Wild! So there is hope that our upcoming Water War won’t be as dire. Well, maybe the Water War will get delayed long enough for the rising ocean to make it moot anyway…
LOS ANGELES is the nation’s water archvillain, according to public perception, notorious for its usurpation of water hundreds of miles away to slake the thirst of its ever-expanding population. As a character in “Chinatown,” the noirish 1974 film starring Jack Nicholson that churns through the city’s water history, puts it, “Either you bring the water to L.A., or you bring L.A. to the water.”
Recently, however, Los Angeles has reduced its reliance on outside sources of water. It has become, of all things, a leader in sustainable water management, a pioneer in big-city use of cost-effective, environmentally beneficial water conservation, collection and reuse technologies. Some combination of these techniques is the most plausible path to survival for all the cities of the water-depleted West.
One sign of Los Angeles’s earnestness is its success in conservation: The city now consumes less water than it did in 1970, while its population has grown by more than a third, to 3.9 million people from 2.8 million. Two projects — a nine-acre water-treating wetland constructed in a former bus maintenance yard and a water management plan devised for a flood-prone district of 80,000 people — won awards this year from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. The city itself won one of the first water sustainability awards given by the U.S. Water Alliance, in 2011.
(click here to continue reading Los Angeles, City of Water – NYTimes.com.)
Here are real world consequences of removing all vestiges of restraint of corporate purchase of elected officials, only partially hidden corruption. We are getting the best politicians money can buy, in other words, with the obvious point being it isn’t our money, but corporate dollars that have all the buying power.
The letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma carried a blunt accusation: Federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in his state.
But Mr. Pruitt left out one critical point. The three-page letter was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas companies, and was delivered to him by Devon’s chief of lobbying.
The email exchange from October 2011, obtained through an open-records request, offers a hint of the unprecedented, secretive alliance that Mr. Pruitt and other Republican attorneys general have formed with some of the nation’s top energy producers to push back against the Obama regulatory agenda, an investigation by The New York Times has found.
Attorneys general in at least a dozen states are working with energy companies and other corporate interests, which in turn are providing them with record amounts of money for their political campaigns, including at least $16 million this year.
(click here to continue reading Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General – NYTimes.com.)
Cheap for corporations, $16,000,000 isn’t very much when gutting environmental law is the end result. Remember your high school history books and how indignant the outrage was when discussing the Teapot Dome Scandal? Well, this is a gazillion or two times worse…
Here’s a brief refresher of the Teapot Dome Scandal via Wikipedia:
In the early 20th century, the U.S. Navy largely converted from coal to oil fuel. To ensure the Navy would always have enough fuel available, several oil-producing areas were designated as Naval Oil Reserves by President Taft. In 1921, President Harding issued an executive order that transferred control of Teapot Dome Oil Field in Natrona County, Wyoming, and the Elk Hills and Buena Vista Oil Fields in Kern County, California from the Navy Department to the Department of the Interior. This was not implemented until 1922, when Interior Secretary Fall persuaded Navy Secretary Edwin C. Denby to transfer control.
Later in 1922, Albert Fall leased the oil production rights at Teapot Dome to Harry F. Sinclair of Mammoth Oil, a subsidiary of Sinclair Oil Corporation. He also leased the Elk Hills reserve to Edward L. Doheny of Pan American Petroleum and Transport Company. Both leases were issued without competitive bidding. This manner of leasing was legal under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920.
The lease terms were very favorable to the oil companies, which secretly made Fall a rich man. Fall had received a no-interest loan from Doheny of $100,000 (about $1.32 million today) in November 1921. He received other gifts from Doheny and Sinclair totaling about $404,000 (about $5.34 million today). It was this money changing hands that was illegal, not the leases. Fall attempted to keep his actions secret, but the sudden improvement in his standard of living prompted speculation.
(click here to continue reading Teapot Dome scandal – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)
Sound familiar? Except in this case, the public isn’t outraged, or even well informed that elected officials are getting paid off in such a brazen manner.
Out of public view, corporate representatives and attorneys general are coordinating legal strategy and other efforts to fight federal regulations, according to a review of thousands of emails and court documents and dozens of interviews.
“When you use a public office, pretty shamelessly, to vouch for a private party with substantial financial interest without the disclosure of the true authorship, that is a dangerous practice,” said David B. Frohnmayer, a Republican who served a decade as attorney general in Oregon. “The puppeteer behind the stage is pulling strings, and you can’t see. I don’t like that. And when it is exposed, it makes you feel used.”
For Mr. Pruitt, the benefits have been clear. Lobbyists and company officials have been notably solicitous, helping him raise his profile as president for two years of the Republican Attorneys General Association, a post he used to help start what he and allies called the Rule of Law campaign, which was intended to push back against Washington.
(click here to continue reading Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General – NYTimes.com.)
There aren’t many times when we align unequivocally with the Chicago Tribune, but this is one such time. What the hell is the Village of Rosemont doing?1 Corporate welfare at its most transparent, and then trying to cover up their tracks? They are spending taxpayer money, right? So why shouldn’t the taxpayers know the details?
Whatever Rosemont had to do, it doesn’t want the public to know about it.
The village recently passed an ordinance to keep secret the financial details related to Brooks’ record-breaking concert run — an unusual move that came after the Chicago Tribune filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to his September shows at Allstate Arena.
The ordinance gives the mayor and other officials the power to withhold documents if they believe the release would put village-owned entertainment venues at a competitive disadvantage. In addition to the arena, the town owns and operates the Rosemont Theatre and the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.
Village officials declined comment on the new law this week, citing the ongoing dispute with the Tribune over the Brooks documents.
The Tribune requested the records on Sept. 11, while Brooks was in the middle of his 11-concert run at Allstate Arena. Brooks, who had not toured in 16 years, sold 183,535 tickets for his Rosemont shows and broke the North American ticket sales record for a single city with an estimated gross of $12 million.
None of those entities, however, rely upon concert and convention revenues as much as Rosemont, which owes more than $400 million on taxpayer-backed loans taken out primarily to build an entertainment district. In 2013, the arena, theater and convention center together generated nearly $38 million in operating revenue and attracted more than 1.9 million visitors, according to village officials.
(click here to continue reading Rosemont passes law to prevent release of Garth Brooks contract – Chicago Tribune.)
To be clear, we are befuddled why such a profitable touring artist would need financial incentives from the public: the government isn’t getting a percentage of the gate. In fact, just the opposite – Rosemont gave a share of concessions, parking, and the like to the promoter. Wacky, just wacky. Smells like corruption to me.Footnotes:
- a suburb of Chicago, five minutes from O’Hare Airport [↩]
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I took There’s A Place From Where I Came on September 04, 2013 at 02:30PM
and processed it in my digital darkroom on December 04, 2014 at 08:06AM
Big Government, saving you from an oil tanker blowing up in your neighborhood. What a travesty! Shut it down!
While the existence of this virtual pipeline is obvious to its neighbors—trains are visible from homes, the local commuter rail station, a park and a popular jogging trail—it is officially secret. Delaware Safety and Homeland Security officials contend that publicizing any information about the oil trains parked there would “reveal the State’s vulnerability to terrorist attacks,” according to a letter to The Wall Street Journal.
Finding the locations of oil-filled trains remains difficult, even in states that don’t consider the information top secret. There are no federal or state rules requiring public notice despite several fiery accidents involving oil trains, including one in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, that killed 47 people.
The desire for secrecy seems wrongheaded to some experts. “If you don’t share this information, how are people supposed to know what they are supposed to do when another Lac-Mégantic happens?” asked Denise Krepp, a consultant and former senior counsel to the congressional Homeland Security Committee.
She said more firefighting equipment and training was needed urgently. “We are not prepared,” she said.
In May, federal regulators ordered railroads to tell states about the counties traversed by trains carrying combustible crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota so local first responders could be notified.
The Journal submitted open-records requests to all 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia and received at least some information from all but 14: Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia.
Mapping data received from the disclosing states, the Journal found a lot of other cities in the same situation as Newark. On its way to refiners on the East Coast and along the Gulf of Mexico, oil often sits in tank cars in railroad yards outside Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, Penn., and passes through Cleveland, Chicago, Albany, Seattle and a dozen other cities.
(click here to continue reading Oil Trains Hide in Plain Sight – WSJ.)
I’ve been looking for a while to take a photo of one of these oil tankers in Illinois, but haven’t found one yet. Do you have a photo?
The Bakken crude contains a lot of butane, making it volatile but useful for mixing with heavier oils or as a refined byproduct, said refinery manager José Dominguez. On a recent afternoon, the refinery was running mostly Bakken oil, along with some diluted crude from Canadian oil sands and a ship’s worth of light sweet oil from Basra, Iraq.
When Norfolk Southern began routing crude trains through Newark, it didn’t notify the local emergency officials. Last March, a year after trains started turning up, Fire Chief A.J. Schall sat down with officials from the railroad and refinery to discuss the crude shipments.
“It shows a lack of communication,” he said. By the summer, Norfolk Southern and PBF paid for Mr. Schall and another local fire chief to fly to Colorado and attend a three-day class on crude-by-rail trains.
(click here to continue reading Oil Trains Hide in Plain Sight – WSJ.)
Ok, problem solved, just fly local officials to Colorado, and give them a cannabis stipend…
Oh, and in case it isn’t clear, I’m a liberal who believes government is frequently the solution to our nation’s problems which puts me radically at odds to the flame throwers like Ted “Calgary” Cruz who want to shut the government down because they are opposed to some policy or other.
For perhaps the five hundredth time this decade,1 I spent a long time trying to login to YouTube to upload a video, and my password was not accepted, even though I’d copied it right out of 1 Password. After wasting about ten minutes trying to figure it out, I remembered that because I have set up a 2-Step Verification for my Google account, I have to generate an App specific password for logging into YouTube. I’m not sure why YouTube is different than other 2-Step Verification services2, but at least the solution is easy enough, once you remember that is why your password keeps failing. You’d think Google could update YouTube to at least give a hint that enabling 2-Step verification means a user can’t login simply with email and password. I mean, would it be that hard for the YouTube iOS App to add a footer to the login page? Or at least a suggestion to look to the App passwords page if a password fails a few times?
Anyway, after I did the proper Google search, I ended up here, with these instructions.
Sign in using App Passwords
An App password is a 16-digit passcode that gives an app or device permission to access your Google Account. If you use 2-Step-Verification and are seeing a “password incorrect” error when trying to access your Google Account, an App password may solve the problem. Most of the time, you’ll only have to enter an App password once per app or device, so don’t worry about memorizing it.
- Visit your App passwords page. You may be asked to sign in to your Google Account.
- At the bottom, click Select app and choose the app you’re using.
- Click Select device and choose the device you’re using.
- Click Generate.
- Follow the instructions to enter the App password (the 16 character code in the yellow bar) on your device.
(click here to continue reading Sign in using App Passwords – Accounts Help.)
That’s pretty clear, and simple, once you know that is what you are required to do.
Perhaps since I’m writing a post about this procedure, I’ll remember next time I’m uploading a video from a new iOS device, or a new app that uses YouTube.
Also, the video was pretty dark, I’ll have to retry with better lighting next time I have a can of Nuclear Winter beer by Finch’s Beer…
My app specific list looks like this3
Google App specific passwords, a partial list
With a name like Nuclear Winter, what else could I do?
update, damn, this post became a spam comment magnet so we’re disabling comments for a while. Sorry.
- every time I get a new iPhone or iPad, or Apple TV basically. Though some apps use YouTube as well, I’m guessing this has happened more than three million times since I’ve enabled 2-Step Verification [↩]
- for instance, I use 2-Step Verification for Tumblr, for Twitter, for Buffer, and probably some others too [↩]
- not all shown [↩]
I cheated a little: this is a photo of a wheelbarrow filling with rain water. There were two leaves, but I added a couple from the ground.
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I took Our Cup Is Going To Empty Itself on September 14, 2014 at 05:54PM
and processed it in my digital darkroom on December 03, 2014 at 03:48AM
In a free society, the numbers of annual fatal police shootings should be public so these cases can be thoughtfully discussed. The only reason these numbers are hidden is because the police doesn’t want to talk about them, and the police unions are still strong enough to block wider discussion and distribution of these troubling statistics.
The true number of fatal police shootings is surely much higher, however, because many law enforcement agencies do not report to the FBI database. Attempts by journalists to compile more complete data by collating local news reports have resulted in estimates as high as 1,000 police killings a year. There is no way to know how many victims, like [Michael] Brown, were unarmed.
By contrast, there were no fatal police shootings in Great Britain last year. Not one. In Germany, there have been eight police killings over the past two years. In Canada — a country with its own frontier ethos and no great aversion to firearms — police shootings average about a dozen a year.
Liberals and conservatives alike should be outraged at the frequency with which police in this country use deadly force. There is no greater power that we entrust to the state than the license to take life. To put it mildly, misuse of this power is at odds with any notion of limited government.
I realize that the great majority of police officers never fire their weapons in the line of duty. Most cops perform capably and honorably in a stressful, dangerous job; 27 were killed in 2013, according to the FBI. Easy availability of guns means that U.S. police officers — unlike their counterparts in Britain, Japan or other countries where there is appropriate gun control — must keep in mind the possibility that almost any suspect might be packing heat.
(click here to continue reading What America’s police departments don’t want you to know – The Washington Post.)
These numbers are not good, which is due to a multitude of factors, some of which are structural issues with American society. Allowing the NRA to set policy doesn’t help either. We can all agree being a police officer is a challenging, shitty job, however, that doesn’t give officers absolute freedom to fire guns first, and ask questions later.
D. Brian Burghart wrote a piece for Gawker a few months ago about this paucity of information, and what it means:
The bottom line was that I found the absence of such a library of police killings offensive. And so I decided to build it. I’m still building it. But I could use some help. You can find my growing database of deadly police violence here, at Fatal Encounters, and I invite you to go here, research one of the listed shootings, fill out the row, and change its background color. It’ll take you about 25 minutes. There are thousands to choose from, and another 2,000 or so on my cloud drive that I haven’t even added yet. After I fact-check and fill in the cracks, your contribution will be added to largest database about police violence in the country. Feel free to check out what has been collected about your locale’s information here.
The biggest thing I’ve taken away from this project is something I’ll never be able to prove, but I’m convinced to my core: The lack of such a database is intentional. No government—not the federal government, and not the thousands of municipalities that give their police forces license to use deadly force—wants you to know how many people it kills and why.
It’s the only conclusion that can be drawn from the evidence. What evidence? In attempting to collect this information, I was lied to and delayed by the FBI, even when I was only trying to find out the addresses of police departments to make public records requests. The government collects millions of bits of data annually about law enforcement in its Uniform Crime Report, but it doesn’t collect information about the most consequential act a law enforcer can do.
I’ve been lied to and delayed by state, county and local law enforcement agencies—almost every time. They’ve blatantly broken public records laws, and then thumbed their authoritarian noses at the temerity of a citizen asking for information that might embarrass the agency. And these are the people in charge of enforcing the law.
(click here to continue reading What I’ve Learned from Two Years Collecting Data on Police Killings.)
To be blunt, this is bullshit.
The latest case to bring Mr. Jobs’s spirit into a courtroom is set to begin on Tuesday in Oakland, Calif. It is a class action involving older iPods, which played only songs sold in the iTunes Store, or those downloaded from CDs, not music from competing stores. The plaintiffs are consumers who say Apple violated antitrust law because to keep their music, people had to stay with the iPod, and buy higher-priced ones rather than cheaper, alternative music players. Apple has since discontinued this system.
(click here to continue reading Star Witness in Apple Lawsuit Is Steve Jobs – NYTimes.com.)
Maybe there is more to this litigation than is being reported, but as an owner of many iPods (including several of the early models, including the one that only worked with Macs), I can attest that all iPods were able to play music in the MP3 format from any source. If you got music from converting CDs you own (like I did and still do), or downloaded files from rival services like eMusic, or wherever, as long as the file was in the MP3 format, it played fine on any iPod. Now, perhaps there were music stores that sold tunes that were encoded in other proprietary formats, but why should Apple have to support those formats? Especially since if you downloaded, for instance, a WMA file from Music Match, you could easily convert the track to MP3 on your computer in seconds.
I don’t understand why this case hasn’t been tossed out yet. What am I missing?
Wow, that’s crazy! Brazil is suffering through its worse drought in 80 years, but politics has impeded practical action being taken. Sound familiar? When are the water wars going to start getting violent in the US? Ten years? Five years? Twenty years?
São Paulo, Brazil’s drought-hit megacity of 20 million, has about two months of guaranteed water supply remaining as it taps into the second of three emergency reserves, officials say.
The city began using its second so-called “technical reserve” 10 days ago to prevent a water crisis after reservoirs reached critically low levels last month.
This is the first time the state has resorted to using the reserves, experts say.
“If we take into account the same pattern of water extraction and rainfall that we’ve seen so far this month – and it’s been raining less than half of the average – we can say the (reserve) will last up to 60 days,” said Marussia Whately, a water resources specialist at environmental NGO Instituto Socioambiental.
But an expected increase in water usage during the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holidays could easily reduce the time the reserve will last, she added.
After that period, there is no certainty over the water supply available to Brazil’s wealthiest city and financial center, Whately said.
A presidential election in October, which pitted the governing Workers Party (PT) against the opposition Social Democracy Party (PSDB), led São Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin of the PSDB to delay taking action on the water shortage – such as ordering mandatory rationing – for fear of losing votes during his reelection campaign, experts say.
(click here to continue reading Drought-hit Sao Paulo may ‘get water from mud': TRFN | Reuters.)
I’ve been watching the planet’s upcoming water crisis for many years, even before this blog existed, and other than desalinization becoming cheaper, or the vast oil/gas pipeline network being repurposed to carry water, there haven’t been many solutions proferred. The next century will be interesting, in the sense of the (pseudo) Chinese proverb, “May You Live In Interesting Times”1
Dom Phillips writes in the Washington Post:
But critics say the state government, which controls the water company, played down the crisis because of October’s elections, in which the state’s governor, Geraldo Alckmin, was reelected. Critics say SABESP has failed to keep the population properly informed and to introduce enough effective measures to reduce consumption.
“It is not just the lack of water, which is critical, it is also not knowing how to manage the crisis,” said Carlos de Oliveira of the Brazilian Consumer Defense Institute in São Paulo. The institute only recently received key maps outlining the worst-hit areas — but they did not feature streets, just gradients. “Instead of supplying information, SABESP blames the consumer,” he said.
The water company said there is no rationing or rotating of the water supply — just nightly reductions in pressure to cut losses. Nobody believes it.
“There is rationing,” said Paulo Santos, manager of the elegant Condomínio Louvre building in São Paulo’s center, which has 320 apartments and 45 shops. Water is cut off most nights, starting about 10 p.m., Santos said. He maintains supply by keeping a 12,000-gallon tank full and is installing tanks to capture rainfall on a roof. “The residents are worried. They keep asking about the water,” he said.
(click here to continue reading Taps run dry in São Paulo drought, but water company barely shrugs – The Washington Post.)
And more details from Bloomberg:
Brazil’s Jaguari reservoir has fallen to its lowest level ever, laying bare measurement posts that jut from exposed earth like a line of dominoes. The nation’s two biggest cities are fighting for what little water is left.
Sao Paulo state leaders want to tap Jaguari, which feeds Rio de Janeiro’s main source. Rio state officials say they shouldn’t suffer for others’ mismanagement. Supreme Court judges have summoned the parties to Brasilia for a mediation session this week.
The standoff in a nation with more water resources than any other country in the world portends further conflicts as the planet grows increasingly urban. One in three of the world’s 100 biggest cities is under water stress, according to The Nature Conservancy, a U.S.-based nonprofit.
“It’s unusual in that it’s two very large cities facing what could be a new, permanent conflict over the allocation of water,” said Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, a research organization in Oakland, California. “It’s a wake-up call that even places we think of as water-rich have to learn to do a better job of managing what’s ultimately a scarce resource. Nature doesn’t always cooperate with us.”
While Rio has so far remained mostly unaffected by the country’s worst drought in eight decades, that’s not the case for its neighbor to the south. More than half the Paulistas in a Datafolha poll last month said they had been without water at least once in the previous 30 days.
(click here to continue reading Water War Amid Brazil Drought Leads to Fight Over Puddles – Bloomberg.)
Man-made destruction is at least partly to blame, of course
Antonio Nobre, a researcher at Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research and its National Institute for Amazonian Research, wrote in an e-mail that deforestation might be connected to the drought.
In October, Nobre published a scientific assessment report, which argued that clear-cutting has altered the Amazon forest’s climate — as evidenced by droughts in 2005 and 2010. The forest functions as a “biotic pump,” it said, channeling moisture down to São Paulo via “aerial rivers” that bounce off the Andes wall.
(click here to continue reading Taps run dry in São Paulo drought, but water company barely shrugs – The Washington Post.)Footnotes:
- The nearest related Chinese expression is “宁为太平犬，莫做乱世人” (níng wéi tàipíng quǎn, mò zuò luànshì rén) which conveys the sense that it is “better to live as a dog in an era of peace than a man in times of war.” [↩]
Rudy Giuliani is in the class of professional Trolls On Television that I try to ignore, along with his fellow grifters like Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, et al. The odds of any of these losers ever winning a plurality of delegates in a presidential election is extremely slim, in fact, the odds of any of them winning a majority of voters in any state is implausible, and yet they have made careers for themselves appearing on television news programs, spewing bile regarding the political topic du jour.
All that said, Rudy “Nine-Eleven” Giuliani’s latest garbage is disgusting:
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been on a tear since Sunday, turning himself into a B storyline as he offers what you might call unvarnished takes on race and crime in America amid the tension in Ferguson, Mo. It started with a “Meet The Press” panel, when he told a black panelist that white police officers wouldn’t be in black communities if “you weren’t killing each other.”
And he hasn’t let up while a grand jury has decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown’s shooting and heated protests have followed.
Giuliani isn’t a stranger to racially charged rhetoric, dating back to his time as mayor, but these recent comments were striking even to one of Giuliani’s biographers who was quite familiar with the former mayor’s past rhetoric on these issues.
“Some of this stuff has struck me as a little over-the-top even for him,” Andrew Kirtzman, a former journalist and now a vice president at Global Strategy Group, who wrote a 2001 book about Giuliani, said in a phone interview. “But this is the man who when asked what he had done for the black community in New York, back in the 90s, he said, ‘Well, they’re still alive to begin with.'”
“I used to look at our crime reduction, and the reason we reduced homicide by 65 percent is because we reduced it in the black community,” [Giuliani] said. “Because there is virtually no homicide in the white community.”
(click here to continue reading Rudy Giuliani Uses Ferguson To Take His Race Baiting To Whole New Level.)
Uh, yeah, virtually no homicide in the white community. I went to the FBI’s website, and at random, picked the year 2000 to look at homicide statistics, a year when Giuliani was still Mayor of NYC. I’m not asserting that 2000 was or was not a typical year, but, what a surprise, plenty of incidents of white on white crime.
So when Giuliani bloviates:
“When the president was talking last night about training the police, of course, the police should be trained,” he said. “He also should have spent 15 minutes on training the [black] community to stop killing each other. In numbers that are incredible — incredible — 93 percent of blacks are shot by other blacks. They are killing each other. And the racial arsonists, who enjoyed last night, this was their day of glory.”
he’s just talking out of his ass. 85% of the reported homicides of whites were committed by other whites, btw. Does that mean the president should lecture the white community to stop killing each other too?
Funny to think just a few decades ago, Republicans were, for the most part, interested in breathing non-polluted air, fishing in non-polluted streams, and so on. Contrast that to the current Republicans who would like nothing better than to kill the planet tomorrow in order to wring profits from Earth today…
Of course, polluters will defend their right to pollute, but why can they count on Republican support? When and why did the Republican Party become the party of pollution?
For it wasn’t always thus. The Clean Air Act of 1970, the legal basis for the Obama administration’s environmental actions, passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 73 to 0, and was signed into law by Richard Nixon. (I’ve heard veterans of the E.P.A. describe the Nixon years as a golden age.) A major amendment of the law, which among other things made possible the cap-and-trade system that limits acid rain, was signed in 1990 by former President George H.W. Bush.
But that was then. Today’s Republican Party is putting a conspiracy theorist who views climate science as a “gigantic hoax” in charge of the Senate’s environment committee. And this isn’t an isolated case. Pollution has become a deeply divisive partisan issue.
And the reason pollution has become partisan is that Republicans have moved right. A generation ago, it turns out, environment wasn’t a partisan issue: according to Pew Research, in 1992 an overwhelming majority in both parties favored stricter laws and regulation. Since then, Democratic views haven’t changed, but Republican support for environmental protection has collapsed.
(click here to continue reading Pollution and Politics – NYTimes.com.)
The Obama administration on Wednesday announced a long-delayed environmental regulation to curb emissions of ozone, a smog-causing pollutant linked to asthma, heart disease and premature death.
The sweeping regulation, which are aimed at smog caused by power plants and factories across the country, particularly in the Midwest, is the latest in a series of Environmental Protection Agency controls on air pollution that wafts from smokestacks and tailpipes. Such regulations, released under the authority of the Clean Air Act, have become a hallmark of President Obama’s administration.
Environmentalists and public health advocates have praised the E.P.A. rules as a powerful environmental legacy. Republicans, manufacturers and the fossil fuel industry have sharply criticized them as an example of costly government overreach. The National Association of Manufacturers has called the proposal “the most expensive regulation ever.”
(click here to continue reading E.P.A. Ozone Rules Divide Industry and Environmentalists – NYTimes.com.)
Paul Krugman thinks the shift to become the Party of Pollution has occurred mostly because the GOP is the proud party of the 1%.
And environmental protection is, in part, a class issue, even if we don’t usually think of it that way. Everyone breathes the same air, so the benefits of pollution control are more or less evenly spread across the population. But ownership of, say, stock in coal companies is concentrated in a few, wealthy hands. Even if the costs of pollution control are passed on in the form of higher prices, the rich are different from you and me. They spend a lot more money, and, therefore, bear a higher share of the costs.
In the case of the new ozone plan, the E.P.A.’s analysis suggests that, for the average American, the benefits would be more than twice the costs. But that doesn’t necessarily matter to the nonaverage American driving one party’s priorities. On ozone, as with almost everything these days, it’s all about inequality.
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I took A Photo For All And None on September 20, 2014 at 11:09PM
and processed it in my digital darkroom on November 28, 2014 at 05:32PM
I’m surprised by the tone-deaf procedure here. Yahoo is pissing off a lot of their content providers. Part of the problem though is that not everyone understands the nuances of Creative Commons.
But she’s not happy about a recent move by Yahoo Inc., Flickr’s owner, to make canvas prints from the photos she and others post to the site, sell them for up to $49 apiece and keep all of the profits.
“It ticked me off that somebody else is selling them when I was giving them away,” said Ms. West, a retired writer in Boxborough, Mass., who goes by “Muffet” on Flickr.
Ms. West is among millions of contributors to the Creative Commons, an online repository of images and writings that their creators allow others to reuse and repurpose, free, under certain conditions. Artists can specify, for example, whether their works can be used for commercial purposes and ensure they receive credit in any derivative work.
(click here to continue reading Fight Over Yahoo’s Use of Flickr Photos – WSJ.)
Yahoo should add getting explicit permission from the artist to this new policy. Yahoo should also share some of the revenue with the artists, even if it was a small amount. If they did those two things, I’d be more supportive.
For me, this is why I almost always upload photos with a watermark, and resize my photos so they are less than one MB in size. I doubt very much if my low-res jpeg files would be acceptable enough quality when printed, but I’ve never tried, so I could be wrong.
I also agree with Nelson Lourenço 1,000,000 percent: I don’t mind my photo being used to illustrate blog posts or even news articles, in fact I like it, provided proper credit is given; however, selling prints of my work without sharing the proceeds sounds like exploitation to me. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.
Yahoo’s plan to sell the images appears “a little shortsighted,” said Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield, who left the company in 2008. “It’s hard to imagine the revenue from selling the prints will cover the cost of lost goodwill.”
The Wall Street Journal contacted 14 photographers with Creative Commons-licensed works on Flickr. Eight said they didn’t object to Yahoo’s move and are happy to get additional exposure for their work. “Any amateur photographer would love to have his or her photos hanging on walls around the world,” Andreas Overland, a Flickr user in Oslo, Norway, said in an email.
Six others objected to the company profiting from their works.
“When I accepted the Creative Commons license, I understood that my images could be used for things like showing up in articles or other works where they could be showed to public,” Nelson Lourenço, a photographer in Lisbon, Portugal, said in an email. Yahoo “selling my work and getting the full money out of it came as a surprise,” he said.
(click here to continue reading Fight Over Yahoo’s Use of Flickr Photos – WSJ.)
It isn’t that hard to change your Creative Commons license but again, you’ll have to first do a little research into what the terms mean, as Yahoo doesn’t explain the differences well enough for casual photographers.
Update, of course Thomas Hawk beat me it, writing:
I think it’s important that each photographer fully understand how the license that they are using with their photos online works. It is first and foremost the photographer’s responsibility to understand licensing. Creative Commons is a wonderful and liberal way to share your photos. It’s not for everyone though. You choose how your photos are licensed on Flickr though. By default Flickr licenses images “all rights reserved,” the most restrictive license available. So only photographers who have gone in and changed their license to a more liberal license would be affected by this.
I license my images Creative Commons Non-Commercial. This is one of several variations of the Creative Commons license. This means that people can use my images for personal use or non-profit organizations can use them, but folks like Yahoo/Flickr and others can’t sell them commercially without my permission.
If you are going to license your photos Creative Commons with no restriction, then you ought to be prepared for this type of use. If it’s not Flickr selling them, anyone else can, legally. If you are uncomfortable with this idea, then you should not use Creative Commons without any sort of restriction. If you like the idea of Creative Commons but are uncomfortable with commercial use without being compensated, then consider changing your license to Creative Commons Non-Commercial like I license mine.
I think a lot of people though don’t consider the full implications of the license that they choose and like Stewart I wonder if the revenue is worth potential lost goodwill in this case. Some people will inevitably be put off when they see that the community (and Flickr is as much a community as a company) that is hosting their photos for them is now selling them without sharing the profit or asking for permission. Reminding people to read the fine print of their photo license that they chose without really considering it thoughtfully might not be the best answer to that complaint. People on Flickr LOVE to complain about anything and everything.
(click here to continue reading Thomas Hawk Digital Connection » Blog Archive » The Controversy Around Flickr Selling Creative Commons Licensed Photos.)
Comfort marketing is amusing, and yet a bit sad. Steve Jobs would be appalled: he didn’t even want to keep old computers around, much less old brands.
Now, the vintage Smith Brothers brand of cough drops is poised to try a comeback, keeping its familiar brand symbol of a pair of bearded brothers and expanding into a line of health and wellness products.
The campaign is an example of an effort to breath new life into what is known as a ghost brand: a once-popular mainstay among packaged goods that fell dormant or out of favor because of a loss of consumer interest and advertising spending. Some ghost brands disappear from stores altogether, while many others remain but are banished to bottom shelves in supermarkets or drugstores and get little or no marketing support.
Other examples of ghost brands include Aim, Ammens, Aqua Velva, Armour, Barbasol, Breck, Brylcreem, Bromo-Seltzer, Brut, Camay, Close-Up, Comet, Duncan Hines, Fab, Hydrox, Kretschmer, Lava, Log Cabin, My-T-Fine, Oxydol, Parkay, Pepsodent, Pert Plus, Prell, Schlitz, Spic and Span, Sure, Vitalis and White Rain.
There are a couple of reasons it is common during uncertain economic times to seek to restore ghost brands to health. One reason is that it can be far less expensive to reintroduce a brand that was formerly well known than to bring out an entirely new product.
A second reason is that ghost brands fit a trend called comfort marketing, which uses nostalgia to appeal to shoppers in tough times. The belief is that consumers who are carefully watching their spending will be reassured by a product’s longevity and authenticity, deeming it of value because it has been around for decades.
(click here to continue reading Hey, Brothers, Can You Spare a Cough Drop? – NYTimes.com.)
Looks like this is an actual marketing trend, and not just something dreamed up by editors at the NYT:
What is inspiring the trend is a belief that shoppers — watching carefully what they spend in an uncertain economy — seek authenticity in brands because a product’s longevity suggests it has value and is thus worth buying.
“At General Mills, with cherished brands like Cheerios, Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, we are seeing an uptick in interest” in mainstay products, said Elizabeth Crocker, associate marketing manager for Cinnamon Toast Crunch at General Mills, “from both millennial consumers who enjoy the taste and fun, as well as older consumers.” (Yes, Elizabeth Crocker works for General Mills, home of another longtime brand character, Betty Crocker.)
Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story “Social media is helping to fuel the interest in historic brands and favorite icons,” Ms. Crocker said, citing popular memes like Throwback Thursday (#tbt) and Flashback Friday (#fbf). “For many fans of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, the cereal brings back happy childhood memories, so it’s an easy tie to fun #tbt social content,” she added.
(click here to continue reading Comfort of Longtime Brands Inspires Campaigns – NYTimes.com.)
Ghost signs predate ghost brands: wall advertising faded by weather and the passage of time. Sometimes the brand is dead, but not always.