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Archive for September 9th, 2014

Philadelphia Set to Decriminalize Marijuana

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Philadelphia Set to Decriminalize Marijuana
The Nutter administration and City Councilman James Kenney have a reached a compromise on a bill that will reduce penalties for possession of marijuana in Philadelphia. People caught possessing fewer than 30 grams of marijuana, or just over an ounce, would be issued a citation and fined $25. City Councilman James Kenney argued that marijuana arrests were unfairly impacting African Americans — Philadelphia police arrested 4,336 people for marijuana possession last year, 83 percent of them black — while wasting valuable police time.


Apple Unveils iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Apple Unveils iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch
New phones feature mobile payments.

Study: More pilots testing positive for drugs
WASHINGTON (AP) — Tests of pilots killed in plane crashes over more than two decades show an increasing use of both legal and illegal drugs, including some that could impair flying, according to a draft study by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Brown wins GOP primary in bid for US Senate return
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Former Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Scott Brown won New Hampshire’s Republican U.S. Senate primary on Tuesday, moving forward in his attempt to get back to Washington from another state.


Republicans to Obama: Give us a strategy to defeat ISIS

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Republicans to Obama: Give us a strategy to defeat ISIS
House Speaker John Boehner refuses to weigh in on Congress’ role until the president offers more detail

Tierney’s tribulations: Nine-term congressman faces two tough fights
Rep. John Tierney (D-MA) has been in Congress for 17 years and is in a deeply Democratic district, but that has not helped him avoid two heated contests for his reeection. He faces four Democratic challengers in a primary Tuesday, with one, Seth Moulton, winning the endorsement of both major Boston papers. If he wins, Tierny would then go on to oppose Republican candidate Richard Tisei, who he beat by 1% in 2012. Kylie Atwood reports.

Probe into Scott Walker’s recall campaign goes to court
An appeals court on Tuesday will consider whether to resume a probe of possible illegal coordination and fundraising


Duck Dynasty ‘s Phil Robertson Has A Solution For Ferguson Residents Upset With Law Enforcement: Disband Police And 911

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Duck Dynasty ‘s Phil Robertson Has A Solution For Ferguson Residents Upset With Law Enforcement: Disband Police And 911

From the September 9 edition of Courtside Entertainment Group’s The Laura Ingraham Show:

Previously:

“Either Convert Them Or Kill Them”: Hannity Turns To Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson On Islamic State’s Beheadings

How Fox News Helped Make Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson A Conservative Media Darling

Fox News Employees Rush To Defend Duck Dynasty Star’s Anti-Gay Comments


Will Justice Do Justice in Ferguson?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Will Justice Do Justice in Ferguson?
Mona Charen, RealClearPolitics
It has been over a month since Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Mo., and we have yet to hear the police officer’s version of events. Was Officer Darren Wilson badly injured in his scuffle with Brown? Did Brown attempt to seize the officer’s weapon? Did Wilson have reason to fear for his own life? None of these answers has been forthcoming, which is odd and, frankly, suspicious. There are many possible explanations for the tragic death of Brown ranging from justifiable self-defense by Wilson to bad judgment by both parties and all the way to racially motivated murder. But the…

Blind to the World’s Broken Windows
Richard Cohen, RealClearPolitics
“All politics is local,” the late Speaker of the House Tip O’ Neill famously said. How right he was. The world today is suffering from the failure of President Obama to apply a school of law enforcement that happened to originate in O’Neill’s hometown, Boston, and goes by the moniker “broken windows.” The problem, simply stated, is that Obama was deaf to the sound of tinkling glass. The term “broken windows” comes from a 1982 article in the then-Boston-based Atlantic Monthly. Its title was in fact “Broken Windows,” and the authors were two academics, James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling….

Harry Reid’s Peculiar Priorities
Mark Pfeifle, RealClearPolitics
The United States Senate should have a busy schedule when it comes back into session this week. Atrocities in the Middle East and the Ukraine, a stagnant economy, a 2015 budget bill and potential government shutdown—there’s no shortage of pressing topics for the world’s greatest deliberative body to debate and discuss. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a different to-do list. His first order of business is a constitutional amendment that would all but repeal the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech. The Senate will votes this week on Senator Tom…

5 Things to Watch on the Final Primary Day of 2014
Scott Conroy, RealClearPolitics
More than six months after Texas kicked off the midterm election cycle, voters in five states will head to the polls on Tuesday to wrap up the 2014 primary season. Though the races in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Delaware are short on competitive intra-party Senate battles, there are plenty of other compelling storylines. Here are five primary races to keep an eye on: 1. New York Democratic Gubernatorial Primary What’s one way for a powerful incumbent to deal with an unwelcome primary challenger? Act like she doesn’t exist. That’s the model…


Leaders skip PMQs for Scotland trip

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Leaders skip PMQs for Scotland trip
David Cameron and Ed Miliband agree to cancel their weekly Prime Minister’s Questions clash to travel to Scotland.

UK government: No plan for ‘yes’
MPs astonished by civil service’s lack of Yes vote contingency

Let public recall PCCs, May says
Home Secretary Theresa May indicates she’s in favour of a “power of recall” for Police and Crime Commissioners.


9/11 panel rips Congress on ISIS

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

9/11 panel rips Congress on ISIS
Members argue lawmakers have not taken the threat seriously enough.


Military Memo: Amid Intensifying Requests, American Military Aid to Ukraine Stalls

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Military Memo: Amid Intensifying Requests, American Military Aid to Ukraine Stalls
Despite appeals from the Ukrainian armed forces, the United States has provided only a modest package of nonlethal assistance to the government in Kiev, and much of it has yet to arrive.



Fiji Government Says Its Golan Heights Peacekeepers Will Be Released Soon
The country’s 45-member United Nations peacekeeping contingent in the Golan Heights was seized by the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda nearly two weeks ago.



The Push to Keep Scotland in the Fold
Prime Minister David Cameron and his counterparts announced that they would fly north to campaign against dismemberment of the union with England.




Why Energy Efficiency Is The Most Important Fuel We Didn’t Know We Had

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Why Energy Efficiency Is The Most Important Fuel We Didn’t Know We Had

A new report from IEA found that the demand met by energy efficiency rivals that of coal, oil or natural gas.

The post Why Energy Efficiency Is The Most Important Fuel We Didn’t Know We Had appeared first on ThinkProgress.

energy-efficiency-cfl-lightbulb

CREDIT: Shutterstock

Energy efficiency has graduated from the “hidden fuel” to the “first fuel.”

That’s the word from a new analysis the International Energy Agency published Tuesday, looking into the benefits of investments in energy efficiency upgrades. Those gains can be hard to measure, as they lie in energy not used and costs not encountered — hence the “hidden fuel” moniker. This tends to result in energy efficiency being chronically undervalued, a problem the study sought to remedy by taking a “multiple benefits” approach that accounted for the full sweep of effects across health, economics, energy, pollution, etc.

The numbers IEA found were massive. Thanks to their efficiency investments, the energy use avoided by IEA’s member countries in 2010 was bigger than the demand met by any other single energy supply — including oil, coal or gas. The total amount of investment in energy efficiency across those countries as of 2011 was an estimated $300 billion, which is equal to their aggregate investments in coal, oil and natural gas.

Drilling down a bit deeper, IEA determined that energy efficiency can provide health benefits that are four times the value of the upgrade cost, by freeing up more energy to use for heating, cooling and air-conditioning — and thus improving health for people with a wide range of allergies, cardiovascular problems, and other ailments. It can improve industrial productivity by up to 250 percent by lowering the costs of energy in the supply chain and thus making products cheaper and more competitive, or freeing up resources to be used in other product improvements. IEA also found that when these productivity gains were factored back into industries’ traditional rate of return analyses, the time it took for the upgrades to pay for themselves dropped from 4.2 to 1.9 years. Because most businesses make their financial calculations on relatively short time horizons, that finding could alter the way many firms weigh the benefits of efficiency versus the one-time cost of the improvements.

Energy efficiency can also improve national budgets by lowering the cost of energy used in the government’s infrastructure, and it can increase energy access for low-income populations by making energy cheaper to deliver per unit. And as the Guardian pointed out, energy efficiency can even increase regional and geopolitical security — in this case, by helping Europe disentangle itself from Russian gas exports.

But IEA also looked at the current state of energy efficiency policies across its member countries, and found that most of the potential gains in their economies will not be realized by current policy goals:

iea-report-ee-gains

CREDIT: International Energy Agency

The full version of IEA’s report lays out many of the specific tools countries and businesses can use to factor in the gains of energy efficiency, and the policies that can help markets monetize the improvements — though unfortunately it’s behind a paywall.

On the climate change front, a McKinsey report from 2009 even laid out how the entirety of the White House’s commitment to cut national greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 could be met through energy efficiency improvements while netting Americans $700 billion in savings.

Now, that last point is more a demonstration of the immense gains to be made in energy efficiency as opposed to what would actually happen. The IEA report also raised the issue of the “rebound effect.” Efficiency gains mean a given unit of energy costs less, and then people respond by buying more energy. So the gains in terms of reduced emissions or lower total spending are partially rolled back by increased demand.

But this is far from a bad thing: as IEA noted, the health benefits, poverty alleviation, productivity improvements, and economic growth that can come from efficiency improvements are all examples of the rebound effect. Instead of using less energy, people can do far more to improve their well-being with the same amount of energy. That in itself is a crucial development, because historically the United States’ energy consumption has kept pace with economic growth. But those two trend lines diverged in the mid-1970s, with the economic growth continuing on up and energy use practically plateauing. There’s also evidence the same thing is happening at the global level.

Plateauing energy use means plateauing emissions. So while energy efficiency certainly can’t solve climate change itself, it can certainly buy us plenty of time — all while we keep making people’s lives better around the globe, and transition the energy we are still using onto a more sustainable and renewable footing.

The post Why Energy Efficiency Is The Most Important Fuel We Didn’t Know We Had appeared first on ThinkProgress.


Ray Rice Is Not the First Domestic Abuser Tolerated by the NFL

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 9th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Ray Rice Is Not the First Domestic Abuser Tolerated by the NFL
From: Dave Zirin

The league treated Rice’s abhorrent behavior as a public relations issue, not a domestic violence issue.

Their Technology Outstripped Their Maturity
From: Tom Tomorrow

An embarrassing look back at 2014 from aboard the Starship Enterprise. 

What Does It Mean When a Top Republican Runs as an Ally of Marriage Equality?
From: John Nichols

An ad that embraces same-sex marriage signals the change in our politics.