Treacherous Tuesday


Here’s a thought experiment for you. Ask yourself, “When was the last time I heard any conversation at all about the role of corporations in the United States in the US public media?”

In the abstract, it seems like a silly question. So let me rephrase it:

When was the last time you heard in the media that Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and Donald Trump both support Citizens United and it’s concept that corporations are people?

When was the last time you heard that Hillary Clinton has said, repeatedly, that repealing Citizens United is at the top of her agenda when it comes to picking Supreme Court nominees? Or that Donald Trump wants to put somebody on the court who will reverse Roe v. Wade, and make it illegal for women to get abortions (and, possibly, many forms of birth control) in the US?

And when was the last time you heard about the role of corporations in education? Johnson and the Libertarian Party think that all state and federal funding for schools — from elementary school all the way through college — should end.

Thom Hartmann @ TRUTHOUT

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Ellyfump Monday


The number of African elephants dropped by about 111,000 in the past decade as a result of poaching, a report released at the Johannesburg conference on the wildlife trade has found.

News of the worst drop in elephant numbers in 25 years came amid disagreement on the second day of the global meeting over the best way to improve the plight of the animals, which are targeted for their tusks.

Based on 275 estimates from across the continent, the report by the IUCN conservation group put Africa’s total elephant population at around 415,000, a decline of around 111,000 over the past decade.

It is the first time in 25 years that the IUCN’s African Elephant Status Report has reported a continental decline in numbers, with the group attributing the losses in large part to a sharp rise in poaching.

“The surge in poaching for ivory that began approximately a decade ago – the worst that Africa has experienced since the 1970s and 1980s – has been the main driver of the decline,” said IUCN.

IUCN chief Inger Andersen said the numbers showed “the truly alarming plight of the majestic elephant”.


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Sunny Sunday


“Big rain clouds had been rolling over the whole day with good gaps in between,” says photographer Sigurdur William Brynjarsson, who took the picture on Sept. 20th from Reykjanes, Iceland. “The Moon was almost full and aurora activity was picking up. I knew conditions were perfect to capture a lunar rainbow with the Northern Lights together.”

“I’ve never witnessed a lunar rainbow and lady Aurora dancing hand in hand before,” he adds. “What a night… =) ”

Now that autumn has arrived, rainclouds are mixing with auroras around the Arctic Circle on a regular basis. Those raindrops will turn into snowflakes as winter approaches. Until then, keep an eye on the photo gallery for more moonbows in the Arctic night.


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Saturday Reading


Menominee Reservation, Wisconsin — Guy Reiter was an archaeologist before he was an activist. But the two merged after a dream six years ago.

“I was in a van and when we drove by the White Rapids I looked over and saw an elder sitting on a dam, in full Indian regalia,” Reiter says. “He flagged me down, I climbed the dam, and he started talking to me in Menominee.”

Menominee is the language of Reiter’s tribe, the Menominee Indians of Wisconsin. The dam is on the Menominee River, where the history of the tribe begins.

Guy Reiter in May. (Photo: Environmental Health News)Guy Reiter in May. (Photo: Environmental Health News)”We were climbing down, and as soon as my feet hit the ground, I woke up, with tears in my eyes,” he says.

Reiter won’t say what the elder said that brought such tears. The dream was a gift, not to be shared. “Anytime I get to experience ancestors is a real profound time,” he says.

But four months later, on an archeological trip in 2010 with other researchers from the College of Menominee Nation, Reiter saw the dam: It was indeed on the White Rapids, a former settlement site for the Menominee people.


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Ta-ta! Thursday


The car rental giant Enterprise says it has resigned its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), an anti-regulation lobby group that has pushed against climate change legislation, effective immediately. The announcement follows last month’s revelation by the Guardian of the publicly environmentally friendly company’s contributions to the group.

Enterprise is the largest car rental company in the world and owns Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National and Alamo. It has sought recognition for its tree-planting programs, aimed at offsetting carbon emissions, and its increasingly large fleet of clean vehicles.

But association with Alec was too much for many consumers, who told the company on social media and in petitions that they would take their business elsewhere. A petition demanding the company withdraw its support from the lobbyist group had reached 89,000 signatures at the time of writing.

@ TG

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Windy Wednesday


2 out of 3 cows prefer wind energy to fence energy.

The Iowa Utility Board has approved a $3 bn. MidAmerica wind farm project which will be the country’s largest, due to come on line in 2019, and which will generate enough electricity to power 800,000 homes! I looked this up, and there are only about 1.2 million households in Iowa! This one project could power 2/3s of the state’s homes! Of course, you still have commercial uses of power, and then the transportation sector includes 4.3 million registered vehicles, which are almost all fueled by carbon-emitting petroleum. But still, you have to wonder if Iowa will be the first 100% green energy state. (Iowa has the advantage of being a midwest wind corridor; some other areas of the country, like the Deep South, are much less well endowed in this regard– though they have loads of sunlight that they are wasting for lack of solar panels). Already, 31% of Iowa’s electricity is from wind.

Xcel Energy in Colorado and several partners, including the Danish firm Vestas Wind Systems, are planning a $1 bn. wind farm complex that would power 600,000 homes. About ten percent of those funds will be spent on new transmission lines to bring the electricity to Denver and Boulder where it is most needed. Colorado has about 2 million households, so this wind farm would power nearly a third of them.


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