AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1333209 times)

Offline knarf

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Natural disasters increasingly linked to climate change, new report warns
« Reply #9705 on: December 13, 2017, 04:59:59 AM »
'This is a real world analysis of what is actually happening, rather than a projection of what might happen in the future,' says author Richard Black


Extreme weather events such as Hurricane Harvey are increasingly being linked to climate change in scientific studies

Climate change is increasing the risk of extreme weather events, including droughts, flooding and heatwaves, according to a new report.

Researchers from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, a non profit organisation that supports debate on climate change and energy issues, analysed 59 studies which looked at climate change and extreme weather.

All had been published since the Paris climate summit two years ago.

They concluded that 41 of the studies demonstrated climate change had made extreme weather events more intense and more long-lived. These included droughts in Syria to Storm Desmond, which battered the UK in 2015.

The harm inflicted by these events was estimated at around $8bn (£5.9bn) in economic damage and resulted in at least 4,000 deaths.

“Just a few years ago it was hard to say more about any storm, drought or heatwave than it was ‘consistent with what science predicts’,” said the report’s author, Richard Black, a director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.

As climate science has advanced, scientists have become increasingly able to not just make future predictions of climate change’s impact, but also look for its effects in current weather events, he added.

“This is a real world analysis of what is actually happening, rather than a projection of what might happen in the future,” he said. "This report shows that increasingly, [scientists are] finding that specific events are made more likely or more damaging by climate change."

The effects were most obvious for heatwaves, as the connection between increased general temperatures and increased temperatures during a hot spell are relatively straightforward.

Storms and hurricanes are more complicated. Although such events are strongly linked to climate change, they are complex phenomena with many contributing factors, making the links more ambiguous.

“We’re now finding that for many kinds of extreme weather event, especially heatwaves and extreme rainfall, we can be quite confident about the effect of climate change,” said Dr Friederike Otto, deputy director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford, who was not involved in the report.

“This ECIU report shows just how quickly knowledge is accumulating, and I think it’s only going to accelerate.”

Mr Black added: “Two years’ worth of studies shows that climate change is affecting heatwaves, droughts and rainfall right now."

The new report comes shortly before another climate summit in Paris, the One Planet Summit, which is set to focus on the economics of climate change.

Soenke Kreft, leader of Munich Climate Insurance Initiative at the United Nations University, who was not involved in the report, said understanding the links between natural disasters and climate change was important, as it can play a role in convincing policymakers and citizens of the threat posed by climate change and encouraging them to take action.

“Attribution science is an important field of research that has the potential to transform public narratives into more specific prevention measures of risks,” he said. “It also helps to underscore the international responsibilities in supporting the protection of communities by prevention measures and insurance related mechanisms, and providing swift assistance in post disaster situations."

Mr Black added: “The science shows that the further and faster climate change progresses the larger this effect is likely to be, therefore the best way to restrain this is to curb global emissions."

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-natural-disasters-link-increase-global-warming-report-warning-a8103556.html
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Offline knarf

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 In San Francisco, autonomous crime-fighting robots that are used to patrol parking lots, sports arenas, and tech company campuses are now being deployed to keep away homeless people.

The San Francisco Business Times reported last week that the San Francisco SPCA, an animal advocacy and pet adoption group, put a security robot to work outside its facilities in the gentrifying Mission neighborhood. The robot's presence is meant to deter homeless people from setting up camps along the sidewalks.

Last week, the City of San Francisco ordered the SF SPCA to keep its robot off the streets or be fined up to $1,000 per day for operating on sidewalks without a permit, according to the Business Times.

Krista Maloney, media relations manager for the SF SPCA, told Business Insider that staff wasn't able to safely use the sidewalks at times because of the encampments. Maloney added that since the SPCA started guarding its facilities with the robot — known as K9 — a month ago, the homeless encampments have dwindled and there have been fewer car break-ins.

 K9 is part of a crime-fighting robot fleet manufactured and managed by startup Knightscope in Mountain View, California. The company's robots don't fight humans; they use equipment like lasers, cameras, a thermal sensor, and GPS to detect criminal activity and alert the authorities.

Their intent is to give human security guards "superhuman" eyes and ears, according to Bill Santana Li, CEO of Knightscope, who spoke with Business Insider earlier this year.

Knightscope rents out the robots for $7 an hour — less than a security guard's hourly wage. The company has over 19 clients in five US states. Most customers, including Microsoft, Uber, and Juniper Networks, put the robots to work patrolling parking lots and office buildings.

Preventing crime is part of the pitch that Knightscope makes to prospective customers. (Increased police presence can reduce crime, though this is not always the case.)

"If I put a marked law enforcement vehicle in front of your home or your office, criminal behavior changes," Li told Business Insider earlier this year.

The K9 robot circling the SF SPCA has drawn mixed responses. Within the first week of the robot's deployment, some people who were setting up a homeless encampment nearby allegedly "put a tarp over it, knocked it over, and put barbecue sauce on all the sensors," according to Jennifer Scarlett, president of the SF SPCA. A Twitter user reported seeing feces smeared on the robot.

A spokesperson for Knightscope declined to comment.

http://www.businessinsider.com/security-robots-are-monitoring-the-homeless-in-san-francisco-2017-12
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Offline knarf

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We owe ourselves a pollution-free planet
« Reply #9707 on: December 13, 2017, 05:07:48 AM »

President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing delegates at the official opening of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) High- Level Segment at the United Nation Complex, Gigiri

In the age we live in, now called the Anthropocene, mankind’s impact on our fragile planet has been as consequential as natural catastrophes — volcanoes, hurricanes and even tsunamis. We are now the most virulent biological agent on the universe.

For far too long we have been led to believe that economic growth and prosperity are only attainable through rapacious harvesting and plunder of the planet’s resources. We have fouled the air and damaged our soils. Our forests have been decimated. Our oceans are trawled relentlessly for food and treasure. Thanks to our energy systems, the planet is warming up inexorably.

It might seem like we have a suicide pact as a species. We are all hurtling down the path of irreversible disaster. Committed action to forestall dangerous global warming is not forthcoming. Somehow we are convinced that reining in our fossil fuel and carbon addiction will leave us poorer. Nothing could be more delusional. Somehow we believe killing ourselves into prosperity is cool.

Here is why. According to the World Health Organization, 23 per cent of all deaths —estimated at 12.6 million people in 2012 — are due to environmental causes. Children in low- and middle-income countries bear the biggest burden of environment-related morbidity and mortality. This is certainly not a great outcome in the pursuit of growth and prosperity.

The report, ‘Towards a Pollution-Free Planet’, submitted by the executive director of Unep at the just-concluded United Nations Environment Assembly, is depressing. According to the report, 4.3 million people die annually owing to indoor air pollution.

About three billion people, that includes all Kenyans, do not have access to controlled waste disposal facilities. Lower respiratory infections owing to household or ambient air pollution causes 52 million years of life lost or lived with disability annually.

What is most disconcerting is that many of the harmful effects of chemical pollutants are not fully known; these include the hormonal disruptors and neurological impacts related to human development as well as the effects on biodiversity and ecosystem level processes.

Deforestation and poor land use management, as well as domestic and industrial waste, are killing inland lakes and rivers in Africa. For instance, Lake Victoria is eutrophic, fertile and choking with invasive plant species.

As a consequence of dramatic changes in water quality and the introduction of the Nile perch, the lake’s native fish species are at risk of extinction.

The United Nations Environment Assembly, which just ended here in Nairobi, passed 13 non-binding resolutions. Among these were to protect water-based ecosystems from pollution, remove poisonous lead from paint and batteries, prevent and reduce air pollution and address marine litter and microplatics.

According to a recent report by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, combating pollution makes business sense. Business opportunities arising from reducing waste, recovery and recycling of materials could be worth $12 trillion globally.

A cleaner and healthier planet is good for the business bottom-line, for people and for the planet. We must find the courage to act now and save ourselves.

Alex O. Awiti is the director of the East Africa Institute at Aga Khan University

https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2017/12/12/we-owe-ourselves-a-pollution-free-planet_c1683143
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Moore’s Defeat in Alabama Deals Trump a Rebuke Ahead of 2018 Races
« Reply #9708 on: December 13, 2017, 06:29:42 AM »
The defeat of Republican Roy Moore in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race by Democrat Doug Jones was a stunning rebuke to the GOP’s anti-establishment wing led by Steve Bannon and a major political embarrassment for President Donald Trump.

Moore’s candidacy was the opening gambit in Bannon’s war to oust Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of the GOP’s congressional leadership. While Trump backed Moore’s primary challenger at McConnell’s behest, he jumped in with a full-throated endorsement of Moore a week before the election in an attempt to put him over the top.

All that unraveled on Tuesday night.

Trump, who once said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and still win votes, found his limit with Moore -- even in a state he won by 28 percentage points just one year ago. Combined with recent Republican losses in statewide elections in Virginia and New Jersey, Moore’s defeat blows a hole in Trump’s aura of political invincibility that will embolden Democrats as they prepare for the 2018 congressional elections.

The result was also a loss for McConnell and congressional Republicans because it trims their Senate advantage to 51-49 as they enter some tough negotiations on spending with Democrats next year. But it also may bring some measure of relief to GOP lawmakers running for re-election who feared the sexual misconduct claims against Moore would taint the party for years to come.

The outcome isn’t likely to quell the fight with Bannon’s insurgency.

Minutes after the race was called, Andy Surabian, a Bannon ally who is senior adviser to the pro-Trump Great American Alliance, laid the blame at the feet of the Senate’s top leader.

“Mitch McConnell and the Republican establishment got their wish: they successfully delivered Alabama to a liberal Democrat,” Surabian said.

Republican Carlos Curbelo of Florida taunted Bannon for backing “disgusting Roy Moore.”

“Congratulations to the Bannon wing of the @GOP for gifting a seat to @SenateDems in one of the reddest states,” Curbelo wrote on Twitter. “You have no future in our country’s politics.”

It was Trump who sounded a gracious note at the end of the night, congratulating Jones on Twitter “on a hard fought victory” and saying Republicans will have another shot at the seat in a short time -- Jones will face reelection in 2020.


Doug Jones celebrate at an election night party in Birmingham, Alabama, U.S., on Dec. 12.

On Wednesday morning, Trump said he knew all along that Moore couldn’t win. “The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election,” Trump said on Twitter Wednesday morning. “I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!”

Jones, a former federal prosecutor, prevailed in a solidly Republican state by running a low-key local campaign while Moore was consumed by a national furor following allegations he had pursued relationships with teenage girls while in his thirties.

With Moore out of the picture, Republicans may have dodged a bullet. They now won’t have to answer uncomfortable questions about why they tolerate a colleague accused of initiating a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl and assaulting a 16-year-old. McConnell had promised an ethics investigation of Moore if he won. That might have led to a contentious vote on expulsion, which in turn would have kept alive uncomfortable questions about Trump’s own conduct. More than a dozen women have accused the president of sexual harassment or other misconduct over the years.

McConnell’s allies were so worried about Moore that they spent millions trying to defeat him in the primary. Now the majority leader can point to Moore’s defeat as another in a string of disastrous candidates pushed by the party’s right wing that have cost the GOP Senate seats in Delaware, Indiana and Missouri.

“Any illusion that Steve Bannon’s brand of politics could be successful vanished when a state like Alabama became competitive,” said Josh Holmes, former campaign manager and chief of staff for McConnell. “You’d have to be absolutely blind and willfully ignorant to not realize this has been a national embarrassment.”

Even without the sexual misconduct claims, Moore was a polarizing figure. He was twice ousted from the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to follow federal court orders, argued in 2006 against allowing Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota to serve because he is Muslim, and backed impeaching Supreme Court justices who voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

Bannon has pledged to run insurgents against every GOP incumbent except Ted Cruz of Texas. Now he’ll have a much harder time carrying that strategy into November’s congressional elections.

Dealing with Moore would have been a daily challenge for a Republican Party already struggling to unite behind its agenda. Moore said he was running so God could save the country, and he vilified McConnell and other leaders as establishment sellouts.

He favored bans on homosexual conduct and gays serving in the military. He had said he believed former President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the U.S., and recently was quoted as saying at a rally that the U.S. was great before the Civil War "even though we had slavery" because, he said, families stuck together and the country had a direction.
$100 Check

Some Republican senators engaged in public debates over just how much to oppose Moore. Senator Jeff Flake tweeted a photo of a $100 check he sent to Jones, while Nebraska’s Ben Sasse tweeted that both Flake, in backing Jones, and the Republican National Committee, which renewed its financial support for Moore, had gotten it wrong. Strikingly, Republican Richard Shelby, Alabama’s senior senator, said he didn’t vote for Moore and instead wrote in the name of a "distinguished Republican."

The outcome adds urgency to Republican efforts to send a massive tax-cut bill to Trump’s desk before Jones can be seated -- by Jan. 3 at the latest -- and it greatly complicates Trump’s plan to attempt a broader repeal of the Affordable Care Act next year.

The one-seat gain gives Democrats a slightly better shot in 2018 at winning the Senate majority, which they could use to control the agenda, investigate the president and block nominees, from the Supreme Court on down.

A Democratic majority is still a long shot. The election map strongly favors the GOP, with 10 Democrats up for re-election in states won by Trump and just one Republican incumbent -- Dean Heller of Nevada -- running in a state won by Democrat Hillary Clinton.

To take the majority, Democrats would likely need to re-elect their incumbents, defeat Heller and pick up an open seat in Arizona or Tennessee -- or, in perhaps the dream Democratic scenario, topple Cruz in Texas.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-13/moore-defeat-in-alabama-deals-trump-a-rebuke-ahead-of-2018-races

A small win for the good guys. It's tempting to say the tide is turning against Bannon and Trump, but the truth is that this kind of upset is likely to remain an anomaly, at least for a while.
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Offline RE

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Re: Moore’s Defeat in Alabama Deals Trump a Rebuke Ahead of 2018 Races
« Reply #9709 on: December 13, 2017, 07:14:10 AM »
A small win for the good guys. It's tempting to say the tide is turning against Bannon and Trump, but the truth is that this kind of upset is likely to remain an anomaly, at least for a while.

I'll bet the Repugnants lose the Senate in 2018.

RE
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Offline K-Dog

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Re: Moore’s Defeat in Alabama Deals Trump a Rebuke Ahead of 2018 Races
« Reply #9710 on: December 13, 2017, 08:50:35 AM »
A small win for the good guys. It's tempting to say the tide is turning against Bannon and Trump, but the truth is that this kind of upset is likely to remain an anomaly, at least for a while.

I'll bet the Repugnants lose the Senate in 2018.

RE

A small win built up to epic proportions by the media.  One corrupt party of elites battling another corrupt party of elites.  I can't say the democrats are good guys.  I do not care to accept forty year old he-said she-said stories as fact even if the accused are people I find personally distasteful.  Were the Democratic party to embrace the possibility of collapse and determine that the country needed to be put on a sound footing to prepare for a janky future I could change my mind but that is not going to happen.  Democrats tend to be cornucopians totally out of touch with reality.  Republicans as disgusting as they are, at least recognize the world has limits.  Their answer is just to take it all for themselves.

Both major American political parties have only a sophomoric, skin deep world view.  Their immaturity combined with their power make both parties dangerous for the little guy.   Only people from scalable professions can enter the upper ranks of either party. 

Quote
    A scalable profession is good only if you are successful; they are more competitive, produce monstrous inequalities, and are far more random with huge disparities between efforts and rewards — a few can take a large share of the pie, leaving others out entirely at no fault of their own.

    One category of profession is driven by the mediocre, the average, and the middle-of-the-road. In it, the mediocre is collectively consequential. The other has either giants or dwarves — more precisely, a very small number of giants and a huge number of dwarves.  - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
 

In other words only people with a lot of money can be high ranking Republicans or Democrats.  In other  words people with distorted and incorrect ideas of how the world works.  This can lead to only one thing.  Doom!

Consider Dwayne Douglas Johnson, also known as 'The Rock'.  He could be our next president, the idea is being floated around.  Dwayne I'm sure is a really nice guy but he has a totally scalable world view.  Were Dwayne to become president the little guy is going to be totally left out.  I could never vote for him.  To Dwayne and people like him success is just a fact of life.  That any part of their success is the result of luck or others being left behind so they could have all success to themselves is a concept they won't entertain.  For them success is a matter of hard work and that is all there is too it.  To elites the idea the world should move in a direction where only one guy has everything makes total sense.
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Moore’s Defeat in Alabama Deals Trump a Rebuke Ahead of 2018 Races
« Reply #9711 on: December 13, 2017, 09:41:33 AM »
A small win for the good guys. It's tempting to say the tide is turning against Bannon and Trump, but the truth is that this kind of upset is likely to remain an anomaly, at least for a while.

I'll bet the Repugnants lose the Senate in 2018.

RE

A small win built up to epic proportions by the media.  One corrupt party of elites battling another corrupt party of elites.  I can't say the democrats are good guys.  I do not care to accept forty year old he-said she-said stories as fact even if the accused are people I find personally distasteful.  Were the Democratic party to embrace the possibility of collapse and determine that the country needed to be put on a sound footing to prepare for a janky future I could change my mind but that is not going to happen.  Democrats tend to be cornucopians totally out of touch with reality.  Republicans as disgusting as they are, at least recognize the world has limits.  Their answer is just to take it all for themselves.

Both major American political parties have only a sophomoric, skin deep world view.  Their immaturity combined with their power make both parties dangerous for the little guy.   Only people from scalable professions can enter the upper ranks of either party. 

Quote
    A scalable profession is good only if you are successful; they are more competitive, produce monstrous inequalities, and are far more random with huge disparities between efforts and rewards — a few can take a large share of the pie, leaving others out entirely at no fault of their own.

    One category of profession is driven by the mediocre, the average, and the middle-of-the-road. In it, the mediocre is collectively consequential. The other has either giants or dwarves — more precisely, a very small number of giants and a huge number of dwarves.  - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
 

In other words only people with a lot of money can be high ranking Republicans or Democrats.  In other  words people with distorted and incorrect ideas of how the world works.  This can lead to only one thing.  Doom!

Consider Dwayne Douglas Johnson, also known as 'The Rock'.  He could be our next president, the idea is being floated around.  Dwayne I'm sure is a really nice guy but he has a totally scalable world view.  Were Dwayne to become president the little guy is going to be totally left out.  I could never vote for him.  To Dwayne and people like him success is just a fact of life.  That any part of their success is the result of luck or others being left behind so they could have all success to themselves is a concept they won't entertain.  For them success is a matter of hard work and that is all there is too it.  To elites the idea the world should move in a direction where only one guy has everything makes total sense.

Very well said. When I said it was a win for the good guys, I really meant it was a blow against the Trump/Bannon fascism. I completely agree with you about the Dems, and about the stupid rich being in control of the country.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2017, 05:20:24 PM by Eddie »
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Offline agelbert

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Doug Jones WIN is a KEY win, NOT an "anomally"!
« Reply #9712 on: December 13, 2017, 12:19:39 PM »
A small win for the good guys. It's tempting to say the tide is turning against Bannon and Trump, but the truth is that this kind of upset is likely to remain an anomaly, at least for a while. 
 


I'll bet the Repugnants lose the Senate in 2018.

RE


A small win built up to epic proportions by the media. One corrupt party of elites battling another corrupt party of elites.  I can't say the democrats are good guys.  I do not care to accept forty year old he-said she-said stories as fact even if the accused are people I find personally distasteful.  Were the Democratic party to embrace the possibility of collapse and determine that the country needed to be put on a sound footing to prepare for a janky future I could change my mind but that is not going to happen.  Democrats tend to be cornucopians totally out of touch with reality.  Republicans as disgusting as they are, at least recognize the world has limits. Their answer is just to take it all for themselves.

Both major American political parties have only a sophomoric, skin deep world view.  Their immaturity combined with their power make both parties dangerous for the little guy.   Only people from scalable professions can enter the upper ranks of either party. 

Quote
    A scalable profession is good only if you are successful; they are more competitive, produce monstrous inequalities, and are far more random with huge disparities between efforts and rewards — a few can take a large share of the pie, leaving others out entirely at no fault of their own.

    One category of profession is driven by the mediocre, the average, and the middle-of-the-road. In it, the mediocre is collectively consequential. The other has either giants or dwarves — more precisely, a very small number of giants and a huge number of dwarves.  - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
 

In other words only people with a lot of money can be high ranking Republicans or Democrats.  In other  words people with distorted and incorrect ideas of how the world works.  This can lead to only one thing.  Doom!

Consider Dwayne Douglas Johnson, also known as 'The Rock'.  He could be our next president, the idea is being floated around.  Dwayne I'm sure is a really nice guy but he has a totally scalable world view.  Were Dwayne to become president the little guy is going to be totally left out.  I could never vote for him.  To Dwayne and people like him success is just a fact of life.  That any part of their success is the result of luck or others being left behind so they could have all success to themselves is a concept they won't entertain.  For them success is a matter of hard work and that is all there is too it.  To elites the idea the world should move in a direction where only one guy has everything makes total sense.


Nice try, Mr. Arrogant holier than thou pseudo-erudite babble spewing bigoted double talker. Your pathetic and feeble attempt to downplay this key win by Doug Jones is expected, it being that you are a TRUMPER, whether you want to admit it or not. I am not surprised that Eddie is on the same erroneous page as you on this issue (birds of a feather flock together).


Your verbal effluent exercise in deliberate confusion irrelevance, by bringing up prize fighter Dwayne Douglas Johnson, evidences how desperate you are to change the subject AND how low you will stoop to cleverly attempting to trash someone with a similar sounding name.

You know NOTHING about Doug Jones.  Perhaps it is time that you learned what a principled man he is. He tirelessly defended a man found guilty (who was innocent) of Cannabis possession and use to the point of getting him freed from prison YEARS after the man was found guilty and imprisoned. You OWE Doug Jones for his principled behavior. We all do! He will be a voice of reason in the Senate. SHAME on you!


Doug Jones Never Stopped Fighting Until My Husband was Free!

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/U7JsYL7-V_g" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/U7JsYL7-V_g</a>

Quote
Thom Hartmann Dec. 11, 2017 4:30 pm

There is so much talk about Roy Moore and the awful things he's done but what about Doug Jones? Today on the Thom Hartmann program, Thom gets a call from someone Doug Jones never gave up on.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2017, 12:21:26 PM by agelbert »
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #9713 on: December 13, 2017, 01:51:08 PM »
The meanness in your comment is not called for AG. Try to maintain a civil discourse.  I think you completely missed the point on what I wrote. I'll let K-Dog speak for himself.

It's not about what a good guy Doug Jones is. It's about what can happen in a special election with only 25% voter turnout.

And Alabama voters are quite likely to trade Jones for a Christian conservative asshole candidate in the next general election, if the usual blocs turn out. Roy Moore would have won handily if the scandal hadn't come out. Alabama is a very backward state full of dumb-ass rednecks.

I'm more than happy Moore got his ass handed to him. He's lower than snake shit, and dumb as a stump. But Doug Jones' election has not turned the tide on anything. At some point demographics will begin to favor Democrats, maybe even socialists for all I know. But we aren't there yet. Victory parades are premature.
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Offline RE

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Re: Moore’s Defeat in Alabama Deals Trump a Rebuke Ahead of 2018 Races
« Reply #9714 on: December 13, 2017, 02:38:25 PM »
There are a few reasons why this is a bit more than a blip on the radar and why you can say "the good guys won".

First off, although both Repugnants and Demodopes are flip sides of the same Oligarchy Coin, Moore is putrid for more reasons than that, and I'm not talking about his dating habits 40 years ago.  He's an out of the closet racist and stereotypical Southern Cracker of the worst kind.  Getting him out of office can only be considered a good thing, he's a sub-human.

On a systemic level, this gives the Demodopes something they haven't had in a while, a WIN to crow about and use to build some momentum.  As stupid as I think the whole #metoo movement is, it's going to bring out a lot of feminist libtard women in the next election, who are bound to vote Demodope.  So while you probably won't flip colors on seats in places like Alabamy-Mammy, in more borderline states you will.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/PIaj7FNHnjQ" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/PIaj7FNHnjQ</a>

The margin in the Senate is very thin now, and there are 11 months to go before the election.  There are indictments coming down the pipe and you can be sure Trumpovetsky will make a major ass of himself on a daily basis with his Tweetshit.  Repugnants are going to have to distance themselves from him and this will fracture the party even more.  If the Demodopes can't capitalize on this, they truly are pathetic.

Although neither party can stop collapse, I think I might get an extra year or two of SS with the Demodopes before it all goes in the crapper.

RE
« Last Edit: December 13, 2017, 03:18:11 PM by RE »
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Offline knarf

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A scorched pot is among the few remnants of a homeless site where investigators believe the Skirball blaze, which destroyed more than 400 acres, started.



In the tony hillside neighborhoods of Bel-Air and Brentwood, residents say they are aware of the homeless people who live in the shadows of their multimillion-dollar homes.

The affluent area along the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass, home to celebrities, corporate titans and others, has not been immune to the homeless crisis that has spread across Los Angeles. Some residents express sympathy and concern for the homeless, while others are wary and want them out.

But the Skirball fire, which destroyed homes and forced the evacuation of a large chunk of Bel-Air, has put the issue at the forefront of community debate. Officials say the blaze was caused by a cooking fire at a homeless camp along the 405. Investigators say the fire was set accidentally, but they have not been able to find those who occupied the camp.

Resident Alma Soll, whose balcony was covered with soot by the fire, said that the homeless population is a part of life in the area but that the fire was disconcerting.

"It's scary," said Soll, 70.

Many residents said they don't want to demonize the homeless but also worry about the fire danger in the wake of the blaze, which spread quickly after starting Dec. 6 and was 90% contained a week later.

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"I really sympathize and empathize with these people," said Craig Conner, 53. "If my house were one of the six that burned down, maybe I'd be more angry," he added.

Nickie Miner, vice president of the Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council, said residents have long worried about the fire hazard from hillside homeless encampments, but "all the agencies' hands seemed to be tied."



"We knew it was only going to be a matter of time before something horrible happened," Miner said.

Miner said she was skeptical of the proposed campaign to educate homeless people about fire risks. Los Angeles needs a massive regulatory overhaul like the one that followed the 1961 Bel-Air fire, she said, which should include eliminating hillside encampments.

Debate about camps and the fire danger come as Los Angeles is struggling with a rise in the homeless population. An annual count in May found that homeless numbers in Los Angeles County had soared 23% to nearly 58,000 people in the last year. In the West L.A. service area — including Bel-Air and Brentwood — the homeless population rose from 4,659 to 5,511, in the same time period, the count found.

Photos taken of the Sepulveda encampment in September and shared with The Times showed a cluster of green and olive tarpaulins stretched across a canyon, partially hidden by treetops and brush.

The camp is "a little obscure," Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority spokesman Tom Waldman said. An outreach team had not visited the ravine for at least a few months and possibly as long as a year, he said.

After the Skirball fire swept through, investigators found evidence that people had been cooking and sleeping in the area, but they did not find anyone to interview, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Peter Sanders said. The department has no suspects. The size of the encampment before the fire could not be determined because the area was so badly burned.

All that remained Tuesday was a scorched portable stove, a pot, a cheese grater, several fuel canisters and the remnants of a boombox. Burned pages of a children's encyclopedia littered the charred brush and rocks in the canyon.

"Homelessness is a huge problem in our city," added Dash Stolarz, director of public affairs for the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority. The fire "is one more indication that this is a major issue that we need to put all our resources into to deal with."

http://beta.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-bel-air-fire-homeless-20171213-story.html
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Fed Raises Rates, Sticks to Forecast for 2018 Increases
« Reply #9716 on: December 13, 2017, 04:10:16 PM »
Policy makers pencil in three quarter-point rate raises for next year, as they had in September

The Federal Reserve said it would raise short-term interest rates for the third time this year and remained on track to chart a similar path next year, signaling continuity as the central bank enters a leadership reshuffle.

Fed officials said they would increase their benchmark federal-funds rate by a quarter percentage point to a range between 1.25% and 1.5%. Officials raised their projections for economic growth and said they expect to keep lifting rates if the economy performs in line with their forecast.

Officials didn’t significantly change projections about the path of interest rates or inflation even though they now expect the economy to grow faster, and the labor market to tighten further, than they did in projections released three months ago. Officials penciled in three quarter-point rate increases for next year, as they had in September, and two increases each in 2019 and 2020.

“At the moment, the U.S. economy is performing well,” Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said at a press conference Wednesday, after the Fed’s two-day policy meeting.

“The growth that we’re seeing, it’s not built on, for example, an unsustainable buildup of debt,” she added. “The global economy is doing well. We’re in a synchronized expansion. This is the first time in many years we’ve seen this…I feel good about the economic outlook.”

New projections show officials expect the economy to grow at a 2.5% rate this year and next, up from September projections of 2.4% and 2.1%, respectively. The Fed still expects the economy will grow at 1.8% over the long run, and Wednesday’s projections show officials now expect economic growth will surpass that level through 2020.

Officials didn’t change their forecasts significantly around inflation, even though they now project the unemployment rate to fall to 3.9% in 2018 and 2019, down from prior forecasts of 4.1% and below the level that they expect should prevail over the long run, which was unchanged at 4.6%.

In its postmeeting statement, the Fed’s rate-setting committee described the job market as strong. “The committee continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace and labor market conditions will remain strong,” the statement said.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans joined Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari in casting dissenting votes Wednesday because they wanted to hold rates steady.

The big question heading into their two-day meeting was how much Fed officials expected to lift rates in coming years. The prospect for new fiscal stimulus, combined with solid hiring and lofty asset values, could argue for picking up the pace to prevent the economy from overheating. But low inflation and modest wage growth could support the case for sticking with a very gradual approach.

By Thursday, the Fed will have raised rates by a quarter percentage-point five times since late 2015, after keeping them near zero for seven years. In October, the Fed also started shrinking its $4.5 trillion portfolio of bonds and other assets.

Since officials last met in early November, Congress has moved rapidly on legislation that would cut business and individual taxes by around $1.4 trillion over the next decade. Before this week, many Fed officials refrained from building into their forecasts much prospect of fiscal stimulus because it wasn’t clear what Congress would pass.

House and Senate Republicans are reconciling different versions of tax bills that have passed their respective chambers with the goal of putting a unified plan before President Donald Trump to sign by Christmas.

Ms. Yellen said during her postmeeting press conference that officials continue to expect the economy to expand at a moderate pace, adding that “while changes in tax policy will likely provide some lift to economic activity in the coming years,” the magnitude and timing of the boost to growth remains uncertain.

She said most Fed officials had incorporated some fiscal stimulus from the emerging tax package into their updated economic projections, but some had done so already in their previous estimates earlier this year.

Even so, she said, officials concluded that monetary policy doesn’t need to change significantly. “We continue to think…a gradual path of interest rate increase remains appropriate,” she said.

She cautioned that the new projections shouldn’t be taken as estimates of the economic impact of a tax overhaul, stressing that “considerable uncertainty” about the effects remain.

Fed officials would welcome tax changes that boosted the economy’s growth potential as long as that coincided with the central bank’s ability to achieve its goals of full employment and stable, low inflation.

Ms. Yellen added that she remained concerned over federal budget deficits that are projected to grow as the baby boom ages, even before the added effect of tax cuts. “This is something I’ve been saying for a long time. I am personally concerned about the U.S. debt situation,” she said. “Taking what is already a significant problem and making it worse, it is a concern to me.”

Ms. Yellen also said she worried higher deficits now could limit the scope for fiscal policy makers to respond aggressively to an economic downturn in the future.

Fed officials haven’t said whether or to what degree they believe the specific provisions of the House and Senate bills would boost productivity, such as by encouraging capital formation and new business investment. That calculus will be especially important now that the unemployment rate—at 4.1%, a 17-year low—is at or below the level that many Fed officials believe will generate faster inflation.

It hasn’t so far, presenting a challenge for the Fed.

On one hand, inflation has run below its annual 2% target most of this year, reaching just 1.6% in October by the central bank’s preferred gauge. Another inflation measure, released Wednesday morning, showed a strong rise in energy prices but otherwise muted inflation in November.

On the other hand, with the economy so strong and more stimulus on the way, they don’t want to hold rates too low for too long and cause price pressures to surge out of control or fuel asset bubbles and other financial imbalances.

While Fed officials see the economy growing faster and the labor market running hotter than they did three months ago, they haven’t seen a need to project more interest-rate increases because “inflation has run lower than we expect, and it could take a longer period of a very strong labor market in order to achieve the inflation objective,” Ms. Yellen said Wednesday.

Fed officials also are wrestling with the fact that the economy isn’t responding to its rate moves as it did in the past, making it harder to discern the right policy path.

Fed increases in short-term rates used to tighten credit more broadly, causing bond yields to rise and boosting other borrowing costs, such as for mortgages, credit cards and business loans. This year, instead, financial conditions have eased, with long-term bond yields drifting lower, stock prices rising to new highs and many consumer loan rates little changed.

Fed governor Jerome Powell is poised to take the lead on confronting these challenges as Ms. Yellen’s successor after her term as chairwoman ends Feb. 3. Mr. Powell was nominated last month to take the helm and is awaiting Senate confirmation, but should face no difficulty after a panel voted 22-1 last week to advance his nomination.

He has shown few signs of diverging sharply from Ms. Yellen on monetary policy, but has indicated he could offer a lighter touch on financial regulation.

Ms. Yellen has said she would resign her seat on the Fed’s seven-member board once her successor takes over as chairman, which would make her the third governor to leave within a year.

Mr. Trump has filled one vacancy on the board and moved to fill a second one, in addition to nominating Mr. Powell to become chairman. Mr. Trump has two more openings to fill now and will have another after Ms. Yellen leaves next year.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/fed-raises-interest-rates-sees-continued-path-of-increases-in-2018-1513191780
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Nearly 5 Million Americans in Default on Student Loans
« Reply #9717 on: December 13, 2017, 04:13:18 PM »
Number surges in recent years despite strengthening economy

he number of Americans severely behind on payments on federal student loans reached roughly 4.6 million in the third quarter, a doubling from four years ago, despite a historically long stretch of U.S. job creation and steady economic growth.

In the third quarter alone, the count of such defaulted borrowers—defined by the government as those who haven’t made a payment in at least a year—grew by nearly 274,000, according to Education Department data released Tuesday.

The total number of defaulted borrowers represents about 22% of the Americans who were required to be paying down their federal student loans as of Sept. 30. That figure has increased from 17% four years earlier.

The money they owe is becoming a bigger share of total outstanding student debt in repayment. Defaulted student loans totaled $84 billion at the end of the quarter, or 13% of the roughly $631 billion that borrowers were required to be paying down.

The government’s student-loan portfolio now totals $1.37 trillion. That figure includes debt in repayment; debt for which borrowers aren’t required to be paying down because they are in school or have otherwise been granted temporary reprieves; and debt from an older program that guaranteed loans made by private lenders.

The rise in defaults comes despite a strong labor market—unemployment is at a 17-year low—and carries long-term consequences for borrowers and the economy. Defaulted borrowers risk damaging their credit and their ability to borrow for other things like homes and cars. That, in turn, could restrain the economy’s growth.

Meanwhile, defaults could undermine the federal budget in coming years, since taxpayers ultimately cover any unpaid loans. Government budget officials maintain the student-loan program, as a whole, will generate profits for the government, but the program has missed revenue targets in recent years in part because borrowers are falling behind on payments and using federal options to reduce payments.

“It’s kind of phenomenal given all the tools we have at this point to avoid default that this many people are still winding up in default,” said Clare McCann, an education-policy analyst at New America, a center-left think tank.

Those tools include options for borrowers to reduce their monthly bills by setting payments as a share of their incomes, and to halt payments temporarily during tough times such as unemployment.

Research from the New York Federal Reserve last month shows many borrowers who fall behind on payments dropped out of college before earning a degree, and attended for-profit schools and community colleges.

The U.S. House education committee this week began debating a Republican proposal to overhaul the student loan program. The plan would reduce how much graduate students and parents of undergraduates could borrow to cover tuition and living expenses, and it would end programs that forgive student-debt balances for borrowers who make payments for a certain period.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s Education Department has been meeting with major finance and tech companies to get ideas to improve how it manages the program and services loans. Wayne Johnson, appointed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to manage the program as chief operating officer of federal student aid, said in an interview last month that his agency may solicit bids early next year for companies to help manage the federal program.

In some ways, the outlook for the federal student loan program has improved. The rise in default in part reflects an overall increase in Americans entering the repayment cycle. As a share of all borrowers in repayment, new defaults fell in the third quarter compared with a year earlier.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/nearly-5-million-americans-in-default-on-student-loans-1513192375
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Is Christmas a Religious Holiday? A Growing Number of Americans Say No
« Reply #9718 on: December 13, 2017, 04:19:46 PM »

President Trump and his wife, Melania, at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree near the White House in November.

Combatants in the annual “War on Christmas” have some new data to chew on, thanks to a survey released this week by the Pew Research Center.

While many doubt that Christmas is embattled, as some conservative pundits contend, the new study does suggest American attitudes are changing.

The Pew study, based on interviews conducted in recent weeks with 1,503 adults, found that while a vast majority of Americans still celebrate Christmas, most find the religious elements of the holiday are emphasized less than in the past — and few of them care about that change.

Like much else in the United States, a strong partisan divide runs through the survey results, with responses from Republicans seeming to place an emphasis on religion and those from Democrats on secularism.

But the data complicate efforts to portray Christmas as either in mortal danger or in no trouble at all, a central issue in a yearslong debate over whether Christmas in America respects Christianity or has been undermined by liberalism.
Continue reading the main story
Who celebrates, and how

Ninety percent of Americans celebrate Christmas in some form, a figure that has “hardly budged at all” since its survey in 2013, the center said.

Fifty-six percent of Americans believe that the religious elements of Christmas are emphasized less now than they were in the past, but only 32 percent of Americans say that development bothers them either “a lot” or “some,” according to the study.

In 2017, 55 percent of Americans said they celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday, including 46 percent who saw it primarily as a religious holiday and 9 percent who said it was both religious and cultural. Thirty-three percent celebrated it as primarily a cultural holiday, the study said.

Four years ago, 59 percent of Americans said they celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday, including 51 percent who said it was primarily religious for them and 7 percent who treated it as both religious and cultural. At the time, 32 percent said they celebrated it primarily as a cultural holiday.

The changes in attitudes are reflected in how people said they planned to spend their time during Christmas.

In 2013, 86 percent of celebrants said they would spend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day with loved ones, and 54 percent said they would attend a religious service. That declined in 2017 to 82 percent who said they would spend the holiday with family or friends and 51 percent who said they planned to attend a religious service.
The Bible story

The most seismic change captured by the survey, from a theological standpoint, may be the declining number of people who said they believed the biblical story of Christmas accurately reflected historical events.

The survey asked respondents about their belief in four parts of the biblical Christmas story: that an angel heralded the birth of Jesus; that it was a virgin birth; that wise men were guided to baby Jesus by a star; and that he was placed in a manger.

Only 57 percent of Americans believe in all four, down from 65 percent in 2014. There were two factors that contributed to the trend, researchers said. One was that atheists and the religiously unaffiliated appeared even less likely now than in the past to believe the story of Jesus’ birth. The second was “a small but significant decline” of roughly 5 percent “in the share of Christians who believe in the Christmas narrative contained in the Bible.”
Merry Christmas?

President Trump has turned the phrase “Merry Christmas” into a political battle cry, claiming that the greeting is being drummed out of public life by politically correct alternatives like “Happy Holidays and the seasonal design choices of corporations like Starbucks.

He has often told supporters that under his presidency “we will be saying Merry Christmas again.” But most Americans don’t really care, according to the survey results.

Fifty-two percent said it did not matter to them what kind of holiday greeting was used by people or businesses, and only 32 percent said they prefer to be greeted with “Merry Christmas.”

Answers to that question differed along party lines. Roughly half of Republicans prefer to hear “Merry Christmas,” compared with 19 percent of Democrats. Sixty-one percent of Democrats said they don’t care what holiday greeting people use, while only 38 percent of Republicans agreed.
Holiday displays

There has also been a move toward the secular on the question of whether religiously themed holiday displays, like Nativity scenes, can be displayed on public property, like town halls and public schools.

Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union oppose such displays, calling them a violation of the separation of church and state, but two-thirds of Americans say they do not see a problem with them, according to the poll results.

But the number of respondents who said Christian displays should be allowed on their own, without symbols of other religions, like a Menorah, declined by 7 percentage points since 2013, to 37 percent from 44. The number of Americans who oppose religious displays on public property has grown to 26 percent from 20 percent in the same time period, the study said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/13/us/christmas-less-religious.html
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Walmart is selling a marijuana Christmas tree that will ‘light up’ the room
« Reply #9719 on: December 13, 2017, 04:23:01 PM »


For the stoner who has everything ...

Walmart is selling a “Weed Marijuana Leaf Christmas Tree” this season.

Ornaments and bow are not included with this 7-foot faux Tannenbaum, which has a street, er, retail value of $250.

But hey! The shipping is free.

“The ad copy reads like it was fueled by office party egg nog,” writes Bruce Barcott, deputy editor for the cannabis website Leafly.

Indeed. The tree’s description on the Walmart website is sprinkled with token puns.

“This Pot Leaf Christmas tree will ‘light up’ the room and put your mind in the right head-space for holiday cheer,” it reads.

“You’ll be able to relax and giggle at the marijuana leaves and decorate it as you please. This alternative Christmas tree is perfect for personal top shelf life at home or as a medical dispensary decoration. Green Wishes and Happy Holidhaze!”

The tree is sold and shipped by Brands On Sale Inc., a costume and novelty company, according to the Cannabist.

Weed News noticed the tree, too, and took a poke at Walmart for “trying to cash in this year on the cannabis movement like many other retailers” while noting that $250 is “more than the cost of three ounces of actual cannabis at some dispensaries in Oregon.”

The giant retailer “selling the ‘weed marijuana leaf Christmas tree’ is somewhat surprising, but is just another example of cannabis going mainstream,” wrote Weed News.

“Walmart also sells marijuana leaf cookie cutters which, while not specifically geared towards Christmas, can certainly be used to make Christmas cookies (cannabis infusion optional)!”

Barcott and his colleagues got to wondering: “Which is cheaper, a seven-foot Walmart Weed Christmas Tree or an actual seven-foot cannabis plant?”

He asked Washington state cannabis farmer Crystal Oliver, who sounded excited at the prospect of a new income stream — “live canna-Christmas trees.”

If she sold a 7-foot cannabis plant — which would take several months to grow outdoors — she would probably sell it for $200, she said.

That would be for a plant not in flower, weeks away from harvest, she said. It would be worth hundreds and hundreds more after it flowered.

“With cannabis Christmas trees, as in life, timing is everything,” Barcott noted.

Timing is, indeed, everything. The tree might not arrive until Dec. 26 unless you pay for that “free” shipping.

Results from the 2016 election brought about new rules on the use of recreational and medicinal marijuana in several states, with more than half now allowing for the latter. Federal government leaders including president-elect Trump have voiced their opinion on the changing state of mind around marijuana. Is this the beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition?
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