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Chelsea Clinton Accuses Sanders of Trying to "Dismantle Obamacare"

Mother Jones

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Chelsea Clinton hit the trail for the first time this election cycle on Tuesday to campaign for her mother, and she came out swinging.

In New Hampshire, the younger Clinton attacked Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-all, or single-payer, health care plan by wondering if it would in fact take away coverage from millions.

“Sen. Sanders wants to dismantle Obamacare, dismantle the CHIP program, dismantle Medicare, and dismantle private insurance,” she said, according to MSNBC. “I worry if we give Republicans Democratic permission to do that, we’ll go back to an era—before we had the Affordable Care Act—that would strip millions and millions and millions of people off their health insurance.”

Chelsea Clinton is technically right: Millions of Americans would lose their current health insurance plans, which would be replaced by enrollment in a coverage program available to all (except, perhaps, undocumented immigrants). But it’s unclear how a plan that would make almost everyone eligible for coverage would strip millions of health care coverage, which is what Clinton seemed to be saying. (The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

Sanders’ health care plan, which he outlined in legislation in 2013, would replace the current piecemeal approach to coverage through many different programs—private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP—with government-provided coverage for everyone. As with the Affordable Care Act’s health care exchanges, Sanders’ 2013 bill relies on states to develop single-payer plans. But as the Sanders campaign stresses, any state that refused to set up a singe-payer system would have the federal government step in and do it. So unlike with the current Medicaid expansion, states could not opt out of “Berniecare.”

“It is time for the United States to join the rest of the industrialized world and provide health care as a right to every man, woman, and child,” Sanders campaign spokeswoman Arianna Jones said in a statement responding to Chelsea Clinton’s attack. “A Medicare-for-all plan will save the average middle-class family $5,000 a year. Further, the Clinton campaign is wrong. Our plan will be implemented in every state in the union regardless of who is governor.”

Like her daughter, Hillary Clinton has taken to attacking Sanders over health care, despite having said in 2008 that Democrats shouldn’t criticize each other over universal health care. In Iowa on Monday, Clinton called Sanders’ plan a “risky deal.” Expect this issue to come up on Sunday, when Clinton and Sanders face off in the last debate before voting begins with the February 1 caucuses in Iowa.

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Chelsea Clinton Accuses Sanders of Trying to "Dismantle Obamacare"

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ISIS Had a Good Year in PR, Not So Good on the Ground

Mother Jones

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Iraqi forces are fighting to retake control of Ramadi, a city of half a million about an hour west of Baghdad:

“I think the fall of Ramadi is inevitable,” said Col. Steven H. Warren, the United States military spokesman here. “The end is coming.” But he added: “That said, it’s going to be a tough fight.”

….If Iraqi forces manage to reassert control over Ramadi — the capital and largest city in Iraq’s western Anbar Province — it will be the latest in a series of military setbacks for the Islamic State. President Obama said recently that the militant group had lost 40 percent of the Iraqi territory it had seized in the middle of last year, as the United States and its allies have intensified their aerial bombardment against the group. In October, Iraqi forces and Shiite militias retook control of the northern city of Baiji and its oil refinery, and last month, Kurdish and Yazidi forces expelled the Islamic State out of the northern city of Sinjar.

Progress is slow but steady. The map below, from IHS, shows the territory lost by ISIS over the past year. There’s still a long way to go.

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ISIS Had a Good Year in PR, Not So Good on the Ground

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Organic milk is better for your heart

Organic milk is better for your heart


Your diet is probably loaded with too many omega-6 fatty acids and not enough of the omega-3 variety. Westerners often consume 10 to 15 times as many of the former as of the latter — but doctors say that for a healthy heart, the ratio should be more like 2.3 omega-6 to 1 omega-3.

A peer-reviewed study funded in part by the organic milk industry has revealed that organic dairy in the diet can help right this imbalance.

Scientists studied nearly 400 milk samples from 14 American dairies over 18 months and discovered that the fatty-acid ratios were nearly ideal in organic milk. In nonorganic milk, not so much. For every 2.5 grams or so of omega-6 fatty acids in a glass of organic milk, the researchers found 1 gram of omega-3. Compare that to a fatty-acid ratio of 6 to 1 in milk from cows raised by nonorganic dairies.

The New York Times reports:

Drinking whole organic milk “will certainly lessen the risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” said the study’s lead author, Charles M. Benbrook, a research professor at Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“All milk is healthy and good for people,” he continued, “but organic milk is better, because it has a more favorable balance of these fatty acids” — omega-3, typically found in fish and flaxseed, versus omega-6, which is abundant in many fried foods like potato chips.

“In my judgment, the benefits from this healthy balance of fatty acids in organic milk is the most significant nutritional benefit demonstrated so far for organic food,” Benbrook told The Seattle Times.

What gives? Why would organically managed cows produce healthier milk than others? The key is the diet. Here is the explanation in the paper, which was published Monday in the journal PLOS ONE:

Milk from cows consuming significant amounts of grass and legume-based forages contains higher concentrations of [omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid] than milk from cows lacking routine access to pasture and fed substantial quantities of grains, especially corn. …

The U.S. National Organic Program (NOP) requires that lactating cows on certified organic farms receive at least 30% of daily Dry Matter Intake (DMI) from pasture during that portion of the year when pasture grasses and legumes are actively growing, with a minimum of 120 days per year.

So the next time somebody tells you there’s no evidence that any organic foods are more healthful than others, just give them a big, wet, forgiving kiss with milk-mustachioed lips.

More Helpful Fatty Acids Found in Organic Milk, The New York Times
Organic Production Enhances Milk Nutritional Quality by Shifting Fatty Acid Composition: A United States–Wide, 18-Month Study, PLOS ONE
New WSU study suggests organic milk may be more heart-healthy, The Seattle Times

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:

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Organic milk is better for your heart

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Climate adaptation goes mainstream in Wisconsin

Climate adaptation goes mainstream in Wisconsin

Federal agencies released their plans for adapting to climate change in February. The European Commission approved its adaptation strategy in April. New York unveiled a $19.5 billion plan in June, prompted by Hurricane Sandy to join the likes of London, Chicago, and Quito, Ecuador.

But climate adaptation isn’t just for the big players. Today, Dane County, Wis., which has a population of 500,000, will propose a budget that includes nearly $1 million worth of climate-adaptation spending — aimed at everything from new storm water infrastructure to sand bags and other emergency equipment.

Richard Hurd

A summer storm over Wisconsin’s capital, Madison, which is in Dane County.

“We’re looking at warmer and wetter weather and preparing for the potential challenges,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi told The Cap Times:

Dane County may have already experienced what a warmer Wisconsin could look like. Last year saw a summer drought, a winter of few but major snow events, a quick spring meltdown and then summer thunderstorms that brought flooding.

UW-Madison climate scientists are now predicting that by 2050, statewide annual average temperatures are likely to warm by 6 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit, with three or more weeks per summer where temperatures exceed 90 degrees.

The state is also likely to see a trend toward more precipitation overall continue, with the most probable increases in winter, spring and fall. Soil erosion rates could double by 2050 from 1990 levels. …

In addition to replacing traditional County Sheriff cruisers with 4-wheel drive SUVs, the county is looking at converting Parks Department vehicles to “blizzard busters” by adding tractor-treads. They also plan to connect parks rangers with public safety officials via an improved radio system.

“Last year we had motorists stranded on the road we couldn’t reach,” said Parisi.

Way to take climate change in your stride, Dane County.

Dane County budget to address climate change, The Cap Times

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:

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Climate adaptation goes mainstream in Wisconsin

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The Death of American Exceptionalism—and of Me

Mother Jones

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This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website. It will appear in “Death,” the Fall 2013 issue of Lapham’s Quarterly. This slightly adapted version is posted at with the kind permission of that magazine.

It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.
Woody Allen

I admire the stoic fortitude, but at the age of 78 I know I won’t be skipping out on the appointment, and I notice that it gets harder to remember just why it is that I’m not afraid to die. My body routinely produces fresh and insistent signs of its mortality, and within the surrounding biosphere of the news and entertainment media it is the fear of death—24/7 in every shade of hospital white and doomsday black—that sells the pharmaceutical, political, financial, film, and food products promising to make good the wish to live forever. The latest issue of my magazine, Lapham’s Quarterly, therefore comes with an admission of self-interest as well as an apology for the un-American activity, death, that is its topic. The taking time to resurrect the body of its thought in LQ offered a chance to remember that the leading cause of death is birth.

I count it a lucky break to have been born in a day and age when answers to the question “Why do I have to die?” were still looked for in the experimental laboratories of art and literature as well as in the teachings of religion. The problem hadn’t yet been referred to the drug and weapons industries, to the cosmetic surgeons and the neuroscientists, and as a grammar-school boy in San Francisco during the Second World War, I was fortunate to be placed in the custody of Mr. Charles Mulholland. A history teacher trained in the philosophies of classical antiquity, Mr. Mulholland was fond of posting on his blackboard long lists of noteworthy last words, among them those of Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, Thomas More, and Stonewall Jackson.

The messages furnished need-to-know background on the news bulletins from Guadalcanal and Omaha Beach, and they made a greater impression on me than probably was expected or intended. By the age of 10, raised in a family unincorporated into the body of Christ, it never once had occurred to me to entertain the prospect of an afterlife. Eternal life may have been granted to the Christian martyrs delivered to the lions in the Roman Colosseum, possibly also to the Muslim faithful butchered in Jerusalem by Richard the Lionheart, but without the favor of Allah or early admission to a Calvinist state of grace, how was one to formulate a closing remark worthy of Mr. Mulholland’s blackboard?

The question came up in the winter of 1953 during my freshman year at Yale College, when I contracted a rare and particularly virulent form of meningitis. The doctors in the emergency room at Grace-New Haven Hospital rated the odds of my survival at no better than a hundred to one. To the surprise of all present, I responded to the infusion of several new drugs never before tested in combination. For two days, drifting in and out of consciousness in a ward reserved for patients without hope of recovery, I had ample chance to think a great thought or turn a noble phrase, possibly to dream of the wizard Merlin in an oak tree or behold a vision of the Virgin Mary. Nothing came to mind.

Nor do I remember being horrified. Astonished, but not horrified. Here was death making routine rounds, not to be seen wearing a Halloween costume but clearly in attendance. The man in the next bed died on the first night, the woman to his left on the second. Apparently an old story, but before being admitted to the hospital as a corpse in all but name, it was not one that I had guessed was also my own. I hadn’t been planning any foreign travel, and yet here I was, waiting for my passport to be stamped at the once-in-a-lifetime tourist destination that doesn’t sell postcards and from whose museum galleries no traveler returns.

Minus three toes destroyed by the disease, I left the hospital four months later knowing that my reprieve was temporary, subject to cancellation on short notice. Blessed by what I took to be the smile and gift of fortune, I resolved to spend as much time as possible in the present tense, to rejoice in the wonders of the world, chase the rainbows of the spirit, indulge the pleasures of the flesh, defy the foul fiend, go and catch a falling star.

I had been outfitted with a modus vivendi but no string of words with which to account for it, and so for the next three years at college I searched out writers who had drawn from their looking into the face of death a line of poetry or the bulwark of a philosophy. I don’t now remember how accurately or in what sequence I first read, but I know that with several of them—Michel de Montaigne and Seneca the Younger, Plutarch, W.H. Auden, and John Donne—I’ve stayed in touch.

Their collective counsel continues to confirm me in the opinion reached in Athens by Epicurus in the fourth century B.C., transmuted into verse by the Roman poet Lucretius at about the same time that Caesar invaded Gaul, and rendered as equations in the twentieth century by Ernest Rutherford and Niels Bohr. If it’s true that the universe consists of atoms and void and nothing else, then everything that exists—the sun and the moon, mother and the flag, Beethoven’s string quartets and da Vinci’s decomposing flesh—is made of the elementary particles of nature in fervent and constant motion, colliding and combining with one another in an inexhaustibly abundant variety of form and substance. No afterlife, no divine retribution or reward, nothing other than a vast turmoil of creation and destruction. Plants and animals become the stuff of human beings, the stuff of human beings food for fish. Men die not because they are sick but because they are alive.

Old-Fashioned Death

“Death… the most awful of evils,” says Epicurus, “is nothing to us, seeing that when we are, death is not yet, and when death comes, we are not.” My experience in the New Haven hospital demonstrated the worth of the hypothesis; the books I read in college formed the thought as precept; my paternal grandfather, Roger D. Lapham, taught the lesson by example.

In the summer of 1918, then a captain of infantry with the American Expeditionary Force in World War I, he had been reported missing and presumed dead after his battalion had been overwhelmed by German poison gas during the Oise-Aisne offensive. Nearly everybody else in the battalion had been promptly killed, and it was six weeks before the Army found him in the hayloft of a French barn. A farmer had retrieved him, unconscious but otherwise more or less intact, from the pigsty into which he had fallen, by happy accident, on the day of what had been planned as a swift and sure advance.

The farmer’s wife nursed him back to life with soup and soap and Calvados, and by the time he was strong enough to walk, he had lost half his body weight and undergone a change in outlook. He had been born in 1883, descended from a family of New England Quakers, and before going to Europe in the spring of 1918 was said to have been almost solemnly conservative in both his thought and his behavior, shy in conversation, cautious in his dealings with money. He returned from France reconfigured in a character akin to Shakespeare’s Sir John Falstaff, extravagant in his consumption of wine and roses, passionate in his love of high-stakes gambling on the golf course and at the card table, persuaded that the object of life was nothing other than its fierce and close embrace.

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The Death of American Exceptionalism—and of Me

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Banks Continue to Scaremonger Over Nonexistent Down Payment Requirements

Mother Jones

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Are banks refusing to make loans unless buyers put up a big down payment? Apparently so. Will this hurt the recovering housing market? Maybe. Is this all due to restrictive Dodd-Frank rules that ought to be discarded? Nope. Read on for the real story.

It turns out that Dodd-Frank allows banks to make any kind of loans they want. What it does say, though, is that if a loan fails to conform to its rules—one of which is a 20 percent down payment—then the issuing bank can’t just bundle up the entire loan and immediately sell it off. It has to keep a 5 percent stake. Felix Salmon comments:

The question about high down payment mortgages is a relatively arcane backwater of financial underwriting, and we can leave it to the statisticians and bond investors to decide just how much, if at all, such down payments reduce defaults. Instead, we should be concentrating on the banks here, the institutions which seem to be entirely unwilling to underwrite any mortgage at all, unless and until they’re allowed to flip the entire thing, 100%, to bond investors, for a quick, risk-free profit.

This violates common sense. If the bank is underwriting the loan, the bank should retain at least a tiny amount of the risk in that loan. Indeed, if I were a bond investor, I would as a matter of course require extra yield on any loans which were sold by a bank without any skin in the game at all. After all, there’s not much point in being assiduous about your underwriting if you’re just going to sell the entire loan anyway.

Right. The whole point here is not to prevent banks from making whatever kind of loans they want. The point is to force them to have some skin in the game. If they want to lower their underwriting standards, that’s fine. But if they do, they have to keep some of the risk for themselves. This acts as an incentive to be careful about who they make loans to, instead of returning to the Wild West of the aughts, when underwriting standards went completely to hell and fraudulent loans were made by the millions. That happened because the loan issuers didn’t care: they were just going to bundle up the loans and sell them off anyway. Now they can’t. As Felix says, if banks don’t like this, we really ought to be asking, “Why not?”


Banks Continue to Scaremonger Over Nonexistent Down Payment Requirements

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Flood-drought-flood: Is this the new normal?

Flood-drought-flood: Is this the new normal?

Rick Locke

Flooding at the Public Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The good news: Heavy rainfall across the Midwest has helped ease a widespread drought.

The bad news: Rainfall has been so heavy that drought has been replaced by flooding

The scary news: The cycle of flood-drought-flood that has ravaged the Midwest over the past two years is the type of cycle that climate change is expected to bring to the region, and it could become the new normal.

From NBC News:

Heavy river flooding in six Midwestern states that forced evacuations, shut down bridges, swamped homes and caused at least three deaths was at or near crest in some areas Sunday evening.

Rivers surged from the Quad Cities to St. Louis Sunday, with water levels reaching record heights. Hours earlier, National Guardsmen, volunteers, homeowners and jail inmates pitched in with sandbagging to hold back floodwaters that closed roads in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.

From the AP:

Rain last week started the whole mess, causing the Mississippi and many other rivers to surge in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. Flooding has now been blamed in three deaths — two at the same spot in Indiana and one in Missouri. In all three cases, vehicles were swept off the road in flash floods.

Spots south of St. Louis aren’t expected to crest until late this week, and significant flooding is possible in places like Ste. Genevieve, Mo., Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Cairo, Ill.

Adding to concern is the forecast. National Weather Service meteorologist Julie Phillipson said an inch of rain is likely in many places Monday night into Tuesday, some places could receive more than that.

“That’s not what we want to see when we have this kind of flooding, that’s for sure,” Phillipson said.

The flooding of the Mississippi River is quite the contrast to the situation just a few months back, when low water levels were threatening the barge industry. But it resembles the flood of spring in 2011. From Weather Underground:

Residents along the Mississippi River have experienced a severe case of flood-drought-flood weather whiplash over the past two years. The Mississippi reached its highest level on record at New Madrid, Missouri on May 6, 2011, when the river crested at 48.35′. Flooding on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers that year cost an estimated $5 billion. The next year, after the great drought of 2012, the river had fallen by over 53′ to an all time record low of -5.32′ on August 30, 2012. Damage from the great drought is conservatively estimated at $35 billion. Next Tuesday, the river is expected to be at flood stage again in New Madrid, 40′ higher than the August 2012 record low. Now, that is some serious weather whiplash. …

The new normal in the coming decades is going to be more and more extreme flood-drought-flood cycles like we are seeing now in the Midwest, and this sort of weather whiplash is going to be an increasingly severe pain in the neck for society. We’d better prepare for it, by building a more flood-resistant infrastructure and developing more drought-resistant grains, for example. And if we continue to allow heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide continue to build up in the atmosphere at the current near-record pace, no amount of adaptation can prevent increasingly more violent cases of weather whiplash from being a serious threat to the global economy and the well-being of billions of people.

John Upton is a science aficionado and green news junkie who


, posts articles to


, and

blogs about ecology

. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants:


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Flood-drought-flood: Is this the new normal?

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Kermit Gosnell About to Become Right-Wing’s Pet Rock for April

Mother Jones

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Last night I was browsing through The Corner, and it was basically wall-to-wall coverage of the Kermit Gosnell case. This is a pretty grisly trial of a Philadelphia doctor who performed late-term abortions and killed the fetuses if they were delivered alive; conducted his business on a cash basis amid filthy conditions; spread disease among his patients; and caused the deaths of at least two of them. There’s also a political angle: Gosnell was able to continue his practice only because of a massive breakdown among state and local oversight agencies that failed to shut him down. Conor Friedersdorf has a ton of detail here if you want to read more.

As grisly as this is, however, the really big story on the right is the fact that Gosnell isn’t getting 24/7 coverage from the national media. Peter Kirsanow, in particular, believes the national media would normally be all over this story since most of Gosnell’s patients were poor and black, and doesn’t the national media love stories about people who abuse poor blacks?

In almost every other circumstance race is never irrelevant to the very same people who are maintaining complete radio silence on the Gosnell case. There’s a reason why the parody headline, “World Ends, Minorities and Women Hardest Hit” resonates. The elite media are rarely at a loss for highlighting racial disparities, whether real or imagined, in any story. But it’s hard to highlight racial disparities when you refuse to cover the story at all.

Also missing are the usual suspects who would rail against the responsible oversight authorities for their indifference to the plight of minorities. These usual suspects would normally ask — in this case perhaps justifiably — whether what allegedly happened in Gosnell’s clinic would be allowed to happen in a clinic largely patronized by whites. But again, as with the elite media, utter silence.

A hierarchy of priorities is thus revealed.

Obviously, conservatives believe the media is ignoring this story because it’s about abortion, and the lefties who run our media empires hate stories that put abortion in a bad light. Alternatively, it could be because it’s a Philadelphia story, and the national media doesn’t usually give a lot of time to local cases like this. Frankly, I don’t know—though I’ll note that even the conservative media didn’t give it a huge amount of coverage until fairly recently, when Gosnell’s trial started.

But if the motivations of the mainstream press are hazy, the motivations of the conservative press are crystal clear: they want this case to get a lot of attention because it highlights a rogue abortion doctor. That’s it. They wouldn’t give it the time of day if it were merely a story of regulatory failure that caused the deaths of a few poor people in, say, a rogue inner city dentist’s office.

Which is fine. If it were a rogue banker, I’d want to highlight it too. But that wouldn’t mean the rest of the media would somehow be implicated in a conspiracy if they didn’t follow my lead.

In any case, a reader emailed me a few minutes ago to make a prediction: “This story is about to bloom in a big way.” Probably so. The conservative echo chamber is now pounding on this big time, and when that happens the mainstream media usually isn’t far behind. It’s likely, in fact, that this is about to become The Most Important Story In The World. Fasten your seat belts.

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Kermit Gosnell About to Become Right-Wing’s Pet Rock for April

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Green Energy Tips And Techniques From The Pros

The average home in the United States spends more than two thousand dollars on energy every year. Over time, that can really add up to substantial amounts of money and excessive abuse to the environment. To discover how to turn your home into a more environmentally friendly place and save you a lot in the process, keep reading.

Consider investing in an electric kettle as a means of saving energy. Electric kettles use less energy to boil your water than stove-top kettles, and not only can they be used to make tea, but you can also use them to boil water for smaller meals you plan to cook.

Put the wind to work for you. There are a variety of wind turbines that you can use to power your home. They are expensive, but are becoming more affordable for consumers. You must be sure that your area is zoned for wind turbines before you make an investment. You must also own at least one acre of land and live in an area that has a steady breeze.

During cooler days, turn off that air conditioning to be greener and save on energy. Many homeowners let their air conditioning run non-stop no matter the outdoor temperature. This can use up a lot of energy and cost you hundreds of more dollars annually. Opening the windows and letting a cross-breeze in is a fast and easy way to be green and get some fresh air!

Talk to your electricity provider and see if they offer an alternative that allows your home to use green energy. Several companies are now using wind or solar power for their electricity, and you can take advantage of this! Call your provider today to find out if you can switch to green energy.

If you know you are going to be leaving your home, set your heating system to go off about a half an hour before you leave, and to turn on again a half an hour before you return home. This way, you are saving energy, but your home will still feel comfortable when you return.

Look for and use built-in power settings on your computer, laptop and other electronics to reduce their power consumption. Try dimming the screen in dark rooms or trimming resource usage for undemanding tasks. These steps can minimize the amount of electricity your devices need to operate, which conserves energy and lowers your utility bills.

Use less energy for cooking your meals by baking several items together. You can bake cakes, bread and pies once each week and avoid heating your oven very often. Making larger batches of food on top of the stove also helps. You can make large pots of soups and stews, and freeze some for microwaving later.

If switching your home to solar power is beyond your financial capabilities, try switching just one room, like a bedroom, to solar power. There are solar kits available online that can help you green a room, and this will positively affect your energy bills and carbon footprint for years to come.

Now that you have gone through the tips in this article, make sure you use them. When you do, you will find that green living can be easy, and that green energy is, in many respects, preferred. Take action and start putting green energy into your life, as soon as today!

After looking at this article you will have clear understanding of Tata Comflor so as to build a attractive home with less cost.

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How Yellowstone Businesses Kept the Snowplows Operating

Mother Jones

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The LA Times reports today that the superintendent of Yellowstone Park, in a last ditch effort to deal with budget cuts caused by the sequester, decided to delay snowplowing for two weeks, a savings of about $400,000. Local businesses, afraid that this would hurt the tourist trade, decided to band together and pay for the snowplows themselves. But they aren’t happy about it:

It’s not that residents don’t want to reduce the deficit. Washington needs “to grow the economy, not the government,” said Jay Linderman, who owns an Italian restaurant on Cody’s main drag and grudgingly gave $200 to pay for plowing. What rankles locals is the indiscriminate nature of the sequester, which cut programs across the board without weighing individual merits.

But therein lies the perennial rub: Cuts that are welcomed in the abstract are not always appreciated when they hit home. And everything the government does, however small, touches somebody. “You pay your taxes to get certain services,” said Bruce Eldredge, executive director of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, a world-class museum in the center of town, which delivered a $10,000 check to the chamber. “We would, I think, probably argue as a community that we pay our federal taxes to make sure the park is open at a specific time.”

This is, obviously, the problem of government in a nutshell: everyone wants spending to be cut, but no one wants spending to be cut on them. They want it to be cut on other people.

In particular—and please excuse the wild guess here—I imagine that most people who have a serious jones for cutting federal spending are really only interested in cutting spending on poor people. Cutting other services just isn’t what they signed up for. It’s the Obamaphones and the food stamps that are wasteful, not the Yellowstone snowplows and small town air traffic controllers. This is why I’ve always been a little surprised that when the sequester was originally negotiated, Republicans agreed to exempt (or treat specially) a whole bunch of mandatory means-tested programs, including unemployment benefits, student loans, community health centers, EITC and other refundable tax credits, CHIP, disability, school lunches, TANF (traditional “welfare”), Pell grants, Medicaid, and SNAP (food stamps). Those are the programs that their base really wants to see cut, but for some reason Republicans agreed to mostly leave them untouched.

Anyway, reading this Yellowstone story reminded me that I’ve never seen a good account of how Obama managed to bamboozle Republicans into agreeing to this. Does anybody know of one?

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How Yellowstone Businesses Kept the Snowplows Operating

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