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Jim Webb Is Considering Running as an Independent

Mother Jones

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The race for the Democratic nomination may have already claimed its first victim—sort of. Jim Webb’s campaign announced on Monday evening that the former Virginia senator will hold a press conference tomorrow—probably—to discuss “his candidacy, the campaign and his views of the political parties in the current election cycle.” According to Webb’s campaign, he’s considering a run as an independent.

Webb’s lukewarm views on the Democrats aren’t much of a secret. Though he ran for Senate as a Democrat, he’s a former Republican who served in the Reagan administration. At last week’s debate, he said he ran for president as a Democrat because it’s “the party that gives people who otherwise have no voice in the corridors of power a voice.” But for him, America’s truly voiceless people are poor rural whites like his own family. That means he clashes with the party’s mainstream over major issues like gun control, affirmative action, and environmental regulation. Neither his views on those issues nor his frequent demands for more speaking time went over particularly well at the debate.

Dave “Mudcat” Saunders, a longtime advisor and friend of Webb, says Webb’s sometimes petulant debate performance was likely the “culmination” of the candidate’s anger at being sidelined by the party. “I think the frustration that Jim showed on the stage the other night, I think it had built up over a long time,” says Saunders, who’s not playing a role in Webb’s presidential campaign. But he also casts an independent run as a matter of Webb’s principles. “‘Duty, honor, country’ is what it’s about it, and he thinks this is the best thing for him to do.”

But if running as an independent gives Webb more freedom to say what he likes, there’s no evidence he’ll be able to do much with that freedom. Webb has no campaign offices in Iowa or New Hampshire, raised the second least of any active presidential candidate during the last quarter (we’re not counting barely-there former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore for these purposes), and is still polling at only 1 percent after the debate last week.

“Jim’s no dummy,” Saunders says. “He know’s it going to be tough, I’m sure.”

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Jim Webb Is Considering Running as an Independent

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Quote of the Day: Mike Huckabee Wants American Wars to Last Ten Days Max

Mother Jones

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From noted national security expert Mike Huckabee:

Here is what we have to do: America has to have the most formidable, fierce, military in the history of mankind. So when we have a threat, whether it is ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranians, whatever it is, we make it very clear that we plan to push back and destroy that threat to us. And we won’t take 10 years doing it, we hopefully won’t even take 10 months, it will be like a 10 day exercise, because the fierceness of our forces would mean that we can absolutely guarantee the outcome of this film. That’s how America needs to operate in the world of foreign affairs, and foreign policy.

Damn! If only we’d known this before. If we had taken this stuff a little more seriously, we could have wiped out all these guys in a short series of ten-day bloodbaths. No more Al-Qaeda. No more ISIS. No more Hamas or Hezbollah. Even the entire country of Iran would apparently have fallen to our fierceness in ten days or so. Booyah!

Generally, speaking, I try not to obsess over each and every Idiocy of the Day™, since they fly fast and furious during campaign season. But I have to assume that Huckabee is being more than astonishingly ignorant here. He’s also channeling the beliefs of a lot of base conservatives, who figure if we stopped pussyfooting around and spending all our time worrying about PC crap like gay soldiers and whatnot, we could unleash the full might of America and destroy our enemies in a matter of days or weeks. And that would be that.

I wonder how many people are out there who believe this? More than we think, probably. Maybe someone should take a poll.

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Quote of the Day: Mike Huckabee Wants American Wars to Last Ten Days Max

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Republicans Are Shooting Themselves in the Foot Over Net Neutrality

Mother Jones

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I’ve written before about the GOP’s peculiarly uncompromising stance on net neutrality. At its core, net neutrality has always been a battle between two huge industry groups and therefore never really presented an obvious reason for Republicans to feel strongly about one side or the other. But they’ve taken sides anyway, energetically supporting the anti-neutrality broadband industry against the pro-neutrality tech industry. Today an LA Times article dives more deeply into the problems this is causing:

As tech firms and cable companies prepare for a fight that each says will shape the future of the Internet, Silicon Valley executives and activists are growing increasingly irritated by the feeling that the GOP is not on their side. Republican leaders have struggled to explain to their nascent allies in the Bay Area why they are working so hard to undermine a plan endorsed by the Obama administration to keep a level playing field in Internet innovation.

….The fight comes at a time when Republicans had been making gains in Silicon Valley, a constituency of well-heeled donors and coveted millennial-generation voters who have generally been loyal to Democrats….Republicans have hoped to seize on recent Democratic policy moves that riled tech companies, including a push for strict anti-piracy rules and the Obama administration’s continued backing of National Security Agency surveillance of Internet users.

But the hot issue in Silicon Valley now is net neutrality. And on that issue, the GOP and the tech industry are mostly out of step….“It is close to a litmus test,” said Paul Sieminski, a Republican who is the general counsel to Automattic, the company that operates Web-making tool WordPress.com. “It’s such a fundamental issue for the Internet,” said Sieminski, who has been active in fighting for net neutrality. “I guess it is a proxy on where a candidate may stand on a lot of issues related to the Internet.”

The obvious and cynical explanation for the Republican view is that President Obama is for net neutrality, so they’re against it. The more principled view is that they hate regulation so much that they don’t care what it costs them to oppose net neutrality. It’s regulation, so they’re against it.

Neither one truly makes sense to me, and I suppose their real motivation is a combination of both. Most Republicans probably started out moderately skeptical of net neutrality because it represented a new layer of regulation, and then gradually adopted an ever more inflexible opposition as it became clear that Obama and the Democratic Party were staking out the pro-neutrality space. Eventually it became a hot button issue, and now the die is cast.

But it’s sure hard to see what it buys them. It’s already eroding any chance they had of appealing to the growing tech industry, which is going to be even more firmly in the Democratic camp after this. And while the support of the broadband industry is nice, it’s not big enough to tip the fundraising scales more than a few milligrams in either direction.

All in all, it’s an odd fight. It remains unclear to me why Republicans have chosen this particular hill to die on.

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Republicans Are Shooting Themselves in the Foot Over Net Neutrality

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Texas official ignores voters’ ban on fracking

Texas official ignores voters’ ban on fracking

10 Nov 2014 5:21 PM

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As predicted, mere hours after the first-ever fracking ban passed in Texas, industry reps took to the courts. By 9:09 a.m. on Nov. 5, both the Texas Oil and Gas Association and the Texas General Land Office had filed lawsuits that aim to prevent the city of Denton from enacting its ordinance on Dec. 2 — and Texas legislators are already drawing up plans to make future fracking bans like this one illegal.

The blowback here, of course, is because Denton is sitting on top of the Barnett Shale — one of the country’s largest natural gas fields — and those who’re doing the drilling would like to continue, thank you very much. The lawsuits argue that a city can’t override the state’s authority to regulate the oil and gas industry.

So, in the meantime? Business as usual, according to The Dallas Morning News:

Railroad Commission Chairwoman Christi Craddick came out strongly against a fracking ban passed this week in North Texas, pledging to continue giving permits to companies that seek to drill in Denton. …

“It’s my job to give permits, not Denton’s … We’re going to continue permitting up there because that’s my job,” she said.

Although local residents are concerned about fracking’s effects on air and water quality, the local economy, and human health, Craddick claims the ban passed because the oil and gas industry simply did not do enough in the realm of community education:

“We missed as far as an education process in explaining what fracking is, explaining what was going on. And I think this is the result of that, in a lot of respects, and a lot of misinformation about fracking,” Craddick said.

Misinformation, eh? That’s why 59 percent of Denton voters passed the ban — they just didn’t know how safe and equitable fracking really is! Considering this was Denton’s most expensive political campaign ever, it seems the industry did at least try, before it failed, to give that “education process” a shot.

While this is not the first fracking ban to prompt expensive legal battles over regulatory authority, it’s the first one in oil-rich, oil-powerful Texas, so this is a battle to watch.

Source:
Craddick: Railroad Commission will continue permitting in Denton, not ruling out action against ban

, Dallas Morning News.

Texas Oil Regulator Says It Will Not Honor Town’s Vote To Ban Fracking

, Think Progress.

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Texas official ignores voters’ ban on fracking

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Corn waste-based ethanol could be worse for the climate than gasoline

Corn waste-based ethanol could be worse for the climate than gasoline

Ron Nichols, USDA

Young corn growing in the residue of the previous crop.

A lot of carbon-rich waste is left behind after a cornfield is stripped of its juicy ears. It used to be that the stalks, leaves, and detrital cobs would be left on fields to prevent soil erosion and to allow the next crop to feast on the organic goodness of its late brethren. Increasingly, though, these leftovers are being sent to cellulosic ethanol biorefineries. Millions of gallons of biofuels are expected to be produced from such waste this year — a figure could rise to more than 10 billion gallons in 2022 to satisfy federal requirements.

But a new study suggests this approach may be worse for the climate, at least in the short term, than drilling for oil and burning the refined gasoline. The benefits of cellulosic biofuel made from corn waste improve over the longer term, but the study, published online Sunday in Nature Climate Change, suggests that the fuel could never hit the benchmark set in the 2007 U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act, which requires that cellulosic ethanol be 60 percent better for the climate than traditional gasoline.

The problem is that after corn residue is torn out and hauled away from a farm field, more carbon is lost from the soil. This problem is pervasive throughout the cornbelt, but it’s the most pronounced in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, owing in part to the high carbon contents of soils there.

Researchers used a supercomputer to run models to estimate the effect of removing corn residue from 128 million acres of farmland in 12 corn-farming states. Removing the residue was found to release 50 to 80 grams of carbon dioxide from the exposed soil for every megajoule of biofuel produced. Add to that figure the biofuel’s tailpipe CO2 emissions and, voila, you get an average of 100 grams of CO2 released for every megajoule of power produced — which is 7 percent worse than emissions from regular old gasoline.

The key findings are shown in the following graph from the paper. The top line shows that soil organic carbon (SOC) is gradually lost over nine years when corn residue is left in place. But when the residue is hauled off to be turned into biofuel, as shown in the dashed lower line, the loss of soil carbon is more rapid. The loss of such soil carbon is a blow for the farm — crops need that material to grow. But it’s also a blow for the climate, because the carbon ends up in the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas.

Nature Climate ChangeClick to embiggen.

The researchers found that the loss of soil carbon is an issue regardless of whether some of the residue is removed from a field or all of it. “If less residue is removed, there is less decrease in soil carbon, but it results in a smaller biofuel energy yield,” said report coauthor Adam Liska, an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

The research was funded with $500,000 from the federal government — which was quick to pan the results.

An EPA spokeswoman told the AP that the study “does not provide useful information relevant to the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions from corn stover ethanol.” And the biofuels industry complained that the researchers did not give a good explanation for why their conclusions contradicted other recent studies.

But the AP has previously exposed gaping holes in the EPA’s own studies, which have concluded that ethanol provides big climate benefits.

We asked Liska how officials could use his findings to help slow down global warming. He suggested that they start by using their ears (not the corn kind). “If emissions are going to be decreased, the EPA should accept these findings as valid,” he replied.


Source
Biofuels from crop residue can reduce soil carbon and increase CO2 emissions, Nature Climate Change
Study casts doubt on climate benefit of biofuels from corn residue, University of Nebraska
Study: Fuels from corn waste not better than gas, The Associated Press

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants: johnupton@gmail.com.

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Corn waste-based ethanol could be worse for the climate than gasoline

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Do You Know Where Your Wreath Came From?

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Do You Know Where Your Wreath Came From?

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Will Democrats and Tea Partiers Derail Obama’s Secret Trade Deal?

Mother Jones

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The Obama administration is nearing the end of negotiations on the biggest free trade deal in US history, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The stakes are high: The pact affects the United States and 11 other countries, domestic policy areas ranging from intellectual property rights to product safety and environmental regulations, and $26 trillion in annual economic output. But in order to secure the deal, President Barack Obama says he needs Congress to grant him permission to sign the final trade agreement, which Congress has not yet seen, without congressional input. A coalition of about 174 conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats in the House signaled this week they would likely vote against giving those trade powers to the president.

The US trade representative Michael Froman and Obama want to finalize the TPP by the end of the year and are pushing Congress to pass legislation soon that grants the president something called fast-track authority, which would allow him to sign the final trade agreement without Congress making any amendments to the pact. If Obama gets what he wants, Congress may not even be able to read the final version of the massive trade deal in its entirety until after lawmakers have signed away their rights to influence it. At that point, the two chambers will only be allowed an up-or-down vote to implement the international pact into domestic law. The administration says fast-track authority will assure other countries that the deal the United States has committed to after three years of negotiations won’t be dismantled by American lawmakers who dislike some of the provisions. No major trade agreement has been finalized without it.

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Will Democrats and Tea Partiers Derail Obama’s Secret Trade Deal?

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Does this look like organic egg production to you?

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Cesar’s Way – Cesar Millan & Melissa Jo Peltier

“I rehabilitate dogs. I train people.” —Cesar Millan There are at least 68 million dogs in America, and their owners lavish billions of dollars on them every year. So why do so many pampered pets have problems? In this definitive and accessible guide, Cesar Millan—star of National Geographic Channel’s hit show Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan —reveals what do […]

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Codex: Space Marines (Enhanced Edition) – Games Workshop

The Space Marines are the chosen warriors of the Emperor, and the greatest fighting force of the Imperium. Each Space Marine is a genetically enhanced super soldier, easily a match for a dozen lesser men, armed with some of the deadliest weapons in the galaxy and encased in formidable power armour. This codex explores the formations and Chapters of the Space […]

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Amy Butler’s Style Stitches – Amy Butler

Now in ebook for the first time ever! Celebrated designer Amy Butler’s most coveted products are her handbag sewing patterns. In Style Stitches , Butler presents an array of new bag designs for her fans across the globe. The ebook offers 12 basic patterns with enough variations to achieve 26 unique looks. Ranging from chic clutches and delicate wristlet […]

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Marley & Me – John Grogan

The heartwarming and unforgettable story of a family and the wondrously neurotic dog who taught them what really matters in life. Now with photos and new material

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Cat Sense – John Bradshaw

Cats have been popular household pets for thousands of years, and their numbers only continue to rise. Today there are three cats for every dog on the planet, and yet cats remain more mysterious, even to their most adoring owners. In Cat Sense , renowned anthrozoologist John Bradshaw takes us further into the mind of the domestic cat than ever before, using […]

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How to Raise the Perfect Dog – Cesar Millan & Melissa Jo Peltier

From the bestselling author and star of National Geographic Channel’s Dog Whisperer , the only resource you’ll need for raising a happy, healthy dog. For the millions of people every year who consider bringing a puppy into their lives–as well as those who have already brought a dog home–Cesar Millan, the preeminent dog behavior expert, says, “Yes, […]

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The Art of Raising a Puppy (Revised Edition) – Monks of New Skete

For more than thirty years the Monks of New Skete have been among America’s most trusted authorities on dog training, canine behavior, and the animal/human bond. In their two now-classic bestsellers, How to be Your Dog’s Best Friend and The Art of Raising a Puppy, the Monks draw on their experience as long-time breeders of German shepherds and as t […]

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Warhammer 40,000: The Rules – Games Workshop

There is no time for peace. No respite. No forgiveness. There is only WAR. In the nightmare future of the 41st Millennium, Mankind teeters upon the brink of destruction. The galaxy-spanning Imperium of Man is beset on all sides by ravening aliens and threatened from within by Warp-spawned entities and heretical plots. Only the strength of the immortal […]

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Index Astartes: Apothecaries – Games Workshop

Apothecaries are the battle-medics of the Space Marine Chapters, tending to fallen battle-brothers in the chaos of combat using their skills to get them back into the fight. The Apothecaries are also the guardian’s of a Chapter’s genetic history, ensuring that its gene-seed is keep pure and safe for the creation of future Space Marines. About this Series: Th […]

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A Big Little Life – Dean Koontz

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER In a profound, funny, and beautifully rendered portrait of a beloved companion, bestselling novelist Dean Koontz remembers the golden retriever who changed his life. A retired service dog, Trixie was three when Dean and his wife, Gerda, welcomed her into their home. She was superbly trained, but her greatest gifts couldn’t be taught […]

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Does this look like organic egg production to you?

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