Monthly Archives: April 2010

The 86 degree limit

A thought for those who say global warming, whatever the cause, doesn’t matter:

“…a study in the peer-reviewed journal Science predicts a 20 to 30 percent decline in crop yields in the next 80 years. Alarmingly, the process of photosynthesis itself declines precipitously as temperatures rise above 86 degrees Fahrenheit, making it increasingly difficult to maintain–let alone increase–crop yields. (The European heat wave of 2003 that killed up to 50,000 people also slashed crop harvests by as much as 36 percent.)”

from “The Last Taboo: 6.7 billion reasons—and counting—to take an honest look at our population problem,”
by Julia Whitty, Mother Jones, May/June 2010, quote p. 31.

The article cited is presumably:

Science 9 January 2009:
Vol. 323. no. 5911, pp. 240 – 244
Historical Warnings of Future Food Insecurity with Unprecedented Seasonal Heat
David. S. Battisti and Rosamond L. Naylor

authors’ summary:

“Higher growing season temperatures can have dramatic impacts on agricultural productivity, farm incomes, and food security. We used observational data and output from 23 global climate models to show a high probability (>90%) that growing season temperatures in the tropics and subtropics by the end of the 21st century will exceed the most extreme seasonal temperatures recorded from 1900 to 2006. In temperate regions, the hottest seasons on record will represent the future norm in many locations. We used historical examples to illustrate the magnitude of damage to food systems caused by extreme seasonal heat and show that these short-run events could become long-term trends without sufficient investments in adaptation.”

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Filed under Environment, Energy, Science

Will the Real Tea Party Movement Please Stand Up?

Center for Media and Democracy,
Submitted by Anne Landman on April 19, 2010 – 2:31pm.

Have you wondered how the Tea Party, portrayed as a “grassroots” movement, could possibly raise enough money in one year to procure a professionally-painted, luxury motor coach and send it on two highly-publicized national tours? Or how the Tea Party so quickly developed the expertise to plan, organize and execute the tours, and consistently draw major media attention to them?

The answer is that the Tea Party Express is not a “grassroots” effort. The Web site obtained and posted a proposal (pdf) showing that long-time Republican party operatives are, in fact, directing the “Tea Party Express” portion of the movement. The “group” and its activities are the result of efforts by a Republican-affiliated political consulting and public relations firm, Russo Marsh & Rogers, based in Sacramento, California. PR executive Sal Russo of Russo, Marsh & Rogers is also the chief strategist for the Our Country Deserves Better, political action committee (PAC) formed in 2008 to oppose then-candidate Barack Obama….

keep reading, follow links, and download the above-mentioned pdf here

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Filed under Right Wing

Ask the card-carrying socialists: Is Obama one of them?

By John Blake, CNN
April 15, 2010

(CNN) — Billy Wharton should be happy.

“Socialized health care” is on its way. The “socialist agenda” is taking over America. And best of all, Barack Obama, a “committed socialist ideologue,” is in the Oval Office.

But Wharton, co-chair of the Socialist Party USA, sees no reason to celebrate. He’s seen people with bumper stickers and placards that call Obama a socialist, and he has a message for them: Obama isn’t a socialist. He’s not even a liberal.

“We didn’t see a great victory with the election of Barack Obama,” Wharton says, ” and we certainly didn’t see our agenda move from the streets to the White House.”…

keep reading at CNN

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Filed under Progressive, US President


press release, April 20, 2010 Contact:

New report uncovers millions of dollars vulnerable to fraud & abuse

(Chester, PA) – Many executives and operators of Pennsylvania charter schools are profiting at the expense of taxpayers and children, said individuals providing testimony at a State Senate Education Committee.  Testifiers accused charter operators of abusing public funds, and using children as “poker chips” in order to wring a profit from the public coffers.

The public hearing was held at Widener University to address recent allegations of corruption, and the state’s alleged failure to oversee charter schools in a way that prevents widespread abuse.
“In excess of $290 million a year paid by the School District of Philadelphia to charter schools is extremely vulnerable to fraud, waste, and abuse,” said Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz.

Butkovitz provided testimony based on a report released the day before by the City Controller’s Office which reviews 13 Philadelphia charter schools, finding numerous occurrences at every school reviewed of questionable practices including excessive executive compensation, nepotism, conflicts of interest, profiteering, and failure to disclose financial information. Continue reading


Filed under Education and schools, PA govt & politics