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Al Gore’s daughter arrested at climate protest

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Al Gore’s daughter arrested at climate protest

By on Jun 30, 2016Share

Karenna Gore, eldest daughter of Al Gore, was among 23 activists arrested in Boston on Wednesday while protesting construction of a natural gas pipeline. The nonviolent demonstration, organized by the group Resist the Pipeline, also included more than a dozen faith leaders and longtime activist Tim deChristopher.

“We were arrested because the laws and policies regarding climate change are so out of step with what is required to meet this challenge,” Karenna Gore, director of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, told Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman.

The pipeline, being built by Spectra Energy, would move fracked gas through the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, prompting concern both about resident safety in the densely populated area and about the global impact of burning natural gas. Protesters laid down in and alongside the pipeline trench, saying they wanted to draw attention to the fact that Pakistan dug mass graves in May in anticipation of summer heat waves.

Nine years ago, Al Gore told New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, “I can’t understand why there aren’t rings of young people blocking bulldozers and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants.”

Now lots of young people are blocking fossil fuel projects — including his own daughter.

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Al Gore’s daughter arrested at climate protest

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Green In All The Wrong Places

Green In All The Wrong Places in All the Wrong Places: The Scam That is the Hybrid

I am as planetarily conscious as the next guy, but I’m also practical. Apparently those two things go together like oil and water. Today’s catch phrase of “going green” seems to be less about actually fixing anything and more to do with making money. Prime example? Hybrids.
Now, before you get your dreadlocks in a tangle, let me point out that I clearly stated in the first sentence that I am practical. Therefore, all of the “environmental” self-rehearsed head speak that is about to fall out of your mouth is useless. I’m about to shed some light on the myth that is the hybrid car, and its actual effect on the environment: there is only one real way to save the planet from vehicular air pollution, and that is to slide those Birkenstocks on and walk. Short of that, we have to drive and that will always remain somewhat of an issue for us and the environs.
If you want to argue the environmental aspect of hybrids, keep in mind that the technology exists right now for zero emission vehicles that use a renewable power source that’s availability could eliminate our reliance of fossil fuels. Not reduce: eliminate. Hybrid cars are the environmental equivalent of a pacifier.

The real point of this conversation is the clean green wool that has been pulled over people’s eyes in an attempt to sell a car. The Hybrid comes at us as some sort of salvation from the dreaded and dangerous gas pump simply by playing on the notion that less gas is less money spent and that’s somehow better for the planet. Simple concepts applied to even simpler logic makes people ignore things like the fact that a Prius is actually less cost effective and has little, if any, environmental impact.

A Simple example


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Green In All The Wrong Places

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Quick, change the channel! Al Jazeera is talking about the environment again

Quick, change the channel! Al Jazeera is talking about the environment again


Mainstream American news networks don’t care about climate change. When they’re not ignoring humanity’s greatest crisis, they’re inviting pundits onto their programs to spread climate misinformation.

But here comes a Qatari government-owned broadcaster to the rescue. Al Jazeera America launched in August 2013 after purchasing Al Gore’s Current TV, and now it has a team of 800 employees with headquarters in New York. Right away it dove into climate coverage, and six months later it’s still going strong on the environmental beat.

The Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media reports:

Al Jazeera America is betting on a serious approach to news. It’s a peculiar species in the cable news landscape. Nonpartisan reporting and a fair dose of old-school shoe-leather journalism comprise the majority of the new network’s 14-hour a day news programming.

Donald Trump’s rants about a climate conspiracy have received no mention at all on Al Jazeera America. Nor has the network featured countless “think tank” pundits raving about their belief that wintry weather in one year and one place or another refutes global warming. … Instead, Al Jazeera America offers original reporting on the environment from a growing team of correspondents on the ground.

One environment newscast, for instance, detailed how green energy demand in Europe is threatening Louisiana forests. In another show, the network reported on demonstrators who set fire to a highway and defied a court injunction protesting against a Texas-based company’s fracking efforts.

And, after the recent West Virginia chemical spill into thousands of residents’ drinking water supplies, the network reported from an array of angles.

Maybe TV doesn’t have to be a vast wasteland — if it reports on the vast wasteland our planet is becoming.

Can ‘Unbiased, Fact-Based, In-Depth’ Environmental News Compete?, The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media

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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Quick, change the channel! Al Jazeera is talking about the environment again

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WATCH: "Chemical Weapons Don’t Kill People, People Kill People" Fiore Cartoon

Mother Jones

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Mark Fiore is a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and animator whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Examiner, and dozens of other publications. He is an active member of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists, and has a website featuring his work.

Link – 

WATCH: "Chemical Weapons Don’t Kill People, People Kill People" Fiore Cartoon

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DOJ Admits to Vastly Inflating the Number of People It Charged With Mortgage Fraud

Mother Jones

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On Friday, the Department of Justice admitted that it had vastly overstated the number of people who had been criminally charged in connection with a year-long mortgage fraud initiative.

In 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder created a multi-agency working group called the Distressed Homeowner Initiative, the first ever effort aimed exclusively at targeting crimes against homeowners in the lead up to the financial crisis. Last October, the DOJ publicized its stunning success: 530 people had been charged criminally as part of the initiative. The actual figure, according to the DOJ, is 107—80 percent less. The DOJ claimed that the defendants had victimized more than 73,000 homeowners. That number is actually 17,185. And the department estimated that homeowner losses associated with the fraud was about $1 billion. The new sum is $95 million.

The DOJ’s original tally included those people who were criminally charged in 2012, as well as defendants who were sentenced or convicted that year but charged before the task force had even been set up. The department also counted cases in which the victims weren’t distressed homeowners.

“As a result, the announcement overstated the number of defendants that should have been included as part of the Distressed Homeowner Initiative,” the Justice Department said upon release of the new numbers. Oops.

Three Bloomberg reporters deserve credit for outing Holder. A couple days after the attorney general first publicized the numbers last October, Phil Mattingly and Tom Schoenberg broke the story that some of the cases included in the DoJ’s tally occurred before the initiative began. And Bloomberg reporter Jonathan Weil, after pestering the department for a list of all the people charged and their case details, wrote a column about the Justice Department’s refusal to comply. That prompted the DoJ to reexamine its numbers.

As Weil noted at Bloomberg on Friday, this is the second time that Holder’s Justice Department has inflated prosecution numbers related to the financial crisis. In December 2010, Holder held a press conference to talk up a sweep by the president’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. “All the Justice Department did was lump together a bunch of small-fry, penny-ante fraud cases that had nothing to do with one another,” Weil writes.

More from Weil:

The Obama administration has been on the defensive for years over its lack of decisive, high-profile prosecutions related to the financial crisis. So it leads one to believe that might help explain why the feds have occasionally inflated their fraud statistics: to persuade the public that they were being tough on financial crimes.

Holder needs to come forward and explain exactly how this happened and why. He used a press conference with the cameras rolling to give out numbers that proved to be false — and they appear to have been willfully false. He should be just as eager to hold another press conference to set the record straight, answer any questions about his apparent sleight of hand when it comes to financial-fraud metrics and apologize to the American people.

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DOJ Admits to Vastly Inflating the Number of People It Charged With Mortgage Fraud

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July 30: Try Out 1,000 Green Products for Free

This seven-piece vegan brush set from Christopher Drummond is one of the 1,000 products available for free on July 30. Image: Courtesy of John Paul Selects

On July 30, 1,000 sustainable and eco-friendly products will be given away free via The website, founded by Paul Mitchell Systems and Patron Spirits Co-Founder John Paul DeJoria, helps visitors identify and purchase sustainable products based on various attributes, such as the use of recycled materials, philanthropic benefits or animal-friendly ingredients or practices.

DeJoria decided to host the giveaway to celebrate his receipt of “The Visionary Award” from the Green Business Bureau (GBB) earlier this month.

“We wanted a way to commemorate our winning the award and to show appreciation to the community for supporting us. This also allows people to test out some products they might be interested in,” he said.

In a blog post, the GBB  stated that DeJoria received the award because he is considered “a perfect role model for our thousands of members who work hard every day to develop their companies and serve their communities.”

Products available via the giveaway range from vegan makeup brushes and rain boots to bamboo toothbrushes and nail polish and are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis.

John Paul Selects works to “to attract, inspire and educate the human spirit on behalf of the best emerging sustainable brands and eco-conscious entrepreneurs who are striving to make a difference, both socially and environmentally.” The website aims to make finding quality, eco-friendly products easier by vetting them in advance using six criteria and also excluding those that contain ingredients or use practices that do not meet the organization’s standards.



July 30: Try Out 1,000 Green Products for Free

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How the Koch brothers screwed over the climate even more than you know

How the Koch brothers screwed over the climate even more than you know

The Koch brothers.

Billionaire oil moguls Charles and David Koch have had a pernicious effect on climate and energy policy, a host of other progressive issues, and American democracy itself, as we’ve reported many times before. But a new report by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University reveals even more about how the Koch brothers have undermined climate action.

Since 2008, the Koch-backed group Americans for Prosperity has been urging candidates and politicians to sign its “No Climate Tax Pledge.” In 2010, we noted that many Republican House and Senate candidates had signed it, and in 2011, that at least one GOP presidential candidate had.

But it turns out the pledge has been far more widespread and influential than most people realized. From the Investigative Reporting Workshop:

A quarter of senators and more than one-third of representatives have signed a little-known pledge — backed by the Kochs — not to spend any money to fight climate change without an equivalent amount of tax cuts.

They are among 411 current office-holders and politicians, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Virginia Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli II, Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, three members of the Railroad Commission of Texas, the Oklahoma schools superintendent, the Idaho state treasurer and three justices of the peace in Arkansas who have signed the “No Climate Tax Pledge.” …

While the pledge began with a marginal following, an energized turnout of conservative voters in the 2010 election swept 85 freshman Republicans into the House. Of those 85 Republicans, 76 signed the Koch pledge as candidates. And 57 of those 76 received campaign contributions from Koch Industries’ political action committee.

With the support of these newly elected Republicans, from 2011 to 2013, Congress passed increasingly smaller budgets for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), attempted to strip the agency of varying regulatory powers and discouraged policies to address climate change across multiple federal agencies, according to the Workshop’s analysis.

The New Yorker has more on the workshop’s investigation:

The investigative study tracks the political influence wielded by the billionaire Koch brothers, who have harnessed part of the fortune generated by their company, Koch Industries, the second largest private corporation in the country, to further their conservative libertarian activism. Charles Lewis, the Executive Editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop explained that the I.R.W., a non-profit news organization attached to American University, spent two years focussing on Koch Industries because, “There is no other corporation in the U.S. today, in my view, that is as unabashedly, bare-knuckle aggressive across the board about its own self-interest, in the political process, in the nonprofit-policy-advocacy realm, even increasingly in academia and the broader public marketplace of ideas.” Formerly head of the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, Lewis has focussed for years on the way money affects American politics. “The Kochs’ influence, without a doubt, is growing,” he believes. A spokeswoman for the Kochs declined to comment.

In its multi-part report, “The Koch Club,” written by Lewis, Eric Holmberg, Alexia Campbell, and Lydia Beyoud, the Workshop found that between 2007 and 2011 the Kochs donated $41.2 million to ninety tax-exempt organizations promoting the ultra-libertarian policies that the brothers favor—policies that are often highly advantageous to their corporate interests. In addition, during this same period they gave $30.5 million to two hundred and twenty-one colleges and universities, often to fund academic programs advocating their worldview. Among the positions embraced by the Kochs are fewer government regulations on business, lower taxes, and skepticism about the causes and impact of climate change.

The study recounts that the Kochs have influenced the congressional climate-change debate in other ways, too, which include funding an array of nonprofit groups whose experts have testified in Congress questioning the cause, the severity, and the necessity of, acting on climate change.

The investigation makes it clear that, in today’s America, money talks — and the climate bakes.

Here’s the pledge in its entirety, short but deadly:

Click to embiggen.

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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How the Koch brothers screwed over the climate even more than you know

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What Is the NSA Doing With All Those Phone Records?

Mother Jones

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Why does the NSA want records of every phone call made in the United States? Tim Lee provides the usual answer:

Since the program is secret, it’s hard to say for sure. But the NSA is probably using a software technique called data mining to look for patterns that could be a sign of terrorist activity. The idea is that NSA researchers can build a profile of “typical” terrorist activity and then use calling records — and other data such as financial transactions and travel records — to look for individuals or groups of people who fit the pattern. Many businesses use similar techniques, building profiles of their customers to help decide who is most likely to respond to targeting advertising.

Some critics question the effectiveness of these techniques. For example, in a 2006 Cato study, an IBM computer scientist argued that we simply don’t have enough examples of real terrorists to build a profile of the “typical” terrorist.

Actually, this isn’t the only possible use of data mining. Here’s David Ignatius, back in 2006, with a somewhat more concrete way that these records could be used:

Let’s take a hypothetical problem: An al-Qaeda operative decides to switch cellphones to prevent the National Security Agency from monitoring his calls. How does the NSA identify his new cellphone number? How does it winnow down a haystack with several hundred million pieces of straw so that it can find the deadly needle?

The problem may seem hopelessly complex, but if you use common sense, you can see how the NSA has tried to solve it. Suppose you lost your own cellphone and bought a new one, and people really needed to find out that new number. If they could search all calling records, they would soon find a number with the same pattern of traffic as your old one — calls to your spouse, your kids, your office, your golf buddies. They wouldn’t have to listen to the calls themselves to know it was your phone. Simple pattern analysis would be adequate — so long as they had access to all the records.

This, in simple terms, is what I suspect the NSA has done in tracking potential sleeper cells in the United States. The agency can sift through the haystack, if (and probably only if) it can search all the phone and e-mail records for links to numbers on a terrorist watch list. The computers do the work: They can examine hundreds of millions of calls to find the few red-hot links — which can then be investigated under existing legal procedures.

Is this what NSA is doing? Does it work? I have no idea, though I assume Ignatius had a little professional help dreaming up this example.

The idea that data mining is used solely to build profiles of “average” terrorists is fairly widespread, and there are lots of reasons to think that such profiling isn’t especially effective. Just for starters, the sheer number of false positives it generates is probably immense. But that’s not the only way this data can be used. There are other, more concrete ways to use it too, and probably plenty of other data it can be linked up to. It would be a mistake to assume that crude profiling is the only possible use of data mining and then go from there.

Before I’m asked, I’m bringing this up strictly for informational purposes, not because I want to defend NSA surveillance. I didn’t like this stuff when Bush was doing it, and I don’t like it now. Either way, though, it’s worth knowing what it’s capable of.

UPDATE: Shane Harris, author of The Watchers, has more here.

UPDATE 2: How much data is this, anyway? How does it get to the NSA each day? Well, if you figure there are roughly 4 billion phone calls per day, and about 100 bytes of metadata per call, that’s 4 terabits of data. The big carriers are responsible for maybe a quarter of that each, or 1 terabit per day. A single DS3 line can carry about 4 terabits per day, and a DS3 line is nothing special. In other words, the actual physical transmission of this data is no big deal.

The database that holds all this stuff, on the other hand, is a whole different story…..


What Is the NSA Doing With All Those Phone Records?

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One Weird Trick for Getting Republicans to Care About Climate

Mother Jones

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It’s a truism at this point to observe that Americans are deeply polarized—along party lines—on climate change. The surveys that have attested to this reality are, by now, too numerous to count.

But beneath that depressing surface, there’s a less appreciated and more hopeful reality. If it were somehow possible to strip away the overlay of angry political rhetoric—not to mention doing something about all the scientific misinformation that is constantly being broadcast and rebroadcast by the likes of Rush Limbaugh—a bipartisan political consensus on climate change might really be possible.

That’s one upshot of a new public opinion study by the climate public opinion dynamos at George Mason and Yale universities (the George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication and the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, respectively). The researchers surveyed 726 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, finding 77 percent support within this group for expanding US reliance on clean and renewable energy.

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One Weird Trick for Getting Republicans to Care About Climate

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How Irish Are You?

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Sarah Kliff on St. Patrick’s Day:

St. Patrick’s Day is, perhaps, the only holiday replete with false claims of national ancestry. Everyone is Irish, if just for a day.

Well, just for the record, I am seven-sixteenths Irish. Canters and Gunsons from Tipperary, Morans from Galway, Moodys from Derry, Lows from Armagh, and Dacys from….somewhere. How about you?

Mother Jones
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How Irish Are You?

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