August 29, 2015 marks the tenth year since Hurricane Katrina became a platform for a conservative recovery agenda pushed by then President George W. Bush. This agenda spearheaded the privatization of public places and public services in New Orleans and the storm-damaged communities of the Gulf Coast Region. The inequities and unjust outcomes of this agenda are laid bare in the short film Ten Years after Katrina: “Recovery,” “Resilience” & REALITY produced by the Greater New Orleans Organizers Roundtable.

10 Years After Katrina: "Resilience," "Recovery," and REALITY from GNO Organizers Roundtable on Vimeo.


Climate change does not always mean changing climate. Sometimes it means a shift to a new, relatively unchanging pattern. It is not at this point scientifically proven to be the case, but it looks like parts of North America have been experiencing unusually cool temperatures both during the winter and summer, as the rest of the world heats up. Given the importance of the US (as a big powerful influential country) and, thus, the importance of the US Congress (one of the main branches of government that supposedly runs the US), this is a problem.

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There are many, many live camera feeds on the internet. You can use the Google search option “inurl:” to request a search that includes URL elements that are associated with such cams, then pick a cam and watch. Here are a few inurl: searches that will get you there:

inurl:/view.shtml* intitle:”Live View / — AXIS

Hat tip.


A few days ago some dood shot George Zimmerman. Funny how people who play around so much with firearm-based personal defense systems are the most likely to get shot in an act of violence or by accident. Anyway, the guy who shot “Stand Your Ground George” will be using the “Stand Your Ground” defense. LOL.

Huffpo has the story:

An attorney for a Florida man charged with shooting at George Zimmerman said Friday that he planned to use a “Stand Your Ground” defense…

Such a defense would entitle Matthew Apperson to a hearing, ahead of his trial, during which a judge would decide if he deserves immunity from prosecution because he feared imminent death or bodily injury. …

Above image from here.

cuba volunteer projects

After decades of Cuba utterly failing to terrorize the United States, the US State Department has finally taken Cuba off the states that sponsor terrorism.

A press release from moments ago:

In December 2014, the President instructed the Secretary of State to immediately launch a review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and provide a report to him within six months regarding Cuba’s support for international terrorism. On April 8, 2015, the Secretary of State completed that review and recommended to the President that Cuba no longer be designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.

Accordingly, on April 14, the President submitted to Congress the statutorily required report indicating the Administration’s intent to rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation, including the certification that Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six-months; and that Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future. The 45-day Congressional pre-notification period has expired, and the Secretary of State has made the final decision to rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, effective today, May 29, 2015.

The rescission of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism reflects our assessment that Cuba meets the statutory criteria for rescission. While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation

This reminds me of airplane hijacking. Back in the day, about the time (no coincidence) that airports put in metal detectors, there were a lot of airplane hijackings. A lot. More than you remember, more than you imagine. If I said the number you would argue that I was wrong from incredulity. Well over 100 hijackings or attempted hijackings from the US to Cuba occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. But those weren’t counted as terrorism, because it really was a different thing.

Anyway, Cuba is our neighbor, there is already a fair amount of interaction between Cuba and the US, and this removal of Cuba from the terrorist country list is an important step in the negotiations currently underway to normalize our relationship. It is about time.

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Bjorn Lomborg often touts, and has done so recently, that his Copenhagen Consensus Center works with seven Nobel Laureates. I’ve always let that pass but wondered if it was really true, who they were, and what that involvement consisted of. Graham Readfearn of DeSmog Blog has done the hard work of running this down and he found out that this is not as impressive as it seems. For one thing, one of the Seven is not actually alive. Of the other six, at least one is a very well known climate change contrarian, and overall the amount of work, and the quality of the work, they have produced is unimpressive.

Check out: “Seven Nobel Laureates” Behind Climate Contrarian Bjorn Lomborg’s Think Tank Are Not All They Seem, Or Even All Alive

Here is a meme I made to commerate Graham’s efforts:
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Click the image to get the full size original.

Click here to learn more about Lomborg.


The “Nones” are rising, at the expense of the Nuns.

From “Openly Secular“:

Recently, two studies have been released that affirm the number of nonreligious Americans is rising. For several years, the percentage of secular Americans has been increasing rapidly and the media has been reporting on it. But dig a little deeper, and it becomes abundantly clear that this new data is fundamentally different and demonstrates a significant shift in the hearts and mind of American citizens, and critically, American voters.

These new studies, one conducted by the Pew Research Center on Religion & Public Life, the other by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) reveal that not only are there more religiously unaffiliated Americans (often called “nones”), but more of these people are calling themselves atheists or agnostics. At the same time, the number of Americans who identify as Christians is shrinking.

Since 1993, the percentage of Americans who claim no formal religious affiliation has grown from 9% to 22% according to the PRRI study. No other group has risen as sharply. Not only is the overall number of unaffiliated Americans surging, a greater proportion of these “nones” are identifying as secular. The Pew study shows that 31% of the “nones”—representing 17 million Americans—self identify as atheist or agnostic, up from 25% in 2007. An additional 39% of the “nones” say that religion is not important to them, which means 15.8% of the total population of the United States is atheist, agnostic, or secular.

Almost sixteen percent of potential voters carries a lot of political clout. A group of voters this large who believe in the separation of church and state simply cannot be ignored.

“This data is particularly meaningful as the 2016 presidential election approaches,” says Todd Stiefel, Chair of Openly Secular. “For the first time, politicians will not be able to ignore the substantial voting bloc of secular Americans. We have real clout and we vote. As the number of secular people continues to rise, more and more Americans will come to realize that many of their loved ones, next-door neighbors and coworkers do not believe in God, and that they are still moral, good people.”



Hunter Cutting, Director of Strategic Communications at Climate Nexus, talks about the upsides of the issues surrounding climate change. “One of the very interesting things I think about this whole issue is it’s actually not a scientific problem. Thanks to work of scientists we’re actually pretty clear what causes global warming,” said Cutting. “What we’re really talking about is moving our economy from a fossil fuel economy to renewable energy economy and the cost to that is marginal at best.”

From here.