabbing himself in the leg when he was pushed to the ground. “They rounded us up toward the middle like a bunch of chickens,” a 42-year-old Guatemalan worker later recalled. “Those who were hiding were beaten and shackled.”

Nearly 400 workers were arrested …

Today's Trumpery


Federal court grants B.C. intervener status in Trans Mountain challenge with harshly worded judgment

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[A. I'm glad that BC applied for, and was granted, intervener status. B. I'm sorely disappointed that Horgan's crew did what is, evidently, a half-assed and half-hearted job of it. 'A number of aspects of British Columbia’s motion are unsatisfactory,' wrote Justice David Stratas. *RON*]

Roshini Nair, CBC News, 29 August 2017
The Federal Court of Appeal has granted British Columbia intervener status in the legal challenge launched against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project — along with a stern rebuke of the province's filing.

On Mar. 9, 2017, 19 separate lawsuits from First Nations and environmental groups challenging Ottawa's approval of the project were consolidated as one case.

The controversial pipeline project would expand the capacity of a currently existing pipeline route between Edmonton and Burnaby and significantly increase tanker traffic out of Burrard Inlet.

Interveners — who are not litigants but p…

Armed men destroy two dozen logging trucks in Chile indigenous dispute

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[Along with Antifa, we seem to be seeing a ratcheting-up of the level of violence that people are willing to engage in, in the environmental and Aboriginal communities. *RON*]
Gram Slattery, Reuters, 28 August 2017

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - A group of armed men claiming to represent the nation’s indigenous Mapuche people hijacked and burned 29 logging trucks in southern Chile on Monday morning as a years-long conflict with forestry companies heated up.

The government convened an emergency meeting less than two weeks after a similar hijacking in which 18 trucks were burned, and several high-ranking officials denounced the attack later in the day.

“We’re going to combat violence and we are not going to allow minoritarian groups, which don’t value dialogue, to ruin the great effort all regional actors in the south are doing to promote development and overcome exclusion,” Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said in televised remarks.

It was not clear to wha…

You Are the Product

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["Facebook is in the surveillance business." When does an Internet company become evil? *RON*]

John Lanchester, London Review of Books, Vol. 39 No. 16 · 17 August 2017

The Attention Merchants: From the Daily Newspaper to Social Media, How Our Time and Attention Is Harvested and Sold by Tim Wu. Atlantic, 416 pp, £20.00, January, ISBN 978 1 78239 482 2Chaos Monkeys: Inside the Silicon Valley Money Machine by Antonio García Martínez. Ebury, 528 pp, £8.99, June, ISBN 978 1 78503 455 8Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google and Amazon have Cornered Culture and What It Means for All of Us by Jonathan Taplin. Macmillan, 320 pp, £18.99, May, ISBN 978 1 5098 4769 3 At the end of June, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook had hit a new level: two billion monthly active users. That number, the company’s preferred ‘metric’ when measuring its own size, means two billion different people used Facebook in the preceding month. It is hard t…