Author Archives: Jamie Cox

Get Ready for a Green Chinese New Year Celebration

earth911

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Get Ready for a Green Chinese New Year Celebration

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United Airlines Now Back in the Black

Mother Jones

Good news, everyone! After a plunge in the stock market after it beat up a passenger, United Airlines’ stock price has fully recovered. It only took three weeks, and now everything is forgiven.

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United Airlines Now Back in the Black

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It’s Not the 1 Percent Controlling Politics. It’s the 0.01 Percent.

Mother Jones

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Even before presidential candidates started lining up billionaires to kick-start their campaigns, it was clear that the 2016 election could be the biggest big-money election yet. This chart from the political data shop Crowdpac illustrates where we may be headed: Between 1980 and 2012, the share of federal campaign contributions coming from the very, very biggest political spenders—the top 0.01 percent of donors—nearly tripled:

In other words, a small handful of Americans* control more than 40 percent of election contributions. Notably, between 2010 and 2012, the total share of giving by these donors jumped more than 10 percentage points. That shift is likely the direct result of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, which struck down decades of fundraising limits and kicked off the super-PAC era. And this data only includes publicly disclosed donations, not dark money, which almost certainly means that the megadonors’ actual share of total political spending is even higher.

It’s pretty fair to assume that most of these top donors are also sitting at the top of the income pyramid. Out of curiosity, I compared the share of campaign cash given by elite donors alongside the increasing share of income controlled by the people who make up the top 0.01 percent—the 1 percent of the 1 percent. The trend lines aren’t an exact match, but they’re close enough to show how top donors’ political clout has increased along with top earners’ growing slice of the national income. Again, note the bump around 2010 and 2011, when the Citizens United era opened just as the superwealthy were starting to recover from the recession—a rebound that has left out most Americans.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that a few hundred people control 40 percent of election contributions, based on my own calculations. According to Crowdpac, the number is around 25,000.

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It’s Not the 1 Percent Controlling Politics. It’s the 0.01 Percent.

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January Is Perilously Close to Primary Season

Mother Jones

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Right now, there’s a common assumption in DC circles that Republicans won’t repeat the mistakes they made this month when the next budget deadline hits in January. Sure, there’ll be a fight over levels of spending and who gets what, but it will be a fairly ordinary fight. The government will stay open, the debt ceiling will get raised, and Obamacare will remain safe.

Thoreau isn’t quite so sure. After all, January is perilously close to primary season:

The best way to win a GOP primary is to say that you refused to compromise with the Democrats. If I were a Democratic elected official, I’d much rather try to negotiate something with Republicans now than in primary season.

If the budget and debt ceiling negotiations were a bit later, that would work to the Democrats’ advantage, because shutdowns will not be popular with the general election audience. However, January is close enough to primary season that it stiffens Republican spines, and just far enough from November that a lot can happen in the interim.

My other prediction is that next August will be one hell of a news cycle. There’s a lot that both sides will want voters to forget before November, especially Team Red, so I predict Peak Stupidity in August of 2014. The crazier it is, the cleaner the slate is wiped in September.

I’m not sure I actually believe this, since I suspect that all the big talk about primarying each and every Republican who voted for yesterday’s deal is mostly going to turn out to be smoke. And if you don’t have a credible challenger by January, you don’t have a lot to worry about. But it’s still an interesting hypothesis that’s worth keeping an eye on.

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January Is Perilously Close to Primary Season

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Leaked Report: Scientists Now 95 Percent Certain That Humans Are Causing Global Warming

Mother Jones

Even though more than a month remains until an official release, Reuters is now reporting on a leaked draft of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report. The report, the first in six years by the international body, is considered the definitive scientific take on climate change (although it is sometimes faulted for being too conservative, and quickly becomes out of date).

Previous IPCC reports have made news for a variety of reasons. The 2001 report, for instance, declared it “likely” (e.g., a 66 percent probability; explanation here) that most of the observed warming that the planet has seen is caused by humans. The 2007 report upped that assessment to “very likely” (a 90 percent probability); and now, according to Reuters, scientists are giving us a 95 percent confidence in this central conclusion of modern climate research. That appears to be the chief headline that will be emerging from the IPCC this time around.

Another bombshell reportedly contained in the draft: The IPCC will now label the phenomenon of sea level rise “unequivocal” and increase prior estimates of projected sea level during this century.

IPCC reports are, invariably, attacked upon release by climate skeptics, who seek to cast doubt on some or all of the findings. Based on the Reuters report, those seeking a soft underbelly this time will know where to look: The report validates the increasingly popular skeptic claim that the rate of increase in global temperatures has “slowed” since 1998. In other words, temperatures are still going up, just not necessarily as quickly as previously.

The new report, Reuters says, offers only “medium confidence” that scientists understand the reasons for this slowing. Causes cited include the possibility that the oceans are taking up more heat, that volcanic eruptions (which tend to produce cooling) may be providing a partial offset to temperature rise, contributing too cooling, or that the climate itself has a lower “sensitivity” to greenhouse gas emissions than previously proposed. (For an explanation of why skeptics’ arguments about the global warming “slowdown” are misleading and should not offer any consolation, see this explainer from Skeptical Science.)

According to Jonathan Lynn, who is head of communications at the IPCC, the organization expects that leaks will occur because report drafts wind up in so many different hands. Lynn cautions that “there’s no question that the final report will not be the same as the drafts.” Indeed, for the upcoming 15-page “Summary for Policymakers,” requested changes are myriad. “We’ve received about 1,800 comments from governments, which will have to be taken into account in the approval sessions coming up in September,” says Lynn.

But will any of that reverse the scientific community’s overwhelming conclusion that global warming is human-caused?

Not very likely.

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Leaked Report: Scientists Now 95 Percent Certain That Humans Are Causing Global Warming

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The Easy Way To Use Green Cleaning In Home Improvement

Your home can be improved very easily by simply doing some home cleaning. Your home can be improved rather dramatically sometimes by giving it a thorough cleaning, and using green cleaning or environmentally friendly methods is the best way. The usual methods for cleaning a house involve cleaning products that are filled with chemicals, and they can be harmful to anyone living in your home, including your pets. There are ways to improve the feel of your home, along with its looks, by simply using green cleaning methods, which you can learn by the following paragraphs.

Because of that, changing to green cleaning methods, is one of the best home improvements you can make. You can increase the value of your home by using green cleaning methods, and this article will show you a few of them.

Environmentally friendly paint should be used in place of VOC paint that you may have on your existing walls. This acronym, VOC, stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. What happens is the compounds in the paint vaporize at room temperature causing your air to become polluted. You might want to consider that the indoor pollution will escape into the surrounding environment, causing the outdoor air to get worse as well. Most manufacturers of paint abide by low VOC amounts in the paint that they produce thus limiting this problem. Be careful of other potential toxic chemicals that can be in paint. Bioshield Milk Paint, as well as Dutch Boy, are brand names you can trust for environmentally friendly paint.

Replacing your existing paint with low or no VOC paint is a great environmental move for you and your family. VOC or Volatile Organic Compounds is the primary concern. Vapors will actually be released by this type of paint causing the indoor air to be unbreathable. Environmentally speaking, this type of indoor pollution inevitably ends up outside, causing the outdoor air to become worse and more toxic. Paint that is low in VOC reduces this possibility, something that most manufacturers take into consideration. It is possible that paint may come with other toxic chemicals that you should be aware of. Brand names such as Benjamin Moore and Dutch Boy make very trustworthy types of paint.

Work on painting the room before you make any other improvements. Painting your ceilings and walls will go faster and easier if you get it done before installing your flooring. No matter how well you try to protect your new floor, it will be almost impossible to avoid getting paint on it.

Do not ever use furniture polish. Never use furniture polish as it is made with chemicals that may hurt you. These chemicals are bad for your health. They are bad for the air. You should also be concerned about the structural integrity of anything you clean with the substance. Instead, make your own green furniture polish by combining one part lemon juice to two parts olive oil. By simply rubbing the product into your furniture, you will be happy with what you see. This is a much better way to improve or maintain the overall health and structure of those that you love and the item you’re trying to clean, respectively. The smell or odor of this mixture is much more pleasant than chemically-based furniture polish typically is. After reading this, you should have a few ideas on how you can remove toxic cleansers from your home and go green instead. Never forget that every home improvement project (no matter what your budget) starts with a thorough cleaning. Once you have made the choice to go green, understand that you are doing something very beneficial for both your family and your home. You know what to do – so go do it!

Eco-friendly cleaning services is actually important to us at Home Cleaning Pros – maidservicecolumbusohio.com. In the event that you’re looking out for additional info on eco cleaning or home improvement go-to HCP site.

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