Florence’s rains: Coal ash landfill collapses in Carolinas’

Associated Press

Michael Biesecker, Associated Press      September 16, 2018

Democrats Call To Delay Kavanaugh Vote After His Accuser Goes Public

NPR – Politics

Democrats Call To Delay Kavanaugh Vote After His Accuser Goes Public

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 6, 2018. Alex Wong/Getty Images


Top Senate Democrats said Sunday that the Senate should delay further action on confirming Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until newly revealed allegations of sexual assault from 35 years ago are investigated by the FBI.

The vote was scheduled for this week but Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, called for the delay shortly after The Washington Post published a story naming the woman who says that Kavanaugh tried to sexually assault her when they were both teenagers.

The woman, Christine Blasey Ford, spoke to the Post on the record and confirmed details that had previously been reported in other outlets, including The New Yorker.

“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” Ford told the Post. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”

At first, she vowed to never speak of the incident, she said. But the trauma eventually drove her to seek therapy. She brought the incident up at a couples therapy session in 2012, she said.

“I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time,” said Kavanaugh in a statement issued by the White House last week when the allegations began to surface.

But his words have not stemmed a wave of Democrats who are calling for his nomination to be delayed.

“I support Mrs. Ford’s decision to share her story, and now that she has, it is in the hands of the FBI to conduct an investigation,” Feinstein said in a statement. “This should happen before the Senate moves forward on this nominee.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on Grassley to postpone the vote “until, at a very minimum, these serious and credible allegations are thoroughly investigated.” He added, “To railroad a vote now would be an insult to the women of America and the integrity of the Supreme Court.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) echoed their messages on Twitter, saying, “The Senate has a constitutional responsibility to scrutinize SCOTUS nominees. A vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination must be delayed until there is a thorough investigation.”

On Friday, after the contents of the letter were first reported, an FBI official said the agency had not opened a criminal investigation.

A spokesman for Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the allegations should have been brought up earlier. Their timing and nature “raises a lot of questions about Democrats’ tactics and motives to bring this to the rest of the committee’s attention only now rather than during these many steps along the way.”

During the judge’s hearing, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D.-Hawaii) asked Kavanaugh if he had ever made unwanted sexual advances, verbally or physically since becoming a legal adult. Kavanaugh replied “no” to her questions. The allegations made against Kavanaugh would have taken place while he was still a minor.

“It took a lot of courage for Christine Blasey Ford to come forward to share her story of sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh,” Hirono said in a statement on Sunday. “This development is yet another reason not to rush Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination.”

Before Ford broke her silence, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said Sunday on Fox that Kavanaugh’s nomination process as an “intergalactic freak show” and that “I don’t know what our Democratic friends expect us to do” about the sexual assault allegation because of its secrecy. He predicted that every Republican would vote for Kavanaugh.

The Post reported that Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist and professor, contacted the paper in early July — after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his intention to retire and Kavanaugh was shortlisted as his potential replacement.

On the advice of civil rights lawyer Debra Katz, who specializes in sexual harassment cases, she even took a polygraph test which reportedly demonstrated that her allegations were accurate. There are also therapist’s notes which describe the incident.

She said, “Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation.”

Brett Kavanaugh Accuser Goes Public: ‘I Thought He Might Inadvertently Kill Me’


Brett Kavanaugh Accuser Goes Public: ‘I Thought He Might Inadvertently Kill Me’

Hayley Miller, HuffPost        September 16, 2018

The GOP Rode The Trump Train, And Now It’s Derailing


The GOP Rode The Trump Train, And Now It’s Derailing

Michelangelo Signorile, HuffPost        September 13, 2018

Homeland Security Shifted $10 Million From FEMA For Immigrant Crackdown, Senator Says


Homeland Security Shifted $10 Million From FEMA For Immigrant Crackdown, Senator Says

Nick Visser, HuffPost       September 12, 2018 


Homeland Security shifted $10 million from FEMA for crackdown on immigration

Here’s what would happen if the Sahara was covered in solar and wind farms

Digital Trends – Science

Here’s what would happen if the Sahara was covered in solar and wind farms

Luke Dormehl, Digital       September 11, 2018 

Trump administration rushes to lease federal lands

Yahoo News

Trump administration rushes to lease federal lands

Alexander Nazaryan                    September 11, 2018 

Wildfire that closed key California highway explodes in size

Associated Press

 Associated Press       September 9, 2018

Climate Change Could Completely Transform Earth’s Ecosystems

Climate Change Could Completely Transform Earth’s Ecosystems

By Olivia Rosane       September 1, 2018

Lake Atescatempa in Guatemala has dried up due to drought and high temperatures. MARVIN RECINOS / AFP / Getty Images

Fifty two million years ago, crocodiles swam in the Arctic. Twenty thousand years ago, an ice sheet covered Manhattan. Earth’s ecosystems have changed dramatically as the climate has shifted, and now scientists are trying to determine how they might respond to the current era of human-caused climate change.

Forty-two scientists contributed to a study published in Science Friday that examined how land-based plants had responded to temperature changes of four to seven degrees Celsius since the height of the ice age in order to predict how land-based ecosystems might respond to similar temperature changes predicted for the future.

They found that, if we do not act quickly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the earth’s entire terrestrial biome is 75 percent likely to change completely, impacting biodiversity and making life difficult for anyone whose livelihood is based around an ecosystem as it exists now.

“Having this kind of change occur at such a massive scale in such a short period of time is going to create unprecedented challenges for natural-resource management,” study author and U.S. Geological Survey climate scientist Stephen Jackson told The Atlantic.

The researchers looked at 594 examples of ecosystem change over time to get an understanding of what sorts of changes we could expect from unmitigated global warming.

“Five miles from where I sit is the middle of the Sonoran Desert and Saguaro National Park,” Jackson told The Atlantic from his desk in Tucson, Arizona. “Today, there’s big saguaro cacti, mesquite trees, ironwood trees. If we were to roll back the calendar 20,000 years, and we went to the same place, we would find a woodland of evergreen trees.”

But while the period the researchers studied spanned around 21,000 years, similar temperature changes could occur within the next 100, and the speed of change could have a major impact.

“If you’re a wildlife manager and your ecosystem changes, if you’re a forest manager trying to respond to wildfires, if you’re a water manager who is responsible for converting rainfall estimates into reservoir levels,” Jackson told The Atlantic, “then the old rules are not necessarily going to apply.”

Another study, published Thursday in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, looked at how the individual species within ecosystems might respond to these dramatic temperature changes.

The study, led by the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen, looked to the past to see how plants and animals had responded to changes in their environment over the past million years.

“From fossils and other biological ‘archives,’ we have access to a nearly limitless number of case studies throughout Earth’s history. This provides us with valuable knowledge of how climate changes of various rates, magnitudes and types can affect biodiversity,” Jackson, who also co-authored the second study, said in a University of Copenhagen press release.

Scientists had previously believed species would simply migrate in response to changing climates, but the historical examples reviewed for this study showed they often adapted over time by changing their behavior or body color or shape.

However, researchers were concerned the pace of current climate change might be too fast for evolution to keep up.

“We know animals and plants have prevented extinction by adapt or migrate in the past. However, the models we use today to predict future climate change, foresee magnitudes and rates of change, which have been exceptionally rare in the last million years,” co-author Francisco Rodriguez-Sanchez from the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) said in the university release.

Rodriquez-Sanchez said more research was needed to predict how species might respond to current climate change, but hoped the past examples of successful adaptation could help policy makers craft effective conservation decisions.

Stunning Victory for Indigenous Nations as Canada Halts Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion


Stunning Victory for Indigenous Nations as Canada Halts Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion

By Lorraine Chow         August 30, 2018

Pipeline intended to cross Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Robert McGouey / Getty Images

A Canadian court “quashed” approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on Thursday, a major setback for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose government agreed to purchase the controversial project from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion Canadian dollars (U.S. $3.5 billion) in May.

It’s a stunning victory for Indigenous groups and environmentalists opposed to the project, which is designed to nearly triple the amount of tar sands transported from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia.

The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the National Energy Board’s review—as explained by the Canadian Press—”was so flawed that the federal government could not rely on it as a basis for its decision to approve the expansion.”

The project has been at the center of widespread protests from environmental groups and First Nations ever since November 2016, when Trudeau approved a $7.4 billion expansion of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline that would increase the transport of Alberta tar sands oil from the current 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day and increase tanker traffic nearly seven-fold through the Burrard Inlet.

Specifically, the court said it was an “unjustifiable failure” that the National Energy Board did not consider the environmental impacts of the increased tanker traffic.

The court additionally concluded that the government “fell well short” with properly consulting with the Indigenous groups involved in the case, including the Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish on British Columbia’s south coast.

The ruling will force the National Energy Board to redo its review of the pipeline and the government to restart consultations with the Indigenous groups. It also means that the construction that has already began in central Alberta must cease.

In effect, the court has halted the 1,150-kilometer project indefinitely and it will remain in “legal limbo until the energy regulator and the government reassess their approvals to satisfy the court’s demands,” CBCwrote about today’s decision.

Notably, the decision was made the same day Kinder Morgan’s shareholders voted to approve the $4.5 billion sale to Canada, which means the country owns a proposed pipeline project that could be subject to years of further review, the publication pointed out.

The court’s judgment could be appealed a final time to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Minister of Finance Bill Morneau said that the government has received the ruling and will review the decision.