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The Interior axed climate change policies right before Christmas

This story was originally published by High Country News and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Just before Christmas, the Interior Department quietly rescinded an array of policies designed to elevate climate change and conservation in decisions on managing public lands, waters, and wildlife. Order 3360, signed by Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, explains that the policies were rescinded because they were “potential burdens” to energy development.

The order echoes earlier mandates from President Donald Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to Interior’s 70,000 employees: Prioritize energy development and de-emphasize climate change and conservation. The order is another in a long string of examples of science and conservation taking a backseat to industry’s wishes at the Interior Department under Zinke.

The sweeping order, which Bernhardt signed Dec. 22., affects a department that manages a fifth of the nation’s land, 19 percent of U.S. energy supplies, and most of the water in the 12 Western states. It fulfills a high-profile executive order by Trump and a secretarial order from Zinke, both announced in March. Interior did not publicize the order but posted it on its website with other secretarial orders. The Interior Department refused to answer questions about order 3360 on Thursday. “Sorry, nobody is available for you,” Heather Swift, the department spokesperson, wrote in an email.

Environmental groups were surprised that the agency failed to tout the policy decisions. “We’ve been waiting for it. We thought they would do it with some sort of great pride,” said Nada Culver, who directs the Wilderness Society’s BLM action center.

The Bureau of Land Management last week did announce a related policy change that makes it easier for companies to develop oil and gas in core sage grouse habitats that were protected in 2015 as part of an unprecedented conservation initiative. The BLM replaced six instructional memoranda that direct field staff on how to manage 67 million acres of prime sage grouse habitat across 10 Western states. Among other things, the new instructions relieve BLM staff from the requirement that they prioritize drilling outside of prime sagebrush habitat areas.

David Hayes, President Barack Obama’s then-deputy secretary of Interior, said the policy rescissions were very significant because these policies guided the agency’s field staff in how to manage the nation’s vast resources at a time when climate change is already impacting public lands in many ways. “It would be irresponsible as land managers not to take into account these risks, such as drought, fire, invasive species, potential sea-level rise, storm surge impacts, wildlife impacts — all of which already are being felt,” Hayes said.

In his March order, Zinke directed staff to scour their agencies to find policies that hamper energy development.

A report published by the Interior Department in October outlined dozens of policy changes in the works to remove barriers to energy development. The report says that even some of the nation’s most treasured areas — including national monuments, national conservation lands and wild and scenic rivers — won’t be spared from Trump administration efforts to promote energy development.

The new order, which was effective immediately and does not require congressional approval, stems from Zinke’s March directive. It did not specify how the rescinded policies hindered energy or what policies, if any, will take their place.

Among the policies erased by the December order was the climate change chapter of the Interior Department’s manual. This chapter stated that it was the department’s policy to “adapt to the challenges posed by climate change to its mission, programs, operations, and personnel. The department will use the best available science to increase understanding of climate change impacts, inform decision-making, and coordinate an appropriate response to impacts on land, water, wildlife, cultural and tribal resources, and other assets.”

This 2012 policy required national parks and other public lands to consider climate change when developing resource management plans and when permitting various activities. It instructed them to consult the departments’ new Climate Science Centers and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives so they can be guided by the best science available. The policy responded to a 2009 executive order by Obama, which Trump rescinded in March.

Joel Clement, who was the Interior Departments top climate change official before he quit in October, was a main architect of the policy. He says it gave agencies the authority to plan for the myriad of challenges public lands face from climate change. Without the policy they no longer have clear authority. “All of these agencies will fail at their missions if they don’t plan for the impacts of climate change,” Clement said.

Another policy erased by Bernhardt’s order was a chapter added in 2015 that encouraged land managers to look beyond the small parcels of land impacted by a single project when considering mitigation. Instead, it asked them to see how mitigation efforts fit into the conservation goals for larger areas surrounding the projects. This applied to permitting various activities such as mining, drilling for oil, or building a solar power plant. The BLM, National Park Service, or Fish and Wildlife Service would require the company to first avoid and minimize any impacts to natural resources. If impacts were unavoidable, a company would have to “compensate” by designing a mitigation project that would have to reflect broader conservation goals. For instance, if they had to fill in a wetland or build a road through sagebrush habitat, they’d have to invest in restoration projects that replaced the habitat lost.

Hayes said traditionally land managers only looked at the areas impacted by the project or perhaps inside the borders of their own park or refuge. But because climate change is impacting resources across large regions, it became important to start managing across jurisdictional boundaries. The department set up eight regional Climate Science Centers and 22 Landscape Conservation Cooperatives to help land managers study how the broad impacts of climate change should impact their work. (The Trump administration has proposed slashing funding the Climate Science Centers and eliminating the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, but so far Congress has continued to fund both.)

The new order also rescinded BLM’s 2016 mitigation manual and mitigation handbook. These policies guidelines built on the principles of the Interior Department’s mitigation policy and were much more detailed and specific to the kinds of projects BLM authorizes. The handbook both describes how to assess the impacts projects will have on natural resources and outlines how to devise mitigation projects to offset those impacts. BLM is the agency that manages the nation’s energy resources on public lands, including those overseen by the Forest Service.

The agencies are still legally required under the National Environmental Policy Act to mitigate the harmful effects of development and consider climate change. Now they’ve been told not to let climate change considerations or mitigation burden energy development. And they have no guidebook to help them navigate these competing mandates. That confusion could leave the door open for a lot of lawsuits. “That takes you down a very dangerous road for other resources and uses of public lands,” Culver said. “I think it’s going to make the situation worse both for the resources on the ground and for whatever projects they approve.”

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The Interior axed climate change policies right before Christmas

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Caesar’s Last Breath – Sam Kean

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Caesar’s Last Breath
Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us
Sam Kean

Genre: History

Price: $14.99

Publish Date: July 18, 2017

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Seller: Hachette Digital, Inc.


The fascinating science and history of the air we breathe It’s invisible. It’s ever-present. Without it, you would die in minutes. And it has an epic story to tell. In Caesar’s Last Breath, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe, and across time to tell the story of the air we breathe, which, it turns out, is also the story of earth and our existence on it. With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds on the Senate floor, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding; in fact, you’re probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might well bear traces of Cleopatra’s perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe’s creation. Tracing the origins and ingredients of our atmosphere, Kean reveals how the alchemy of air reshaped our continents, steered human progress, powered revolutions, and continues to influence everything we do. Along the way, we’ll swim with radioactive pigs, witness the most important chemical reactions humans have discovered, and join the crowd at the Moulin Rouge for some of the crudest performance art of all time. Lively, witty, and filled with the astounding science of ordinary life, Caesar’s Last Breath illuminates the science stories swirling around us every second.

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Caesar’s Last Breath – Sam Kean

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Hacks, Leaks, and Tweets: Everything We Now Know About the Attack on the 2016 Election

Mother Jones

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The drumbeat of revelations over the past several weeks has been overwhelming. So we’ve created this timeline—from the hacking of the Democratic National Committee through the aftermath of Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey—to help you follow this scandal threatening the presidency.


April 2016: The Democratic National Committee contacts the FBI about suspicious computer activity and hires cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, which ties the hacking to Russian intelligence.

June 15: Guccifer 2.0, a persona later connected to the Russians, takes credit for the DNC hack and begins posting documents.

Mary Altaffer/AP

July 5: FBI Director James Comey announces the bureau found no evidence to support criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server as secretary of state. But he adds that Clinton and her staff were “extremely careless” in their handling of classified information. Donald Trump tweets, “No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem.”

July 22: Three days before the Democratic convention, WikiLeaks publishes nearly 20,000 hacked DNC emails. Some indicate that party officials favored Clinton over Bernie Sanders, including Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who resigns as party chair. Spread in part by Twitter bots, the emails further pit Clinton and Sanders supporters against each other.

July 24: Trump’s future CIA director, Rep. Mike Pompeo, tweets, “Need further proof that the fix was in from Pres. Obama on down? BUSTED: 19,252 Emails from DNC Leaked by WikiLeaks.” (Pompeo later deletes the tweet.)

July 27: Trump calls for Russia to hack Clinton’s email: “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Late July: The FBI begins to investigate contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Help MoJo mount a truly independent investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia. Make a tax-deductible monthly or one-time donation today.

Aug 8: Longtime Trump confidant and political dirty trickster Roger Stone boasts to a GOP group in Florida about WikiLeaks’ founder: “I actually have communicated with Julian Assange…There’s no telling what the October surprise may be.”

Aug 21: Stone tweets about Clinton campaign CEO John Podesta: “Trust me, it will soon be the Podesta’s time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary.”

#CrookedHillary #WikiLeaks #LockHerUp Seth Wenig/AP

Aug 27: After being briefed on classified information, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid sends a letter to Comey urging an investigation: “The prospect of individuals tied to Trump, WikiLeaks and the Russian government coordinating to influence our election raises concerns of the utmost gravity.”

Sept 9: Guccifer 2.0 communicates online with Stone about voter turnout and Democratic strategy.

Sept 15: Guccifer 2.0 posts stolen Democratic Party documents strategizing about battleground states.

Sept 26: In the first presidential debate, Trump suggests the DNC hack could be the work of China or “somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

Oct 1: Stone tweets, “Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done. #Wikileaks.”

Oct 3: Stone tweets, “I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon #LockHerUp.”

Oct 7: US intelligence agencies announce they are “confident” the Russian government aimed to interfere in the election and collaborated in the DNC leaks. Later in the day, a 2005 Access Hollywood video emerges in which Trump brags about sexually assaulting women. Within an hour, WikiLeaks begins releasing several thousand emails stolen from Podesta.

Oct 10: “I love WikiLeaks!” Trump declares at a campaign rally.

Oct 11: The Obama White House announces it is considering retaliation against Russia for cyberattacks.

Oct 12: The Wall Street Journal reports the FBI suspects Russian intelligence hacked Podesta’s emails. Stone tells a Miami TV station that he has “back-channel communications” with Assange.

Oct 19: During the final debate, Clinton says Trump would be Putin’s “puppet” if elected and rebukes his call to hack her email. “You encouraged espionage against our people.”

Oct 28: Comey notifies Congress that the FBI is reopening the Clinton matter, after a criminal probe into disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner reveals his laptop contains emails between his wife, Huma Abedin, and Clinton, her boss.

Oct 31: At a campaign rally, Trump says, “It took guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made…where they’re trying to protect her from criminal prosecution…What he did was the right thing.”

Nov 8: Trump is elected president.

Nov 15: National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers remarks about Russia and WikiLeaks, “This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”

Jan 4: Trump tweets, “Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta’—why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!”

Jan 6: The CIA, the FBI, and the NSA concur Russia tried to help Trump win via hacking operations involving Guccifer 2.0, DC Leaks, and WikiLeaks.

Jan 10: At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Comey declines to say whether the FBI is investigating Trump campaign ties to Russia. He notes that Russian hackers also attacked the Republican National Committee but that none of that material was released.

Jan 11: Trump acknowledges the Russians hacked the DNC: “I think it was Russia.”

Jan 14: Rep. John Lewis tells NBC’s Chuck Todd that he does not consider Trump to be “a legitimate president,” and he says he won’t attend Trump’s inauguration: “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”

Jan 15: Incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus says Trump has confidence in the FBI director: “We have had a great relationship with him over the last several weeks. He’s extremely competent.”

Jan 20: Trump is sworn in as president.

Jan 22: At a White House event, Trump greets Comey: “Oh, there’s Jim. He’s become more famous than me.”

Andrew Harrer/CNP/ZUMA

Jan 24: The FBI interviews national security adviser Michael Flynn about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Jan 26: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warns the Trump White House that Flynn lied about his conversations with Kislyak and is vulnerable to blackmail by the Kremlin.

Jan 27: Trump and Comey have a one-on-one dinner at the White House, where, it is later reported, Trump asks Comey to swear his political loyalty. Comey declines.

Jan 30: Trump fires Yates after she refuses on constitutional grounds to defend his travel ban targeting seven majority-Muslim countries.

Feb 13: After the Washington Post reveals Flynn lied about his conversations with Kislyak, Flynn resigns.

It’s up to the public to make sure the truth prevails. Help us investigate the Russia scandal with a tax-deductible donation today.

Feb 19: Following a meeting with Comey, the Senate Intelligence Committee sends letters to more than a dozen agencies, groups, and individuals asking them to preserve all communications related to Russia’s 2016 election interference.

March 2: In the wake of revelations that Attorney General Jeff Sessions failed during his confirmation hearings to disclose two conversations with Kislyak, Sessions announces, “I have now decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matter relating in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States.”

March 4: Based on no evidence, Trump tweets, “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

March 7: In the wake of intense media coverage of Trump’s wiretapping claim, WikiLeaks releases more than 8,000 CIA files, code-named “Vault 7.”

March 8: Former NSA Director Michael Hayden says, “I’m now pretty close to the position that WikiLeaks is acting as…an agent of the Russian Federation.”

March 20: During a public hearing held by the House Intelligence Committee, Comey confirms the FBI is investigating possible “coordination” between the Trump campaign and Russia. He debunks Trump’s claims of surveillance by Obama: “I have no information that supports those tweets.”

March 27: “Trump Russia story is a hoax,” Trump tweets.

April 12: Asked if it’s “too late” for him to request Comey’s resignation, Trump tells Fox Business, “No, it’s not too late, but you know, I have confidence in him. We’ll see what happens. You know, it’s going to be interesting.”

April 30: Trump again casts doubts on the election attack, telling CBS News’ John Dickerson, “Could’ve been China. Could’ve been a lot of different groups.”

May 2: Trump tweets Comey is “the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton” and the “Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election.”

May 3: Comey tells the Senate Judiciary Committee, “It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we may have had some impact on the election,” but says he reopened the Clinton probe because Abedin had forwarded “hundreds and thousands of emails, some of which contain classified information.”

First week of May: Comey seeks more resources for the Trump-Russia investigation.

May 8: Trump tweets, “The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?” Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper tells Congress that by sowing doubts, Trump “helps the Russians” damage the US political system.

May 9: The FBI corrects Comey’s testimony: Only “a small number” of Abedin emails were forwarded, few contained classified information, and none were new. The same day, Trump fires Comey via a letter delivered to FBI headquarters. Comey, in Los Angeles, learns of the news via a TV screen and initially thinks it’s a prank. Trump’s letter says he was prompted by Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who wrote a three-page memo critical of Comey’s handling of the Clinton probe. Trump’s letter also claims Comey personally absolved him on three separate occasions.

May 10: Trump unleashes a tweetstorm, including, “Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!”

Alexander Shcherbak/TASS/ZUMA

Meanwhile, at Putin’s request, Trump greets Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office, where a Russian state-sponsored photographer is the only media allowed in. Trump tells them Comey was “a real nut job” and that firing him took “great pressure” off Trump with regard to Russia.

May 11: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies that, contra White House statements, the Russia probe is “highly significant” and “Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day.” Trump tells NBC’s Lester Holt a new version of why he fired Comey: “I decided to just do it. I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.'”

May 12: Trump tweets, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

May 15: The Post reports that Trump disclosed highly classified intelligence on ISIS to Lavrov and Kislyak during their Oval Office meeting. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker says the White House is “in a downward spiral” and “has got to do something soon to bring itself under control and in order.”

May 16: The Times reports that Comey kept detailed memos on his interactions with Trump—including when Trump pressured him at an Oval Office meeting in February to shut down the FBI investigation into Flynn. “I hope you can let this go,” Trump told Comey.

May 17: Amid rising turmoil on Capitol Hill, including talk of possible impeachment of Trump for obstruction of justice, the Senate Intelligence Committee seeks Comey’s memos and invites him to testify. Rosenstein appoints former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as a special counsel overseeing the continuing FBI investigation.

See our entire updated Trump-Russia timeline dating back to the 1980s.

Link:

Hacks, Leaks, and Tweets: Everything We Now Know About the Attack on the 2016 Election

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Unrecorded diesel emissions kill 38,000 people a year.

In early May, laborers harvesting cabbage in a field near Bakersfield, California, caught a whiff of an odor. Some suddenly felt nauseated.

A local news station reported that winds blew the pesticide Vulcan — which was being sprayed on a mandarin orchard owned by the produce company Sun Pacific — into Dan Andrews Farms’ cabbage patch.

Vulcan’s active ingredient, chlorpyrifos, has been banned for residential use for more than 15 years. It was scheduled to be off-limits to agriculture this year — until the EPA gave it a reprieve in March. Kern County officials are still confirming whether Sun Pacific’s insecticide contained chlorpyrifos.

More than 50 farmworkers were exposed, and 12 reported symptoms, including vomiting and fainting. One was hospitalized. “Whether it’s nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seek medical attention immediately,” a Kern County Public Health official warned.

If chlorpyrifos’ presence is confirmed, the EPA may have some explaining to do. The Dow Chemical compound is a known neurotoxin, and several studies connect exposure to it with lower IQ in children and other neurological deficits.

The Scott Pruitt–led agency, however, decided that — and stop me if you’ve heard this one before — the science wasn’t conclusive.

Link to article – 

Unrecorded diesel emissions kill 38,000 people a year.

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Trump friend and climate foe Sam Clovis is up for a big job at the USDA.

In early May, laborers harvesting cabbage in a field near Bakersfield, California, caught a whiff of an odor. Some suddenly felt nauseated.

A local news station reported that winds blew the pesticide Vulcan — which was being sprayed on a mandarin orchard owned by the produce company Sun Pacific — into Dan Andrews Farms’ cabbage patch.

Vulcan’s active ingredient, chlorpyrifos, has been banned for residential use for more than 15 years. It was scheduled to be off-limits to agriculture this year — until the EPA gave it a reprieve in March. Kern County officials are still confirming whether Sun Pacific’s insecticide contained chlorpyrifos.

More than 50 farmworkers were exposed, and 12 reported symptoms, including vomiting and fainting. One was hospitalized. “Whether it’s nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seek medical attention immediately,” a Kern County Public Health official warned.

If chlorpyrifos’ presence is confirmed, the EPA may have some explaining to do. The Dow Chemical compound is a known neurotoxin, and several studies connect exposure to it with lower IQ in children and other neurological deficits.

The Scott Pruitt–led agency, however, decided that — and stop me if you’ve heard this one before — the science wasn’t conclusive.

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Trump friend and climate foe Sam Clovis is up for a big job at the USDA.

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Bill Nye’s "Sick Ice Cream Orgy" Is Causing a Conservative Meltdown

Mother Jones

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Earlier this week, everyone’s favorite childhood “science guy” debuted his new show: Bill Nye Saves the World, an unabashedly political Netflix series for adults that aims to debunk anti-scientific claims. Nye has come back into the national spotlight with force in recent years, vocally supporting scientific realities that shouldn’t be controversial but for some reason are, namely climate change and evolution. He’s become a favorite of the left thanks to nostalgia and his support of, well, science. Last week, Nye protested against the Trump administration as one of the public faces of the March for Science, telling the crowd that “science must shape policy.”

Nye may be a beloved cultural figure, but reviews of his new show have characterized it as mediocre at best, with some arguing that it’s too preachy and heavy-handed. In a Gizmodo review, Maddie Stone pulls no punches. “Like Nye, I’m outraged to see anti-science beliefs promulgated at the highest levels of our government,” she writes. “Nye and I are on the same team—and yet I still felt like I was being talked down to throughout his show. How will the average viewer feel?”

While parts of the show seem to be missing that mark, not all criticisms of it are equally valid—and there have certainly been some high points. Nye truly seems to delight in provoking conservatives, and there’s one episode in particular, titled “The Sexual Spectrum,” that has caused right-leaning commentators to lose their collective minds.

“This is the episode where Bill Nye jumps off the deep end into the leftist view on gender, an empirically bankrupt position only defended by postmodernists and social theorists,” writes a Breitbart columnist.

So what has conservatives so riled up? The episode, which comes across as something of a gender and sexuality 101 workshop, explains that—in contrast to what many of us grew up believing—gender really isn’t binary. “There are people who identify as both genders or neither gender or a combination of the two,” Nye points out. He even goes on to explain how gender identity isn’t necessarily static. “By 3 or 4, most kids identify with a gender, and it doesn’t always match the sex they were assigned at birth, and a person’s gender identity may change over their lifetime,” he explains.

In a particularly charming segment being denounced as a “Sick Ice Cream Orgy” that promotes lust as a virtue, the show takes aim at conversion therapy—the discredited practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity through counseling. In the segment, a vanilla ice cream cone tells all the other ice cream flavors they need to become vanilla, too. “I just think if you want to get right with the big ice cream in the sky, change your flavor by wishing to be vanilla,” it says. (Oh, and there actually is an ice cream orgy—so enjoy!)

Conservative bloggers are especially horrified by what’s been dubbed a “vulgarity-laced, transgender manifesto,” sung by Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom. The freakout over Bloom’s supposed “transgender anthem” is doubly bizarre, because it’s a clear misunderstanding of her lyrics; the song is about sexual preference and doesn’t really mention gender identity. “This world of ours is so full of choice,” sings Bloom. “But must I choose between only John or Joyce? Are my options only hard or moist? My vagina has its own voice.”

To be fair, it’s a pretty terrible song, and the segment is hard to watch without cringing. But after reading all the moral panic, it’s become even harder to watch without laughing.

Link to original – 

Bill Nye’s "Sick Ice Cream Orgy" Is Causing a Conservative Meltdown

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I Met the White Nationalist Who Says Trump Made Him Rough Up a Protester

Mother Jones

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For once, liberals and white supremacists agree on something: President Donald Trump’s rhetoric incites right-wing violence. On Monday, Matthew Heimbach, a notorious 26-year-old white nationalist who was filmed shoving an African American woman at a Trump campaign rally in March 2016, filed a lawsuit claiming that he had simply been acting “pursuant to the directives and requests of” Trump himself.

At the rally in Louisville, Kentucky, three African American protesters drew jeers from the crowd, prompting Trump to shout from the stage, “Get ’em outta here!” Heimbach, standing nearby, began shoving Kashiya Nwanguma, a student at the University of Kentucky. Nwanguma also claimed she was called a “nigger and a cunt” (Heimbach denies it was him). After the incident, Heimbach wrote on his blog, “White Americans are getting fed up and they’re learning that they must either push back or be pushed down.”

A month later, Nwanguma filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing Heimbach and another man of assault and battery, and sought to hold Trump liable for inciting the violence. On April 1, 2017, a judge squashed a challenge to Nwanguma’s case filed by Trump, writing that because violence had broken out at previous rallies and known hate-group members were in attendance in Louisville, Trump’s directive for attendees to remove the protesters was “particularly reckless.”

Acting as his own attorney, Heimbach has filed a counterclaim denying the charges. If he is found guilty, he said in his claim, he was only acting on Trump’s orders. Citing among other incidents the February 1, 2016, Trump rally in Iowa where the then-presidential candidate instructed a crowd to “knock the crap out of disrupters”—”I promise you,” the president said, “I will pay for the legal fees”—Heimbach argued that the president’s campaign should be held financially responsible for any penalties levied against Heimbach. “Any liability,” he wrote, “must be shifted to” Trump.

I met Heimbach in 2013, while directing a documentary for Vice about the White Student Union he had formed at Towson University outside Baltimore, Maryland. The WSU patrolled the suburban campus in search of “black predators.” “White Southern men,” Heimbach said, “have long been called to defend their communities when law enforcement and the state seem unwilling to protect our people.” While I accompanied Heimbach’s crew, the only crime we witnessed was a drug deal by two white students—which the WSU members ignored. They did, however, celebrate the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

Heimbach exemplifies and has ridden the wave of white-extremist radicalization since Barack Obama’s election in 2008. During our interviews, he denied being an outright white supremacist or racist. “I hate Hitler,” he told me, explaining that he despised the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis. “They’re just low-rent thugs trying to make themselves feel better. Frankly, they’re an embarrassment.”

But over the next several years, Heimbach came out as a full-on white nationalist. He made common cause with members of the National Socialist Movement, the Aryan Terror Brigade, and the Imperial Klans of America. He formed a new group, the Traditionalist Youth Network, which openly advocated partitioning the United States into mini-“ethno-states” based on race. He battled with anti-fascists in Indiana. “The political establishment has made an entire generation of young white men and women into fascists, and that’s a beautiful thing!” he told a New York Times reporter in 2016.

Heimbach rallied behind Trump’s candidacy, and started wearing a red “Make America Great Again” ball cap everywhere. The footage of him shoving Nwanguma in Louisville was emblematic of how Trump’s nativist dog whistle was pulling extremist sentiment into the mainstream. “Now there’s some viral footage of several heated moments in Louisville,” Heimbach wrote in a blog post on the Traditionalist Youth Network website after the incident:

One features yours truly helping the crowd drive out one of the women who had been pushing, shoving, barking, and screaming at the attendees for the better part of an hour. I’ll avoid any additional Trump events to ensure that I don’t become a distraction, but the entire point of the Black Lives Matter movement’s tactics is to push people until they push back. It won’t be me next time, but White Americans are getting fed up and they’re learning that they must either push back or be pushed down.

Even if the odds that Heimbach’s lawsuit will succeed are infinitesimal, the case is a revealing indication of the far right’s symbiotic relationship with Trump. White nationalists, apparently, really do believe the president has been nudging them to commit violence, or at least promising to tolerate it if they do. When in February sources inside the White House told reporters that Trump planned to no longer target white supremacists as part of the government’s anti-terrorism efforts, the editor of the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer cheered, “Yes, this is real life…Donald Trump is setting us free.” Others were heartened by Trump’s silence in the wake of the murder of six people at a mosque in Quebec City by a white nationalist that same month. The rioters in Berkeley, California, last weekend—some wearing MAGA hats—seem to have heard the same music that Heimbach did last March.

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I Met the White Nationalist Who Says Trump Made Him Rough Up a Protester

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A tiny Iowa paper just won a Pulitzer Prize for tackling farm pollution.

Contrary to what you may have heard, the reef isn’t dead — not yet. But aerial surveys show that 900 miles of the 1,400-mile-long reef have been severely bleached in the past two years.

Bleaching occurs when warm water causes stressed-out corals to expel symbiotic algae from their tissues; corals then lose their color and their chief source of food, making them more likely to die.

Last year’s El Niño–induced bleaching event was devastating, knocking out two-thirds of the corals in the northern section of the reef. We’d hoped that 2017 would bring cooler temperatures, giving the fragile ecosystem some much needed R&R.

Instead, temperatures on Australia’s east coast were still hotter than average in the early months of this year, and on top of that, the reef’s midsection took a hit from a big cyclone in March.

ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

This is the first time the reef has experienced back-to-back annual bleaching events. If this keeps happening, it’ll quash the reef’s chances for recovery and regrowth, a process that can take a decade or longer under normal conditions.

Under the abnormal conditions of climate change, though, there is little reprieve — unless we, y’know, address the root of the problem itself.

Link:  

A tiny Iowa paper just won a Pulitzer Prize for tackling farm pollution.

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, G & F, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, solar, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A tiny Iowa paper just won a Pulitzer Prize for tackling farm pollution.

Our plan for Earth Day is to ponder whether feminism is dead.

Contrary to what you may have heard, the reef isn’t dead — not yet. But aerial surveys show that 900 miles of the 1,400-mile-long reef have been severely bleached in the past two years.

Bleaching occurs when warm water causes stressed-out corals to expel symbiotic algae from their tissues; corals then lose their color and their chief source of food, making them more likely to die.

Last year’s El Niño–induced bleaching event was devastating, knocking out two-thirds of the corals in the northern section of the reef. We’d hoped that 2017 would bring cooler temperatures, giving the fragile ecosystem some much needed R&R.

Instead, temperatures on Australia’s east coast were still hotter than average in the early months of this year, and on top of that, the reef’s midsection took a hit from a big cyclone in March.

ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

This is the first time the reef has experienced back-to-back annual bleaching events. If this keeps happening, it’ll quash the reef’s chances for recovery and regrowth, a process that can take a decade or longer under normal conditions.

Under the abnormal conditions of climate change, though, there is little reprieve — unless we, y’know, address the root of the problem itself.

Source:

Our plan for Earth Day is to ponder whether feminism is dead.

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Pepsi’s Protest Ad is Breaking the Internet

Mother Jones

Like many of its advertisements, Pepsi’s new commercial features lots of hip, smiling young people in posh outfits. But here’s the catch: This latest commercial is set at a protest, clearly made to resemble one from the Black Lives Matter movement or January’s Women’s March. Energized youth pump fists in the air and hold up painted signs in many languages. The ad gets especially cringe-worthy when reality-TV personality Kendall Jenner offers a Pepsi to a cop, he drinks it, and crowds cheer in delight while a woman in a hijab snaps a photo. A tagline reads “Live Bolder.”

People immediately took issue with Pepsi’s latest marketing attempt. Daily Show writer Kashana Cauley chimed in: “So all us dark people have to do is convince a cop that the Pepsi we’re holding isn’t a gun.”

“This Pepsi ad is really dystopian,” commented another person on Twitter. “Disney-fies resistance. whitewashes and commodifies protest. wow there’s a lot to unpack there.”

See the original article here:  

Pepsi’s Protest Ad is Breaking the Internet

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